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Making A New, Bigger & Better Wildlife Pond

Year Of The Garden - Update

In 2015 we decided to make a wildlife pond in the back garden. I loved it from the start and was so excited when we got our first clump of frog spawn!

I can’t remember when we started to have problems with it but a few years in and it seemed to be losing water. It would go quite low and we’d have to top it up with water from the rain barrel.

I loved it, though, especially when it looked this:

Pond, stream and rockery

Cheap Pond Liner

We put the water loss problem down to having bought a cheap pond liner and decided it needed to be fixed using a better quality liner.
However, we kept putting it off for numerous reasons, but mainly because we didn’t want to disturb the pond while there were clumps of frogspawn or tadpoles or frogs in there.

This doesn’t leave much of the year to do it, though, and this year Ant decided he was just going to get on and make a bigger and better wildlife pond.

old pond

Bushes, Plants & Trees

He had to cut our mock orange bush back first as it was growing out over the pond.
He also had to dig up and put the heather plants in pots and dig up and move the weeping willow tree.

We didn’t think things through when we planted the tiny weeping willow tree that we picked up on impulse at Asda one day.

When it grew and was full of leaves every Summer, it was the first and only thing you could really see through the patio doors in the living room! It blocked the view of the rest of the garden.

In summer the branches are down to the floor and thickly covered in leaves

Bigger & Better Wildlife Pond

He ordered a Butyl Rubber pond liner and a good quality underlay then proceeded to empty the pond.

He emptied the water into some containers, removed the old liner and started digging the new pond.


There were quite a few frogs in the pond when he was emptying it. He said it made him feel rushed and like he had to get the job done asap because of them. However, the next day he saw some of them had gone into the water containers and seemed happy enough so he placed logs and things in and around the containers so they could get in and out and now he feels better and less rushed!

The garden looks like a building site but at least it now looks like we’re working on it and not just leaving it to grow wild!

Japanese Garden

Last week I wrote about wanting a Japanese Garden but this week, I think I’ve changed my mind!
I don’t exactly know what I want yet but I’ll be spending lots of time on Pinterest looking for ideas 🙂

Planning A Japanese Garden for 2021

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve written that the garden will definitely be done each time a new year rolls around!
It’s a big garden and for the most part, it was left to its own devices due to a number of reasons, which I won’t go into now as they’re all on previous gardening posts!
Yesterday I was watching Season 3 of Cobra Kai and admiring the Japanese garden at Mr Miyagi’s house when I suddenly realised that this was the style of garden I wanted.

Japanese style garden

Japanese Garden

Much time was then spent Googling, Pinteresting and You-Tubing in an effort to find inspiration for our own garden.
The trouble is, I’m not a garden designer and I’m a bit unsure as to where to start planning.

The designs that have appealed to me the most are ones with lots of rocks, moss and of course, water.

Japanese garden

We have a wildlife pond at the moment that gets full of frogs in the spring and we definitely want to keep the pond, however, we might be moving it further up the garden to give us more patio space.

I’d also like another pond with some kind of water feature that we can put fish in. It doesn’t have to be very good, I just enjoy watching the fish swimming.
We can’t put fish in the wildlife pond because they’ll eat the frogspawn and I love the frogs!


It’s going to be a big job and probably won’t get finished this year but we will certainly get as much done as possible 🙂

The Year Of The Garden – Definitely This Time!

Year Of The Garden - Update

We can’t put it off any longer; the garden is so overgrown, we have a blackberry bush growing in the greenhouse and up through the roof!

blackberry bush growing in the greenhouse and up through the roof
Blackberries growing through the greenhouse roof

Ant and I went outside last week and just decided to make a start there and then. We haven’t really got any long term plans, we’re just working on a bit of the garden at a time, starting with 2 new raised beds.

While I worked on my raised bed, Ant started digging the borders on the other side of the garden that had been taken over by grass. We found a path that everyone had forgotten was there!
It only went down one side and we’re making a corner bed so Ant laid more path in front of the shorter side

We’ve all helped in some way, but Ant has done the lion’s share. We decided to make it out of wood rather than bricks as it’s faster, easier and probably cheaper, although we did have to buy a new saw. I’m not sure what kind it is, I leave those details to Ant but if you need any information about saws, check out Best Saw Club.

Ant’s having the long bed for fruit and the shorter one for herbs. He’s going to be putting a wooden board on the top of the walls so people can also use it as a seat.
We went to the garden centre earlier and bought some raspberry plants to go with the currant bushes and fig plants he planted yesterday.

We’re going to be sorting the lawn out when everything else is done.
Next job is to clear the top of the garden, including evicting the blackberry from the greenhouse!

Rattan Garden Furniture: How to keep it looking great all year round

rattan furniture

Summer and Spring – Alfresco dining is always what we look out for when the season approaches. After the chilly winter months, it’s time to take the garden furniture out from the storage and make it ready to welcome the guests. When the winter approaches again, the task is to store them properly to avoid mould and moth infestation.
What if we could find some ways that meant we could enjoy our garden furniture outdoors all throughout the year? Brooks can help you with some tips and tricks that can keep your rattan garden furniture shining like new, always.

Clean your rattan furniture once every month

When you invest in quality rattan garden furniture, a once in a month cleaning using a mild dishwashing liquid diluted in water is sufficient. Take a soft bristle brush and try to reach the crevices and the grooves for deep cleaning.

It is important to let the garden furniture completely dry after a heavy downpour. Our garden furniture is made not only from quality HDPE rattan but also hand weaved by expert artisans over rustproof aluminium frames for extended longevity and durability. Rattan furniture is a low maintenance proposition but still, a little care from your side ensures that it stays newer for longer.

What to do when there is a stain?

Use a soft damp cloth immediately to scrub off the stain. For little difficult stains, you could use mild detergent and water solution. And when you are not successful, you could always ask for expert advice with the dealer you purchased your garden furniture from. Quality rattan garden furniture comes with a weather proof guarantee. Be sure to check this is offered with your furniture dealer.

Vacuum clean once or twice a year

If you have a brush attachment, it will help you penetrate deeper and loosen any dirt that has accumulated over time. You could even make a solution of a mild bleaching agent and lukewarm water. Take a soft cloth or soft brush and wash off the dirt and then rinse it completely to remove any standing water or detergent residue. The best way is to keep it under direct sunlight.

Rattan garden furniture is a piece of minimal maintenance furniture that stays sturdy and stylish for many more years and with a little more care you could add years to the furniture.

Garden Update – Weeded the Raised Bed

Well, I didn’t manage to do an hour every day last week as I planned to do, I managed to do an hour for 3 of the 7 days.
Last Tuesday while out shopping my knee gave way and I’ve been in pain ever since. I went out Tuesday and did some more to the borders because I was able to sit down and do it but on Wednesday it involved a lot of standing and I was in a lot of pain after the hour so I decided to rest my leg for the rest of the week.
I weeded the raised bed on Wednesday before the pain got too bad, which I was happy about. It’s one of my favourite parts of the garden.
I’m hoping to get out today for an hour because whilst it’s still not 100%, it’s not as painful as it was.

Weeded the Raised Bed

raised bed before weeding
Raised bed before weeding

I love my raised bed and I wasn’t happy to see the weeds trying to take over it!
I didn’t manage to do the border at the front, that’s a job for another day. Maybe today!

weeded the raised bed - raised bed after weeding
Raised bed after weeding
weeding the raised bed - raised bed after weeding
Raised bed after weeding

I was happy to see that one of the plants is flowering. I have no idea what plant it is, but the flowers are pretty 🙂

one of the plants in the raised bed is flowering

I had a visit from a little frog while I was weeding 🙂

little frog

More Border Work

I told Ant I needed to go to B&Q to get more stones for the borders. He informed me that I didn’t actually need to go because last year he’d bought 4 bags of stones for the borders just before he hurt his leg so I didn’t have to spend more money. Not spending money makes him happy!

The borders look much better with more stones on.

Tackled The Water Cress

A few years ago we bought a bag of water cress from tesco but instead of eating it, we chucked it in the pond.

It’s safe to say the blinking stuff took over so last week I pulled it all out and we can now see the water in the pond again!
We’re planning on making the pond bigger later this year because it needs redoing as it keeps losing water and the stream we had isn’t very good now so a complete redesign is needed. Until then we’re just leaving it as it is because there are still lots of tadpoles swimming around 🙂

pond before
This used to be a stream!
pond full of water cress
Water cress that has gone to seed
There is actually a pond beneath the water cress!

Top Of The Garden = Nightmare!

In my previous post I mentioned that the top of the garden is now so overgrown we can’t get up there.

I took this video today to show you the full extent of the nightmare!

You can see the bramble that’s trying to spread down the garden, the huge butterfly bush that I thought I’d killed when we moved house, the greenhouse and the shed behind it, but what you can’t see is the other shed that’s up there!

I think we’re probably going to have to burn all the garden rubbish when we cut it all down, the bramble is going to be especially hard to get rid off if we don’t burn it.

I was planning on starting at the patio end and working my way up the garden but after seeing the top of the garden, I think we need to tackle that first.

Ant wants to remove the two old garden sheds and have one long structure that has different functions.
One option we’ve been looking at is getting an urbanpod. They’re fully insulated and are excellent as a home office, gym, studio or even a children’s playroom.

Wish me luck – I know I’m going to get covered in scratches trying to defeat that bramble!

For more garden posts, click here

July 1st – Garden Update

I’m back with a garden update; it’s only been a year or so since my last one! You may remember that I declared last year as the year of the garden.
I have to be honest and tell you that far from getting the garden the way we wanted it, it got left to its own devices and decided to grow so much bramble, the top of the garden is now unusable!

The lawn needs some serious attention as well. The pool hasn’t helped the state of the grass; we’re going to have to re-seed it when we take the pool down!
If you need expert help with lawn care like I’m probably going to need, check out

There were 2 reasons for not getting anything done; Ant damaged his leg a few days after we made a start on the garden and spent months in pain and I was suffering from terrible migraines that are now, thankfully, under control.

An Hour A Day

I’ve decided to spend 1 hour a day in the garden. It may not sound like much, but I struggle with a bad back and can only just manage about an hour before I have to rest it.

I think 1 hour day, concentrating on one part of the garden at a time will stop the job feeling so overwhelming.
I decided to clear the weeds on the steps and weed one of the borders at the side of the steps.

border full of weeds
Border full of weeds

I planted Dragon’s Blood Sedum last year in the hopes that it would spread and stop the weeds. I think I expected too much of the poor thing!

It is spreading but not as fast as I’d hoped and the weeds and grass were growing in amongst the clusters.
I made it easier for myself to weed the border by sitting on a chair. It still made my back hurt but it wasn’t as bad as if I’d been bending over all that time.

border after weeding
I think by removing all the weeds and grass, the plants will find it easier to grow and spread. Well, that’s what I’m hoping for anyway!

Steps Before And After

I love the steps Ant put in but the weeds and grass growing up the sides was doing my head in!
They look much nicer now 🙂

steps before weeding
Weeds and grass everywhere!
steps after weeding
So much better 🙂

Tomorrow I’m going to tackle the border on the other side and I’ll be back with a garden update next Monday 🙂

For more garden posts, click here

5 Easy To Grow Summer Bedding Plants

It may not feel like it at the moment, but Summer really is on the way. You can tell by the trays and trays of bedding plants outside supermarkets and in garden centres across the country!
I’ve picked 5 of my favourite flowers that are easy to grow and care for. They give glorious colour throughout the Summer and some even continue into early Autumn.

Whether you have perfectly manicured lawns surrounding large flower beds or space for just a few pots and hanging baskets, you’ll find these plants easy to grow and maintain.

Easy To Grow Summer Bedding Plants

1 – Cosmos

summer bedding plants - cosmos

Some people class cosmos as weeds because they seed prolifically. They have a long blooming time so you’ll be able to enjoy them right through Autumn.
It’s a low maintenance plant that does well in poor, well-drained soil in full sun.

2 – Sweet Pea

summer bedding plants - sweet pea

Most sweet peas have a wonderful fragrance and they are very easy to grow from seed. You need to decide whether you want a climbing sweet pea or the bushier variety.
Sweet peas will stop flowering if seedpods are allowed to develop so regularly picking a bunch to bring inside and deadheading regularly will make sure this plant goes on flowering all summer.

As an added bonus, your room will smell delightful!

3 – Begonia


Begonias are great for pots, hanging baskets and borders. They tolerate light shade and will last right through until the first frost.
Whilst begonias are easy to grow, you need to make sure they’re in well-drained soil/compost and put pots on pot feet to allow the water to drain out. They can rot if the growing conditions are too wet.

4 – Busy Lizzies

busy Lizzie

The busy Lizzie certainly lives up to its name; it flowers profusely throughout the whole Summer and is one of the easiest bedding plants to grow.
They do need a bit of shade, however, as they can burn easily. They also need protecting from the wind.

5 – Snapdragons


Snapdragons are a firm favourite with children because they can look like they’re talking if you gently squeeze the sides of the flower.
Many snapdragon plants flower in Spring, but you can get ones that flower in Summer. If you deadhead regularly, cutting the flowers off down to the green part of the stem, they should keep on flowering.


5 Things You Can Do In Your Garden During Winter

At this time of year, we can start to feel a little down; the pretty, sparkling lights of December have been packed away for another year and the cold, drab days of January feel like they’ll never end.
For the green-fingered people amongst us, however, January can be an exciting time. Spring is just around the corner and the evidence of this is all around the Winter garden.

It’s the perfect time to be out there doing those jobs that get put off during the busier Summer and Autumn months and for the bargain hunters, the January sales can be a great time to replace any old tools and equipment you might need.
Places like SGS Engineering have an excellent selection of garden power tools should any of yours need replacing.

Snowdrop in a WInter garden

Things To Do In The Winter Garden

Plant bare-root plants

Bare-root plants are plants that are sold without any soil around the roots. During Winter these plants are dormant and planting them in Winter means they should establish well.
The tops of the plants often look dead, but beneath the soil, the roots are still doing their thing!

The kind of plants that are ideal for planting at this time of year are:

  • Shrubs
  • Trees including fruit trees
  • Roses
  • Hedge plants like box and privet

Plant Winter Containers

There are lots of plants that flower and look great during Winter. Using containers means you can change them out each season.

Good plants for Winter containers include:

  • Hellebores
  • Crocus
  • Snowdrops
  • Wintergreen
  • Winter-flowering pansy
  • Cyclamen

Lots of grasses and heathers can also be used with great effect in Winter containers.

Winter flowers container

Organize Seeds

Unless you’re super organised throughout the year, half-empty seed packets can end up everywhere.
A quick Google search will bring up many different ways to get your seed packets in order ready for Spring.

Deadhead And Prune

Many plants and trees are dormant in Winter so it’s a great time to deadhead and prune them. Pruning encourages growth and pruning fruit trees means you’ll be rewarded with better quality fruits.

pruning a tree

Start Planting Seeds

There are lots of seeds you can plant now which will give you beautiful flowers and flavourful herbs further on in the year. Here are just a few:

  • Sweet peas
  • Dahlias
  • Basil
  • Chillis
  • Aubergines
  • Delphinium

Be aware, however, that seeds planted in January will need more time and care spent on them if they’re to survive and flourish.

Plenty More To Be Getting On With!

There are plenty more jobs you can be doing in the garden during these colder months, such as giving your greenhouse a good sort out and clean.

It may seem like a long time until Spring, but it will be here before we know it!


This is a collaborative post.

New Border – Getting Out In The Garden

The weather has been a bit changeable lately. For example, yesterday it was really lovely and sunshiney. Today it’s very dull and quite cold.
Yesterday I did some digging to prepare my new border. Today I wanted to go and buy plants for that new border and maybe grab a new drop saw to start some woodworking for the garden, but decided I just wanted to stay in the warm house instead!

New Border

Ant laid turf in this space last year after he’d finished the new patio and cover. He wasn’t very impressed when I said I was going to dig it up to make a border!
I’m going to plant some Dragon’s Blood sedum plants in the new border. It’s a creeping plant that has green leaves in Spring and Summer which turn to red in Autumn and Winter. It also has red flowers in Summer.

We’ll be changing the border edging soon but I’m not sure what type of edging to choose yet.

digging the new border
new border ready for planting

Low Maintenance

The plan for the garden is to get it as low maintenance as possible. I’ve been checking out some landscaping ideas to help me with the plans.
When I’ve got this border done, I’m going to tidy up the pond area and get some creeping plants put in that will suppress the weeds.
After that, we’re going to create a herb garden border next to Ant’s BBQ and then we’ll dig over the border by the fence and plant fruit bushes.

Top Of The Garden

Ant spent a few hours yesterday burning a lot of the garden rubbish we created last year. There’s still some rubbish left and he’s planning on getting it all gone this week.

When all the rubbish has gone we’re going to move the butterfly bush then dig the whole area. It’s going to be covered in thick black plastic and left until Autumn 2019.
We’re going to be planting fruit trees up there then turfing the ground.

Ant's bonfire
Ant's bonfire
Bonfire remnants

Lots To Do

It’s a big job but breaking it down into smaller areas has stopped me from getting overwhelmed! I feel confident that the garden is going to look loads better this year 🙂

Nearly Spring – Time To Get In The Garden

Last year was supposed to be the year of the garden. We did get the patio and cover done which was a big job. We also got my raised bed completed. However, my vision of having a nice lawn and a new border near the fence didn’t come to fruition.
It’s nearly Spring so it’s nearly time to get out and get some hard work done.

Nearly Spring, Time For a New Border

This year I want to get the border next to the fence done. Last year we took out all the shrubs so we could plant fruit bushes. We bought the fruit bushes from Poundstretcher while they were on sale for 50p each. It should have been a great bargain but after putting them in a bucket to soak, I then totally forgot about for them for days probably more like weeks if I’m totally honest and they died. Our bargain turned into a complete waste of money!

I’m definitely going to get the fruit bush border completed this year.

new border coming soon!

The Lawn Needs Work

The lawn was completely neglected last year. It’s now in a terrible state and needs some love and attention. As soon as we get some dry days, we’re going to strim then mow the lawn.
When we moved in it looked lovely and we’re going to make it look that way again!

Look how nice our lawn was when we moved in!

Look at it now!

Patio Furniture

There is currently a mishmash of furniture on the two patios. We have a bed settee that’s seen better days but we have to keep it because Kaycee and Ella love sleeping on it in the summer. I’m going to cover it this year to make it look nice again.

All the other furniture, except for our big table, needs replacing. I love the look of rattan garden furniture sets but Ant’s not too keen so I’ve been searching online for an alternative.

I found a wooden 4 piece coffee set on Garden Camping that looks even better than the rattan sets I’ve seen. Every year I say that it would be lovely to sit out with Ant on a summer morning, having a coffee and watching the activity in the wildlife pond.
This set would be perfect at the side of our garden pond 🙂

Manhatten 4 piece coffee set from Garden Camping

Top Of The Garden

The top of the garden is going to be the biggest job of all. We cleared it last year with the help of our family but over Autumn and Winter, it’s got nearly as bad again.
It’s full of rubbish and all the plants/weeds/bushes etc that we cut down last year.

Our plan was to dig it over, plant some fruit trees and put down some lawn seed. I don’t know if we’re still going to do this but seeing as we’re going to be doing it last, we’ve got time to change our minds!


messy garden

it all feels a little overwhelming but we’ll get there!