I've just been reading about new research suggesting that instead of the 5-a-day guideline for fruit and veg, we should all up it to ten! Ten a day seems a lot. For a start, my fridge isn't big enough to take it all. I haven't got room for another fruit bowl. There is only one thing for it – grow more of my own.
Grow your own
There a few ways to get any garden more productive for the kitchen table. Mixing veg and flowers is the main one. Lots of different types of veg looks terrific when mooching about in beds and borders. Take the feathery fronds of your average carrot. I'd quite happily grow a block of them just for the look of the leaves. The tasty roots are actually a bonus. And now I’ll have to grow more as I need to cram in ten a day. Carrots are easy to grow. You can put a few seeds directly into the soil and away they go. Or you can buy ready growing seedlings and do the same. You don't even have to put them in soldier straight lines. Scatter the seeds thinly in a block or a drift, rake over and stand back. You might not win any silverware at the village show but you soon will be pulling crunchy roots to nibble on.
Containers and hanging baskets
Containers are another wonderful way to get more edibility into a garden, and that means anything that can hold compost. Recycle old cans, hassle your local restaurants for catering sized metal containers (any place serving up olives will have decorative containers piled up outside ready to throw away – ask and get your hands on some of the trendiest plant pots you will ever get for free). Hanging baskets are also a great opportunity to grow a few of your ten-a-day. Cherry tomatoes are a popular choice. Beautifully compact plants, stems all bunched up and trusses of the sweetest toms you will ever eat. And all hanging just outside your door. Grab a handful for your lunch on the way out or pick a few as a snack as you walk around your garden. Chin-dribbling deliciousness. When growing in containers, whatever you manage to use, always ensure you drill drainage holes in the base and always use a quality compost. Plants may only be in there for a few months but it's a good idea to give them the best start possible. And most veg needs a sunny position to really thrive. Other than that, that's the start of a few more of your ten-a-day.
See our best plants for containers here
Fruit and vegetable garden
Of course, you can turn a patch or the whole of your garden over to fruit and veg. And why not? All those years ago (can it really be 45 years?) Barbara and Tom in the Good Life gave it a go. But honestly, you don’t have to take the spade to everything. Keep it small and simple at first and grow just a few fruit and veg. Prove to yourself it's a good idea and that you can do it. I get that. Redcurrants are easy if you have a wall and a bit of time to fix pieces of trellis or wires, and any upright supporting roses or sweet peas can also be used for climbing French beans (the variety called 'Cobra' is superb).
Clever, tasty and productive
Then of course you may decide that 'No - hanging baskets are not for veg' and 'No - the front lawn is staying put.' And even 'No - veg does not belong in the gladioli bed. Veg is veg and that means a veg patch.' OK, you can still grow more. Have a go at this – sweet corn as an upright support for French beans and down below, sprawling all over the place, keeping the roots cool and the moisture in the soil is a heavy cropping courgette. Three crops out of one small space. Clever, tasty and productive.
But even if you just try to grow one more veg, it will make a difference. And honestly, once you have succeeded - and you will - you'll never turn back. Ten-a-day? Pah - make mine twenty.
TING (one hour is up)
Clocks go forward
It's that turning point of the year. The clocks spring forward and we all have an extra hour of light in the evening. Beautiful. A whole extra hour to do…what exactly? 60 whole minutes. Fingers at the ready because your one hour starts... wait for it... now!
I've got to be looking at sowing some seeds. An hour is enough to find a few seed trays, fill with multi-purpose compost, water, allow to drain, sow and put in the propagator. Leaving time to label, of course. TING. One hour is up.
Or I could rake over a piece of soil I don't usually grow anything in, scatter some hardy annuals - thinly of course - tamp down with the back of the rake and ... TING. One hour is up. (Flowers will be produced within about 9 weeks and will look sensational – an hour well spent).
Or how about… walk on the soil where I am growing some caulis, stamp it down, rake it over, find the trowel and plant the brassica seedlings up to their lower leaves into the compacted soil. TING. One hour is up. (Brassicas grow best when the soil is super solid. The firmer the soil the better the brassica crop)
Or... disentangle the pressure washer from behind that pile of boxes that will come in handy if we ever sell anything on a certain auction website, scrape off the spiders’ webs and flick away the mouse droppings, find the hose connector... TING. One hour is up. Guess the paths will be cleaned when I have more time.
Or... start to sort the pile of unopened bills.... TING. One hour is up.
Or... get to grips with the ironing... TING. One hour is definitely up.
Or... dismantle the guttering around the shed and refit to ensure...TING. One hour is up.
What do do with that extra hour?
I could always vacuum the whole house and not just the bits friends will see when they visit at the weekend. I said…vacuum the …TING. One hour is up (had to wait for that one to TING). Permanently delete all spam emails. TING. Organise someone to take away ironing. TING. Clean inside of cupboards in case friends look in (they won't – why would they? That would be weird) TING. Check tyre pressures on car. TING. Add blue stuff to the windscreen washer bottle and lecture family on why it goes down too quickly. TING. Chat to neighbour about the control of ground elder and how it can creep under the fence if left to its own device. Twice. With added info on ensuring that if it continues to happen there are laws about it. TING. Check legalities of hassling neighbours over weeds. TING. Nip to shops to buy chocs and wine to give to neighbour as an apology. TING. Drink wine and eat chocs on new garden furniture with neighbour (TING) extolling the virtues of fire pits at this time of year (TING) and vowing to see more of each other and be bezzie mates after all (TING) and how in the future we will all laugh about this (TING TING TING)
This extra hour isn't enough. There's so much to do in the garden and house that I need a major change to legislation and indeed physics (or is it general science – do year 7 homework and actually understand it. TING. One hour is up) to have 24 hours’ daylight in a day.
So, what will you do with your extra hour of daylight once spring really springs? Or do I really want to know? - Let me know in the comments...
How about growing more fruit and veg to hit that 10-a-day target? Check out the 10-a-day blog
What have the blockbuster film La La Land, Donald Trump and The Pantone Color Institute got to do with plants? Well, they all influence trends – even in gardening. Yellow (that dress – so I'm told!), the gold of Trump Tower and green (Pantone 15-0343 to be precise) are all in.
Looks like primroses are the plant of choice this spring then. Yellow is all over the place – daffodils, achillea and the stunning foliage of Choisya Sundance will all be in high demand. And as for that gold – it's something you will either love or hate. A broom called Allgold would be a good bet to storm up the charts, and the mock orange with golden leaves, Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus' is a sure-fire hit.
Yes, the Pantone colour of 2017 is officially 'Greenery' – and a stunning shade it is. Described as being fresh and 'zesty' it also, apparently, has attributes that 'signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.' Something we may all need to do after emerging out of the cinema, blinking pit-pony style into the sunlight, to catch up on the news.
So green is good. Plants have known this for a long time.
Outside influences may nudge us towards certain colours but, without doubt, the growing trend for 2017 is, yet again, growing your own food. Perhaps it has been downgraded to a trend-let, as we all have been talking about it for a few years now, but it still makes sense. Crafting meals from scratch is the way forward; growing as many of the ingredients in your own back (or front) garden is even better. Sugar laden ready meals can be a thing of the past if you grow a bit of the good stuff yourself. Think food metres rather than food miles. (I know I'm mixing my imperials and metric but it sounds better!)
You'll be glad to know that the pressure is off doing a Tom and Barbara and going all self-sufficient. Even allotments are being found out as being too hard work for time starved grow-abees. Start basic. Get a large container and grow just one thing. Anything. Grow it well. Harvest and eat. You'll never turn back. Can I suggest potatoes in a kit? Everything you need to start your veg journey in one package. It's brilliant and easy.
Dinner parties will never be the same: ‘Oh yeah, of course they're home grown. Everything is. Anyone fancy a nibble on my cherry toms?' Never the same again- I promise you.
Along with veg we'll see fruit making a resurgence. Again, you don't need a walled garden or an orchard the size of a small county to grow a few juicy razzers or crisp apples. Choose carefully and bingo – tasty fruit straight from your patio.
Without doubt 2017, just like every other year, will be turbulent. Things always happen. That’s where your 2017 blooms come into play. Go flower-tastic. Plant ebullient blooms in bold pinks, steamy reds and sultry oranges (peonies, crocosmia and geums are great). Mix them and don't bother matching. Shove in a few veg amongst them and make the most of your plot, however large or small. Throw off the debilitating shackles of trends (sorry La La, Trump and Pantone) and do your own thing. Just make sure you can eat something you grow.
Color: the same as colour but I have to spell it like that to avoid litigation
Grow-abees: completely made up word; based on 'wannabee'
Razzer: or raspberry - I was rushed to meet a deadline
Trend-let: a little trend
Tom and Barbara: 1970's sitcom The Good Life based around self sufficiency (and Felicity Kendal…I was at a certain age)
Bingo: a numbers game but also an expression of 'ta dah'
Ta dah: see bingo; alternative to 'there you go'
Designing a small garden may seem like a simple affair compared to designing a very large garden that is seen in many public gardens. Space in a large garden allows for whimsy and certain elements can be seen from a distance. If there are some weeds or other imperfections they can or will often be overlooked by the viewer, but in a small garden space every bit of the design will feel like being under a magnifying glass. Nothing is hidden because it is so up close and personal. The space must be well planned and have strong bones. Thought must be given to how much the garden will be used throughout the year. Notes must be taken as to where the sun falls during the day. This information will dictate the placement of certain plant choices and seating choices. Decisions will have to be made like if a stunning stone wall is going to be kept and what needs to be added to it. It is not a difficult process, but it just takes a little thought.
Garden design tips for small gardens
Flower gardens are a sure way to create a nature filled space. They can consist of terraced flower beds, a log border flower bed, a rocky flower garden, or floral containers. New life is represented by colourful blossoms. Planting flowers in a terraced flowerbed will create layers of landscaping options. In these layers blooms can be mixed with interesting greenery to create a modern effect. Common flowerbed borders include stones, concrete, and horizontal wooden beams, but think out of the box.
The use of vertical logs as borders can inject unexpected height and delights to the senses. Another unexpected design element is the use of substantial rocks combined with low-lying blooms, and lush vegetation to create a feast for the eyes. Floral containers can also make a powerful impression in a small garden design. Using an assortment of rich tone flowers with a careful arrangement can create a work of art. Floral sculptures can come to life with a bit of intentional planting.
Some great options for garden seating include simple seating, tree trunk seating, curved benches, and outdoor dining. Nothing promotes thoughtfulness in a quiet garden like the perfect place to sit down and relax or contemplate. The seating can be kept quite simple, using just a slab of concrete to create a modern bench. An unexpected seating option that is quite solid and natural is the sturdy statement of a tree trunk.
Even better are these tree trunks arranged around a wooden table to create a group of seating. While the simple bench or tree trunk is great seating, a unique curved shaped, stacked stone bench makes for an ideal resting place. The spaces surrounding the seating are just as important when creating a pleasing sanctuary. Garden seating may also involve eating in outdoor dining spaces. They need to be clean, flat surfaces like slatted furnishings. Privacy can be added with tall bamboo, while sculptural elements can add intrigue to the space.
Water features can add a calming presence to any garden, especially in small gardens. The feature can be a tropical pond, a boxed pond on a green, a square Koi pond, bird baths, and fountains, among others. In a small garden it is important to decide where and how the water feature will be installed. It takes a bit of thought and planning, considering the space available, the types of the surrounding vegetation, as well as the budget and a practical time frame that fits with your lifestyle. A pond could be a simple rectangular, contemporary pond that complements lush tropical plants.
It could be a boxy pond that sits surrounded by a flawless lawn or manicured hedges. The shape of a square Koi pond can be reinforced by planting a delicate boxwood boarder around its perimeter. Other elements can be added to the middle of such a water feature, like a birdbath or statuesque. If there is no room for these types of ponds or if they are too complicated or too expensive then birdbaths and fountains can be great options for lovely garden additions. Give these water features a prominent placement like, for instance, using a layer of polished stones to create a perfect bed for a ground fountain.
One landscaping idea that is good for front or back gardens is the installation of a small pond or some type of water feature. The addition of any type of small pond, waterfall, or water feature such as a fountain creates a feeling of peace and tranquillity in a garden. They often create a retreat where people can not only enjoy the garden, but also the nature that it may attract. There are plenty of small ponds that will work nicely in small gardens to create the desired charm and beauty. The following is a list of five types of small ponds that can be placed into small gardens. They include a wildlife pond, an ornamental fish pond, a container pond, a modern pond, and a natural pond.
This is an attractive feature for any small garden that creates a haven for wildlife. This type of pond is especially beneficial since many areas within and surrounding cities have lost their natural habitat. Just about any size body of water has some value to wildlife, even if it is just a place where birds can have a drink and take a bath. However, a small pond can support various types of wildlife like invertebrates, dragonflies, damselflies, amphibians and birds. A wildlife pond should meet certain requirements like having gently sloping sides. Shallow areas are imperative to wildlife, allowing birds to drink and bathe as well as amphibians to spawn and hedgehogs who need sloping sides in order to escape. The key is to have varied slopes and depending on the contents of the pond (fish), some deeper sections for winters hard freeze.
Ornamental fish pond
This brings up the ornamental fish pond, which is quite different to a wildlife pond. In fact, it is not a good idea to have goldfish in a wildlife pond because they will eat the spawn of amphibians. This type of small pond requires a bit of planning and choosing certain plants to add in the spring, including plants like the water iris, dwarf reeds or bog plants, and a few bunches of pondweed to help oxygenate the water. Water lilies can be added in the summer and fish added after plants have been able to become established.
This can really be any kind of water feature. This is a great option when there is limited garden space or when digging a hole in the garden is not an option due to having small children or other reasons. In fact, a large plastic planting pot can be turned into a small water feature quite easily. If there are pre-drilled drainage holes in the container (which there often are) all that is needed is a bit of butyl liner to line the container.
After that, place a layer of gravel in the bottom and create a shallow area or ledge using a brick or an inverted plant pot. This will allow wildlife to safely use the water feature as a small pond, enabling the wildlife to get in and out of the water. A basket of marginal plants can be placed on this shelf, being submerged at or below the surface of the water. A waterfall can be creating using tubing, allowing the water to circulate and remain healthy for wildlife, as well as deter insects that like stagnant water to reproduce. Due to the size of the small container, it should be kept out of direct sunlight for long periods of time to reduce evaporation; it should also be in a place that is sheltered from prevailing winds, or at least supported by other surrounding planters and tubs.
Some people are turning to ponds with a more contemporary look in which a stainless steel ledge may be used to create a waterfall instead of natural rocks. This type of waterfall will usually have a more uniform cascade of water into the pond below. In addition to the stainless steel component, colourful lighting is also used to create a more modern feel. The contemporary style does not preclude natural elements like Koi Carp and even a few plants. Modern ponds generally have geometric shapes like rectangles, squares, or even triangles instead of circular or oval shapes. The modern look is often reinforced with brickwork around the pond that mimics the geometrical shape.
Modern geometrical shaped ponds may be trendy, but completely natural ponds are another trend all over the world. The key to this type of pond is to make it indistinct from the surrounding garden; it should fit in as a natural part of the garden. It may also have a fountain, but often rocks are used as a boundary and the pond will include moss and ground cover that will grow on and over portions of the rock. Water plants and underwater vegetation is a major component of natural ponds.
For most people the garden is an extension of the home; a place where they can interact with nature, spending time and becoming familiar with elements of the outdoors. The beauty of the garden or of flowerbeds comes from the maintenance. Maintenance of the garden edges and the garden borders are very important. These are what create the boundaries between the lawns, paths, and various other landscaping features and the gardens. Though it is easiest to create the various types of garden edges during the installation of the garden or flowerbeds, garden edges and garden borders can be added to an existing garden. The clean, smooth line of garden edges or garden borders will give the garden a finished look and a sense of clarity.
Four simple steps to garden borders
When creating a new bed a garden hose can be utilised to outline the desired lines that made up the garden edges or garden borders that need to be cut. If the garden edges or garden borders already exist, the cuts to freshen the edges and borders can begin without use of the hose. The tools that have traditionally been used to cut garden edges or garden borders are a spade or a half-moon edger. These tools are used to simply cut along the line that has been set out. Cutting curves is a challenge with either tool, and the course of the garden edges or garden borders is somewhat difficult to judge as it moves along. A different tool known as an edge hog is a circular blade on wheels. The wheels provide ease of mobility to cut along nice curves, making a continuous 1.5-inch deep cut/line in the soil. It is easier to gauge the line of the cut as it moves, making it easy to evaluate and revise the line on the fly.
Whether the garden edge or border was created by the spade, half-moon edger, or the edge hog tool, this step involves refining the established edge with the spade and removing the turf. The cut should be deepened to four to six inches. The turf on the inside of the bed will also need to be cut with the spade when creating a new bed. Then the cut and loosened turf can be removed by hand with ease. The end goal is to create garden edges or garden borders that have a ninety-degree angle.
Cutting garden edges or garden borders always makes everything more appealing to the eye when they are cut razor sharp. One way to accomplish this effect is to use hand shears placed vertically along the trench wall to cut remaining grass blades from the garden edge or garden border. To avoid destroying the right angle of the edge, do not hold the shears in a horizontal position; make sure to hold them vertically. Throughout the growing season, this step should be repeated two or three times to keep the edges looking crisp and clean.
Mulching the bed is the final step. The mulch should be put down in a layer of two to three inches. This mulch will add a rich, dark colour to the edge, while at the same time it will suppress any weed growth. Create a gentle slope from the bottom of the edge to the top of the bed by placing mulch right up to the edge of the turf.
Other edging options
There are other garden edging and garden border options that take minimal efforts to be constructed. They include horizontal brick landscape edging, diagonal brick edging, cast concrete edging, flagstone and cobblestone edging, edging with plants, and edging with logs and sleepers. These various examples have their own pros and cons that involve their availability, expense, their design style, and the maintenance involved to keep them up. Each and every option will create attractive garden edges and garden borders, enhancing the garden by giving it a look of precision or in the case of plants as edging, a soft natural look.
So often people who live in ''smaller'' homes feel frustrated with the lack of garden space they have available. However, with proper planning this problem seems do disappear to a certain extent and what follows are some space saving techniques. If you have only a patio, balcony, porch or small garden area available, have a look at the following to help you achieve the best garden for you.
Maximising available space
Clever container gardening
Decide what containers you like best. There are various possibilities to choose from, such as earthenware or porcelain. To avoid a cluttered look it is a good idea to stick to white and brighten things up with the flowers you choose. Remember too that pots need to allow proper drainage.
Position planters close to one another to save space. Arrange pots of similar size to create certain patterns, such as squares (6 – 8 planters) or circles (again 6 – 8 or even more in a larger area) with one bigger planter right in the middle for dramatic effect. This works well in a square space. In narrower areas we try to put planters directly against walls, with tall-growing plants such as shrubs at the back and smaller ones with spring blooms in the front.
Hanging baskets have become popular, not only because the look is ''different'', but also because they save space. Hang baskets of all shapes and sizes from ceilings, wooden beams, porches, balconies, or from wall brackets. Do not forget that window-sills and window-boxes all serve to save space. These days it's easy to find pots and planters to fit anywhere, even narrow spaces. You'll be amazed at what you can create by using spaces imaginatively. On window-sills alternate between spring/summer flowers and herb pots to mix beauty with practical considerations. Even the fence between your home and that of the neighbour's can be used to show off a climbing plant with, at intervals, small hanging baskets boasting lots of colour. Another way of growing your garden up (vertically) and not sideways or horizontally, is to create a ''layered'' look whereby you hang or position plants above one another. Paint, for example, three or more wooden planks/pieces of hardboard (also more sturdy beams if you have access to some) white and position them on bricks/small rocks. Now you have created the perfect structure on which to arrange planters, big and small, to show off your creative flair. All that's needed now is the choice of pots and plants. Some people call this method stacking. So, whether you layer or stack your pots, you save space and still have a pretty garden.
No space for the tool shed?
Use available areas creatively. The space underneath your garden table and chairs is perfect. Put the tools in painted boxes (either all of them white or painted in various colours) and stow them away. Alternatively a small cupboard or two in which the tools are kept, can be positioned in corners. On top of these you can put more flowering pots!
Use folding garden furniture
In small areas such as balconies it's often best to stay away from heavy pieces. Once you've folded up your chairs after use and put them in a cupboard (remember the one where you keep your tools?), you have more room to move and will not feel the effect of clutter.
The storage bench
If your patio/porch allows you the space, keep a bench with an easy-to-open lid where you keep tools, fold-away furniture, unused pots and garden related materials. Make the bench a feature by choosing a fabric in either white or a soft pastel and placing two tall planters with shrubs on either side. If you choose a white fabric, compliment it with a flowering shrub.
Small spaces can easily look cluttered. It is advisable to remember the adage ‘less is more’. Although we often think that because we have limited space available we need to compensate by bringing in more and more pots and plants and colour, the opposite is actually true. A lot of clutter causes your little garden to look untidy and uninviting and will not bring you joy, especially where space is limited. Stay on the safe side and instead choose fewer pots, planters and flower-boxes and be careful of too much colour in confined spaces.
Let your garden, even a small one, be your little paradise by planning it properly and executing your ideas cleverly.
Posted: October 13, 2016||
Autumn is now in full swing and you may be starting to wonder what tasks you need to get underway as we shift towards the colder winter months. So why not get your garden ready for autumn and winter with our top 5 favourite garden products to keep your garden in tip top condition.
Top products this season
Slot down composter
With autumn fast approaching this Slot Down composter will be perfect for collecting those dead leaves or for your bio-degradable waste. Not only is it useful for tidying up your garden but it can also be an environmentally friendly addition, making use of all your natural waste.
This product is ideal for any garden, with the rustic nature of the sawn timber, allowing this slot down composter to blend into any garden landscape. Manufactured from Rough sawn carbon neutral timber and pressure treated for longer life, this composter is protected against rot and fungal decay for up to 15 years.
The slot down composter is 102cm x 120cm, this includes legs which can sink below ground level sitting comfortably in your garden. An added bonus is that this product is very easy to build with a simple ‘slot-down’ design with the side boards sliding into channels created within each of the four corner uprights.
1.2m easy access Sherwood log store
As the nights start to get colder, relaxing in front of the fireplace is a must for this time of the year. This log store is an ideal accompaniment to a chiminea or open fire, providing a perfect storage solution. The Easy Access Sherwood Log Store allows your logs to dry naturally and quickly through the ventilation of the unique slotted design. This enables drier wood to be used which increases the heat output and reduces tar levels.
Featuring a very useful flip top roof, access to your logs is made easier, allowing a greater capacity for storage. The roof protects the logs from all the elements, further ensuring they stay dry in the autumn weather.
This wooden log store comes with a 15-year anti-rot guarantee to ensure that this product is a long lasting item that will keep your logs dry for many years to come.
5x2 Alpine log store
Alpine log store A stylish yet practical log store, this product is a striking and distinctive asset to any garden. Keeping your logs dry with style, this is the perfect way to store and display your fire logs within reach of your chiminea or log burner. A smart way to keep your wood dry, the Alpine log store protects your firewood against the elements and keeps your logs raised off the damp ground. The slatted bottom allows air circulation so the firewood can dry naturally and be more effective when burning.
This versatile feature has a triangular 45 x 45mm solid frame, giving durability and robustness to the structure with a planed frame all round, providing an aesthetic appeal. The 12mm shiplap style construction gives a stunning yet sturdy finish meaning this log store will be with you for many years to come.
6x4 Pressure treated shed with lean-to
6x4 Pressure Treated Shed with Lean-To Our 6x4 Pressure Treated Shed with Lean-To Store offers a sheltered external storage area which is great for storing logs or garden furniture in Autumn. With internal space providing storage for garden tools and equipment.
Manufactured to withstand harsher weather conditions, this shed has a sturdy pressure treated boarded floor and a weatherproof felted roof. The door has safe and secure hidden door hinges and can be secured with a hasp and staple latch. It is also braced with double “Z” framing which adds strength and can be hung on either side to suit. The window is made from unbreakable Polycarbonate, it lasts a lifetime without becoming yellow or brittle.
The 8mm thick overlap timber board construction allows water to run off and flexibility and movement within the timber. Thick roof battens aid in the strengthening of the shed, finishing off the shed with smooth timber barge boards and a decorative finial. This is a sturdy and solid shed which will be an addition in your garden for many years to come.
13x10 Ventoux 34mm Shingle roof log cabin
13x10 Ventoux 34mm Shingle Roof Log Cabin This elegant Log Cabin can be used as a stylish garden office, a stunning garden room or just a cosy space to sit back, relax and watch the winter months pass by. Manufactured with the best Nordic Spruce timber, the interlocking 34mm wall logs provide a sturdy and strong construction, whereas protection from the harsher weather is provided by the wind-tight chalet connectors. This is a sturdy log cabin which is constructed from the best materials and will look stunning in any garden.
With two beautiful, large double glazed windows and double doors this log cabin receives plenty of natural light aiding in the gorgeous views of your garden at this time of the year. The shingle roof adds an outstanding touch whilst protecting the roof from the elements.
Why gardens can improve the value of a house
A great looking garden can help sell your house. First impressions count for a lot and when selling your house that first glimpse of a manicured garden or otherwise can make all the difference.
Imagine the horror of wading through invasive weeds, stepping around piles of rubbish and tripping over discarded shopping trolleys – so don't do it to a prospective buyer. A few simple guidelines will not only help sell your house but can also increase its value.
How to boost home value by making changes to the garden
- Get everything clean and tidy. If nothing else then mow the lawn!
- Welcome pots of colourful bedding make an instant impression.
- Keep guarantees for all garden buildings and fences – they mean a lot to a prospective buyer.
- Get your boundaries in order – replace rotten fencing or have a quick paint to refresh.
- If any plants are moving with you then tell the potential buyer. It's only fair – and legal!
It will only take an hour or so but a mow of the lawn, a quick weed around and even a pressure wash of hard surfaces will make that first impression so much better. Spend a little more time, and perhaps £20 on a lick of paint for tired fences. It shows people looking at the property that you care and that will be in their minds as they look around the bricks and mortar.
A little bit of colour
Nothing is more welcoming than a couple of containers crammed with colourful bedding (and that applies to the winter months where pansies come into play) It has the same effect as flooding your house with the gentle scent of freshly percolated coffee and home baked bread – those other well tried tricks to create a welcoming, comforting and reassuring ambiance. The moment your buyers see the plants, they know they are in the company of caring people – people who care about their house and garden. And the containers can always go with you once the sale is complete.
Get your fences, hedges and walls looking good. Re-point crumbling mortar, paint or replace dodgy fencing and don't forget to cut the hedges. Everyone wants to feel secure in their home and gardens, so show that is the case with your property. Take the time to fill in gaps and make it look cared for.
It is always nice to see and visit fully landscaped gardens but not everyone wants one at home. Its debatable whether a 'finished' garden is a good thing to a prospective buyer. After all, it may seem daunting and a whole load of work to someone who simply wants to sit and relax in the garden.
A garden described as a 'plantsman's garden' could only be attractive to a plant person –definitely a narrower potential buyers market. Of course, some well placed, easy to care for plants will make a garden seem fulsome, and will not put people off. A well laid patio area is a must for most gardeners and it does evoke a relaxed lifestyle feel when a potential buyer is looking around. Sell that promise of long summer evenings in the sun. Put clean garden furniture out with trendy cushions and parasols. Sell the dream.
Big money spends
I'm thinking swimming pools and other big ticket items! A swimming pool is terrific but to many will instantly cause panic. Safety ( if the potential buyer has young children), cost ( maintenance is a lot) and actually the number of times you can actually use an outdoor pool in the UK may cause a potential buyer to say 'no' to a property. An easily maintained hot tub could be a better alternative.
Summerhouses come into the same bracket. However, the promise of an extra room, an office, storage area or another place to sit and enjoy the garden is surely a positive to most potential buyers. Make sure anything you have is well maintained and if new, wave the guarantee around when buyers are looking. Quality buildings carry a lengthy guarantee.
When you go, they go
A good looking garden can help sell a garden. A great garden can increase the value of the overall house. But sometimes you simply have to take a few plants with you – sentimental reasons often are behind a plants existence in a particular garden. If you are planning to move a shrub along with your award winning collection of toby jugs, you have to tell the buyers and even the solicitors sorting out the legal stuff.
I have known keen gardeners to get it all down on a legal document and then arrange to lift and remove plants in autumn – the best time to move plants. And that shows a really caring garden owner and house seller.
Choosing the right trellis for your garden is vital. It's not just a plant support – selecting the design and material wisely will enhance your garden's look, provide a framework for climbers and privacy for you.
Opting for cheap, poor quality, or not fit for purpose designs can lead to snapped plants, lost crops and expensive damage.
So what are your choices?
First, look at the style of your garden. If it's traditional, go for classic designs in natural wood, such as diamond lattice patterns within a framework, or simple fans that will sit above pots along a wall.
If your look is contemporary or quirky, think clean lines, either in wood or metal. Make the trellis a real design feature by staining it a contrasting colour and repeating the pattern along a wall with minimal planting.
A vegetable or fruit plot needs to be practical. Choose heavy-duty trellis for tomatoes, runner beans, climbing courgettes and squashes – their weight can be substantial, so secure fastening is a must.
Another option is the obelisk - a 3D trellis. They provide structural 'full stops' in borders, especially in winter and make use of vertical space. By placing tall objects across the line of sight, the viewer has something to discover – hidden vistas invite you to explore. Obelisks are ideal for sweet peas, nasturtiums, morning glory and crops like runner beans and thornless blackberries.
It's important you get the right good-quality trellis for the job. Wooden panels should be pressure treated and have an anti-rot guarantee; metal designs should have a rust-proof or plastic coating.
Bear in mind your garden's weather conditions and prevailing winds. If panels are going to be free-standing, or used as a fence, choose heavy-duty wood, with pressure-treated fence posts concreted in.
In a windy area, choose widely-spaced slats. Anything more solid will act like a sail and will be blown down. If you get a lot of rain, make sure there's a sloping lip on the top of panels, so water runs off.
You can manipulate privacy by the size of the lattice and what you grow on it. If it's only important in the warmer months, choose perennial climbers like the golden hop (Humulus lupulus aureus) or everlasting sweet pea (Lathyrus), which die down in winter. If you want year-round cover, choose an evergreen such as ivy, or use wall-trained shrubs like Pyracantha or holly.
If your trellis is supporting climbing roses or late-flowering clematis, make sure you buy panels that look stylish when they aren't covered by plants – roses are pruned to a low framework in autumn and clematis are cut back in spring.
Trelliswork doesn't have just a supporting role, but is a feature in its own right. Its versatility, from obelisk to screen to wall panel, makes it one of the designer's favourite tools. Always buy trellis that's fit for purpose – untreated wood or metal will collapse, taking with it expensive plants.