Tag: gardening

 

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

At MyBuilder, even though we have approved hundreds of thousands of jobs over the years, we still come across jobs when it is not clear which type of tradesman should be working on the project. Sometimes the whole job could be done just as well by professionals across different trades; for other jobs, several individuals across different trades may be needed to complete the work.

See if you know which type of tradesman could do the following:

– Who fits a power shower – a bathroom fitter, electrician or plumber?

– You want some new garden decking to be built, who can build the decking for you?

– You see mould growing on the walls of your bedroom – who do you call?

You can find out the answers below; see how many you can get out of the 13 in total!

Fitting a power shower – Replacing an old or broken power shower is actually just a small plumbing job, since the electrics are already there. However, if there isn’t an existing power shower and one is being fitted for the first time, you do need an electrician or a plumber who is part P certified (to do the electrics).

Window sills – if you had to replace any windows, you would ask for a window fitter to do the job. But what about the window sills? Damage to window sills, especially for older properties is common and can easily ruin the appearance of a house. It does depend on the property, as if the window sills are made from brick, a bricklayer is probably the most skilled tradesman in this instance to undertake the work. If the window sill is made from wood, a joiner could be the better option as they can replace the old and potentially damaged wood; or it could be a stonemason if the window sills are made from stone. If the windows need to be replaced then it could be a job for a window fitter, who would look at replacing the whole area and can find the relevant tradesmen to work on the project as a whole.

Kitchen worktops – it might be too expensive to have a brand new kitchen fitted, so instead you just want to change the kitchen worktops, especially if they’ve been scratched and a bit worn after years of use. Although kitchen fitters can fit various types of kitchen worktops, carpenters are equally skilled and competent enough to do the installation – it is not uncommon for kitchen fitters to have experience as carpenters.

solid-wood-worktop-mjwoodgate

UPVC doors – if you want new UPVC windows fitted, you would call upon a window fitter. But what about UPVC doors? For normal internal doors, carpenters are skilled enough to be able to hang them at the right height so they do not scrape the floor or have a large gap between the door and the floor or ceiling. However, fitting UPVC doors can be quite different, and so we recommend using a window fitter, as there are similarities when fitting UPVC doors to fitting UPVC windows, but do check with them first.

Floor tiling – if you want tiles laid e.g. on your bathroom or kitchen floor, it can be tricky to decide between a flooring fitter or a tiler. Whilst flooring fitters may know how to lay tiles, it is more likely that a tiler will know how to tile a floor so that it looks immaculate!

porcelain-tiling-mtctiling

Flashing (weatherproofing) can be tricky as it could utilise the skills of a roofer or a chimney specialist, especially if the area to be worked on is in and around a chimney stack. The answer for which tradesman should be used is not straightforward, however roofers are likely to be a good first port of call, who may involve chimney specialists if needed.

Garden decking – often gardeners can work on most aspects of the garden, including fencing, but what about decking? Some landscape gardeners can build decking, but can often also be done by builders and carpenters. Our suggestion is to put garden decking jobs for landscape gardeners, as not only will they possibly be able to do it themselves (and if they can’t they will probably know someone who can), but they can help with the design and implementation in conjunction with the rest of the garden.

garden-decking-thegardensaint

Damp proofing – this may seem obvious, if the property is suffering from damp issues, then you should call a damp proofing specialist. But the question should be “Is it really an issue with damp?” It is common that condensation issues are easily confused with damp penetration, and so the easiest and cheapest solution is to try and address the cause. Some of these can be solved by relatively straightforward solutions such as allowing more ventilation into the property (e.g. opening windows), and hence don’t necessarily need the skills of a damp proofing specialist.

Laminate flooring – flooring such as laminate and vinyl come in various forms, so it’s not as straightforward as carpet fitting for example, which obviously would utilise the skills of a carpet fitter. Who lays laminate flooring depends on the type of laminate – if it is the type which is rolled out, then there are similarities to carpet fitting, and hence a carpet fitter is likely to be able to lay the laminate. If the laminate is more like pieces which are cut out and pieced together, then a flooring fitter is probably more suited for this job.

Gas boilers – we’ve had questions asked to MyBuilder, such as what should be done if the timer for a heating system (e.g. central heating, oil) no longer works correctly. The best bet is to call out a (central) heating engineer, who should have the relevant parts to work on the boiler if needed.

Handymen – handymen are all-rounders and due to this stereotype, sometimes the smaller jobs are assigned to handymen in the belief that “it’s only a little job”. Sometimes, this may be the case, but remember that even for smaller jobs, it may require a level of skill and expertise suited for someone who works in that specific trade day-in day-out. One example includes fitting a curtain rail – on the face of it, the job can look quite straightforward, but if it involves getting involved with the brickwork or plaster, then could involve the expertise of a carpenter and joiner.

Lastly, a few slightly less common ones we’ve seen at MyBuilder, but relevant nonetheless!

skylight-skywardservices

Install a skylight – although there elements of skylights that builders could do, this should really be a job for a qualified roofer. Not only can it have an impact for building control, but there are elements such as ventilation and insulation that need to be adequately addressed.

Taking out a jacuzzi bath – to remove a standard bathtub, a plumber would usually suffice; but for a jacuzzi, do you also need an electrician? It’s advisable to have both, or a plumber who is suitably qualified to work with electrics in the bathroom. If the plumber doesn’t have the skills themselves, they will often know someone who has!

Day three of the garden makeover is a blur.

With no phone signal and limited wifi, the only way to contact Travis Perkins to sort the trellis and shed delivery looks like being semaphore – or at the very least beacons lit across hilltops. You pay for the wondrous peace and quiet here in Devon with these small inconveniences! On the plus side, even on a cloudy day you are rewarded with fabulous views from Jon’s garden.

view from Jons

Julie, Jon’s wife, stays over so that we can interview her. A strong quiet presence around the house, she churns out beverages and clears up afterwards with patience and a smile. At times there are as many as eight people trooping in and out of Jon’s small front room but she views the carnage placidly and points to the carpet cleaner when we worry out loud about imported dirt. It will, she assures us, be sorted within minutes of us leaving.

Procuring a sandwich for lunch proves more of a challenge. The village shop in Sheepwash never seems to be open when we need it and the store in the neighbouring village has a choice of three sandwiches – individual sandwiches that is, not types of sandwich! A choice that is quickly reduced to two, when one sandwich pack turns out to be past its sell-by date. goodbye tuna and mayonnaise!

We fare much better with evening meals at the Half Moon Inn in Sheepwash, which are delicious and large enough to feed a small army. One day we opt for a packed lunch from the pub as well – yummy but perilous for the waistline! Andrew the landscaper has to step in and help out by eating half of a Devonshire Blue Cheese with grapes baguette, which is the size of a small car.

Andrew-Greenhill-Landscape-Gardener

During our visit the MyBuilder location team takes time out to visit a building project in Launceston. No improvement on the sandwich situation there! Even Cornwall is proving a sandwich desert.

The job we are featuring is the renovation of an old tollhouse near the centre of town. For the last two years, MyBuilder tradesman Ashley Officer has been doing up the place for his mother-in-law who lives in Spain but needs somewhere to stay when she visits the UK. We film the lovingly crafted features and carefully thought through work and living spaces, the product of hours of weekend and evening labour. Trouble is that it’s taken so long that Cupid has found time to intervene. Mum-in-law has found another home and heart to go to, so Ashley’s pride and joy is now on the market.

travis-perkins-delivery

Back in Sheepwash that afternoon and the Travis Perkins driver up rolls up with the already assembled and rather large shed in one piece on a lorry. Andrew’s off collecting materials so the MyBuilder team plus Charlotte from Tarka Housing, who has been painting Jon’s old shed, stand around scratching their heads. How to move the shed into position? The obvious answer is the digger but since none of us know how to operate the thing, we are stymied.

Eventually Andrew returns and drops it into the garden, ready to be manhandled into place. A huge mention should be made here for Alan Hammett, the Travis Perkins driver who came in off holiday to deliver the shed. Sterling work, Alan! Thanks too, to Gary King from Travis Perkins Barnstaple branch…you warned MyBuilder the shed was yellow but this shed is canary yellow. It is the yellowest shed any of us have ever seen. Blindingly yellow, awesomely yellow, very yellow. Time for Jon to do a little painting and another humongous feed at the Half Moon down the road!

Moving the TP shed

Friday morning arrives and the clock is ticking. Andrew and Eli have manoeuvred the shed into place, not without incident from the look of it!

The turf is laid and most of the plants are in. Daisy, Jon’s collie, takes up her sunbathing position on top of one lavender plant flattening it nicely and Andrew departs collect the gravel for the shed area just as John and Richard from ITV South West arrive to film!

Two sheds in place

In time-honoured fashion plenty more tea is drunk and a bit of filming done while we wait for Andrew to return. Lots of stories are exchanged too. We learn that Jon used to drive F1 cars around from race to race when he was younger and once had to park one of these racing monsters, worth millions, outside his house for the weekend because the venue he was taking it to was closed. The F1 bosses didn’t turn a hair but it got Jon’s neighbours talking!

Andrew and Eli reappear with gravel and both Pete, the MyBuilder cameraman, and ITV’s John set to work filming the gravel spreading. Eli stars on wheelbarrow while Jon ceremonially plants an apple tree. As the finishing touches are made to the garden, Charlotte from Tarka Housing pops in to see how things are progressing and end up sweeping the yard – no peace for the wicked eh, Charlotte?

laying-gravel

All too soon it’s over! After months of planning, all the donations and Andrew’s hard work, the project is all done and dusted in the form of a gorgeous new garden for Jon. It feels very odd driving away from Jon’s house, where we effectively took up residence for five days, and it’s rather sad saying goodbye to Jon, Andrew and Eli. Contemplating his new garden, the normally garrulous Jon is almost speechless – or perhaps he’s just worn out by so much company, endless chat and continuous tea and coffee-making.

garden-renovation-completed


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