A beginners guide to a clever garden design
, ,

A beginners guide to a clever garden design

Summer is around the corner, however after a winter of abandonment, you might find that your garden looks more like a farmyard than a relaxing spot for you to enjoy the company of guests.  If you need to get your garden into shape this spring, here are some of our landscaping cheats.

How To Make A Garden Seem Bigger

If your garden is on the small side, then you may feel limited in what you can do; however with a few little tricks you can make your garden seem bigger than it actually is. Trimming and hedging those bushy borders or intrusive trees can really help to free up some much needed space, whilst retaining height and texture with foliage and trees can help you to keep your privacy from neighbours. Contrasting warm-coloured flowers in the middle of your garden with cool colours on the border can help to give your garden a real feeling of depth, while clever garden lighting and reflective ornaments can also play their part.

How To Create a Mediterranean Style Garden

Mediterranean gardens are often designed to evoke a real holiday-feel, where a warmer climate and sun-kissed colours are utilised. If you’re looking to incorporate a feel of Europe in your garden, features such as large seating areas and terracotta potted plants take precedent over grassy lawns, which are often hard to maintain in the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Paving stones and pebbles should be sprinkled around large plants pots, while ceramic tiles should be used to add a Moorish colour style. Walls should be whitewashed or painted in an earthy, sandy tone before vine-covered terraces are erected for a shaded dining spot. If space permits there should be different dining areas for a variety of outdoor living, with al fresco dining terraces complimented with simple benches and shaded spots.

How To Create a Cottage-Style Garden

Traditional cottage gardens are full of flowering plants and lush foliage which are planted in a purposefully informal style. Aiming to create a romantic and natural woodland feel, you can have free reign to plant all of your favourite flowers. There are no strict planting patterns or colours or scents to use, as texture, depth and variety are the king of the cottage style. Beautiful flowering archways and stepping stone pathways can lead to hidden garden areas, where a vintage hammock or tree swing are perfect for watching the birds fly overhead. Rustic water buckets and troughs are also great for an added character-feel and can often be found for a good price in an old junk yard or online.

How To Create a Chic and Sleek Garden Retreat

In contrast to a wild cottage garden, a sleek and chic retreat needs clean lines, formal plant designs and minimalist trees. Here, fussy borders are a thing of the past, as are fruit trees, unruly lawns and overgrown hedges. Lawns should be kept to a minimum and must be neat and weed-free at all times, while large flowerbeds should be replaced with sleek rockeries and simple water features. Patios and decking are often used to create a contemporary design, along with cool colours and sculpted trees.

How To Attract Wildlife

You don’t need to have masses of flowers and plants to attract birds and other wildlife into your garden. Even just a few carefully potted plants and hanging baskets can attract birds, insects and beetles into your garden with ease. Plants which offer nectar, pollen, seeds or sap should be prioritised first as these are important food sources for our feathered, furry and flying friends. Digging a pond or installing a bird bath or water feature can also help to create a welcoming habitat for the friends of the natural world.


Read more
Autumn heating options

Autumn heating options

As we head into autumn and the summer sun begins to seem like a distant memory, here in the UK our attention turns to keeping warm, rather than trying to head out and enjoy the outdoors. If you’re looking to prepare your home and garden for the cooler autumn and impending winter, here are our favourite options for heating your home.

Wood Burner

Our top tip when it comes to heating the home with an element of style is to install a wooden log burner in your house. If you have a room in your home that your family spends most of their spare time in, having a log burner installed makes a lot of sense. Although installation costs can be pricey, you’ll begin to see the savings almost immediately when you aren’t required to leave your heating on night after night. Easy on the eye and carrying an element of back to basics style, a log burner can be a great visible addition to any communal room.


They’re the go-to option in every home, however that doesn’t mean that you have to sit back and accept bog-standard radiator options in your home. Whilst the standard central heating and radiator method is seen in every home, when you’re wanting to make a real design splash in a room, why not push the boat out with something a little more flamboyant that can make a statement. If you want to get creative, here are some simple yet eye catching options.

Bathroom Rack

In many homes, through the colder months radiators double up as a spot for drying clothes. As part of many modern bathrooms, heated towel radiators have become commonplace, meaning you can heat the area whilst also having a convenient method of drying towels. In addition, heated towel rails are specifically designed to retain heat within the vicinity of the operating fitting, meaning they’re not only great at keeping towels warm for once you get out of the shower, but are great at keeping the room warm when the shower and bath are in use.

Patio Heater

Whilst summer may now feel like a distant memory, heating garden areas through early autumn can make spending time outdoors enjoyable. Items such as chimineas can be utilised as more of a style piece, adding a touch of class to a chosen area. On mild summer weekends, providing a form of patio heating means your outdoor areas won’t be deemed out of bounds by winter just yet.

If you’re a new home owner readying your home for the autumn and colder winter, we’d love to hear your thoughts and top tips on keeping warm over the coming months.

Image credit: Free to use courtesy of Pixabay.

Read more
Top patio paving for your new garden

Top patio paving for your new garden

Paving as a concept can be seen as a gorgeous and valuable addition to any back garden, however you can really boost its effect by choosing the correct pattern to correspond with the style of your garden and home. There are many different paving patterns to choose from, some of which really stand out. Here are the our top picks. 

Read more
Patio cleaning in 5 easy steps

Patio cleaning in 5 easy steps

The patio area of your garden is a place where you entertain and gets a lot of attention. Ensuring that the surfaces are clean and well maintained is crucial, even heading into the autumn months. In Britain, the up and down weather means that there is only really a small period where you will be using your garden, and it is pretty essential that you are able to put it to good use ensuring it looks its best. With late summer sun still a possibility over the coming weeks, you’ll undoubtedly be heading outdoors to lap up the last fragments of summer whenever the cloud clears, and having a clean and presentable patio means you can entertain guests without having to worry about how your place is presented. You will find that cleaning the patio is like any other house cleaning job, though of course, it requires a little more elbow grease or power than your standard domestic clean. You may want to get a contract cleaner in to do the job, as they will have the best machinery and knowledge, but if you want to have a go at it yourself, here are our top tips.


Clear it

To start, clear the patio. To have a thorough clean, you’ll need to ensure that absolutely everything is clear on your floor surface. Also, be careful with the finish on your decking or plant pots. You might find that the power of the pressure washer can damage smaller things like paintwork, and decorative items.


Remove foliage

Next, it’s time to get in and remove any weeds that have grown in between your patio tiles or pieces of decking. It’s important that when removing weeds, you use the correct tool or scraper to ensure you remove as much of the weed root as possible. Try not to simply pull the head off any weeds you find, as the root will still continue to live and thrive, leaving you repeating the task a couple of months down the line.


Pressure wash

The quicker option, when it comes to washing, is to ensure you have a good pressure washer at your disposal. Whilst hand washing is an option, it’s a far more laborious way of getting the job done. No one wants to spend their Saturday afternoon on all fours, scrubbing their patio until a bad back sets in. A good high powered washer will easily lift up the dirt and mould that has set in any crevices over the months of use, and if you invest in a new washer, it will come in handy for plenty of jobs around the house.  However, if you don’t want to expense of a new washer, and don’t see good re-use value,  it may be cheaper to get a cleaning agency in to do the job for you, as the cost of a top end pressure washer can be a lot more than a cleaner.


Clean up

Once the washing is done and the water has dried, the dirt will settled on the tiles, having been contained in the water. The next task is to simply sweep this away, and it will be removed rather easily, without any difficulties.


Once swept, you can apply any treatment that the area requires, although it is rarely necessary. Once you’re done, simply replace all furnishings and head out to enjoy the new, clean area.

Public Domain CC0 image used courtesy of 

Read more
Enjoy a pergola this summer

Enjoy a pergola this summer

Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner and the long days and warm evenings are just a few months away. If you want to get your garden in top shape, and fancy creating a relaxing area to enjoy the summer heat, then a pergola is a great option. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a DIY expert, then you can even create the area yourself and save on unnecessary cost.

Why do I need a pergola?

We don’t tend to get a whole lot of nice British weather, but when we do, it’s great to have a secluded area where we can head for a bit of quiet relaxation with a wine or beer in hand. A pergola is an aesthetically pleasing addition to your garden, giving a feel of class to the area whilst also serving a practical use of being relatively easy to maintain. You can make it as large as suits your garden, and means you can custom buy a table that fits in with the area perfectly. Ideal for inviting guests over for a barbecue, you’ll soon be showing off your new pergola to anyone that visits.


Location is vital and you need to consider the flow of your garden. Many people don’t put enough consideration into where garden items need to be placed, so it’s vital you don’t fall into that trap. With a pergola, the chances are that you’ll want to spend lazy Saturday evenings relaxing after cooking up a barbecue, so you’ll need to consider what areas of your garden are positioned to get the greatest amount of sunlight. Also, you don’t want to build anything too close to your house; a pergola should give you a sanctuary of quiet away from the rest of your property, so a far garden corner which makes the most of evening sunlight is definitely your best option.


Generally when it comes to erecting your pergola, the first question you need to answer is regarding the style of flooring you want. As it’s generally best to seclude a pergola away from your house, you’ll need to establish strong foundations – as is the case when building any structure. Once your concrete foundations are in place, you can opt for either a paved floor or a wooden decking.

Support beams

The number of structural beams, or legs that your pergola has is mainly dependent on how large your structure is. The beautiful thing with a pergola however, is that no two are the same, so you can incorporate your personal design and flair into your building plans. If you’re building your structure near a fence, or garden boundary, incorporate that into your design. Utilising fencing in that manner means you’ll reduce the number of supports you require, and your pergola will give off a much more open feel.


Whilst some pergolas are roofed, some give off a more open feel when they have simple beamed tops. Think carefully when making this decision and consider when you’ll be using the area. If you want to bask in evening sunlight, then having a beamed roof that allows light through means you’ll catch those last few flickers of light as the sun sets.


Once all of your structural decisions have been made, it’s time to get to the fun part of accessorising your pergola. Obviously, you’ll want an area for seating, and a table is a must if you’re wanting to dine and drink in the open air. Wooden outdoor furniture sets are always a popular option, however glass topped tables and more cushioned seating also gives off a great modern feel. If you don’t want the open at all sides feel, then build side fencing into your design. If you want to keep your party running past sunset and into the night, then give your guests the added warmth created from  a chimenea – it’s an ideal accessory to incorporate to keep your guests warm.

For information on the technical building aspects of creating your pergola, check out this handy guide.

Photo Credit: energyproductsanddesign via Compfight cc

Read more
© Copyright 2013 Keepmoat