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Buying Gardening Tools; Factors to Consider

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Buying gardening tools is not a simple task. There are so many brands, and types of tools in the market to choose from, which could lead to confusion when buying. The cost implication of purchasing the wrong device is enormous.

So, what should you consider when looking for the right gardening tool?

What do you need it for?

Before going shopping, know what you need the tool for. For instance, what tools would you need to lay Go Artificial Grass properly? There are many places you can buy you tools including specialty stores, online shops, supermarkets, amongst others. Do proper price comparisons before deciding on where to buy.

Is the tool easy to use?

Check how useful and comfortable is the tool when you are using it. The best way to know is actually to test how it feels in your hands. If you are buying online, take note of things like weight, height, and shape.

Do you have the necessary skill to use it?

Have a proper, honest grasp of your skill level.  There are some tools that a beginner cannot use without training.

Take note of the design

A poorly designed tool may break because of brittle material or even shoddy workmanship. Consider buying a forged tool and not one that has a tang and ferrule. The latter tend to separate, but one that is forged from handle to end; it may give you longer usage because they rarely break.

Your garden tool should have an excellent grip to avoid blisters. Ergonomic handles are comfortable and help reduce user fatigue. Test the tools for weight, height, and grip; the larger the handle, the better the grip.

Check the shaft length of the shaft for tools like shovels, hoes, and rakes. A short shaft will lead to poor posture and eventually back problems.

How much do you want to spend?

How much have you put aside for buying the tools? Even if you want to save, we would recommend purchasing high-quality tools because they last longer and you will eventually justify the high cost.  

Check the type of material used in the construction of the tool

For metallic parts, a high quality, durable material is essential. Rust free stainless steel that is easy is the best.  Forged steel is best for durability, and lightweight easy to use tools are constructed using carbon fiber, plastic, and aluminum.

Brand and user reviews

Buy tools from companies that have a reputation for the quality of their devices. Do your research and pay attention to review from other users.

A brand with a warranty is a sure indication of the manufacturer’s confidence in his product.  If the company offers after-sale services, the better for you as you will not have to worry about maintaining the tools.

Type of tool

Are you looking for a manual or powered device? Powered tools are efficient and allow you to handle a large amount of work in a short time. They are however more expensive and require quite a bit of maintenance.

Final thoughts

Finding the right gardening tools will allow you to enjoy the gardening experience so much more.

How to spruce up your garden in time for summer

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Making sure your garden is spruced up in time for Summer!

The rise of entertaining at home is apparent in the UK. Therefore, there’s a need to keep your garden space clean and tidy at all times. Admittedly, we aren’t all gardening experts and we can often neglect our spaces during the colder months. In fact, the British public are wasting up to £672 million each year as we don’t know how to best look after our garden space.

Here, with plenty of time to make sure you have your space in the best condition for the warmer climes, we look at how best to spruce up your garden.

Is your garden prepared?

This may seem an obvious point to start, but it can sometimes seem like a tough task. If you have decking boards, start by sweeping away any fallen leaves or debris. Then, use a high-pressure cleaner to wash away any remaining dirt. Once you’ve done that, you can scrub the deck where required to bring it back to life in time for the sunshine. The same applies for any concrete or tiled areas. Make sure you replace any broken or chipped tiles and give it a thorough clean. As this area is usually the most walked-on area, it’s important to keep on top of maintenance here.

If you’ve let your garden go, simply tidying up and removing weeds can make your space so much more appealing. Set aside those expensive plans to enhance your yard with water features or a cabbage patch for now, as it will still look messy if you don’t take care of the essentials first. Weeding may seem like an endless task but removing them will make your garden automatically look a whole lot cleaner and presentable.

If you have fencing or a shed, you may find it useful to give it a fresh coat of paint. The change in weather throughout the year may see them looking a tad tired and in need of brightening up.

You may also notice it’s a good time to remove any clutter from your shed. Sort out any items inside into ‘keep’ and ‘don’t keep’ piles and get rid of anything you don’t need. While people may not often see inside your shed, the build-up can get messy very quickly if you don’t keep on top of it.

Flowers and plants

Unless you’re an avid gardener, chances are your plants and flowers won’t survive the winter months. Be sure to check the optimum time of planting any seeds to make sure your display is up and running and ready for the wow-factor this summer. Why not take the next step and grow your own vegetables?

It’s also important to plan ahead when it comes to perfecting your bloom. It’s never too early to start getting your garden in shape. For example, hanging baskets can bring some colour to your garden all year round. To perfect your hanging basket displays in time for the summer months, you should ideally be planting them in April. However, be prepared to protect them from any potential frost well into May. Calibrachoa is a good choice to add to your basket, alongside blue petunias – a flower which is known for being weather resistant.

Furniture and utensils

If you have a bare garden, make the most of your space by introducing garden furniture. It doesn’t matter what size garden you have, somewhere to relax is essential. For those with limited space, add a hammock, while for those with more ground to play with, a table and chair set can be used to help you create the perfect living area. Indoor portable gas heaters are the perfect addition to keep your guests warm and toasty!

You have to think about where you’d want to spend those sunny days relaxing, or indeed how you’d want to entertain any guests. Aim to position this furniture towards the bottom of your garden to give it the illusion that it’s bigger than it actually is. Mounting a mirror is another sure-fire way in which to make your space look larger. If you do choose this, though, make sure you position a mirror so it has something that it can reflect, such as a nice floral display.

With entertaining in mind, think about adding a BBQ to your back yard too. Charcoal, electric or gas BBQs can turn your personal space into a home entertainment haven. While the UK may have unpredictable weather forecasts at times, as soon as the sun shines, the public clamour for a good BBQ. Make your spot the place to go and show off your garden space.

Doing all the tasks listed above will make your area look so much more appealing this summer – perfect to unwind in, or even for hosting those late-night garden parties. Happy gardening!







Spring garden tidy up – gardening tips 

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

When spring is on the horizon, most gardeners’ minds turn towards tidying up their garden. The GardenAdvice team have created a few pointers to help you save time and improve the look of your garden.


Compost heaps

It is tempting to dive into your compost heap at this time of year for mulches and planting. But just spare a thought for the wildlife in your garden that might have been overwintering in your compost heap such as hedgehogs and grass snakes that often lay the first clutch of eggs in a warm compost heap. So, before you dig into your compost heap, be sure to check first.



After cold or wet winter lawns benefit from a good raking with a wire rake or light scarification by machine. Over the winter the grass gets pushed down and matted, and fungal disease can start to take hold. Raking or scarification helps air to circulate around the grass plants and has an effect called “tillering” that allows the grass plants to produce additional shoots per grass plant making for a thicker lawn in the summer. Early spring is a good time to feed a lawn but hold out on using fertilisers that are high in nitrates. Try to choose a more organic lower nitrate food.


Flower borders  

Most gardeners in early spring focus on flower borders. It’s a good idea, before your perennial plants start to shoot, to weed and top up with a mulch such as spent mushroom compost or bark. One great tip for giving your borders a smart look is to re-cut the border edges that are against lawns to provide them with a sharp, stylish look.



Early spring is an excellent time to clean your glasshouse before you start to use it for seedlings and other plants. Wash the glass, frame and staging with disinfectant and then use a sulphur candle to help kill all the overwintering pest eggs and disease spores.


Garden ponds 

Early spring is a good time to tidy up your garden pond. Cut back the dead growth from pond plants like bull reeds and yellow iris and take the time to thin out pondweed. Care must be taken not to disturb your pond’s wildlife – frogs will lay their eggs in early spring.

Another crucial task at this time of year is to clean the filters and remove any pondweed that surrounds submersible pumps for water features and ponds.


Vegetable gardens 

Normally, late spring is the best time to start sowing seeds in your vegetable garden. But you can get your vegetable garden ready at this time of year by weeding and covering areas with black plastic to collect the sun’s heat and start to warm up the soil before you start sowing seeds.


Fruit gardens 

At this time of year, most of the work in your fruit garden should be already completed, but your fruit trees and bushes will benefit from a spring feeding and the sowing of companion plants like marigold seeds.  They’ll help to support beneficial insects such as lacewings.



Now the harsher weather has passed, you can inspect your roses for any broken or diseased stems that need to be cut back. You can also feed and apply mulch to your roses.


Conifers and other evergreen plants

Pruning and trimming your conifers and evergreen plants in the winter is never a good idea because the frosty freezing weather can damage the cut end but now that the weather is starting to warm up it’s the ideal time to carry out this task.

5 Ways To Deal With Road Noise

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Road noise is one of the several cons you have to deal with when living near civilization. Even the most expensive and most beautiful properties in the neighborhood have to deal with traffic/road noise. This is anything from screeching tires, car horns, loud stereos, or even the sound of rubber (tires) running against the pavement/asphalt.

To some, the sound of traffic is relaxing. Most people however find traffic noise irritating. Many people living near roads choose to invest in indoor water features or even white noise machines to help muffle the noises. If you find road noise irritating, simple landscaping can help reduce the noise levels. Outlined below are a few tips and ideas on the matter and if you want more details check out this piece on how to reduce road noise at home..


  1. Erect Solid Barriers

While this may sound cliche, solid barriers provide a cheap and effective way to deflect sound away from the business, home, or garden. A solid wall about 2 meters tall would be the perfect solution for anyone looking to reduce traffic noise. This option might however costly for you, or not even feasible within your area. If that’s the case, you can then choose to go with solid wood fencing. This option takes up less space, is affordable, and even easier to put up.

The solid barrier doesn’t necessarily have to be 2 meters high.  A waist-high solid wall is equally effective if erected close to the source of the sound, e.g., road. This may however be practical if your house if farther away. A large and high enough solid barrier might be the only solution for such a case.


  1. Plant Some Vegetation

If a tall wall isn’t an option, you might then want to introduce tall vegetation to act as a barrier. Vegetation works notably better than a solid wall. One of the advantages of using vegetation is that it acts as a physical barrier between you and the source of the sound, hence deflecting sound waves away from your ears. In addition to this, the soft leaves and vegetation absorb much of the sound, thus reducing its effects significantly. If any noise manages to pass through, it will be mild and something you can handle. This however isn’t the case with solid walls that produce echo should the sound pass through.

While soft vegetation may not be as effective as a solid wall or fence, it should help reduce dampen the noise.  You also do not need to get permission to plant vegetation around your property. This also provides a cost-effective way of dealing with road noise.

Using both a solid wall and vegetation provides a practical solution to road pollution. The wall will deflect the sound while the vegetation absorbs any that passes through. This reduces the risk of echoing.


  1. Masking

There are instances where introducing tall vegetation, or even erecting a solid wall aren’t an option. Masking the noise might work particularly well too.  As mentioned earlier, most people choose to use white noise machines, as well as water features to help mask noise. Indoor water features mainly come in handy in absorbing and even creating soothing sounds that dampen external sounds. Waterfalls, water fountains, etc. are good examples of water features you can use to mask road noise.

Using plants around the property can also help mask road noise. Pampas grass and bamboo are good examples of vegetation that duces audible but soothing noises at the smallest breeze. The rustling sound of leaves should help reduce and even mask the noise significantly.


  1. Trellis

Trellis or a string garden wire can also help mask road noise. Introducing a climbing plant, e.g., jasmine or honeysuckle to weave around the mesh also helps create a sound barrier. Jasmine and other climbing plants will not only help mask the noises but also produce a sweet natural smell that helps neutralize odor and other kinds of air pollution/


  1. Acoustic Fencing

If you have some money to work with, you can then invest in acoustic fencing for the best performance. The thick solid fence is a good sound barrier which also reflects sound waves. This leaves your garden peaceful and quiet, just the way you like it.

It is almost impossible to get rid of traffic noise from your home or garden completely. This, however, doesn’t mean you cannot get the tranquility and peacefulness everyone needs in their homes. The solutions and ideas outlined above should help you deal with road noise effectively.



Balcony Garden Planters Guide

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Dicentra spectabilis – great plant for early season colour in containers for balconies.


Many people these days live in apartments and flats, but that does not mean that they cannot be involved and enjoy doing some gardening on their balcony. Recently we discussed planters on the patio and many of the points of creating balcony gardens are similar when creating balcony planters as well.

Conditions of Balcony Planters  

One of the more important things that you need to remember when you are planning which outdoor planters are the best for your house is the weather conditions. That is critical since it directly affects the species that are able to survive as well as thrive on balconies.


What amount of sunlight does your balcony receive on a daily basis? If the area gets plenty of sunlight you will have a different selection of plants that are available for you to use compared to if the area gets less sunlight. Maybe part of your balcony receives more sunlight than the other parts. In that case, you will need to plan which garden planters to put there. Planters that are fixed to railings or hung will likely receive more sun and will need to be watered on a more frequent basis, especially in the summer.


Depending on the exposure and height of your building you might find that your planters are affected by winds that can dictate the option of plants that are available for you. If your balcony is especially exposed to high winds then mesh or screen can be used to block it somewhat. Doing that can help to create a micro-climate to offer a broader range of range that can survive in it.

Natural Water

Unless you happen to be on your building’s top floor you will frequently have an overhanging building or balcony that can limit how much rainwater that your balcony planters receive. If that is the case then you need to be aware of watering the balcony planters frequently and that it’s possible that you might need to add some plant food because of the limited nutrients that tap water contain.  


Different Kinds of Balcony Planters


Hanging Planters

If you have a very small balcony, then you will have to maximize your available space. If your balcony is similar to this then you may want to consider using hanging planters that go well on railings or maybe from the ceiling is there is an overhanging from the floor over you. It is worth it to note that if you have a weight restriction that you can buy lightweight compost and soils that are made for this specific reason.

Potted Planters

This one is the most obvious choice and is similar to what you see on garden patios. Containers and pots come in many different sizes and shapes and you can choose the ones that suit your taste the best. If you are choosing heavy balcony planters you should place them near load-bearing joists or walls.

Vertical and Stacked Planters

We discussed recently how to create vertical gardens, and that can come in very handing when making a balcony garden. There many different space-saving ways and enjoy an entire range of plants like attaching window boxes on the wall, or use wooden pallets or old furniture to bring your balcony completely to life.


What Are the Best Types of Plants to Use for Balcony Gardens?


Plants That Are Weather Tolerant

The result of likely added wind and sun exposure means that it is very important to find plants that are wind and drought tolerant. If your balcony happens to be susceptible to those conditions then the best plants for you to use may include Cordylines, Wollemi Pines, and Cedars. If you are unsure then choose low growing plants since they are all wind resistant for the most part.  

Evergreen Plants

Deciduous plants are less tolerant of wind and heat, but they are also are not that aesthetically attractive during the winter. If you are considering using your balcony during the wintertime with an outdoor heater and comfortable seating, and it is preferable to having some year-round greenery to keep things interesting for you.  

Well-Suited for Potted Life

It might appear to be obvious, but you have to keep in mind that your plants will be in planters for their entire lives, so they need to be well-suited for this purpose. At a minimum, you should choose slow-growing plants that are able to be pot bound for many years. Using a soil based compost for planting is a good idea as this will help to retain moisture.


The Benefits of a Garden Office

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe


Building a garden office is not the same as converting your cramped spare bedroom into a home office that you can run your business from or a side hustle. The key difference is that you can invest in a garden office at a sensible budget.There are various benefits of an affordable Garden Office


You Can Get a Garden Office at A Sensible Budget

One of the greatest benefits you can accrue from garden offices is their affordability. Visit Urban Pods to find a Garden Office that suits you. Creating a home office on a limited budget can be a daunting task. Plenty of companies go out of business very early due to overspending in the early stages of the business life, even before money starts coming in. However, if you invest in one of the affordable garden offices you get to save a lot while enjoying a great product.


It Allows You to Separate Your Domestic Life And Your Professional Life

As you might appreciate, working from home can be a daunting task. There are plenty of distractions all around. It could be your dog that wants to play all day, a TV show that seems interesting, or even a pre-recorded game that lingers in your mind. The distraction level goes a notch higher when you have small kids who always seek attention. Concentrating on the work at hand is difficult.

The best way to concentrate on your work is to somewhat seclude yourself from all the distractions. Having a private office space separated from the main house means you do not have to hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign. Every distraction will simply have to wait for you to finish your business.

If you want additional tips on attaining better and deeper focus, read Deep Work a business book by Cal Newport.


Leave the Spare Bedroom for Friends and Family

When you have a spare bedroom, not in use by your kids yet, you are tempted to use it as a spare bedroom. However, converting the spare bedroom to an office space leaves nowhere for your friends or family to stay when they visit for Christmas, birthdays, and other events. They end up staying at an expensive hotel or your local B&B.

Having a spare bedroom for your friends or family members to stay can be great for both of you, allow to spend more time together and connect. As such, if you host your family or friends, you should consider keeping the spare bedroom as it and instead invest in an office garden. That way, everyone stays happy


You Can Use a Minimalist Office Environment to Enhance Your Focus on Work

The minimalist philosophy is catching on owing to the simplicity it comes with. The more stuff you have around your office space, the greater the clutter. Moreover, things get messy very fast when you cram your office with stuff. To avoid this, you can opt for a minimalist office.

To this end, you can invest in tools that perform more than one specialized task. For instance, your printer should have a flatbed scanner too. You should store only essential items in your office. The combination of these strategies will keep your office well organized and compact.



Wireless Communications Between Your House and Garden Office

Wired internet connection is best used for fast internet connection. However, the advent of Wi-Fi and the improvement of the N class and AC wireless network support, the signal strength has increased tremendously. Moreover, you can use signal boosters to improve the quality and strength of the signal over long distances.

For your phone connection, you can forward a dedicated business line to your mobile phone. This means you do not have to invest in communication installations. You can extend what you already have to your garden office, helping you keep in touch with your clients.


Enjoy A Relaxing Aroma and An Outside View

When you convert a bedroom to an office, you get an office space that is not optimized for working. The view can be that overlooking the road or your neighbours. On the other hand, with a garden office, your view is your garden. In fact, the office is in some ways an extension of the garden. You can open the office doors and windows and be in nature. You get to enjoy the trees, the grass, the flowers and you readily take in the relaxing aromas they ooze.


Increasingly, people are deciding to set up side-hustles or create full-time businesses from their home. You might offer consulting services, trade in stocks, or work part-time at home, the home office is an important tool. While finding an office can be tricky, with a garden office, it is no longer the case.


Time to Prepare for Garden Gatherings with Friends and Family

In CategoryGarden event
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

As winter turns into spring, it’s a great time to start to plan your garden gatherings for friends and family. Your first event of the season is a great way to motivate yourself to get your garden in order after the winter season.
Planning your garden event or gathering should not be left until the last moment. Over the summer the GardenAdvice team plan lots of events for our MyGardenTeam members and have created the following checklist.




Food and barbecues – The golden rule with barbecues is to start them early in the day and have plenty of fuel at hand so that by the time you come to cook your food you are cooking on hot embers or coals rather than smoking and burning your food which can create a health risk.
With food preparation allow lots of time and ideally prepare food the night before such as marinating steaks and mincing to create homemade burgers.

Drinks – estimating the number of drinks required for your gathering or event is easy but often people underestimate the glasses needed so it’s a good idea to have some standby glasses at hand just in case you run out.
In addition, where you have drinks you need ice, lots of ice and ice can be expensive to buy at the last minute so think ahead and start making your own in the freezer with some cheap ice cube trays. If you want to get creative, then you can freeze some herbs such as mint or lemon balm into the cubes. The freezing breaks the cells in the plant structure and as the ice melts in the drink it releases the herbs flavour into the drink

Seating – If you require seating and tables etc. your local hire centre is a good source to hire them with collection and delivery at a reasonable price.

Lighting – if your gathering or event is in the evening often additional light in your garden is a good idea. A cost-effective way to light your garden is to use solar lighting or an oil-fuelled garden flair light generally positioned on a stake to gain some height.

Plant protection – most gardeners have prize plants and these plants can gain additional protection by cutting some long willow or hazel canes and bedding them over your plant and pushing the ends into the ground to create a type of open wigwam effect.

Steps and paths – Check your steps and paths making sure you have no slippery areas in wet weather and no trip points on steps. If you have areas that could cause problems planting some temperature pots with some colourful plants on these areas can restrict the use of these spaces until your gathering or event is over.

Planning for the weather – rain, and Sun, the weather is never going to be perfect its either going to be too sunny, too hot or too cold or just too breezy! Gazebos from Garden Camping are a great addition to a gathering or event providing you with some additional shelter and protection against the wind, rain and sun.