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Monday, 30 April 2018

Beginners Guide To Theming Your Garden

With summer just around the corner, it’s finally time to look forward to some long and warm days spent in the garden. Your garden might be looking a little neglected due to the winter we have just had, or you may just feel like something is amiss. Sometimes, all a garden needs is an established theme so that you can continue improving on it for many years to come. If you’re feeling like your garden is in a little need of tlc and a definite theme, here’s a beginners guide to theming your garden.

Photo by Florian GIORGIO on Unsplash
The first thing that you will need to establish is what kind of look that you’re going for. Some people opt for rustic looks, where others prefer a clean and modern look in their garden. Take some time to sit down and plan out a theme for your garden. A good idea is to match it with the room that leads out to your garden to make it a continuous theme throughout your whole property. 

Once you have decided what kind of look you want to go for in your garden, it’s time to think about colours. While different coloured plants won’t make a difference to the theme of your garden, other features will. If you’re looking for a patio area or even some paving slabs in your garden, consider Indian Sandstone paving slabs as they come in a wide range of colours, so you’re bound to find a colour that suits the look you’re going for!

Another thing to consider when it comes to colours is your garden furniture. Matching your furniture to any colours that you’ve already implemented in your garden will ensure that it doesn’t stick out, not quite looking right.

Once you have established a general theme in your garden, you can begin to think of different zones that you want to create throughout. This could be for a vegetable patch, a water feature, a kid’s play area, or even some decking. You can easily buy sleepers to fit into your garden which will create the illusion that there’s more to your garden than there actually is.

Choosing the right plants for your garden will also make all the difference in how it looks. For example, if you’re going for a clean and modern look, buying creeper plants will change the whole look of the garden. For a modern look, it’s probably best to go for small shrubbery that’s easy to maintain, and small yet colourful flowers to finish off your look. If you’re heading towards the rustic look, a plethora of different flowers will complete your look perfectly. Consider planting bamboo to add even more mystery to your garden!

Use these ideas to help you theme your garden ready for the many BBQs that you will be hosting for your friends and family. Show off your garden with pride and don’t forget, enjoy the summer while it lasts.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Bring Some Panache To Your Patio

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As the weather warms up, more of us will be spending time on our patios relaxing and eating outdoor dinners. Here are some ways that you can spice up your patio in preparation for the summer months.

Spruce up with bold plants

Plants can bring colour to your patio and provide natural shade. These are best grown in pots. Use boldly coloured plants to make a statement such as salvias and irises. You can also bring fragrant scents to your patio with plants such as philadelphus and jasmine. Some scents may even be able to repel insects such as lemongrass. Meanwhile, you could also consider growing potted herbs such as thyme, sage and rosemary, which can then be added to your cooking when having meals al fresco.

Decorate the walls and fences

You can also decorate the walls and fences around your patio to make it feel like an outdoor living room. You could do this with ornaments or you could add hanging baskets of flowers or creepers. Mirrors and landscape wall murals can meanwhile make a poky patio area feel bigger.

Upgrade your garden furniture

If you’ve currently got cheap and flimsy plastic chairs and tables, why not upgrade to something a little more luxury so that your patio is more inviting? There are all kinds of different styles of outdoor seating out there, from outdoor lounge sets to quirkier pieces like swinging benches. Different materials are likely to have different advantages and disadvantages. Cast iron can offer a traditional Victorian feel as well as being heavy enough withstand strong winds, however it can be prone to rust. Materials like wicker can offer a more Mediterranean vibe and are waterproof as well as being sturdy, however they can be lighter making them more prone to be thrown around in storms. Try to keep to one style and material so that your patio has a theme and doesn’t look too disorderly.

Light the way

For staying out on your patio in the evenings, it could be worth adding some outdoor lighting. This could be a motion sensing wall light that runs off the mains, or you could opt for solar lighting that relies wholly on the sun’s power. Solar lighting is by far the most flexible form of outdoor lighting as you don’t have to trail a cord around, plus you get more use out of these lights than a battery operated light.

Provide shelter from the elements

A gazebo could help to provide shelter from the elements – whether it’s shade from the sun or cover from the rain. This could allow you to stay out without worrying too much about the weather switching. Find a gazebo that suits the style of your patio. You could also decorate this awning with lights or hanging baskets of flowers. Patio umbrellas are another option, although these exist mainly to provide shade.



Thursday, 26 April 2018

Garden Layout For Laying Out – The Tricks Of The Trade

Summer is almost here and that means one thing: getting the garden in shape. Everyone wants to be able to sit outside in the sun and admire their work. Let’s face it – we like to brag and judge neighbouring gardens too. Of course, to get to this position all the features have to be on point. In short, the layout, something homeowners don’t take seriously, is vitally important to the style and practicality. As an amateur, structuring flower beds and vegetable patches so that work seamlessly sounds hard. And, it is because it takes skill and knowledge. Here, though, are the trade secrets that can bridge the gap.


Sketch A Design

How are your drawing skills? If the answer is good or so-so, start by heading out into the garden and jotting down a couple of sketches. Having an idea(s) on paper is the first step and makes it feel real. Remember that the majority of people are visual thinkers, so an image can instantly get the ball rolling. Begin by sketching the garden as it is now before moving onto the creative stage. That way, you can see what needs removing and what can stay. It doesn’t have to be a work of art, either.

Pin Ideas Together

Social media is huge, and it has a big part to play in landscaping. To design a layout, you need to be able to add features which are “must-have”, “want,” and “bonus.” Without inspiration, it can be hard to muster the imagination to revolutionise the area. For instance, Pinterest will have a variety of ideas regarding everything from water features to decking. Also, the site should lead you down the garden path, so to speak. Swing and Slide has patio door technology which is well worth considering, and their boards are available online. Think of it as a scouting mission.



Start Designing, Digitally

Once there is a plan and there are must-have features, it’s time to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Doing it manually is by no means a good idea, not until you know what it is going to look like. Therefore, it’s always wise to use design software to get an insight into the finished article. Garden Puzzle is an excellent tool as it encourages you to figure out the kinks and work through them, as the name suggests. Small Blue Printer is a handy resource as well.

Trial And Error

When the layout is in place and you’re happy, you can pat yourself on the back. It’s a job well done! Alternatively, you can constantly tweak and adapt the features until they are perfect. The way structures work is by using trial and error and learning from your mistakes. It may not look good, but you can address it, change it, and seek to understand what went wrong. Even when the garden feels right, don’t be afraid to add different pieces and try new things.

 
Hopefully, your garden layout will be perfect for laying out in the sun come summer.

 

Friday, 6 April 2018

Taking Bay Cuttings

An essential herb you should have available to you is bay (Laurus nobilis) it is an easily available plant to buy but if you want to grow your own heres how!
  1. Take a heel cutting, a fresh shoot or tip in early summer or in the autumn. Cut from a mature bay tree don't be tempted to take one from a young plant. The cutting should be about 8cm (3") long.

  2. Strip off the upper and lower leaves from the cutting.

  3. Dip the intended root end into a cutting rooting hormone powder. This will stimulate vigorous root growth.

  4. Put the cutting into a small pot filled with two-thirds coarse sand and one-third good quality multi-purpose compost.

  5. Put the container under a plastic bag hanging over wire or similar to keep it from touching or landing on the cutting. This creates a mini-greenhouse for the cutting.

  6. Be patient. It will take around 9 months for the cutting to root.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Japanese Cherry Blossom

At this time of the year Tokyo becomes pink with streets full of Cherry Blossoms.
 


Sunday, 1 April 2018

Creating the Perfect Relaxing Garden



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The garden can be the unrivalled champion of stress relief. If you’ve found yourself taking on a lot of stress due to work or home obligations recently, then it might be time to head out to the garden and craft yourself a relaxing haven. Here’s how!

The magic of gardening

As you may already know, physical activity is a great way of reducing stress. People often underestimate just how much of a workout thorough gardening can be sometimes! But it’s not just the physical exertion that triggers a decrease in stress.




There’s the increase in exposure to sunlight to think about, too. An influx of vitamin D, combined with fresh air, is always great for relaxation. Another thing about gardening is that it’s a creative process, which in itself relieves stress in a very effective way. That’s why a lot of people write and paint. Why not get double the effect by creating a beautiful garden then painting it?


Creating a space for you


People underestimate how stressful being at home can be. Because your home life isn’t always completely divorced from your professional life - and it certainly isn’t much of a break from obligations if you have a family! - simply being at home isn’t always as relaxing as people make it out to be.




That’s why having a private space away from home can be very beneficial. We’re not talking about something too far away from the house, of course - we’re talking about having somewhere right in your garden! Some may choose to construct an arbour or a small summerhouse, others may choose sheds or even a log cabin. Whatever you choose, these spaces can be great places to relax and concentrate.


Bring in the wildlife


Nature, in itself, can be a relaxing thing - and this effect is multiplied when you throw wildlife into the equation. The presence of animals can help someone de-stress very effectively. This is why a lot of people suggest that those who are depressed or stressed get themselves a cat or a dog!





You can encourage wildlife into your garden by getting a bird bath and bird feeder. After all, how good can a garden really be if it doesn’t attract beautiful birds? You can also encourage the presence of butterflies and bees by planting flowers. (Although the presence of bees doesn’t always relax people!)


Calming scents
It’s strange that there’s such a strong connection between stress and smell. But studies have shown again and again that there are certain scents out there that can really help us relax, as well as boost our mood. Thankfully, you can introduce many of these scents to your garden.

The first thing you may think of is lavender, which is widely used for its calming effects. Jasmine is something else you can grow in your garden with a scent that boosts moods. If you’re not in the mood to start growing plants, or you need something a little more immediate, then try mowing your lawn. You’ve probably experienced for yourself the mood-boosting and relaxing effects that the aroma of cut grass gives.

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