The most wonderful time of the year..

Well, it has been quite a long time since I last made a blog post. I have been quite busy over the last few months decorating my mothers house, and that alongside a busy couple of months at work meant that this blog has been left .. so I am sorry for that. 

That being said, I am coming back to the world of blogging at a lot of peoples favourite time of year – Christmas! 

I always like to use this period as a great excuse to get my DIY on! I often make gifts, spend my evenings baking festive goodies, or making decorations, and this year is no different! 

At the current moment in time, I am typing this with the lovely smell of Christmas cake cooking in the oven. I have never made one before, and actually don’t particularly like Christmas cake to eat, but there is nothing more enjoyable then trying something new! 

Hopefully it comes out well, and I will try and get some pictures of it when its out (I am rubbish and didn’t take any of it while I was making the mix) 

For now – I want to wish you all a lovely December, and whatever you do over Christmas, have a great time! 

Visiting Cressing Temple

Visiting Cressing Temple

It may come as no suprise, but i LOVE being outdoors. One of my favourite things to do on a day off is to spend it outside, whether that is in my own garden or visiting some great stately home and its grounds. There is just something about wondering around, where you can forget about the outside world and just be surrounded by the noises of nature.

Back in July, I went along to a local food festival at Cressing Temple. It was right in the middle of summer and the day was absolutely glorious! Cressing Temple is not exactly a large venue, but the crowds were well managed and everyone was in good spirits! One of my favourite parts of the venue is their walled in garden!

It doesn’t take long to walk around, but there is certainly plenty to see. The garden boasts at being one of the few tudor pleasure gardens in the country. The gardens are laid out in intricate patterns that were often seen in tradition tudor gardens, as well as a water fountains and a viewing platform.

July is a truly beautiful time to visit the gardens, all the flowers are in full bloom and the contrast of the bright blue sky and the luscious green foliage is just amazing.

Cressing Temple itself is known for its unique buildings and gardens and was originally given to the Knights Templar in 1137. With its Grade 1 listed Barley and Wheat barns which were built in the 13th Century the venue has a lot of history. They often have people around showing visitors how the barns would have been used back in the tudor times, including how the wheat was ground and plants in the gardens were used, which makes this a great spot to take the kids. It is also free to get in, unless there is an event on – double bonus!

For more information on Cressing Temple Barns or if you would like to visit, click here to visit their site.
 

Post Plastic Free July

Post Plastic Free July

 

July is over, and what a month it was! I have never known England to be so hot for so long! My garden flourished (even though the grass turned golden) and my family started getting together to go on bicycle rides at the weekends – including my 2 year old neice who would shout encouragements and sing her favourite song at the moment (right now its Frere Jacques).

But the weather couldn’t last forever and with the start of August the rain returned, the grass and some of the less heat resilient plants are recovering, the green beans are providing me with mountains of beans and the tomatoes are providing me with abundance of glorious ruby fruits.

I also did something that I have been wanting to do for years! I went strawberry picking! It was great fun, and you can take your own containers which is great.

I actually went back a couple of times, and also picked cherries, blackcurrents and raspberries. It is a perfect way to spend a couple of hours when the weather is good! The kids love it, and you only pay for what you pick – so it doesn’t have to cost a lot (although it is easy to get carried away)

At the beginning of July, I set myself the task of trying to go plastic free – which was mainly concentrating on single use plastics, and non recyclable plastics. Before I started I did a little research to find alternative product options and get an idea of areas I might have issues, you can read my introduction here.

Right from the start, there were a few items I struggled with! Pasta and rice being the main culprit! I did a lot of investigations into places I could go to buy these items, and I found plenty of plastic free shops – unfortunately, the closest was over an hour away for me which logistically wasn’t a good option. Instead I tried to reduce how often I had pasta on the menu and in the case of rice, I swapped out the boil in the bag variety back to the loose grain. I was still not able to completely remove plastic but I plan to continue researching possible solutions, including maybe ordering in from bulk stores.

I also had problems when buying meat, although Morrisons (my closest supermarket) have started advertising that they are reducing their plastic, I often found they only had things on the shelf – pre wrapped – or their staff was unsure on the exact guidelines they had to follow, one colleague even opening mocked people who didnt want to use plastic, and stated there was ‘no point and it was a waste of time’ – despite the fact I was infact asking to use my own container at that point. I came across the same issue when trying to purchase produce. Morrisons certainly has the right idea, I just think it is still very early days for them. Farmers markets were great – but when working 9-5 monday to friday, they weren’t the easiest to get to, and when caught off guard or lack of preperation meant that I often had to make do with supermarket produce.

I had better luck away from the supermarket and fresh foods; making the move to soapnuts, a shampoo bar and a soap bar instead of the single use products I was previously using.

My experience with soapnuts are; Clothes arn’t smelling as floral, however I have read that you can add a few drops of things like lavender essense to improve this. One thing i love about them is that once they have stopped being useful for washing, I can add them to my compost bin / veg patch!

My shampoo bar: One thing I am really pleased with since making this change is that unlike when using liquid shampoo, I now don’t feel the need to use conditioner! Before I would have to spend hours carefully brushing my hair if conditioner hadn’t been used, having curly/wavy hair I assumed this would always be the case but was pleasently suprised when I tried the shampoo bar sans conditioner bar I had no problems at all! The one I bought was from LUSH, but now that I have been converted I am planning on looking around for other providers to see what other options are available.

Bar soap: Similar to my assumptions with the shampoo bar, I have always assumed that a bar of soap would dry my skin out, and be a real pain to use, but when thinking more about the soap I wanted, and not just buying the first one I saw I found a lovely natural soap in a TK Max. I’ve never been a big fan of this store, where i have often felt pretty claustrophobic when looking at clothes but when I wondered over to the beauty section (avoiding the clothes rails completely) I have have a treasure trove of products, and hidden among them are often a lot of natural based products, often in glass or paper instead of plastic!

Not all beauty changes were as successful. When I bought the shampoo bar, I also invested in a deohdrent bar, but after using it for a couple of days, I have to admit I was defeated and went and bought my good old faithful branded one. It could be that I just didnt get on with that specific bar, and I am deturmind to give it another go. It might be worth me trying another version as well, either way, I wont give up.

Something I was determind not to do when starting this plasticless adventure was that I wasn’t going to just instantly go out and buy all plastic free (which could be a big chunk of money if bought all at once) My idea was to wait until something ran out, and then when the time came, I would replace it with a more eco friendly version. This is the case of my razor – for years I have bought packs of disposible (the creme de la creme of plastic wastage, I know) and they would last me a long time. But at last I am down to my last one, so the time has come to look at replacing it. I have been looking at the safety razor, doing a bit of research and also keeping an eye out of the cost of them. I think it will be my next investment, so I will let you know how I do.

All in all, the main thing that ‘plastic free July’ did for me was it helped open my eyes to just how much single use plastic is used in todays world, I have removed my consumer tinted glasses off and am making active steps to reduce my plastic use going forward. Changes are happening, one thing at a time. I want to live my life caring for my planet as much as I can. There is only this one after all.

If you have any advise regarding anything Ive mentioned here please feel free to message me, or comment below. I would love to hear about your own experiences and discoveries.

Thanks for reading!

Making your garden into a little homely paradise

Your garden is more than an extra bit of land at the back of your house. It’s an extension of your home. You should treat it in the same way as any other room in your house (the only difference is that it’s outside). It should be a space that you enjoy seeing from the kitchen or bedroom window. You should be able to draw the curtains and smile at the outdoor world that faces you rather than sighing heavily and trying to avoid looking at it. Below are a couple of ideas to help you to make your garden into your little homely paradise.

Picture Source

Start gardening
And I’m talking about more than just mowing the lawn here. You should aim to turn your garden into more than a patch of grass, your garden should express a little of who you are. It’s time to put on your gardening gloves and turn your outside space into your very own living, thriving natural paradise. You can start by pruning  back any bushes or weeds that have grown out of control. Something as simple as clearing back the borders can make a massive difference. As with any other room in your house, the key to keeping your outdoor space tidy is to maintain it regularly. Don’t let it become messy and unwelcoming.

You could start growing some flowers, plants, and perhaps even vegetables in your garden, this can be as big a small a space as you like – remembering that it needs a little upkeep. If you have never had a garden before I would suggest starting with a small patch to begin with, then expanding that if you enjoy it. Flowers are a great way to add some colour and life, there are a vast number of varieties available including sun worshipers or shade lovers. You will soon get into the routine of regularly visiting your garden to take care of it. Starting some garden projects is a great way to get you into the habit of maintaining your outdoor space. You just need to find something that’ll make you interested in your garden again. When you tend to your garden, you’ll be rewarded with a welcoming, peaceful natural space in return.

Picture Source

Fix up the patio
If you have a patio, tidy it up! Having a nice clear patio will encourage you to use it more.  A cosy little patio area provides a place to relax with your family and friends on warm days and evenings during summer. It is also a great place to grow containers, which can be great for flowers and even veg. Like most things, to ensure your patio stays looking nice, its worth keeping it looking its best. There are a number of products out there available for this, but one you could consider getting is brick acid. You use it to clean down your patio every so often and keep it looking brand new.

Create some focal points
Most rooms in your house have focal points, such as a fireplace or a fancy coffee table, your kitchen might have a granite countertop. Focal points can really tie a room together and guide the eye to show the space in the best possible way. Your garden is no different, sometimes a good focal point can make a real difference. You should create a center piece that gives character and personality to the space. Water features  are a great way to create a natural looking center piece, and you don’t have to spend a fortune on a pool or a water fountain; you could create a small pond, even if you dont want to dig one out, you could simulate one by using a large plant pot and using this instead. Some lights are also a great way to create atmosphere and a nice aesthetic in your garden at night. The key is to create some focal points that serve as a cherry on top of an already-fantastic garden.

Whatever you choose to do, remember that your garden can be whatever you want it to be, it can reflect a calm space, or a memory of somewhere you once visited – anything is possible.

I am going plastic free for July – could you?

I am going plastic free for July – could you?

This year I have been experimenting a lot with making my own food instead of blindly buying it from a store. One example was when I made my own jam and clotted cream for mothers day. Following along a similar thought I have also been looking into ways to create a more environment friendly garden, mainly by encouraging bees by concentrating on flowers that are bee friendly (I will write a post about this at some point).  The most recent changes I have made is volunteering for a local organisation to clear local beaches, it only takes a couple of hours out of your day, and can feel really rewarding!

This has all led me to my current thought; how much waste is my household producing, and how easy would it be to cut out one use plastic in todays world?

The reality is that there is a lot of things being sold to the general public, that we accept without evening questioning. Deforestation due to the palm oil industry, and over use of plastic packaging is just two things that are really starting to gain a voice.  But I am not here to lecture! So I will say no more.. it is just something that I am interested in learning more about.

While researching the idea of reducing unnecessary waste , I have stumbled across a number of companies and stores that I had never realised existed until now. The more I look the more i realise, this is a growing industry – and it is one I really want to get behind!

I have become an ambassador for SandCloud – a beachtowel and clothing company based in America that have made it their mission to #savethefishies. It was through looking into this that I decided to start volunteering, it is all well and good supporting something in America, but I wanted to help something closer to home as well!

taken from @oysterworldwide (Instagram)

I have also seen that like most movements, there is something called ‘Plastic Free July‘ A campaign to encourage people to try and go plastic free for one month! Who doesn’t like a challenge! I have a couple of days to prepare, and now i’m looking into going plastic free I am really starting to struggle to find things in supermarkets that would qualify! So I have been trying to find places local that I can look into shopping at.

To begin with, I have made a list of things that I use on a weekly basis that I would need to find an alternative for. See below;

  • Milk
  • Rubbish bins
  • Fruit and Veg
  • Meat
  • Bread
  • Lunch boxes / Sandwich Bags
  • Shampoo / Conditioner / Body wash
  • Cotton Buds
  • Deodorant
  • Razors
  • Washing up liquid
  • Washing detergent / fabric softener

Once I have worked out things that I use regularly, my next step is to find an alternative to that. Either re using something I already own (such as containers and reusable plastic) or by seeing if there is a more eco friendly version that I can swap to.

I have already decided to swap shop bought milk, with the milkmans’ glass bottle equivalent, and after looking at them for years, I am finally going to try solid shampoo, conditioner and deodorant bars.

The things I am not so sure about is things like our razors, washing detergent and Meat – the last being due to most butchers and delis wrapping items in a thin plastic for “hygiene reasons”.

All in all I am really looking forward to this, I’m sure it will be more challenging then I realise, but I am going to be really interested in discovering all the alternatives out there – WISH ME LUCK!

Thats all from me for now, I will keep you updated on how I do!

If you are interested in going plastic free, below are some of the websites I have found along my educational travels:

Guide to living a plastic free life

Pfree

ZeroHabits

Zero Waste living UK

6 Plastic Free Alternatives for shampoo and conditioner

Anything But Plastic

There Fill Pantry

The Bulk Market

Build your own greenhouse -Part 4

Build your own greenhouse -Part 4

What a busy weekend I had! But despite the drizzle and all round cold weather, I officially have a greenhouse! Granted, it doesn’t have a door (more of a flap at the moment) but the structure is there, and my god I love it already!

To find out how I started my project, check out build your own greenhouse part 1!

The first thing we did, was treat all the wood – it wasn’t the best conditions to do this in, but something is better then nothing! For an added bonus – it made all the wood pretty much the same colour. The stuff I used was some left over cheap stuff that my auntie bought over, so nothing special! but I am planning on the frame lasting me a fair while so we wanted to give a quick paint.

The next task was to go to our local DIY store – I chose Wickes for this (mainly due to them being competitive on price, and also how easy it is to get there and park compared to others in my area). I had previously bought the plastic sheet for the walls and the black anti-weed fabric from online, I talk about those here, so the only thing we really needed was the corrugated sheet for the roof, the appropriate screws and screw caps and also some raw plugs.

The trip cost me about £35, but I also bought a couple of things that we didn’t need for this.  I bought 2.4m sheets, The full length I needed was 2m, and due to needed to overlap to make the roof water tight we got 3 sheets, once home we measured and cut off the extra. The sheeting, although pretty tough it is really easy to crack (both when drilling/screwing in place, but also when sawing – so take it slow and gentle!

While we were off buying those bits, I had people at home working on attaching the plastic sheeting to the frame. I ordered 6x2m, and through some really good measuring they managed to get all 3 sides covered, with no spare!! The 4th wall will be the shed back wall, so that was pretty good measurements!

 

At this point, we were all pretty cold but rather than pushing it back another couple of weeks, we rallied together and after some tea and a bit of lunch we pushed on.

The plastic was attached to the frame using a staple gun. This is only meant to be a temporary covering, but I’m pretty happy with it at the moment.

We started with the wall that would be furthest. Next was the opposite wall and then the front (with the door). The design is as such that when and if I wanted to dismantle – for example to move, or repair – the panels are all easy to un-assemble. We drilled holes into the shed wall and using the correct raw plugs screwed directly to the wall.

The height was calculated, so allow any water coming off the shed roof, to then run down the greenhouse roof and (eventually) run into a water butt, this is one thing that changed from the initial plans, to allow the easiest and quickest route for the water.

I would like to say this was me sitting atop the structure, but it wasn’t – this is my auntie, balancing with one foot on a ladder. As mentioned before, we used all 3 panels that I bought, with them cut down to size (be careful not to crack the plastic if cutting)

The roof was pretty easy to do, first we attached 4 support beams, these weren’t this wood, as it wouldn’t be taking much weight, the one right at the top is actually just a scrap bit of timber we had left, it is drilled straight into the wall, like the two side panels and the corrugated panels are just sitting on top. We couldn’t screw them in, as the shed overhang didn’t allow access.

We had quite a good system going with this part of the construction. Using 3 drills to reduce speed.

By this point, we were all pretty tired, cold and achy but the final push meant we got the greenhouse water tight! Which I am really pleased about!

There are still a couple of jobs need to be done until I would call this project finished! The ground lining needs to be properly attached to the

bottom of the frame, with the plan to reduce weeds, and slugs/snails. Eventually I plan on introducing a bed either side which will allow me to plant tomatoes and peppers in the ground. I’ll also improve the standing section, which at the moment is pretty uneven, maybe add some stones to help reduce mess.

The other job on my to do list is to make a proper door for the greenhouse, at the moment I just have a flap, which works well enough, but isn’t ideal for the long run! Before adding the roof, we stapled a couple bits of garden string across the top of the door, which is acting as a way to tie the door up. Simple, but efficient!

All in all, we had a really good day! I’m really pleased its done, now I can start growing a lot more things from seed!

How to build a Garden Fire Pit

Pic Credit

It is well known that the summers here in the UK are often short, but if you enjoy sitting outside well into the evenings a perfect way to keep warm is to have a fire pit – which creates a cosy atmosphere while keeping warm. You could always buy a chiminea, which is a type of freestanding chimney, but these can deteriorate fairly quickly (depending on the style, and how much you pay for it). Fire pits can be a real investment, and can last for years and is a great way to add year-round focus to your garden.

You don’t need to be a builder, there are a vast amount of designs that are easy enough to build this blog has fire pit designs with lots of different styles. Regardless of what design you choose, some points you need to remember while building you fire pit are : leave small gaps between your bricks/stones and try to make the pit somewhere between 50 – 100cm diameter for a good sizes, safe fire.

Now that bits out the way, here is how to make a simple brick fire pit :

What Will You Need?

  • Enough bricks to build your pit. For a simple square pit, you will need 28 bricks per layer and around 4 layers, depending on your design, if you want a buried fire pit you may want to do more layers.
  • Gravel
  • A spade
  • Firewood (click here is great for finding local firewood around the UK)
  • A bucket of water or sand, safety first and all that

Where to Build a Fire Pit

Now, it might be obvious to say this but fire is incredibly hot and destructive, you need to take this into account when you choose where to put the fire pit. There shouldn’t be any over hanging branches or bushes nearby that can potentially catch alight. 

Something else to consider when deciding where to build this fire pit is what seating (if any) you plan on having around the pit – you don’t want to build it and then discover there isn’t enough room to sit. You could always use some creativity with your seating – i mention some good ideas here.

It might be worth laying out the chairs before you start building the pit, to check  how much room you have, and if you would be a comfortable distance from the fire, being too close would make it too warm. Thinking about it at this stage, will make the whole process alot easier!

Building the Fire Pit

This simple design is from a wickes design, you can watch the video below to see the step by step instructions on how to build it:

Now you have you pit – how about a fire

Fire building is considered something of an art form, but the basic idea is to start with some sort of kindling. This is  to make the flame catch. Once you have a flame you should start to build up the layers slowly. Then add larger logs once the fire is established, when it comes to building a good fire, the teepee shape is usually successful.

Disclaimer: You must ALWAYS Keep an eye on your fire, and never let your fire get out of control. If you do feel that your fire is getting out of control, put sand over the fiercest parts to calm it down or over the whole thing to extinguish it.

Never leave a fire that is still glowing, use water or sand to make sure that all the flames are gone and have no chance of reigniting.

 

Now that you have your fire pit ready, its time to toast your success! Get some friends over, open a bottle of wine and talk and laugh the night away! 

If you have great ways to improve your gardens that you want to share, comment or message me! I would love to hear from you!

Sunshine and Potting flowers

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help me keep this site up and running AND keep it ad free! 

Last weekend was truly beautiful! After what felt like a 5 month winter (I blame you GoT fans with the constant “Winter is coming!”) I just couldn’t resist being outside and getting some well needed jobs ticked off! For one, my lawn was so long I felt like I needed to mount an expedition to discover the new forest that it had grown into!

I bought some spring/summer flowers to add some much needed colour around the edges, as much as I love growing fruit and vegetables In these few months before everything is in full bloom, my garden can seem a little… bland!

With that in mind, on Saturday morning I traveled to the next town to spend some time with family, and walked up to the local garden center (on of my favourite pass times).

During my browse, I found these beautiful flowers, I picked a selection of different flower types and went for a white and pink / dark pink colour scheme – this was mainly because (although you can’t really see it here – might be able to if you enlarge the fist picture) This is where my raspberry is growing, so I thought it would complement the berries nicely.

Following this theme I also planted one of my rubarb plants at the end – which will be next to my greenhouse when it’s built.

Talking of my greenhouse, after my last post about how to build your own greenhouse P3 , I had to have a bit of a break from it. My weekends were either too wet or we had other plans, then my other half and I had our Honeymoon. So it has been somewhat delayed, but I have made plans to work on it again this weekend with the help from family. I have also purchased some membrane and plastic ready for when we worked on it again!

I have cut and loosely laid the membrane down ready for the weekend too. Ideal I would like to build the greenhouse directly in the dirt, allowing me to plant some plants directly in the greenhouse, but the patch has got a lot of weeds that have been comfortably growing for countless years, so I plan on having membrane then laying fresh compost down – at least to start!

The final thing i did was a general tidy around the vegetable patch and patio. This mainly consisted of de weeding the pathway and patio, but one thing I managed to do was add a border to the vegetable patch. My ultimate plan is to make it into a raised bed. I used some of the left over reclaimed wood I had from my greenhouse project to create one wall. I just need to add the other 2-3 when I can get hold of some more.

All in all I had a fab weekend outside, something I have been looking forward to all year!

What jobs did you get ticked off last weekend? Do you have any planned for this weekend? I would love to hear from you.

Easily Liven Up Your Garden In Time For Summer

If you are anything like me, you are probably starting to get a serious hankering to start some little garden projects again now that spring is now finally here. You have likely already begun planting out some of your seedlings and preparing the soil for the coming seasons.

However, you might also want to think about what you can do to make your garden a bit more interesting, and a bit more original to look at. As it happens, there are always plenty of things you can do on this front, and that is worth remembering if you ever find yourself at a loss as to what you should be doing to make your garden more of a lively and interesting place. In this article, I am going to look at some of the best ways to make your garden more lively in time for summer. 

Pictue Credit

Bordering Wildflowers

If you have a couple of beds which you would like to decorate in some way, a good way to do so is to get a seed mix of assorted wildflowers and scatter those around the edges. You can even get some fast-growing ones which will guarantee to bloom within forty days, so if you are in need of some fast flowers that could be the ideal way to go. Having some bordering wildflowers will immediately add a great deal of colour to your garden, especially if you use a mixed pack. What’s more, you will be providing much needed food for our bees, something that I am keen to encourage as much as possible – It’s good for them, and good for your garden.

Sculptures

If you are looking for some decoration not on your beds, but just dotted around your garden, then you might want to think about finding some sculptures. At one point, people might have chosen the classic gnome, these days there is a massive variety of options available to you. It’s up to you – whether you want a gnome, a collection of frog sculptures, or even a single large statement piece in the centre of your garden. Using a feature piece such as a this is a great way of bringing a little extra something to your garden, it can provide a focal point can help bring a theme to the space or just provide some enjoyment. 

Picture Credit

Vegetable Patch

More and more people are growing their own veg these days (hands up to all you grow your own folk), and this really is a great way to reduce produce costs, while also providing you with a hobby that allows you to get outside – the allotment community is always growing! If you are able to grow your own veg, you will find that you spend a lot less at the supermarket and the produce you do grow, will taste so much better.

Growing vegetables is simple: you don’t always need a dedicated vegetable patch I have seen people grow tomatoes between their rose bushes, or cucumbers in containers by their back door, all you need is well-draining soil and a nice sunny spot (depending on what you want to grow). You can even purchase starter plants which removes the need to grow from seed.

As well as being useful and tasty, many vegetables produce beautiful flowers – providing you with a lovely splash of colour. I really would recommend growing your own to anyone looking for a rewarding project this year.

Picture Credit

Bold Statement Flowers

Finally, a brilliant way to really liven up your garden would be to add some bright and bold flowers. A great example of this is the sunflower, which is truly one of the gardener’s best friends for the way in which it grows fast, strong and has such a well-known distinctive and beautiful flower. Bees love sunflowers, they provide brilliant colour to the garden, and once the season is over you can use the seeds either for recipes, a snack or if you have hens, the heads are a great treat for them! 

Could you ask for anything better??

I hope you get some inspiration for your garden, and enjoy the beautiful weather!

What Your Garden is Missing

Your garden is your own little mini haven in the outside world. It’s a place you can sit back and relax under the sun, with the gentle breeze on your skin, and plenty of bees busy pollinating a nearby flower bed. But have you done as much as you can to make the most of your outside space?

You’ve laid down the base, and got a good green lawn, you’ve built yourself a little deck, with plenty of your own style and influences on it, now it’s time to do something with the rest of your garden. There are so many ways to introduce little hints of beauty, colour, and some natural fun you could introduce into your outdoor space, so while the weather is fine it’s the perfect time to implement them! Here are a couple of ideas you could try depending on the size of your garden;

Image from Pexels

 

Some Cute Critters!

Something I feel quite strongly about, is that we need to do more to help protect the local wildlife. Animals are what make a garden a lovely experience to sit out in, I love a garden with birds chirping in the trees or bees buzzing around somewhere close by, maybe a frog quietly croaking from a small pond. It sounds so picturesque, doesn’t it? Well, this fantasy is so achievable for your very own garden! Simply by putting up some bird feeders and houses under the trees you can encourage more birds, planting bee friendly flowers and introducing bee/bug hotels around is also a great way to encourage some of the smaller inhabitants.

For those of you with a lot more available space, or those who perhaps have livestock you could give the stable the ultimate upgrade with a designer building from Vale Stables.

Regardless of  how big your garden is, there are always ways you can encourage more animals to your garden to really bring it to life. It’s not just plants that thrive in these environments, so make your garden as creature friendly as possible; you’re helping their world, and in turn improving yours!

Some Good Seating!

If you don’t have a bench in your garden, you’re really missing a trick. Without seating, there’s only the ground to park on, and that can mean a wet and muddy bum and often dirty clothes when you stand back up, and in the party season, that’s not something you want to show off to your friends.

You don’t need to fork out a lot of money for traditional seating, a great way to compliment your garden is to use something natural. For example, you could take a tree stump you’ve got left over after clearing that tree from the back of the garden and turn it into a stool. Alternatively, you could use an old log and create a lovely rock garden. Or you could hang up a hammock between the trees (if you have them), and have a nice shady area to relax in when the temperature gets too much for you.

Your garden is something you can do a lot with, and not all of it needs to cost you money! You’ve still got plenty of time to make sure it’s the perfect for having your friends and family over for barbecues this summer.

Whatever little projects you plan on starting, I hope you enjoy yourself!