Today more and more people are thinking about eco-friendly options within their homes, from upcycled furniture to solar panels to produce their own electricity. But what about your garden furniture? There is now a very healthy market for recycled plastic garden furniture, which is available from many well-known retailers.
Every year we produce a lot of plastic waste, so save it from landfills. Companies are turning it into garden furniture that looks the same as their timber counterparts.
The process to make plastic furniture uses less energy and water than making a timber one. So not only are you helping the planet by stopping plastic from ending up in landfills, but you are also helping with environmental pollution.
Typically the plastic used to make the furniture is water bottles, plastic bags and bottle lids.
Plastic does not rot and is resistant to algae and bacteria, and most manufacturers put a 25-year warranty on their products.
Creating a mini water garden table centrepiece is an easy project that takes about 30 minutes. All you need is a shallow container and some water plants.
For this project, a broad, shallow container works best. You can purchase these from all garden centres, or you can upcycle a copper or glass bowl from home.
The fun part about this project is deciding what plants you want to use. You can include any “floater” plants like duckweed or water hyacinth.
To keep your water feature looking its best, check the water levels daily. Also, change the water when it becomes murky (this avoids it starting to give off an unpleasant odour). Spray the plants lightly with a liquid fertiliser every time you change the water.
This project will work on a small or large scale, so the possibilities are endless.
One unique, growing trend is vertical gardening. Vertical gardening has many benefits, the biggest one being that you are saving space! This can be very handy if you have a small garden or live in a flat with a balcony. You can still arrange several types of plants vertically to ensure plant diversity. Another advantage is when plants are off the ground, they are less likely to be damaged by pests and plants grown in a vertical garden are easier to maintain.
Not allowing limited space, stop you from growing plants, is also beneficial to your health, as vertical gardens can help pull pollutants from the air so that the air around you is cleaner. Not to mention, if growing a ‘living wall’, it can help insulate your home from noise and heat whilst the transpiration of the plants gives off a cooling environment.
The presence of plants has many benefits both physical and mental, so if you are limited on space, consider growing a vertical garden.
For a truly classic and romantic look in your garden or home exterior, climbing plants are great for creating that extra special ambiance. To ensure your climbing plants have that little bit extra, you can use plants that are known for their fragrant aromas.
Five Fragrant Climbers
1. True jasmine: is a deciduous climber with white scented flowers which is quite hardy and does well in a sheltered position in full sun.
2. Downy Clematis: is a beautiful early bloomer which exhibits large exotic-looking flowers with several colour variations. Best in north facing gardens.
3. Japanese wisteria- a truly opulent vine that produces grape-like clusters of flower racemes, that drape down beautifully. This plant needs lots of space and pruning twice a year to improve blooming and to keep from getting out of hand.
4. Climbing roses- there are many varieties of climbing roses to choose from and they need deadheaded throughout summer to increase blooms. They can also be pruned in late winter.
5. Sweet peas- will need to be sown under cover from February and brought out after the last frost. They will keep producing til Autumn if you pick the dead flowers off.
These five beautiful, scented climbing plants will add beauty and fragrance to your garden.
Instead of always having to buy fresh herbs from the shop, one excellent option is creating your own window box herb planter. Having your own fresh herbs to hand can be incredibly convenient and satisfying. Another benefit of a window box of herbs is that you do not even need to have a garden or use up any of your garden space for an herb patch. Many herbs are quite hardy and low-maintenance.
The Best Window Box Herbs
1. Cilantro- great for salsas, meats, pasta and stews or soups
2. Basil- excellent for pasta, pesto, salads and cocktails
3. Chives- yummy in dips, omelettes, jacket potatoes and seafood
4. Rosemary- fantastic for chicken, steak, fish or mushrooms
5. Mint- very good for soups, cocktails, curry and fruit
Having these lovely herbs to hand means that you will always have fresh ingredients to help flavour your cooking. Bees and butterflies also enjoy these plants, so you will also get the joy of knowing you are helping pollinators.
Creating your own compost is a great way to reduce your waste and save money at the same time. However, there are a few things that may seem ok to compost that you should actually avoid.
-Coal or Charcoal ashes can contain toxic materials that could harm your plants (wood ashes are fine).
-Walnuts also contain a chemical that could be harmful to other plants and does not break down (juglone).
-Cat and Dog waste should be avoided as it could contain dangerous diseases that could be spread to humans.
-Coloured paper could contain toxic dyes and should not be composted, unlike regular paper.
-Limes should not be composted because their pH is alkaline and could kill the microorganisms in your compost.
-Bird droppings (excluding chickens) can be added but could possibly contain weed seeds or disease, so use caution.
-Some food items can be composted but are not recommended due to the amount of time it takes them to break down or could attract pests, such as: meat, onion peels, citrus peels, grease, bones, or dairy products.
Most other food waste, garden waste, coffee grounds and coffee filters, paper, cardboard, hair or nail clippings and much more can be added to your compost. Just remember, that the smaller these items are, the easier it will be for them to break down.
Often when growing plants, the growth cycle will start in a small pot which you will then move to a larger pot as it grows. There are a few signs that your plant is ready to move into a larger pot but what are they?
1. The most obvious sign is the if you see roots coming through the drain holes at the bottom of your pot. You should be able to hold the stem of your plant and pull it out of the pot if you see lots of roots at the bottom this is a sure sign its ready to move to the next size pot.
2. Another sign that your plant needs to move space is if it is very thirsty. If your plant starts looking dehydrated or starts wilting despite frequent watering then this could be a sign it needs a larger home. Ensure you water your plant the day before moving it to reduce stress on the roots.
Once you notice that your plant is ready to be placed into a bigger home it is important to make the move as soon as possible. Plants that are left in a pot too small to accommodate them will eventually die as they will not be able to absorb water or nutrients.
Having a gravel area in part of all of your garden is a low maintenance option and can look amazing if done correctly but there are a few things to consider before you decide to gravel your garden.
– You will need to think about if your garden is suitable first, although any area can be graveled it is more suited to a sunny well-drained area. and whilst you can place gravel on any surface a sandy or gravelly soil will be a better surface.
– You will need to consider the type and size of gravel also. You can get fine grade gravel or thicker types which are 20mm or more. Medium-sized gravel is easier to walk on than smaller gravel types so this is usually a better option for gardens.
– If you have cats regularly visit your garden the smaller gravel types will be inviting them to use your garden as a big litter tray – larger types of gravel can deter this.
Have you come across a less than happy plant in your garden?
A plants life can fluctuate if it is getting too much or too little of the vital life lines it needs to thrive. But most plants can easily be brought back to life using a few simple remedies to restore its natural balance.
Check out these common symptoms of dying plants and the solutions to revive it.
Symptoms – wilted, brown or yellow leaves, moist soil – these could be a sign of over-watering. Solution – keep out of direct sun and lightly water – re-pot if possible.
Symptoms – dry brown leaves, dry or hard soil, drooping leaver – these could be a sign of dehydration. Solution – place your plant in a humid area if possible or keep out of direct sun and lightly water.
Symptoms – dark or bleached patches, dried out leaves – these could be a sign you plant is getting too much sun. Solution – provide shade and water well.
Symptoms – small leaves, weak stems, stunted grown – these could be a sign that your plant is not getting enough sun. Solution – move to a sunny location if possible or add light coloured gravel to reflect light.
To determine which type will work best for your lifestyle and budget we will compare wood and composite decking.
Wood decking is typically more budget-friendly than composite decking although we would always recommend going with a high-end wood, this will expand lifetime and minimise damage/chips or cracks.
Wood decking requires more maintenance than composite decking – we recommend to stain and seal every 3 years. Composite decking although virtually maintenance-free does still require cleaning, brushing regularly. Composite decking will fade over time if placed in direct sunlight – wood decking is much easier to bring back to life.
Ultimately there isn’t a huge difference between both apart from aesthetically – the deciding factor usually boils down to which one looks better to you. Composite decking comes in a range of colours which may suit your garden better.