When your house doesn't lend itself to an extension and you're too attached to move, finding ways to expand your property is almost impossible. If you have a generously sized garden, then making use of the space you have outdoors can actually add value to your property. There's something for every budget, so whether you have a little or a lot of money to spare, there's a solution for you.
A summer house is an easy way to give your property some extra recreational space. Add comfy furniture and a TV, or maybe even a children's pool table, and it'll give your family a fun place to go to spend their free time. As the name suggests, it's the perfect addition to your garden during the summer, and can be used for kids' birthday parties, barbeques or just for hosting evening drinks with friends.
For anybody working from home, having a separate office is crucial if you require a focused environment. There's not always an extra spare room inside the house though, so why not build one outside? You can either build it from scratch yourself if you know someone who's handy, or you can buy handcrafted, pre-built wooden designs from somewhere like Tunstall Garden Buildings. A power supply to the garden is easy enough to install, and once it's all done you'll have somewhere cosy, comfortable and quiet to work in peace.
It's another big job, but building an annex or a 'granny flat' in your garden can really add value to your property. If you've got a growing family or older kids that would prefer their own space, then building a self-contained flat in the garden is a good way to utilise the space you have without extending your home. It's also great for when guests come to stay, as they'll have their own private area and won't be disturbed by younger children early in the morning.
If you want to add value to your home, an indoor pool is a no-no as most buyers would prefer to have the extra living space. However if you fancy your own private swimming pool and don't have the space to build one indoors, you're in luck, as an outdoor pool can add value to your home providing it's under shelter. A swimming pool, complete with pool house for showering and changing, makes the perfect addition to a family home if you have a larger budget.
Insurers report more than a 60% increase in burglaries during winter, as criminals take advantage of the longer hours of darkness present at this time of year. In summer you're on high alert not to leave a window open or your gardening tools outside, but during the winter there's less chance of you falling victim to either of these mistakes. The statistics state that it's actually winter time that you need to be at your most vigilant though, and a good place to build your first line of defence against burglary is in your garden.
High walls and fencing aren't enough to deter burglars, and even in winter, a coating of frost won't put them off clambering up and into your garden. Anti-burglar paint will though. Dispel visions of a black, sludge-like coating on your new fence; anti-burglar paint comes in lots of different colours so you won't have to compromise on the way your garden looks.
It's all too easy for a seasoned burglar to break an old rusty lock, or even lift a gate straight off its old, decaying hinges. Upping your garden's security is the first step towards deterring burglars, so don't make your home an easy target. Replacing locks and hinges is a simple job, and choosing the right kind is easy if you visit a specialist like barrier-components.co.uk.
You might not have thought of it before, but your plants can actually help to deter burglars. Plant plenty of thorny shrubbery underneath fences and walls that burglars could jump over; they'll simply get to the top and realise a plunge into sharp brambles before they've even got anywhere near your home just isn't worth the effort. This is the perfect winter deterrent as they'll already be freezing cold and the thought of scratches and cuts will be a major put-off.
Beware of the Dog
Even if you don't have a furry friend, a 'beware of the dog' sign attached somewhere a burglar is likely to try to enter your garden is a deterrent that actually works. Obviously one with a photograph of a big, fluffy Labrador won't be much good, but if it's a German Shepherd, that's a whole different story. It might not be the chicest garden accessory, but it certainly works and for just a few pounds, it's a safety precaution worth investing in.
Keeping your garden looking at its best in the summer months takes a lot of hard work, but when it comes to winter, cold spells can destroy the rewarding results of your labour. Unless you want your garden to fall into disrepair, now is the time to start prepping it for the winter, so get your tools at the ready and start planning ahead.
Hopefully your preparation for the winter months started a while ago, and if you want your winter plants to thrive, you'll already have germinated them from seed and you'll have a nice stock growing in your greenhouse. To give your winter plants the best possible chance of survival, you need to get them into the flower beds as soon as possible as this gives the roots the chance to establish themselves before the cold weather sets in. The more deeply-rooted they are, the best chance they'll have of surviving whatever winter throws at them.
Many people think adding your preciously cultivated compost to your soil at this time of year is a waste, as they believe rain will spoil the balance of nutrients. However, rain can actually have the effect of washing even more nutrients into your compost. Come spring time, your soil will be able to maintain moisture when it comes to the drier months we've been experiencing as the weather warms up in March and April.
Build a Bird Feeder
If you have any old wood hanging around, now is the time to get handy and knock up a DIY bird feeder. Cold, winter weather can be a treacherous time for all local wildlife, including birds, so you should try to give them a helping hand wherever possible. Bird feeders are easy to make; all you need is an easy online tutorial to follow and some power tools, which can be found relatively cheaply from somewhere like Swift Trading.
Tame Your Tidiness
If you love nothing more than a pristine garden, your perfectionist tendencies could actually cause damage in winter. It's beneficial to your garden to have a layer of foliage covering it in the winter, so put that rake down and let nature take its course. A layer of leaves and debris will help protect your garden from the harsh weather conditions winter brings, and it can make an ideal shelter for insects and small animals like hedgehogs.
This summer we experienced extraordinary temperatures. Even the sun worshippers were left gasping for a little respite, with the fierce sun beating down all day. We are so used to the idea of trying to maximise the sunshine in our gardens, we forget about the need for shade. But to be able to enjoy your garden to its full potential, it's an idea to think about your options for a shady area.
A Garden Retreat
A summerhouse can be the perfect retreat for your garden, for those with enough space to spare, and a tidy sum of money to part with; you could invest in an architectural delight for your garden. Or what about a temporary house in the form of a fancy gazebo - it's less expensive and would appeal to those who do not want to invest in a permanent feature.
Make the Most of What You've Got
Work with your environment. You could put decking under an area which is shaded by trees - this makes the perfect spot to take lunch. It is less obtrusive than a gazebo and allows you to lap up the natural beauty of the garden.
Dine Al Fresco?
Invest in some practical outdoor chairs, choose some that are easy to fold away and take up minimum space. Look for a matching set that also comes with a sturdy table, so that the whole family can fit round. Ideally you want furniture that can be easily dismantled and stored neatly. A nice idea is a wooden bench - like sometimes seen in a pub beer garden - with a hole in the middle to house a large, vibrant parasol. This is good if you have the space, and don't mind leaving it outside as a feature all year round.
It isn't only the kids that enjoy a dip when the sun is at its peak. You can now get paddling pools in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes. Everyone will be grateful for a place to cool off after baking in the sunshine. It is good to keep the kids occupied and it helps to lure them outside so they can take advantage of your garden space.
Think about incorporating some plants to make the space attractive. Plants like the Rhododendron, Geraniums and Ivy are happy to grow in part shade. This perks up the surrounding areas and makes for a beautiful view.
Where to Keep All Your Summer Stuff
If you have space to spare in your garden it makes sense to put in a garden shed or timber garage. These storage areas are ideal for storing gardening equipment, sports equipment, bikes and other such items. Some people even use this space for a creative area - a place they can keep private and cherish as their own. In fact, it has been suggested that a man's wellbeing is better if he has a space of his own to potter about in allowing him to indulge in a bit of precious 'me-time'.
More than just a garage
For those who want increase their own space, an option is to incorporate a wooden car-port or a timber garage. These timber buildings are beautifully crafted and would enhance any garden in terms of space and practicality. Redmire offer a range of bespoke timber garages too. They can be made to your specifications with clocks and double stable doors to add depth of style and originality. This appeals to many and is perhaps more stylish and aesthetically pleasing than your average shed.
It is a lovely feeling when you look out of your window at the beautiful flowers in your garden, and then there is the occasional BBQ if the weather holds out... You may have a handful of garden-parties over the warmer seasons, too, but how about optimising the environment around you and making more of the space you have, in a creative way.
What you can do
Encourage more wildlife into your garden. We all love bees - they make us sweet honey and play an essential part in the eco-system. A lot of wildlife organisations have urged those with gardens to make them more wildlife-friendly. You can encourage bees to come into your garden by planting lots of attractive plants such as lavender.
A growing delight
If you have the space it is nice to have an area of your garden that is dedicated to growing veggies and fruit. You could also incorporate your own herb garden. This will not only save you pennies, but you'll be the envy of your neighbours when you take them round some homemade soup with nothing but fresh ingredients grown only meters from your front door. Use old pallets and other materials that supermarkets and shops are happy to part with to make vegetable grow-boxes.
Princess and the pea
We've all heard of flower beds, but what about literally using the base of your bed as a home for your plants?
Maybe your son or daughter is growing fast? Perhaps you are looking to buy them a new, double bed that so they cease to complain about their feet dangling out of the end? It is a wise investment to buy a bed that will last you for years - Revival Handmade Beds have a selection. Then you can recycle your old bed and use the frame as a quirky raised bed for your flowers or veggies.
On your bike
Use an old wooden rowing boat as a plant box, or an old bike with a basket can house beautiful hanging plants these will soon be a haven for lots of interesting bugs and insects.
Freestanding baths, painted brightly make a gorgeous water garden, much cheaper and more original than a pond or expensive water feature.
Make bird houses and bird baths to encourage visits from blackbirds and robins. You can use an old, shallow china dish or a cup and saucer. Just make sure they are placed up high enough to keep the cats at bay!
Get the kids involved and paint clay flowerpots bright colours, tie with ribbons and lace. Decorate old jars and put them in amongst your flower beds to add a twinkle to the garden.
Old kid's cabinets and chests of drawers can also be transformed into frames for raised flowers. Get the family involved and brighten up the frames with a lick of paint or stencil some pretty designs on the sides, make them as vibrant as you like, but in keeping up with the flowers that will soon be growing there.
Be a super recycler - save up all your old loo rolls and convert them into plant pots. Also save up your plastic bottles, they can be useful for cloches and all sorts of other things.
Make your garden a special and unique place to visit, and recycle old garden furniture and reuse household items at the same time!
Summer seems to be holding out for the moment, so there is still time to take advantage of the weather and throw a BBQ. Perhaps you have a special birthday to organise; your garden is the ideal place to host any event. And there are many exciting ways of sprucing up the environment.
Bright and Bold
If it's your daughter's 18th birthday party then your garden is a safe and useful space to house a party and means less clearing up afterwards. Purchase some plastic cups, plates and cutlery - then all you need to do after the event is throw them in the bin! Maybe you want to make your garden a place of luxury with neon bulbs and extravagant furniture, big balloons and a sound system to shake the neighbours' patio. Think about the furniture you could invest in that is practical and fun but that will last you for a few years to come. Consider buying recessed garden lights for lawns and paths - these are a good investment long-term also, they will add value to your house and make your garden a more welcoming place.
Stay in Harmony with the Natural World
Maybe you would like to keep in tune with the natural surroundings. You can use the natural world as your theme and work with the backdrop of leaves and tree, draping them with coloured, twinkly fairy lights. For an enchanting effect, you could float tea lights on your pond.
For homemade decorations begin with some crafted bunting - use pretty fabrics from your local market in an array of colours and patterns. To add a personal twist, make bunting out of copies of old family photographs. Make sure to laminate them for protection and then attach them with ribbon and string. This is interesting for guests, and is a lovely idea for any family party or birthday celebration, showcasing the change in the person over the years.
If you don't want to spend a small fortune you could recycle old crates from local shops and supermarkets and make them into garden furniture. Or head to local second hand stores where you can find bargains which you can paint and dress up.
Don't Let it Rain on your Parade
A shed, gazebo or a canopy under a balcony is the perfect place to take refuge if the rain starts. You can have this area set up already with some chairs at the ready, should the heavens open.
An illuminating mirror can add depth to your garden. You could even place this strategically in your shed and use it as a sheltered area if the rain starts. Powerful Vision Ltd has a wide selection of mirrors with variations on brightness and style. They are even available as a battery powered alternative, so you don't need to plug them in to the mains socket. This makes them a quirky alternative to regular garden lights and they can be reused inside afterwards, for years to come.
Keep it Low Key
To keep the theme classic, how about some Victorian style lampposts as a lighting option? Or perhaps some period French exterior lights that attach to the side of your house?
Again, if you don't want to make too many amendments to the design and features of your garden, think about what particular spots you would like to draw attention to, and kit that area out as a comfortable place for people to sit. Then decorate and create a warming ambience with large candles and lanterns or an outside chiminea.
Dear Friends and Followers. Lets meet in real life. Join in : 24/9 at 1PM Trends and Innovation seminar @landscapeevent So much design news!— The Outdoor Stylist(@OutdoorStylist) May 23, 2013