If you pot up a lot of plants you probably know how awkward it can be just getting soil from the bag into the pot. If you have a new bag to open, you’ve probably got your gloves on and nothing sharp on hand to tear through that stretchy, resistant plastic. Then, once you’ve dealt with the bag, there’s the challenge of removing the soil or compost without spilling it all over the place. You can try balancing soil on a trowel as it spills back into the bag or scatters before you get it to the pot — or you can get those gloves again and grab it by the fistful. You’ll now be ready to start potting — assuming you aren’t trying to RE-pot plants stuck in old, stiff soil that needs to be scooped out first.
If any of this sounds familiar, you might be wondering why isn’t there a tool to make all this easier? Well, there is. It’s a unique cross between a garden scoop and a trowel designed by gardening expert Shawna Coronado and produced by Dewit Tools.
The half-round scoop is big and holds ample soil if you are digging it out of a bag. A notch just under the handle on the hand-forged carbon steel curved blade allows for cutting through resilient plastic bags. A non-slip wooden handle is firmly attached and offers a solid grip on the half-can-shaped trowel that not only holds impressively large scoopfuls of bagged material, but cuts nicely into the hardened soil of an existing planted container when it is necessary to remove the hardened or root fiber-filled old soil.
I have been using this new tool for about six months and it has simplified the job of potting considerably. To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing like it available in stores. And if you are an enthusiastic gardener like I am, the addition of any tool that makes the job of potting and repotting easier is very welcome. I would recommend adding this tool to the arsenal for any gardener who enjoys making potting easier.
You can find this handy new tool at: http://www.gardentoolcompany.com/potting-scoop-by-dewit/
Sometimes all it takes is a little change to make an ordinary area into something special in your landscape design. Something as small as a bench can make all the difference.
Adding a bench is like posting a welcome sign that says “Have a seat and enjoy yourself!” Not only is it inviting to those who visit your garden, but it is likely to make you take a break from your work and encourage you to stop and appreciate the combined work of Mother Nature and your own efforts.
Use a bench for comfort, practicality and decor. Placing a bench by the entry to your home gives you a spot to set down anything you are carrying so you can open the front door. It hints that guests should make themselves comfortable. Or you can fill a bench with flowers so it becomes a display with character.
Nestle a bench in the shade of a tree to invite a cooling rest. Or set out an ornate bench along a stepping stone pathway to offer a rest and a place for viewing. Place a bench handy to a water feature to encourage watching fish or splashing water from a fountain. Hide a bench in a wild garden to beckon you into cozy place to read a book, or use a bench to divide one part of the garden from another. Even small gardens can benefit from a bench that is cleverly and artistically positioned. In fact, a decorative bench can become the major feature — a focal point — of the whole garden.
The bench itself can be ornamental or practical. Use the style of the bench to accent a garden theme. Go for the traditional iron and wood bench if you aren’t sure since it will fit in almost any situation. Rustic benches blend in nicely with woodland or natural styled landscapes. You can buy one or construct your own from hunks of wood, tree trunks, branches or driftwood. Or try a stone bench. A rough-hewn chunk of rock can look natural or will blend in nicely with a contemporary landscape design. Try wrought iron for an English or Southwestern styled garden or slip in a bench inset with brightly colored tile to decorate a Mexican theme.
Choose the kind of bench that will accent the style of your garden. Or shop for a bench that captures your imagination and build your garden around it. You can always buy a simple bench and drape it with outdoor fabrics and pillows to create your own effects. Benches are for enjoying your landscape. Have fun deciding which bench you want to use and where you want to position it in your garden. Larger spaces can handle multiple benches. Areas separate from each other can use different styled benches. Benches can add a whole new dimension to your landscape.
If you are planning to lay flagstone for flooring in your patio – or elsewhere – you’ll find there can be a wide range of prices quoted for the installation. That is because there are many kinds of flagstone that can be used and, depending on the texture and color you like, different stones can vary drastically in price. The other reason is that installer can also offer different qualities of workmanship. A more carefully placed job will demand more time than a job quickly done. The difference is easy to see if you know what to look for.
Price the various kinds of stone you like before buying. If you go to a builder’s supply store you can see not only many different types of stone, but get an idea of how each will look when spread out over a wider area. It can be difficult to get a realistic vision from a small, single piece.
Once you have your flagstone chosen you will want to choose the style for laying it. For an informal or more rustic look you can piece together complementary shapes so the rough edges remain at a consistent distance from each other throughout the installation. The closer the fit, the better job you will have. A good installer will chip edges naturally so gaps create uniform lines and the design will slot together like pieces of a puzzle. A poorly installed job will look more like slabs of stone that have been randomly floated on a sea of concrete. The best jobs will have even spacing and will fit accurately.
Another approach is a little more formal with a more polished look in that the stones can be fitted by cutting with a saw to have simpler, cleaner lines. Just like the chipped stones, the tighter the fit, the more time-consuming the job will be. The neater and consistent the spacing, the more polished your finished flooring will be.
A good job of installation will often come down to the finish work — the details of how pieces fit together, corners are joined and surfaces are smoothed. A good job of basic installation and finish work will make the difference between a good job and a bad one. Once you know what you are looking for, you’ll find the comparison to be easily noticeable.
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