Making the Most of your Garden this Summer

Although the great British Summer is notoriously unpredictable when it comes to the weather, the warm, sunny spells we’ve been having recently does give us a chance to make the most of our garden or outdoor space, whilst we can.  Due to being neglected during the winter months and the lack of sunshine we get in the summertime, many people are unsure how to make the most of their gardens when it begins to warm up. The thought of cutting bushes, potting plants and mowing lawns can be pretty daunting to some and many of us don’t have the money to go all out on the garden furniture, the built in BBQ’s and the hot tubs, but there are definitely simpler ways of enjoying the outdoors during a rare bit of British heat.

 

Dining Alfresco

No matter how big or small your garden is, when the sun is shining there is nothing better than taking your dinner to eat outside, with a nice cold drink. Whether you set out the table with a range of salads, cold meats and bread, or simply just cook your dinner inside and bring it out, there is something about dining alfresco that soothes the soul. If you haven’t already, it is definitely well worth investing in some garden furniture. It doesn’t have to break the bank, it can even be a simple little wooden or plastic set for two, but sitting out and eating at night, or enjoying a nice brew in the fresh morning sun is definitely a great way to utilise your outdoor space.

BBQ Time

BBQ it up

Following on from my last point, eating outside in the warm weather is a dream, and cooking in it is also a great change. You might already have a fancy BBQ where you can cook all kinds of fancy and yummy meats and fish, but even if you just buy a small, disposal one and cook a few sausages, it still counts! Everyone loves a hot dog so bbq’ing on a budget can be a simple task and a great excuse to get the family and friends together. ‘Build your own buns’ are a great, purse-friendly way to feed the five thousand. Cook a load of sausages on the BBQ, give everyone a hot dog bun and set out different ‘stations’ for the toppings (onions, mustard, ketchup, beef chilli etc). Fill a bucket with some ice and beers and voila! Everyone is happy – except maybe the veggies but there is always Quorn for that!

Get the Essentials

One of the great things about hot, summer days is sitting out late into the night and it still feeling warm (ish). However, if you want to make a habit of this (or do it as often as possible) there are some essentials that you will need to invest in. First of all, some outdoor lighting, from fitted lights with sensors to solar powered lamps, your lighting options depend on your budget and the size of your garden – so get researching! Secondly, small, mini fire pits are a great way to keep everyone outside once the sun goes down. You can buy them from major supermarkets for next to nothing and sitting around a campfire either toasting marshmallows or playing a few games is a welcome change from the TV indoors! Thirdly, bug spray – because they always try to spoil the fun.

Grow some Goodness!

You don’t need a huge space to grow a little of your own fruit and veggies this summer. A lot of us have been meaning to try this for ages but never get round to it – so now is your chance! Find a raised patch of soil and get planting some summer seeds. Nothing more rewarding than enjoying a salad with tomatoes you’ve grown yourself or a crumble with freshly picked raspberries and blackberries! You’ll be a domestic goddess in no time.

Outdoor Games

If you have grass in your garden, there is nothing better than a few good old fashioned games with family and friends to while away the hours. The games you can play even with just a single ball are endless and I’m sure everyone will enjoy unlocking their inner child for a good game of Piggy in the Middle – especially after a few drinks! A cricket set or a Rounder’s bat also cos very little from budget stores and can provide hours of (competitive) fun. If you’re more civilised or simply a little restricted on space, a pack of cards outside is the perfect entertainment!

5 Reasons Why it is Important to Make Your Garden Personal to You

 

The garden should be a place you enjoy. We tend to ‘inherit’ the garden when we buy or rent a property. Unless you have the budget and a keen interest in complete garden renovation, we tend to ‘make do’ with what we have.

There may be times when this works but more often than not, the garden we inherited does not quite suit our tastes nor our needs. Making it personal to you however, does not mean it should cost you heaps of cash.

Here are five reasons why designing your garden to suit you is important;

Extension of the Home

Increasingly, the garden is being used as an extension of the home. With an increasing range of stylish garden rattan furniture and accessories, it is easier to make the outdoor space work for you and your family.

Create flat areas close to your property and dine al fresco. Choose a dining set with the same care and consideration you would for the dining table you have inside your home.

If you want something more relaxed and informal, there is a growing range of informal garden furniture from hammocks to outside ‘day loungers’. Add cushions, throws and rugs to make the space somewhere you really can relax and enjoy.

Accessibility

A common issue with inherited gardens is accessibility. Narrow pathways, paths made from gravel or grey, plain concrete pathways are not always our idea of the perfect means of accessing the garden.

Likewise, if you have limited mobility, you don’t want to take on a garden that has ground level borders which would be difficult to reach and maintain or a garden that is so abundant with plants and shrubs that maintaining it could be a time-consuming nightmare.

There are means of making your garden more accessible for you. Some modifications and adaptations, such as ramps and grab handles are best tackled by a landscaping company. Other issues, such as weed control are changes that can be made on an ongoing basis.

Weed control matting, as well as bark, gravel and other material are great for suppressing weeds and are inexpensive too.

Maintenance Required

A lush, abundant garden, full of blooms and shrubs looks fantastic but to keep this look, you will need to spent time maintaining it.

This means weeding and pruning, as well as thinning out plants and fertilising the soil to provide an abundance of nutrients to keep everything looking green and vibrant.

However, you may not have time nor the inclination to spend much of your spring, summer and autumn curtailing rampaging plants throughout your garden.

If you are short on time – and green fingers – the easiest way is to compress the size of any flower borders you have and extend the lawn. The lawn only needs a cut once a week from spring to late summer. Easy to look after, grassed areas are perfect for keeping colour but without too much hard work.

If this doesn’t appeal at all, swap living grass for artificial turf because all these needs from time to time is a sweep, although some people have been known to vacuum it.

What You use the Garden For

Of course, any garden design will revolve around what you use your garden for. Just like how you use the rooms in your home, your needs and wants in the garden will change.

How use your garden – reading, relaxing, entertaining – will be different to how your neighbours, family and friends use theirs – so why design the gardens the same? Design your garden with your own personal needs in mind, along with your likes and dislikes.

Fits You and Your Personality

Your personality flows throughout your home. It is the choice of colours, the choice of interior design style and more.

Just as you may enjoy the clean lines and uncluttered minimal design style in the house, you would enjoy the same in the garden. If you have more traditional tastes, this can be reflected in the garden too.

There are many ways of creating a garden that is an extension of your home, is stamped with your personality, which is also accessible with the right level of maintenance to suit your busy schedule and is fit for purpose.

Planting is one tool a keen eye for shape and form in the garden as well as accessories including garden furniture, lighting, fire pits and more.

Rattan Direct has a growing range of rattan furniture and fantastic accessories for the garden, making it the perfect outdoor space for you and your family.

Bifold doors – more tips for creating your dream house

With mortgages requiring heavy deposits in support, and with the fluctuation of house prices, many people are today opting to stay put and turn their own home into a dream home. Yesterday I looked at beautiful roof lanterns that could make your house a haven of light, today I’m turning my attention to doors that could also have the same effect, and could help you to make your living space more open plan, or bring your garden area into your home.

Aluminium bifold doors come in both internal and external options. These low maintenance doors can be used to separate a living room or kitchen from a conservatory, but can then be opened fully to create a huge, open plan living space.  This can be good if you are people who love to throw parties and entertainment as it gives you plenty more room, but means you can opt back for smaller, cosier spaces when the party is over. In addition, by opting for internal bifold doors to separate a conservatory, you give your home an added layer of security, closing off your back door and garden area from the rest of your home. The use of solar controlled double glazing sealed units effectively make the doors more energy efficient too – and anything that cuts energy bills must be a bonus.

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For external doors I love the idea that the creates an opening to your outdoor space, making your conservatory, extension or kitchen almost an add on to your garden. Again the addition of natural light is a huge positive for these kind of doors, especially on beautiful summer days. But they also have a great advantage when you have young children of being able to relax and yet see exactly what they are doing when they are playing in the garden.

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Security conscious, energy efficient, and really attractive into the bargain, bi fold doors are a great way of improving the look and feel of your home. Add in the fact that they come in a range of colours, and can even be different colours on each side, and you get something that can match any decor or style of home.

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