Gardening Advice

  • Installing a raised bed in autumn and winter

    We’re not suggesting you go out into the garden on a freezing cold day and build a WoodBlocX raised bed...however, if you are planning on getting one in place ahead of the growing season then now is a good time to start planning in order to plant out seedlings or sow directly into the soil.

    WoodBlocX timber raised beds are ideal for growing your own fruit and vegetables, they can be built to a height to suit you perfectly making tending, planting, weeding, watering, pest control and fertilising much more accessible, not only are they all of those things, but they also warm up quicker when the temperature changes compared to open ground, and they are a fantastic pest or dog deterrent!

    Raised beds aren’t just the staple of veg growers, they are also brilliant for growing shrubs and ornamentals too, either to create a stand out section in the garden or, if you fancy yourself as the next gold award winning Chelsea garden designer, you could try your hand a little bit of experimental planting.

    Plan ahead

    Check the weather, if you can see there’s going to be a good run of weather plan your build around this. WoodBlocX timber raised beds can be built on any surface including directly on top of soil or grass but if the weather has been particularly wet just standing and moving around on the ground can start to make it uneven and boggy so wait for a few days after a wet spell.

    Keep an eye on how much light the area where you plan to install your wooden raised bed gets as this could make a big difference to your growing success if you plan to grow edibles the area doesn’t get a great deal of sunshine you may want to consider moving its position.

    Order your soil, if you don’t already have some soil to fill your raised bed, work out how much you need using this simple sum:  length(m) x width(m) x height(cm), but if you are adding a drainage layer to the bottom subtract the height of the layer from the equation so you don’t over order. and contact your local suppliers and compare quotes.

    Building your structure

    When you receive your WoodBlocX raised bed kit you will also receive a set of instructions that are bespoke to the design that you choose, simply follow the steps and you will have built your raised bed in no time at all.

    If you need any extra help we have read a series of short how-to videos that are designed to answer all possible questions with a visual answer, and as always, if you need to speak to a human being, give us call on 0800 389 1420.

    What can I sow in my WoodBlocX raised bed now?

    February is the month to get started and there is plenty of veg that you can sow directly into the soil including garlic, shallots, board beans, carrot, parsnips, peas, spinach - loose soil is ideal for these crops so fresh bought-in soil used to fill the bed will work perfectly.

    To get an instant price for a raised bed for your garden click here or if you would like something a little bit different and need to discuss your ideas with one of our designers click here to use our free design service.

  • Ideas for small gardens - Raised garden beds and planters

    Small gardens can be tricky spaces to work with and there are lots of raised beds and containers available that have been designed specifically for smaller gardens, however most are either made from plastic, poor quality materials or come highly treated with chemical preservatives.

    Our raised beds and planters are long-lasting, each is guaranteed for 15 years thanks to the high quality wood we use and our water-based preservative which won't leach harmful chemicals into your soil, the structures easy to build, look fantastic and are ideal for gardens of all shapes and sizes, even the smallest of plots. Take a look at how some of our customers have used our modular timber system to transform their gardens.

    Multifunctional

    Tall planting

    Get creative with the space you have available and think about ways you can incorporate different elements into the space. This bench is nestled within a raised bed providing a space to grow plants and herbs and place to sit and relax without taking up too much room. This design could also be adapted to include a small pond, or if your plot is on a hill switch the bench for steps.

    Tall planters create the illusion of space, due to their height they free up floor space. Plus if you keep with width to a minimum, like the example above, you can still add colour and interest to small space, plus planting, weeding and watering is super simple thanks to the accessible height. WoodBlocX structures can be painted too if your plot is in need of a splash of colour.

    Corners

    Small section

    Our modular system can help you to make the most of corners, choose from standard single-height raised beds or add some tiers and cascading plants to really add some interest to your garden. Corner raised beds take up less space too. Equally, if you small garden is angular use our free bespoke design service to get a shape that suits to the space perfectly.

    By taking a small section of space from one side of the garden can really make a difference and won't impact too much on the entire space you have available. Installing a raised bed from one side of the garden to the other provides a large growing space without encroaching into rest of the garden, it makes a really nice feature too. Place your raised bed in front of a fence, wall or along the side of the house.

    Our top three WoodBlocX planters for small gardens

    A contemporary and stylish feature for your patio or decking, the Small Cubic Garden Planter is an ideal way to introduce a touch of nature into your living space. This smaller design is suitable to showcase a variety of small shrubs, heathers and even some hostas who enjoy more shaded areas.

    With its modest design the Slender Garden Planter is ideal for more narrow spaces or fence lines and provides a sleek foundation for a trellis feature for climbing plants.

    Unlike a square or rectangular shaped planter the Hexagonal Garden Planter offers a modern alternative design that can feature as a centrepiece in your garden. This multi-sided design can also prove as an effective shape to fit into less conventional shaped garden spaces.

    Free bespoke design service

    Use our free bespoke design service to ensure your raised bed fits the space perfectly, we can also take into account any slopes. Just send us your measurements and we'll do the calculations for you, to find out more about the service click here.

  • WoodBlocX Planters

    Our maintenance-free wooden planters are ideal for patios, driveways and balconies, made from high quality Scots pine, which is treated with a water-based preservative to make them hardwearing and long lasting.

    If you’re looking to reduce the amount of plastic products you use in the garden a WoodBlocX planter is an excellent choice and it will look great surrounded by terracotta pots too. Here’s six reasons to choose a WoodBlocX planter for your next container purchase.

    Make a statement

    Doorways flanked with planters either side make for an inviting entrance, twisted bay trees, fragrant lavender bushes or shaped buxus. Our Large Planters are ideal for making a statement at the front and rear of the house or at the base of steps and in front of gates.

    Small spaces

    Our planters are available in range of shapes and sizes, they are ideal for gardens of all sizes. The square Small and Large garden planters are popular options for smaller gardens, patios and balconies, whilst the Slender Planter can run along a wall or be used to divide a space.

    Versatile

    WoodBlocX planters are really quick to build thanks to our unique modular system, the lightweight wooden blocks and the simple dowel system means that planters can be built really quickly, in less than an hour in some cases. The lightweight pieces make our planters idea for use on balconies as parts can be easily carried up stairs.

    Indoor and outdoor planting

    Our Small Garden Planters are not restricted to just being outdoors either, conservatories, garden, sun rooms even hallways and kitchens to bring natural planting indoors. Use as a pot for indoor plants such as yuccas, cheese plants, or for olive trees that can be placed outside during the warmer weather and brought indoors when the temperature drops.

    Traditional and modern finishes

    Tailor your planter to your garden style with a choice of capping options, the traditional capping overhangs the planter lightly and is our bestseller. The modern option finishes flush with the rest of the structure providing a more minimalist finish; our Contemporary Planter Bench is a great example of our flush capping.

    Colour

    WoodBlocX planters can be customised with colour, choose a paint colour to brighten up your outdoor space or simply plant them up with plants that provide colour through the seasons, add cascading varieties to really utilise the space.

    Customer photos

    We offer a free bespoke design service to all of our customers so if you need to tweak your planter design slightly to suit you and your garden simply call or email us ad we will be happy to help.

  • Natural gardening - Pest Control

    One of the most important garden trends of 2019 is natural gardening, to create a completely natural garden takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, but there are small changes you can make to help you become a little greener in your garden in 2019. We’re looking at pest control and some of the natural ways you keep them under control without reaching for the chemicals and if you do make sure you choose a good alternative that has good environmental credentials.

    Ponds and water features

    Ponds are magnets for attracting wildlife to the garden, especially the type that will eat some of your unwanted garden pests including birds and frogs. You could also install a birdbath or feeder to encourage more birds or a low-level bowl of water for hedgehogs to drink from. A WoodBlocX timber pond is not only made from natural and sustainable wood that is treated with a water-based preservative, but they can also include an extra inner-layer for planting, flowers or herbs around the edges to make the pond even more of a magnet for wildlife. To view our range or to get an instant price for a pond using your own bespoke sizes click here.

    Crop protection

    Pests will always find a way to get to your plants but crop protectors are a fantastic preventative measure for lots of different pests. If you’re growing vegetables caterpillars can be a big problem, butterflies tend to lay their eggs between March and April and good mesh will keep them from laying eggs on the leaves of plants in your vegetable patch, it will also stop slugs and snails slithering in, it will stop the birds from pecking at your freshly sprouted seedlings and keep the cats from digging up your nicely weeded, freshly dug soil. WoodBlocX crop protectors are easy to use and look great, simply stake them into the soil and add netting to keep the pests at bay.

    Raised beds

    If you have a rabbit problem in your garden and want to grow edibles you need a wooden raised bed, the extra height will prevent them from snacking on your produce. Slugs and snails will always manage to get to your plants but if they have further to travel up a raised bed you have more chances to catch them! Our raised bed calculator tools will indicate whether or not the structure is tall enough to keep rabbits out and it will also give you an instant price for a wooden raised bed built to your size requirements. In addition to specifying your own sizes, you can also use our free design service or browse the different shapes and sizes.

    For a chance to win some great prizes including some alternative pest control products plus a battery powered multi-tool for the garden enter our Garden Detox competition.

  • Our guide to Retaining Walls

    Our guide to Retaining Walls

    If all gardens were flat they would be very boring! That’s not to say a flat garden is boring, but many of us have gardens with challenging terrains, slopes and sheer drops to contend with.

    This is where garden retaining walls come into play, and there are many benefits of retaining walls; from simply serving the purpose of retaining an area of earth or to landscape a garden creating flat platforms and interesting focal points.

    There are already many styles of retaining walls in the UK so there are lots of different options you can go for. Our modular system has proved very popular with customers looking for an alternative to brick, stone, gabions and railway sleeper retaining walls. Below we’ve provided a rundown of the materials you can use to build retaining walls in your garden and how the WoodBlocX™ retaining wall stacks up against them.

    Brick and Stone

    Brick and stone retaining walls are a common choice, but these materials can prove very expensive and need regular maintenance. You will need to include foundations to build on to create a stable structure. To build it yourself would really be a challenge, you need to ensure the bricks are laid straight and level and the mortar mix is correct. If you’re not experienced in bricklaying it is best to enlist the help of a skilled tradesperson. This can be costly and is another added expense you wouldn't get with a DIY product.

    Gabions

    Gabion retaining walls are made using gabion baskets and cages. They provide a more industrial look and are generally used for retaining earth where water is close by and for extremely high retaining walls. No foundations are needed with gabions, but you will need some heavy individual stones to fill the baskets which can be very hard if you are building by yourself.

    Railway Sleepers

    Railway sleeper retaining walls are popular and single lengths of railway sleepers can be used to build a wood retaining wall for the garden; but the individual pieces can be very large and heavy. To secure the lengths in place you will need reinforcing bars and a large drill bit to create the holes for the bars. The old treated sleepers contain harmful chemicals too, which can have an unpleasant odour and leach into the soil. New untreated versions are available, but they will become susceptible to rot after only a few years.

    WoodBlocX

    WoodBlocX™ supplies wooden/timber retaining walls for the garden. The quick-to-build retaining walls offer a fantastic alternative to brick, stone, gabion and railway sleepers.

    Our retaining walls are the natural and beautiful choice for landscaping your garden, and with everything you need supplied directly to your door there’s no need for foundations or substantial groundworks to build the walls. The BlocX™ themselves are light and easy to handle and building requires no heavy lifting. WoodBlocX™ use wood from sustainable sources and we only use a water-based preservative. You can rest assured that your new easy to build retaining wall is eco-friendly, and suitable for organic growing too.

    WoodBlocX™ can help you with your next project with our free design service; either speak to our team of designers who will work with you to create something that is totally bespoke to your garden or use our new retaining wall calculator which will give you an instant price for the size of retaining wall that you need. We provide a full retaining wall building design guide and general instructions with all purchases.

    For retaining wall ideas and design guides and to see how to build a garden retaining wall using WoodBlocX™, simply head over to the retaining wall section on the website or speak to one of our friendly customer service team on 0800 389 1420 if you have any questions. 

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    For more helpful garden tips and inspiration check out our blog page, and to find out more about our timber raised beds, planters, walls, garden furniture, ponds and more all made in Great Britain, head to our home page.

  • Detox your garden in 2019

    January is the perfect time to make plans and simple changes that you will see the benefits of in the months to come, we’re not talking about the usual New Year fads of diets and exercise, not on this blog! We’re talking about detoxing your garden to create a healthier environment for relaxing and growing plants and veg.

    Swap petrol to electric

    Whilst petrol products including lawnmowers, strimmers and hedge trimmers are known to get the job done quicker and provide extra power, they’re heavy, smelly, noisy and need a lot of maintenance. There are some great battery and electric options available some that even offer the same power as petrol and are well worth researching next time you need to buy one.

    Switch plastic for terracotta and wood

    If you’ve got a lot of plastic plant pots in your garden slowly start swapping them for alternative options such as terracotta or wooden planters, pots and containers made from these materials are more expensive than the plastic versions so keep your eyes peeled for garden centre sales, where you could snap up some bargains...make sure you recycle the plastic pots where possible.

    Use fewer chemicals

    There will always be pests in the garden, so to reduce the use of your bug killer spray or treatment create little habitats for beneficial wildlife such as bug houses, they’re fun to make yourself or you can buy them. The more beneficial creatures that you can encourage to your garden the more aphids, white fly and black fly will get eaten! If you need to use a bug killer choose one that is neonicotinoid free which is better for bees.

    Beds and borders

    Using railway sleepers for raised beds can be detrimental to the health of your garden, they tend to be treated with chemicals that can leach into the soil, which isn't ideal if you're growing fruit and vegetables. Flimsy wooden boards will rot quickly and need to be replaced regularly. WoodBlocX raised beds are not treated with any nasty chemicals nor will they need any treatments or maintenance to keep them looking good, they offer a longlasting planting solution made from sustainable materials.

    Compost

    Save money on bags of compost and start making your own, this isn’t a quick fix though, if you start recycling your vegetable peelings, tea bags, egg boxes, newspapers and garden waste now into a small compost heap you may be able to start using it within six months to a year. However, you will reduce the amount of waste you throw away and by putting it back into the garden you will provide some great nutrients for the soil.

    For more helpful garden tips and inspiration check out our blog page and to find out more about our timber raised beds, planters, walls, garden furniture, ponds and more made in Great Britain head to our home page

  • Protecting crops over winter

    There has certainly been a change in the weather over the past few weeks with most of the UK already experiencing some overnight frost.

    Whilst the heating will be on inside to keep you and your family warm some plants in the garden can benefit from some extra protection too. If you’ve worked hard in the garden this year or if you would like to carry on growing edibles over winter then you need to think about crop protection options.

    Lift

    Protecting plants grown in containers is really simple; if the pots are light enough to pick up and carry they can be moved to a sheltered spot in the garden or placed inside a greenhouse. Plants such as dahlias should be lifted to protect them from the effects of the winter weather and stored in a dormant state in a greenhouse or shed. Other varieties that can benefit from lifting include pelargoniums, geraniums, begonias, gladioli and cannas.

    Mulch

    Spreading a good mulch around sensitive perennials will provide insulation and protect their sensitive root systems, a hardwood mulch is the best option, scatter it in borders and raised beds, building up a good protective layer, you could also use compost or straw. Don't wait until it is too cold to apply your mulch, add it whilst the soil is still moist and slightly warmer.

    Protect

    Larger containers and timber raised beds can be protected from the wind, rain and frost by ‘overwintering’. Simply wrap a protective cover around the structure, different materials can be used from hessian to fleece, your local garden centre will stock a good selection and will be able to advise which is best for the plants you need to protect.

    You can protect your crops all year round with WoodBlocX Crop Protectors. These attractive, rustic and functional rods enable to keep pests such at bay in the spring and summer with a covering of netting or to fix winter fleece or hessian protection too.

    Grow

    There are still crops that can be grown outside now in wooden raised beds, containers or open ground including onions, peas, broad beans and garlic. If you’re keen to get growing this winter check out our range of easy to build and hardwearing raised beds. Choose from all shapes and sizes to suit your garden.

  • Autumn garden updates

    With the hot summer days making way for the cooler autumnal weather, September and October are great months for making the changes in the garden that you didn’t get round to doing in the spring and summer. Here are few tips from us to get you started...

    Tidy up

    Lots of plants fell victim to the hot dry weather in June and July whilst others will have flourished, by now the garden will have lost its bright and fresh glow and be looking a little be bedraggled. Arm yourself with a good pair of secateurs and set to work cutting back old growth of spent plants and flowers, remove any dead plants, cut back rapid-growing herbs such as oregano and mint, hard prune roses and weed beds and borders. Lawns will have begun to spring back to life now, mow them and tidy up bushy and overgrown edges. 

    Update at your own pace

    Now that the BBQ and alfresco dining season is well and truly over it's a great time to think about making updates to the garden. There’s less pressure than in spring or summer to have the garden ready for a certain time so you can move at your own pace, however fast or slow that may be.

    If you’re looking at starting a complete garden redesign our design team can help you by creating a WoodBlocX design that is totally bespoke to your garden free of charge. Simply call, 
    email or fill in the quick design survey and we will do the rest for you. Our versatile system can be used to create fully integrated gardens that include planters steps, raised beds and retaining walls, the can be built by you saving £££s on labour costs. If you a complete garden redesign is out of the question check out our 'Transform your garden in a weekend' blog.

    Maintenance 

    Painting sheds and fences, cleaning greenhouse glass, trimming bushes, replacing rotten raised beds and repairing patios are all jobs that cannot wait until next spring. Make a list of the jobs you need to do in your garden and tackle them starting with the most important. Keep your eyes peeled for special offers of paints and materials at DIY stores and garden centres. For rotten raised beds made from wooden boards or railway sleepers consider upgrading to a hardwearing and long-lasting WoodBlocX timber raised bed, no annual maintenance is needed as the wood is pressure treated making it super durable.

    For ideas and inspiration for your next garden update visit our website.

  • Accessible gardening

    Gardens can present a multitude of problems for people with mobility issues, uneven surfaces, low-level planting and narrow pathways can make getting out and enjoying the garden impossible for some. However, by making a few simple updates and creating a low-maintenance space can make the world of difference.

    Uneven surfaces and paths

    Flat, smooth and debris-free surfaces are a must for anyone with mobility issues, an uneven surface can increase the risk of falls, paved/hard landscaped areas are ideal as grass, mud and gravel surfaces can become dangerous after a spell of wet weather.

    Ensure fallen leaves and other garden debris is cleared on a regular basis. Pathways need to be wide enough to suit the user.

    Planting

    Anyone with back pain will know that ground or low level planting is difficult, kneeling and bending to tend and weed the areas can cause more pain. Consider lifting planted areas by installing raised beds. Our hardwearing timber beds can be built to a height to suit you, each structure is hardwearing and sturdy enough to lean or sit on. If mobility is preventing you from venturing right out into the garden, consider installing smaller raised planters close to the house. Read about our recommendations for raised bed heights here.

    Seating

    Seating in one form or another is an essential part of any garden, creating an area to sit and enjoy the garden or to take a break from gardening. The positioning of garden furniture is key and of course it needs to be easy to access, if you prefer a sunny spot make sure you note where the sun falls at the time of day that you are most likely to use the space. Our timber garden benches and seating can be incorporated into a raised bed design or installed separately.

    Storage and watering

    Some sport of storage is a must for all gardens, some traditional sheds can be narrow and difficult to access for storing garden tools, watering cans, hose pipes and other garden essentials, a good option for anyone needing easy access is a lean-to shed that sits directly on the patio with wide double doors which can be opened up taking away the need to step inside.

    For larger gardens a good irrigation system for the dryer months will not only save lugging a watering can around the garden, it will also save a lot of time too and ideal for dry summer weather.

    Check out our accessibility page and the raised bed kits that we recommend

  • Healthy Gardening

    To celebrate the Soil Association’s Organic September, we’ve put some tips together for ‘healthy gardening’. Maintaining a garden is hard work and it can be easy to reach for the chemicals to control weeds and pests as a quick and convenient fix, but there some quick switches you can make to work towards creating a healthier garden...

    The growing space

    Many gardeners opt to grow plants and veg in wooden raised beds either at low level to clearly divide a space up or to add extra height, making the area more accessible. Railway sleepers are a popular choice but many are chemically treated and over time the chemicals can leach into the soil. WoodBlocX raised beds use sustainable wood that is pressure treated without chemicals making them a great clean option. 

    Control products

    There are lots of products available that offer alternatives to harsh chemicals, look for products in garden centres and retailers that show either the Soil Association or Organic Farmers & Growers logos, these products will include kinder alternative ingredients and generally work just as well as the chemical versions.

    Weeding - If you’re lucky enough to not have too many weeds to deal with they can be controlled by hand, but it can be a thankless task so it's always good to have a treatment to hand. There has been lots of debate about the use of glyphosate in weedkillers recently due and its potentially harmful effects on our health, most weedkillers will clearly state on the bottle whether they are glyphosate-free, look for the products that feature natural active ingredients.

    Pest control - Encourage natural pest control in your garden, make a bug hotel to attract beneficial insects which will feed on other insect pests. The tiny gaps between the blocks in our raised beds are also great hiding places for beneficial bugs. Birds and hedgehogs are great pest controllers, install feeders and baths for birds and make sure hedgehogs can get in and out of the garden. Chickens are also a good option but they can scratch and peck away at the plants and veg you've grown! If you do need some extra help in the form of a bug killer spray or concentrate look for neonicotinoid-free treatment, neonicotinoids are used in pest control and are harmful to bees.

    Feeding - There are lots of organic solid and liquid fertilisers available or you can make your own compost, whilst this won’t be fully organic it is a great way to utilise kitchen waste and is much more sustainable than using shop-bought compost.

    For made to measure raised beds for growing plants and edibles, made from clean and sustainable timber, head over to the website.

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