Tag Archives: Outdoor living

How to… make a raised garden bed


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


Heavy duty staple gun or handful of nails


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!



Paving the way for bank holiday style


It’s the early spring bank holiday, and time to head into the great outdoors! Many of us will be making the most of the long weekend by getting into the garden and sprucing up lawns and borders neglected through the winter. And if you want to go a step further and transform your outdoor space, help is at hand!

DIY Advice Online has these stylish tips to get you started if you’re thinking of a spot of May day garden DIY:

The green, green grass

Artificial grass is becoming more and more popular, especially for small areas that don’t warrant the expense of a lawnmower and damp or shady gardens where grass doesn’t grow well. Previously, synthetic turf could stand out in an elegant garden for all the wrong reasons, but it’s undergone something of an evolution and now looks realistic and attractive if properly lain.

Installing an artificial lawn is not an easy job, requiring digging to at least 10cm below grass level, adding aggregate and a weed-proof membrane and using fittings and bonding to fix the grass in place. But it’s an ideal option if you like low-maintenance or want to stop pets digging up your garden, and good quality synthetic grass can last up to 20 years.

Don’t go crazy, paving

outside-lightingThinking of laying a patio? Paved and decked outside areas remain on trend, adding value to a property and providing a great place to relax with family and friends. Natural stone, or flagstone, patios are as popular as ever, especially in the gardens of older properties where reclaimed stone can enhance a traditional look.

Wooden decking is stylish when well maintained, although it can be treacherous when wet and can take a lot of hard work to keep in tip-top condition. An alternative is porcelain tiles, like these from terrace and patio paving experts SACW Paving. They look just like wood, decking and stone but don’t need the same upkeep, are frost-proof and fade resistant. They give a long-lasting finish that looks great for years, won’t rot and are slip-resistant, making them ideal for busy family gardens where children run in and out of the house all day long!

In the limelight

outdoor-lightingPut your garden under the spotlight – literally – with fabulous outdoor lighting. Twinkling fairy lights can transform an outdoor space for lazy summer evenings, whilst installing outside wall lights and lanterns can light up barbecue and seating areas, as well as add extra security.

For older-style properties, think about installing antique or Arthurian lamps in brass, pewter or black. If you have a contemporary home, there are some fabulously stylish stainless steel outdoor lights and grey and brown LEDs on the market, helping your garden go truly glam!

Main photo: Boardwalk Oak by SACW Paving

Inset 1: Ayrton Almond by SACW Paving

Inset 2: Philips myGarden Riverbank by Socket Store