Category: Tips

How To Create Your Outdoor Kitchen

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There is something about eating outdoors that is elemental. Maybe the aroma of cooking on the breeze stirs something up inside us. Whatever it is, it works. Al Fresco dining is as good as it gets. It whets our appetites and makes us more social. Outside there are no distractions. We focus on the food and the company and let’s face it, life does not get any better than that. But rolling the BBQ out of the garage does not quite give us the ambience we need. How can you plan your garden around your outdoor kitchen and really make the most of your alfresco dining experience?

To an extent the site of your outdoor kitchen and eating area will depend upon your house. The simplest idea would be to select an area close to your existing kitchen. In that way you have the backup and ease of being able to pass things out and through. There will be a lot less running around. In these scenarios, your cooking area would most likely be situated on your deck or patio,

Another slightly more adventurous scenario would be to create a purpose built area in another part of the garden. This might need to be protected to some degree from prevailing winds and breezes. But this might be a lovely idea especially if you have a place in the country. It could also be a way to take advantage of a special view, or a place to eat while you watched the sunset.

Wherever you decide work, you’ll be able to focus on a dedicated area. In doing that you can take advantage of the experience of a company such as TDL who are experts in landscaping. You’ll need a base and have to think about your flooring options. Something solid with character that is easy to keep clean would be ideal. It’s great to have at least one wall or half wall to place your oven or BBQ area up against.

Here you can think about other attractions such as a fire pit or even an outdoor fireplace to keep you nice and warm. This could make even dining out on cooler nights a heartwarming option. If this is a kitchen away from a kitchen, it can be a good idea to think about food preparation areas, as well as having running water and a sink. This will be useful in terms of preparing food.

There are a wide range of screens and ways of protecting yourself from not just cooler breezes but also insects on warmer nights. Have a think too about the kind of feel that you would like. Outdoor furniture is an important aspect of your whole experience. You could focus on a table and chairs or draw in a few loungers for more relaxing options.

The outdoors cook might like to take advantage of the living garden. What could be fresher and more nutritious than being able to bring your own salad and vegetables to the table? A herb garden is a handy and aromatic choice to have close by. Companion planting with lavender helps keep the bugs at bay. All you need now is for the sun to go down and a few lights to come on. As the soft glow of the candles work their magic, it is easy to anticipate the feast ahead.

 

5 tips for landscaping your garden

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For the gardening novice, landscaping can be a daunting prospect. With so many choices and decisions to make, from ornamental features to plant positioning, it can be hard to know where to start. The good news is, you don’t have to be a professional landscaper to create a beautiful and functional outdoor space. Here are five tips to bear in mind when designing your garden. (more…)

Make The Most Of Your Country Garden With This Guide

When you move into your new country home, we’re sure you’ll be thrilled with the interior. But, there might be a quite a lot of work to do in the garden. Particularly, if you’ve bought a home with a lot of land. It’s true to say that you could have your work cut out for you. So, it’s important to know how to manage a big country garden. As well as this, we’re going to recommend some of the improvements that you could make.

Landscaping

It’s possible that you may want to complete some landscaping work in your new garden. This is quite similar to a home renovation. It takes a lot of work to completely change the way a garden looks. For instance, through landscaping, you can add a slope to your garden. Or, you can flatten it down completely. Adding a slope away from the home is useful if you think you have bought a house in an area that could flood. To do this, it’s best to hire the proper equipment. A landscaping job of this size will involve the movement of quite a lot of soil and other materials. A bobcat hire service is perfect for this. You’ll be able to move the material you need to effortlessly without any trouble at all.

Making It Beautiful

To make a garden look attractive, you need to start by keeping it neat and tidy. As we have already said, you may have bought a home with a large plot of land. If you have, it can seem impossible trying to keep the grass short and neat. You could hire a gardener to come in each month and sort it out for you. Or, you may want to complete the job yourself. It’s easy if you have a petrol lawnmower. Driving one of these around your garden will make cutting the grass a cinch. Of course, there’s more to a beautiful garden than just neatly cut grass.

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You may also want to add some flowers around the yard. We suggest you try to pick some flowers that are a little unique but still match the aesthetic of the home. You don’t want them to stand out too much. But you do want to add a variety of colour to the scene.

Making It Bigger

Just because you’ve bought a home in the garden, it doesn’t mean that you have got a large plot of land. It could be quite small, and you may want to use the space the best that you can. You can separate it by laying down some patio if you have a large stretch of green. That way, the garden will look bigger, and you will have different areas to use and design. For instance, on the patio, you might want to lay out a seating area.

Growing Fruit And Veg

Of course, one of the best things about being out in the country is that you’re going to have quality soil. You can use this to grow your fruit and veg living off the land. Have a look at our tips to do this and you’ll soon get the hang of it.

We hope you find these tips useful. Make the most of your garden and check back soon for more advice.

 

Make Your Dog At Home in The Country

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We love our dogs and we wouldn’t be without them. Sometimes though a dog that has been raised in the city takes a bit of adjustment when it comes to the country. A bit like us really. You tend to want to run round a lot and let off some steam!

Being in country is great but there are some things we need to do to make sure the dogs are safe. The same probably applies to livestock.You have to respect the people who have been here for generations. You want to get on with the neighbours. More than anything you want to give your dog the great life he or she deserves with all the freedom that entails.

Get out there and meet the neighbours.

It’s a matter of courtesy really, but you might make it a point. Introduce yourself as the new dogs in town so to speak. That way everyone can start to get used to seeing you around and more importantly your dog can get used to meeting the others dogs around the place.

Set out your dog space

The freedom of living in the country is tempered by some of the possible dangers and limitations. Our dog wouldn’t go running around the town without a lead, and he certainly won’t be doing that here. We have a great garden, and I want us all to be able to enjoy it and that includes the dog.

You might consider running up some fencing to make sure the space he is in is safe and enclosed. That also means I can fence off any areas of water that might prove to be a problem. We’ll be planting here eventually but right now I’m on a bit of a weed-killing spree. I need a dog friendly weed killer and that is exactly what I’ve been laying down and I‘m thrilled with it.

Give him a kennel.

If you have the luxury of a spare downstairs room you could let the dog in there with no worries, and that’s fine sometimes. I’ve alway had an idea that the dog would get his own house! There are plenty of kennel kits out there. I think that it would be great for him to have a space to call his own!

Get some training

Probably the biggest worry for a dog owner in the country is the animals and in particular the stock. It’s one thing to have him tearing off after a rabbit but quite another to think that he’d see sheep in the same vein. Take a look around and get your dog into a training class. The best way to deal with the possibility is of course to get him used to walking around the animals and coming to heel when you call. The rest of the time he’ll be on the lead.

It’s just reassuring to think that he’ll be able to settle into his new home with no worries. I’m sure he’ll soon be walking around like he owns the place.

 

How To Prepare Your Soil For Growing Fruit & Veg

During the summer, we gave you some great little tips about growing your own fruit and veg – you can read the article here.

One of the important points we made was that it is vital to check that your soil is suitable. It’s a broad subject, so we thought today would be an excellent opportunity for us to explore it in more detail.

So, if you want to make the most of your fruit and veg opportunities, read on. We’re going to show you how to get your soil in perfect condition. Let’s get cracking right away.

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Gareth Jones

Test it

Before you get started, make sure that you know exactly what you are dealing with. Look around for soil testing kits, or if you are looking at a large area, try and seek out geotechnical site investigation services in your locale. They will test your soil for you and report back to you.

While the testing process is technical, the results will tell you what you need to do. The ideal soil for growing veggies is somewhere between pH 6 and pH7. If you go too far above or below that, you’ll need to make some adjustments. Let’s take a look at that next.

Lower your pH

If your soil has a pH much higher than 7, then there are a few ways of taking it down a notch. pH is a measure of alkalinity or acidity – lower than a 7 is acidic while higher than a 6 is alkaline. In between is classed as neutral.

So, if you get a score of more than 7, your soil has too much alkaline in it, and you have to make it more acidic. The easiest way of doing this is to add something that is called sphagnum peat. Just cover the area you intend to grow your veg on, between one and two inches thick. If you can’t get hold of any sphagnum peat, try adding a vinegar solution – two tablespoons to every gallon. It will have a similar effect.

Raise your pH

But what if your soil is too acidic and you need to raise your pH? Again, there’s a simple solution. Find some crushed limestone, and mix it in with soil. Do it carefully, though, and keep testing the pH levels until you achieve the right balance.

General tips

Now you have a neutral soil; it’s time to improve things further. All veggies need a decent amount of organic material to thrive, as it can soften the ground and make it easier for the veg to grow. It also works like a sponge, which helps get more moisture to anything growing underneath.

Compost and manure are two straightforward examples of what to look out for. You can also investigate the effects of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. You often find this collection of soil-enhancing chemicals in bags of fertilizer, and the amounts of each can be changed to suit your soil type.

Some other nutrients are excellent for growing veggies, too. Manganese, zinc, copper and iron traces all can make a difference.

As you can see, there are many little things you can do to ensure your soil stays in perfect condition for growing fruit and vegetable. Let us know your thoughts and suggestions!

 

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