How To Breeze Through the Winter With Minimal Upkeep In Your Garden

How To Breeze Through the Winter With Minimal Upkeep In Your Garden

Last winter heavy snows wreaked havoc on many areas of the U.K., closing schools, suspending power, and blanketing homes and gardens.  This year the “Beast from the East” has caused a £520,000 overspend on winter services in Bradford alone.  Don´t despair however, winter maintenance can be made easy for your personal garden with the use of some precautionary measures. Whether you are protecting your existing plants or looking into what vegetation might best survive the winter, there are several alternatives open to you.

Keeping Clear of Debris: Low Maintenance Options …

When it´s cold outside, nobody wants to spend a lot of time working on their lawns.  Luckily, it is not necessary. Briza media grass is a low maintenance choice, as it flowers from May until June and clean up is only necessary in August.  Carex grasses are an easy option as well, only needing to an occasional rake over the winter months. For true ease of maintenance try artificial turf, which will keep your lawn looking green and tidy while holding up to the elements all year long.  Keeping the environment in mind, you can even repurpose the lawn turf when it has seen better days.

Don´t Neglect Personal Care When Gardening …

When you are out in the cold, tending to your garden you want to feel comfortable and protected from harsh winter elements. Put some thought into those layers.  For example, use pants that have knee padding already sewn in.  Protect yourself from any whipping winds by using a windproof and waterproof jacket.  Always remember to protect yourself with a hat and gloves.

Decor That Holds Up All Year …

Outdoor sitting areas are easier to care for when they can stand up to the elements. Furniture made from hardwood like teak is much more durable as it does not expand or contract as much when the temperature changes. Teak’s natural oils protect its surface so less upkeep is necessary throughout the year. Eucalyptus is another great choice in hardwood as it is resistant to rot and insect damage. However, it does need to be treated.

This winter bundle up and with your scarf and jumper, light the fire, and get the water boiling to make some tea.  Also, remember to use these simple tips to keep your outdoor space just as cozy and easy to care for as your indoor space.

What to look for in a quality Conservatory Suite …

What to look for in a quality Conservatory Suite …

In the lead up to Christmas – and even in the weeks after the seasonal festivities – many people decide to change their conservatory suite.

It has become a bit of a consumer trend, for want of a better phrase, as people use the festive season as an excuse for a bit of a change going into the New Year.

As you may well know we have a huge range of conservatory furniture and much of our time both online and in our Showroom is spent in promoting this to prospective buyers at this time of year.

And, as we’re sure you already know the choice out there is staggering so the final decision is, more often than not, around the price and the quality of the conservatory suite you’re buying.

Read more

Garden Gnomes – the little known truths …

Garden Gnomes – the little known truths …

Let’s face it any self-respecting garden retailer will have a selection of Garden Gnomes.

And, as a retailer, we’re no different but our garden gnomes Larry and Lionel are slightly different from the norm. Hand made from recycled scrap metals in highly bespoke designs, you could say they buck the trend slightly.

Larry and Lionel the Garden Gnomes
Larry and Lionel the Garden Gnomes …

But one thing is for sure they come from the same background and have the same quirky history as any other garden gnome out there.

Garden Gnomes – a few interesting things you may not know …

Most people love garden gnomes because they’ve got character, they’re cute or simply just because, well, they’re garden gnomes.

But when we actually stop and think about it what do we actually know about gnomes?

Here’s a few facts you may not know …

  1. The garden gnome is quintessentially British. This was all down to a certain Charles Isham who originally brought a number of terracotta figures back from a trip to Germany – these were then placed in his garden and became the original garden gnome.
  2. After settling in the UK in the early 1400’s they then decided to expand their horizons and take a trip to the USA with Christopher Columbus in 1492 – they just couldn’t resist the large expanses of greenery available to explore.
  3. Gnomes do carry knives! However, for very peaceful purposes like helping animals out of traps and removing splinters from paws!
  4. They bring good luck – in fact our ancestors often used to place them near livestock to watch over them.
  5. They kiss by rubbing noses and are also vegetarian with a particular love of nuts, mushrooms, berries and fruits.
  6. They have a general life expectancy of around 400 years and their mortal enemies are trolls.

And the reason no one has ever seen a real live garden gnome? Because the sleep during the day and are only active at night of course!

To find out a few extra random facts from our very own Larry and Lionel in person please feel free to click here.

Outdoor Cushions – Top Tips for that perfect look all year …

Outdoor Cushions – Top Tips for that perfect look all year …

Perhaps we’re stating the obvious here but Outdoor Cushions should be the focal point for any type of outdoor furniture – whether it be a sofa set, dining set or simply a garden bench – they add the character and crowning detail.

They are crucial to the furniture’s success in your outdoor space and, we appreciate, you want them to remain that way.

What you don’t want is a set that look tired and worn after only six months of use or, even worse, a set that you retrieve from the shed after their winter break only to find they’re all mouldy and unusable.

So, we’ve put together your very own little checklist of what to and look for before and after you buy any piece of outdoor furniture that come with a set of cushions.

Sumptuous Outdoor Cushions on the Apple Day Bed
Sumptuous Outdoor Cushions on the Apple Day Bed …

Outdoor Cushions – before you buy …

Every retailer of outdoor furniture will tell you that their cushions are …

”… fine to be left outside all year round.”

However, as with anything you buy, outdoor cushions do not always do what the retailer says they do on the tin.

Therefore, you need to scrutinise the information on offer before you buy and do your research to avoid disappointment on, or months after, the delivery day.

The Fabrics:

A couple of things to remember here:

  1. There is a difference between water resistant and water repellent.
  2. Long words do not necessarily denote quality.

This is where search engines like Google come in very handy – take your time and put the long fabric names into the search bar to find out more details and be sure in your own mind that you really are buying the highest quality.

WE RECOMMEND:

Olefin Cushion Fabrics like those found on our Montana Range of Sofa Sets.

And, if a retailer advertises water repellent cushions they should really be able to back this up with videos and/or pictures that demonstrate this fact – take our Casablanca Range, for example.

The Fillings:

Again there are fillings and there are fillings when it comes to outdoor cushions.

And the fact is that the filling in any cushion that isn’t water repellent is going to get wet in the UK climate – probably on a regular basis.

So again listen to what the retailer has to say, whether it be verbally or in writing on a website or in a sales brochure, and then do a bit of your own digging to verify this.

WE RECOMMEND:

Look for those retailers who offer a resin fibre sandwich filling as these allow water to pass through and dry very quickly – all our outdoor cushions have a resin fibre filling for exactly this reason.

UK Fire Retardant Regulations:

This is a legal requirement for your safety and those around you but you’d be surprised how many retailers don’t adhere to this – so please do check and insist on this.

As a quick heads up, all our cushions do comply with UK Fire Retardant Regulations and this means that, the first time they get wet you may find a slight white residue appears on them – this is simply excess fire retardant solution, is perfectly normal, and can be removed by putting the covers through a light wash in the washing machine.

UV Stabilisers:

These are also a must really as they prevent the fabric colour dyes from fading in direct sunlight over time – there’s nothing worse than a tired, shabby looking cushion.

High Spec Outdoor Bench Cushions
High Spec Outdoor Bench Cushions …

Outdoor Cushions – after you buy …

Obviously, it is not a good idea to leave your outdoor cushions outside all year – the chances are you will not be using them over the winter period so it is definitely a good idea to have a proper place to store them.

Before you store them:

Please ensure that both the fabrics and the fillings are 100% dry – and we mean bone dry – before you store them away. Any moisture left in the fabric or filling is highly likely to cause rot to occur giving you that nasty shock when you come to use them the following season.

WE RECOMMEND:

Buying a Cushion Box.

However once again do check that these are suitably robust, inner lined and have some ventilation as well.

Of course, we also do a fantastic range of Teak and Rattan Outdoor Cushion Boxes!

Ventilated Teak Cushion Boxes
Ventilated Teak Cushion Boxes …