Dealing with Dandelions

Dandelions are often considered the scourge of most gardeners. Their fluffy, yellow flower heads may look quite attractive but once the heads turn to seed, the slightest puff of wind spreads dandelion seeds over the whole of the garden. You could try digging them out but they have a long, tapering tap root which tends to break off as it is pulled. You only have to leave the smallest part of a tap root behind in the soil and you will soon have dandelions growing again.

The best way to get rid of these bright yellow flowers with their broad green leaves is to prevent them becoming established in your lawn in the first place. In order to do this, after each mowing, make sure you leave some grass clippings on the surface of your lawn. These will act as a mulch and will help prevent seeds from germinating. Also, make sure you do not cut your grass too short as this weakens the grass, allowing weeds like dandelions to become established. Do not allow bare patches to develop in your lawn. Make sure you rake over the bare patches, break up the soil a little and sow with new grass seeds.

However, if you continue to lose the battle against dandelions, then you could harvest them as an edible supplement for your salad bowl!

The Ode Beauty of Garden Decking

Yes, it is spring time. You can just see love in the air and butterflies resting on freshly bloomed flowers. If you are missing out on the breathtaking nature gift, it’s your bad luck. If you still did not get the centre crux of my words, just allow me to frank. I’m basically talking about the valuable gift of nature that is just next to the windows – your garden.

Considering the main benefit of a garden deck, this is that you can enjoy your garden and outdoor area while still being connected to your house, without garden decks you would have to appreciate your garden from a distance.

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Encouraging wildlife to the Garden

One of the best ways of encouraging wildlife to your garden is by constructing a pond. It does not have to be a large expanse of water, even a small pond will attract several species of insects and birds and animals.
It’s important to have a shallow, boggy area around the edge of your pond to encourage amphibians like frogs which require both water and land to survive. Water beetles and dragonflies also like shallow, muddy areas for part of their life cycles. Dragonflies lay their eggs in the water, but once the nymphs are fully grown, they need plant life on dryer land to hang on to before transforming into young dragonflies.
Ensure you have plants growing around the edge of your pond to create enough cover for frogs to hide from predators. As ponds also attract insects, you should find that these in turn will encourage blue tits and sparrows to your garden. The poor hedgehog has declined in numbers drastically over the last 30 years but you may find that a pond may also attract this little animal to come along for a drink. Hedgehogs are able to swim but they do need a means of getting out of pond once they are in, so make sure you provide a ramp of some sort or place rocks which they can clamber over to prevent them from tiring and drowning.

How to Lay your Lawn Turf

How to Lay your Lawn Turf

Do you want to remedy a tired and shapeless patch of grass? Or perhaps you desire to create a new lawn. Whichever the case, laying lawn turf is the sure answer. Of course, it’ll be more expensive compared to sowing seeds, but the benefits will outweigh the costs incurred. For one, you’ll instantly have a usable lawn area. It’ll also have no moss or weeds to spoil the result. So, when’s the best time to lay the lawn? Go for a warm spring or autumn, especially when there’s plenty of rain to help the new grass to establish its roots. The lawn will be ready in time for the summer heat or winter frost.

Now let’s get started on the lawn. First prepare the area by removing stones and leveling the ground. You can use a rake to even it out. Make sure that the soil surface is firm-you can walk up and down on it, taking small and heavy steps. A starter fertilizer, without a pre-emergent, can be applied to the soil. Next, get the turfs and lay them on the soil, slightly overlapping each other. In order to get a clean edge, grab a sharp knife or spade and use it to cut off any excess lawn turf. Voila! You’re done. It’s that simple. Continue reading

Jobs for the Gardener in May

Lawns
With warmer weather and more frequent Spring showers, the lawn will need mowing at least once a week. Spike badly-drained areas and feed poorly growing patches.

Shrubs
Prune early flowering shrubs like kerria or flowering almond.

Roses
Make sure you apply a general rose fertiliser and spray roses against pests and diseases.

Perennials
At this time of year, borders will need to be weeded regularly. Support taller perennials with canes. Pinch out the growing tips of michaelmas daisies, golden rod and heleniums in order to encourage bushy growth.

Dahlias
Once the danger of frost has abated, plant out young plants from cuttings.

Annuals
Half-hardy annuals can be planted outside once the risk of frost has passed. Sow biennials such as foxgloves, sweet williams and wallflowers.

Bulbs
In order to make more room for bedding plants, lift Spring bulbs (daffodils, crocus and tulips, etc) which have already finished flowering. Make sure these are stored correctly in a dry, dark shed, ready for planting out again in the Autumn.

Fruit
Thin peach and nectarine trees once the fruits have reached the size of marbles. Make sure you water well in dry weather. Put straw around strawberry plants.

Practical and secure fencing for your home

It seems that these days most households have some kind of security system on their house and contents; whether it is a traditional box burglar alarm, CCTV, a large guard dog or security marking of valuable goods. However, thieves are often on the watch for houses where they think it will be easy to get inside and out quickly, without being seen by prying neighbours or passers-by. Secure fencing and strong, locked gates are an additional deterrent.

These days there is plenty of choice and it is possible to erect fencing and install gates which are both strong and pleasing to look at. Vertical railings look particularly good around period properties and they are available in a number of colours and finishes. If you value privacy highly, then you may wish to consider wooden fencing. Wooden tongue and groove fencing, reinforced with heavy duty posts is a good option. Nowadays, there are a number of spray paints and stains available for preserving wooden fencing. These are also available in colours other than traditional brown, if you want to go for a different look in your garden. Once you have your fence installed and painted, then plant prickly shrubs and bushes like creeping juniper, holly and berberis along the perimeter to further deter any intruder from climbing over.

Buying an Opener for your Garage Door – 5 Considerations

The garage door opener is one of the most important components of any functional garage door. Without it, it is almost impossible to operate. It is important that you get the right knowledge before buying an opener. Fact is, there are many options out there. You want to make sure you buy the right one that will fit your garage door. This guideline will help you make the perfect choice.

The power

What type of door do you have? The heavier the door the more horsepower you will need to carry it. For a single car garage door or a standard two-car carriage door, a 1/2 horsepower opener is enough. For a solid wood or carriage garaged door a 3/4 horsepower opener is the perfect choice. If you have any doubt consider going for more power. It is better to have more power than not have enough. The extra cash you’ll spend is worth it.

The size of your door

What is the size of your door? Most garage doors are about 7-feet tall. A normal garage door opener is strong enough to operate any garage door of that length, even up to an additional 6-inches. If your door is taller than that you’ll need an extension.  Continue reading

Getting Creative with Garden Lighting

The use of garden lighting can extend the use of your garden well past dusk and, at the same time, create a relaxing ambiance for entertaining, quiet reflection or for just spending more time outside.

Spot lights can be used along the edge of decking or at the sides of a small flight of steps, installed flush with the decking or a side wall. Spot lights can also be used to highlight a small area of a garden – maybe to draw attention to a water feature, a statue or a particular ornamental plant.

Spike lights can be used to edge a path way or driveway.

Lighting on a patio or a barbecue may need to be functional as well as pretty. Stronger lighting may be required above a cooking area and over the dining table. The use of up-lighters and down-lighters can create interesting effects with shadows depending where they are placed in relation to the plants around a patio area.

Up-lighting trees adds drama to the garden and emphasises the height. Alternately, lines of string lights along the branches of a tree will also draw attention to the shape of the tree, as well as looking very attractive.

Constructing raised beds

There are several advantages to having raised beds in a garden. They are a good way of growing fruit and vegetables in particular, especially plants which may need “constraining” like strawberries which, if left untended, can become straggly with runners growing almost anywhere. A raised bed can also be a good way of growing plants which thrive in a different soil type from the rest of the garden. Lastly, raised beds are often easier to manage for gardeners with mobility or back problems.

When building a raised bed there are a few things to consider:

1. Make sure the bed is not too wide (less than 1.4m), so that it can be reached from the sides.
2. Ensure that the pathway in between beds is big enough to accommodate a wheelbarrow or perhaps a wheelchair for a disabled gardener.
3. Carefully select the materials for construction. Timber is cheap but will not be long-lasting. Railway sleepers will last longer but can be very heavy and bulky to manage. A more permanent solution is to lay bricks or stone.

It you have used treated wood in the construction of your raised bed, it may be best to line the bed with plastic, in case harmful chemicals used in the treatment process leach out into the soil.

You may also have to water your plants in a raised bed more frequently as drainage in the soil is usually improved.

Chelmsford and the Need for Building Insurance Repairs

A lot can be done to ensure the safety and security of buildings with a solid insurance being at the top of the list. With proper coverage, you will be sure that the building can be repaired and rebuilt when anything untoward happens to the structure. With so many builders in Chelmsford, it is important to be vigilant with your choices. Take into consideration what you need versus what the company can offer for your protection. The following are just some of the elements every policy should cover:

Sum Insured

This refers to the total amount that is needed to fix your home after the damage. The cost depends on how much you want to set aside for the project. Note that some insurance companies may not pay the amount if the cost of rebuilding is higher – even if it is just going to be for a partial repair. Continue reading

Resources

  • When asked with company we used to install our Automatic Opening Vents , we did not hesitate to recommend the National Domelight Company.

  • The Garage Door Centre - Garage Doors, Operators and Automated Gates, Up And Over Garage Doors Kettering, Wellingborough, Northampton.

  • Samson offer a range of security grilles in the UK, these grilles can be fitted to most commercial or residential properties.

  • UK Oak is a specialist supplier for many oak and timber products including Oak Posts , structural oak beams and oak fencing.

  • Avant Garde Roofing are specialist Flat Roofing Bedford approved installers of comprehensive range of proven flat roofing systems for both commercial and domestic properties.

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  • Domestic and commercial Roofing Northampton specialists for your business and your property.

  • Sliding Gates

    Automatic, sliding gates , swing gates and remote control gates for your house.

  • Awnings

    Glass Garden Canopies and Garden Awning for your perfect garden.