Category Archives: Garden Tips

prepare-garden-spring

How to Prepare Your Garden For Spring

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For a lot of homeowners, gardening is something that isn’t even thought about about until spring is well underway. But do you really need to wait until spring has sprung before paying attention to your garden?

We believe that when it comes to getting your garden ready for spring, preparation is key! With spring just around the corner, now is the perfect time to break out your tools, put on your gardening gloves and get busy outside!

There are plenty of things you can do to prepare for the upcoming months – here are just 6 of the things you could be doing right now!

Clean Up Any Mess Left From Winter

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Before you do anything else in your garden, it’s essential that you take some time to clean and tidy up any mess that has occurred during the winter months. Let’s be honest, it’s probably been a while since you’ve been out there for more than 10 minutes!

This means clearing away any unwelcome leaves and branches that have made their way onto your lawn or flowerbeds.

You should also remove clumps of soil or dirt that remains on your garden tools – these should be given a good wash before being used again. After all, they are going to be used a lot in the upcoming moths!

Trim Your Hedges

Ensure that your garden is looking its best by trimming back your hedges, and tidying up trees and shrubs that might be making your garden look messy and overgrown.

Getting rid of dead branches will protect your plants, whilst tidying up your plant beds will help to encourage a more robust growth of flowers and fruit going forward.

Remove Hibernating Pests

Garden pests often remain in your garden throughout the winter – you might not even realise that they are there. Although getting rid of these hibernating pests isn’t the most pleasant job, it’s definitely one of the most important ones and does need to be done early on in the year.

This involves looking out for (and removing) any slugs, snails, or aphids, which could potentially cause problems and damage your plants as they begin to grow.

Keep an eye out for pests that burrow into your compost and soil- if missed, these will have a field day with your plant roots.

Prepare Your Soil

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Healthy soil is an important component in any successful garden; it’s how your plants take in nutrients, air and moisture. Therefore it’s essential to start preparing it for the spring as soon as possible!

Spend time breaking up the dirt so that it’s able to take in a good amount of oxygen – you can do this by turning it over regularly. Adding plant food or compost will also ensure that the soil gets a generous helping of nutrients. Finish by adding organic fertilizer and raking thoroughly.

Remember; healthy soil leads to healthy growth!

Eradicate Any Lingering Weeds

Don’t let weeds become a problem in your garden – it’s essential that you keep on top of them as much as possible! This will save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long term.

By doing this before spring, you’ll eradicate them before they’ve managed to mature and take root.

After you have dug up and removed any early signs of weeds that have taken up residence, you should then take measures to ensure that they don’t grow back. You can do this by putting down a layer of cardboard onto the ground and adding a 3-inch layer of mulch. This will discourage weeds from making an unwelcome reappearance.

Carry Out General Maintenance Tasks

Identifying and fixing any general maintenance jobs in your garden is the final thing you can do to prepare your garden for spring.

You’re more likely to spend time in a garden that is aesthetically pleasing, which is why carrying out mundane jobs such as painting or cleaning can really make a difference.

This could also include finally getting around to replacing that faulty fence or gate that you’ve been putting off for a good few months. Creating a safe and secure place for your whole family to spend time in should be your number one priority.

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If you are looking to replace your garden fence or gate before the warmer weather hits, please contact Colourfence today!

2017-garden-trends

Top 5 Garden Trends for 2017

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Choosing the right design for your garden is becoming just as important as decorating the interior of your house. Modern gardens are now seen as an extension of the home and therefore you need to give the design careful consideration before making any decisions.

Just like with interior design, garden trends change often and quickly. What’s “in” one year might be “out” by the next.

If you’re looking to update your garden before the warmer weather arrives, we’ve put together our top 5 picks of the garden trends that are guaranteed to be popular this year.

The Natural Look

This year is set to see the return of the more “natural” looking garden design, but what does this really mean?

For a lot of people, the natural look is favoured for its use of more traditional materials such as timber and wood, instead of the usual man made composites. Soft and warm colours are being used to create paths and patios.
Whilst it boasts a DIY look and feel, this style is carefully designed to look this way. The idea is to create something authentic and organic that will hopefully be timeless too!

 

Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens are a trend that has never really taken off in the UK, mostly due to the British weather having a reputation for being fickle and unpredictable. However, could 2017 finally be the year that outdoor cooking becomes a real thing? Those in the know certainly seem to be think so!

It seems that more and more people are now looking to create an area in their garden that is solely dedicated to cooking and eating(and entertaining!) We don’t just mean a fancy BBQ either – people are investing in high quality outdoor sinks, fridges, pizza ovens and beautiful work surfaces.

If this is something you’re interested in creating, we suggest adding an outdoor seating area too. It will be the perfect place to socialise with your friends and family during the warm summer months.

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Colour Blocking

Colour blocking is a term that is often used when discussing fashion trends, but has now made its way into the world of garden design. It’s an inexpensive way to add something a little different to garden.

It involves using blocks of colours to make a bold and visual impact to an otherwise traditional outdoor space. There are a number of different ways in which this trend can be incorporated into your garden, such as coloured tiles, colourful plants and flowers, or even by specially painting a specific area to highlight it.

The colours you use are completely down to personal choice, with yellows, greens and pinks being by far the most widely used.

 

Lighting

With pubs and restaurants making lighting a huge part of their outdoor space design, it’s not surprising that it’s going to be huge in home garden design this year. And the best thing? Picturesque lighting doesn’t have to be expensive!

With energy efficient lighting becoming the norm, you can turn your outside space into a magical wonderland for half the price. From solar powered to rechargeable, there are plenty of options to choose from to ensure that you choose what works best for your garden.

Fairy lights are our favourite option by far. Whether hung over trees or perfectly arranged across your patio, fairy lights can give your garden a soft and glowing makeover that will WOW all your loved ones.

 

Coloured Garden Fencing 

A garden fence is an important fixture in most gardens, whether for security, privacy or aesthetic reasons. For homeowners that still have standard wooden fences that seem to cause them nothing but trouble, this 2017 trend might be the one you should really consider following.

Coloured fencing, such as the fantastic product offered at Colourfence, is set to be huge this year. Offering garden lovers something a little more modern than the traditional wooden styles, you can choose an attractive and contemporary style that fits in better with your personality.

From cosy creams to rustic greens, you can find a fence that blends in perfectly with the design of your garden – or one that really stands out!

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If you would like more information on our modern and high quality fencing collection, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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child-friendly-garden

7 Ways to Create a Child Friendly Garden

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Ensuring that a garden is child friendly is a huge priority for parents, especially for those who love spending a lot of time outdoors.

You want to be able to enjoy your garden, which is something that you can’t do if you have to constantly watch out for potential hazards. From your choice of grass to the type of garden fence installed, it’s essential that you keep your little ones in mind at all times.

Looking for some child friendly ideas to create a garden that both you and your kids can happily spend time in? Here are some ideas to help you turn your garden into a safe haven for all the family.

Artificial Grass

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When it comes to choosing between artificial grass and the real thing, we believe that parents should definitely consider choosing the former. Known for being durable and tough, it’s the perfect choice for children who like to play outside all year round.
Not only do you not have to worry about children slipping on muddy or soggy grass, it also means saying goodbye to those pesky grass stains that appear on children’s clothes so often.

 

High Quality Fencing 

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A garden fence has many important uses and therefore should be given careful consideration before purchasing. For those with children, it’s even more important that you find one that offers you both security and safety.

With children running around the garden on a daily basis, you need something in place to protect them from wandering off into other neighbours’ gardens, or even worse, into any nearby roads. You need garden fencing that offers you high quality and peace of mind.

Wooden fences are traditionally favoured, but they damage easily, leaving children susceptible to injuries from splinters or broken panels. Looking into alternatives, such as Colourfence, can save you money and give you that extra security for your little ones! Splinter free and low maintenance, they make for an ideal solution.

 

Child Friendly Flowers

Keeping your eyes on small children at all times when they are playing outside is often easier said than done. No matter how hard you try, children have a habit of wandering off and getting up to mischief before you’ve even clocked that they’ve moved. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of dangerous flowers and the hazards of small children eating them.

Garden favourites such as Lily-of-the-Valley, Philodendron and Yew should be avoided at all times, as they are poisonous and can cause an irritant of the eyes and skin.

Stick to plants and flowers such as Lavenders, Daises and Sunflowers! Not only are they super safe for children, they look beautiful too.

 

A Secure Pond

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Building a wild life pond in your garden can really make it stand out, but how do you go about creating one when you have small children to worry about? Don’t worry, you don’t have to miss out, you just need to make sure that you take all the necessary precautions.

A lot of people install grids or netting over their pond to divert curious minds, whilst others prefer to fence or gate it off completely until the children are old enough to learn about water safety.

 

Anti-Slip Decking

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Good quality decking can give your garden the WOW factor, but how can you ensure that it is child friendly at all times? When the weather is particularly wet, decking can become slippery, making it a nightmare for those wanting to spend time in the garden with their children as soon as the sun comes out.

Anti-slip decking is ideal for children who love to be outside even when the weather hasn’t been fantastic! Stylish, safe and secure, it’s worth spending that extra little bit of money.

 

Lock Up Your Garden Tools

 

Creating a child friendly garden isn’t just about installing the right features – you also need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep it a danger free zone. This includes making sure that your garden tools are safely stored away in a secure place when not in use.

Sharp tools such as lawnmowers and garden forks should be locked away to prevent your children from accessing them. Children are curious by nature and will think nothing of making them their new toys! Garden chemicals should also be locked away in the same manner.

When using garden tools with children around, it’s imperative that you don’t let them out of your sight or leave them lying around.

 

Create Child Specific Spaces

 

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When thinking about redesigning your garden, it’s always a good idea to keep your children in mind. Designing specific areas for them to spend time in is the perfect way to keep them occupied and entertained when out in the garden.

From creating a sandbox, to making space for games such as football, it can make all the difference for your children. It doesn’t have to take up too much space either – just corner off a section of the garden that is their zone!

Having children doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the perfect garden. By keeping in mind the 7 pieces of advice outlined above, you can easily create a fantastic child friendly space that everyone can enjoy!

If you’re looking to update your fencing to something that is child friendly and stylish, please don’t hesitate to contact Colourfence today on 0800 6444113. Colourfence offers a garden fence that is high quality, secure and durable – you won’t have to worry about splinters again!

Replacing-wooden-fence

7 Signs That It’s Time To Replace Your Wooden Fence

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Most homeowners would like to think that their garden fence is something that will last them years and years. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

Whilst a modern and high quality fence will last you well over a decade, this isn’t always true for a lot of traditional wooden fencing. Endless maintenance issues can make keeping your fence in good condition a complete nightmare.

So when is it time to put away your tools and realise that it might be time to replace instead of repair? Here are 7 signs to look out for that could mean it’s finally time to invest in a new fence.

Your Fence Has Started to Lean

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As your fence starts to age, it will gradually start to weaken. Whilst not always noticeable at first, you will eventually begin to spot signs of its decline. More specifically, a lot of wooden fences begin to distinctively lean to one side or another. This can become a common and frustrating problem during the winter, when the constant high winds and heavy rain can play havoc with the already weak structure.
Whilst this can be temporary “fixed” by adjusting the fence posts, it’s unlikely that this will undo the damage that has already been carried out. It’s definitely more cost effective to replace it with something stronger and more durable.

You’ve Noticed Signs of Rotting

Rotting is often one of the first signs that there is something seriously wrong with your wooden fence. Favoured for their rustic and traditional look, it can be disheartening to discover the onset of rotting.

Unfortunately, despite putting a lot of time and effort into keeping your fence in good condition, wood is very vulnerable to rotting as time goes on.

As the decay sets in, your fence will quickly begin to deteriorate, leaving it looking less attractive and a lot weaker than before. If caught in time, you can sometimes prevent the rot from spreading throughout the entire fence. However, it’s not often spotted until it’s too late. When this happens, there is no way to reverse the damage and the only option is to replace with something new.

 

The Wood Has Started to Discolour

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Wood that was once bright and visually aesthetic can easily become dull and discoloured over time. This is definitely true for wood that hasn’t been properly preserved in the correct way.

There are several reasons for why wooden fencing begins to discolour, but most of the time, it’s due to factors such as sun exposure, rust or the paintwork beginning to fade. Treating the fence could potentially slow down the discolouring but it’s unlikely to turn back time – it won’t ever be the same colour that it was beforehand.

 

The Fence is Missing Some of It’s Panels

Cracked, chipped or completely missing panels are a clear indication that your fence is in need of something more than just a little TLC. Not only does this make for an unsightly fence, it can also cause security issues, as well as safety problems for those with young children or small pets.

You could replace the missing panel but there is no guarantee that it won’t happen again, or that it won’t end up being extremely expensive!

 

There is a Clear Indication of Wear & Tear

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It doesn’t matter how much time you spend maintaining and repairing your fence, there are just some things that you can’t prevent from happening. This includes the wear and tear from every day life. From your kids repeatedly kicking a ball at the fence, to your cat or dog using it as a scratching post or chew toy, these instances of repetitive damage can bring your once perfect fence to a premature end.

In this case, we would save yourself the time and effort and think about getting it replaced as soon as possible!

 

It No Longer Fits in with the Aesthetics of Your Garden or Home

Realising that you need a new fence doesn’t always have to be a result of something going wrong with it. Whilst un-repairable damage is generally the main reason behind deciding it’s time for something new, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only reason.

Some homeowners simply outgrow the current look and design of their fence. Whether it’s due to a change in the garden or an updated look of their home, some people decide a change is needed purely for aesthetic reasons.

 

The Repairs are Becoming Very Costly

Everyone likes to believe that something can easily be repaired. After all, it must be cheaper to repair than replace, right? Whilst this can be true in some cases, it isn’t always the best course of action. Carrying out repair after repair can mean the costs slowly start to creep up, meaning you might end up paying a lot more than it would cost to take it out and just buy a new one.

We suggest getting a quote from us here at Colourfence to compare the difference between repairing your old one or purchasing a brand new one from our fantastic collection.

 

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Top Tips to Make the Most of A Small Garden

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Gardens in London properties in zone 1 & 2 can be as small as 8m2. Many of us feel lucky to have a garden at all! The main tips include keeping things to a simple colour palette, with light coloured fencing and natural wood. Sticking to clean lines, creating different levels and making the best use of vertical space are also helpful tips. With the grass, either leave it long, swap it for artificial turf, or break it up with wooden decking. Consider horizontal and vertical stripes for paving in the same way you would with your wardrobe, to broaden or lengthen the garden area. A couple of oversized planters, filled with simple, broad petalled blooms, will help create the illusion of space.

Bearing that in mind, here are some tips from wayfair.co.uk to make the most of a small garden.

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Improve Health 2

4 Ways Gardening Can Improve Your Health

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Recently, a British doctor has suggested that horticulture and therapeutic gardening should be available on the NHS. Reports over the past few years have suggested that doctors should prescribe gardening on the NHS. It’s suggested as a way to prevent as well as treat physical and mental health problems; it can help with insomnia and high blood pressure.

Exercise

Gardening is great exercise – considered as ‘moderate to high’ intensity. The RHS has calculated that just half an hour of gardening burns an average of 150 calories. Kansas State University found that it has comparable health benefits to jogging or swimming. Plus, people were more likely to stick with it because it felt less like ‘exercise’ and more like fun.

Benefits include weight management, lower blood pressure, stress relief, and stronger immune systems. Older people can gain increased mobility and flexibility,

5 a Day

As well as working for your food, growing your own helps you get your five a day. It also means you get to choose what kind of fertilisers and pesticides come into contact with your food, and when to harvest. This means fresh, nutrient rich tomatoes straight from the plant, and courgettes at just the right level of juiciness. (Tomatoes and courgettes are among the easiest plants to grow and considered a great starting point for new growers). Eating from your own garden will also encourage you to eat seasonally; meaning your fruit and veg will be at it’s most nutritious and delicious.

Feeling Good

King’s College Hospital have collaborated with Lambeth GP Food Co-op (a co-op of residents, medical professionals and patients) to create food growing gardens. Patients are taught how to cultivate fruits and vegetables, which are then sold to support the initiative and the NHS. Gardening can help improve mental health, for individuals who feel blue or people in ‘therapeutic’ settings such hospitals. The exercise, social interaction  and sunshine can really help boost a person’s mood.

Managing Dementia

The King’s Fund has found that gardening can reduce isolation and help lower the risk of dementia. Studies have found that older people who gardened regularly had an up to 47% lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners.

The benefit is thought to come from a combination of exercise, anxiety reduction and improved motor skills. There is also evidence that garden environments stimulate the senses and improve awareness of surroundings.

Is your garden fence getting old and tired or is it a pain to maintain? Meet Colourfence; a high quality, virtually maintenance free fence which comes with a 25 year guarantee.

 

Improve Health

The Top 5 Gardening Apps

Spring has sprung: the gardening apps you need to download NOW

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This spring, your most trusty gardening tool won’t be your ergonomic, back-saving shovel, or even your self-watering plant pot – it’s your mobile phone! So, with our favourite season finally on its way, its time for a spring clean on your smartphone!

Top 5 must-have mobile apps for green fingers

We have compiled a list of most popular apps for avid gardeners, all with a review for your consideration. Missed any of your favourites? Tell us below. 

  1. Garden Compass Personal Gardening Tool (Garden Compass, LLC)

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This app is an indispensable tool for naming those stubborn garden pests to help you choose the most appropriate weed treatment. It also identifies the flora and produce you do want in your garden.

Features:

The camera function allows you to identify plants with the click of your camera. Digital Compass lets you store a list of the plants in your patch, giving you a ‘digital garden’ you can take everywhere.

Pros:

The optimised format makes Digital Compass really straight-forward to use. The identification process is almost instant.

Cons:

You have to sign up to have full access to the features of the app. Also, in order to have an unlimited list of plants in your ‘digital garden’, you need to purchase a premium membership.

Our Rating:
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Download Here

  1. intoGardens (into all things)

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A cross between an interactive gardening magazine and TV show, this is the ideal app to browse through after a long day in the soil. Brought you by British garden designer, James Alexander-Sinclair.

Features:

The camera function lets you take, caption and share snaps of your garden in all its full blooming glory. With in-app purchases, you can access articles, videos and other content from both garden novices and professional landscape designers.

Pros:

The sleek, modern format is easy to navigate. The content is really varied, with something for everyone: there’s content on bird-watching to pond maintenance.

Cons:

The app is free to download, but you’re limited to what you can access without making in-app purchases, which is a little deceptive.

Our Rating: (if you pay for the additional content).
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Download Here

  1. Sprout It (Växa Design Group)

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This clever app knows that every garden is different, so uses your location to give you customised information and reminders throughout the gardening season.

Features:

A wide range of species is contained in the in-app Plant Library for you to browse through. You use the Grow Plan function to set a separate plan for each of your crops, and the digital garden keeps up with growth and harvest in your actual garden, so you can watch your produce grow wherever you are.

Pros:

The app is full of inspiration like themed gardens, to garden projects and recipes for your produce. It’s also free to download.

Cons:

You have to sign up to use the app.

Our rating:
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Download Here

  1. Vegetable Planting Calendar (Primolicious LLC)

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The vegetable gardener’s handbook in an app – this guide to more than 90 different species is a great tool for beginners and ‘seasoned’ gardeners alike! It covers including planting, growing, harvest and the ideal storage of your produce.

Features:

The app allows you to favourite your most-viewed plant types for quicker, easier access to the information relevant to your garden. Each vegetable’s section includes advice on when and how to plant the species, so there’s no leave the garden to refer to your dusty gardening encyclopedia or get online.

Pros:

Vegetable Planting Calendar includes detailed guides on both vegetables and herbs, and it is compatible for both Apple and Android, so this is one for the iPad and your mobile!

Cons:

Some species are listed under their American name, so be aware if you don’t know your zucchini from your courgette. It also costs £1.49.

Our rating:
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Download Here

  1. Grow Your Own (The Royal Horticultural Society)

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This gardening app is brought to you by the UK’s leading gardening charity. Grow Your Own lets you keep a record of the species in your own garden and the green plant-themed format feels like you really do have your garden in your pocket.

Features:

An alphabetical compilation of our most popular fruits and vegetables, with the option to add your own personal notes. The instructions make it easy to get the hang of using the app if you’re not too tech-savvy, and the to-do list function is useful for keeping track of your pruning.

Pros:

The plant profiles are very detailed, with guidance on plot size, planting/harvest periods and common problems.

Cons:

All our favourites are there, but the database is a little limited. You can purchase additional bundles to add more obscure fruits, vegetables and herbs to the list for £1.99 each.

Our rating:
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Download Here

 

Now you have your garden and vegetable patches in tip-top condition, why not give the rest of your patch the attention its craving? Colourfence will give your garden the border worthy of Eden, that will stand up to even the worst British weather, so your garden will still look lush even out of season!

 

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The Best Climbing Plants for your Garden Fence or Wall

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If you are looking to create interest and introduce height into your garden, few plants are quite as successful as climbers. Many are fast growing and will quickly cover a fence or wall to produce an eye-catching feature within a certain area of your garden, which might otherwise be bland or lacking interest.

Climbers can be easy to maintain and quick to establish depending on the type you choose. However, picking the right climber for your garden can sometimes be a challenge. Here I hope to cover some of the most common questions about climbing plants. This will help you choose which one is right for your garden and your personal taste.

Different types of climbing plants

Climbing plants use different mechanisms to help them attach to a vertical surface, such as a fence, and grow upwards. So first, let us look at the most common types of climber you are most likely to encounter in a garden.

Twining climbers: This type of climber uses its stems to clasp onto a surface and support itself. The main stem uses a lassos type motion to wrap around an object. Initially, they might need support or help to start climbing. Once attached they are self-supporting, needing only a little attention to tidy them up. Some common twining climbers include honeysuckle and clematis.

Clematis

Tendrils climbers: This type of climber uses shoots to wrap around objects, holding itself upright and hoisting itself higher and higher. Sweet peas are a great example of this mechanism. It is important to keep on top of maintenance with climbers that use tendrils. If left unchecked they can often wrap around themselves and other plants. This creates a dense clump of tangled foliage, which is almost impossible to unravel without causing damage.

Aerial roots: As the name suggests, this type of climber uses roots to clasp onto vertical surfaces. Unlike roots that grow underground, aerial roots grow from the stem. You can see this most clearly when you look at ivy plants, however Hydrangea seemannii also uses the same method.

Other types of climber: Not all plants that we grow on fences and walls are natural climbers. Having said this, they are more than suitable to be trained in this way. The have strong, sturdy stems that will easily support the plant. Pyracantha, Ceanothus and some Rose varieties are fantastic for this.

Climbers for different soil types

Let us consider your garden’s soil types. The most challenging types of soil to grow in are clay and sand. Heavy clay soil retains moisture and can be subjected to waterlogging. Conversely, sandy soils are free draining where drought is an issue. Choosing a climber that can grow in these soil conditions can be a struggle. With a little thought, the result you achieve can be spectacular.

Best climbing plants for clay soil

As mentioned above, clay soils are prone to waterlogging. Therefore climbers for these soils should be tolerant of damp conditions.

Clematis is probably one of the most popular climbing plants, due to their variety of flower colour and form. Generally speaking, clematis will grow well in any fertile soil. As long as there is some drainage or organic matter incorporated into the planting hole, they will do very well in clay soil. The plant has a wide array of flower forms and a veritable rainbow of colours from white to rich, dark purple.

Although many varieties can grow to 3m or more, there are a few that can be grown on a 6ft fence. Clematis ‘Arabella’ reaches a height of just 1.8m and will produce a mass of small deep blue flowers July to September. For a more unusual, less typical clematis flower, try Clematis macropetala ‘Wesselton’. The large, mid blue flowers form a pendulous bell-shaped and are produced earlier than ‘Arabella’, from April to May. This one reaches 2m so is ideal for a 6ft fence.

If Clematis is not your thing, why not try a Honeysuckle, specifically Lonicera periclymenum ‘Rhubarb and Custard’. This great climber has many wonderful features. It produces an abundance of beautifully scented red flowers from June to September. Although tolerant of shade, they will do much better in full sun. Bees also love this plant, so if you are looking for a wildlife friendly climber, ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ is for you. After the flowers have faded, they form clusters of ornamental red berries. This Honeysuckle is easy to care for and low maintenance, so even if you are not a skilled gardener, you can still enjoy superb results.

Best climbing plants for sandy soil

If your soil is sandy, the chances are that you often struggle with drought conditions. If this is the case, then there are some fantastic climbers for you.

Sollya heterophylla is also known as the bluebell creeper due to its pale blue bell-shaped flowers, produced from June to September. Although Sollya is a fantastic plant, it is only half hardy so does require a little winter protection. This added skill makes it a rarity in our gardens, but with some TLC the results are great. It reaches a height of 2m so is perfect for a garden fence, ideally situated in a protected spot in full sun.

So far we have looked at flowering climbers, so here is one that is solely grown for its foliage. Muehlenbeckia complexa, or the maidenhair vine, is a fast growing twining climber. It will need a little help to start with, but once supported it will flourish. Although grown for its foliage, it does produce insignificant green flowers in summer. It reaches a high 3m but responds well to being trimmed back after it has finished flowering in September. It is also frost hardy, so might need a little winter protection in open areas.

Climbers for sun and shade

Like soil types, the amount of sun your garden receives can dictate the type of plants you can grow. It is no good planting a sun-loving plant in a shady garden or a shade-loving plant in a sun-baked garden. Let us look at a few options below.

Best climbing plants for full sun

A garden in full sun might sound like a dream come true, however, they come with their own challenges, namely being baked all day in the hot summer sun.

Sweet peas are a classic cottage garden climber that we normally grow as an annual for cut flowers. Lathyrus latifolius, also know as the everlasting sweet pea, is a perennial species that is ideal for growing up a sunny fence. ‘White Pearl’ is a wonderful variety that is popular for its pure white flowers that are produced throughout summer. Unlike its annual cousin, Lathyrus latifolius does not produce any scent, however, the abundance of flowers more than make up for this. Reaching just 2m high it is ideal for a 6ft fence.

Lathyrus latifolius

Jasminum nudiflorum, or the winter jasmine, is a truly divine climber. Like the common jasmine, it produces delicate star-shaped flowers. These are produced from January to March on bare stems of bright green. This intensity of colour early in the year will help to brighten up your garden on dull days. Its natural habit is to scramble so it will need a little support, having said that it is one of the easiest to train. Although it can reach 3m high, it resounds well to pruning after flowering in April.

Jasminum nudiflorum

Best climbing plants for shade

Often the best plants to grow in a shady garden are foliage plants and with climbers, this is no exception.

Ivy is the obvious choice here, but before you groan and read on, thinking that it is a common, boring plant, I would like to fight its case. There are some fantastic varieties, each with wonderful leaf form and colour, often variegated and never dull. Hedera colchica ‘Dentata Variegata’ is not only a wonderful garden plant, it is also excellent for wildlife, as are all ivies. This particular variety has diamond shaped leaves with a deep green centre, surrounded by a creamy margin. Because it is an evergreen, you will receive colour all year round. Conversely Hedera colchica ‘Sulphur Heart’, as its name suggests has a golden centre surrounded by a vibrant green margin.

Ivies are vigorous plants that can grow to 5m or more. Fortunately they tolerant hard pruning at any time of the year, so if you find yours is becoming a bit wild, simply prune it back to the required height.

Ivy

If you are looking for a climber with autumn leaf colour, there is really only one that will do. Parthenocissus, or Virginia creeper, both regular and the small leaf variety, are without a doubt the most spectacular climbing plant for autumn. During the summer, their leaves are glossy and bright green. As soon as light levels and temperatures start to drop, these leaves turn a radiant shade of red which will turn your garden from tranquil haven to a warm and vibrant paradise.

The downside to Parthenocissus is that they are huge, and definitely not one for a small garden. If left unpruned they will easily reach 15m and for this reason, they should be planted on their own, without competition from other climbers. Having said that they can be pruned regularly in autumn or winter to keep them at a conservative size and to stop them invading your guttering or roof. Virginia creeper is also an important wildlife plant and makes excellent habitats for birds and insects.

Virginia creeper

Climbing plants for different aspects

Whether you have a north, south, east or west facing garden, certain plants will do better than other. Each aspect brings it own challenging conditions, and it is important to understand these before we select your plants.

Best climbing plants for north/east facing garden

Many people regard north/east facing gardens as the most challenging. They receive little light and are often the dampest. But there is a climber for every situation and in this case, it is Firethorn. Also known as Pyracantha, firethorn is a popular climber because it is not fussy. It can be grown as a hedge and is self-supporting, often needing little or not training. In May, it will produce an abundance of white flowers, which are followed by a profusion of red or orange berries throughout autumn. They reach 3m high but are easy to prune into shape with a hedge trimmer.

Pyracantha

Best climbing plants for south/west facing garden

It seems that everyone wants a south/west-facing garden. These are suntraps that receive the sun all day long. However, the soil can be very dry and plants can suffer if they are not tolerant of drought. Passiflora caerulea is the ideal climber for a south-facing garden because it loves full sun. From July to September it will produce exotic looking flowers that are truly unique within the plant kingdom. These flowers are followed closely by orange, egg-shaped fruit, whilst the leaves are palmate and add a wonderful texture. They can be trained vertically along wires where it will quickly fill out and cover your fence.

Passiflora

The best climber for you

So now you will hopefully be more confident in finding the perfect climber for your garden. But remember that as well as finding a climber that will grow in your conditions, it is important to consider what you want to achieve and what you enjoy. Whether you want to grow a climber for its flower form or colour, a specific flowering or even just foliage as a backdrop for your other plants, there are plenty to choose from and the ones above are just examples.

With just a little bit of research at garden centres and online, you could find the perfect climber that will bring you joy for years to come, season after season.

MEET THE PERFECT TRELLIS3 (1)

garden-beautiful

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Garden Beautiful

By | Garden Tips | One Comment

 1.     Instant Container Garden
Instant container garden

A simple option – essentially you buy a selection of pots with pre grown plants or seedlings in pots. This is a great way to get an instant kitchen garden, or some seasonal colour for your garden. Containers can also be a lot easier to keep weed free, and their slight elevation makes them easier for older or less mobile gardeners. Not least, pots can be utterly beautiful. You can choose traditional terracotta, half barrel containers, contemporary fibreglass or antique marble. For a more unique look, move the plants into more unconventional planters, such as vintage crates, belfast sinks, woven baskets or even wellington boots!

2.     Solar Lighting
solar lights

You can buy lanterns, lamps or strings of solar lights at low prices, pretty much everywhere. They charge themselves up, eliminating the need for mains electricity in your garden and making them very cost effective. They are also a safe, eco friendly way to decorate your garden, and super quick to install. Solar lights can turn a summer garden into a holiday cabana, or a winter garden into an enchanting wonderland. They’re the perfect party decoration – affordable, replaceable and gorgeous. Blue lights are perfect for winter, while orange tones are ideal for summer. Neutrals are a good all round choice.

3.     A New Fence

 

colourfence4

A new fence is a lovely way to spruce up your garden, and if chosen correctly can boost the value of your home. Nowadays you can get low maintenance, high quality fences in different colours, crafted in durable steel for longevity. You can also enhance your fence with a decorative yet durable trellis in matching or contrasting colours.For a beautiful natural look you can thread climbing plants through the trellis, and flowering shrubs in containers will look great with the clean lines of the fence as a backdrop. You can also use decals or stick on butterflies to enhance the way the fence looks for special occasions.

4.     Install Border Edging
garden border edging

Landscape edging is a crisp, clean barrier between your lawn and soil areas. It is a great way to neaten your garden, give it a pop of colour, and eliminate the need to ever get the strimmer out again.It also gives your lawns a professional ‘finished’ look; not to mention keeping mulch on bare soil and gravel in it’s proper place. It reduces the need to reshape grassed areas and to sweep patios and paths that can otherwise end up covered in earth.

5.     Water Feature
small garden water feature

Water features are a beautiful way to decorate your garden. They can range from a simple bird bath all the way up to artificial waterfalls.  The sound of bubbling water is beautifully calming. Features come in a variety of costs and are generally low maintenance. They attract creatures to your local eco-system and can provide animals and birds with a safe source of drinking water. From a decorative point of view, they can serve as melodic statues or a point of interest for your garden.

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How do you make your garden beautiful? Share your tips below!
Low Maintenance

How to Create a Low Maintenance Garden

By | Garden Tips | One Comment

There are many reasons that people prefer a low maintenance garden:

  • Lack of time – especially for those who commute or work away from home
  • Lack of ability to garden (mobility or health issues)
  • Competing time constraints – young children or grandchildren, a demanding career or an all-consuming hobby
  • Lack of interest – not everybody loves to garden!

Regardless of the reason for seeking a low maintenance garden, we have some tips to help you design an easy to maintain garden that is also beautiful, productive and rewarding.

Create the garden frame

A low maintenance garden is built from the outside in, which is the opposite of a high maintenance garden which generally starts from the inside (plants) and works outwards to the framing structures.

The elements that frame a garden are:

  1. Fences or hedges
  2. Paths
  3. Entrances and exits (gates etc)
  4. Structures (sheds, summerhouses, pergolas, hot tubs, patios etc)

Essentially, if you imagine what you would see in a garden on a bleak winter’s day when the plants are dormant, that’s the frame.

Fencing

low-m-fence

can be a dominant feature, and if you choose a Colourfence, you are looking at a stunning frame that is also virtually maintenance free, which immediately makes your garden a much less demanding prospect – no painting, repairing or even inspecting, just the pleasure of a sturdy, elegantly-coloured boundary fence that requires nothing of you but admiration and the occasional hose down which will keep it looking as good as new.

Paths

paths
Image Credit to: http://www.landscapegardenerbarnstaple.co.uk/

Paths should be simple to maintain – concrete, natural stone, paving or brick paths require the least maintenance, whilst gravel tends to need levelling and raking. Decking paths are popular but will need repainting and may need to be scrubbed in winter to remove algae which is a slip hazard. Other forms of paving, like mulch or grass paths require regular maintenance that is both time-consuming and costly.

Entrances and exits

low-maintenance-gate

Entrances & Exits to the garden can be features as well as necessary access points. A beautiful garden gate can offer interest winter and summer, and we’d recommend Colourail gates maintenance free gates which are manufactured and powder coated to exacting standards to ensure they stand up to constant use – these gates also come with loop, loop and spear, spear, or flat top finish to fit with your garden theme. A gate is the most used garden structure after a path, so it’s vital that it be maintenance free. Wrought iron gates are as durable as Colourrail, but expensive and require maintenance in the form of painting, whilst wooden gates require wood preserving or painting on a regular basis and will rot or warp over time.

Structures

pergola
Image Credit to: http://www.support121.org

Structures can be wonderful garden features, if used appropriately. If you have a garden shed, why not paint it as a feature, rather than to blend into the scenery? Beach hut and gingerbread cottage style sheds can be a real talking point, whilst we’ve seen an increase in part-glazed sheds in low or no maintenance gardens, as these allow people to sit outside all year round.  Tearing up a border to install a hot tub might seem the opposite of low maintenance, but an outdoor jacuzzi in a decking base can be an excellent feature and encourage garden use both day and night! Many low maintenance gardens also feature paving and patios, and these, if combined with an arch or pergola, can add interest in both the horizontal and vertical planes.

 

Planting for low maintenance gardens

The two most time-consuming garden features are:

  • A lawn
  • Rose bushes.

Lawns require planting, mowing, weeding, watering and aerating. You can’t walk on them in winter or you create bald patches and you have to dispose of the cuttings. Roses require planting, pruning, deadheading and feeding, are prone to disease, and only flower for, at most, two months of the year.

Replace a lawn with paving, or with gravel areas to reduce garden maintenance. If you really must have a ‘lawn’ consider a chamomile lawn or a perennial meadow, as these both require much less upkeep and offer more interest throughout the year, not least because both support more wildlife than a lawn. Another alternative is artificial turf (although that still needs to be vacuumed!)

You can break up areas of paving and gravel with mulch, to provide interesting textures and colours with little or no maintenance.

Roses are beautiful, there’s no doubt about that, but as garden plants they are amongst the most expensive, when you measure their initial cost, their high maintenance requirements and their short season of interest.

Replace roses with stunning shrubs that have more than one season of interest.

Hamamelis_Flower

Examples are:

  • Hamamelis (witch hazel) which has yellow or orange flowers in January or February, as well as offering beautiful autumn leaf colour
  • Pyracantha which is a great climber if you grow it against a Colourfence but can also be a stand-alone shrub. It has neat green leaves and stunning red or orange berries right through the winter
  • For a spring shrub that flowers from as early as January for several months, try Chaenomeles (Japanese quince). With bright coral flowers in spring, it also bears decorative golden fruit throughout the autumn/winter months, giving it one of the longest seasons of interest of all plants and it can be trained along a fence and/or grown up a trellis and needs little or no maintenance.

Low Maintenance