How To Transform Your Garden into a Wonderland

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hammock in a garden wonderland

Turning the outdoor space into an extension of the home and your personal garden oasis may sound like a steep hill to climb, but, in reality, it takes much less than you may think. Regardless of the size of your patio, garden or backyard, even a few little changes can go a long way towards transforming the entire place into a cosy, loving, relaxing, and inviting space you will never want to leave!


Here are some ideas to get the wheels inside your mind turning:


Idea #1: Add a water feature

water feature in a garden wonderland

Besides good Feng Shui, adding a water feature is also an easy and quite fast project to even handle yourself if you love doing things with your own hands. Want to hear some good news? You don’t need to be an avid DIYer to get this job done. In fact, you can assemble it in a single day.


Start with creating a fountain around a stone from which the water will flow out into a reservoir that you could fill with gravel. Then, get a pump to circulate the water back up via the rock. Don’t forget to drill a hole through the rock (a rotary hammer drill will be perfect for this job) or hit the local stone suppliers and get a pre-drilled rock instead.


The best of it all? The fact that this type of fountain does not need a collection pond also makes it a low-maintenance project. And, if you locate it someplace where the sun’s rays do not reach it, you will also minimise algae growth (hence, help keep the water fresher too).


Idea #2: Install a screened porch


A screened porch is an excellent option for the summer months when you want to feel the breeze while keeping mosquitos and other bugs out. Again, you may take matters into your own hands and get it over with all by yourself in a few days or hire professionals. If you are comfortable building sheds or decks, the straightforward construction plans make this task perfect for you. And, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated.


Opting for standard dimensional lumber and having open soffit and/or exposed rafters (avoid complex joints and heavy beams) is often all that is required to have an eye-catching and professionally done screened porch.


Idea #3: Build a conservatory


Now, this is probably a project to let professionals handle as it requires quite a lot of expertise so that you have a visually appealing, functional, and practical outcome. Nevertheless, a conservatory will allow you to extend your indoor spaces, add value to your home, and enjoy your garden throughout the winter. Not to mention how much more cost-effective of an option it is compared to any other extension if executed correctly.


One of the most common issues conservatory owners have is the temperatures inside the conservatory. In the summer, it gets too hot; in the winter, it is too cold. This is due to poor roofing insulation. Another problem is glare in the summer and winter, which can be unbearable. To eliminate these problems, consider tiled conservatory roofs, which are created to solve both issues and deliver supreme performance, efficiency, and fast-tracked building application.


Idea #4: Put up a hammock

hammock in a garden wonderland

Most of us have a fun memory at the back of our heads that involves a swing or hammock and cherished people around. You could help your children and loved ones create more happy memories by putting up a hammock in your backyard, which will instantly transform it into a relaxing place.


Idea #5: Make it your personal sanctuary


To add some privacy and not feel like your outdoor space is on display, you could consider using plants to define a more private area. There are many easy DIY ideas to implement, such as plant privacy walls; an affordable and easy-to-create solution. Alternatively, you could block unwanted views and create a sense of enclosure with lattices, fences or pergolas.


Extra Tips:

fire pit

  • Having a fire pit or installing a fire bowl will add a touch of cosiness to your backyard.
  • If you lack large trees, you can create some shade with curtains if you have a BBQ gazebo, conservatory or sunroom.
  • Add to the ambience of your garden with strands of light. There are so many different ways to hang them that you will be spoilt for choice (i.e. suspend them from a pergola or dangle them from a tree)!


Creating your own hideaway and personal retreat does not always take much work, time or money. Sometimes, the small, simple things make a profound difference.

This is a collaborative post

New Border – Getting Out In The Garden

Home / Gardening / New Border – Getting Out In The Garden
Year Of The Garden - Update

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

Home / Gardening / Nearly Spring – Time To Get In The Garden
Year Of The Garden - Update

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!


Vegetable Gardening Tip For Forcing Squash To Grow In The Direction You Want

Home / Gardening / Vegetable Gardening Tip For Forcing Squash To Grow In The Direction You Want

Forcing Squash

This article is going to look over some tips regarding squash and how to force the direction it grows. I will provide you with my personal tips and ideas. Let’s get started.

I wasn’t going to put the squash and zucchini in the main vegetable garden because it can take up so much space but decided to, last minute.

squash flower - forcing squash

I planted the rows in my vegetable garden east to west, and for the squash, I gave them three feet on either side, north, and south.

The thing is the squash are unlikely to grow in a circle as I’d like to conserve space and so they don’t crowd our other vegetables, so I had to help them a bit.

As they started to sprawl, in the wrong direction, I just took rose canes we had cut down along our property fence, cut them into about 8-inch lengths, and used them to peg the squash vines in the direction I want them to grow.

Pegging The Vines

As you can see in the image below, I have moved the vine in the direction I want and then put a peg on either side of the vine to hold it there.

using canes to force the vines to grow where you want them

Since I have just purchased a pond liner and pump from Oase (see photo below), I believe it is important to mention that you should avoid planting your Squash seeds too close to your garden pond (if you have one). They are better spread within an area that is hillier, if possible.

garden pond

I didn’t push the vines and further than they would move without tension so as not to damage the vines. I will continue to do this using the pegs I used earlier and will just keep forcing them to grow in the directions I want. This should allow me to keep them in the area I provided.

My first few years growing squash didn’t do as well as I had planned and hoped, but I did learn that slugs aren’t good for my squash as I watched each new blossom fall off overnight. I was wasting time using natural remedies I found online for the second year and still didn’t win the battle against the slugs.

Slug B Gone

slug b gone

I used Slug-B-Gon which seems to have worked. If you don’t have any locally, try eBay for a product to help you get rid of slugs and snails. Spread it around and under the leaves and the slugs lost interest in my squash plants. I managed to get more squash that we could eat last year and I hope to do the same thing again this year.

This was a quick guide providing tips on how to force squash to grow in the direction you prefer. If you want more tips, visit this interesting article. I wish you well with your gardening.

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Finally Finished – Patio Cover – Garden Update

Home / Gardening / Finally Finished – Patio Cover – Garden Update
Year Of The Garden - Update

Finally Finished

Finally finished
finally finished - new patio roof

The roof over the patio is completely finished and the guttering is up. It’s taking Ant longer than he’d like but each week a bit more is getting done.

He bought some screens and attached them to the sides. He wants to be able to roll them up on nice days and drop them when it’s windy to make it feel cosier.

finally finished the new roof on the patio

We bought another water butt earlier in the year. Ant’s put some cement down to make a base for it. He’s going to place it next to the new patio so the all the water from the roof will go into the water butt.
This water will be used to top up the pond when the level drops. Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep it topped up all year 🙂

finally finished patio roof

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Overgrown Again! Garden Update

Home / Gardening / Overgrown Again! Garden Update
Year Of The Garden - Update

Overgrown again!

It doesn’t seem that long ago since the family was last here helping in the garden. From the look of the garden today, you’d think it had never been done!

It’s getting overgrown at the top again and will soon be just as bad as it was but with the added pile of rubbish we created last time!
Ant’s been working hard on the cover over the patio. I’ve been too busy working to get out in the garden so it’s being left to grow as it pleases.

Hopefully, once Ant’s finished the patio cover, we’ll be able to find some time to clear the piles of stuff from the lawn and mow it. Just getting that job will make a world of difference.

patio cover


patio cover

The raised bed plants are doing really well. I hadn’t been out for a while and was surprised to see how much they were spreading and filling out.

raised bed


raised bed


raised bed


raised bed


raised bed plant

This is the area that was nearly cleared when the family last came up. Those blackberry bushes don’t give up without a fight!

overgrown again


overgrown again


Just Needs A Roof! – Garden Update

Home / Gardening / Just Needs A Roof! – Garden Update
Year Of The Garden - Update

Needs A Roof

Ant’s been beavering away in the garden this week, building the cover over the new patio. The frame work is just about finished (he needs 2 more pieces of wood) and he’s got it all painted.

Tomorrow, after a trip to Derbyshire to pick up my niece, he hopes to start getting the roof on 🙂 He’s doing a wooden roof this time instead of using plastic sheeting as he did with the first patio roof.
We wanted plenty of light to come in with the first one because it’s where the living room is, but the new patio is next to the garage so it doesn’t need a see through roof.

Patio area after

Needs a roof

framework for cover over patio. Just needs a roof

I can’t wait till we can start planting the herbs in the huge soil pile at the back of the barbeques there. It’s going to look and smell lovely having a bank of herbs 🙂

Once the roof is done, we’ll be able to start work on the rest of the garden. I can’t wait to get the top part sorted. It’s going to be a big job but it’ll feel so good once it’s all done!

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Building Work In Progress – Garden Update

Home / Gardening / Building Work In Progress – Garden Update
Year Of The Garden - Update

Building Work Has Started


Work on the patio has had to wait while Ant waited for his wood to be delivered.  He ordered it from B&Q at the start of last week and arranged for it to be delivered last Friday.

Friday came and part of his order arrived as expected. When he questioned why his other pieces of wood weren’t on the lorry the driver told him they were too big for his lorry and would be delivered by a different driver.
He told Ant to phone and check the status of the delivery but Ant decided to wait before phoning them.

Around 4 pm he phoned and was told the wood wasn’t on the lorry. He had to arrange delivery and they couldn’t deliver it until Tuesday.
Ant was a bit annoyed but there wasn’t anything he could about it so he just had to wait.

His wood was delivered on Tuesday. In the rain. The rain didn’t stop all day!

He didn’t get a chance to actually start work on the cover he’s building over the new patio until yesterday. Now he’s started on it, though, it’s coming on really well.

building work on the patio building work on the patio building work on the patio building work on the patio



Short Garden Update – New Steps & Lantana Plants

Home / Gardening / Short Garden Update – New Steps & Lantana Plants
Lantana plants

Short Garden Update


Ant’s been doing all the little jobs that needed doing on the patio this week. He’s now working on the plans for the patio cover he’s going to build.

short garden update

short garden update

short garden update

Ant made new steps onto the garden because his dad had trouble using the old steps. He can now get onto the garden without needing someone to help him 🙂

short garden update

Don’t you just love these Lantana plants? I’d have a garden full of them if I could!

Lantana plants

My lovely water lily flowered 🙂 The pond seems to be doing well at the moment. There are still a few tadpoles hanging around. It’s almost as if they don’t want to change into frogs!

water lily flower

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New Log Burner And BBQ Progress – Garden Update

Home / Gardening / New Log Burner And BBQ Progress – Garden Update
Year Of The Garden - Update

New Log Burner


We went to B&M to buy a pizza oven as they’d been reduced from £129 to £89. Of course, they didn’t have any! Instead, we bought a new log burner and I love it 🙂

new log burner

Ant’s had a few health problems this week so he’s not been working in the garden much. He’s had a few days rest and was able to get some small jobs done yesterday.

Ant took the barrel drum barbeque off the stand and set it on the slabbed side. He also made his wooden seat and used the legs from the barbeque to make a trolley table 🙂


upcycled trolley

He was working on the steps earlier in the week until his health problems started. They’re very small steps so that Granddad can get up to the grass easier. He’s not as steady on his legs as he used to be.
They might be finished by the next garden update. He’s also going to add a rail to make them even safer for Granddad.

stone steps

My lilies have opened which pleased me immensely. I usually have them each side of the patio door but it’s a mess on the patio at the moment. They’re at the top of the garden. I totally forgot about them and was delighted when I saw them in full glory!

light yellow lily pink lily white lily

We’ve been talking about the cover Ant’s going to build over the patio. I think that’s going to be our next job. It’s all starting to come together nicely 🙂