My garden care tips

As a landscaper, I regularly get asked by family and friends for my best garden care tips therefore I thought it would be useful to write an article to share them with you.

Keeping your garden looking great depends on developing good technique, having right equipment and being organized enough to do right things at right time. Considerable time is required for installing a new garden. Flower gardens require more maintenance than mulched shrub areas or lawns. However, special skills are not required for caring for a thriving garden. These garden maintenance tips will help you to keep your garden in the best possible way. Please note: you should purchase the best tools you can afford. You should understand that there is no substitute for good tools.

Watering

You should check the soil moisture at root zone, but the roots of plants should not be damaged when you dig. Mature plants have deeper, larger and wider root zones. You can dig deeper for watering large established plants. Soil should be soaked deeply when watering. It is important to water soil to at least a couple of inches. If the moisture is available only on the surface of the soil, plants will have difficulty developing deep roots. If possible, soil should be cultivated before watering. Aerated, loose soil can absorb water more easily. Check your garden at least once a week to ensure it is receiving sufficient water.

Mulching

A layer (usually 3” to 4”) of mulch should be spread over vegetable beds. It is helpful for reducing loss of water from soil and suppressing weed growth. Organic mulches (like shredded dry leaves, compost, stray, dry grass clippings, etc) can add nutrients to the soil, help building soil structure, suppress weeds and reduce water loss.

Mulch

Fertilizing

Fertilizer and soil amendment can be added on the basis of soil test results and recommendations. Otherwise, it will be a waste of money, time and may be detrimental to your garden soil. You can use either mineral or organic (blood meal, alfalfa) fertilizer. Compost is an excellent, complete and slow release fertilizer. If you are using chemical fertilizer, it should be used only the amounts recommended.

Weeding

Removal of weeds has the utmost importance because they can compete for nutrients, water, light and space. Regular weeding helps to keep weeds under control. All parts of the weed should be removed, including roots. If the soil is soft and slightly moist, you can pull weeds very easily.

Pest Problems

Gardens should be kept free from debris. Sanitation is a safe and effective method for controlling pest problems. You should clear out weeds because they attract pest critters. You can plant disease resistant varieties of plants. Disease problems can also be handled very effectively if you follow good gardening guidelines. You can encourage healthy plants if you rotate crops, and water regularly and deeply.

Deadheading, Trimming, Harvesting

Dead, dying, graying and brown leaves and plant parts should be removed. It is essential for preventing the spread of disease. If there are perennial and annual flowers in your garden, you should cut off dead flowers, which is known as deadheading. This process encourages continuous flowering throughout the season.

Pruning

Pruning is beneficial for removing diseased, damaged or dead branches. It can be done if you have small trees, vines or shrubs in your garden. However, you must use the right pruning tools to do this task. Improper cuts on vines, trees or shrubs can harm the plant.

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Things I like about being a landscaper

Things I like About Being a Landscaper

Sometimes when I walk out of my house’s front door and encounter the beautiful and meticulously defined surrounding, I feel a strong surge of satisfaction and happiness. This is because as a Sydney landscape architect, I feel I have done excellent work in making the environment look better. Well, with that off my chest, I want to engage you through an informative read as to why I love being a landscaper.

Decent Pay

Talking about and landing a decent paying job is music to many people’s ears. Landscaping is one of the trades that can attract some decent salaries for its workers. When I made my debut into landscaping several years ago, my starting salary was $30 000 (these are Australian dollars). It wasn’t a huge amount of money (even for the time) but it was enough to get me started in life and leave enough for a few nights at the pub with my landscape designer mates. I don’t think landscaping will let you live the life of a king but it should provide you with a decent wage.

australian-50-dollars

Landscaping helps to challenge myself

I am a person who doesn’t like sitting in his comfort zone forever. I often go out of my way to try new things with new and difficult tasks that require a new thinking dimension. Landscape design is a platform that never ceases to amaze me with new and challenging tasks. I love to tackle them head on and lock horns with them. Whether it be a strange garden design request from a customer, or a difficult backyard environment to work in. Most of the time I have emerged the winner, but there are certain occasions where I had to learn few lessons after failing. This has been extremely helpful in sharpening my skills and broadening my areas of expertise.

Flexibility

When was looking for a job, I always dreamt of a job that would allow me to vary my output within a given range effectively. As I said above, I am an individual who likes to think freely and try out different approaches to my work. I achieved my dream when I became a landscaper.Right now, I can do various projects and work in all areas of garden design. For instance, I usually work with home owners to determine best plants and garden layouts for their backyards or work with business owners on commercial landscaping projects to show off their office locations.

Self-Employment Opportunities

Landscaping is one of the jobs that has a high rate of self-employed individuals. Even though I work for a big landscape design company, I usually land some attractive side jobs during my free time or holidays. I am a workaholic and resting is not my thing. Whenever I am off from my official job, I offer landscaping services privately. This is an excellent way to rake in some extra bucks.

Peace of mind

I believe a peaceful mind is a top recipe for a happy life. Over the years, I have always marvelled at how my job enables me to create an environment enjoyed by other people. To me, it is a personal reward that I really cherish every day. I am at peace with myself and my job when I see my projects and their impact on peoples’ lives. It is a rewarding feeling.

garden design No I didn’t design this garden but I bet whoever did felt really good when it was finished!

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Monday Blues

Yep, I hate Monday’s. I hate everything about them. Nothing dampens a Sunday night drinking session like the thought of having to go to work on Monday.

hate-mondays

I thought I would try and summarise what I hate most about Monday’s here:

  • You don’t get to sleep in again after a great two days of no alarm
  • The boss seems to have increased enthusiasm which only leads to more work.
  • I don’t know why but I always seem to forget to bring something every Monday, I guess I am just not ready to get back into the ‘routine’ yet.
  • Depending upon what I did on the weekend the last thing I may feel like doing is picking up the tools and working on a large landscape design project. Shifting heaps of soil, installing layers and layers of turf, making sure the posts are just right before installing that new fence, they can all suck first thing on Monday morning.
  • The weekly ‘routine’ starts again.
  • No matter how much you pray for rain, it rarely happens on a Monday….keep an eye on it, I know I’m right on that one!
  • The Fox Monday night footy game on TV is usually crap.
  • I seem to get lumped with lunch duty more on Mondays.

Strangely enough, I don’t experience any of this ‘hate for work’ on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of the week. In fact I love Friday’s as the weekend is just around the corner, providing the boss doesn’t assign me to some boring garden maintenance job for the day.

Just to finish the article on a positive, here is a funny video showing that even dogs hate Mondays:

 

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Lunch duty

I guess I should start by saying welcome to my blog. Why did I start this blog? As my fellow labourers would say, I never shut up. I like sharing my thoughts and opinions on almost anything so I thought I might jump on the blogging bandwagon and start writing about some of my experiences working in the landscape industry. Some will be good, some will be bad, some will be funny and some will be serious. I urge you just to sit back and relax and enjoy the ride.

My first ever post is centered around ‘lunch duty’. That crap job which we all take turns in doing. I personally hate doing it and I will explain why in a few dot points:

  1. You always end up with a list of about 6 or so (depending how many people you work with) lunches which take forever to order and even longer to wait for, then by the time you have all 6 lunches the chances are they are nearly all cold, or worse, are soggy and take like sh#t anyway.
  2. You end up needing to try and sort out the correct amount of change for everyone but always come up short yourself. You know what I hate, when you take the lunch order and you get comments such as “Hey Benny, can you grab me a burger, with the lot, some chips and a coke” before being handed a $50 note. What am I meant to do with that! You’ve got to be kidding if you expect me to order and pay for each lunch separately.
  3. Your work mates always give their difficult orders when it isn’t their turn on lunch duty.
  4. When you are the youngest you end up doing it a lot more than everyone else. I must admit, when I was the youngest it sucked but now I am pretty happy someone else gets their ‘unfair share’.
  5. People assume you are ‘bludging’ if you aren’t back in 10 mins. Firstly, it takes at least 10 minutes just to drive to most decent lunch shops and secondly given you (yes boss I am talking to you) don’t let me go to lunch till midday means I am now in a massive line with all the office workers, thanks for that.
  6. Your work mates normally always stuff your order up. Thanks for covering my burger with beetroot even though I specifically said ‘No beetroot’. I really appreciate it, especially given the fact I will no doubt need to run the portoloo within a few minutes of eating it.

Burger and chips

I honestly don’t know where it came from but the ‘lunch duty’ etiquette rules really need to be re-written. I am surely not the only landscape labourer out there who is having these issues. I know what you are thinking “why doesn’t he just bring his own lunch to work”…and the answer is, Yes, I have started to do that more and more now but here is the thing, I love burgers, I love pies, I love chips. You need those things cooked fresh and there is nothing worse than being on the tools all morning only to get to sit down to have a sandwich. Sandwiches just aren’t enough to get you through a work day, no matter how many you eat.

In case you are wondering…after all these year, Maccas still makes the best burgers.

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