Winter Greenhouse Staging and Outdoor Storage Solutions

Greenhouse StagingThere’s a definite chill in the air and winter seems to be well on its way. Leaving your plants and gardening tools outside in the blustery winter weather can lead to them to becoming damaged. Investing in strong greenhouse staging can help to protect your potted plants and equipment from the harsh elements.

Greenhouse staging has a number of uses. Simply use staging for storage, or make it your work table or potting bench. If you need somewhere to keep all your plants this winter, buying heavy duty greenhouse staging ensures it will remain in your shed or greenhouse for a very long time. No varnishing or additional maintenance required!

Not only is greenhouse staging incredibly practical, it also looks rather nice. Made from high-quality Scandinavian timber, greenhouse staging will make your shed or greenhouse look incredibly tidy.

The timber used to create greenhouse staging has been treated with a protective solution which prevents damage from water occurring.

Greenhouse StagingYou might be thinking that you could seal wooden staging yourself with a bottle of sealant from your local DIY shop. Wood sealants can be expensive to buy if you’ve got a lot to cover, and many brands are toxic to use, due to strong chemicals and the fumes that they produce.

Purchasing a heavy duty greenhouse staging saves you the hassle and allows you to avoid doing this completely.

For outdoor storage, lifetime storage boxes offer great protection for all your seasonal equipment and décor. These double-walled polyethylene boxes are waterproof and weather resistant, ideal for keeping outdoor toys or décor in until the warm weather returns.

You can also attach a secure padlock to these outdoor storage boxes, should you need to keep valuable garden equipment in them. With sizes ranging from 300 to 500 litres, there’s plenty of space in these boxes!

How To Improve and Maintain The Look Of Your Hardwood Garden Furniture

garden benchIt is that time of year when we are thinking about putting the garden furniture away before the frost starst to settle in, but before you do, there is some tlc required to keep your garden furniture in tip top shape.

At the start of summer you may have dragged out your old hardwood garden furniture that at one time looked stunning but now seems old and drab.

Do not consider throwing away and replacing your garden furniture or putting up with an aged dull appearance because there are easy ways to breathe life back into the wood.

With hardwood the furniture will have been treated and stained originally and most of these cause the wood to naturally change colour as they age anyway. You will find most hardwood garden furniture you buy starts out with a greenish hue that fades to a deep golden brown but over time that fades to a silvery grey colour.

Now many people like the natural fade of the wood but if you feel it looks old and tired it is not that hard to give it a top up.

Weather and sun can also have an impact on the state of your garden furniture so adding coats of wood stain will help revive it. If you really want to get rid of that greyish tinge a lick of wood paint is the way to go.

What you Will Need
120 grade sandpaper
Synthetic Brush
White Spirit
Garden Furniture Reviver/woodcare/wood stain

Method

Start by lightly sanding your garden furniture as this helps the new stain coat stick better and last longer.

Gently wipe down the hardwood furniture with the white spirit to remove dirt and dust from the sanding process.

Stir your wood stain well before use. Apply 3 even coats of stain, leaving 4 hours between each coat. Brush in the direction of the grain making sure to cover all the end grains.

If you wish you can also add a layer of natural hued wood paint as well.
Leave the furniture 48 hours before use.

RN Williams Builder’s Merchants in North Wales have a great range of stunning garden furniture, decking, fence panels as well as garden accessories to keep your garden furniture in great condition.

How To Lay Artificial Grass Correctly

Artificial GrassArtificial Grass is becoming increasingly popular with those looking to undertake both domestic and commercial landscaping projects.

Although there is some controversy amongst gardeners for preferences over natural and artificial grass, it seems that artificial grass is taking off and becoming more widely used for a variety of reasons:

  • It is low maintenance and therefore perfect for those who do not have time to mow or water lawns
  • They are easy to keep neat and tidy and do not produce mud even after high rains
  • They are safer for pets and children to play on

There have also been a number of improvements in recent years with regards to the quality and appearance of artificial grass. Many people who dislike artificial grass are not familiar with the modern options available. They will visualise a very false looking product but these days artificial grass is very hard to tell apart from the real deal. There is a wide range of choice out there in terms of price, quality, length and appearance with some varieties obviously appearing more natural than others.

Experienced Manufacturers who produce the best artificial grass use techniques to mimic real grass fibres such as mingling shades of colour, even subtle elements of brown to create a highly realistic natural appearance.

If you are looking to lay your own artificial grass as part of your next big landscaping DIY project then follow our simple guide to help you along the way.

The first thing to consider is are you laying on a solid or permanent base or is your artificial grass for a temporary installation?

If you are only laying a temporary installation then you simply need to make sure that the surface you are covering is clean and smooth. Then all you need to do is apply a self-levelling compound before rolling out the required amounts. If you are just placing your new artificial grass on top of decking or another timber surface, then a combination of adhesive and carpet tracks will do the job of fixing the grass down nicely.

For a solid or permanent base:

You will require artificial grass rolls, Stanley knife, high quality outdoor tape or glue, sand mix, rake, vibrating plate or roller (if you are replacing natural grass), weed killer, geo textile weed barrier, pins.

1) Calculate in square metres the area you wish to cover with artificial grass and always buy slightly more rolls of artificial grass than you need as wastage may come in handy depending on your garden design shape.

2) Make certain the area is clean and smooth. A self-levelling compound should be used to remove surface imperfections. This is especially important is you are laying out a very short artificial grass product.

3) Lay down your artificial grass on the clean, smooth area. Be sure to allow 50mm of grass overlapping the sides of the area you want to cover to ensure a perfect edge. If you leave the grass for a couple of hours to settle you will find this removes creases.

4) Take your Stanley knife and neatly trim your grass to match the edges of your chosen covered area.

5) Now for making the joins we recommend using a high quality outdoor tape or glue. Push any grass edges together then when satisfied peel back the grass and apply the glue, tape or adhesive. Fold the grass back and if you have used glue or adhesive be sure not to squeeze too hard as this will push the glue into the grass strands.

6) Using ground pins you can nail the perimeter down every 200mm to keep it extra secure.

7) Bear in mind your new artificial grass area may require an infill. If this is the case you will need to lay down a sand mix, which has been compacted in advance.
8) Avoid leaving any vegetation underneath the new grass.

Replacing an existing Natural Lawn with Artificial Grass:

1) In the case of replacing existing grass it is very important to work out the height you wish your grass to be before you begin.

2) Take up your turf and also some subsoil depending on the height you wish your new grass to be and the height of your topsoil. It is not a good idea to add a base on top of the topsoil.

3) Try to remove any big stones from under the turf.

4) Compact the ground using a hired roller then proceed to spray down weed killer as you don’t want weeds growing up through the artificial grass.

5) Place down your geo-textile weed barrier to prevent the weeds returning across the area you wish to be covered by artificial grass.

*Note that water runoff is important. Artificial grass does not absorb water in the way a natural lawn does so you want to hinder run off as little as possible. This means that if you desire a timber edging around the artificial lawn it must not be higher than the end result of the grass line.

6) You may want to put down roughly 75mm of fine type stone aggregate and compact it down.

7) Lay down a coarse sand to a depth of approximately 20mm – 40mm. Or you can use a finer stone aggregate if you prefer.  Again compact this down.

8) Lay your new grass carefully on top without dragging the sand around too much.

9) Leave for the settling time as with other methods.

10) Finally cut, trim and make the joins just as you did for a solid base.

* Remember that if you are laying artificial grass on a roof be sure it will bear the weight and be careful not to puncture your waterproof membrane.

You can purchase in store or order artificial grass for delivery from Richard Williams Builder’s Merchants in North Wales. Call 01492 583423 for their Llandudno Junction branch or 01824 702475 for their Ruthin branch.

Gardener’s Secrets – Top Tips

Garden MaintenanceGardening is one of life’s most therapeutic and rewarding tasks. Cultivating your own garden gives you somewhere to get back to nature and reflect.

Gardening is not only good for the soul it is in fact proven to be beneficial for your health. It relieves stress and depression symptoms while also being great for your blood pressure while giving you a bit of exercise too.

Gardening is great for everyone and provides a beautiful escape you create yourself. You do not need to be an expert to get involved with gardening but as a novice you may encounter some irritating aspects that horticulturalists have learnt to solve. Deterring plant eating insects like slugs and snails is just one of many little annoyances that experience gardeners know how to solve so follow these simply garden care and garden maintenance top tips to keep gardening as relaxing and productive as possible.

1 – Planting

When you are involved in the task of bulb planting you may find that sometimes your prizes flowers are dug up by wildlife before they even have a chance to germinate. To avoid this try covering bulb areas with chicken wire, that way mice and squirrels will be put off.

2 – Deterring Pests

There are two great ways to repel slugs and snails without having to poison them. Putting down slug poison can harm other animals and is inhumane but if you scatter some totally organic crushed egg shells in your plant pots, slugs and snails will be deterred and the calcium in the egg shells is good for the soil.

A second way to repel slugs is to attract other animals to your garden such as amphibians and birds, which are their natural predators. A wildlife pond or log pile will be beloved by amphibians and bird feeders, bird baths and bird boxes will attract a variety of birds to enjoy your garden.

3 – Watering Plants

In summer, particularly on warmer days try watering your plants in the evening so they have time to absorb the water before it is dried out by the sun. Midday, morning and afternoon on hot days is not an ideal time to water as the sun can evaporate it faster than the plants can drink.

4 – Weed Control

If you leave empty spaces in your gardens hardy weeds will naturally fill so try not to fear overcrowding and plant flower bulbs in all gaps even if they bloom at different seasons to prevent weed taking root.

5 – Compost

Most of us store compost in the corner of the garden as we feel it is unsightly but if it is too hidden away you will forget to use it, try storing it out in the open as it will prompt you to make better use of it for your plants.

6 – Vegetable Water

If you love recycling and reusing try making the most out of water you use to boil vegetables as this water will be rich with nutrients. If you leave it to cool you can water your plants with and give them an extra boost but be sure it has fully cooled before doing so.

How to Lay a Lawn

LawnsIf you are looking to radically change your garden space there are plenty of options. Two of the biggest are to add lawns or paved areas. Although these two are opposites they both create a different attractive aesthetic effects. Some of the most beautifully landscaped gardens are ones that combine different styled spaces and different areas dedicated to lawns, decorative gravel and paving.

If you are looking to add a patio of paved area to your property click here for our helpful paving how to guide.

If you are looking to brighten up your garden with a new lawn you can save money by laying it yourself.  It is a task that can be carried out by anyone with some careful planning and determination. Here is a helpful guide on how to proceed.

First of all, you need to choose the landscaping materials you’ll use. You should choose the topsoil according to its and your soil’s quality. For example, if you have a low site quality or you aren’t sure about it, you should get highly fertile topsoil with a fibrous base. As for the turf, it should be very dense to obtain better results.

Steps

1.    It’s important to prepare appropriately the ground. You can hire a rotavator to achieve this goal or you can turn over the soil with basic hand tools. Either way, the soil must be screened as much as possible because larger stones etc. may impede drainage.

2.    Now that the base ground is ready, you need to distribute the topsoil. While you’re deciding the thickness, you should keep in mind that it will compact later. If you notice an area with low soil quality, pile more soil and when it has filled up the site you have to level it out as much as possible. You can use a piece of spare timber, for example. After that you can trample down the areas of weakness by walking across the site. It can be also useful to jump on the spare timber you used before to both level and compact your new soil.

3.    Before you lay the turf, you’ll have to water the topsoil to make it moist and lightly rake it so they can bind. Abut the top of the turf tightly to the one above it to ensure there is no gap and then slowly roll out the turf. Another person needs to hold onto the top of the turf to prevent it from moving. You can also use the piece of timber to make sure that you’re not kneeling on levelled soil.

4.    Initially you may want to cut out the turves to reduce wastage during the laying but the real shaping should be the last thing to do. The turves should now be lightly pressed down to connect with the soil (for example, you can hold vertically a rake and press against the turf, but don’t use a roller on it while it’s new). You should water your new lawn very often and keep off it for approximately three weeks; if you have to walk on it, try to use a plank. Don’t forget to mow the turf regularly – you can start to mow a week after laying it.

How to Install a Timber Fence

Timber FencingWhat will you need?

• 8 foot posts in either 3×3 inch or 4×4 inch sizes if you are installing a six foot fence
• Fibreglass post hole digger, with which you can dig the post holes easily
• If your fencing is going near trees, you’ll probably need a cutting tool, like a special fencing bar
• A post hole usually requires a 25kg bag of ballast mixed with cement at a ratio of 4:1. The cement comes in bags of 25kg so you’ll need a quarter of a bag of cement for each bag of ballast
• Wheelbarrow, shovel, rammer
• Handsaw/circular saw/jigsaw

9 steps to install your new fence
1. You should have a clear area where you will erect the new fencing so the first step is to remove the old fence. If the old fence posts are still standing, dig out the first and last posts of the fence run and cut the other posts as low to ground level as possible. Concrete posts can be reduced to the ground level by breaking the base of each post using a sledge hammer and using a hacksaw to cut through the steel.

2. Mark out the fence run with a line or string between the first and last post positions. Hold the first post against the line and make sure it is vertical using a spirit level and make a mark on the ground where the hole needs to be made.

3. If using 4×4 inch posts, make the hole 12 inches square by 2 feet deep; if using 3×3 inch posts, make the hole 9 inches square by 2 feet deep.

4. Place the post in the hole and fix the fence panel.

5. Now you should mix the concrete for the fence posts. Using the wheelbarrow and shovel, mix the cement and ballast together whilst dry, then add the water gradually and mix well.

6. Check the vertical position of the post against the line you set up earlier. Throw in a shovel full of concrete. Compact the concrete and then check the level and position of the post. Throw in another shovel full of concrete and compact. Repeat this process checking the post with a spirit level constantly and bring the concrete up to just below ground level.

7.  Once the second post hole is ready, drop the post in and nail the panel before you begin to add the concrete.

8. Repeat the procedure for the remaining posts and panels.

9. The last step is to mark and cut the fence panels to size making the cut panel a few millimetres narrower than the gap size. Then remove the edge battens from the off-cut using a small pry bar and trim the staples flush with the batten. Finally, replace the edge battens with woodscrews of the correct length.

Head to your local Builder’s Merchants in North Wales and enquire about using a cutting service. If they have a timber yard they may well be able to cut your panels to the correct size for you. If you are new to DIY you can avoid the headache of messing with concrete by buying spike or bolt format post supports. This will enable you to put up a fence much faster and save money. Ask your local Builder’s Merchants in North Wales which type of post support will be right for you. It will depend on where you want your fence to go.

Hints and tips: make the bottom of the hole flat, you can drill pilot holes to take the fixing nails to prevent the fixing batten splitting, fix the panel so the top capping is an inch below the top of the post.

Image Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/armconprecast/

Garden Care is Vital for Your Garden’s Health

Garden CareIt might have been all too easy to neglect your garden during the winter months when keeping it in top condition could have been a bit of an uphill battle but now that summer is here, there’s no reason to not invest in some garden care options!

This sunny season, you may want to relax in the back garden on your deckchair, book in hand and a tall drink of something next you. Why not do it in style while you’re at it and give your garden the sheen and bit of gloss that it deserves?

Weeds can be a serious pest in your garden area as not only can they appear unsightly but they can also kill other plants and flowers. Therefore, you should always invest in some weed killer as a precaution and follow its instructions carefully – you don’t want to accidentally douse the wrong thing! Take action before the weeds become too plentiful by using weed killer in the lead up to summer.

Additionally, you should look to high-quality pruning tools which will help you keep your flora looking vivid and full of life. Allowing them to grow too long can affect the overall look of your garden so keep them pruned when they look like they could perhaps be wilting. There are many different tools to choose from to find the perfect one for a particular job so be sure to ask if you’re not sure.

Summer can be quite harsh on your greenery, especially so during dry and scorching conditions. As much as we may dislike it, rainwater is vital for the health of all flora so when there is a bit of a drought in downpours, it can cause serious damage to your garden. If you haven’t already, this is where you should be investing in hoses and perhaps even sprinklers.

Hoses allow you to be more precise with the different areas of your garden’s watering but it can take up some of your time. This is why sprinklers are popular as they allow the automated watering of a set region over time but as you may expect, they are slightly pricier than the traditional alternative. Many sprinklers need various components to work so if you think your sprinkler may be broken, instead check if its parts can be replaced so as to save you a bit of money.

Have any queries? Be sure to check out our contact us to find out how to get in touch.