Light up my life

Light up my life

Solar Lighting

Your garden can be beautiful at night, too!  Solar lighting adds a whole new dimension to gardens in the evening.

Outdoor solar lights are easy to install and virtually maintenance free. Best of all, using them won’t increase your electric bill.

Uses for outdoor solar lighting include pathway light sets, inset decking spots, wall-mounted lamps, freestanding lamp posts, and security lights.

Outdoor solar lighting systems use solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity is stored in batteries for use at night. Manufacturers most commonly use nickel cadmium, sealed lead acid, and lead acid batteries.

A solar lighting system will work well only as long as the solar cells receive the manufacturer’s recommended hours of sunlight.


WHy a WATER FEATURES DESERVEs A PLACE IN YOUR GARDEN – (thinking this could also feature in Garden Geek section).

Here are the reasons why a water feature deserves a place in your garden.

Water features can vary from a contemporary water work of art to a traditional garden fountain, waterfall, rock pond or birdbath.

Water introduces serenity into your garden

Most people think that adding a water feature in their garden, e.g. fountain, is just a decorative piece. Little did they know that there is more to it than just as an accessory.

Not only can a fountain act as a natural humidifier, but it can also reduce noise while creating a calming sound. Introducing serenity into your garden.

Living in a noisy town or city?  A fountain is perfect for your home if you live in a noisy area or if you’re in the city.  Feel closer to nature in your own back garden!

Size does matter!  A water feature will make your garden look bigger.

Whatever size plot you’ve got make the most out of it by adding a water feature.  It really will help to make it look bigger.  Adding a focal point to your garden is the perfect trick if you want your garden area to appear larger than it really is.

Attract birds and wildlife to your garden

When there’s a source of water available in your garden, you can expect birds, frogs and insects to visit your outdoor area. A water feature such as birdbath is an excellent way to attract these feathered creatures.

If you want to attract even more birds feed them!  Read our Pet Shop guide on how to ‘care for birds’ in your garden.

Just imagine yourself enjoying the sound of nature and embracing the serene haven in your own back garden.

Water features are easy to maintain

Cleaning your water feature does not require too much strength, but it needs your attention regularly. Consistently keeping your fountain or a pond neat will minimise the build-up of algae.

Maintaining the cleanliness of a water feature is also necessary for preventing any blockages. You need to frequently clean and polish the stones or rocks, and gravel in your water piece as well.

Our top 10 plant choices for problem areas

Our top 10 plant choices for problem areas

Struggling to find the right plant for a challenging area of your garden?  Here are our top 10, number 1 plant recommendations for problems areas in your garden.

Planting Under TreesPachysandra
Extremely Dry AreasSedum Family
Heavy ShadeLiriope Muscarni
North Facing AspectHydrangea Petrolans
Evergreen ClimberTraclespernum
(Evergreen Jasmin)
Fast Covering ClimbersFallopia
(Russian Vine or Mile a Minute)
(Salt Spray Resistant)
Escallonia Family
Rabbit and Deer ProofChosyia Family
Very Quick Low Ground Cover for Banks or Open GroundCotoneaster Dammeri
Intruder DeterrentPyracantha Family

How to create a Green Roof

How to create a green roof

Green roofs are great for smartening up dull and boring arches, arbours, sheds or even a dog kennel!

Alpines are ideal for this as they do not need a huge amount of nutrients and most are fairly drought tolerant.  In addition, Alpines do not need huge depths of soil so are perfect for your green roof.

To produce our green roof we constructed an extra frame around the existing roof about 3” deep to keep the growing media in place. We then lined the bottom of the frame with thin plywood and drilled several holes for drainage before attaching to the existing arbour roof.

We laid a thin layer of horticultural sand in the bottom followed by John Innes No. 2 compost.

We then planted up with a mixture of different Alpine leaf and flowers, textures and colours.

We finished it off with a layer of decorative alpine aggregate and watered in well.

After care:

Water only occasionally and deadhead any flowers which have gone over (if needed). In general, green roofs are fairly low maintenance.

The following alpine plants are particularly drought tolerant:-

Arabis, Delosperma, Thyme, Sedums, Sempervivens, Sisyrinchium, Silene, Lewisia.

Please ask a member of staff if you require further assistance or advice.

4 top tips for the perfect lawn

4 Top Tips for the Perfect Lawn

You might not know it, but your lawn pays you back for all the hard work you put into it – your lawn serves as a huge source of air conditioning for your garden, keeping it cool in the hot summer months.

It also releases oxygen and simultaneously captures dust, keeping you and your family healthy. To reap the benefits to the full, keep your lawn as healthy as possible with these handy tips.

1. Don’t over-mow

Longer grass is healthier grass – by keeping your grass 7.5-10cm (3-4in) tall, you may reduce the number of weeds that germinate, as longer, stronger grass will out compete the weed seedlings. Keep the soil nice and cool, ensuring moisture is trapped and soil microbes are encouraged.

Check the cutting height of your mower. Never scalp a lawn too short. This will weaken the grass and leave the soil open to lawn moss invasion. If your lawn begins to suffer from lawn moss do not try to rake out the moss before it has been killed by a moss killer. This will only spread the spores and make matters worse. Apply a moss kill in spring or Autumn then rake out the moss two to three weeks after application, when it has dried and turned black.

Varying the length slightly throughout the seasons can help maximise your lawns health. It is recommended that at the beginning of the year to cut the grass with the blade height approximately 2.5-4cm (1-1.5in). In the summer months raise the blade height to 5cm (2in) or more. Then again, lower it back for the last cuttings of the year.

2. Make sure you use a sharp blade

To ensure you cut your lawn cleanly and evenly, make sure you use a sharp and balanced blade. A blunt blade will have the damaging effect of tearing the grass rather than cleanly cutting it, meaning the ends of the grass blades may turn yellow but will grow out leaving no lasting effect. To maintain a sharp blade, avoid mowing over any stones as much as possible, making sure to sharpen and balance your blade three times a year.

3. Don’t overwater during dry spells

Even though brown blades suggest otherwise – the root of the grass can actually stay alive for months. Understandably, if you want to ensure a green lawn all summer, try to water heavily, on an infrequent basis. The aim is to encourage the roots to grow deep into the ground, and the best way to achieve this is to water deep. If the soil is hard below the roots then they are restricted, while the moisture further down will work its way up to dryer soil at the top.

Light sprinklings of water only feed the surface of the soil and the grass, which in turn promotes shallow root growth. In this instance the lawn will require more frequent watering.

Lawns that are on light sandy soil will drain more quickly, so may need more water than lawns growing on heavier clay soils. However, as a general rule, provide 2.5-5cm (1-2in) of water per week (whether this is via a watering can, sprinklers, or Mother Nature, applied at three-four day intervals. However, this does vary depending on the following factors: temperature, grass type, and soil condition. In terms of timing, first thing in the morning is the best time to water your lawn.

4. Weedkillers and fertilisers: timing is everything

There are a number of variables to take into account when applying gardening products to your lawn. These are mainly location, weed type, grass type, condition of soil, and grass type.

Firstly, a healthy lawn is the best defence against garden weeds. So, you’re half way there if you’ve followed our guidelines so far! Next, it is advised to attack weeds in the early spring or summer – this way the weeds have yet had the chance to develop deep root systems or spread.

When applying a fertiliser, do so in early spring to encourage root growth. Apply a specific Autumn lawn fertiliser in the autumn months to help the lawn recover from the Summer wear, and prepare itself for a potentially harsh winter. While light feedings throughout the year help maintain a healthy growing lawn. Furthermore, as always, read the labels fully and take note of requirements and warnings.

Remember, it’s not necessarily how hard you work – actually it’s less about time than timing. The art is more ‘how’ and ‘when’ to achieve a perfect lawn.