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snow removal
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Ergonomic Snow Removal Techniques

Shovelling snow is never fun, but it doesn’t have to be a strain on your body. You can shovel snow without hurting your back if you use the right equipment and the right techniques. Whether you are going high tech or low tech, snow removal can be a lot easier than you might think. Here are a few ergonomic snow removal techniques that are worth trying for this coming winter season.

Ergonomic Snow Removal

Use A Snow Blower

The snow blower is as easy as it gets when it comes to removing snow. It is great for those who have back problems or other conditions that prevent them from removing snow manually. It is great for clearing away dense, compacted snow and has a chute from which the snow can be expelled.

Types Of Snow Blowers

Snow Blowers come in two types: single-stage and two-stage. Single-stage snow blowers both move the snow into the machine and expel it. They are more suitable for suburban homes and neighbourhood sidewalks. Two-stage snow blowers remove snow in two distinct phases: the first phase involves breaking up the snow before sucking it into the impeller and then blowing it out the shoot. This machine is more suitable for heavy-duty snow removal, such as snow that is more than a foot high.

Use An Electric Shovel

An electric shovel is a good alternative to a conventional shovel or snow blower. They are lightweight, efficient and easy to use. You don’t have to have strong arms to use them and even if you do, they won’t be tested as with a regular shovel. Electric shovels are also great for people with disabilities and seniors. Compared to snow blowers, they are easier to maintain and do not require fuel. Shovels come in various sizes, so pick one that suits your own size, budget and physical ability.

Push The Snow

It is easier to push snow than to lift it. For pushing to be effective you need to use a shove that is as wide as possible. Preferably it should be made out of plastic and not heavier materials like wood or metal. If you are creating a large pile of snow, then make sure it is not a great distance from you.

Work With Your Knees And Not Your Back

When pushing or lifting snow, you should bend your knees and keep your back straight. If you aren’t sure if you are lifting correctly, see if you can feel the weight on your knees. That said, you shouldn’t put pressure on your knees if they are in a bad condition. Shovel snow only if you are in a relatively fit condition.

Take Breaks In Between

When removing snow, take short, frequent breaks to give your body the maximum energy to keep going. By resting frequently you can get more done over a longer period of time and without the risk of injury.

Warm Up

Stay warm without overheating. The cold is going to make your muscles tight, and this could increase your risk of injury if you don’t warm up beforehand. It doesn’t have to be anything lengthy, but just enough to get the blood flowing. Also, make sure that you don’t have on too many layers, because movement will naturally make you warmer. You can risk sweating if you do, and this could make you colder because of moisture. Also, keep hydrated. Just because it is cold doesn’t mean that you don’t need water.

Turn Your Whole Body

Try not to twist your body, instead turn your whole body when you are throwing snow. Twisting your body can cause unnecessary strain and increase your risk of injury. Work within your limit and do not overextend yourself.

Use A Good Shovel

Shovels have various shapes and sizes. If you like pushing snow, it is better to use a longer shovel. If you are lifting snow, use a shovel with a shorter handle. Be sure that the handle fits your hands to avoid unnecessary injury or strain. Deeply curved shovels are especially suited for removing a lot of snow.

Whether you decide to go high tech or traditional, snow removal doesn’t have to be as difficult as it first appears. While it will never be one of the most fun things to do in winter, it doesn’t have to be something that is risky. Use the right shovel in accordance with your physical state and practise good techniques. If you cannot remove snow at all, then you can enlist the help of a friend or hire a snow removal company. They can remove your snow efficiently for a reasonable fee. If you would like to find out more about snow removal techniques or equipment, give us a call or visit our website for products and information. Our staff will be happy to help you find something that suits your needs.

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snow removal
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11 Essential Safety Tips For Proper Snow Removal

It’s soon going to be that time of year again; people will soon be swapping their T-shirts and flip flops for heavy coats and winter boots. And instead of hiking or swimming, they will have to be shovelling snow. Removing snow from your home is not the most fun activity, but it is a necessary one— it can also be a dangerous one if it is not done correctly. Shovelling snow is not an activity that should be taken lightly and the number of injuries and hospitalizations related to this activity can attest to that. If you keep the following safety tips in mind, you can keep your home snow free without risking injury.

Safety Tips For Proper Snow Removal

  1. Shovel Only When You Can
  2. While shovelling snow is considered to be a neighbourly gesture, it is not something you should force yourself to do if you are not physically able. If you are easily prone to injury or you have a physical condition that impedes you from performing this task, refrain from doing it. If possible, hire a snow-removal service company to do the job.

  3. Pick the Right Shovel
  4. Pick the right shovel for the job and for your size. If you use a shovel that is too big or too small for you, you risk injuring yourself due to strain or bad posture. As a general rule, snow shovels should be lightweight and the spade not too large.

  5. Dress Appropriately
  6. Dress warmly when you go outside to shovel snow. But if you are going to be shovelling a lot of snow, don’t overdress, as you might find yourself overheating from the strenuous activity. Dress as you would if you were jogging in the cold. Wear boots that offer good traction when working in snow.

  7. Warm Up
  8. As you would before exercise, warm up your muscles. This can help you prevent injuries later on. Also do a bit of stretching if you can.

  9. Push Instead of Lifting
  10. When you are shovelling snow it is always easier to push instead of lifting snow. Lifting snow puts more strain on your body and is less efficient. To avoid lifting, make sure the pile of snow you are creating is within a short distance (not more than a few feet).

  11. Pace Yourself
  12. Don’t go too fast, instead go at a reasonable pace so that you don’t tire easily. Ideally, snow removal is an activity that should be done when you have the time (which is usually not before you go to work), but don’t try to overdo it.

  13. Drink Water
  14. When you’re cold, you are much less inclined to drink water. However, it is still important to stay hydrated even in winter (perhaps even more so), so drink plenty of water when you are engaging in any physical activity. Sports drinks are a good alternative.

  15. Bend Your Knees
  16. Always bend your knees when you are shovelling snow. Make sure the stress goes to your legs, rather than your back. Also, avoid twisting: point your entire body in the general direction of where you want to toss the snow (if you must toss).

  17. Choose the Right Chemicals
  18. There are chemicals that are available to help with snow removal. While they offer convenience, the downside is that they contain chemicals that pose a potential danger to you and/or your pets. Chloride is a common chemical in snow removal products and can irritate and even poison animals that come into contact with it. Use pet- or eco- friendly products instead.

  19. Watch for Ice
  20. Snow is not the only thing you have to worry about, ice presents just as much a problem—and you often won’t know until it is too late. Assume that the area is icy and take appropriate action, such as using salt. Of course, use environmentally friendly salt.

  21. Work From The Ground
  22. If you are attempting to remove snow from your roof, work from the ground. Keep clear of the area where the snow is expected to land and use an instrument that is long enough to allow you to maneuver safely.

Shovelling isn’t the most fun chore, but it can at least be a good workout if you do it safely. Like any other strenuous activity, safety is important. Stay warm, hydrated and practise good posture. Do not do more than what you are able to do and be especially safe when you are removing snow from the roof or if there is ice. If you would like any more advice on snow removal or snow removal products, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We can help you find the right tools to get the job done safely and efficiently. Browse our website or give us a call for a free consultation.

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snow removal
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Snow Removal Products And Practices That Are Safe For You And Your Pets

Winter is coming again and, naturally, people resort to known snow removal practices, often utilizing snow removal products. While these products might be effective against snow, they can also have a negative impact on your pets. The chemicals used in snow removal products are often harmful to plants and animals.

Snow Removal: Keeping Yourself And Your Pets Safe

There are safer products you can use, but the best way to remove snow is by doing it manually. It’s the only foolproof way of guaranteeing your pet’s safety while keeping snow off the path. Similarly, people tend to resort to old habits when shovelling snow, which may not be the safest ways. Read on for tips on preventing you and your pets from harm while removing snow effectively.

Pet-Safe Snow Removal Products:

Dogs and cats are generally sensitive to ice and cold, especially when their paws touch with ice. Snow removal products often contain chemicals that can irritate the skin in direct contact; they can also be poisonous if ingested. Additionally, salt between an animal’s paws can get pretty hot.

Dogs Naturally Magazine discusses some of the chemicals you should be aware of when looking for a pet-friendly product.

Chlorides

Chloride is by far the most dangerous chemical used in snow removal (it’s also the cheapest). All of the varieties of chloride should be avoided.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate

Although it’s a relatively safer ice melter, the drawback is that it is not very effective and it doesn’t last as long as other products. It’s still a toxic product and should be used with caution.

Modified Crystalline Carbonyl Diamide

This ingredient is one of the safer products. It can successfully absorb moisture without causing unwanted side effects.

Eco Safe Glycol

This ice melting chemical comes with traction agents and special inhibitors for added safety.

Colorants

If you are using colorants, make sure that they are food grade.

Ecotraction

This is an eco-friendly product that is being marketed by Ecotraction. According to the company’s website, the products is not only safe but good for the environment.

Finally, you might want to think about putting shoes on your pet. If you can find an appropriate size (and your dog takes to it) then this might be one of the safest ways to walk your dog in areas where the chemical is present.

Safe and Ergonomic Snow Shovelling

Sometimes it’s best to simply do it the old fashioned way: grab a shovel and just start digging. Of course, there is a safe way to do this. Removing snow is one of the leading causes of back injuries during the winter season. Here are some of the precautionary measures you should take:

Pick Your Shovel Wisely

Select a shovel with an adjustable handle. If you handle a shovel that is not appropriate for your size, you risk injuring yourself.

Loosen Your Muscles

Snow removal is hard work, so treat it like exercise. Warm up your muscles before you begin. This can be a brisk walk and/or a few stretches.

Push Rather Than Lift

Avoid lifting snow and carrying it across a distance. Instead, push the snow wherever you choose to pile it up.

Proper Lifting Techniques

  • Your body should always be facing the snow you are going to lift. Keep your shoulders square.
  • Bend your knees and make sure that the bulk of the weight falls on your knees rather than your back. (One way to know that you are lifting properly is if your legs are tired.)
  • Go for small amounts at a time rather than large amounts. It requires more stamina but it is safer than trying to do too much at one time.
  • Keep one hand on the handle and another as close to the blade as possible. This allows for the most efficient use of energy and strength.
  • Don’t attempt to toss the snow on the heap, walk instead—make sure you have the pile as close as possible. Use a wheelbarrow if you must, but don’t strain yourself trying to use feats of strength. If you must throw snow, then have you feet pointed in the direction you are tossing the snow.

Alternatives to Shovelling

If shovelling is a risky activity for you, you can use a snowblower. Another alternative is to hire a snow removal company. It might cost a little, but it is the most convenient thing to do­—just make sure that they use chemicals that are pet-friendly or none at all. You can book a snow removal service as early as possible. Check with the weather reports; if there is an impending snow storm then it is a good idea to book a service ahead of time.

You don’t have to use dangerous chemicals to remove snow effectively; there are safe alternatives if you take time to look for them. Avoid chloride in any snow removal product and take care to keep the ice and snow out of your pet’s paws. Likewise, look out for your back when shovelling—use our shovelling tips to avoid unnecessary strain. For more information about snow removal, don’t hesitate to contact us. Alternatively browse our website for a better look at our products.

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Gardening
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A Complete List Of Fall Plants

Summer might be drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean your gardening efforts have to follow suit. Just as there are plants that thrive in the summer, there are plants that thrive in the fall. The key to successful fall planting is to start early before the fall season begins in earnest. Here is a list of flowers and vegetables that will give you the most success in planting your fall garden.

Fall Plants

  1. Michaelmas Daisy
    This flower comes in shades of white, flower, blue, purple and pink. They start blooming in late August and continue until the start of winter. They blend especially well with other flowers, so if you’re looking for variety then this is a good pick.
  2. Blue Mist Shrub
    Blue Mist Shrubs are often found in perennial gardens. It starts to blossom in August and is particularly attractive to insects. They also come in yellow and other varieties.
  3. Turtlehead
    This flower gets its name from its shape when in blossom (like a turtlehead). It doesn’t thrive in dry conditions, but it comes into its own once things get damp. Fall showers will provide the perfect conditions for that.
  4. Chrysanthemums
    These are the staple flowers for any autumn garden. It’s a tough plant that is capable of thriving in most climates and can bloom at the end of the season. They respond pretty well to cutting and come in different varieties.
  5. Eupatorium
    This plant variety is considered weed, but newer varieties can be adapted to fit a garden. It makes a good backdrop for the rest of the garden bed. The “domesticated” variety doesn’t have the aggression of the wild varieties—it also comes in white.
  6. Helenium
    These flowers grow tall and hardy and they thrive best in cool soil and plenty of sun. These plants are ideal for areas with poor drainage.
  7. Perennial Sunflower
    This flower is best known for its brilliant gold and blooms in late summer or early fall. They are a tough variety and generally last long. They need lots of sun (5 hours per day), but can so well even in poor soil.
  8. False Sunflower
    As the name implies, the false sunflower looks very much like the perennial sunflower, but is not. It does bloom a bit earlier than its genuine counterpart and lasts for up to eight weeks.
  9. Stone Crop
    If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant, the Stone Crop is as good as it gets. It maintains its look all year round with few problems (except deer). It’s a great addition to your garden and won’t cost much to maintain.
  10. Solidago
    This is one plant variety you don’t have to worry about getting too tall. When it reaches full bloom it begins to flop, but there are other varieties that are much sturdier.
  11. Broccoli
    This nutritious vegetable can be harvested in the fall. It is best to plant the seed in late summer for the best results.
  12. Brussels Sprouts
    This vegetable does well in chilly conditions, so it’s a pretty good addition to your garden—and your dinner table.
  13. Celeriac
    As with others, this root vegetable is best planted in late summer; what it lacks in attractiveness it makes up for in taste.
  14. Collards
    Collards are a green vegetable you shouldn’t leave out. For the best taste, harvest after frost exposure.
  15. Green Onions
    If you’re looking for a durable plant, green onions are a good bet. You don’t have to harvest them right away, as they can survive the winter.
  16. Kohlrabi
    This purple plant is a fast grower and thrives best in cool weather. It can become mature in as little as six weeks.
  17. Lettuce
    If you like to stock up on your salads, lettuce is a good option. Lettuce does pretty well in cool weather and makes a great addition to your dinner plate.
  18. Beets
    Beets are a good choice for fall harvest, but be sure to soak the seeds for quicker germination.
  19. Pumpkin
    What’s Halloween without pumpkin? This is another vegetable that can be planted in late summer for a fall harvest.
  20. Peas
    Another plant that thrives in cool weather, they can also grow pretty quickly.

Cool weather brings a great harvest if you plant the right stuff. Each plant variety has its own season and if you plant the right varieties, you can have a thriving garden for most of the year. Gardening takes work and you will also need tools. At Infinity Gardens, we have the tools and the advice to help you. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help your garden thrive, fall cleanup, or visit our website to check out our catalogue of products.

Sources:
15 Vegetables You Can Plant Now For Fall Harvest
Top Fall Blooming Flowers For Your Garden

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Gardening
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Getting Your Garden Ready For Fall And Winter

Summer is over and you will have to start preparing your garden for the cold weather. Cool temperatures don’t mean the end of harvesting—lots of plants thrive in the fall season. You can also take steps to ensure that you have some fertile ground for the next planting season. Here are some tips to help you get the best out of your garden in the coming fall and help it survive the cold winter.

Prepare Your Garden For Fall And Winter

Preparing For Autumn

Compost Correctly

Avoid composting pepper and tomato plants. They might still carry diseases and you don’t want it being passed into the soil. Also avoid composting damaged fruit seeds still on plants. What you should compost are chopped leaves and any other well-degraded organic material you have kept. In addition, the leaves can help prevent the soil from eroding. Use all the compost you have from the previous year (provided it’s safe) before you use new compost.

Get rid of weeds as soon as you can. If you leave them they will dig deeper roots and be even harder to remove next year.

Sweep out Your Garden

It’s important to clean your garden of debris. First remove the plants, then tackle any fallen leaves or branches and then disinfect. This keeps your garden free of disease.

Plant Cover Crops

Cover crops (also known as green manure) are plants that can actually preserve your garden until you are ready to plant. They control weeds, pests and diseases, as well as enriching the soil. They are easy to plant and require little care, but be sure to water them in times of draught and get rid of them before they become difficult to remove.

Plant Fall Vegetables

You can plant vegetables that thrive in cool temperatures and have a short growing season. There is a wide variety: beets, lettuce, broccoli … the list goes on. Pick the ones you prefer to eat.

Plant Evergreens

Evergreens make your garden look good year-round and give you something more than just snow. Sarcococca and Daphne are a couple plants you can look at—especially if you want flowers in the winter.

Net Ponds

If you have a pond, then make sure to cover it up from falling leaves. Neglecting this can turn your pond into a swamp, not to mention the work it takes to clean it up. Mesh and bricks are all you need to have the perfect covering.

Preparing For Winter

Winter can help or hurt your garden. The snow acts an insulator for the soil, much like mulch. On the other hand, if too much slow piles on evergreen branches then breakage occurs. Remove snow from the lower branches and let the snow piled on the upper ones melt.

Perennials

Trim perennials to soil-level after frost. This helps to remove pest eggs and disease. Don’t forget the compost. It acts as a valuable soil conditioner to kill pathogens and weed seeds. Also, prune diseased foliage from plants and make sure they are gathered and discarded.

Trees

If you’ve got young trees, protect the bark by surrounding them with wire or use commercial guard products. For evergreen trees use burlap screens to protect from the dry winter wind and sun.

Roses

Roses can be an especially complex job—how much you prepare depends on the severity of the winter. The first thing you need to do is to remove all mulch from beneath the roses, then spread fresh mulch around the base. To prevent rodents from nesting in the mulch, wait until the ground freezes to spread the mulch. Give the rose plenty of water. Pick roses that can survive the winter such as Chicago Peach or Double Delight.

Preserve Your Tools

When not in use, put away your garden tools in a safe place. This fall is the best time to carry out repairs and replace tools if necessary. If your shed is not secure, do some repairs and consider upgrading the security around it—this could include stronger locks or even an alarm system.

Preparing for the fall and winter is just as important as planting and harvesting. The more you prepare in the fall and winter, the better your harvest will be next year. Clear away all diseased shrubs and branches and use organic compost to get rich soil for next year. Plant the right crops that will last through the cool temperatures and harvest them at the right time. It’s good to get advice from a garden supplier about new tools and methods for gardening. For more information, visit our website and take a look at our product catalogue or send us a message. The best thing to do is to come in for a visit and talk to one of our staff.

Sources:
Preparing Your Garden For Winter
How To Plan an Autumn Kitchen Garden
Top Ten Autumn Tips to Prepare Your Garden For Winter

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Yard Design
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All You Need To Know About Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are much more than a decorative feature of your yard, they serve a very practical purpose: to prevent soil from moving downhill by the force of gravity. Nevertheless, you can certainly turn them into a decorative aspect of your home. A retainer can be practical, as well as aesthetically pleasing—you just need to appreciate all the functions it serves and consider how you can enhance it. Here are a few reasons why you might need a retainer, and what you can do to maintain and improve it.

All About Retaining Walls

Your Home is Close to a Fault line

If your home is located close to a soil fault line, you are at risk of being adversely affected by soil erosion. In the event of an earthquake, the soil will move away from the fault line and and create instability over the ground where your home is. A retainer can stabilize the soil’s movements in your yard. You might not think that an earthquake is likely, but it is always better to be safe than to be sorry.

Minimizes Soil Erosion

If erosion is already a problem for you, then a retaining wall can certainly minimize the damage. A retaining wall holds keeps the soil at bay and reduces the level of descent. The flatter the surface the less damage soil erosion can do.

Improves Water Runoff

When it rains heavily, water spills onto the streets and from there to nearby rivers. Wall retainers can help slow the flow of rainwater. Retaining walls are particularly useful in areas that are prone to flooding.

Critical for Houses Located on Slopes

If your home is located on a downhill slope, a retaining wall might be necessary. A sliding hill is the last thing you need for your home, as it can threaten its very foundation. A retaining wall is a good buffer against soil that is moving downwards.

Provides Arable Land

Retaining walls have been used for farmers by centuries. They provide good soil for them to plant crops and provide a level area to operate on. While you won’t be engaging in any large-scale agricultural production, a retaining wall can create the conditions for a garden.

Building and Maintaining Your Retaining Walls

Your retaining wall requires some degree of maintenance to keep it functioning; it also requires a bit of thought if you want it to be a well designed addition to your home. Rather than having it straight, try experimenting with curves. The materials can also be designed for better appearance. How much you want to put into aesthetics depends on your personal taste and budget. If you are planning to build a wall for the first time, the first thing you should do is check the city office for the appropriate building codes-especially if you are planning to build a tall retaining wall. Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Proper Terracing

    Retainer walls can be terraced for design and extra strength. The task is best performed in increments so that adjustments can be easily made if necessary.

  • Work with Standard Blocks

    It is much easier to work with a set of standard manufactured blocks when building a retaining wall. It also provides the wall with a more unified look.

  • Prepare a Solid Foundation

    The wall will be no good without a solid foundation. Dig the base a few inches below grade and fill it with gravel (or appropriate filler).

  • Plan for Drainage

    A retaining wall should have drainage at the base as it will be collecting a lot of water, in addition to stopping the soil. A fabric-covered drainage pipe is ideal since it prevents clogging.

  • Materials to Use

    The most common materials for building blocks tend to be timber, concrete and stone. These materials have varying levels of durability, with timber being the least durable. Stone is the most expensive, but is the most durable material and has the best design. If you are willing to spend a little extra, the stone retainer is well worth it in terms of both practicality and style.

Conclusion

Retainer walls can be both protective and stylish with some forethought and investment. If you live on a hill or in an area prone to flooding, it makes sense to build a retaining wall. If you are building one for the first time, or you are looking to refurbish your current retaining wall, then it might be a good idea to consult with a professional who can give you advice on appropriate materials, methods, and cost appropriate to your budget. Get in touch with us today and see how we can help you make a better choice for your garden and outdoor needs.

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Gardening
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Watering Your Garden: Are You Doing It Right?

When it comes to watering your garden, there are no hard and fast rules that can be applied to all gardens. That said, the amount of water you use will depend on the specifics of your garden, such as the type of plants, the type of soil, and the climatic conditions in which your garden is situated. It is always important to pay careful attention when watering your plants, as too much or too little water can have a negative impact on plants’ growth.

How To Water Your Garden

Water According to Soil Type and Condition

How much water you apply depends both on the type of soil your plant is situated in, as well as the amount of soil present. A good practice is to feel the weight of the pot before you water it. Generally the heavier the pot, the more moisture it contains. Therefore if your pot feels light, then water slowly. Feel the pot’s weight again and continue until it weighs just about right. Make sure you target the roots, as this is where the plants need water the most.

The soil type in your garden determines how much water you should apply. Clay soil holds much more moisture (and for a longer period) than say, sandy soil. Also, the healthier your soil, the more water it can retain. Therefore it’s a good idea to apply mulch or some other soil fertilizer. If you are having the opposite problem, where the soil is absorbing water too fast, adding compost might be good to slow it down.

A useful tool to measure the level of moisture in your plant is a soil moisture sensor. If you want to go low-tech, then simply stick a spade in the soil and pull it back out to determine the level of moisture. The deeper you water, the stronger the growth of your plants. One to two inches of water per week is considered to be the general rule of thumb among gardeners.

Ways to Water Your Garden

There are several ways to water your garden, and each method is best suited for different plant or garden types.

  • Hand Watering

    Hand watering is not always the best option, but it depends on whether you are watering individual plants or an entire garden. In the case of the latter, you risk distributing the water unevenly. Therefore it is best to reserve hand watering (either by hose or watering can) for individual plants.

  • Soaker Hoses

    Soaker hoses are one of the more efficient ways to water a garden, as they focus on the soil than the plants themselves. This reduces the amount of water wasted, and helps for a more even distribution.

  • Drip Irrigation

    This is similar to a soaker hose and even more efficient. It drives water close to the roots and performs the same job using less water. This option, though, is slightly more expensive. But, if your garden is part of a business or you have a large garden, then it’s worth the investment.

  • Sprinklers

    Sprinklers should be used with caution. They can potentially waste a lot of water if not done correctly. With a sprinkler, you risk over-watering your plants and setting them up for diseases. On the other hand, sprinklers add a great deal of moisture to the soil. It is best to limit sprinkler use to morning and evening.

When and How Much to Water Your Plants

  • Early morning and late afternoon are usually the best times to water your garden, as the cooler temperature will result in less water loss.
  • Sometimes wilting leaves are a sign that your plants need water—but not always. Some plants—like eggplant—will wilt under hot conditions.
  • The life cycle of your plants are also an indicator of when you should water them and how much. If your plants are recently transplanted then you only need light, steady watering. When there is flowering and fruit formation, light watering is also critical. When vegetables reach maturity, watering should be reduced to prevent splitting.

Conclusion

When watering plants, there are many variables to consider: soil type, time of day, the size of your garden, the life cycle of the plant, and the ultimate purpose of your garden. Efficient watering aims at the root, and uses less water to moisturize the soil. The hotter the conditions, the more you will have to water your garden, but over-watering is a real danger. Check the soil regularly and know what type of soil you have.

For more advice on watering your garden, you can speak to a professional or garden supply store. If there are tools available to make your garden more efficient and fruitful, they will certainly be able to tell you about it.

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Patio
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How Clean Is Your Patio?

Many people don’t bother giving their patios a good cleaning because they figure it’s outside and nature will wash everything anyway. Unfortunately, nature has other plans for your patio. You can extend the life of your patio by cleaning it a few times a year. So, how clean is your patio? If you don’t know the answer, then it’s time for a scrub down. The whole patio cleaning adventure shouldn’t take more than an hour unless your patio is in particularly bad shape.

How Clean Is Your Patio?

Before you get started see if you have the following materials in the house. You may need to visit a home and garden or hardware store to stock up.

You will need:

  • Hose or pressure washer
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Soft brush
  • Stiff brush
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Paper towels
  • Fabric protector spray
  • Borax
  • Bar of heavy duty laundry soap
  • Broom
  • Kitchen knife or small hand shovel
  • Rubber gloves or other gloves you can use to protect your hands

Start at the surface

First you will need to clear of the patio. You can also use this time to get rid of anything you don’t use anymore. Create three piles; keep, give away and trash. Place items accordingly and keep them away from the patio while you’re cleaning.

Put your gloves on and with your kitchen knife or hand shovel, remove any weeds that have grown up around the patio area. If you’re worried about weeds coming back you can pour salt between the tiles, but do that after you’re done cleaning.

Now that you’ve taken care of the weeds, it’s time to sweep the patio to get rid of any debris and dirt that has accumulated. Once you’ve swept, it’s time to get out the hose or the pressure washer. Rinse the patio down and ensure that you are keeping the spray nozzle at the same distance from the ground to get a uniform cleaning. If you’ve never used a pressure washer before, be careful and read the instructions. They are very powerful.

If your patio is only moderately dirty, water from the hose or pressure washer will be enough to get rid of dirt. On the other hand, if your patio hasn’t been cleaned a long time, you will need to use your stiff scrub brush to really get the grime off. Use the bucket of soapy water and get to work. Then, use the hose or pressure washer again. Repeat as necessary. (If you have to repeat this process more than once, you should probably take this as a sign that you need to clean your patio more often.)

Before you put your patio furniture back in place, you should give it a good cleaning too. Here’s how:

Furniture’s time to shine

To thoroughly clean your furniture mix a cleaning solution of 1 teaspoon Borax, 1 teaspoon of dish soap and ½ cup warm water. Put the cleaning solution in a spray bottle.

Remove cushions from patio furniture and saturate both sides with the cleaning solution. Don’t be shy with the cleaning solution either. Really spray it on the cushions and between the crevices and creases to get the mold and mildew off. Wait about 15 minutes for the solution to sit and then spray the cushions with your hose to ensure that all the dirt is gone.

Let your cushions dry until they are damp. If it’s a hot day, this will take no time at all. Once your cushions have gone from wet to damp add the fabric protector.

If your cushions are made of canvas, do not add the fabric protector. Instead, when the cushions are still damp rub your soft scrub brush across the bar of heavy duty laundry soap. Then, run the bar across the canvas cushions. Heavy duty laundry soap is also great for awnings that are covered in bird droppings. After you’ve rubbed the scrub brush across the canvas you’ll need to run the hose over the cushions again before letting them dry for good.

Plastic patio furniture is probably the easiest to clean since all it takes is soap and water. Scrub it down and then hose it off. You can use the cleaning solution if you want, but usually the dirt on plastic furniture comes right off with regular dish soap and warm water.

Wood furniture probably requires the most care when cleaning. You’ll need to use a cleaner that is safe for wood. Moreover, you may have to sand, stain or repaint the furniture altogether.

Once your cushions and furniture are dry, put them back on the patio. Now you can sit back with a nice cold drink and admire the great cleaning job you did.

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Gardening
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Tips To Get Your Garden Ready For Fall

Before the first hint of a chill hits the air, before you get out the sweaters and pumpkin spice lattés, you should get your garden ready for fall. If you’re not sure how, try our tips to prepare your garden for that crisp autumn air.

Tips To Get Your Garden Ready For Fall

Spring into autumn

Before the ground freezes, you should plant your spring bulbs. Spring bulbs need to be planted early so that they are able to grow properly. For best results, ensure that your spring bulbs are planted at the end of summer or at least by mid-October. After that you risk dealing with frozen ground and soil that is less than kind.

Play doctor with your plants

Any plant that is dead by fall has the chance to infect your entire garden. Get rid of diseased or expired foliage before autumn hits, otherwise you can have an outbreak in your garden that carries over into next season. You don’t have to get rid of the entire infected plant, but you will need to trim away dead or sick stems and leaves. The same goes for weeds. Get rid of them now, otherwise you’ll be dealing with them in the fall.

Stake your trees

If you’ve planted trees in the summer, you’ll need to stake them before fall is upon us. Newly planted trees may not be strong enough to deal with the wind and rain that fall brings, but staking them will help them stay put. Depending on where you live, you may even see snow in the fall. Staking your new trees before autumn is a great way to ensure they remain intact as they grow.

Give your perennials a haircut

Perennials, once they’ve gone dormant, will need to be trimmed. Before fall hits, give your perennials a good pruning. If the stems and leaves of your perennials have not turned brown or yellow yet, you can wait to give them a cut. However, at the onset of any discolouration, it’s time to get out the pruning shears. Now is also a good time to divide up dormant perennials.

Mulch it up

Garden beds need to retain moisture, especially as temperatures drop. Mulch your garden beds at the end of summer so that they’re ready for fall. Also spread compost over your vegetable garden to make sure that it’ll be prepared for the temperature fluctuations that come with autumn. Plus, mulching and compost spreading ensures that your garden will be ready to be dug into come spring.

Don’t stop planting

Just because fall’s around the corner, doesn’t mean you have to stop planting. Many people take a hiatus from their garden as summer dies down, because they feel nothing will grow when the weather changes. This is simply not true. Your garden can be ongoing year-round. Although you don’t have to deal with it during the snowy season, you can still plant in the fall for spring.

Give your tools a bath

Garden tools can rust or stop working as effectively when they’re dirty. Take the time to give your tools a good cleaning before fall. Ideally, you should be cleaning your tools before the onset of each season but many of us forget. So, since you’re already preparing your garden for fall, you might as well give your tools a bath too. Make sure that everything is nice and dry before you leave it for the season.

Set a reminder

Many people neglect to water their garden during fall because they assume the rain will take care of it. If it rains daily where you live, this won’t be a problem. However, if you’re lucky enough to enjoy a warmer than usual fall, then you’ll need to remember to water your garden. Set reminders for yourself so you don’t forget to water your plants. You should also set another reminder to remind yourself to take in any clay pots you have in your garden. You do not want those left outside in the fall or winter. They will become damaged and you’ll have to get new ones. Save yourself the headache and the money by taking your clay pots in before fall.

For the birds

Fall brings beautiful birds with incredible plumage. If you don’t have a bird feeder, you can make your own DIY version or purchase one at your local dollar store. Set up a bird feeder in your backyard and as soon as autumn hits, you’ll notice gorgeous feathered creatures will be flocking to say hello. Just remember to add bird seed regularly, otherwise the birds will stop coming back.

Get your garden ready for fall now, so you don’t have to worry about it when the ground starts to freeze.

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The Perfect Patio For Your Home

With warm weather comes the urge to lounge outside, but if you do not have a patio it can be tough to get comfortable. Whether extravagant or low key, we can help you build the patio of your dreams. The process does not have to be difficult – it will just take a little planning and a lot of love.

Perfect Patio For Your Home

Start with a Plan

Functionality is essential when it comes to outdoor patios. You want to create a space you want to live in during the summer months, not look at from a distance. Have you ever noticed the way that crowds tend to break into smaller groups to chat at parties? Your space should accommodate people’s patterns and behaviour, so create clusters of seats that focus around an interesting center piece. Also allow for extra space around tables and furniture so people can walk comfortably beside and behind furniture instead of having to squeeze.

Another idea: do not build your patio directly outside of your back door. This does not utilize yard space adequately and keeps family members and guests from enjoy farther out parts of your property.

Low Maintenance is Key

Life is busy as it is. You should not have to worry too much about the upkeep of your patio. Instead, design a low-maintenance space that let’s you actually live in the space. Make sure the furniture is durable in all different types of weather, that you choose the proper stone or brick for your climate and that the space is easy to clean and not cluttered.Your patio should be an extension of your house, without any extensive maintenance.

Make it Cozy

Your patio is a place where you will want to take an afternoon nap, so create an atmosphere that you love to relax in after a hard day’s work or on weekends. Use comfortable accents like textured pillows and blankets to amp up your patio’s snooze appeal. Another way to make your patio more cozy is to slightly enclose it for the rest of your year. Make it a room within your yard by utilizing shrubs, trees, flowers and even wood or wrought-iron fencing.

Create Shade

Shade is necessary, especially on a hot summer day. Picture this: you holding a cool drink sitting outside on your exquisite new patio – without the skin damage caused by UV rays. Protect your skin by building a full or partial roof, or by placing a couple large umbrellas in certain areas of your space for shelter. If possible during the planning stage, position your patio away from direct sunlight.

Warmth

Now let us discuss the centerpiece of your patio. Heat up your space and the atmosphere with an outdoor fireplace or firepit. Having one will not only provide warmth and comfort after the sun goes down, but it will also add to the cozy vibe of your patio. Guests will want to stay longer. S’mores will have to be eaten. Stories will definitely be told. If you do not have room for a fireplace or pit, large pillar candles, although not as heat-producing, will also do wonders for creating an amazing ambiance.

Bring the Indoors Outside

Is there someone in your life who cannot miss a sports game? Have you ever wanted to watch a movie outdoors? If you answered yes to either or both of these questions you may want to bring the electric side of your indoor space to the backyard. If power is available, mount a television set on an exterior wall. Go even further by installing a speaker system and lighting.

Create a color palette

Choosing the right colours makes all the difference. where you situate your patio will help you determine your colour scheme. If you position your patio around a flower garden, consider choosing colours that complement the colour of your flowers. If your patio is not situated amongst flowers, choose colours that create a sense of calm and serenity, like blues and neutral tones. But, you will see from our next tip, that we kind of have a thing for flowers.

Decorate with Flowers

Plants and flowers do wonders to amplify your patio’s natural beauty. Create a lush atmosphere filled with life and energy by planting some luscious flowers, succulents or cacti in and around your patio grounds. Perennials are also great options, as they require little maintenance. Once you put in the work the first time around, they grow back every season!

Paint the Floor

A quirky, yet polished design idea is painting your patio floor. Get creative and paint a solid colour, stripes, symbol or illustration on your patio bricks, stones or wood planking.

If you are looking for a deck or patio or any other landscaping project, call Infinity Gardens today at 587-315-3273 or contact us by email at [email protected] to find out more.

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