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The Perfect Patio

There is no reason why a patio has to be right outside your back door.  To begin with, look at the overall shape of your garden, at what must remain and what can be moved.  It might be that a patio will work best away from the house.  Consider the light at different times of the day in the garden, and at what times you will be using the patio.  After you have chosen the site, the easy part begins.Decide where to start digging.  This is a job best tackled with a friend, and the two of you can easily lay a small patio in a day.  Make sure you have the sand, cement, sub-base, paving slabs and skip delivered the day before you start.Dig and remove soil from your area to a depth of more than 10cms lower than the damp course of your house, if the patio is against it.  Fill the area with 4cms of sub-base, hardcore or chippings.  Level this with a straight edge and spirit level and tamp down with a petrol vibrator.  Add a 4cm layer of dry sand mixed with cement at a ratio of 5:1.  Tamp this down with the vibrator.Starting in a corner nearest the house or edge of the property, lay slabs in rows, checking levels constantly in all directions.  You will need a slight fall so rainwater drains away from the house.  Once the blocks are laid and level, some retention may be needed.  A  wet 3:1 mixture of sand and cement can be used to build a shallow ‘moat’ around the edges, while the same mixture can be use to point in between crazy paving slabs.  Square or rectangular slabs should have sharp sand brushed between them to prevent movement.

Building a gravel path

A gravel path is simple to make and is also an attractive addition to your garden. It is a popular type of path to lay down and it does not take a lot of time to make and is easy enough for everyone to create. A benefit of this type of path is that it is a clear walkway and you would not mess up your shoes with mud. The first thing that you should do is find the right location within your garden to create it. You should also consider what size and width of path would be the best for you.  You should make a mark of the length and width of the path that you are making, and do so on the grass. When satisfied you should proceed to dig a hole a few inches deep to hold the gravel. You should take measurements of this so you are aware of how much gravel will be needed to fill the path. When you choose the gravel you should select a colour that will go well with the surroundings of your garden. This step is optional, but you could also add in panels at the edges of your path to give a more polished look and to keep your gravel secure in the pathway. You could also use bricks or heavy rocks to line the outside.   Next step is to add in a weedkiller or pull out weeds and rake the ground to ensure that the foundations of the path are smooth. You can add a plastic sheet or an effective alternative to line the ground. Now it is time to add in the gravel. It is as simple as that; now enjoy your path!

Oeco Garden Rooms - a great hideaway in your garden

Garden rooms from Oeco are the epitome of contemporary style and the designs’ clean lines fit in perfectly with any style of landscape.  Innovative garden rooms can be used for a variety of purposes and are a less expensive alternative to building a home extension.  In the main, garden rooms require no planning permission and can be erected professionally and safely within the bounds of your property without fuss.Modern style garden rooms from Oeco come with all the amenities you would expect to find in a home, are energy efficient and temperature controlled for year-round usage.  Whether you want an office, a studio, a playroom or a hobby room a beautifully constructed garden room will fit the bill.The timber clad finishing not only offers a beautiful and robust finish but also serves as additional protection against the elements and the ‘breathable’ construction of these garden rooms keep interior condensation away.Garden rooms can be fully customised and come in a range of finishes, with quality foundations and are built to last.  Oeco garden rooms are manufactured with a ten year guarantee to ensure customer peace of mind.

Watering Garden Plants

Watering is essential during the first few weeks of bedding out annuals, and also during perennials’ first year of planting, especially in any dry spells. Once the plants have been established, there will usually be no need for regular watering except in times of drought.During a lengthy period of drought, plants should be checked regularly for signs of distress. Wilting is a clear sign that you have neglected the plant, because the proper time for watering is when the foliage looks a bit dull and when the soil is dry to a few inches in depth.Water thoroughly when you water at all, as a light sprinkling will actually just make matters worse. Two to four gallons for every square yard is the recommendation, and a hose pipe is best for this unless the garden is a very small one. Always water slowly close to the plant’s base, and if spraying over the foliage do not do this in hot sunshine.Allow periods of drying out between the watering rather than trying to keep the soil completely soaked all the time.

DIY: Make your home and garden look like your own paradise

Home improvementsMaking home improvements is easy by yourself, but is not as simple as people think.  It is something, however, that is possible if you are an individual who is keen to learn.  You can easily install items such as shelves and you can fix doors, cupboards and windows.  Basically, you can focus on anything else that needs to be updated in your home.  Carrying out some research first is necessary especially if you are taking on a project that you have never done before.Garden improvementsThere are many different ways to improve your garden, such as putting up fences.  Fencing your garden is a good way to keep people out and also to protect any plants that you might have.  It is a great idea to put some pebbles in your garden and solar powered fairy lights.  Essentially, if you are going to do it yourself, it means that you are at liberty to come up with your own design.  You can even opt for a water feature, such as a fountain.

DIY Tips - Digging

When digging in the garden or allotment, be sure to choose the right time. The soil should not be hard and dry, but neither should it be so wet that it sticks to the boots. It’s also important to use the correct sort of tool, with a spade for the more general work and a fork for the heavier soils.If clay subsoil needs to be broken up you should use a pickaxe. Subsoil lies just beneath the topsoil and is unfertile or dead. You can recognise it by its lighter colour because of the absence of humus.The spade needs to be kept sharp and clean, and you can carry a scraper in your belt for getting the clinging mud off as you go along. Don’t underestimate the job in hand, and work steadily. Don’t work too fast to try get it over with, or attempt to dig larger areas until your muscles have acclimatised themselves to this sort of work. Also, do not try to lift too much soil at a time – about six inches between spade cuts will be about right.

Garden decking

Increasingly, people use wooden decking as an alternative to grass. Once the decking has been installed it requires little maintenance and is also an easier surface to use for outside parties and BBQs.Some DIY stores sell specialised kits with either wooden planks or tiles. Another choice to take into consideration is the type of wood that you wish to use. As well as natural soft and hardwoods, you might like to take composite decking into consideration. This material is made from recycled timber as well as PVC, and has a reputation for being low maintenance and long-lasting. Another environmentally sound material is Thermodeck. This comes from Scandinavia and is manufactured using only softwoods from sustainable forests. The material is guaranteed to be water-resistant for 15 years.Spirit levels and hammers will be required in the construction process, as will drills, but once you start assembling the decking you will see that this job is logical and straightforward, especially if you enjoy carpentry and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Using Pre-Packaged Plants in the Garden

The standard planting material sold by supermarkets, department stores, and hardware shops is the pre-packaged perennial. This is a root with bare leaves and compost, sphagnum moss or moist peat around the roots. The entire plant is sealed into a labelled polythene bag. The main advantage of buying one of these pre-packaged plants is that they tend to be a lot cheaper than their counterparts grown in a container are, but there are also a few drawbacks of which buyers should be aware.First, you cannot see exactly what it is that you are purchasing. With a plant in a pot, you can have a good look and check it out for defects such as disease and malnutrition. In addition, premature growth might have got underway in the warm conditions that may occur inside a shop.The plant should be completely dormant, and have no leaf buds starting to open, or shrivelled or diseased stems, and neither should there be small, white roots that grow into damp packing material.Check out the signs as best you can through the material before buying a pre-packaged plant.

Reasons to invest in a garden room

If you are running out of space in your home, but do not wish to endure the expense and upheaval of moving to a larger dwelling, perhaps you should consider a garden room. A garden room is a self-contained building that can be quickly and easily constructed and installed in your garden by qualified professionals, providing you with a spacious annexe to your house.Different people use garden rooms for different purposes. Maybe you are going to start working from home? Garden rooms can become inspiring places to spend the working day, and yet you are only a short stroll from home and family. Join the growing band of converts to homeworking. Discover a new life/work balance and say goodbye to commuting.Other popular uses for garden rooms are extra dining space, games rooms, gym, music rooms, artist garden studios, treatment rooms or just chill-out spaces to relax in a green and pleasant environment.One of the attractions of a garden room is that most can be built without the need for planning permission. Some restrictions exist regarding boundaries and conservation areas, but these are subjects your suppliers will have experience of and be able to advise upon.You will love your new garden room so much, so make sure you can use it all year round. By ensuring adequate insulation, double-glazed windows and suitable heating, your garden room will be welcoming throughout the seasons.Garden room suppliers generally offer a comprehensive service that includes building installation, including electric and data point packages and assistance with planning issues where necessary. Most companies have a selection of ‘off-the-peg’ models that cover many customers’ requirements and tend to be the more cost effective option. However, if your requirements are very specific, many companies will work with you on a bespoke design that suits your needs.

Securing a plastic shed

For those who need a place to store tools in their garden, but don’t have the time or money to install a more permanent building, a plastic shed is a great alternative. Many people, however, do not buy this type of shed because they are concerned about security. This article is going to look at some of the best ways to deter thieves from a plastic shed.Positioning is importantBefore you actually make any changes to the shed itself, you should think about its position. If possible, move the shed nearer to the house, as this will make it less tempting for thieves and vandals. The chances of them getting caught are greater if the shed is closer to the house, and they are well aware of this. Security lightingInstall a powerful light in the garden that is activated by movement. Not only will this alert you to the presence of someone in your garden, but it will also deter thieves. It is well known that thieves prefer the cover of night, and security lighting takes this cover away from them.Fit a heavy duty lockJust because the shed is made out of plastic, does not mean that you should not invest in a serious lock. Make sure that the lock fits well onto the door, as this will make it harder for thieves to leverage bolt cutters.AlarmsIf the content of your plastic shed has a particularly high value then installing an alarm is a low-cost and effective deterrent.

Dividing Walls for the Garden

It might on the face of it seem like a difficult job to build a garden wall, but in fact it is simply a series of small and simple tasks stuck together. The majority of brick walls are constructed with the header or stretcher face of the bricks on view. The rows of bricks are called courses and the whole wall is normally topped with a coping. The bond consists of the pattern bricks in the wall, and their purpose is to stagger the vertical joints to strengthen the wall.Garden walls are generally built up from flat, thin pieces of stone bedded in mortar. If you have to cut stone for the wall, choose pieces that split naturally into square-faced fragments. You can use a bolster chisel and a club hammer for this, supporting the stone on a piece of old carpet, using a cold chisel for more delicate details.If your existing wall is in a bad shape there are a few ways of brightening it up. Painting the whole thing is probably the simplest remedy. You could also plant climbers against trellises pinned against the wall. For a complete renovation, clean back the surface with a sand blaster that you can hire in most DIY stores, and follow this up with high-quality repairs of the cracks and holes using the appropriate fillers.  Remember that brick and stone walls require a solid foundation. As a basic rule of thumb, the concrete foundation slab will have to be two or three times wider than the wall you’re going to build. If you’re uncertain about this just make the slab thicker and wider. If you’re making a dry stone wall, don’t use any mortar.If the wall of stone or brick will be higher than about your chest, you’ll need to dig a deeper trench of about 400mm and use a concrete foundation slab of about 240mm in thickness.

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