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Looking after your luxurious lawn

A lush, healthy lawn can be an attractive centerpiece of any garden.  However, establishing and maintaining a lawn in good condition can take a long period of preparation and substantial time in its upkeep.  If the roots of a good lawn are firmly set, however, the repetition of some of the bigger jobs can be reduced. In this way, with a few basic steps, the workload of looking after a lawn and keeping it in good shape can be significantly reduced, and the results can be noticeably improved.

 

A gardener's guide to a healthy, luxurious lawn

 

While there are no magic secrets to achieving a luxurious green lawn, some basic know-how is essential.  The fundamental tips for success can be divided into the different steps in looking after a lawn.

 

Feeding the lawn should be viewed as an annual activity rather than as a regular routine.  The best time to feed the lawn is in the fall, and for the most even results, this can be done using a specialist feed spreader. The soil at the time of feeding should be slightly damp, and if it can be timed so that there is rainfall within a couple of days of feeding, this will help to establish the feed in the lawn. Avoid feed that is high in nitrogen content, and avoid adding pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides. Organic fertilizer often produces the most reliable results in the long term.  The goal at this point is to build the health of the grass roots, as the basis for the next year's fresh, green lawn.

 

Aerating the lawn is another annual activity best carried out in the fall. Lawns that are grown on clay or heavy soil, or lawns that are exposed to heavy seasonal use, get particular benefit from being aerated.  Spiking the lawn with a garden fork is one method, but electric spiking and slashing equipment can make the job easier.

 

Dressing the lawn after aeration can help to improve the quality of the soil on which the lawn is being grown.  Top dressing with store-bought topsoil should be sufficient for an average lawn, again done annually in the fall.  Lawns with serious drainage or quality issues may benefit from specially formulated topsoil and an additional dressing in the spring.

 

Mowing the lawn is, perhaps, the most obvious activity to undertake, but again the focus should be on achieving healthy grass roots.  This means that longer grass is preferable for lawn health, so a high setting on the mower is best.  If mowing consecutively, do so in a different direction.

 

Raking the lawn then removes the clippings created by mowing.  In addition, raking can be used to gently remove moss or weeds from the lawn. An electric lawn-raker can make the task less arduous.

 

Tools and equipment

 

From mowing and raking to feeding and aerating, the right tools and equipment can help a gardener to get the jobs done more quickly and more consistently. Pat's Small Engine Plus has a varied collection of quality tools for lawn and garden maintenance, and can be a lifesaver for any much needed lawn equipment.

 

March 9, 2014

Getting your pond ready for summer

A peaceful retreat and nature hub, a garden pond can be a great asset to any property. Regular maintenance is necessary in order to keep your pond in tip top condition. Summer is just around the corner and so what better reason to step up the pond care ready for summer parties and BBQs?  There are a number of pond treatments and accessory replacements readily available on the market from online retailers such as Swell UK that make owning a pond all the more easier.

Here's my guide to getting your pond in order in time for summer.

Check your filter and pump

A pond filter and pump is a necessity when it comes to keeping a pond healthy. And it's a good idea to regularly take your filter apart and give it a good clean. Leaves and dirt can get clogged up inside, forcing the filter to work less effectively, leaving you with a pond that is dirtier than it needs to be. The most common cause of pond filter or pump problems is the impellor, which more than anything else needs regular cleaning to ensure that it is working efficiently.

Remove leaves

Make sure that you remove any vegetation that doesn't belong in the water. If you have a number of trees and plants nearby, you may have to regularly check your pond to remove the inevitable leaves and branches that can fall into the water. Not only will removing all the leaves help to make the pond look great, but it will also prevent non-pond plants from decaying and causing trouble in the bottom of the pond. This might not sound like a fun job, but if your pond is shallow enough to wade through, get your wellies and old clothes on and climb in. Get the kids to help you too, they'll love getting stuck in and getting their hands dirty. If you have a pond vacuum, this can be a great piece of kit to dig out of the shed to do most of the hard work for you. Not only will it remove leaves, but some water will be removed, allowing you to introduce new clean water to freshen your pond a little.

Water quality

It is important that the water is in good condition in order for fish and plants to thrive. Blanket weed and algae are just two problems that pond keepers face. Blanket weed is a form of algae but it looks like your typical weed. Over time it can cover everything in your pond and can be a nightmare to get rid of if you don't keep on top of it. The frustrating thing about blanket weed is that often the cleaner you keep your pond, the easier it is for sunlight to access it, making the weeds grow even quicker.

The most natural way to combat the dreaded green stuff is by conducting regular water changes and regularly removing the weed with a long stick. Ensure that the stick is not sharp, as this can damage the liner.  If the blanket weed problem is severe you can also use treatments to improve water quality.

A bit of decoration can go a long way

Now that you've completed your pond MOT, it's time for the fun and creative part - decoration. Once you've tided up the plants that are already there, this is the perfect time to introduce even more nature. Add some marginal plants, introduce some lilies to the water and cover any bits of liner peeping between the gaps in the stones.

If your pond is at risk of pests such as herons, foxes or even your own pets, then a decoy heron can be used to deter potential fish thieves away

Pond lighting can be a great decorative addition if you plan on any evening BBQs and gatherings as the nights get warmer.

 

 

January 21, 2014

The 3 Key Stages to Creating a Garden Pond

A garden pond can add a serious amount of value to any green outdoor space.  A pond adds flow, relaxing sounds and draws wildlife to your garden better than almost any other feature you could think of, so if 2014 is going to be the year where you try to really enhance your garden, you should start the year off by building a pond.  

Here are 3 key steps that you need to follow.

1 - Design and Digging

There are some crucial elements to plan before you start digging your hole.  First, you need to consider the location.  Factors such as proximity to plants, trees and other features matter. If you have children, you might not want your pond at ground level next to the path where it is overly accessible.  Another factor is proximity to power.  If you want to have a pump and filter for your pond, you'll need to power them, and therefore, having close access to a power outlet will be essential. Once you've come to your conclusion, you need to dig your pond.  Remember to go deep, as your pond needs to allow fish to gravitate to deeper, warmer waters in the winter to avoid the cold.

2 - A Watertight Plan

Once you've dug your hole, you'll need to line it with damp building sand, and then line the pond.  Pond liner isn't cheap, but buying it from an expert supplier such as Fish Fish Fish will help you get exactly what you need for a reasonable cost.  It's essential to allow your liner to overlap at ground level because when you fill it with water, it's going to lower slightly with the weight. A final step before you fill the liner is to put your filter and pump in place, as it will be more difficult when the water is in.

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 3 - Planting and Finishing Touches

Be careful with the plants that you use because they're expensive and, depending on your pond's depth and temperature can either thrive or wilt.  The key two things to remember are that lilies look great but they can cover the entirety of your pond's surface, and that grasses are hardy and aesthetically pleasing, but can only really be placed around the top level of a pond, meaning that they could be impractical.  Once you've finished planting, cover your pond with a layer of gravel, and wait a week with your pump and filter turned on before you introduce fish to allow the dust to settle and for the plants to acclimatise.

Image 2.png

 

January 8, 2014

Tips for Keeping your Home Renovation on Budget

Renovating can sometimes be a nightmare - especially to those undertaking the mammoth task for the first time. With a little bit of planning and some basic research, you can make sure that you complete the job without suffering too much stress and making sure you stay on budget.

Research

The key to all budgets is research! Start collecting a collection of magazine articles which offer great ideas for both 'do it yourself' activities as well as a wide range of websites that can be viewed for more ideas. Most magazines list the price of items so you'll get an idea of how much things cost and whether they fit into your budget. Another great avenue for researching prices is the sometimes annoying 'junk mail' that appears in your letterbox - here you will find the latest catalogue specials on everything from tiles to designer rugs and lamps!

Set a Realistic Budget

While it would be nice to think you can get a designer kitchen for under $10,000 - chances are it is not going to happen and you'll only be setting yourself up for disappointment and stress if you don't allocate adequate funds for your budget. If you do in fact have only $10,000 to spend and you need to cover more than just the kitchen -then instead of thinking that you will be installing all new cabinets and appliances, realise that it will probably just be a revamp like new door handles and possibly some new tiles or paint that will happen for what you want to spend! You can actually do a lot with something simple like freshly painted walls - but paint still costs money so make sure you are realistic when it comes to coming up with your budget. Ask friends or work colleagues what they spent on renovations or other projects they have undertaken. Check out magazines like Home Beautiful, Inside Out and use the excuse that you're 'renovating' to park yourself in front of the television and watch one or two of the multitude of home renovation shows that are constantly being shown.

Use Quality Equipment and Tools

While it may cost a little more to hire or purchase renovating tools, buy the best that you can afford. You will save yourself a lot of time with a quality drill that does the job quickly and efficiently than buying a cheap drill from a discount store that only has a few minutes worth of battery life and doesn't have the power to get through anything more than the thinnest of walls. For landscaping, hours and hours of back breaking hard work can be done within a couple of hours by the right machinery. Companies like Hyundai Construction Equipment are aware of the huge renovation industry and have developed machinery like their Mini Excavators that are useful in domestic situations and get big jobs done in very little time.

Be Patient!

Renovating takes time and if you are working in your usual job and doing it after hours, you need to make sure that it doesn't consume your life - set yourself a realistic timeline to complete tasks and remember - it will all be worth it in the end!

 

January 8, 2014

Kitchens: what the future holds

Home design is on the cusp of huge change and will affect outdoor spaces too.

Elle Decor provides a glimpse into the future of kitchens here:


'In the future, your kitchen will have...

-Famous (though holographic) helpers: Electrolux Design Lab has plans to beam top chefs right into your kitchen so their holographic image can coach you in real time. But will they help with dishes?

-Outrageously beautiful food: Laser-cut biscuits in the form of your dinner guests' monograms? It could happen. Designer Andrew Stellitano has been experimenting with the technology, and companies are clamoring for a way to do the same so they can sell it to you.

-Edible furniture: As scientists seek new ways to banish world food shortages, an experiment out of China has resulted in creating carbohydrates out of...wood. Will that mean the advent of edible decor?

-Protective knives: Forget worrying about using the same knife for fish and vegetables: This knife, out of Electrolux Design Lab, will check the tool for harmful bacterias and emit ions to keep your food fresh as you cut it. 

-Hangover-proof ice cubes: Like a stoplight for drinking. If you chug your drink too quickly, these cubes emit a red light, and even text a designated friend if you ignore the flashing color. Drinking at the proper speed? They flash green. Good to go (slowly!)

-A way to keep you fit: New research out of Tokyo shows that if you look at food through a headset that makes it look larger via augmented reality, you will consume less. Will these headsets hang above the dining table soon?'

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January 6, 2014

The Narghilé: the new patio indulgence

Airdiem has  totally reinvented the age old narguile/hookah. In 2010 the brand created a new mobile version and designed dedicated corners. The designs are now available at boutique hotels.

In Europe and in the US,  Airdiem is becoming a new patio indulgence, hot with the younger crowds worldwide.

This success is probably also due to the fact there is an increased understanding that the experience is far from that of addictive cigarettes. 


The mixture uses tobacco only as a blender for a huge variety of flavors: honey, apple, cinnamon...


smokeme1.jpg


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January 4, 2014

Marimekko: Spring designs

Marimekko is a Finnish textile and clothing design company renowned for its original prints and colours. The company designs and manufactures high-quality interior decoration items ranging from furnishing fabrics to tableware as well as clothing, bags and other accessories.

With options for outdoor decor, Marimekko's new spring collection is ready at @ http://www.e-julkaisu.fi/marimekko/141_Moments/.
For 2014, the brand has a collection of black and whites as well as their iconic flower power patterns!

Marimekko: Spring designs

Marimekko: Spring designs

English: Marimekko store in Trondheim/ Norway

English: Marimekko store in Trondheim/ Norway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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January 3, 2014

PAPILLON coffee table: indoor/outdoor design by Gallix

We love the soft colors used on this small table as well as its sculptural structure of steel wire. The beauty of the lines gives the whole simplicity, lightness and elegance. 
The round tray (Ø 46 cm) provides a graphic style.  

PAPILLON coffee table
  • Type : Coffee table
  • Colour : Yellow
  • Material : Structure: steel wire coated - Platform: lacquered aluminum
  • Dimensions : Ø 46 cm x H 40 cm
  • Characteristics : For indoor & outdoor - Very light: 3.3 kg

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January 1, 2014

Trellis design ideas


Trellises are excellent pieces of garden ornamentation, serving both practical and aesthetic purposes. They can help to add shape to a garden, and are an affordable means of making over an outdoor space. They can be erected for screening purposes, or used to act as a support for various types of plants.

Uses for trellises

A trellis has many uses in the garden. They can be used to cover up an ugly wall, hide a garden shed, an enclosure or even a compost heap. Several together can be used to section off areas of the garden, such as helping to create a two or three-sided 'outdoor room' that holds a dining table and chairs, and comfortable seating. A similar enclosure can create a focal point for a bird table or statue. Once erected, suitable plants can be planted at the base, and trained to grow upwards, the trellis then being a framework to cling to.

Standard trellis designs

There are many different types of trellis available, such as diamond, eye and square designs. Do not feel it necessary to keep the trellises naturally coloured. A garden can be significantly improved by colour, and a painted trellis can enliven a plain wall.

Place three trellises alongside one another, either curving or straight, in front of a stone or wooden bench, to create a screened seating area, or place several along the edges of a paved area to enclose a patio. Create an archway over a path or even construct a pergola out of them.

A short garden can be made to look bigger with tall trellises, as they create the illusion of vertical space. A small garden can be made to look larger by positioning a decorative or even a simple mirror on the trelliswork. Using different types of mirror mounted on a trellis can also help to define a garden's theme. For example, a Victorian style mirror could help to create a true English or French country garden, while an Italian design could add to the idea of a Roman villa garden.

More unusual trellis designs

Of course, it is not necessary to buy trellises ready made from garden centres or DIY stores. These all tend to have a generic look, whereas trelliswork made from wooden shutters can have a truly individual design.

Attach shutters to a fence or wall to create a perfect frame for climbing plants. Shutters are particularly good for creating enclosures, as they can be as open, or as closed, as desired. When the slats are closed, they afford almost complete privacy, but can be opened so the rest of the garden can be seen.

Other ornamentation

Instead of using a trellis or shutters for climbing plants, consider hanging pot plants on them. These can create a more unusual and eye-catching display, and one that helps to add interest to a garden by placing colour on the vertical spaces as well as the flowerbeds.

To create soft, ambient lighting for the evenings and night-time, hang attractively coloured jars or lanterns containing candles or tea lights from the trellis.

December 31, 2013

Missoni Outdoor: Onley Outdoor Cylinder Pouf Bag

Anyone responsible for keeping an outdoor room tidy will love this clever idea.

Missoni Outdoor: clever pouf bag


Design by Rosita Missoni, 2013.

Exhibiting a cheerful crochet chevron design that can be flaunted indoors and outdoors, the Onley Outdoor Cylinder Pouf Bag keeps your living essentials in place. The zigzag pattern is dotted with flowers in bright, zesty tones -- including green, pink, orange, and peach -- on a weatherproof fabric. Finished with two handles for easy transporting.

Product Features:

  • 100% polyester
  • Onley Pouf is not included
  • Made with weatherproof fabric
  • Outside fabric is Onley, inside fabric is Eucla 61
  • Hand washable
  • Do not tumble dry
  • Do not bleach
  • Do not dry-clean
  • Iron on a low heat, max temp 110° C


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