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Giving Your Garden Furniture a New Lease of Life

Whilst having beautiful wooden garden furniture to relax on throughout the year is a wonderful asset to any home, items can quickly become tired and worn.  Unlike household furniture, items left outside are left to face the elements, with wind, rain, sun, and frosts taking their toll on once lovely furniture.  However, you can easily breathe new life into your furniture by simply taking the time to sand down those rough edges and add a lick of paint, and you will have stunning fresh pieces in no time.When treating wooden furniture, your first step should be to remove all debris and dirt from items.  Sanding away all peeling paint or creosote fragments is also needed so that you can start with an entirely fresh canvas.  For all furniture, especially outside pieces, it is important to apply a coat of primer first to ensure that final paint takes and holds its colour well.  Depending on the length of time furniture has been outside it may need a couple of primer coats, so allow pieces to dry fully until you have a good overall first layer.There are a multitude of paints and colours available, specially made for outside furniture.  Take the time to think about colours.  If you are updating old furniture, why not make it more vibrant than before with a stunning shade?  Depending on your garden environment, you can tie in your furniture colour with the hues of flowers and foliage, making a stunning statement. Once you have decided on your colour, ensure that your primer coats are dry before painting.  You may need a couple of coats to ensure that the colour shines through, but by taking the time to breathe new life into outside furniture, you can give your entire garden a makeover.

Building a great Garden Gazebo

Traditionally, gazebos have evolved from ancient stone structures to a hexagonal or octagonal wooden design. However, there are many different shapes and materials available to give you the right outdoor gazebo for your needs.Wooden gazebos are a popular choice due to their durability; unlike some metal or canopy gazebos, a wooden gazebo will make a permanent addition to your garden. If you decide to build a wood gazebo, make sure that you choose the right materials for the job – a hardwearing wood such as cedar is perfect for parts of the structure that will be exposed to the elements, while softer woods such as pine should be kept for interior beams and not exposed to harsh weather. This material allows you to make dramatic design statements – choose a Chinese or Persian inspired multi-tiered pagoda design for real wow-factor, or carve unique designs into the pillars of your project.Of course, the downside to choosing a wooden gazebo is the cost and time involved. For a more portable option that will take less time to construct and be more cost effective, you may wish to choose a metal framed or canopy gazebo. Available in a range of materials, from cast iron to steel frames, with the option to choose floral or nature inspired metalwork designs, you can still achieve elegance without spending a huge amount of time on construction.

A Room with a View - Garden Gazebos

How to make the most of your Gazebo with our decorating tipsA patio Gazebo makes a great feature for any home. On the other hand, with the popularity of gazebos on the rise, it may be the ideal time to make sure that your outdoor space stands out from the crowd. To make your gazebo truly unique, here are our decorating tips for an individual, welcoming garden gazebo.Invite the Garden into your GazeboAn outdoor gazebo may be the perfect place from which to appreciate your garden, but it can also be an ideal space to cultivate plants that you haven’t had room for elsewhere. Make a talking point of your pergola by introducing climbing plants such as Clematis, Honeysuckle or Jasmine. Similarly, do something different with hanging plants in a gazebo by growing tomatoes or peppers from a hanging basket.Wildlife can also benefit from your gazebo, with the right encouragement. Add a birdfeeder to the frame of your garden gazebo to encourage birdsong in your outside space, or place a birdbath nearby for uninterrupted views of nature. A water fountain or pond is also one of the best ways to encourage life into your garden, as well as providing a pretty feature for you to enjoy.Let a little light inDon’t let the approach of evening drive you from your garden – with candles, outdoor lighting and even solar powered lamps, you can create a warm atmosphere from which to watch the sun go down. Why not try lighting Chinese Candle Lanterns and watching them drift skywards from your Eastern-inspired patio Pagoda?

DIY Tree Removal

Cutting down Unwanted TreesCreating an ideal garden can often revolve around creating the right amount of space.  Gardens are often divided into parts: lawn, flowerbeds, vegetable patch, seating area or patio.  Trees can function in this space by acting as natural dividers or as border markers.  On the other hand, refashioning the space into the desired whole can mean taking out unwanted trees.Starting the Tree CuttingBefore starting to cut down trees in your garden, you should check that you are allowed to do so with your local authority.  You may end up with a fine or legal consequences if you cut trees without written permission.If there are no local authority objections, start cutting the tree by removing its top branches.  Work your way downwards.  The aim is to end up with a cleared tree stump that you can cut down from top to bottom in stages.  Cutting it in stages means you do not run the risk of the tree falling onto your property or the rest of your garden.Clearing the Tree StumpThe end stump left of the tree, perhaps around knee height, can be removed only with brute force. You may find it easiest to hire a small digger that you can use to mechanically dig and then pull out the tree roots.  Digging a tree stump out by hand is possible, but very time consuming.Level the area by filling the hole with ground from elsewhere in the garden.

Laying Paving Slabs

You have a huge choice when it comes to choosing paving slabs, as they are available in all sizes, shapes and colours and in a wide range of materials and finishes.When preparing the site, use a line strung between pegs to delineate the area you intend paving.  Dig out the soil, clearing it away as you go.  If the paved area is only going to take foot traffic you need to go down 100mm or so and use builders sand to form the sub-base, depending on the ground conditions.  If vehicles are to be driven over it, you will need to go down 200mm to 300mm and use limestone aggregate with a top layer of builders sand.  The sub-base will need to be firmed down by walking over it several times or using a roller, if you have access to one.  If you have used limestone, you will need to rent a ‘wacker plate’ from a tool hire company, in order to form a solid base, before topping off with sand.  There should be a slight drainage slope and remember, if the path or paved area is to adjoin the wall of the house, you will need to ensure that their upper surface is 150mm lower than the level of the dpc (damp-proof course).  The slabs should also slope away from the wall.At this point, you can begin laying the slabs straight onto the sand.  Start at a corner and manoeuvre them into position, using a 100mm wooden spacer between them.  This will create an even space into which mortar will eventually go.  As you place the slabs in position give them a few taps with a wooden mallet and check that they are lying flat by using a spirit level.  When you have laid all the slabs remove the spacers, mix the mortar dry and brush it into the gaps between them.  Taking care to walk as lightly as possible.  Finally, use a watering can or hosepipe with a fine nozzle, to dampen the mortar.Working slowly and methodically you can save a small fortune by laying your own paving slabs.

Why choose a Garden Room?

You may want extra space for a home office, children’s play room or even a gym, but planning permission can take a long time and might not go through; that is why many people are having extra rooms built in their gardens called garden rooms. A garden room can provide much needed extra space which is away from the hustle and bustle of the main house and are ideal for home offices, a workshop or general leisure room and provide all the comforts of the main house. Garden rooms often include electrical outlets, heating and lighting options as well as exterior timber cladding to fit into the style of any garden.As well as the cost benefits of installing a garden room over a traditional extension or loft conversion they can be installed in a matter of days with minimum disruption to the main house, and as long as they are not used for an extra bedroom no planning permission is required.There are many window and door options available when choosing your garden room and the exterior can be painted or stained to match the existing style of you garden or house. A quality built garden room will also add value to your home if you come to sell it.

How to Build a Cold Frame

Gardeners who like to plant in early spring or late autumn love their cold frames.  By using a cold frame it is possible to create a microclimate that is warmer than the outside environment.  A cold frame is simply a window frame propped up on wood to provide space for the plants.  They are easy to make and ideally you should try to find an unpainted window.  If you have to use a painted frame, test for lead content in the paint with a kit.  They are available from most hardware or DIY stores. To make the frame, you need 14 pieces of 2” x 4” timber; seven are cut to the length of the window and six to the width of the window.  Cut the final piece to the width of the window, mark diagonally from corner to corner along the length and cut along the line to form two triangular pieces.  For the window props, you need three 2” x 4”s cut to 24” long. Construct the base of the frame by forming a rectangle with two of the shorter 2 x 4s and two of the longer ones.  Place a second 2” x 4” on top of the ones forming the rectangle and use nails to hold the pieces together.  Next, place the third set of 2” x 4”s on top of the previous ones and nail them into place.  You will now have formed a rectangular frame and all that remains to complete it is to nail the two long triangular pieces underneath the sides of the window frame, with the narrow ends facing the front.  Nail the final 2” x 4” underneath the longer rear side of the window frame. Place the window on the base and secure to the frame with hinges, which will enable you to raise the window if the weather is unseasonably warm and to water the plants.  The short lengths of 2” x 4”s can be used to prop the window open to allow fresh air to the plants as required.

How to Repair and Hang Gutters

Gutters and downspouts are designed to carry rainwater away from a house or structure.  However, over a period of time gutters can fall into a state of disrepair, as does anything exposed to the elements. If you have removed your gutters to inspect them and repair any holes, now is a good time to clean them using a wire brush and hot water.  ake a bucket of water and pour it down the gutter and if it starts to drip or leak, mark the spot and allow the gutter to dry.  Once dry, spread a thin coat of fibreglass resin over the hole, fit a fibreglass mesh patch over the resin and finish with a second coat of resin.  Then let the patch dry completely. You are now almost ready to re-hang the gutter using either the existing brackets, if they are in good condition or new ones, where necessary.  Also take the opportunity to check that the fascia and rafter tails are not damaged. Using a spirit level and a length of string to mark the slope, ensure that the line of the gutter slopes towards the downspout, adjusting any brackets that are incorrectly positioned.  Clip or screw the gutter to the brackets and pour a bucket of water down it to check that the water flows freely to the downspout and that there are no leaks at the joints between sections of gutter.

Gazebo Storage

Proper gazebo storage is something that a lot of owners overlook. A badly stored gazebo can become damaged quickly, which results in much wasted time and money.It is important that if you do not have a permanent gazebo you should tidy and store all of the necessary parts correctly. This will make the job of finding and re-installing them a lot simpler and a lot less of a chore. Never throw away the original packaging that a standard gazebo comes in. The parts can easily be folded or taken apart and fitted back into the packaging that they arrived in. This will save you a lot of space as opposed to throwing everything into a cardboard box that the gazebo doesn’t fit into properly. Gazebos will often be left unused for long periods of time, particularly during the winter months, and you need to store them in a safe and dry place. Storing the parts in a damp, unused garage will often cause the parts to deteriorate, stain and maybe rust. Never force the gazebo parts into a box if they do not fit correctly – it is always best to have a bigger box that the parts fit into nicely than have a box that’s too small; this can lead to a support pole being snapped or a small tear appearing in the canopy cover. The last thing to remember is to simply use some common sense. Think about where you are storing your gazebo and how you are preparing it for storage. These decisions could make a big difference by the time you come to use it again.

A Gazebo as a Play Area

Even if your gazebo is not a permanent structure it can provide the ideal play area for children.  Using a gazebo as a play area has a number of benefits; for example, it will encourage the children to be out in the fresh air rather than in the house watching television. They will, therefore, be able to play more active games, rather than the sedentary activity of using games consoles that they may play indoors.It also means that children can play outdoors even if the weather is poor. This is perfect if the space indoors is limited, and also stops them from becoming bored while they are waiting for the sun to shine. On very hot days, it will also provide the shade they need to avoid heat stroke and sunburn. However, an enclosed space may prove to be too warm on very hot days. Children playing indoors can often be noisy and disruptive, particularly if parents are working at home or carrying out chores.  Encouraging them to play in the garden will ensure a more peaceful, restful household.If the garden gazebo is being used as a play area furniture is not needed, as children are more than happy with cushions and beanbags. A small table can be added if the children want to eat in the gazebo. If the gazebo is enclosed then it will discourage insects, and allow items such as cushions and toys to be safely left inside overnight.

Transforming your Garden with a Wood Gazebo

Now that the teenagers have taken over the den, you need an extra entertainment area, where you and your friends can have a dinner together; a place where you can kick back, relax, chat, and have sundowners in the evening.  You need an adult place where you can express your individual style and be snug in winter and cool in summer, and a place that can expand on lovely summer days, and then hug up close in winter.You’ve thought about renovating the house, bashing out walls, but you know that you can’t take the chaos. So you’ve taken to looking at other properties, but nothing quite offers what you have already in the home you love. If only you had another room to use for entertaining.On those cold winter nights your outdoor patio doesn’t get used much – but wait, what if you transformed the space by adding a wooden gazebo with a dining area, and perhaps a seating area with a small bar? And your dream, a luxurious wooden hot tub.This could be a sanctuary where you can escape to read a book with a glass of wine. You can fill it with palms and plantation style wicker couches with comfort in mind.  You can picture the fresh, breezy, cotton chintz fabrics for the canopy. A gas heater would add warmth.Now it’s a visual asset to your home and adds a touch of class and style.  All lit up at night, with the lamps and candles glowing, the wood gazebo has completely transformed your home.

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