Monday, 24 April 2017

Make Your Garden Into A Sanctuary

It is spring, the finest time of year for gardeners. The country is in bloom and putting on a show. Not only that, your own quiet corner of the world will likely be repaying you for your care and hard work all year round. While maintaining a garden is a lot of work, when you get to see it blossom, it is all worth it. Just as Wallace Stevens taught us that there are ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’, there are also many ways of looking at your garden. You may see it, and the work that you put into it, as an exercise in beauty. When it comes alive in spring, it is mesmeric and all you want to do is share it with everyone (whether in person, or if you have one, on your Instagram account). Other people will look at their garden with a view to its utility. Dedicating part of your garden to growing vegetables, fruit or herbs is a great way to eat the freshest food you’ll ever have and maybe make some money too if you want to set up a stool at a farmer’s market. Another way of looking at your garden is as a social hub. This is great if you have visiting family, or you just want to get your friends together. The atmosphere at a barbecue is special and appeals to both adults and kids. However, an important perspective to have when it comes to your garden is that it is a place where you should be able to relax.


The world today is so often hectic and stressful that everybody needs to find their own way of relaxing. Some find that they can only unwind in the tumult and noise of the stands at a football stadium while others think that the picture of relaxation is a day at the spa. In any case, one’s garden, when organised properly, can be exquisitely relaxing, and it is literally in your backyard. If you want to turn your garden into your own personal oasis of calm and indulgence, here are a few things to consider:


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The first and most important thing that you need if you are going to relax in your garden is somewhere comfortable to sit (check out bramblecrest for some ideas). Picking the garden furniture that is perfect for you is obviously a personal thing, but without it, you will be stuck sitting on the grass. Depending on the time of year, that may be somewhat impractical and not all that comfortable in any case.


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Secondly, if you want to be able to retire to your garden all year round, you will need to make sure that it is not too cold during the winter months. Investing in a patio heater or a fire pit is a good idea. On those mild nights where you do not want to sit in front of the TV again, curling up on the patio and watching the sunset is just perfect.

Thirdly, if you enjoy being in your garden but you also enjoy watching films, then why not consider installing a projector and a screen and having your outdoor cinema.

Before long, your garden will be the envy of your friends and they will be jealous that you keep it all to yourself.

 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A Bloomin' Lovely Garden

With summer on its way, us green fingered folk can already imagine our gorgeous gardens in full bloom. We’ve waited through the barren winter, but our outside space is about to burst into colour again. Of course, no garden will explode without a little work. Now is the perfect time to ensure your garden becomes the colourful haven you want. You may have existing plants that return each year. If not, get to work. Here are a few ways to ensure you have a blooming lovely garden come the summer months.
A WIDE RANGE


Every gardener dreams of a flourishing outside space.A well-done garden is a feast for the eyes, and we’re more than ready to gorge ourselves. But, how do you achieve the vibrant garden you can picture in your mind? Variety is the answer. Sticking with one colour or plant type will make it harder to achieve a colour explosion. Instead, look at a range of different plants, in a range of colour schemes. How you arrange these in your garden depends on your personal taste. You may want to keep each plant in a neat section with its own kind. Or, you may want to mix things up and go for a wilder feeling. Whatever you do, it can pay to mix colours throughout each section. An organised gardener may want to keep each colour separate, and there’s no denying that this can work. But, it can be harder to make a garden pop when working to such strict codes.




A WATERING SCHEDULE

Your plants will not stay vibrant if you don’t get on top of a watering schedule. Instead, they will fast become tired and washed out. It’s worth watering in the morning and evenings if the weather is hot. For the most part, the dryness of the soil will show whether this is necessary. Try to water at the same time each day. You could use a hose, or install sprinklers which come on automatically and do the job for you. You’ll need to bear in mind water restrictions, too. It may be worth installing a private water supply. Visit the Nicholls website, and others like them to get an idea about whether it would work for you. The primary benefit of a private supply is that your water use can never be limited. Private supply is also an eco-friendly option, so you’ll still be doing your bit.

PROPER MAINTENANCE

To keep things looking lovely, stay on top of maintenance. A mixed colour scheme can look fantastic when done right, but it can get out of control fast. You need to keep on top of what your plants are doing to ensure wildness doesn’t take over. A slightly wild look can work well, but complete wilderness in the garden is not what you’re aiming for. Make sure to trim back any straying flowers, remove weeds, and keep an eye on cross pollination. Some plants spread like wildfire, and they alone could ruin the whole image.


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Making Your Garden A Social Hub This Summer

It’s almost summer, which means that the season for socialising outside is almost upon us. It’s time to go to rooftop bars, to beer gardens, to take a picnic to the park and sprawl out on the grass with your loved ones to really enjoy the sunshine - but most of all, it’s time to take a look at your own space and figure out how you can use it this summer for social occasions.


Add Decking


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First of all, it’s time to add decking. If you’re a whizz at DIY projects then you could consider going to a lumber yard, picking out what wood you want to use, and making it yourself, but if you think you’re probably the sort of person who’ll buy the materials and let them rot in your garage all summer instead of actually doing the work, then it’s a good idea to call in the professionals. Make sure that there’s enough space to put out some chairs and a table, for anyone that you want to invite over for dinner - and add an area where you can put your grill so that you can cook your meat and veggie burgers in safety.


Make Sure There’s Shade


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It’s important to make sure that your back garden has some areas of shade. Not everyone tans easily and you don’t want anyone to end up with bad sunburn because they don’t have anywhere to shelter in your back garden - it’s important to remember that comfort extends past chairs and tables and into people having what they need to stay healthy. Likewise, make sure that it’s easy to get into your house to get some water and to apply sunscreen. Not only can the sun’s UV rays cause sunburn and skin cancer later down the road, but being in the sun for too long can lead to heatstroke.


Add Some Quirks


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If you have enough cash to spare then why not make your back garden a fun place for people to be? You could add a trampoline for the kids and maybe even a hot tub for the adults. Quality hot tubs may cost a little money but they’ll be worth it when you’re relaxing outside at night with your partner under the stars, feeling the warm bubbles bursting against your back. There’s very little that’s better for you than to have an excuse to relax - and let’s face it, the warmth and the gentle rippling of the water will make you feel as though you’re far, far away from home, in a place where the summers are much warmer!


Make It Beautiful


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Finally, it’s time to make your garden gorgeous again after neglecting it during the winter. Make sure that you keep watering your borders, and pull up all the weeds from the roots to lessen the chances of them growing back again. If your lawn is overrun with moss and weeds then you could try a natural weed killer followed by plant food which will help it grow back to its lush green best.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Deck The Gardens, Not The Halls!

When the winter abates and the warmer months start to draw round, attention often turns from interior design to the garden and the curb appeal of a home. It’s easy to focus on the interior of your house when the weather is cold, and autumn and winter tend to be the time we update the living room and the kitchen. Interiors are fun to organise and once you sort a lick of paint or flooring only require cleaning maintenance instead of what a garden would require.
The garden can often – and unfortunately – be somewhere that’s neglected. The weather gets wetter or colder and we retreat indoors, ignoring that maintenance is still required no matter what the weather is. Where possible, try not to neglect the garden. The amount of work it takes to ensure a garden stays looking beautiful all year round means that you can often spend your weekends pruning bushes, planting flowers and generally looking after the area. No one likes to spend their weekends doing chores and that’s where low maintenance gardens can be a total blessing!
If you enjoy being outdoors, whether to eat or simply just enjoy the fresh air, then you should look at installing decking. With the wealth of designs and materials out there made to suit your budget, you can have your pick with garden decking. Choose a company to install the decking for your, or get some quality materials from George Hill Timber and follow online tutorials to build your decking yourself. It’s one thing to maintain the grass and flowers of the garden, but you can make it a space that requires lower maintenance by having decking. It’s also easier to brush leaves and debris off decking than it is to maintain gravel and other stone layouts.
A deck is a way to add beauty and aesthetics to your garden and is an attractive look for any garden, whether a flat one or multi-level. You can also install a deck if you’d prefer something that looks classier than simple paving slabs. Decking transforms your garden and makes it a place you can hang out all year round. There are a lot of considerations that you need to think about before you invest in decking, including your decking options. Ask yourself why you want a deck and what it will be used for. You can then plan accordingly as to what you want out of the space you have created. Al fresco dining, for example, will mean creating a space that has easy access to the kitchen to pass food in and out of. Dining outside is always amazing but still be cautious of where you place any barbecues or brick grills like these so that you don’t end up with smoke blowing into the house.
You could also choose to use your decking for simple relaxation purposes. If that’s the case, perhaps a deck built toward the back of the garden would be a better idea, as you may find that’s your garden’s sun trap. Children should be considered, because you need the deck to have non-slip materials or mats like these on it and if your deck is elevated, railings and coverings will always be advised. Think about investing in a parasol or gazebo for all weathers so no matter what you can enjoy your deck. A gazebo is a great thing to have in the summer so children can play safely, and you can add mosquito netting as well to protect everyone from bug invasions in the summer months.

Garden decking isn’t made in the same way it used to be thirty years ago, and there is so much advice online about materials you should use. Your deck can add to the value of your home and while you may not be interested in selling up and moving on right now, you have a little investment that has a good return on it for years to come. Hiring professional landscapers to come and give some advice on the design of your decking is never a waste of money, especially if gardening doesn’t come naturally to you.

Always be creative with your ideas for your decking. Be aware of the dangers of decking and installing it the wrong way and ensure you do some thorough research about it. Your garden is your own personal space to enjoy the outdoors and with a beautiful deck in the garden, you get the chance to do that all year round.
 

Monday, 27 March 2017

Why Spring is the Best Season for your Garden

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Winter in the UK can so often be miserable, and yet it always carries within it the promise of spring. Every year, we get to luxuriate in the warmth and freshness of what must be the finest season. Summer can sometimes seem rather brash, Autumn is beautiful but in a rather melancholic way and Winter is just cold and wet. But Spring never fails to inspire wonder.
For gardeners too, it is a great time of year. They can watch as all of their hard work eventually comes to fruition (literally!). But it is not just blossoming plants that Spring grants us each year; it is generous enough to bestow the wonder of new animal life too. The bustling and yet elegant promise of Spring is just now upon us. It is a great time to enjoy nature. Here are reasons why Spring is the best time of year for your garden:

Spring stereotypically represents a new start for baby animals and daffodils, but it also represents an opportunity to look at your garden anew.You can see it in its full potential again and reevaluate what you want your garden to be. Do you want it to bloom again next year with just a few additions or should you overhaul what you have and look forward to watching something unique blossom next year? At the very least, it is a great time to tackle all of these small imperfections that snuck in over Winter. Don’t let those weeds last any longer. If you have hedges in your garden, then Spring is the time to take control of them again. Start pruning now!

It is not just weeds that you have to worry about though. Winter weather can be harsh on your garden. One of the things to do as the evenings get longer is go out and check that all of your plants are still healthy. Frost damage is real and is overlooked at your garden’s peril.
However, maybe it is not just your plants that you want to revamp as Summer approaches. Spring is the perfect time to consider whether you should indulge in some landscaping. Maybe your patio needs some attention, or you should invest in a water feature. Spring allows you to realise the opportunities that are right in your backyard.

The best thing to do when Spring comes around again is enjoy it while it lasts. If you want to indulge in Spring from your own quiet corner of these green and pleasant lands, then the comfort of your garden is the perfect place. However, if you want to enjoy it properly, you need to be comfortable. Log sheds have to be just about the perfect answer. Besides, if it was good enough for Thoreau, it should be good enough for anyone.

Finally, if you grow vegetables in your garden, it is the most exciting time of year: harvest. The long dog days of Winter are over and you can feast yourself on its spoils. Why not organise a garden party, invite your friends, and make them jealous by serving the freshest vegetables in town.

So, as March turns into April, and April starts to melt into summer, get out in your garden and enjoy Spring while you still can.
 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Make Your Garden A Wildlife Sanctuary!



While your garden may be absolutely wonderful to look at, you, like many other gardeners, might feel that it could do with a little more life and vibrancy. With spring almost upon us, you may want to encourage a little more wildlife in your garden, besides the neighbour’s cat who likes using your flowerbed as a litter tray! Here are some great ways to go about it…
DIY Bird Food


Winter is the season when birds need our feeders more than ever. Still, now that the weather’s getting a little warmer, they certainly won’t mind a little something extra! A lot of the pre-mixed bird foods you’ll see on sale use cheaper ingredients, for example beans, dried rice and lentils. All you need is a few simple components to create bird food much better than any you can buy at any garden centre. Mix some melted lard (with no margarine) with a mixture of different seeds – sunflower seeds, nyjer seeds, millet and peanuts are all popular choices. Then, pour this mixture carefully into a container that will be able to weather the elements, like half a coconut shell. Just leave it to set, and you’ll be all done. You can keep squirrels away from it by hanging the feeder from the end of a branch with some string.
Install a Pond


Installing a pond in your garden is a fantastic way to add a whole new dimension to your garden, and provide a habitat to a lot of wildlife. It will be a source of drinking water for small mammals and birds, and provide a home to frogs, toads, newts, and a range of insects. You can even get a few koi or other fish if you feel up to caring for them. No matter how large or small your garden is, there’s usually at least some space for a bit of standing water. Even on a small, urban patio, simply filling a large container with water, and adding some plants, stones and other pond supplies can be enough to bring so much more wildlife into your garden.
Stag Beetle Bucket


These fascinating beetles are endangered in the UK, but one simple feature can make their fight for survival so much easier. All you have to do is get your hands on a standard plastic bucket, then cut holes of at least two inches around the base and sides. Next, dig a hole in a quiet corner of the garden, deep enough so that the rim is only just below the ground. Then, start filling the bucket with soil and bark chippings, and simply wait for the beetles to move in naturally. Stag beetle larvae can live for up to five years, so it’s important you place it somewhere where it can’t easily be disturbed by cats or foxes. You may not love creepy crawlies, but you’ll be doing your bit to sustain the country’s delicate ecosystem.


There you have just a few great ways to make your garden a haven for wildlife.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Ways to Spruce up Your Garden

Has, in recent seasons, your garden been looking a bit lacklustre? If you garden didn't even look good in its heyday last summer, then perhaps it’s time to start taking action now in order to spruce it up before this coming summer arrives.
 
You could brighten the area up with a whole host of lights — they add a real character to the environment and even mean you can spend nights outside during the summer without having to bring a torch out with you. Decking lights are a great feature for any of those of you whose gardens are blessed with a decking area, but there are other areas in your garden where you can utilise LED lighting to spruce it up. LED plinth light can be mounted and sit on top of posts, such as veranda posts and solar-powered lighting can be stuck into the soil in various points and positions. You could, if you have any sort of path running through the garden, place lights on either side of it in order to spruce up the path.Solar_garden_light.jpg
 
And why not make a splash when sprucing up the area? You could introduce a bird bath to your garden in order to give your garden a different kind of edge, whilst in turn attracting all sorts of different types of birds to your area who will bring with them an instant and healthy dose of ‘spruce’. Or, if you’d prefer, you can go the whole hog and opt for a fancier water feature. Features, fountains, ponds and pools are some of the best ways to give your garden a new lease of life because, when first introduced, they offer something completely different to your area. Make sure to have a look at some of these stunning water features.

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But it doesn’t all have to be necessarily expensive: you don’t need fancy and costly tools and areas to help spruce your garden up.You can add colour to your garden, and not just by way of the flowers you plant or grow there. A good idea is to buy cheap and colourful plant pots, or even paint old ones to add even more vibrancy to your outdoor haven. Whether you go for summer pastel colours, or bold bright ones, your garden will be brought to life instantly. However, you should always continue to take care of the basics of your garden, which is looking after the nature that grows there — because if done right, they are a way of really sprucing up the environment themselves. You should begin to tend to your lawn as soon as the weather allows you to. Feed your lawn on a regular basis with granular feed, and continuing to do so throughout the summer months, will stop your grass from ever looking as it is suffering from a serious case of wear and tear. This makes the garden look greener and far more inviting.pexels-photo-212324.jpeg
Green grass
So, there you have it. A few things you can do and introduce to your garden to give it an injection of life and really spruce it up!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Getting Your Garden Summer Ready

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We might still be waiting for spring to make an appearance, but it is never too early to start thinking about the summer. In fact, if you want to make the most of your garden when the sun starts to shine and the temperature hots up, now is the perfect time to start getting your garden ready for summer, and here are a few tips for doing just that:


Feed Your Lawn
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If you want your garden to look luscious and green when your guests rock up to the first barbecue of the summer, you need to start feeding your lawn regularly come spring. This will stop it from getting yellow and ‘threadbare’ so that your garden always looks fabulous.


Sort Out Your Paving
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If your garden has a significant amount of paving, you will want to make sure that it looks good by the summer. Paving that is dirty, filled with weeds and cracked can make the best gardens look grubby so it may be worth checking out local paving centres for new paving, if yours is beyond help.


If your paving is just in need of a good clean, a good once over with a pressure washer and some well-placed weed killer should see you right.


Flower Power
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Few things are able to transform garden from drab to fab like the inclusion of a few well-placed flowers. Whether your garden consists of paving stones or grass, there is a suitable flower solution out there for you. If you’re not a fan of getting down and dirty in the garden, you might want to invest in a few baskets and pots that you can fill with pretty blooms. If you don’t mind gardening, then digging around the perimeter of your property and filling the beds with flowers is a great way to add colour while maintaining the functionality of your garden space.


Clean Your Garden Furniture
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If your garden furniture has been left languishing over the autumn and winter months, now is the time to get them out and give them an airing. Leave them out for a few hours on a dry day to get rid of any musty smells and spend an hour or two giving them a thorough clean. If your garden furniture is plastic, a good going over with soap and a sponge should suffice, but if your furniture is made from metal or wood, you may need to scrub it with a wire brush to get rid of any rust or mould that has started to appear on the furniture.


Let There Be Light
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At this time of year, you can usually pick up outdoor solar lighting at very reasonable prices, and it is great for adding some sparkle to the garden on those long summer evenings spent eating and drinking with friends. Lights can be fixed to fences, wrapped around gazebos or even attached to outdoor walls for a special tough.


Cut the Grass
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Of course, you should also start cutting your lawn as soon as spring hits and it gets a growth spurt. Cut grass at least twice a month to ensure you don’t end up with a jungle on your property come summer.