Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Alfresco Relaxation: Turning Your Garden Into An Oasis Of Calm

For many of us, there are few places that make us feel calmer or more relaxed than our gardens. Sadly, we don’t all have outdoor spaces that are reminiscent of glossy magazine images, but if your garden is a diamond in the rough, there are lots of ways you can polish it and create a perfect space to chill out. Here are some top tips to bring calm to your outdoor area.

When you’re trying to add ambience to a room inside, colour is probably one of the first things you think about. Colours can affect our mood, as well as the look of the room and choosing specific tones and shades can help you to feel calm and mellow. The same rules apply outside. If you’re keen to use your garden as a tranquil spot to rest, relax and recover after a busy day, avoid colours that make you feel energised. Instead, choose shades that help you unwind. Rather than opting for neon pinks and bright yellows and oranges, got for whites, pastel shades and serene colours like duck egg and cornflower blue or lilac. You can add colour to your garden in many different ways. If you’re a keen gardener, fill planters, beds, and baskets with plants and shrubs that will last the autumn. If you have a low maintenance garden, you can add accents with accessories and furniture.

Feeling cosy
In the summer, you can kick back with a good book and a well-earned drink without worrying too much about the weather, but as temperatures fall, it’s a good idea to try and make your garden a cosier, more versatile space. Scatter blankets and throws around sofas and outdoor chairs and take a look at a patio heater buying guide. If you’re after something more rustic, a fire pit may be a solution worth considering. If you weatherproof your garden now, when it gets chilly in the evenings you can stay warm and continue to enjoy your garden.

Lighting can play an instrumental role in setting the tone both indoors and outdoors. If you long for your garden to be a sanctuary where you can soak up the peace and quiet and escape the hustle and bustle, use muted lighting that creates a romantic vibe. You could hang strings of oversized bulbs, add up-lighters to your patio or flowerbeds or even create a statement with free-standing outdoor lamps. Finish the look off by placing lanterns and LED candles on decking or garden tables.

Plants are not just there to look beautiful. They can also add a sensory element to your garden. Many plants are proven to have healing and calming properties, so if you want to de-stress, opt for lavender, bamboo and spider plants.

Do you love retreating to the garden when you get back from work or soaking up the sunshine on a lazy weekend afternoon? If you’re keen to use your garden to de-stress and chill out,  there are lots of ways you can create your very own oasis in your backyard. Think carefully about colours, choose plants that are proven to relax you, keep lighting muted and add heaters and soft furnishings to keep you cosy.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

‘Excuse Me, This Is My Garden!’ 4 Ways To Make It More Private

What springs to mind when you think about a summer garden? The odds are that you will imagine a nice decking, a neat lawn, and beautiful flowers with vibrant colours. What you won’t think of is the lack of privacy. Unfortunately, lots of houses don’t have enough space between the plot of land and the neighbours. As such, it can feel like you are constantly being watched when you just want to enjoy the warm weather. The only thing to do is add features which safeguard your privacy. With that in mind, below are the tips that you will want to consider.

Put Up A Fence

The reason people go to companies like Oakdale Fencing and ask for an estimate is the effectiveness. Simply put, there is no better way to shut out the neighbours than a fence. After all, they are high and sturdy and solid, so what more could you want? The only issue is getting the height right. If you go too high, you will send a message that some people might take personally. The key is to get it high enough to restore your privacy, but not to make your neighbours think you are antisocial.

Plant Shrubs

Another option is to use Mother Nature to your advantage. That way, the people next door can’t complain about your fence being too high and shutting them out. To do this, you will need to plant shrubs that grow tall and have thick foliage. Then, the hedges will take care of the issue naturally without the necessity of a man-made contraption. Of course, they will need some care and attention as they can look cluttered and untidy when they grow too thick. But, if you trim them down once in awhile, they can be stylish and private at the same time.

Don’t Use Platforms

Lots of homeowners like to add a platform to their garden, particularly if they have decking. The problem is that a raised platform adds height and makes the grounds more visible. So, you will want to omit it wherever possible. The options are to forget about decking altogether and use stone as an alternative or lower the platform. Hopefully, this will help you keep a shred of decency the next time you are hosting friends or relaxing in the evening.

Be Realistic

Sadly, it is not practical to make the entire garden private because the space is too big. What sites like BHG says you can do, though, is take one area and concentrate on making it as closed off as possible. As long as you pick a part of the garden that is concealed to being with, it’s a much easier task. Plus, it will save you a lot of money and time as opposed to transforming the whole garden. Then, at least there is one space which you can enjoy without worrying about watching eyes.

Privacy is a big deal, and now you can treat it with respect thanks to the advice above.

When To Use A Little Help With The Garden

To many, gardening is a hobby, as much about the effort you put into creating the perfect outdoor space as it is about the results you end up with. However, the idea that you should do absolutely everything yourself isn’t always the most practical. For instance, not everyone has the tools necessary to carry out landscaping work and not everyone is going to be able to immediately grasp some of the more scientifically challenging parts of creating a gorgeous garden. Here, we’re going to look at the kind of help on offer to you and when it might be time to consider using it.

When it’s too big a job
There’s nothing riskier to your plans than trying to take on a job yourself that’s beyond your capabilities. Many are able to carry out their own landscaping work, decking installation and even those capable of building their own ponds. There are plenty of resources to learn, as well. However, for a lot of people, it’s not feasible, economically or time-wise to try projects that they have no experience with completing. Garden design experts have access to tools and materials you might not and bring with them a professional level of experience that will ensure that the project doesn’t take longer than it should or cost more than it should. They can also be of great help to those who might need a little help gathering the inspiration they need to make the best use of the space they have available.

Keeping on top of things
If you have a particularly large garden, then you know how much work it can be. You can take steps to turn the garden into a lower maintenance space by, for instance, using fake lawns or increasing the amount of patio or decking space to lawn. But if you want to keep it natural and beautiful, then it might be worth hiring those who can help you shave plenty of time off your gardening maintenance. Local lawn mowing and garden tidying services can help you focus on the parts of gardening you love the most.

Addressing real concerns
Then there are issues with the garden that you simply might not have the level of education and knowledge to truly feel confident in tackling. Significant problems like a pest infestation or a sick tree can be a danger to your garden and you don’t want to waste time trying methods that might not work in fixing it. Insect or disease damage to a tree, for instance, can be hard to pinpoint and tree experts are often needed to truly get to the bottom of what’s making your tree sick. Otherwise, your attempts to fix things might do nothing while the problem continues to get worse.

You’re no less a gardener for recognizing when you need help. In fact, it frees up your time and offers you more opportunity to include even more variety in your results. Alongside that, you get peace of mind that you’re relying on professional quality, ensuring that you pick your services carefully.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Easy Ways To Boost Your Plants' Growth

We want to fill our gardens with gorgeous plants and flowers. After all, you want it to look superb for when friends and family come over for a visit. And ensuring you have plenty of these colorful and bright plants will help you to pull off a gorgeous garden. However, a lot of people struggle when it comes to making their plants last in the garden. And they are often left confused why they don’t have flourishing plants. Therefore, if you want to ensure you have happy and healthy plants, here are some easy ways you can boost your plants’ growth.


Go for adequate containers

You need to make sure your plants have plenty of room to grow. After all, if you place them in poorly sized containers, you are going to struggle to maintain them. In fact, you will end up needing to replace them as they keep dying in your garden. Therefore, you need to go for adequate containers which will keep the plants in good nick. For starters, you should only go for hanging baskets which have plenty of space for the plants. It’s worth checking how big the plant is meant to be before you get one of these to be home to the plant. That way, you won’t restrict their growth down to the container. And the same goes for any pots you get. You need to make sure they are adequate to boost your plant’s growth and enjoy a beautiful garden.

Make your soil healthier  

It’s often down to the soil when your plants are not growing as well as they could be. After all, they need healthy soil if they are going to flourish in your garden. And simply watering them more is not enough. Therefore, you should look into ways to make the soil healthier. For one thing, you could add some organic matter to the soil. It’s ideal for improving the texture of the soil to ensure it absorbs and drains moisture better. It can also help ensure nutrients are delivered to your plants to keep them happy and healthy. You might also want to go for something like a topsoil bulk bag. The great quality soil can be perfect to ensure your plants flourish in the garden. And it’s ideal to use in flower beds and planters to help the plants grow to perfection!

                    Image from Pixabay

Get rid of pests

It can be so easy to end up with pests in your soil. After all, they can be enticed by particular plants and flowers. And then they can cause them to die as they stop growing properly. You can use scents to drive the pests away. In fact, aromas like basil and lemon grass can soon send the pests away which can improve growth. Also, make sure it’s not a good area for them to make a home in. For example, if you add sharp things like eggshells in the soil, they won’t be sticking around near your plant!


And going for greenhouses with lighting can also help to boost your plant’s growth. So if you have space in your garden, opt for one these to grow your plants!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Giving Your Garden A Freshen-Up

When it comes to gardens, those with a keen eye are wanting to keep it looking fresh and blooming the whole year round. Of course, living in the UK means that we don’t really have the means to be able to do this; sunlight is limited at certain times of the year, and harsh weather conditions certainly don’t help matters. But what about the things that we can do - and why aren’t we doing more of them?

Focus On The Lawn

The main thing that your eyes will be drawn to whenever you step out into your garden is the lawn. It’s the grass that you need to pay attention to. If it’s looking a bit bare, spreading fresh seed can help with growth. If you have regular bird visitors, make sure that you put a net or some sort of barrier over what you are sowing - that way the seeds won’t be eaten before they’ve had a chance to settle in and grow. It’s good if you know what type of grass that you are already growing in your garden, else you risk the chance of having mismatched colours and textures happening. If you don’t know what grass you’ve already got growing and you think it’s beyond redemption, looking up local turf suppliers may be the path that you need to take. Redoing your lawn entirely may be a day’s work, but the results at the end will be phenomenal once the turf has had chance to rest.

Weed To Your Heart’s Content
See a weed, pick it up and all day long you’ll have a … better-looking garden. The more weeds that you uproot as you go along your day-to-day business, the neater that your garden will look. This goes for your drive and borders too. Aiming to get a certain number each day will mean that you’ll certainly start to see a difference.

Make It Seasonal

Making sure that you have seasonal plants and flowers in for the correct time of year can do so much for your garden. Thankfully, most of these plants tend to come into bloom in the summer, so you don’t have to worry about this time of year. However, planting sturdy perennials for the winter can definitely see your garden still looking great towards the colder months.

A Lick Of Paint Makes All The Difference

It’s not just all about the flowers, plants and shrubs. The furniture in your garden can say a lot about you and just how much effort you put into its upkeep. Going over any wooden furniture such as chairs and tables in a wood stain or paint at least every year will keep it looking great - and will help to keep your garden from looking shabby. If you have wooden fences rather than brick enclosing your garden, don’t forget to give these a once-over too; not only will it help the appearance, but it will also help to protect them against rot which can see them easily blowing down when winds pick up.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Zen and the Art of Garden Maintenance

According to the famous book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, ‘The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you.’ And if you were to replace the word ‘machine’ and use ‘garden’ instead, the principal and truth of that quote remain intact.

Ultimately, if you put a lot of work into improving and maintaining your garden, you must be able to enjoy it. With this in mind, here are a few thoughts on how you can achieve Zen while looking after your garden, and how it can give you a relaxing, satisfying experience every time you need it to. Read on to find out more.

The basics

First of all, while we are talking about Zen for this article, we aren’t going to discuss creating a garden from that term’s country of origin: Japan. The truth is that Japanese gardens are incredibly lovely - and, therefore, ultimately satisfying - but they are also extremely difficult to achieve, due to the constant need for work and upkeep they need to stay in shape.

Unless you have the time, experience, and patience to create a Japanese garden, the likelihood is that its demands will be too great for the vast majority. Instead, we’re going to focus on the experience of Zen: in this case, an easy-to-maintain, enjoyable, and durable garden that is best suited to the busy lifestyles of the modern household.

Let it go

According to the well-known Zen peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, ‘letting go gives us freedom.’ And it’s a simple line to remember when it comes to your garden maintenance and one that you should wholly embrace. If the conditions are such that you can’t garden at all - in winter, for example - then don’t.

Your best bet is to find perennial plants that require little upkeep and cause you no hassles whatsoever. Look at plants like lavender, sedum, Geraniums, and Dianthus to get your garden off to the best possible start. Not only will they flower beautifully in the spring and summer, but once they retract in the colder months, they are hardy enough to survive through the winter with no problem at all.

Perennials should make up the mainstay of your borders, and if you strike the right balance between spring and fall flowers, you should be able to have a dash of color all through your garden for the vast majority of the year.

Another way to ‘let it go’ is to leave an area of your garden to go wild. Not only will this be great for your soil, but it will also bring some interesting wildlife into your backyard, from beautiful and colorful insects to glorious birds. Bees love wild gardens, too, and given we are experiencing a serious issue with the wonderful, honey producing bees, every household with a big enough garden should really be doing all they can to encourage them.

Rock it

Japanese Zen gardens are also famous for the amazing displays of rocks, which are an essential element of the way they look and ‘feel.’ However, you don’t have to go down the purist route at all, and it’s up to you how you incorporate rocks and stones in your garden - any which way you choose.

Whether it’s attractive rocks you find while out walking, paving slabs dotted all over the place, or gravel from a gardening store that you use to create a crunchy pathway, there are plenty of options out there that require little maintenance and can have a fantastic visual impact on your garden.

One thing the Japanese rock garden does shine in for the super busy gardener is the minimalism. The less you have out there to tend, the more relaxed you will be about it. It is pointless spending lots of money on complicated and tricky floral arrangements and shrubbery designs if you don’t have the time to tend them.

Fake it

In days gone by it would be a gardener’s crime even to countenance the thought of installing artificial grass. Not only were the old artificial grasses terrible to look at and feel, but they were also incredibly bad for the environment, both in production and impact on your back garden. These days, however, you can get some exceptional artificial grass that looks superb when in place, and even allows rainwater to drain into the soil that lies beneath.

Of course, nothing can beat a real life, lush green lawn made from the real thing. But when you have a busy lifestyle and can’t afford a gardener, how much time do you think it will cost you to keep your grass looking in great shape? If you have a large garden, it will need cutting on a weekly basis, weeding every month or so, and constant care and attention that few people can manage over the course of a weekend.

So, if you want to achieve Zen in your garden and don’t have the time to spend sorting out lawn problems every couple of weeks, investigate artificial grass. As long as you are happy with the look and feel, and are careful with your choice of manufacturer, you can’t actually lose.

Section it

If you have a large garden, you will find it much easier to control if you create sections for it. You might have a space for meditation - to achieve real Zen, of course! - or maybe a place that you could just lie in and relax on a hammock. There are plenty of options available whether you want to hang it traditionally between two trees or place it on wall fixtures. Whether you browse WeDo Hammocks today, go to your local garden store tomorrow, or even make a DIY hammock, the choice is yours. Ultimately, a quiet little corner of the world with a hammock is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Sectioning your garden also gives you a chance to do things like growing your own vegetables. Don’t forget that different plant types thrive in different areas, with soil composition and sunlight affecting their growth. With a particular section for veggies and/or fruits, you will be able to cut down on the amount of time you need to spend tending them. Also, of course, you will have a smaller area to worry about when weeding and looking out for plant-damaging bugs and pests. Try installing a raised bed to make your life easier, as well. It will help you save your back from a  lot of hard work, effort, and pain, and it looks great, too.

Shaping tips

So, when it comes to shaping your garden, whether you are breaking it up into sections or not, it is essential that you keep things nice and cleanly shaped. Ultimately, the more curves and irregular shapes that exist in your lawn or garden, the longer you will spend tending to it. A rectangular or square shape can be mown in minutes, whereas tricky corners can take you a minimum of ten times longer.

Avoid creating little nooks and crannies, too. These areas of garden often end up piled high with debris, due to wind and nature taking it’s course Again, it’s going to take you a lot longer and more hard work to clean hard-to-reach areas than it will to tidy a simple corner.

Finally, don’t forget to include suitable borders to your garden. While fences might seem like a ‘fix it and leave it’ option, they can often fall into disrepair quite quickly. You might be much better off with choosing natural borders over fences - tall hedgerows and shrubs only need a prune and trim once in awhile, and are relatively easy to maintain.

A little, often

Once your garden is in the kind of shape you want it to be, you shouldn’t have too many problems keeping things looking great. If you can put aside just a half hour a week, you will be able to spot problems before they become serious, and do the quick housekeeping - or, should we say, ‘gardenkeeping’ - duties that are all you need to enjoy your backyard space all year around.

It’s worth investing in some good garden tools, too. Part of the joy of gardening is being able to control what is growing, and your ability to do so will be significantly improved by using the best tools possible. Look after the, too - keep them well away from the damp, either indoors or stored in a shed.

Every now and again your garden will need a proper watering, and with this, in mind, it’s worth buying a water but to collect rain in fall and winter, which you can use in the summer when it gets incredibly hot. It also means that if your state calls a hosepipe ban, your favorite plants will still manage to get the water they need to survive.

Finally, start using mulch and compost. It’s a lot easier to start than you might think, and a quick spread of either will do wonders for your garden with little effort a few times a year.

And there you have it - a garden that is perfect to relax in, and easy to maintain. Are you ready to achieve the ultimate in gardening Zen?

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A Low Maintenance Garden Is Easier To Create Than You Think

Among the most common reasons why you might be thinking of a low maintenance, garden is because you want a complete redesign. No more filthy weeds that pop up out of nowhere, no more loose soil that gets kicked around the footpath, and no more dead or dying flowers laying limp on the floor with their petals scattered. Maintenance is one of the most hated jobs around the home because it comes by every season and presents new challenges. Mowing the lawn is also seen as a tedious task, especially if your lawn is big. Out of control gardens can look like a miniature jungle and passersby make judgments about the owner as to be untidy. You can cut the task down to size by taking a few steps to ensure the future trimming and cutting is kept to a minimum while the aesthetics remain pleasing.
Image credit -

That’s edgy

Landscapers often want a garden to be flowing, so it looks larger than it actually is. However, creating edges around the lawn, flowerbeds and footpaths can add appeal while preserving the character of the features. The edging is permanent because, in order for it to be sturdy and contain the growing botanical varieties, it must be strong enough to maintain shape throughout all seasons.

Installing grass

One of the persistent cases for a low maintenance garden is the required hard graft is takes to maintain a lawn, and it’s tidiness. Grass grows dependent on the nutrition it gets from the weather. If you live in an area where there a regular rainfalls, and hot spells of sunshine, this will effectively rapidly accelerate the growth of your lawn. The artificial lawn is permanent as the underlayer is excavated, filled and replaced. If you’re in need of an artificial grass installation guide, there are professionals ready to aid you that can help you plan, lay the foundation, neaten the edge and apply finishing touches for a high-quality package.

Potting your plants

Incorporating pots into the garden makes the yard nice to walk through because plants that aren’t potted, have a tendency to spread out sporadically. Larger plants’ leaves, stems and flower buds all tend to bully the smaller rivals, and thus the garden is littered with uneven sizes. Plants that are mobile tend to have unhealthy lives because the fight for water and sunlight prevents a variety of plants being able to reach adulthood. A potted plant has it’s only little patch, where you can water it evenly and the because of the created gap between neighboring rivals, has a chance to get adequate sunlight.  
Image source - stonescape

Stoning over

Stoning over a portion of your back garden would also limit the amount of maintenance because that area can be used as outside dining space. It’s also a great way to place a barbecue grill in the back garden that’s more stable that a lawn could ever be. A lot easier to clean via a high-pressure hose and stoning provides a welcomed contrast between nature and a man-made structure. This choice may even result in your home legally reaping the spoils of being extended, without really being extended. As stoning is different from a footpath, which means, it’s not an inherent part of the garden. This can add value to your property should you decide to sell.


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