Water tips for the garden…

As our summers are getting hotter and hotter our gardens need more and more water, but the cost can soon mount up. There are many ways to save water in the garden that will not only help your plants stay fresh but also save you money!

It’s all in the soil

The trick to soil is that the more organic matter it contains the better it will hold the moisture, so a lot of well-rotted manure and compost is a good start. It is also a lot easier than you think; in spring simply spread a layer of compost across your borders and let the worms mix it into the soil. If you are still struggling with keeping moisture in the soil why not create a wide planting hole and line it with perforated polythene and then add your plant to the hole and surround by compost. This will help improve the water retention and keep the moisture in the soil.

Adding mulch

Simply cover your well composted soil with things like gravel, pebbles and bark chips to help reduce the amount of water evaporation. This is also a great way to help reduce the amount of weeds that will grow through. It is best to apply through autumn and spring while the soil is still very moist. It can also look very pretty.

How you can collect water

Collecting water is very easy to do and is completely free not to mention it helps the environment. All you need to do is position a water butt where it can get the most water but also where they are easily accessible.

It’s all about when you water

In the mornings before the heat of the day sets in, especially during the long summer days. By watering in the mornings it will help to reduce the amount of water that is lost through evaporation. It will also mean that your plants are able to dry off before the evening to also reduce the amount of slug damage! Always water at the base of the plant and don’t waste the water on the foliage. A good watering every few days is better than a little but often as it encourages the roots to grow deep into the soil.

Not everything needs water

Water the fruit and vegetables most often as they are worth the attention. However plants like grasses don’t need as much water; even if they turn brown simply let it grow a little longer as they can cope without loads of water.

A simple guide for creating a herb garden.

If you want to spend more time in the garden but don’t know where to start, or even if you simply want to improve your cooking, a herb garden could be a great start! This is a simple guide for planting a herb garden as well as their uses and some quick tips.

Basil

Basil helps to make a delicious pesto for pizza/pasta when chopped finely and added to olive oil or why not try it as a garnish for a salad?

When planting bsil it is best to use well drained, rich soil so a normal plant pot is usually the best option. But remember that basil does love the sun, so a patio in the summer and a sunny window in the winter is a good start.

For planting it is best to sow around May/June in seed trays to start, then once the seedlings are around 3 inches tall start to place into individual pots. Then start hardening off the plants by leaving them outside during the day and then bringing them inside at night, just remember lots of liquid feed! Around July time the leaves should be ready for harvest.

Mint

Mint is great to be used in teas or added to roast lamb, and even to be added to a salad.
It is usually best to grow in a pot simply due to the fact mint can get a little out of hand in the garden. Use a good rich moist soil and you should be good to go. Just remember to put it in a sunny spot for the mornings.

Mint typically grows to around 1 or 2 feet tall, and requires minimal attention and therefore is a good plant to start with, just be careful as it will spread and takeover unless placed in a pot. A nice idea is to plant by a path so when you walk past, your feet brushing the leaves to release the fragrance.

Coriander

Coriander is mostly used in indian recipes and adds a very fragrant element to spicy dishes; it is great for use in curry dishes, or why not add some carrot and coriander for a great soup.

Usually coriander struggles in constant sun and so it’s best to plant in a pot so you can move it around but make sure the pot is quite deep to allow for the tap root. A nice shaded spot at midday is ideal.

When growing in beds outside it is best to start off as seeds and then keep the soil moist as coriander does not like dry conditions. It is known to lose the foliage if transplanted out of seed trays.

Chives

Like mint, chives are a very diverse herb and can be widely used in cooking, they are similar to garlic and onions and so work well with risotto or hummus.

The best conditions are full sunshine and well-drained soil, but can also grow in partial shade and heavier soils. If used often it is best to use some sort of fertiliser. Even though the flowers do look pretty, the plant will grow a lot more if the buds are removed.

Parsley

Very common in french cooking with fish dishes, or can also be used with potatoes.

Very chalky soil is great for growing parsley in the garden as they love the neutral-alkaline soils. If your soil is not chalky then a plant pot where you can actually manage the soil is great too. Placing in the sun or even a partial shade will help it to thrive.

Sage

Sage can be used sparingly for many different recipes. You can also partner sage with onion in a stuffing or use when cooking pork.

This can be very difficult to plant correctly as sage is very particular on the soil type and location. Usually you should keep it well drained or dry and in a neutral to alkaline soil. Best kept in full sunlight and does not like low light in winter.

A good tip is to be very generous when pruning this herb in the spring as this will encourage a fresh, full foliage.

It All Starts With The Base

One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a new shed is the base on which it is going to stand. Without a decent base at its foundation your shed, summerhouse or garage is at serious risk of developing major structural faults, pretty much as soon as it has been built.

Without a sturdy level base underneath your building will start to lose its shape and develop large cracks and gaps which, besides being unsightly,  jeopardize its weatherproofing and in a worst case scenario can lead to the building collapsing.

This is due to the nature of  the construction which means that as soon as the building has been completed it gradually snuggles itself in to its new surroundings and settles wonkydown. Without a level base it will settle at an odd angle which is where the gaps will start to appear and doors will stop opening properly etc. This also applies to the strength of the base too, even the smallest 6×4 wooden shed has a considerable weight to it and it is essential to use materials in the base that can take the weight of the job, if the base is not strong enough you will again see gaps and jammed windows galore!

We always recommend either a concrete base or paving slabs.  By using one of these you can be confident that your building will remain in shape, be weatherproof and give you many years of trouble free service!

Here is a quick guide on how to lay these two different bases to give you an idea of the job involved and whether you can do it yourself (with someone to help of course) or use an outside party such as a landscape gardener.

For a concrete base you need the following;

  • Building Sand
  • Cement
  • Hardcore
  • Timber
  • Tape Measure
  • Pegs & String
  • Hardcore

Once you’ve picked your location, measure out an area that is 5cm larger than your building on all sides. Remove any vegetation from this area and dig down 6 inches (or less if you want the base to be raised above ground level).

 

building-shed-base

For the cement to take shape  you will need to measure and cut a timber framework to line the edges. Ensure that this is sitting perfectly flat on the ground and flatten out the entire surface using a spade and rake. Next put down a 3 inch layer of hardcore,  covering generously with sand.

 

 

For the concrete you can either mix 1 part cement to 5 parts ballast, or use a pre made dry concrete mix.

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  • Slowly add water to the mixture, ensuring that it does not become too sloppy.
  • Spread the concrete evenly into the framework, filling to slightly above the timber.
  • Use another long piece of timber to level off the cement, rest the wood against the framework and move across it in a slow sawing motion to level out all of the concrete.
  • If wet weather is likely cover the base with plastic or tarpaulin for 24 hours.
  • In particularly hot or dry conditions covering with damp sacks and topping up with water occasionally can prevent your base from cracking as it dries.

If you decide to build your shed base using paving slabs instead you’ll need:

  • Flat Face Paving Slabs
  • Building sand
  • Standard cement
  • Rake
  • Standard cement
  • Tape measure
  • Spade
  • Standard cement
  • Pegs and string
  • Rubber mallet

Choose your location carefully and measure out the area for your base as outlined above in the concrete base guide. Dig down to the required depth (about  2.5cm, but differing depending on the thickness of your paving slabs and whether you want a level or raised base).

Next combine one part cement with eight parts building sand to make a dry mixture. this needs to be spread evenly across the base area (about 4cm deep)  and levelled out with a rake. Working out from a corner lay each slab and tap into position using your  mallet, whilst regularly checking the flatness with a spirit level to ensure all slabs are in line with each other.

Installation of paving slabs

Do one last check with a long straight edge, making any adjustments to ensure a perfectly level surface, and brush away any excess sand or cement.

Starting out with a solid, level base will make things much easier when it comes to building your shed, and will protect the building from damp or muddy conditions. Even for relatively simple projects like this it’s vital that you choose the best selection of tools and materials. Our expert advice and comprehensive range of products will save time and ensure that your project runs smoothly.

By using the above as a guide you should be able to successfully create your base and be confident that it is adequate for your buildings needs. However, if DIY is not really your strong point we strongly recommend getting someone in to do the job for you – by doing this you are not only guaranteeing a professional finish but you are also supporting local businesses!

Base instructions were sourced from another website

10th July Is National Teddy Bear Picnic Day!

10th July 2015 is officially “National Teddy Bears Picnic Day” and while we don’t sell much in the way of actual teddy bears we do have a nice range of Picnic Tables available.

The weather recently has been absolutely spot on for outdoor activities and looks to be remaining that way for a little while longer before the nights start to draw back in . This means of course that there is still time to grab yourself a bargain or two from Taylors and get some use out of it before the colder weather starts to appear!

We have a good selection of picnic tables for sale on our site and have models from the more traditional four seater type with built in bench seat to smaller versions in bright colours for your little ones (it is teddy bears picnic day after all!). In addition to that of course we also have a range of benches, we will take a quick look at one of these first..

Solid Garden Bench

Our most popular bench!

 

Without a doubt our most popular  bench is the Solid Garden Bench which is manufactured with slow-grown northern pine. This bench is a very sturdy model which is built to last  and has attractive finishings including a stylish leg design with smooth rounded timber. With a length of 5’11 (1.8m) and width of 1’10 (0.55m) this is sure to give many years of comfortable and trouble free  use in your garden.

 

Hardwood Junior Picnic Table

A colourful option for children

 

As I said we have a nice range of picnic tables to choose from with something for everyone of all ages, a popular one that we sell is the Hardwood Junior model which has a traditional look to it with a twist. It is designed to resemble the familiar 4 seater / built in benches variation that you often see in parks but as well as being a mini version for children it is also painted in bright cheerful colours which are very eye catching.

 

Children's Circular Picnic Table

Circular with 4 seats

 

If you are after another colourful bench for your kids how about our  Children’s Circular Picnic Table? Again with colourful built in seats, this model is circular with a brown table and is particularly handy if space might be at a premium.

 

 

Alice Children's Picnic Table

Seats 4 – 6 children

 

If the bright colours of those two might not fit in to your garden we also have a more traditional childrens version that is a natural wood colour, this model is called the Alice and seats 4 – 6.

 

 

 

Hardwood Picnic Table 210

For a large group.

For the grown-ups amongst us a popular picnic table is our Hardwood range. There are 4 sizes available in this collection ranging from the smallest at 160cm (5’3) in length up to the largest which measures in at 210cm (6’9). as the name suggests, these are manufactured in strong solid hardwood with sturdy 35mm planking. This table is suitable for use all year round and is sure to bring you many summers dining in the sunshine.

 

Superior Pine Picnic Table

Measures 3m in length!

 

The Superior Pine Picnic Table is another model we sell which has proven to be very popular, this beast of a table measures in at 3m in length (9’8) and has the added bonus of foldable seats. Due to its size, this table would be very handy for a large family or for a household that likes to throw parties and barbecues.

 

The Katie 80cm Round Picnic Table

Can be easily stored away

 

Of course, not everyone has a huge garden at their disposal (myself included!) so there isalso a nice smaller size selection  including some very stylish round models such as the Katie 80cm which can be stored away when not in use.

 

 

Picknick Easy Set

Easy to store away

 

Another worthy option is the Picknick Easy Set, this model has benches which are not fixed to the main table which allows you to be more flexible with the seating arrangements and as an added benefit the whole set can be folded away for easier storage. This model would be very good for people who like to go camping!

 

 

Take a look at our whole range!  A picnic table set is a highly attractive and functional addition to any garden and with so many sizes, colours and shapes available there is bound to be something for every style of garden in England!

Happy Teddy Bears Picnic Day!!

Garden and Outdoor Play

Happy Teddy Bears Picnic Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy your garden during the summer with a gazebo…

With summer upon us, there is a rise in sales to do with gazebos as they become a popular addition to our gardens.

Being a multipurpose shelter; it can shelter us from unexpected rain, shade you from the harsh sun or hide you from neighbours… What’s not to love?

Today we’re going to be talking about how to choose the correct gazebo to perfectly compliment your garden for years to come!

A gazebo makes for a perfect shelter for all occasions, making a great way to house an outside party or just a play area for your children so they are protected from the sun in summer. One thing you must remember though is to check what space you have to spare for a gazebo. There is not much point buying a gazebo that covers the whole garden!

What will you use it for? If you can justify a reason for buying a gazebo then it might be time for you to go out and get one, but depending on what you are using it for will determine what kind you may need. For instance they come in all shapes, sizes and designs. Below I will walk you through some of the more popular designs of gazebo and remember, buying a gazebo is supposed to enhance the house and garden you already have.

Let’s start with Pop-up Gazebos.

Pop-up gazebos are a quick way and efficient way to enhance the average BBQ or even get some shade from the sun while you set up a car boot. The best part is that it is completely portable and can be erected in 10 minutes or less (depending on size).

Ensure the gazebo is secured firmly to the floor because it has a lightweight portable frame and if caught by strong winds it may have a tendency to take flight.

Next we will talk about a Pavilion Gazebo.

A pavilion gazebo is perfect for large garden parties that you may be expecting in the hype of summer.  With its large and spacious design, it makes the perfect protection from the seasons alike, with an added bonus of being a beautiful feature in your garden.

Lastly we will talk about fixed gazebos.

There are two types of fixed gazebo, semi-permanent structures and permanent structures.

Semi-permanent gazebos are designed to perform perfectly all year round, through all seasons and weather but can be dismantled to be put away if the space is needed for something else. This is a great option for someone with the smaller garden and doesn’t want to commit to having a permanent gazebo instead.

A permanent gazebo is a structure that will last you year-in and year-out, often made of wood. A permanent gazebo makes a great area for social meetings or just a place to enjoy the weather in the shade. The best part about a permanent gazebo is that you can buy box standard or you can have a bespoke design made for your back garden that can include inbuilt seating areas or maybe even have your BBQ built into it!

Gera Log Cabin  (2.4m x 2.4m)

With every addition to your garden or house, you have to consider health and safety.

If you consider building a gazebo, health and safety is paramount. Make sure the gazebo is properly constructed and if you want to include a BBQ then you have to make sure the material is flame retardant. Any hanging objects like loose rope should be secured so guests or children don’t hurt themselves.

And above all, have fun this summer. You deserve it.

Hot Summer Days

Hot Summer Days

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Gorgeous Sunny Weather

Today is the 1st of July, according to news articles on the TV and internet it is set to be the hottest day so far this year notching up a glorious 30°!

 

 

 

We are sure may of our customers will be outside today enjoying the lovely warm weather and soaking up a few rays, many of them will undoubtedly be using their benches and patio furniture that they have bought from us in the past few months.

 

Outdoor Sports and Games

Outdoor Sports and Games

Today would be a good day for some outdoor fun too! How about a game of Dominoes or Snakes and Ladders? We have these and other popular games especially designed for use outside complete with extra large pieces and playing boards. Of course we also have a  more traditional range of playthings available – croquet anyone?

 

 

Stainless Steel 6 Burner Gas Barbeque

Stainless Steel 6 Burner Gas Barbeque

Barbecuing is another popular outdoor activity in the warm Summer months as all our wannabe Jamies and Nigellas fire up and knock out burgers, steaks and jacket potatoes. The range of barbecues and accessories on offer on our site is considerable with a whole plethora of different items available with everything from top of the range gas barbecues to toasting forks!

 

 

I’m  not going to keep you any longer!

Whenever we get a day as wonderful as this we need to take advantage of it so get out there and enjoy yourselves but please remember to take precautions and slap on some sun cream first!

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Slap It On