Tag: gardening

 

This summer, TV viewers were alternately gripped and horrified by the progress of a group of athletic young people abroad, following their joy and heartbreak, their victories and failures, and waiting with bated breath to see the drama unfold. No, not the football – we mean a popular reality show, where the contestants were seeking their soulmates… as well as £50,000.

But if there’s one thing on the island viewers truly fell in love with, it’s the stunning villa the couples got to call home. With perfectly manicured lawns, a luxurious infinity pool and changing rooms like the backstage area of a fashion show, it’s the kind of place you wouldn’t just want to spend a summer in, you’d want it all year round. So, we’ve come up with some ways you can incorporate a touch of villa magic into your home.

 

 

Outdoor kitchen

 

On the show, the tanned and toned competitors rarely seemed to eat, but there was an extensive outdoor kitchen complete with a double fridge freezer and dining table for them to use if the urge ever strikes. While an outdoor kitchen may not see much use in the UK – even during a heatwave – a pizza oven or brick barbecue will make entertaining easy, and give your garden a great focal point.

 

Swimming pool

 

There are more than 200,000 private pools in the UK, and when the weather is scorching, lots of people will be wishing there were a few more. You’ll need a big garden to accommodate the kind of dramatic pool overlooking the Mallorcan countryside that the couples enjoy, but if you scale back your ambitions, you could add an above-ground pool, plunge pool or even a simple hot-tub for less than you think, and get use out of it all year round.

 

 

Walk-in-wardrobe

 

If your clothes are crammed into tiny cupboards, or you find yourself getting ready by looking in your car’s rear-view mirror, then building a walk-in wardrobe might be the solution. It doesn’t need to have space for dozens of people – a simple small room, with good lighting and inbuilt storage could be all you need to help you organise your things and help you look your best.

 

Terrace

 

You can’t change your view very easily, but you can change the place you enjoy it from. Whether you have a first floor terrace, decking or a patio in the back garden, or are looking to create a space from scratch, you can effectively add another room to your house with some careful decisions. Adding flooring, such as tiling or decking, will separate the space, while seating and lighting will make it a place where you want to spend time.

 

 

Lawn

 

Most lawns in the UK have been through a lot this year, with rainfall at only 6% of what it normally was in some parts of the country. But even in the Spanish sun, the villa had a beautiful emerald lawn, which means it was being closely looked after by a dedicated team of night gardeners. If you don’t fancy that level of upkeep, then artificial grass could be a solution – many are making the switch, with the latest products being hard-wearing with a natural look. You’ll never have to mow it again – though you might need to sweep it from time to time.

 

Fire pit

 

If you want a dramatic garden feature where you can gather people to dramatically break their hearts, a fire pit is just the thing you need. Of course, you could also use it as a place to hang out with friend and family, and extend the use of your garden into the cooler months.

 

 

Millions of people across the UK suffer from hay fever – an allergy to the pollen produced by trees, grass and weeds. It causes stuffy noses, itchy eyes and other cold-like symptoms, and for many people, staying indoors and keeping the windows closed feels like the only way to escape the suffering.

One growing trend in UK gardens might also provide some relief though – artificial grass is increasing in popularity all the time. In a recent survey carried out by MyBuilder, 40% of people said their dream garden would feature a low-maintenance synthetic lawn. A whopping 87% of people said they expected artificial grass to become more common across the UK in future – despite the fact that three quarters of people said they could still tell a fake lawn apart from the natural alternative.

 

 

If you’re interested in changing up your garden, adding an artificial lawn is just one option. Here are some other moves you can make to add some excitement to your garden this summer.

 

Build a barbecue

 

Instead of relying on a cheap disposable barbecue, or a rusty old kettle grill lost at the back of the shed, you could become the queen or king of the coals this summer by building a purpose-built brick barbecue. A good brick barbecue will become a centrepiece of your garden – a talented bricklayer will be able to help you construct one in no time.

 

Add a new shed

 

Brits are famed for their fabulous sheds, which have been turned into everything from traditional pubs to elaborate model railway showrooms. But for most of us, the shed is a rickety wooden shack, filled with spiderwebs and broken plant pots. If yours is leaking and liable to fall down in the next storm, why not invest in a new one that will actually be useful – a driveway paver can help create a base for it to stand on that will ensure it actually lasts this time.

 

 

Create a treehouse

 

If you have kids, or are just a big kid at heart, building a treehouse is a way to build memories for years to come. While you can buy kits to assemble, a carpenter could help you to build a unique creation that will be a family favourite for years to come.

 

Introduce a pond

 

Many people enjoy the relaxing and soothing character of having water in their garden, be it a fountain, a pond, or other water feature. A pond can be home to fish, frogs and other wildlife, and be a wonderful way to bring more of the natural world into the garden. A landscape gardener will help create a pond that suits the space.

 

 

When a spot of good weather is on the cards, everyone wants to get outside. But when we’re out in our gardens, we start to notice all the the little issues we have around our homes. From unruly trees to peeling paint, here are some problems you can tackle while the sun in shining.

 

 

Sort out Your Garden

 

Whether it’s mowing your lawn, or embarking on a full landscaping project, taming your garden is one of the biggest things you can do to alter your outdoor space. If you have dreams of enjoying a jazzed-up garden over summer, a landscape gardener could help make your dream a reality.

 

Fix your Fences

 

Fences and gates can take a battering over winter, so if yours are looking worse for wear, now is the perfect time to replace damaged panels and fix broken poles. An experienced fencer can get the work done quickly and make sure it lasts.

 

Add a New Coat of Paint

 

If the outside of your home is painted, when was the last time it was done? If it’s starting to show the impact of years of sun, wind and rain, then make sure you get it repainted before any long-term damage occurs.

 

 

Repair Your Pipes and Guttering

 

Most of us tend not to notice gutters and drainpipes – they’re never the most attractive part of a house, they just go on doing their job. However, if they’re not doing their job – if they’re leaking, blocked, or coming loose from the wall, then it’s important to get them sorted before they cause problems such as damp down the line.

 

Update Your Driveway

 

If your brick driveway is missing a few bricks, or your flagstone driveway is cracked with weeds poking through, it’s worth having an experienced driveway specialist take a look before the problem becomes more expensive down the line.

 

Check out Your Roof

 

It’s an old saying, but it’s true – fix the roof while the sun is shining. There’s no sense in waiting until bad weather takes advantage of gaps in the tiles or damaged flashing – hire a roofer who can take a look and advise you on any work that needs to be carried out.

 

Trim Your Trees

 

At this time of year, many trees are nearly in full leaf and often heavy with blossom, and could be causing issues, blocking light to your windows, interfering with power lines, satellite dishes and guttering. If you’re concerned about any trees, it’s always best to speak to an experienced tree surgeon, rather than tackle it yourself.

 

 

May is a fabulous month in the garden. Trees and shrubs burst into leaf and flower, cottage garden plants fill borders with their exuberant growth and containers bloom with vibrant summer colours ready for longer days enjoyed outdoors.

Here, Louise Golden, senior plant buyer at Dobbies Garden Centre, gives her top tips to make the most of your garden as the summer months roll in:

 

Terrace Gardens

 

With the warmer temperatures, this is a great time to plant your patio containers, hanging baskets and window boxes with summer bedding plants that are sure to put on a fabulous display of flower colour throughout the summer.

For an all-round, show-stopping display, include both upright and trailing varieties in your containers. Zonal Geraniums, Fuchsias, Marguerites and Osteospermum are all great summer performers. Combine with trailing Petunias, Verbena, Bacopa and much-loved Lobelia to cascade over the sides. Larger containers benefit from a bold central feature planting to add height and structure, such as Cordylines in their striking colour-ways, adding an exotic element to your scheme.

For best results add slow release fertiliser and water retaining granules to the compost when planting your containers and hanging baskets. Water regularly and remember to feed fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser.

Dobbies garden centres are bursting with an extensive range of colourful, British grown bedding plants just perfect for patio containers. They also offer a free container planting service in store – simply bring along your favourite container, pick your plants and they’ll do the rest, leaving you with a gorgeous container ready to go straight in the garden.

 

Beds and Borders

 

Wallflowers and early spring bedding will have faded now. Remove tired plantings, adding to the compost heap, to make way for fresh summer displays.

Prune early spring flowering shrubs such as Chaenomeles, Forsythia and Ribes after flowering if required to keep them in check. If not done so already, more tender late summer flowering shrubs such as Caryopteris, Perovskia and hardy Fuchsias can also be trimmed now too if needed.

Top dress alpines with grit or gravel to show off their dainty spring flowers. Grit helps to prevent soil splashing onto their delicate blooms whilst also improving drainage.

If hedges start to look a little shaggy, May is a good month to give them a light trim, but do check for nesting birds and if necessary wait until fledglings have flown.

 

Cottage Gardens

 

In May the Cottage garden is growing madly and borders filling with their exuberant growth. Put plant supports in place around taller herbaceous plants or those that carry prized heavy blooms such as paeonies. Do this early before plants get too big and your supports will soon be disguised by fresh growth. In store we have an extensive range of quality British grown herbaceous plants perfect for adding colour to existing or new borders.

Early season herbaceous plants, such as Pulmonarias or hardy Geraniums can be cut back after flowering to encourage re-growth of tidy fresh new foliage and often a second flower display.

Later this month the renowned ‘Chelsea Chop’ is also a great way to stagger height and flowering times of some late summer herbaceous plants. Sedums and Phlox, which can sometimes grow over-tall and floppy benefit from being cut back by one third. The resulting new growth is compact and bushy, bearing numerous slightly smaller flowers later in the season for a prolonged season of colour.

 

Kitchen Garden

 

Plant rows of your favourite herbs, such as parsley and coriander for a plentiful supply for summer salads and alfresco BBQs. If short on space, grow in containers on your patio for quick picking just when you need them. Mint in particular is perfect for container growing, keeping its vigorous growth in check. Once all risk of frost is passed, take the opportunity to grow pots of sweet basil for Italian recipes and home-made pesto.

Most vegetable crops can be sown now. With quick growing crops such as salads and spinach, repeat sow every 10 days to ensure a consistent supply of fresh leaves. Visit your local Dobbies to choose from our wide range available in-store. Or if you prefer, they have a wide range of young vegetable plants available for quicker results.

v2 email banner - garden comp

MyBuilder is once again on the hunt for the worthiest winner of a garden makeover. The stakes are high, as this year’s winner will win a £1,000 transformation of their green space.

Research has shown that spending time in green spaces can reduce stress, enhance mood and improve health. However, creating a tranquil oasis in your backyard is easier said than done.

We want to know what this prize would mean to you. You can nominate yourself, a friend or relative for the prize – we are looking for the most worthy winner of a plant-filled paradise!

 

How to Enter

Tell us how a garden makeover would change the lives of the person or people who use that space. Make it convincing, because only the top 12 entries with the most votes will go through to our final round to be judged by MyBuilder.

To complete your entry, submit a picture of the garden and make sure to include yourself or the people who use it.

 

The Winner

Entries are open to public voting and individuals taking part can lobby in all forms of media to get votes for their entries. A shortlist of twelve will be made of those with the most votes. Entries are open until midnight on 16th April 2017. Voting will continue until 23rd April 2017 when the shortlist will be announced. MyBuilder will select the winner from the shortlisted entrants and the result will be announced through the MyBuilder website and official social channels.

 

The Prize

A garden makeover with a value of up to £1,000 including materials and a MyBuilder tradesman to complete the work.

 

2015 Winner

Back in 2015, Nicola Machin won the £1,000 garden makeover prize after her entry received over 1000 votes! Click here to read her story.

 

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Terms and Conditions:

  1. This Competition is open to any full time resident of the UK aged 18 and over.

  2. This Competition is not open to employees of MyBuilder, their family members, MyBuilder’s agents, or anyone professionally connected with the competition.

  3. One entry per household permitted.

  4. Entries to the competition will be accepted until 23:59 GMT 16th April 2017. Voting closes 23.59 GMT 23rd April 2017.

  5. Participants enter the competition by submitting a photo of their garden with an explanation of why they deserve to win (make sure to include yourself or the people who use it).

  6. By entering the contest and submitting your photograph(s), you agree to assign all intellectual and property rights to MyBuilder and that your photograph(s) and competition entry content may be used for any purpose, at any time, without any fee or other form of compensation.

  7. Participants may edit the photographs and description of their entry, up to 1 week after submitting their entry, until entries close at 23:59 GMT 16th April 2017. Once entries are closed, no amendments to any entries can be made.

  8. We reserve the right to disqualify entries, without notice, and for any reason.

  9. Obscene, inappropriate or otherwise questionable content will not be considered. We retain sole discretion as to what constitutes inappropriate content.

  10. No responsibility is taken for entries which are lost, delayed or misdirected, or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical or other reason.

  11. The prize is a garden makeover inclusive of materials and a MyBuilder tradesman to complete the work, up to the value of £2,000.

  12. MyBuilder is not liable for any further costs that arise as a result of the project.

  13. The winner will be selected by MyBuilder, notified via email and will be announced on M​yBuilder blog ​once the prize has been claimed.

  14. No cash or other alternative is available to the prize.

  15. The usual privacy policy​ terms of MyBuilder apply to all personal information we gather.

  16. The prize must be claimed by the prize winner and may not be transferred to or used by any third party.

  17. If MyBuilder cannot contact the winner within 5 working days of the prize draw MyBuilder reserves the right to determine a new winner.

  18. Entrants must be willing to participate in publicity photographs, video and interviews should they win the competition.

  19. MyBuilder is a registered company in England. The laws of England shall apply to all matters arising from or relating to this competition.

  20. MyBuilder.com Ltd reserves the right in its sole and absolute discretion to alter these terms at any time for any reason without prior notice.

  21. In addition, MyBuilder’s standard terms & conditions and privacy policy apply to this competition.

Garden Makeover

 

WIN A GRAND FOR YOUR GARDEN IS BACK!

Does your garden need a facelift?
Do you have a compelling garden story to tell?
To earn the chance to win £1,000 towards improving your outdoor space, read on!

This month MyBuilder.com is launching an exciting Garden Makeover Competition. All you have to do is make a compelling case for your renovation by taking a photo of yourself in your garden and uploading it, along with with your story. Remember, a picture speaks a thousand words and the most persuasive post wins!

In 2013 we ran the competition in which recent stroke victim Jon Mason struck a chord with voters, beating over 200 entries by getting 765 votes to win a dream makeover. He describes his garden transformation as life changing and hopes it has a similar impact for this years winner. So does he have any tips? Simply enter and “encourage friends to share and vote… I’ve never won anything before, so if I can win, anyone can!”

jon mason garden makeover

BUT what might £1,000 of work in the garden look like for you?
To help you envisage what’s possible we asked one of our experts, Paul Lockwood of Mulberry Cottage Gardens in Hertfordshire to give us an idea. Paul opted for a Mediterranean feel, basing his costs on a 30sqm garden, the size of the average urban backyard. Instead of using traditional hedging that takes a lot of maintenance, Paul creates formal beds more simply and cost effectively:

“The theme is a raised Italian scented garden. Most people these days want to keep things simple within the garden and keep watering down…so keep the garden under budget and effective by using new pine sleepers for around £20 each (there are deals to be had on bulk buys). You can then create raised beds to any size you require.”

Paul’s design is a work-in-progress but his pictures give you a good idea of how the finished space could look. It’s a perfect solution for smaller city gardens: low maintenance but rich in texture and smell. But as Paul points out, it can work equally well in larger gardens, where you might fancy creating a distinct area that has a character of its own.

“You can create tiers and change levels with this approach which sometimes is much needed in the garden… Be sure to mulch the whole of the beds with well rotted manure for nourishment and moisture retention though.”

Italian Renaissance style gardens are all about balance, order and harmony, so there are a few rules to observe when you are structuring a garden like this, something Paul has tried to reflect without breaking the budget:

“Planting needs to be kept formal but interesting, using lots of scented herbs such as Lavender Dentata, Thyme and Rosemary, which are usually the main backbone to any Italian or Provencal scented garden. Keep the hardy herbs in formal lines at the front of the beds, then backplant with multi-stemmed sweet bay and in-between plant Hydrangea Annabelle or Hydrangea Quercifolia for lovely summer long white blooms.”

Paul’s Italian garden will be subtle in colour, but will smell delicious. Because it doesn’t require hours of hard labour, it’ll give you plenty of chance to kick back and enjoy just sitting outdoors. The formal layout means the garden has a naturally confident, elegant feel, which is just what Paul is aiming for:

“Be sure to create at least two main feature square-shaped beds to show off a couple of specimen trees…. obviously an Olea ’Olive’ here and there. Try to underplant the specimen trees with topiary Buxus (Box) cones and balls and add a few Allium bulbs to show off their purple hue against the different shades of greens and silvers.”

So if you fancy spending the Summer sitting in a scented Italian Haven, post your garden story with a picture of you in your garden.

 

Mulberry Cottage Gardens’ ITALIAN GARDEN

  • Materials: 15/18 sleepers and Timberlock screws – £340
  • Soil and mulch for beds – £120
  • Planting – £540
  • TOTAL: £1000

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