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.


Making your garden child safe

The garden is the perfect place for all the family to spend time together. Now that summer is here, you need to make the most of your outside space. It’s also a great place for the kids to play outside without you having to worry about them being out and about on their own. It’s more important than ever that you keep the kids active but when they’re young, you need to consider their safety as well. Check out these tips on making your garden safe for toddlers so you don’t need to worry about them while they’re out there.

Secure The Borders

Young kids are prone to wandering off and exploring the world which is why you need to make sure that they can’t get out of the garden while you aren’t watching. Garden fence installation is the first thing to consider; make sure you’re getting a good quality fence and you make it high enough that they can’t climb out of the garden easily. Make sure you’ve got a good lock on the gate as well and remember to lock the shed or garage if you’ve got any dangerous tools etc. in there that they might injure themselves with.

Divide The Garden Properly

Even though you’re creating a nice garden area for the kids, don’t forget about yourself. You’ll want to make a nice area for the adults so you’ll need to divide up the garden. You’ve got to think about this properly because you still need to be able to supervise the kids. Always put the kids play area somewhere close to the house so you can get on with things around the house while also keeping an eye on them. Putting a shaded area in is important as well because the kids won’t realise when they’ve been out in the sun for too long. You can use smaller fences and hedges to section off the kids area of the garden to stop them wandering around too much.

Be Careful With Plants

When it comes to planting the garden, you can get the kids to help. If they’re going to be helping you around the garden you need to be incredibly careful about what you’re planting. Toddlers like to explore the world by putting things in their mouth a lot of the time so make sure that you aren’t planting anything that can make them sick. Things like Ivy, Poinsettia, certain types of Lilies, Aloe Vera to name a few, can be incredibly dangerous if ingested. If you are going to use any of those plants in the garden, keep them away from the kids area and always teach them to be careful in the garden.

Use Plenty Of Grass

Slips and falls are inevitable when the kids are playing out in the garden so concrete is never a great idea. Soft grass is a lot better because they won’t hurt themselves too much. Normal grasses are likely to get ripped up pretty quickly when you’ve got kids running about so you’re better off going for something a bit hardier. Kikuyu grass is one of the toughest grasses out there which will stand up to a bit of punishment.

Be Careful With Water Features

A water feature is a great addition to your garden but you might need to wait until the kids are a bit older before you put one in. If you’ve got a fenced off portion for the adults that’s fine but don’t put a water feature where the kids can get at it. Even if it’s only a tiny water feature, there is still a chance that the kids could drown in it if they’re incredibly young. It’s not very likely but it has been known to happen in the past and it’s not worth the risk. If you’re dead set on a feature, just put one in and don’t run the water through it. It’s still a great piece of decoration in the garden but without the risks. If there’s an outdoor tap in the garden, put a lock on it so the kids can’t play with it.

Secure Furniture

Garden furniture is a must if you’re going to create a nice relaxation area for the adults but you need to think about how the kids might interact with it. They’re likely to pull at it and push it around. If it’s not secured to the ground, it can fall over and hurt them. Either secure it or keep it locked away in the shed or garage and just take it out when you need it.

Follow these rules and you can create a fun garden space for the kids that is safe so you don’t have to worry about them.
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