Landscaping Tips and Hints

You've created a fantastic home and now it is time to turn your attention to the garden.

Summer in the gardenBefore you begin, ask yourself what's the garden for?

Do your children or grandchildren play out in the garden, do you want a high or low maintenance layout, are flowers your passion or do you prefer crazy paving with the occasional potted palm? The options are endless, however, do not despair. Take your time and think about what functions it needs to fulfil as well as the size of your garden.

Once you have planned your layout, if you choose to have paths breaking up particular areas, remove some soil, cover the pathway with hardcore then sand and place your paving stones on top, cementing in between the joints to stop them from moving. A barbecue and patio area are also made in this way.

The soil you have removed whilst constructing the paths can be built up to create a rockery which makes an attractive feature with stone obtained from either a quarry or garden centre. Add some alpines and dwarf bulbs and you will have colour for several seasons. A water feature is a nice addition to a rockery too.

If you would like a water feature, positioning is really important. If your garden has trees, do not place a water feature underneath them as falling leaves in autumn will be a problem. Don't forget to make sure there is a solid base for the water feature to be positioned on, securing it in place with a silicone sealant. Most come with a pump and a reservoir but if you are unsure about the wiring, ask an electrician to do this for you. Periodically change the water in your feature to prevent an algae build-up and you will relax to the sound of running water for some considerable time.

Keen gardeners will want flower beds as well. Remember the seasons when planting – spring is wonderful with daffodil, crocus, tulip and azalea to name a few, summer bedding plants are a riot of colour but some particular favourites such as dahlia will flower until the first frost. Hardy plants, for example fuschia, hydrangea, phlox, michaelmas daisies, camellias, hebes and roses are ideal as are clematis when trained to climb a fence or wall.

The lawn can be as large or as small as you wish, but as long as you prepare the ground correctly by rotating it to remove any debris, rolling it to ensure it's completely flat, carefully laying turf and thoroughly watering same frequently your lawn will become another key feature of your garden. It is possible to sow lawn seed but this takes a little longer for the lawn to become established.

Your garden is complete, the steaks are prepared for the barbecue and the family have arrived. The weather is glorious and the kids want to know which tent can I sleep in tonight in the garden? Enjoy.

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