Spring updates for your living room
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Spring updates for your living room

With winter now behind us, April is the perfect time to give your living room a revamp. We’d all like to hope that, over the summer months, an abundance of sun will mean we spend every free minute basking out in the warm garden. In reality however, it’s fairly safe to say that we won’t be spending all our summer outdoors. Prepare for the coming months by revamping your living room, for when the weather turns grim and you have to move guests and visitors indoors. Here are our top tips for updating your living room to be a bright and breezy summer area.

Feature wall

In many cases, people decorate a room and leave it for numerous years just to avoid the hassle of redecorating. Whilst we aren’t advocating that you do a complete renovation after every passing season, it can make a pleasant change to the feel of your room if you implement, or simply repaint your feature wall. Having a feature wall within your room adds a greater depth to your space, and providing you chose the right colour, it means that you can change the tone of your room from season to season.

Change window coverings

Over the winter months, in an effort to keep out the cold, rain and howling winds, a thick heavy curtain is a great option for dressing your windows. However as the winter comes to an end and the weather picks up, it’s a great decorative idea to switch out your heavy duty curtain for something a little lighter.  In many households, blinds are a popular choice as they’re easy to use, provide the option of allowing in light even when closed, and can also be easy to work around when you have numerous open windows. If you have a curtain rail in place and want to alter the look of your windows over the summer, simply switch for something in a lighter material. It’s amazing how much of a role something as simple as a window decoration can play in the overall feel of your room, so making the most a light delicate window dressing can give your room an uplifting feel of summer.

Plants and flowers

Bring a feel of the summer indoors with some home-grown greenery. Nothing makes a room feel brighter than well chosen plants and flowers, and the injection of life to your room can really improve the overall feel and help you escape the feeling of winter. Don’t overdo it, as you don’t want your room to feel like an indoor greenhouse, however a selection of summer greenery can instantly help your living room.

Summer rug

If you want to add a splash of colour to your room, but don’t want to take any drastic permanent action, then adding something as simple as a spring summer style rug can help to drag your living room out of the winter and into the warmer months. Something like a floral rug can bring a real feel of spring into your room, and paired with another couple of light and bright accessories, it can have a real impact on the feel of your room.

 

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Coping with your winter garden
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Coping with your winter garden

This winter it’s time to make that extra effort and ensure your garden stays in pristine condition, and doesn’t take on the dishevelled look of most outside areas through the winter. You can probably think of more appealing ways to spend your free time than being out working in the cold, however maintaining your garden in winter will heavily reduce the work that needs to be sorted for spring and summer. Don’t hang up your gardening gloves just yet; a little bit of winter preparation can get your garden ready to flourish this summer.

 

Wildlife


Think about the wildlife in your garden. Supplying extra food for the animals in your garden will help them survive this winter and encourage them to stay. (image CC via Wikipedia)

Grey Squirrel

(CC image via Wikipedia)

Get furniture protected

Now is the perfect time for a garden spruce up. Sorting and cleaning all equipment can be a great way to improve your gardening resources. Cleaning any outbuildings can help you organise your garden preparations for the spring.

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(CC image via Crinklecrankle.com)

Keep plants alive

During the winter it is critical that gardeners protect any plants from frost and snow. Soil should be dug over to loosen and improve the structure, and compost can be added to contain food reserve for the plants. Lawns need to be checked for moss and thatch once the temperature drops, and any root vegetables should be covered with straw. Any heavy snow must be shaken from shrubs and trees to prevent branches being broken.

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(CC image via commons.wikimedia.org)

Get ahead with trends

Even though gardening in the winter can feel unappealing, it is a great time to start looking at the latest gardening design trends. This winter, why don’t you plan your garden makeover to showcase this summer?

 

Move inside

Don’t forget the plants that are kept indoors; greenhouses, homes and conservatories hold tender plants on the herbaceous border that won’t survive in low temperatures. Ensure the indoor space is suitable regarding temperature, dryness and exposure to sunlight.

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(CC image via www.geograph.org.uk)

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Preparing your garden for the changing seasons
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Preparing your garden for the changing seasons

Over the last few days in the UK you will have noticed the temperature swiftly dropping. All of this talk of Indian Summers and autumn heatwaves is long gone, and winter is definitely on its way.

Winter isn’t the best time to be outside, but unfortunately if you want your garden to be looking it’s best for the new year ahead, there are jobs that you need to be done. It’s best to get these jobs out of the way early, before the temperature plummets further and the frost starts to strike.

To help you along your way, here are some of the best preparations you should be making:

Tidy up your borders

This time of the year presents the ideal time to tidy your borders and move poorly placed plants. Dig up annual plants you have, move poorly placed plants, cut back perennials and just generally have a tidy up. Ensure they are clean and tidy by ridding these areas of any dead plants, leaves and anything else that shouldn’t be in there. Once this is done set your borders up for the winter by spreading them with a thick layer of compost or bark chips.

Move tender plants

Ideally, any tender plants you have will be grown in pots, doing this makes them easy to move indoors once the cold weather strikes. If they are not being grown in pots, you will still need to lift them from the ground, you will just need to be a little more careful in doing so. To do this, cut back the stems, clean the soil from them and store them in trays of dry compost or sand with just the top of the crown visible.

Consider coverings

For any plants that cannot be lifted from the ground, consider utilising ground sheets instead to protect them from the frost and help them to retain heat. While specialist ground sheets are available, old blankets and sheets will also work. When covering plants, drape the coverings loosely and secure them with stakes, rocks or bricks. When covering plants, consider changes in the weather and remove the covers as soon as the sun comes out to avoid them being suffocated.

Look after your lawn

And by look after it, we mean really look after it. Pull up any weeds and moss, rake up any grass clippings, gather up leaves and then leave it alone. The best way to look after your lawn in the colder and wetter months is to simply put it to bed and leave it to enjoy a breather.

Start a compost bin

If you haven’t got one already, this time of year makes for the ideal time to start a compost bin. Put any grass clippings, fallen leaves and other garden waste to good use and turn it into compost. If you have already got a compost bin, put the current contents to good use by using it in your borders. It takes a while for compost to develop, so be patient and keep an eye on it. If the compost is not quite ready, be sure to turn it to aid the decomposition process when adding new waste.

Clean up your paved areas

Autumn and winter can be a tough time for paved areas and driveways. It’s common to find moss, algae, liverworts, lichens and other slippery coverings on paved areas at this time of year and not only are they unattractive, but due to their slippery nature they are also an accident waiting to happen.  This can be easily remedied however by utilising a pressure washer. If you haven’t got one, it’s a handy piece of equipment and is available to hire from many garden tool hire companies. Alternatively there are many chemical products available. If you opt for a chemical product, go for one that is either based on benzalkonium chloride, acetic acid or nitrilo triacetic acid/trisodium salt.

 

Free to use image sourced via pixabay.com

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Gardening for beginners: Buying a greenhouse
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Gardening for beginners: Buying a greenhouse

There are many factors that you need to take into consideration before you go out and buy yourself a greenhouse. Before you do any measuring in your garden you need to choose what type of greenhouse you need. This article covers the most popular choices of greenhouse and which one is best suited for you.

Standard greenhouses

Standard greenhouses are the typical glass shed-looking greenhouses that you always see. These are great because glass doesn’t degrade over time and helps your plants as it transmits 90% of light. When it comes to glass you have a choice of regular or toughened. Regular glass is recommended if you do not have children or animals as it breaks easily which could cause safety issues for them. Although regular glass is thin and breakable, it is also cheap to replace. Toughened glass can also break however it breaks into pieces meaning it causes less of a mess and will not be dangerous to humans or animals. It does however, come with a high price tag. Standard greenhouses are best if you would like to grow a decent amount of plants as it allows a lot of space for both bedding and climbing plants.

Mini greenhouses

A mini greenhouse is perfect if you have a small garden or only have a limited amount of space. There are different sizes of mini greenhouse to choose from with a different number of shelves. Mini greenhouses are also portable so if you ever wanted to move it around your garden or even take it to another property; you can do so with great ease. Mini greenhouses come in a variety of different materials, from glass to toughened glass, to plastic; you will never be short of the right one for your needs. You can choose from metal and wooden frames however you will need to take care of a wooden greenhouse as it can attract insects and will eventually rot. Mini greenhouses are ideal if you would only like to grow a select few potted plants.

Cold frames

A cold frame is a small box like structure built low to the ground with a transparent lid to give plants the light they need but to also protect them from weather conditions. The size of cold frames can vary depending on how many plants you would like to grow. Plants that are put into cold frames are usually potted however, bedding plants could also been grown if your cold frame is bottomless. These are great if you would like to grow plants in your garden but don’t want to have your view obstructed by a regular greenhouse.

Cloches

Cloches are usually for bedding plants and are translucent plastic covers that go over them to protect against any adverse weather conditions or any unwanted insects. However, depending on where you buy your cloche from, you can also find them for upright plants such as climbers. Cloches are great for any amount of plants and any area from gardens to allotments. They keep your plants safe and make your plant beds look tidy!

Are you a Keepmoat home owner making the most of your garden? If so, give us your top tips for utilising your greenhouse by commenting below!

Many thanks to Garden Oasis for kindly providing us with this insight.

Image used under CC license courtesy of o5com

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Beginners guide to greenhouse buying
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Beginners guide to greenhouse buying

With the weather picking up and spring in the air, we can all finally journey out of our house into the garden once the weekend gets here. Not everyone enjoys getting their hands dirty in the compost, however, if you’re looking to start growing your own plants, flowers and produce over the summer, you need to kick your plan into action. It might be a bit early to expose bulbs and small plants to the March elements, however now is the perfect time to begin getting your greenhouse in order. If you’re a bit of a rookie when it comes to gardening, don’t fret, as we’ve got you covered with our beginners guide to picking a greenhouse design.

Type of greenhouse

Traditional

Traditional greenhouses are the standard option you’ll see at the bottom of many gardens, with a large metal structure covered in glass panels. The generous size of these traditional structures means that you should have ample growing space, plenty of room for potting and it looks good in most garden areas. They provide a great space to get your years growing started early, however the space  can be costly to heat at cold times (like on early spring evenings).

Barn style roof

The barn style roofed greenhouse compromises on horizontal growing space in favour of vertical room. Ideal for taller growing items due to the generous headroom, the barn style essentially ‘pops-up’ as no base is needed for the greenhouse, as opposed to the traditional style which requires concrete foundations. The barn style is undeniably stylish looking and just as effective as other models, however, similarly to the traditional build it can be equally costly to heat during colder snaps.

Lean-to

It might not be the most aesthetically pleasing option available, but a lean-to is great when you’re trying to make the most of a small space. Built utilising an exterior wall, the lean-to can pretty much latch on to any structure, even if your home is only a single storey. This means that you can hide the structure out of the way, using your garage, should you not wish to have the structure in close proximity to your home. Although very heat and cost effective, the lean-to isn’t without disadvantages. If the structure is north facing, your plants will be robbed of light for the most part. On the other hand, if south facing, you face the prospect of your greenhouse overheating, especially on hot summer days. Ventilation and constant watering systems would be required and blinds often become a necessity. 

Heptagonal greenhouse

If you’re trying to make the most of a small garden, then a opting for a heptagonal design means you’ll conserve space in your garden and have all the features of a traditional greenhouse, albeit with slightly less room for plants. Decorative in shape and suitable to put on any ground type, the only real drawbacks come in the form of limited room. If you’re willing to get creative though and enjoy working in a small space, the heptagonal design isn’t a bad option.

 

Photo Credit: e³°°° via Compfight cc

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How to create a cosy home

How to create a cosy home

A cosy feel is needed in every family home if you want to be able to truly kick back and relax. In order to maximise comfort without the loss of sophistication, you need to think carefully about these 5 ways to create your own plush, personal nirvana.

Colour

Certain colours are proven to alter your mood. The use of warm colours, such as reds, oranges, and yellows will radiate cosiness and make you want to slump back and doze. These colours will make small rooms seem smaller and large rooms more intimate, letting you be willingly entrapped in your home made paradise. It’s amazing what effect simple colour choices can have on both your room and your mood. Make sure you choose correctly, otherwise you might not enjoy the feel your room gives off.

Mixing and matching materials

Blending soft, rich velvet cushioning and an extravagant alpaca throw will immediately provide a contemporary feel to your room. If you’re wanting to make the most of all the space in your room, tuck away an armchair into a corner nook, to provide you with somewhere to retreat as a comfortable reading spot or quick nap.

Invite nature into your home

Adding greenery to your room will relax you even further. Introducing a terrarium gives off a contemporary feel, which recreates a woodland or garden like habitat will provide another depth to your room, while also reflecting light around, perfect for lighting dark walls. It looks at its best in a sleek, modern style orb, appearing more homely and sophisticated.

Create your own art

A composed display feels friendly and charming. Using ceramic vases or bowls with personal and affectionate decorations in a way that suits you and your style adds a final touch of your own personal taste to your room. You’ll be full of pride if you manage to incorporate your own work into the home and once you’ve done the work, you can simply sit back and admire your own work.

Embrace spontaneity

Indulge your quirky side and spark curiosity in your living room. Off-the-wall decorations and furnishings are perfect for drawing visitors away from the main seating areas and allow the whole room to feel used. Unexpected settings like a low-riding chandelier over a tufted velvet ottoman will grab attention and intrigue visitors. Push the boat out and take a chance on something a little different, to make sure your living room isn’t just another typical room.

Photo Credit: oxfordian.world via Compfight cc

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