How to get a fabulous garden to match your new home
Are you about to start an exiting Grand Design of your own – whether it is an extension or remodelling of your existing home or you are building your house from scratch – you may leave the garden until the build is nearing completion or indeed the builders have finished and you are left looking at the what was used as a builders yard and now left with a sea of churned up mud any grass or plants long having disappeared under a pile of bricks or rubble before your thoughts turn to the view you will have through your lovely new bifold doors, when opening blurring the boundary between inside and what…….
…….and oh no, There is no more money in the pot for the garden. The choice then is to simply live with what you have until funds can be found for the garden or end up with a garden that does not reflect the beautiful house and doesn’t work as you wanted to.
THE SOLUTION TO THIS DILEMA IS………. FORWARD PLANNING
Call in a Garden Designer from the beginning once outline plans for your house or extension have been drawn up – talk through what you would like from the garden, in the same way you talk about the house with your architect.
A good Garden Designer can work from the architects drawings to create a design for the garden, so linking it successfully to your home.
This ensures that your grand design includes your garden, giving you that haven to escape from the world or space to take the party outside or indeed both.
The cost of building the garden can then be included in the building budget and money does not have to be ‘found’ afterwards – so lessen the need for compromise and having to settle.
It can also save money – for example where new levels need to be created, this can be done while the earth moving equipment is on site.
Access is usually easier during building especially if there is no access to your back garden – do you really want landscapers traipsing through your new decorated and finished home with all their equipment, carrying earth and plants through – this not only takes them longer as materials have to be hand carried through the house and they also have to be careful not to cause any damage – again this could result in a rise in the cost of building your garden.
By following this simple advice you are more likely to end up with a garden you love rather than one that is ok.
That matches your house, be it one you have built from scratch or the house you have remodelled or extended and fits in with your lifestyle.
Shows like Grand Designs Live are a great place to get ideas and inspiration for your garden projects, be they large or small – so why not take advantage of the free advice on tap. Book a FREE HALF HOUR slot with me in the Ask an Expert Area, there’s still a few slots left for on-line booking:
Or just turn up on the day and book a slot at the show – look forward to seeing you there
SLUGS, SNAILS and SLIMEY TAILS
TIPS ON HOW TO RID YOUR GARDEN OF SLUGS AND SNAILS
These little devils are everywhere, chomping their way through all our prized plants, not only on fresh new growth as plants emerge, usually in the spring, and this year due to the mild winter – there was not cold spell to help kill off at lease some of the over wintering slugs and snails and their eggs – result a population explosion as even more of them survived.
The warm summer with regular downpours has also helped to create ideal slug & snail conditions, moist and warm, so again more survive and now we gardeners are faced with an army of slugs & snail who are now munching their way through our prized plants and flowers, ruining the summer show, just when it should be at their best!
So what to do, is all lost and must we surrender our gardens to these slimy pests this year?
Know your enemy – see here for the huge range of slugs and here for snails to be found attacking our precious plants.
A FEW IDEAS ON HOW TO WIN THE WAR …. some more gruesome than others, so try the ones best suited to you:
- PICK AND DISPOSE – Early evening or just after a rain shower, go armed with a pot and simply pick off the little (and not so little) blighters – some of those slugs are enormous. I’ve collected a whole 2 L pot of the things. Then dispose on waste ground. if you are a bit squeamish (yes that’s me!!), or go for the kill squishing them or pouring salt onto them or putting into salt water.
- COPPER- Slugs and Snails do not like crossing copper, their slime causes a small electric shock as it crosses the copper, copper bands are available to put around the rims of containers, they are readily available either in good garden centres or on-line
- BEER TRAP – sink a smooth sided container partially onto the ground, fill it about three quarters with beer, any type will do as they are not particularly fussy. Slugs and snails are drawn to the smell, crawl in enjoy a sip, can’t crawl out and death by beer. You can then throw them out for the birds to enjoy, you can even buy these on line.
- GRAPEFRUIT- again slugs and snails seem to be drawn to upturned Grapefruit skins, enjoy the fruit for breakfast and then place the upturned grapefruit skin in amongst your plants. Then in simply collect them and dispose of the pests.
- ROUGH SURFACES – slugs and snails do not like to crawl over surfaces that are gritty, sharp or absorbent, so sprinkle either crushed egg shells, sharp sand, grit or even used coffee grounds around your most precious plants.
- NEMATODES – specifically bred to attack slugs and snails such as Nemaslug, which need to be bought from a specialist supplier, they are live organisms so aren’t usually on the shop shelf, usually mixed with water and applied directly to the soil, these little creatures will attack the Slugs and Snails from within. See here for full instructions. This is an environmentally safe method as they are not harmful to anyone or thing except the slimy menaces in our gardens. A note to warning though, these nematodes will also kill the snails found in ponds, so if using ensure that you read the manufacturers instructions and keep away from your pond.
- NATURAL ENEMIES – encouraging slugs and snails natural predators into your garden will significantly reduce the amount of slugs and snails in the garden. Frogs, toads, ground beetles, hedgehogs and birds all feed on these pest. Creating a healthy eco system with in your garden will help to keep the numbers down naturally.
- SLUG PELLETS – these really are poison and should you need to resort to them bear this in mind, they are harmful to wildlife, birds can die if they eat slugs killed by them. Your pets can also become sick or even die again if accidentally eating the pellets or slugs killed by them. See here for further information. So use very sparingly A few slug pellets if you are desperate, especially when fresh shoots appear in Spring, but use sparingly if you absolutely have to resort to them.
Tm Garden design has been commissioned….
We have successfully launched our revamped website this month for better user expereince.
We are lucky enough to be a judge on Grand Designs
I am delighted to be invited by Grand Designs Live to be one of their Garden Design Experts in the ‘Ask an Experts’ area of the show.
There will be loads of experts on hand, all ready and willing to offer advice on a whole range of subjects. So if you are planning to visit the show and would like some free advice on garden design then feel free to drop by and have a chat with me.
You might be grappling with an awkward shaped garden, slopes or lack of privacy. Or, are you pondering on how to create your own particular style? Or, do you simply just need some general advice on the best way to get your Garden Design project going?
Whatever your ideas or issues, and whether they are still only tiny germs or well advanced, talking them through with a professional can really clarify things for you and you’re sure to go away with some great ideas and advice.
If you’d like to book a particular time to come and chat with me, you can pre book a 30 minute slot to suit you via the Grand Designs Live web site
The dates that I will be there are:
Monday 6th May
Wednesday 8th May
Saturday 11th May
The show takes place from 4th to 12th May at Excel in London. For more information about the show or to order tickets simply log on to www.granddesignslive.com.
Look forward to seeing you there!