Gardening Advice

  • 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.

  • Five summer holiday garden activities

    The school summer holidays are here and anyone with children or grandchildren will welcome ideas to keep them entertained without spending a small fortune.

    We’ve put together five ideas that will keep youngsters entertained and help them to learn about plants, insects and gardening.

    Build an insect house

    Insect houses can be built out of lots of different materials that are either lying about in the garden or can be easily foraged. Raid the shed or garage for some spare pallet wood and/or a few bricks. You can also collect pine cones, bark and branches from the local park or woodland areas. The RSPB has a great step-by-step guide to follow - here.

    Collect seeds

    August is a great time for collecting seeds from plants around the garden. This activity can be made even more interactive by getting the kids to make seed packs using paper, sticky tape and scissors. Once the packets are ready, send the kids out into the garden to search for seeds, encourage them to draw the plant the seeds came from on the packet.

    Own patch

    Set aside an area of the garden that the kids can call their own. Get them to either work directly in the ground or within a raised bed, and encourage them to weed the area and prepare the soil ready for planting. Veggies including broad beans, spinach, onions and spring onions can be sown in August.

    Build a WoodBlocX raised bed

    This is a WoodBlocX blog after all! Our wooden raised bed kits are ideal for building with kids, there’s no sharp tools or heavy lifting needed, just a little adult supervision. From preparing the ground to laying out the base layer, youngsters love building our timber structures and get a real sense of achievement out of it…and so do the adults!

    Insect spotting

    The garden is full of life at this time of year, with butterflies, grasshoppers, ants, garden spiders, bees, ladybirds and more going about their business. Encourage the kids to search them out and write a list of the different varieties they find and draw pictures of their favourites.

     

    For inspiration for your summer holiday garden project and to see how simple it is to build with WoodBlocX click below.

  • The benefits of using WoodBlocX for retaining walls

    Our modular system is ideal for building retaining walls, making it a great alternative to bricks, stone and railway sleepers. Here we explain why…  

    Why use WoodBlocX for retaining walls?

    Whether your garden is sloping or hilly, landscaping areas using WoodBlocX is cost effective and the finished article is safe, sturdy, durable and looks natural and beautiful. Made from pressure treated British wood, our retaining walls will not rot or distort. Plus, if you’re using the earth behind the wall for growing you can be assured that the wood will not leach nasty chemicals like those used to treat railway sleepers.

    How much can they retain?

    WoodBlocX structures are joined with a series of dowels to create a rigid structure. Each dowel can withstand a tension force of up to 0.9 tonnes.

    A single WoodBlocX timber retaining wall can retain earth up to one metre (approx. 3”). For customers that require higher walls we recommend using a terrace design, which looks great and creates additional planting areas.

    How to make more out of your WoodBlocX retaining wall

    We pride ourselves on offering a versatile system that adapts perfectly to your garden. A WoodBlocX retaining wall never has to be just a retaining wall! We can seamlessly integrate steps, seating and planting areas into the design.

    Cost saving

    Our customers find building our structures straightforward and enjoyable and a WoodBlocX timber retaining wall is no exception. All of our kits can be built in the same way and we provide step-by-step instructions to guide you through.
     

    Many of our retaining wall customers have told us that by using our system and building it themselves they have saved a considerable amount of money. Check out Ryan’s story; he originally asked a building company for a quote to build his terraced walls. The cost was way too high, but thankfully he found us! Click here to read the case study.

  • Transform your garden in a weekend

    With so many distractions in our lives these days, time is one thing we all wish we had a little more of. At WoodBlocX our aim is to help you save time, so you’ve got more of it to spend doing the things you love. We make ordering, delivering and building our products as quick and simple as possible; but it's not all rushing about. Our customers tell us that building with WoodBlocX is actually enjoyable, with many completing their projects in just one weekend.
     
    Here’s four simple steps to transforming your garden quickly:

    Let us do the thinking

    We offer all of our customers a free design service. We take away the head-scratching - all we need is a few minutes of your time to tell us your measurements, what kind of structure you’re looking for and a quick overview of what style you’re looking for and our experienced design team will do the rest.

     

    Simple ordering

    Once we’ve made any changes to your design and you’re ready to order we'll send you a link to purchase it you simply need to select a day for delivery that suits you. You'll be kept up to date via email on the status of your order.

    Delivery

    Your order will be delivered to you on a pallet and will contain a set of simple-to-follow instructions that have been tailored to the design of the structure. If you need to move your kit to a different area in the garden the pieces are light-weight making them quick and easy to move.

     

    The build

    Many of our structures can be built and planted out in as little as a day or in a weekend. Simply prepare the ground and lay out the base layer of your structure. Whether it’s a raised bed, retaining wall or pond the process is the same. Once the base layer is in place and you’re happy with the positioning, simply build the structure up according to the instructions. Once you’ve reached the top just add the capping and your structure is complete… it is that simple!
    Watch our How To Build video to see for yourself!

    Fill the bed with quality soil and start planning out which plants or veg to grow and once its complete sit back and admire your work and enjoy the compliments from friends and family!

  • Plan your dream garden this spring bank holiday

    The weather has been spot-on recently and for most of the UK the upcoming Spring Bank Holiday weekend is looking sunny and warm.

     

    If the coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has got your creative-garden-juices flowing and if you, like many others, prefer to dodge the crowds during the bank holiday and stay at home to get vital jobs around the house and garden underway then we have some ideas to get your creative-garden-juices flowing.

    Below you will find ideas and inspiration for all different garden sizes based on our customer designs. Most have used our FREE DESIGN SERVICE to ensure they make the most of their space and get exactly what they need, others either pick a pre-determined size to suit them from the kits available on our website or used our handy calculator tool.

     

    Ideas for small gardens

    A small garden, patio area or even a front garden can be transformed in less than a day thanks to our simple and versatile system. Incorporate raised beds, retaining walls and steps to transform a small space into an easy-to-maintain and functional space. Or upgrade plastic planters to WoodBlocX for longevity and style.

    Fill your new raised bed with simple planting, sticking to a colour scheme and mixing it up with ornamentals and herbs.

    Ideas for medium sized gardens

    A slightly bigger space gives you more options; you can create a separate area for growing your own vegetables, fruits and cut flowers in easy access raised beds built to a height to suit you.

    Or you can create something totally bespoke that fits your garden and your needs perfectly, whether it’s a combination of planters, retaining walls, steps and curbing. Use our free design service and we’ll help you get the best from your space.

    Ideas for large gardens

    Whether your garden is fully established and you’re looking to update a tired area or if you have enough space to create different areas of interest, consider creating different areas for entertaining, growing and relaxing. This will make updating the space much simpler and you can tackle it in smaller and more manageable sections.

    A large corner area can be utilised for planting and seating and the introduction of angles and curves can completely change the dynamics of the garden, create beautiful large planters, or make smaller changes here and there to upgrade and update certain areas.

    For more ideas and inspiration browse the different product sections on our website: raised beds, walls and steps, ponds, seats

  • Let the RHS Chelsea Flower Show inspire your next garden update

    Let the RHS Chelsea Flower Show inspire your next garden update

    With the RHS Chelsea Flower show opening its doors to the public next week, we wanted to give our blog readers some Chelsea-inspired garden ideas.

     

    Over the years we have created our own exhibitions and contributed to many others. We’ve had the pleasure of working with RHS award-winning garden designers, including RHS Young Designer of the Year, Caitlin McLaughlin. Her design for Hillier won them a Gold Medal.

    Young Designer of the Year Caitlin McLaughlin

    Here are some of Caitlin’s top tips for designing your dream garden:

    • First off, create a realistic checklist – what elements do you want to include in your garden –planting, lawns, seating, storage, pathways etc?
    • Work with the space you’ve gotwhether it’s sloping or flat, you can create a garden that works in harmony with the terrain.
    • Don’t over complicate it – if you do, you risk the project getting out of hand and spiralling budgets – make it simple and usable. 
    • Research about the plants that work with the light you have available– is the space shady or does it get full sun for most of the day? Choose your planting to make the most of the conditions. Using a guide like this from the RHS can help you get up to speed quickly - https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants 
    • Use raised areas to improve the quality of your soil, create eye-catching height levels and make for easy access gardening.

    To see more from Caitlin watch this short video.

    Inspiration for small gardens: 40 Sunbury Road, Chelsea 2017

    Last year we supplied our raised beds for an award-winning garden called 40 Sunbury Road. The garden showcased a typical sized UK plot with the aim of demonstrating that even a small garden can be filled with lots of interesting features whilst maintaining functionality.

    We installed a stepped planter, positioned at the end of the small lawn in front of the shed and filled it with easy to grow vegetables.

    The garden also featured a greenhouse, living roof and wall, pergola (ideal for growing creepers) plus loads of simple, manageable and beautiful planting.

    Our RHS Chelsea’s of the past

    Check out some of our Chelsea exhibits from years gone by with plantings by a garden designer with more than 60 RHS Gold Medals to her name, Jekka McVicar. We kept the designs simple to showcase to visitors how WoodBlocX can be used to transform spaces large and small. We’ve even thrown in a WoodBlocX elephant for good measure!

  • Sowing season is here

    Now that the cold snap behind us and spring is on its way (we hope!), its time to start looking ahead to the growing season.

    March is the month to make a start on sowing seeds, if it is mild enough where you are you can get to work sowing certain veg directly into the soil including carrots, radish, broad beans, parsnip, beetroot, peas, leeks and many more.

    Remember that the soil in a raised bed warms up much quicker than open ground, making them ideal for early sowing.

    For the seeds such as tomato, basil, peppers and lettuce that need a little more warmth than a raised bed can offer sow in pots either in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill.

    Now that the cold snap is behind us and spring is on its way (we hope!), it’s time to start looking ahead to the growing season.

    March/April are the months to make a start on sowing seeds, if it is mild enough where you are you can get to work sowing certain veg directly into the soil including carrots, radish, broad beans, parsnip, beetroot, peas, leeks and others.

    Remember that the soil in a raised bed warms up much quicker than open ground, making them ideal for early sowing.

    For the seeds such as tomato, basil, peppers and lettuce that need a little more warmth than a raised bed can offer, sow in pots either in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill.

    Our latest competition aims to get the growing season for 500 people off to a flying start. We have selected five varieties of vegetable and herb seeds from Mr Fothergills, all of which can be sown from March onwards. So, if you’re new to growing your own food these starter packs are perfect for you.

    We’ve got 500 packs of five to give away worth £9.49 and to enter all you need to is click here, plus if you share the competition far and wide you will receive more entries, which means there are more chances to win!

    Carrots Nantes 5
    A Mr Fothergill’s Best Buy, this is a delicious early variety of carrots, the blunt ended roots have outstanding flavour, matures in 12 weeks.

    Lettuce Salad Bowl
    The lettuce that keeps on giving, pick the leaves as needed and this variety will crop all summer long.

    Radish French Breakfast
    One of the easiest growing vegetables, these radishes have a mild and crisp flavour and can be harvested from April – October.

    Tomato Maskotka
    The best way to grow Britain’s favourite summer vegetable is in containers, this bushy plant will give you plenty of sweet cherry tomatoes from July – October.

    Add a taste of the Mediterranean to your cooking using your home-grown basil, sow indoors from March – May or outdoors from May – June.

  • Five tips for updating your garden this spring

    Successfully updating your garden is all in the planning and February is the ideal month to lay down plans in readiness for spring. we've put a quick guide together to get you started...

    Time
    Realistically how much time can you put into your garden? Spring, summer and autumn are the busiest times, early spring is the time to start working on updates to the garden and getting planting in place, from late spring through to summer everything grows in abundance from plants, to veg and weeds to the lawn so consider the time all of this will take and plan your updates around this. For those short on time choose products that will make your life easier, such as easy access raised beds, automatic watering systems and low maintenance plants.

    Budget
    Put a budget aside specifically for the garden, spending a little here and a little there soon adds up. If you’re working to a small budget utilise YouTube for DIY videos and speak to friends and family, some may have a stack of old pots, which can be upcycled or abundance of plants that you could take cuttings from or separate into new plants. When researching products for your garden check for quality and longevity and for free help when it comes to designing structures, such as our free design service.

    Space
    Sketch out the space the space you have available in your garden and the different elements you would like to include, set up a pinterest board and start searching for layout ideas and the different features you would like to include such as garden seating, raised beds, paths and patio areas, colour schemes, water features, pots and containers, veg patches, decking, fencing and maybe even some garden art!

    Positioning
    Do you want somewhere to sit on a warm summer morning and enjoy a coffee or somewhere to relax in the evenings after a long day? If so take note of the direction and the timing of the sun on your garden, this way you won't end up with a seating area that spends most of the day in the shade! This is also great knowledge to have when selecting plants for different areas, and vegetable growing.

    Plants and colour
    If you are planning a colour scheme stick for your garden to a certain number of the same plant, that way you will have some consistency to the planting. Do some research before taking a trip to the garden centre to work out which plants you prefer, whether you’re looking for plants that offer height or thrive well in shady conditions, climbers or plants that will compliment the changing seasons.

    For ideas and inspiration for your next garden project visit our website or contact us directly we'd love to help

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