Thinking about Curb Appeal

We all hear the phrase curb appeal when estate agents or tv make over shows are looking at houses, and I guess like me many people think its a bit of a strange one, do you only make your home welcoming or attractive because you want to sell it. What about just wanting to enjoy arriving home or welcoming visitors.

Walking round our neighbourhood recently, whilst taking my daily exercise I have noticed a lot more activity at the front of peoples homes. Perhaps being home a lot more recently has made people think about improving their home, or simply they have run out of Netflix boxsets to watch. Whatever the reason its good to see people improving where we live.

As regular followers will know we have updated our tiny front garden over the years, with a new front door, new planting and a brightly lit welcoming entrance.

But what have our neighbours in been up to. Plenty of planting, with several adding pots at the front doors.

These two standard bay trees make a welcoming entrance, but smaller features work just as well. Picking bright pots and colourful plants give any home a welcoming feal.

Several neighbours have also been updating their driveways, now I'm sure most keen gardeners would much prefer to use the space for plants, but having somewhere to park your car usually is a key requirement for many, not forgetting that it can help reduce your car insurance. Lots of options when it comes to driveways, from the simple gravel drive, that can almost be DIY if you take your time with it, to cobble stone, flags or block paving. One increasingly popular approach is a resin driveway, these use a mix of stone or other hard wearing materials and a resin to bond it all together. They often have the advantage of looking like gravel, but without the mess - if you have mown over stones on your lawn you will understand that advantage! 

A newly laid resin driveway

Lots of people edge them with blocks, or stone sets to get a traditional look, and I think they look very smart, and significantly better than the 1970s crazy paving one of my neighbours is removing!

As well as driveway upgrades, new fencing and even some railings are making a reappearance, we added new fences a few years ago to the front, partly to break up the continuous row of parked cars on neighbouring drives, but also to provide a backdrop to new planting. 

Many people are removing planting spaces from the front of their homes, small trees can be added at the edge of a garden to keep plenty of space for cars if needed, but by using the vertical height you still get a sense of a garden, and in the summer they create some valuable shade so your car wont get too hot.

Of course it is important to choose the right tree, not something that will dominate a small space, and avoid shallow rooted trees if you are planting next to a paved area so they don’t break up your new drive!

What have you been doing to improve your curb appeal, tell us in the comments below.


Five of the best ways to recycle our plastic waste

Over the last century, humans have produced a phenomenal amount of plastic goods due to its cheap production and versatile nature. Unfortunately, most of these plastic items have a short lifespan before they’re cast aside, polluting our atmosphere and land. As we’re well aware, plastic pollution is one of the biggest concerns for our planet right now.

As it stands, we’re currently dumping over eight million tons of plastic into the oceans each year, according to Plastic Oceans Foundation. But, what exactly can we do to halt this? Follow our guide below as we explore some of the best ways our plastic waste can be recycled to make useful products, helping to limit the damage to our planet.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, we can buy items of clothing that were once part of a plastic bottle we’d have drank from. With the likes of polyester, nylon and other synthetic fibres forms of plastic, companies can use recycled plastic to help create their new garments. Did you know that it only takes approximately 10 bottles to create enough plastic fibre for a new t-shirt? As well as this, the insulation in a ski jacket can be created by just 14 recycled bottles. 


The UK is a nation of outdoor lovers — even if we don’t always get the weather that’ll help us best use our outdoor space! Studies have found that the average Brit spends over two hours a week in their garden space. Many take pride in their outdoor area and love to entertain guests throughout the year. To do so, they need a space that is suitable, and decking has seen a huge increase in popularity. Since first being released in 1990, composite decking boards have grown in popularity as they’re low maintenance, look like real wood, and have a long life span. These boards are made up of 95% recycled wood fibres and plastic, making them environmentally friendly as well as easy to upkeep.

Bed sheets

Great news! You can soon relax in the knowledge that you’re being environmentally sustainable while lying in bed! Ecozee, a company that is set to launch bed sheets made from recycled plastic, states it is going to help you ‘save the environment in your sleep’. With the average plastic having a ‘useful life’ of approximately 15 minutes, it’s clear to see that bed sheets made from recycled plastic will turn this into a much greater lifespan!

Home décor

It’s not just companies who can create great uses for old plastic. Users on social media channels are always sharing the DIY skills regarding old plastic material. Stand out examples include jewellery stands, themed plant pots, and pencil organisers — all created using the bottom of plastic bottles and milk bottles. Some much more extravagant examples by those with creative flair include hanging chandeliers and Christmas trees!


Moving away from home comforts, did you know that many forms of transport use recycled plastics in production? In 2018, vehicle manufacturer Volvo set itself a goal of using 25% recycled plastics in cars by 2025. This can range from fishing nets to old bottles and can be used in areas such as dashboards and carpets. Currently, the company states that approximately five per cent of plastics in its cars are made from recycled materials.

Elsewhere, in 2017, pilot and environmentalist Jeremy Rowsell made history by flying a light aircraft across Australia using conventional fuel that was mixed with fuel which derived from plastic waste. This journey, which saw him travel 500 miles from Sydney to Melbourne, saw the fuel used include a blend made up of 10% end-of-life plastic that was usually found in the ocean and landfill sites. It was a breakthrough in potential future fuels for light aircrafts.

Of course, there are many other ways plastic can be recycled. And, when you recycle materials, it uses far less energy than creating them new, so recycling has many benefits. While recycling is a major topic of discussion, we still have a large scope for improvements regarding the subject in order to help save our planet. It’s not just up to companies to use recyclable products either, so recycle today to reap the rewards tomorrow!

Make your goals green and more plastic-free for 2020

The plastic-waste crisis and its impact on climate change weighs heavily on our minds. If we keep using plastic at the current rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. Every day, approximately eight million pieces of plastic are discarded into the ocean, and microplastics have even been discovered embedded deep in arctic ice. Clearly, something must be done. Our casual plastic use is causing far more damage to marine life then it’s worth.
If your plastic-free plans aren’t already in motion, why not start this week? Living a plastic free life is one of the best and easiest methods of self-improvement you could opt for this year. Forget your optimistic gym membership and your severe diet plan, dropping plastic is an achievable and massively rewarding new year’s resolution that we should all try. Here are some small changes that will help you achieve your green goals in 2020.
1. Say no to plastic bags and straws
Luckily, these items are becoming less commonplace in the UK today. However, it can still be difficult to avoid them at times. When you pick up a takeaway for example, don’t be afraid to say no to the excess plastic bags your food is wrapped in. 
2.       Invest in a reusable coffee cup and water bottle
Takeaway coffee cups are a major source of waste material and plastic bottles take a shocking 450 years to decompose. With this in mind, it is more pressing than ever to make the switch to reusable items. KeepCups and Chilly’s Bottles are popular brands that focus on sustainable products.
3.       Only buy unpackaged fruit and veg
Many supermarkets are now making switch to packaging free products. If you have the option, choose to load up brown paper bags with fruit and vegetables rather than choosing pre-package food.  
4.       Get your hands on a bamboo toothbrush
Plastic toothbrushes take 400 years to decompose, and if you consider how many you go through in a lifetime, the life span of them all is shocking. A bamboo toothbrush on the other hand, only takes five to ten years — minimal in comparison!
5.       Find a refill station for your laundry detergent and washing up liquid
Instead of chucking out the plastic bottle when your washing up liquid runs out, hold on to it and get it refilled! Lots of sustainable shops now offer this service, making it easier than ever to opt for refills rather than wasting more plastic.
6.       Switch to soap and shampoo bars rather than bottles
Shampoo and hand soap always seem to come with excess plastic packaging. There is simply no need to coat these items in plastic, as they work perfectly well in bar form. This is another tiny switch that will make little difference to your daily routine but really help out the environment. 
7.       Shop at ‘zero waste’ shops
Thankfully, zero waste shops are becoming far more common in the UK. The idea of zero waste shops is that they sell produce with absolutely no plastic packaging. Switching up your shopping routine and choosing a zero-waste shop would be a great habit to get into in 2020. You can find a list of zero waste shops and where to find them here.
8.       Switch to beeswax wrap rather than clingfilm
Sustainable food storage is another factor that people often forget to consider. We throw away single use clingfilm without a second thought, because it seems like such a necessity within our lives. Now however, there are plenty of alternatives to use if you want to go plastic free. Beeswrap, for example, is a ‘natural alternative to plastic wrap’ which can be used time and time again.
9.       Up your sustainable Tupperware game
Along the same theme, consider switching to sustainable Tupperware. There are plenty of alternatives to wasteful plastic Tupperware, such as bamboo, glass, or stainless-steel alternatives. Oxfam do a great range!
10.   Cut down on shopping and spending
This last one is essential, although perhaps not as easy as the other lifestyle changes. Every time you buy something, especially online, it is likely to come swaddled in needless layers of plastic. If you cut down on this spending, you could make a real environmental change.
These changes will be easy to get used to once you’ve made an active effort to change your routine. They will soon become second nature! If everyone chips in and makes an effort towards sustainability, we will see a reduced amount of plastic pollution our oceans.
Article provided by Where The Trade Buys, a UK provider of square business card printing, with bases in London, Sunderland and Surrey.

Dividing Rhubarb

If you grow rhubarb in your garden or allotment you should be thinking about dividing it over the next few weeks if you haven't done it for a while. Rhubarb plants should be divided every five years or so giving you additional plants but also healthier ones too.

How to divide Rhubarb
Dig up the crowns and roots taking extra care not to damage the crown. Divide the roots into 4 to 8 pieces depending on the size of the plant you are lifting. It is best to divide the dormant crowns between two large buds called eyes so that at least a 5cm or so section of storage root is left attached to each bud. Remember to take care not to break off the delicate buds as these can easily be broken, but other that that the roots are actually pretty tough and can tolerate quite a lot of rough treatment. Small buds will give you small plants for the first few years after planting until the newly divided plant bulks up again, while four to ten new roots can usually be obtained from crowns that have been grown a few years.

Take care not to allow the divisions to dry out or to freeze if you are not to going to be planting the straight away. Remember that when you are dividing crowns for re-planting, it is a good idea to identify the most vigorous plants the previous summer and use these as planting stock in the Autumn. The depth of planting should be so that the top of the plant is at, or only just below the soil surface. Gently firm the surrounding soil and water the new plants in well. The space between plants should be approximately 75cm (30in) for smaller varieties, and up to 120cm (48in) for larger varieties. It is a good idea to identify where the newly divided crowns have been planted with a cane until new shoots appear above the soil surface in February or March.

It should be obvious but crowns from diseased plants should not be divided from.

Soil Preparation
All Rhubarb varieties develop a deep root system and will grow best in a fertile, partially shaded, free-draining soil. It is a good idea to prepare the ground in advance, start digging over your soil four weeks before planting and remove any stones you find and adding as much organic matter as possible.

Heres a useful video:

Bonanza Slot game guide

This uniquely titled slot features excellent graphics, free bonus spins, and 3D imagery. This traditional cocktail makes for one tasty game! The reaction feature alone is sure to hold your attention as the riveting action happens before your eyes. Boredom will be nowhere to be found while you earn scores of wins and free spins galore. On behalf of players everywhere, it is safe to say that Big Time Gaming did a great job with this release - click to see more.

Bonanza General Info

A warning needs to be mentioned, this game is exciting, it’s busy, and you literally won’t be able to afford to blink as this high action game keeps any boredom at bay. Bonanza features the standard six reels; however, they are uniquely displayed on a cart with four symbols.

Big Time Gaming Slot Developer

Big Time Gaming was not messing around when they released this slot, the excitement players feel when they play is sure to keep anyone coming back for more. The developer of this online slot is one of the biggest names in the industry, they have not disappointed and continue to release hit after hit. Through the guaranteed unique bonus features in every game, Big Time Gaming has become a favourite among players.

Gameplay on bonanza

The thousands of ways to win certainly contribute to the game’s popularity as there are big payouts to be won. The symbols are represented by playing cards, the numbers nine, ten, and then the royal cards. The values of these symbols are lower, besides getting the coveted gold free spins, there are still substantial rewards waiting if you manage to achieve the right combinations of lower and medium-value symbols. Any other symbol besides the other playing card symbols represents those of medium value (blue and red gems, a diamond, and the ace card).

Bonanza Special Features

The allusive gold free spins bonus is the best feature of Bonanza, don’t fret if you don’t land it on your first try as it is known to be slippery. In the mean-time, the game is far from over as you have other features to play with: the reaction feature, wilds, and carts will not only keep you immersed in the gameplay but will keep your level of fun at an all-time high.

Wilds – this feature is common in online slots, it is when this symbol can replace any other on the display (except the scatter). This is so any combinations can be pushed towards becoming winning ones.

Gold Free Spins – in order to get this coveted bonus, you need to spell the word ‘gold’ with the appropriate lettered tiles. Then if you are lucky enough to get another scatter you will win another five spins. When the bonus is triggered, you get 12 free spins. Additionally, for every reaction, your multiplier is increased by one.

Reaction feature – if you have a winning combination then the symbols of this combination are replaced by all high-value ones, the wins are increased substantially as a reaction.
Carts – these are actual carts that are above reels two to five, the carts add symbols to these reels to try to make winning combinations.


This online slot is extremely busy and might not apply to players that are accustomed to games suited to a lazy Sunday afternoon. However, Bonanza’s theatrics serve to keep you entertained and boredom-free, if anything it is worth a try. If as a player you are a fan of Big Time Gaming, this will be for you as the developer’s workmanship is impressive. This game has thousands of ways to win and countless possibilities to win extra rewards along the way.

The Secrets To Creating A Cat-Friendly Garden

Many felines find their outdoor space just as important as the indoors. The garden provides your pet with a sensory experience, as well as space to exercise, play, and hide. Discouraging a cat from leaving your garden can seem an impossible task, which is why many cat parents keep their pets indoors. However, while you can’t stop your furry friend from heading over the fence, you can make it so that they don’t want to. Here are six ways to create a cat-friendly garden. 

Eliminate The Toxic Plants
Felines are usually very picky eaters. If they don’t want what you’ve given them for dinner, you can be sure that they won’t touch it. Nonetheless, they are known to be quite curious too. For this reason, you must pick your greenery carefully. Keep any flowers and plants that might harm your cat out of the garden. There are many gardener favourites, like daffodils, that can be dangerous.

Image - CC0 License
Make Places To Hide
Wide, open spaces can make a cat feel vulnerable. This is why you should provide places for them to hide. When your pet isn’t exposed, they will feel more secure, and the garden will seem more appealing. Dense patches of foliage, large plant pots, and garden furniture will all help your cat feel safe. If there are other felines in the area, it’s even more important to have these places.

Add In Outdoor Lighting
Everyone knows that felines have excellent vision. They can see much better than humans, even at nighttime. That being said, no cat can see in complete darkness, which could put them at risk. Whether there are predators in the area or trip hazards in the garden, you must have solar lights. These will turn on automatically when it’s dark, helping your pet to keep themselves safe at night.

Entertain With Cat Toys
Toys shouldn’t be restricted to the house alone. After all, the garden is an excellent space for your pet to play. If you didn’t want to ruin your indoor toys, you could pick up a few cheap balls and mice to play with outside. You could even attach some of these toys to a low-hanging branch of a tree. When the wind blows, these toys will move, providing your cat with hours of fun. 

Supply A Toilet Space
Most cats are clean animals. This can be seen with the amount of time they spend grooming themselves. With that in mind, all would much rather go to the bathroom outside, away from their food and water. It’s crucial that you supply a space for them to do this. All you have to do is cover a clear area with woodchip, loose earth, or sand. Ideally, this area should have some shelter too. 

Put Off Other Felines
Although felines can make friends, most are quite territorial. That means, if you have another cat living nearby, fights could break out. Your pet may not even want to leave the house, just in case they bump into that other feline. For this reason, you must put off other cats from entering your garden. One of the best ways to do this is to add a cat fence barrier or a full garden canopy. 

With the advice above, you can create an outdoor space your cat loves to spend time in. 

Are Your Trees Arranged Just Right?

We all love trees; they provide protection from the weather, they’re lovely to talk a walk through, and they house all manner of cute creatures and critters. Not to mention how necessary they are for allowing us to keep on breathing! All in all, trees are a natural and necessary part of life, and if you’ve got some in your back garden, you’re probably quite proud of how they’ve grown.

But if you’re about to plant some in, or you’re not sure about your current tree arrangement, let’s help you make sure your tree growing plans are arranged just right. It takes a bit of time and effort to cultivate such a life form, and you shouldn’t walk into a gardening task like this completely blind!

Dig the Hole Deep Enough

First of all, you need to be sure you’re digging a hole deep enough for you trees. They need a lot more room than a regular plant would, and there’s a chance you haven’t gone far down enough before now. It’s a mistake even veteran gardeners can make!

If you’ve experienced tree seeds that have failed to take root before now, it might have just been because they didn’t have the space to grow their roots out, or they weren’t able to reach the right nutrient level in the soil.

But the depth of the hole will depend on the tree you’re trying to plant. Take a look at the root ball your plant is sitting on right now - use the size and length of it to determine how deep your hole needs to be, as this ball shouldn’t really be exposed to the above ground.

Keep the Soil Moist, But Don’t Overwater

You’ll also need to determine how often to water; trees need a good amount of water to grow out, but they’re also very susceptible to overwatering. When it’s dry and hot outside, watering once a week should be good, and in the rain, you can cut back based on how dry the soil feels to you.

Know When to Trim Back

And once you’ve got your trees growing properly, you’re going to need to trim them back every now and then. It helps to keep the plant healthy and happy, and makes sure you’re taking regular stock of how they’re growing. Most of all, it helps to make sure you’re watching out for symptoms of disease - even greenery can fall prey to parasites and infections, after all.

If you’ve got a whole plot of trees to get through, you might want to turn to some professional Tree Work to help you out. A proper tree surgeon will be able to inform you of the upkeep necessary for your particular growth of forest, and it’ll definitely cut back on what would otherwise be a monumental task you’d have to sort through alone!

Your garden trees might need some reworking, but it’s a lot easier to take care of one than you might think!

Conducting A Heavy Landscaping Task - Golden Advice For You

Many of us have experience tending to our own gardens, and yet there are many gardening jobs we may consider to be a large challenge. It might be that we come into property that has a much bigger garden or set of land than we had anticipated. Perhaps due to our professionalism and gardening knowledge we are hired as the landscape architect for a rather larger project. Sometimes, it could be that we have been recommended for a job by the gameskeeper of a local village, as communities like this can often band together and make use of the most relevant skill set.

Conducting a heavy landscaping job, no matter if it’s your career or just something you have signed on for, can be an overwhelming thing to consider. Of course, if you find yourself in this position, odds are you have a decent amount of credibility and a skill set at your disposal. We would also put forward the following advice to ensure your large gardening project goes smoothly, and you are able to utilize your best efforts for a premium result.

Without further ado:

Hire The Right Equipment

Without heavy-duty equipment such as diggers, machines that will transport said earth, or perhaps those that can safely demolish the small decrepit structures that are there already, you’re going to have a rough time. Hiring the right equipment can make the job much easier, particularly when using garden aggregates to this end. Consulting regarding your goals and applying the right and most careful solution can make all the difference in the end, and can potentially develop a better and carefully considered outcome. On top of this, it could also help improve your safety, as taking on certain tasks without the correct lifting tools, distance or other issues in place can be a real problem.

Hiring Labour

It can sometimes be that your garden job is too great for you to apply with your own hands. Weeding, transporting certain materials or operating machinery can all be quite a difficult task, and sometimes two disparate processes need to be completed at the same time in order to reveal the best result. For this reason, hiring labour and justifying that to your landscaping client is essential. Ensure they are qualified landscapers, or for menial tasks you might decide to apply subcontracting work. Ensure they are well vetted because a garden is usually private land.

Scale Up

Your experience thus far might be with smaller gardening projects. Scaling up can often be a worthwhile vantage point to belay your architectural landscaping plans. How will you work with the land? What strengths of the garden do you wish to preserve? For example, a large pond might look beautiful with a walking bridge over it, but a small stream may serve as a dangerous point you wish to make more visible. It’s these scaling up efforts that can help you apply your own tasteful arrangements with, and in collaboration with the owner you will come to a worthwhile result.

With these tips, you are certain to conduct your heavy landscaping ta
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