Landscaping with Lithops

Lithops, the Living Stone

Whether you’re looking for an interesting new houseplant or a sustainable, low-maintenance plant for decorative landscaping, the lithops plant makes an interesting choice. Lithops is a type of succulent, like cactus or ice plant. Unlike ice plants, lithops are not ground cover plants. Their thick, rubbery leaves grow in pairs that look like two rocks or stones sitting next to each other. The rock-like appearance is what gives lithops its name – lith is a prefix that means ‘stone’. A common nickname for the plant is ‘living stones’. It is thought that the unique leaf structure helps to channel light downward into the roots; since the leaves are slightly translucent, light can travel through them to reach the underground portions of the plant.

Growing Lithops

Lithops plants are native to the sunny, warm climates of Southern Africa, and they were first recorded in the early 1800s by W. J. Burchell. Today, lithops can be found all over the world in decorative settings and botanical gardens. These hearty plants can be a long-lasting choice for indoor or outdoor decoration – if cared for properly, they can live up to 20 years. Their heartiness makes them a good choice for use in xeriscaping, a style of landscaping that does not require watering or heavy maintenance. In fact, growers should avoid watering lithops very often, and should not water them at all in the winter.

Benefits of Landscaping with Lithops

Because lithops look so much like small stones, they can blend in very well with their surroundings if they are planted among rocks or gravel. This camouflage technique protects them from being eaten by animals, which adds to their longevity and reduces the amount of maintenance they require. Don’t be fooled into thinking that lithops aren’t interesting to look at. Their intricate surface patterns and the flowers they produce once a year make them visually delightful, indoors or out. In fact, if they are cared for, they can become even more interesting to look at as houseplants than they are in the wild. That’s because, in the wild, old leaves usually die and fall off as new leaf pairs emerge. With a little attention, however, the old leaf pairs can survive alongside the new leaves, creating an even more fascinating stony look.

Lithops Collectors

Lithops plants are a great choice for anyone who wants to spice up their décor or landscaping, since they don’t require much attention. However, they are also a popular selection among succulent aficionados and collectors. Lithops collectors trade particularly interesting plants and share tips for growing them. Collectors also catalog the different varieties of lithops, which number in the hundreds. Even if you don’t become a lithops hobbyist, tracking down a few different lithops species could help create a beautiful and unique array of these unusual plants.

Tips for Decorating with Lithops

Since lithops and other succulents are related to cactus, they should be watered only rarely. Their thick, rubbery leaves act as water storage, so overwatering them can cause damage. If planted outdoors, lithops plants do best in warm, sunny locations with dry climates. That’s why they’re so good for xeriscaping, which is an important technique in arid regions. In cooler and more humid locations, lithops are probably better off indoors, where they can serve as an accent to any room. Southwest-themed rooms are an obvious choice for these plants, but they would also be right at home among modern décor, and with the right pot they could be made to look quite futuristic. With the strange and beautiful lithops, the possibilities are endless!

Tropical Landscaping Ideas

Have you ever thought of landscaping your front yard or backyard? If you haven’t, and are the one who believes that your ornamenting abilities should be confined to laying out a swanky home decor, then you are missing out on an element that covets character to your home. Your backyard and front yard serve to be the perfect volunteers that seek admiration and attention for you and your home. Landscaping provides you with the lucrative option of transforming the natural surrounding around the house to give it a tailored appearance. The area, as a whole, is taken into consideration when tropical landscaping comes into the picture.

Tropical landscaping is an art and craft of placing together a variety of water and stony features to make the landscape look complete. A landscape design must concentrate on introducing specific features that enhance the appearance of plants. The landscaping must have a sure inclusion of colorful shrubs and bushes, flowering and non-flowering plants that deserve a designation of providing splashy color codes. The use of tropical plants is one of the most popular landscaping ideas that homeowners swear by.

Alluring Landscape Prospects

♣ Tropical landscaping is incomplete without the addition of flowering plants, shrubs, and large-leaved foliage. Blunt-leaved peperomia, Sanchezia, Cutleaf philodendron, and Amaryllis are some of the tropical perennial plants. Tropical landscaping must have some greens to make it appear ‘in love with nature’.
♣ A tropical landscaping idea for your backyard is adding a fabricated water body. The addition of a water feature may add to the value of your house. Besides, the mere sight of the pool spells subliminal charm. The pool or pond landscape may include planting palms around the pool to elevate its appeal.
♣ What better than adding a patio to your backyard! Tropical landscaping ideas extend themselves, in a way, to construct an area which is equipped with a barbecue pavilion and some furniture. You could cook alfresco, and invite your friends over, to spend a fun-filled evening.
♣ Outer lighting — also referred to as malibu landscape lighting — involves installation of low-voltage lights. It has the potential to give a celestial effect to the landscape. Lighting installed along the walkway could be another ‘bright bulb’ you could apply to your backyard, also being suitable for your front yard.
♣ Rocks used as front yard festoons could be one rugged inclusion to your landscape design. You could have boulders of different shapes or pile up smaller rocks together to lend a stone-age look to your front yard. Another way you could resort to creating a rock garden, is placing rocks of variegated colors to enhance the geometry of your landscape.
♣ To lend an archaistic sentiment to your greens, furnish your landscape with statues. Statues freckled with an uneven hint of rust coupled with a sun-burnt appearance dramatizes the plot. A popular choice for many, a marbled Lord Buddha, delivers to the garden, an epical charm, seldom hard to miss. For plots not too generous on space, figurines may be engrafted to set the mood for your landscape.
♣ Theme-centered landscaping — yet another offspring of the metaphysical stone masonry — is based on clever utilization of space. Playing with concepts would help you check mark a theme you desire. Introducing mythological characters, or religious figures contribute toward creating an ecclesiastical aura in the garden. To achieve a playful streak for your landscape, you may include animals and birds with other trifling. A water body would complete the theme.
♣ Barring themes, sundry assortments, like playthings, diapered cherubs, or ‘stony’ sandcastles would profile your patio adorably.
♣ You could also invest time in constructing a pathway at the entrance. This pathway could be designed in many ways. Small ridges, in between the stones prepared for the pathway, could be fabricated. All you need to do now, is to place little marble-like stones within the spaces or ridges to give your pathway a ‘popping’ effect.
♣ Arranging for a classic flower garden could be a good landscaping idea. You could choose colorful flower beds and have your house look distinct and well groomed.
♣ The new trend shaping up is including landscape speakers. Landscape speakers could be an ‘acoustically sound’ addition to give your landscape a prosodic and dolce character. Speakers blend the landscape in perfect tune. When the sun sinks and you are ambling in your backyard, soft music, indeed, strikes the right sentimental chords.

Tropical landscaping ideas are plenty, and you are the one to select one that suits your beliefs and tastes. By amalgamating these tropical landscaping ideas you, indeed, are making an interesting proposal: To be one with the subliminal beauty of nature … powerful, yet so gentle! …

River Rock Landscaping Ideas

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I am sure all of you have seen river rocks being used in fountains, for an artificial pathway, in an aquarium, or spread around on the patio. There are many ways in which these beautiful naturally-polished rocks are used to make the surroundings look raw, yet calm and decorative. River rocks are usually flat, round edged, slightly large, and colored rocks found on the river beds. These are shaped in such peculiar ways, because they are eroded, transported with river water, and deposited on the beds. Because of the constant friction and movement, their surface turns soft and round. However, they are again polished and used for aesthetic reasons. Even though one use of them is to create lovely flat surfaces in aquariums for fish, they are largely used in landscaping to give a basic and natural touch to the surrounding.

How to Landscape with River Rocks

Using river rocks can be a very easy task in landscaping, as they are available in large amounts, form a great base for any landscape, and look brilliant when combined with other factors, such as tress, water, bricks, etc. Since they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, you can also play with them and creatively use them wherever desired. We have a few river rock landscaping ideas mentioned in the paragraphs below, which will help you decorate your outdoors, whether it is your backyard, lawn, patio, or a simple garden.
Walls:
There have been many examples where river rocks are used to create huge landscapes. They are used to make short or complete wall sections which support a garden. They are also used to build circular sections around a fountain so that there is some level of naturalism which is incorporated in the design. Walls consist of the larger part of any landscape and thus, when these rocks are used to build them, they look close to nature, very attractive, and classy. Landscaping with rocks is easy, and the ones used to build walls are larger in size, unevenly shaped, and usually stronger. They can then be accompanied with red soil, landscaping plants, water features like ponds or live fountains, etc.
Walkways:
Creating a beautiful walkway with the help of bricks to give a boundary and then spreading small river rocks looks wonderful for any type of landscape. Many a time, people use color schemes for their home outdoors as well, so that they look coordinated and neat. This is when the small polished river rocks that are colored can be used. Making a walkway through the lawn in the garden, or next to the pool in the backyard, or on the patio, is an excellent idea for landscaping. Walkways not only give a brilliant look to the outdoors, but they make moving around in the garden very convenient. Using white, black, brown, red, or dark blue river rocks for landscaping can be perfect.
Water Features:
Another great idea is to include different types of water features like fountains, ponds, and waterfalls. All these features are used in small and big landscapes, and give them a natural and rusty look. River rocks are natural, so they have all the properties of real stones. These landscaping stones can be used to make boundaries for lakes or ponds, and plants can grow in the soil around them. They can be placed as seats below waterfalls or placed as the edges from where the water usually falls. The small, round, and polished river rocks can be placed in the base of a pond or fountain so that the basin looks soft.
Decorating your outdoors is a pleasant experience and enjoying it is even more pleasurable. Thus, make sure you turn it into a lovely landscape, so you can feel as close to nature as you want!

Common Shrubs for Landscaping

The purpose for which a particular shrub is going to be used holds greater importance. One should determine the position of the landscaping plant in the garden by taking into account shade/light requirement. Landscaping shrubs need a soil that is well-drained, therefore, it is necessary to add compost to the soil before planting them. These plants require plenty of water for a healthy growth. Let us understand more about shrubs and bushes for landscaping through descriptions presented below.

Boxwood: The boxwood is one of the most common shrubs used for landscaping. It is commonly used as a hedge plant. The hardiness zones 5 to 9 as specified by USDA are suitable for growing boxwoods. They flourish in shade, but grow well even in bright sunlight. The Buxus sempervirens is a commonly used dwarf variety of boxwood. They can be pruned into different shapes like the angular, rounded mounds, etc.

Lilac: The long branches of lilac are its characteristic feature. This plant also produces a pleasant scent. The lilac plant can be used for screening and also grown separately. It grows well in hardiness zones from 3 to 7. This plant flowers in spring season and the overall growth takes place well in bright sunlight. The lilac has flowers with a pale lavender color. However, there are hybrid varieties with colors like red and white.

Spirea: This is another commonly used landscaping shrub which can be grown in hardiness zones of 3 to 8. Spirea yanhoultei is the most popular variety which produces white colored flowers. The plant can reach a height of 6-8 feet. Leaves of this plant are green-blue colored during the summer season. In the autumn season, these leaves turn yellow. The change in color of leaves proves to be useful for the purpose of landscaping. This plant is generally used for entryways; it grows well in average soils and also with moderate watering. Full sunlight promotes the growth of this plant.

Holly: This landscaping shrub can be grown year-round and in a variety of hardiness zones. The different types of holly bushes are used as a hedge, foundation, and screening plants. Holly grows well in both shade and sunlight. One would have to plant male and female plants of holly, since it is dioecious in nature.

Rhododendron: The Rhododendron catawbiense is a commonly used species of this plant. Rhododendrons are characterized by shiny and leathery leaves that have a large size. Flowers of this shrub bloom in the spring/summer season and they possess a shape that resembles a trumpet.

Juniper: This landscaping shrub is a coniferous evergreen plant. It grows in a variety of climatic conditions in a variety of height/size ranges. Color of the juniper shrubs range from light-green to blue-green. It is used both, as stand-alone and hedge plant. This plant is resistant to pests and drought. It is not very difficult to care for juniper plants.

List of Landscaping Shrubs
Here is a short list of shrubs used for landscaping. These are the shrubs not included in the above descriptions.

Shrubs for Landscaping
Butterfly Bush
Rosa Rugosa
Forsythia Bush
Dwarf Burning Bush
Red-Tip Photinia
Liriope
Black Chokeberry
Common Witch Hazel
Red Chokeberry
Compacta Burning Bush
Sweetshrub
Red Rum Honeysuckle
Red Leaf Japanese Barberry
Variegated Yucca
Winter Honeysuckle

With proper care and maintenance, it is possible to grow healthy shrubs and bushes for landscaping.