How to… make a raised garden bed

veg-box

The school holidays are underway, so what better time to get your little helpers involved in a spot of outdoor DIY? Making a raised garden bed or vegetable box is a fun summertime activity to do with your children, and here’s how!

What you need:

Four lengths of board, with each ‘pair’ the same length

Four wooden posts of equal length

1” screws or decking screws

Drill

Heavy duty staple gun or handful of nails

Soil

Weed control membrane

Seeds or plants!

 

The benefits of a raised garden bed:

A raised bed or veg box can enjoy greater exposure to the sun and improved drainage. You can choose the quality of the soil you put in and you’ll have less weeds to deal with. Depending on the height of your bed, it can also be easier for children and older relatives to plant and water, plus it’s educational, as young children can find out where food comes from as their seedlings grow!

 

Five steps to a raised bed:

 

  1. Mark out the position of the raised bed in the chosen location, digging four shallow ‘trenches’ for the sides and digging holes at each corner for the posts
  2. Set the posts securely in each corner. If the bed is particularly long, you can strengthen it by adding posts in the centre of the long sides as well
  3. Cut the boards to the required length and place against the corner posts. Drill the boards into place with the screws
  4. Place a layer of weed membrane inside the box, overlapping with the edges all round, and nail or staple
  5. Add the soil and get planting! You can use the beds all year round to grow different vegetables and fruit depending on the season, and don’t forget that rotating your crop is also good for the soil!

Once the hard work is finished, all that’s left to do is sit back on the newly-painted garden bench, switch on the outdoor lights and make the most of lazy summer evenings!

garden-lighting

 

Summertime and the painting is easy

summer-painting

 

What a difference a spray makes – a good paint spray, that is! Or how about a nice old-fashioned brush? Whatever the method, it’s time to scrub up for summer. The sun has well and truly got his hat on this week, meaning it’s time to give your garden a makeover for the months ahead.

 

Jetting off for summer

The key to any paint job is in the prep, and chances are your garden decking and fencing will need a good blast with a jet wash to get rid of moss, lichen and general dirt before you make a start. Alternatively, use a hard-bristled brush to sweep away the cobwebs, particularly in hard-to-reach corners. A thorough clean will help the paint bond with the surface, look better and last longer!

outdoor-lighting

 

Let us spray

Paint-spraying exterior walls, fences, sheds and decking could, until recently, be quite a haphazard affair! But thankfully there have been large strides in the technology behind spray guns, giving greater control, an even finish and, thankfully, less mess.

There are plenty of choices on the market when it comes to wood treatment, including many different finishes from light oak to deep mahogany. And colourful outdoor paint continues to be popular for sheds and fence panels in 2016 so, if you can’t quite afford that Jurassic Coast beach hut, you can always recreate the look by painting the shed sea green and sky blue!

hot-tub

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set in stone

Painting exterior walls not only freshens them up but protects against the weather, too. Remember to put safety first if painting high areas; never overstretch and make sure the ladder is securely positioned, with at least three rungs overlapping if it’s an extension ladder.

Cover drainpipes and window sills with newspapers, securing in place with masking tape, and start at the top, working your way downwards. If the walls are heavily textured, use a stippling technique to get into all the nooks and crannies and paint in the opposite direction to ensure even cover.

 

Set the benchmark

Image: Design-3000
Image: Design-3000

So you’ve spruced up the walls and fencing, but what about the outdoor extras? Are boring benches, tired tables and scruffy seats letting your al fresco areas down? Check out our previous post on restoring garden furniture to ensure your summer is picnic perfect, and don’t forget to freshen up your front door before welcoming the guests around!

Brexit brings on the paint brushes!

Britain is gearing up for a surge in DIY in the wake of the ‘Brexit’ referendum, a new survey suggests. The vote to leave the EU is already taking its toll on the property market, with 1.7m homeowners now more inclined to renovate than relocate.

 

London-houses

 

More than one in 10 homeowners is less likely to sell up following the exit vote – a figure which jumps to almost one in five in London – whilst 10% of homeowners plan to turn to property improvement instead of selling. This number rises to a staggering quarter of property owners in the 18-34 age group and, as younger voters and London-based voters statistically wanted to remain in the EU, it’s unsurprising they are deciding to ‘wait and see’.

 

The survey, by home improvement marketplace Plentific.com, found:

  • 12% of homeowners (1.7m) are less likely to sell their property in the next three years as a result of Brexit
  • 10% are more likely to carry out home improvements
  • 25% of homeowners aged 18-34 are more likely to redecorate than move
  • 18% of London homeowners are less likely to move in the next three years

 

diyIn recent years, the property boom has been enjoyed particularly by London-based developers, homeowners and landlords, but the research shows that property owners in the capital are now the least likely in the UK to move, with the figure 50% higher than the national average of 12%.

 

Homeowners in Plymouth are the least likely to carry out a spot of DIY, with just two percent more likely to improve their home following Brexit. In Cardiff, the 12% less likely to sell matches the UK average, whilst five percent are now considering home improvement, and in Newcastle the figures are 15% and six percent respectively.

 

Plentific co-founder Cem Savas said: “The EU result sent shockwaves through the UK, Europe and beyond. The value of shares for companies within the property market have already plummeted and Foxton’s have also issued a profit warning, which highlights what Brexit could mean to the UK property market. The Plentific research shows a level of uncertainty for homeowners, which will impact buying and selling confidence as well as continuing to drive the huge demand for home improvements.”

 

Founded in 2014 by Cem Savas and Emre Kazan, Plentific is a fast-growing home improvement marketplace designed to connect homeowners with local tradesmen and professionals.

The research was carried out by Opinium via an online survey of 1,063 UK homeowners aged 18+.