- Make your own compost so your plants will thrive
Compost is essentially organic materials which have been broken down over time into a really nutrient-rich soil that you can spread on your vegetables or flowers to help promote their growth. It’s an easy and environmentally friendly way of getting rid of some of your waste materials such as old vegetables and their peelings, bread, cereal, coffee grounds leaves and grass cuttings. You don’t even need a special compost bin to get started, all you need is a few old wooden pallets, so bamboo canes to stake them to the ground, and some chicken wire to hold the structure together.
Once you’ve constructed your bin, add a layer of soil, and then you can start adding your organic materials straight away. If you’ve got any old offcuts of carpet you can cover your bin with these to keep it warm – this will help to speed up the composting process! Use a fork once a month to turn over the compost heap to add aeration, and use a sprinkling of water to keep things moist.
When your compost is ready to use, it will be dark brown, with a crumbly soil-like texture and a smell a bit like a damp woodland walk.
- Cover up your ugly old patio to make it an attractive outdoor living space
If you’ve got a back yard with ugly, depressing concrete, or patio slabs that have seen better days, you can get a new look easily without having to spend thousands. Two ideas that work well in almost every scenario are a thin layer of pea gravel or composite timber decking tiles – or a combination of both! The decking tiles interlock together easily over the surface of the concrete to provide an instant transformation that looks just like traditional composite decking and are great for children and pets to relax on. You can lay they in a wide variety of designs as each side has interlocking tabs that simply slot together, and you can even add ramps to the edge for a smooth transition from any adjacent floor level. Products like Dura Deck Tile come in handy boxes with a 15 year warranty, so if you move on, you can just pick them up and take them with you. You can cut the tiles to fit around drainpipes of tricky obstacles, or if you’re really not a DIY-er, you can lay them and then fill in any gaps around the border with pea shingle to stop the tiles moving and prevent weed growth.
- Get creative with an upcycled garden planter
You might be surprised by how many household items that have lost their indoor spark for you can be repurposed to have a new life in the garden. All you really need for a successful garden planter is some good quality soil (see tip #1) and a solid item to which you can add some good drainage holes. Poor drainage can cause root rot or decay, which can be harmful for your plants, but it’s easy to take your drill and a drill bit to create a few evenly spaced holes around the bottom of your chosen item. Old suitcases, walking boots, chairs missing their seat pads, bedside tables – almost anything can look beautiful with a lick of paint and the right plant combination. Lobelia is an easy-to-grow, carefree plant that enjoys cool weather and trailing varieties can cascade beautifully down painted furniture. And you don’t have to limit yourself to bringing indoor pieces outside, even cut down old steel rubbish bins and faulty tyres can be given a new lease of life, and look wonderful filled with perennials such as cyclamen, delphiniums and geraniums.
- Make your space look bigger by adding day and night zones
With many workers set to return to offices in the near future, it might be that you won’t have as much time to enjoy your garden during daylight hours as you did during lockdown.
Planning for both day and night is a great way to ensure you always get maximum usability of your outdoor space. New Dura Deck Flip composite decking for example has one colour on each side of the decking board, so you can use a light colour on one side of the deck for fresh summer days eating in the garden, and a darker colour on the other for warm cosy nights snuggled up of your outdoor sofa with some fairy lights and a soft blanket. One product with two great looks that will supercharge your garden space and make it look bigger than it really is.
Make sure you choose your plants carefully too. Plants with silvery tones or with white flowers will stand out beautifully against the night backdrop. Look for things like silver ragwort, jasmine or white cosmos.
A fire pit or chimenea can add comforting night-time light and will also become the focal point for evening get togethers with family and friends. Be aware though that if you’re adding a fire feature to a composite decking area, you’ll need to have a fireproof and heat proof barrier between the fire pit and the deck as well as making sure it’s placed well away from your house or fencing. Old paving slabs or a fire pit protection mat are easy to come by and can help you enjoy those colder evenings with peace of mind.
You can request a free sample of composite decking from Duracomposites to make sure you’re happy with the quality before you buy.
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