The Great Gardening Guide

With a little bit of extra time on our hands thanks to the longer days, we look at a few ways to improve your outdoor space before winter sets in.

Driveways

One of the most overlooked parts of the home is actually the driveway, when in actual fact, this is an essential part to the ‘curb-appeal’ of your home. But how to choose the right new one? Here are the most popular materials and their pros and cons

1. Tarmac: Tarmac itself is cheap, but installation requires a professional and economies of scale apply. You can add coloured aggregates to it to help it blend with your house style.

2. Gravel: Fairly cheap, looks lovely and easy to lay, gravel is extremely popular. The main issue is keeping stones in place, especially if they border lawns. Self-binding gravel needs less resurfacing.

3. Brick/Paved: Very customisable, paved driveways look attractive and suit many houses. Installation can be expensive with more upkeep.

4. Resin based: These have small aggregates to give the appearance of gravel without the noise or upkeep. Professional application is essential as is careful planning of the aggregates as some have iron deposits which can cause rust.

5. Concrete: all-weather durability, low maintenance and a good variety of colours. Patterns can also be stamped into the surface. Downsides include the cost over larger spaces, easy staining and no option to resurface further down the line.

Garden Rooms

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has just bought one and Hugh Bonneville was snapped climbing into a deluxe treehouse at Chelsea, so what is the enduring appeal of these amped up sheds? Well, rather a lot…

 

Shepherd Hut, from £29,950 www.gardenhideouts.co.uk

Shed or Garden Room?

Unlike a shed for garden storage, a summer house or garden room is a freestanding building which is useable all year round, fully insulated as well as connected to mains electricity. It can even have full plumbing installed.

Time to Retreat

I’m not sure his was quite like the mega-plush Summer Houses of today, but it is well-known that Roald Dahl wrote many of his most famous works ensconced in his humble ‘Writing Hut’. These spaces, comfortable in their proximity to the home but crucially far enough away from distraction, make great refuges for creative passions or working from home.

Extra Living Space

With the housing market in a constant state of post-Brexit flux, many families are looking for ways to make their existing homes work better for them, with the garden as a space to really utilise. Garden rooms can create space for a children’s play room, a home office, a guest bedroom (or even airbnb let!) or perhaps an annexe for elderly family members to keep them close by. The really health conscious are also known to convert these spaces into home gyms!

Perfect Patios

Many of us, quite rightly, love to soak up the sun in the privacy of our back gardens, but lots of us put up with garden furniture that is past its best. Here are our top tips for choosing new:

1. Make a List: How do you want to use the space? For relaxation, hosting friends for dinner, or for family fun? Note down how the space must function and build your requirements from there.

2. Go for Easy Care: You don’t want to spend lots of time maintaining your furniture. Most metal, teak, cedar, and all-weather wicker pieces are unfazed by whatever nature throws their way.

3. Consider Storage: Increase the lifespan of your furniture by keeping it inside when not in use – select pieces you can store or take apart.

4. Invest in the Best: Buy the best you can afford – shop with care and you’ll have a lasting piece.

5. Opt for Dual Purpose: Look for hardworking furniture. An ottoman that doubles as extra seating for your next backyard bash and a simple bench that can be used with your table make all the difference.

Check out www.gardenhideouts.co.uk more inspiration.