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What Wildlife Will You Find Around Your Pond?

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Incorporating a pond or outdoor water feature into your garden can bring a new lease of life to your outdoor space. Not only will a water feature improve the aesthetics of your garden, but it can also improve your overall health and well-being. As well as this, incorporating a pond or even a small water feature can attract an array of wildlife to your garden.

It’s estimated that there are over two million garden ponds in the UK, and with the disappearance of over 70% of ponds from the countryside means that garden ponds and water features are becoming an increasingly important aspect for the survival of wildlife. In our latest blog we look into what wildlife you can expect to find around your pond, keep your eyes peeled and see how many of these creatures you find outside your pond!

Supporting Wildlife

Not only is a pond a fantastic feature for your garden for your own benefits, but it can also hugely benefit wildlife too. Ponds support a greater diversity of wildlife than any other garden habitat, with even a small water feature making a huge difference. There is an array of wildlife that could thrive in your garden. From frogs, damselflies, newts, small mammals (hedgehogs etc.), pond skaters, water boatmen and so much more, your pond or water feature could be vital for the survival for a whole host of wildlife.

Birds

Wildlife friendly ponds and water features can hugely benefit birds visiting your garden all year long, they will drink and bathe in the water to stay hydrated in summer. This is also particularly important in winter as birds will ruffle their feathers in the water to spread their vital oils which will help protect and insulate them from the colder weather.

Plants

Whether it is aquatic plants that are to be submerged in the water, or floating ad oxygenator plants that will lie on the ponds surface and encourage wildlife including fish, frogs and other wildlife to thrive. Plants are likely to appear without you even planting them, but it is these kinds of plants which are likely to attract wildlife that you might never have seen before. Whilst it is important that your pond or water feature receives plenty of sunshine throughout the day, it’s also important to strategically place plants or have one area of the pond in a shaded spot, to shield certain types of wildlife from predators.

Dragonflies

As a species that breeds in water, dragonflies are commonly found around ponds. They require submerged plants for the development of their larvae, therefore a pond is the perfect habitat for these to thrive.

Frogs

Ponds are required by frogs to breed, their tadpoles will feed on the algae in the water, by incorporating a pond into your outdoor space you can create an area of plants where frogs can shelter, with easy access to the water. As your water feature starts to attract more and more wildlife it’s important you keep an eye on it to ensure it is kept in a good condition and is a good environment to ensure wildlife can thrive.

Article supplied by Outdoor Living UK.

GardenAdvice.co.uk Facebook Page.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Follow our Facebook page for the latest updates on the tasks you should be carrying out in your garden this winter to get your garden off to the perfect start in the spring

Early January is a great time to plan out your summer bedding schemes and order your seeds and plant plugs to grow on ready for May  More

Keyhole Gardening.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Keyhole Gardening

Created by Flora Select

How A Garden Can Effect A Properties Value.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Over the last few years a properties garden has started to effect the overall value of a property to a greater extent than ever before.  20 years ago a properties value was hardly effected by the garden other than the size of the garden. But now in an increasingly environmental concerns and in an Internet enabled world  gardens are starting to add to the overall value of a property

in some unexpected ways. Their are a number of points to consider when valuing a garden in association with a properties value.

Home office and working space – over the last few years working from home has become very popular splitting your time between a city office and you home office so a purpose build home office is going to increase the value of your property.

Water – although we have had one of the wettest summer ever in the UK the change in weather means that we are also likely to get some very dry summers especially in the south of the UK. This means any garden or property that has a source of water from which it can water the garden to keep it looking green in the summer is going to be worth more to buyers and so increases the properties value.

Streams and Large ponds or lakes – With the cost of energy set to raise over the next few years, providing some of your own energy from the garden in a property has many advantages. With a stream such as a chalk stream that runs all year or a welsh mountain hill side stream energy can be generated with a small turbine unit installed in the stream.  With a large pond or lake heat exchange piping can be installed in the base of the lake or the stream to extract heat and energy even during the winter months. Being able to provide some of your own energy will increase the value of your property.

Mature planting – has always increased the value of your property but now with the focus on energy saving it added another reason which might increase property value, which is as property with mature planting is likely to be more energy efficient as the planting acts as a windbreak creating a mirco climate which will hold some of the temperature build up during the day locally to the house and help stop heat loss from the properties walls.

Tips On Paving A Patio Or Drive.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

The GardenAdvice Team are often asked by clients to provide advice on paving areas around the house and garden. Listed below are the team’s top tips if you are considering creating or repaving a drive or patio

  • Drainage – a paved patio or drive will act as a collection area for rainwater and even if the area allows water through the surface which is the case when using brick paving during a heavy rainfall the water will sheet across the paving to the lowest point. So when planning out the paved area you need to figure out how to direct the water to a new or existing drain or a soak away in a flower bed or lawn or a French drain at the side of the paving.
  • Creating the correct fall on the paved area – so that the drainage water flows away from any buildings. Ideally the fall on paved areas should be between 1:100 to 2:100 starting with the fall away from two bricks or 4 inches below the buildings damp course away from a building. If this is not possible it’s possible to install a strip drain between the paving and the building.
  • Solid base – The base for a paved area needs to suit its purpose in relation to its use. An area of paving created for a drive will need to have a substantial base created from road stone or a concrete pad on which the paving is laid. When creating the base at this stage create the levels for the area as this is easier than trying to create the finished levels when laying the surface paving on an eleven base.
  • The bedding material – on a patio or path you can use grit sand dry mixed with cement to lay the paving slabs or paving bricks but on an area of heavy traffic you need to use a wet mortar mix to bed in the paving and form a solid base under the paving.
  • The weeds –  the area will need to be weed killed and deep rooted plant roots removed by hand and then a weed fabric installed under the base to create a weed proof layer to stop weeds or invasive plants such as bamboo which might be growing in the borders around the paved area spreading under the newly paved area.
  • Purpose of area  – consider what type of traffic the area is going to receive for example if it’s a foot path on a slope riven slabs could used to make a less slippy area in frosty weather.
  • Quality paving materials in paving – as with most items your purchase for the garden you get what you pay for with paving its normally down to the materials that are used to create the paving for example the amount of cement used and the quality of the sand used resulting in a longer lasting hard wearing paving the more expensive the slab or paving brick is. A good paving supplier such as easypave.com will be able to take you through a range of paving slabs and bricks and explain the differences in quality in relation to prices.
  • Colour – once you have chosen a paving slab or brick from a catalogue or from a supplier’s yard/show area. The purchase one and take it most to check you are happy with the colour.

The Greenhouse For The Serious Gardener.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

The weather has finally turned, the winter snows have melted away, wildflowers are beginning to bloom and the leaves are returning to the trees. All this is great news for a Britain’s army of gardeners who have had to batten down the hatches this year for much longer than usual. As a consequence many gardening enthusiasts are way behind in their preparations for the growing season. Seeds have not been sown, soil has not been turned and the day to day gardening jobs that we all love to indulge in just have not been done. So what is the solution? A greenhouse can really broaden your horticultural experience.

A greenhouse allows you to indulge your fantasies all year round, in an efficient, eco-friendly way. Cheshire based Gabriel Ash have created a range of bespoke greenhouses and planthouses that suit your needs and your environment.

Gabriel Ash has become a byword for practicality and flexibility. Crafted from the finest Western Red Cedar and discreet aluminium, a Gabriel Ash greenhouse or planthouse is the ideal setting to grow those tropical fruits or exotic flowers that you have always dreamt about.

Western Red Cedar is renowned for being naturally resistant to rot and termites, and is incredibly strong and stable. These aren’t greenhouses that will fall apart, or start looking shabby after a number of years. These greenhouses are an investment for the future of your garden and your home.

Gabriel Ash is the only greenhouse company to have their entire range fully endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society which is testament to the quality and care that Gabriel Ash’s range of greenhouses possess. Robin Parker, Head of Sales at Gabriel Ash is extremely proud of this fact;

“To have the Royal Horticultural Society describe our greenhouses as the best on the market is an incredible honour. They are the most respected horticultural association in the country, with a tradition dating back to the early 1800’s. We share a collective vision for gardening excellence, and this is reflected in their endorsement of our products.”

A Gabriel Ash greenhouse or planthouse will genuinely revolutionise your gardening approach – the ideal space for cultivation and propagation, all year round. Request a brochure today.

Give Your School Playground A New Lease Of Life.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Young people never believe adults when we tell them that their school years are the best years of their lives; no doubt they will spend the rest of their working lives, like the rest of us, wishing that they could go back. Teaching is vital to a child’s development, but so are the hours spent in the playground, as they learn how to interact, socialise, and the most important skill of all – how to get across the monkey bars one handed.

A good playground is essential for any school – no matter how good the teachers and curriculum, it’s vital that children are provided with good facilities for playtime. Many a happy memory is made in the playground, so it has to contain equipment that is fun and inspiring as well assafe, of course. So what does a good playground need?

Spread out
Space is at a premium, but even if you don’t have acres of room, it’s important to lay out the playground so that the different areas are clearly defined. The climbing frame needs to be away from the space for running around, for example, so that children can decide what they want to do. If you have plenty of space and nothing to define it with, simply paint a hopscotch or square ball space. Sometimes lines on the ground are all it takes to inspire children.

Decorate
If the playground is looking tired, perhaps there is a wall that the children can paint? Designing a mural is a great class activity, and unveiling the mural is an exciting event. It will brighten the space up as well as providing the opportunity for a small-scale ‘community project’.

Go green
Climbing frames are not the only thing that make a playground a good place in which to spend time. If you are in an inner city location and grass is not an option, you can still make a nature area with some benches and a couple of allotment or flower boxes. These will give the playground some colour, but will also provide the children with a project to take responsibility for, and they will quickly learn how to care for the plants.

Invest in equipment
A good quality climbing frame will last for a long time. Monkey bars, a ladder and a slide are all that is needed to get children enthused about climbing, and will promote physical and mental stimulation. It’s never a climbing frame, after all, but a pirate ship, dungeon, flying carpet, runaway train…

Not everyone will want to play
Good playgrounds have plenty of space for fun, but they should also offer a quiet corner. Children get tired easily and can become distressed if there’s nowhere to sit down and rest. At least one water fountain should also be available, as hydration is vital for growth and concentration. Good playground design necessitates working with what you’ve got – the more space you have, the easier it is to design a playtime fantasy land. A good option is to ask the children themselves, although be prepared for some expensive ideas.

Remember The Bees When You Are Planning You Vegetable Garden.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Not many people consider bees when planning what to grow in the vegetable garden but its worth taking bees into account when planning if for no other reason that it will increase yealds and harvests. A recommended list of plants for bees in your vegetable garden should include runner beans, nasturtium, African and French marigold plus calendula the last four are all flowers ideal for companion planting although nasturtium has very nice edible leaves.

Runner beans are especially useful as the provide good shelter for bees caught in spring and summer showers plus if grown on canes provide a good marker for the Bees to ind the routes they have established.

 

MyGardenTeam: Its Your Very Own Gardening Expert.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

MyGardenTeam its your very own gardening expert from GardenAdvice.co.uk providing you gardening assistance on-line and by garden visit. If you are looking to develop a new garden or revamp and existing garden then our MyGardenTeam service could be for you. Its a simple idea designed for people that love gardening but have limited knowledge of gardening.

You tell us about your dream garden and together we make it happen using all the expertise and resources available from GardenAdvice.
Its not expensive and the service contains a range of services designed to make your money go as far as possible in gardening terms such as the plant swap facility with other members.

Your own gardening expert with advice by email, phone and garden visits. With help and ongoing advice on your gardening projects and questions
The service includes the following
Your own gardening expert with advice by email, phone and garden visit
Help and advice on your gardening projects and questions
Online calendars, SMS and email alerts on when to prune and feed your plants
Plant swap – swap plants with other MyGardenTeam members
Free lawn care up to 75 square metres or £20 worth of vegetable seeds

For further information visit the following link www.gardenadvice.co.uk/my-garden-team

The Use Of Solar Power Is As Old As Gardening Itself.

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Solar power has always been part of gardening from the first records of gardeners using large boulders to collect the suns heat during the day to even out the day and night temperatures for tender crops. This technique eventually moved on to what we see today as the walled garden were thick brick wall collects the suns heat during the day and release it at night to protect tender plants from frosts and to advance crops such as pears, apples and cherries.  Add a green house to the wall gardens wall and you create a very effective form of solar heating for crop such as grapes.

Today with the development of Photovoltaic (PV) modules generate electricity from sunlight. i.e solar panels its not just walled garden walls that can act as a place to collect solar power. Solar panels can installed on house roofs, garden sheds, and garage and other garden buildings roofs. Before installing solar panels get some expert advice from a roofing contractor such as Cambridge Roofing. For advice on a range of plants that will benefit from being planted against a brick wall collecting solar power contact the GardenAdvice Advisor team

Solar PV systems are increasingly being specified for installation on housing projects. Simple to fit and easy to integrate into the build programme, the installation of solar PV panels to a house provides a visible statement, reliable energy generation, reduction of energy bills and a effective way to meet planning conditions or code for sustainable homes targets.

Photovoltaic (PV) modules generate electricity from sunlight. PV modules come in various forms and can be mounted on top of conventional roofing materials or integrated directly into the fabric of the building – using solar PV roof tiles or roof integration systems.