Apr
29

Garden Shed Styles

Garden sheds come in many different shapes and sizes.  For many people, a garden shed is simply a storage space set apart from the home which can be used to store tools and other equipment.  For some people, a garden shed can be used as a quiet place to work or relax in.  Choosing the right material to build the garden shed and planning its use beforehand should help you make the most of it.

A wooden garden shed can fit right into the garden environment, and can be relatively affordable to build.  There are different types of wood you can choose, from cheap composites to pressure treated varieties.  Painting or staining the shed will help it last longer in the outdoor environment.  Also ensure that the walls do not directly touch the ground; a slightly raised wooden shed will last longer by avoiding ground damp.

Metal sheds have a totally different look than wooden sheds.  It depends on your personal taste, but it may help to know that metal sheds generally require less maintenance and are less likely to be easily broken into by burglars.  This means that it will be safer to store expensive garden tools, bicycles or other goods in a metal garden shed.

Plastic sheds are the best in terms of low maintenance, and many are designed to look like wood.  Plastic sheds need to be firmly grounded in a base to stop them from toppling or moving in heavy winds.

Feb
21

How to Lay Turf in Your Garden

So you have a ‘naked’ lawn, and you want to lay turf to make it look a little better?  Follow the steps in this article to give you a professional finish for your turf laying efforts in any yard or garden.

First Steps

Before you lay your turf you must sprinkle pre-turfing fertiliser over the area to be turfed.  Rake this in gently.  Now you can begin laying your turf.  You can either stand on the prepared ground or the laid turf (using boards so as not to damage it).  If you stand on the prepared ground, rake it over before each new piece of turf is laid. 

Begin by laying a long straight edge.  Roll out the turf carefully, without stretching it, as this will cause shrinkage later on.  Once the first piece is laid you can roll the next one next to it, pushing the edge of the second piece hard against the edge of the first piece.  Try not to overlap the turf as this will look unsightly later on.

Final Steps

When you have laid the turf,  you can use a roll or a tamp to push the turf closer to the soil.  Additionally, if you have gaps (as a result of poor cutting and joining) then you can manually stretch the turf to force it to fit the area better.

A further tip is to roll each piece of turf in opposite directions because this gives a great just mowed, striped effect to the overall finish.  Also, finish the edges last, leaving enough turf overlapping the edge.  You can then use an edging iron to shape your turf. 

One of the most important things to do to freshly laid turf is to water it a lot.  If you’re forecast for rain, then this is great news.  If not set up sprinklers and make sure it gets plenty of water every day.

Jan
21

From Pagoda to Pergola – Your Guide to the Perfect Gazebo

So, you’ve decided that you would like an outdoor gazebo. The only question is, what kind? There are many different styles to choose from when building one of these beautiful garden features, as well as a range of shapes and materials.

Pavillion gazebos, also colloquially known as a Patio Gazebo, are the most popular option for the home. Often the option that immediately springs to mind when considering a garden gazebo, the Pavillion style typically includes a wooden, lattice structure that is often octagonal, with a tiled roof. This structure offers a panoramic view of your surroundings, with the air flowing freely through the wooden slats.

Pagodas are garden gazebos that feature designs taken from the Far East. Original pagodas can be found across China and Japan, where they were often used as Tea Houses for the famous Japanese Tea Ceremonies. A modern pagoda can make a stunning and elegant statement in an outdoor space – featuring a multiple tiered, curved roof, this option is ideal for individuals wanting to make a bold statement.

For a more unusual gazebo, why not consider a pergola? Rather than a circular building, this garden feature involves a covered walkway. Perfect for creating structure in your outdoor space, for example by making a covered dining area or a sheltered path to an outdoor pool or a hot tub gazebo, a pergola is an excellent choice to transform the way you experience your outdoor space.

Dec
07

Mandaps – A Hindu wedding feature that shows how beautiful a Gazebo can be

A wedding mandap is an integral part of a Hindu or Jain wedding ceremony. Similarly built to a modern outdoor gazebo, it traditionally consists of a covered structure with four pillars, each representing one of the four parents of the couple, all giving their support and blessing to the union. The pillars are also said to represent the four aims of Hindu life; righteousness, wealth, desire and liberation.

Unlike an outdoor gazebo, the mandap is normally a temporary construction indoors. Whereas once mandaps were constructed as wooden gazebos, now the structures are available in a wide range of materials and styles, from roman style stone pillars to modern metal-framed draped gazebos.

In fact, mandaps are a great example to any couple think about having a wooden gazebo or canopy gazebo at their wedding. Striking traditional carvings can provide the basis for Eastern-inspired pagoda designs, while the creative use of lighting, ribbons, tulle and draping will help any couple that wants to create a dramatic, rich backdrop to their wedding ceremony.

Mandaps are becoming ever more popular, with non-Hindu couples also choosing to celebrate their marriage using these beautiful and spiritual centrepieces. Just how popular the gazebo-style structure has become was demonstrated recently as singer Katy Perry and comedian Russell Brand got married in a Hindu ceremony in India, sitting on traditional thrones under a mandap as their marriage ceremony took place.

Nov
15

How to Install a Gravel Garden Path

A vital requirement for all gardens, paths are essential not only for their basic function but also for creating a sense of ordered space.  A meandering garden path draws visitors along, and showcases plants and features along the way.

A good and cheap alternative to flagstones or stepping-stones is a gravel path.  With so many different forms of material available, gardeners can customise their path by using simple pea shingle, or by purchasing more extravagant stone.

Step 1:
Carefully measure out the path to ensure that it is wide enough for your needs. A functional path for wheelbarrows and equipment will need to be wider than one to simply guide visitors through beds and borders.

Step 2:
Line the base of your path with a material to stop the gravel substrate from sinking into the ground. Plastic sheeting or old carpet is ideal, and will ensure that gravel is not lost into the ground over time.

Step 3:
Add appropriate sides to a gravel path, as, unlike solid flagstones, material will quickly become scattered across any uncontained area.  For a cheap option use a simple plastic runner available from garden centres. Alternatively use path sidings, rolls of wooden border edging, or a small low brick wall to create a stunning effect.

Step 4:
Having chosen a suitable gravel substrate, fill the path so that it is at least an inch deep. Rake it over, hose down to remove dust and debris from transit, and enjoy your new easily made path.

Oct
25

Pruning Plants

The purpose of pruning of trees or plants is to produce strong and healthy specimens.  However, pruning may be done for a variety of other reasons. 

Reasons for Pruning

The first reason why plants may need pruning is safety.  Branches that are in danger of falling may need to be removed, while plants or trees growing adjacent to roads and footpaths may require cutting back to enable pedestrians or vehicles to pass unobstructed.  Another reason for pruning is to encourage the healthy growth of the plant or perhaps to remove diseased branches or stems.  The top of a tree could require thinning out to promote the flow of air and reduce the likelihood of problems with pests.  Finally, trees or plants can be pruned for aesthetic purposes to enhance their form and encourage flower production. 

Pruning Cuts

Any pruning cuts should be made cleanly and with a sharp saw or pair of secateurs, depending on how thick the branch or stem is.  When pruning plants, you should make the cut close to, but not immediately adjacent to, a bud.  The site of the cut will close up quite quickly and will cause no harm to the plant or tree.  It is essential that the cutting tools are sharp, so they can cut the branch or stem off without tearing or ripping the plant.  Even if the branch is dead, you still need to be careful when pruning in order to prevent disease spreading to the healthy part of the tree.  

Oct
13

Garden Patio Design

Overview
Designing your own garden patio can enhance the look and functionality of your garden and boost the attraction of your property.  Garden patios are generally located close to, perhaps directly bordering, your property.  Nonetheless, it is perfectly possible to lay a patio elsewhere in the garden, to benefit from the sunshine or to enjoy a particular view.

Garden Patio Surroundings

Laying a garden patio close to trees or other types of greenery can lead to a pleasing oasis-type effect.  The trees and shrubbery can give you shade as well as a natural barrier against the wind.  On the down side, natural surroundings can lead to a higher concentration of insects in spring and summer.  Laying the patio foundations could also damage tree and plant roots.

Laying a stone path leading to the patio from your property helps to divide the garden area.  Stone paths are a great way of combining functionality with aesthetics.  It also helps to bring the two areas together.

Defining the Precise Look of Your Garden Patio
Garden patios can be designed according to an array of styles, patterns, colours and shapes.  You can research these online or in specially-produced gardening books to help drive your inspiration.

Classic garden patios tend to use straight geometrical shapes or circles, defined by the types of paving stones or bricks used.  Of course, you can design your own pattern if you have the time and inclination to cut the stones into particular shapes or buy them specially manufactured.

Sep
25

Applying Stain to a Deck

Applying an oil-based stain to an exterior wood deck will help prevent damage from the elements; it helps protect and preserve the wood and keeps it from drying out.  Stain should be applied soon after the deck is first installed, if it is constructed from hardwood or clear pressured treated wood and it should be re-stained every year.
 
Preparation

Decks should be cleaned thoroughly before applying stain and after washing, wait 24 hours to let the wood dry thoroughly.  After the deck is stained, it will need to dry for two to three days, so it is best not to carry out the work during a rainy time of the year.

Applying Stain

It is important to apply stain evenly, starting with the railings.  Either a roller or brush can be used, but for the best results a brush is preferred.  Bear in mind that using a brush to apply stain over a large deck can be very time consuming.  A third and increasingly popular option, is to apply the stain with a sprayer, which is an excellent way of achieving an even finish, but this should be done carefully in order to prevent over-spray.  To achieve the best results, the stain should be applied swiftly and evenly so that the colour is consistent and blended.  It is also important to plan where you are going to start and end, so the deck is stained in a way that provides an exit for you when you are finished.