14 articles Tag garden

Wireless vs Wired dog fence. Which is better?

Invisible dog fences are great for pet owners. They can let their dogs play in the grounds without worrying that they will hurt themselves or make a mess. Since the boundary is invisible, it causes no obstacle or hindrance to the rest of the household. However, pet owners are often confused while deciding to buy a dog containment system. They cannot figure out if they should buy a wired or a wireless system. Both have been evaluated and compared below.

Installation

A wired fence is labour-intensive in its installation. Since the wires are buried, mud and dirt need to be dug up. For concrete and gravel surfaces, hardware and manpower are required to cut through the surfaces before placing the wires. This can make the installation expensive. On the other hand, a wireless dog fence does not need any intensive installation. You just need to figure out a centre point to install the transmitter and figure out the boundary size.  

Coverage

Even a basic wired dog fence can help pet owners secure their dogs over tens of acres. The coverage gets higher as the pet containment system improves. However, a wireless dog fence only offers around a few hundred feet of coverage. It will not be possible to supervise dogs over a more extensive territory using this technology.

Wired contained systems can be laid in corners and edges as well as long as the wires are kept rounded. This ensures full coverage of the property. But wireless containment systems only offer coverage along the circumference of a circle and corners are left out.

Durability

The hardware of a wired containment system is weather-resistant. The wiring is buried which protects it from rain, hail and snow. The system remains functional even in bad weather. A wireless system, on the other hand, is susceptible to environmental conditions. The base unit has to be kept in a dry space indoors.

As far as the signals are concerned, a wired system rarely loses signals. If there’s a power breakdown or the wires have been corroded, then the functionality would be affected. But until that happens, it will keep working. On the other hand, a wireless system has sensitive signals that keep on fluctuating. Electronic appliances, nearby trees and harsh weather can disrupt the communication lines of the transmitter

Problem-solving

At times, a dog containment system malfunctions. If the wires have been dug into the ground, it will be difficult to trace the origin of the problem. You cannot dig everywhere the wire was placed. A replacement will require plenty of effort similarly. Meanwhile, a wireless system is portable, and it can be easily opened up to diagnose the problem. It will not exert the owner’s energies and won’t be expensive to repair.

In conclusion, a wired dog fence is operationally very much superior to a wireless dog fence. It is also more durable and transmits signals even in bad weather. However, the installation and repair of a wireless system is cheaper.

Host the Perfect Halloween Garden Party for Kids

Halloween Garden PartyHalloween is fast approaching and more and more people in the UK are celebrating, especially families with young children. For American families, trick or treating plays a huge part in Halloween but parents in UK can be a little more reluctant to let their children take part in the door to door tradition. Instead of trick or treating, parents can avoid stranger danger by hosting their very own outdoor Halloween parties instead. Find out how to host the perfect Halloween garden party for kids with advice from the garden specialists at Artificial Grass Direct.

Step One: Party-Proof the Garden

Children + face paint + copious amounts of sweets = carnage. A Halloween garden party is a lot more forgiving on the home than a house party but there are still steps you can take to ensure easy clean up. Re-home all breakables (including ornaments and potted plants) for the night and cover furniture to protect it from spills. If you have natural grass in your garden, we recommend covering it with blankets or tarp otherwise you could run the risk of little monsters tearing up the turf. If you have artificial grass, this will require less maintenance as it is much more durable and can easily be wiped clean!

It’s important to keep guests warm and dry so double check the weather on party night and consider using a gazebo or similar cover if it looks like it might rain. You can also use a patio heater or fire pit to regulate your garden temperature but make sure to protect your garden and your guests (especially if there are young children attending) from the heat.

Set the Scene

Now you’ve party-proofed your garden you can focus on making it look the part. A quick and easy way to set the scene is to pick up a couple of cheap Halloween themed fairy lights and decorations. You can save money on these by buying at local pound shops and discount stores as opposed to name-brand supermarkets. From fake cobwebs and spider decorations, all the way through to bat bunting and life-size plastic skeletons, these decorations might look a tacky but that’s the spirit of Halloween! You can even go all out and carve a couple of pumpkins, if you have time, as a fun pre-party activity to do with the kids.

Spooky Snacks

Bring the trick or treating tradition to your own back garden by setting up sweetie stations with a variety of treats. You can buy plenty of themed sweets this around time of year including gummy worms and eyeball candy or you can make your own. We recommend cake pops since they are simple to make, fun to decorate, and easy for little ones to hold.

Halloween doesn’t have to be unhealthy, though. If you’re worried about the sugar content of store-bought sweets swap them out for healthy alternatives. A couple of chocolate chips can turn a regular banana into a ghostly ‘Boonana’. Another option is to sandwich apple slices together with peanut butter before adding mini marshmallows to make mutant mouths with terrifying teeth. There are plenty of healthy Halloween snack recipes out there on the internet, a quick search will yield plenty of ideas and inspiration!

Gruesome Games

Finally, no party is complete without a little entertainment. Depending on the age of your audience you can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned horror story but there are plenty of other options if you’re worried about giving your guests nightmares. Bobbing for apples is a classic Halloween party game (just make sure to supervise at all times) and little kids will enjoy activities such as scavenger hunts or cupcake decorating. You can even host pumpkin carving contests for older children.

Play More and Win a Sudocrem My Little Adventure Pack!

One of the reasons that we moved to our little house in the countryside, back in 2015, was so that we could spend more time outdoors as a family. Living in a very suburban area meant that we were constantly surrounded by noise and pollution, our garden was overlooked by about 100 other houses and to get anywhere even vaguely quiet or secluded, we’d need to drive a fair way.

Where we live now, there are less than 15 houses in our entire village and we have a lovely big garden for the girls to enjoy, as well as public footpaths leading through the countryside, right on our doorsteps. It means that screen time has been massively already reduced this summer, with the girls choosing to play outside in the paddling pool, riding their bikes, or walking with me and Husband when we take Maureen out (which hasn’t been until about 9pm in this heat!)

We’ve teamed up with Sudocrem to get involved with their latest campaign to get kids outside. As part of the campaign, they are encouraging parents around the UK to nominate a nursery and give them the chance to help improve the nurseries outdoor play area – just click the link to go through the the page for nominations. 

They said: “Children are spending more time indoors than outside and they are missing out on exploring the natural world around them. In fact, research found that 1 in 9 British children have not visited a beach, park or forest in twelve months, and on average, a British child only spends 4 hours a week playing in the great outdoors. [1]This is why Sudocrem set up the award-winning Play More campaign, an initiative designed to encourage parents and children to get back in touch with nature and explore the greatest playground on earth- the outdoors. As part of the campaign, Sudocrem carried out a survey which asked 200 children between the ages of 4 to 8 years old to identify some of the creepy crawlies in Britain. The survey revealed that 9 out of 10 children (89%) were unable to recognise a butterfly even though there is an abundance of native British insects, with around 27,000 insect species calling the UK home. Moreover, 51% didn’t know what a Bumblebee looks like. And, surprisingly, 1 in 3 (29%) didn’t realise that bees make honey[2].

Children are not only unable to identify some of the most distinctive insects, but they are also missing out on the adventure which comes with playing outside in a natural environment.  Over half of those surveyed (59%) admitted that they had never climbed a tree, 89% didn’t know what a Buttercup was and 77% couldn’t identify a Sunflower. Are children losing their sense of wonder and adventure?

According to children’s TV presenter and naturalist, Chris Packham, who’s an ambassador for Play More, parents should be encouraging their children to get outside and explore the natural environment around them. “I was very fortunate when I was a child because I was encouraged to interact with the outdoors- looking under rocks and searching under logs and hedges to find creepy crawlies. If you just open your eyes, you’ll see that there is an incredible natural world out there waiting to be discovered”.”

They’ve given us one of their gorgeous Sudocrem My Little Adventure Packs to give away to one lucky reader.  The kit is worth £40.00 and includes:

– Play More t-shirt
– Play More sun hat
– Bug Pot
– Frisbee
– Butterfly Net
– Magnifying glass
– Trowel or fork

To be in with a chance of winning, leave me a comment below telling me your favourite place to get outdoors with the kids. You’ve got until midnight on 31st July 2018 to enter.

T&Cs: winner will be chosen at random. Winner will have 48 hours to provide me with their postal address once contact has been made. If winner doesn’t respond within this time a new winner will be chosen. No cash alternative offered, prizes supplied and sent by PR company for Sudocrem. Mum’s the Word accepts no liability for supply of prizes.
[1] According to a government report, ‘MENE: A pilot for an indicator of visits to the natural environment by children- results from years 1 to 2 (March 2013-February 2015)’.
[2] National report conducted by Sudocrem, April 2018.

Rubbish Clearance Upcycling Classes Are Gaining Popularity In London

Upcycling rubbish clearance seems to have hit London with a splash! Everyone seems to be getting in on the fun, from those just hoping to save an old family heirloom to others who staunchly believe in using upcycling as a springboard to a zero waste society.

In fact, upcycling has become so popular in England’s capital that upcycling classes are now popping up all over the city. The mantra of the movers and shakers in this London movement seems to be, “Renew Don’t Buy New!” Rubbish clearance is no long considered “junk.” It is now the muse of a burgeoning waste free culture — and judging from the before and after photo galleries online, Londoners have discovered their creative mojo!

Before you decide to take an upcycling class, you should know that the activity is highly contagious and its “chicness” is spreading like wildfire. Among the most popular upcycling classes are those that teach participants how to upholstery and reupholstery old furniture that was being discarded as rubbish clearance. In some cases, you’d never guess how raggedy the old furniture was after the “upcycle” is complete — but of course the first thing you learn in upcycling classes is to take a “before picture” for proof!

Some Londoners who take their first upcycling class just want to save money (or make money) by rescuing their own rubbish clearance. However, many take that first class and then end up getting hooked on the tranquility these upcycling projects bring them. Some people claim it’s a zen experience. Others thoroughly enjoy meeting interesting and eclectic people. In this regard, it’s almost like a pub experience, only you have something to show for it, other than a pint breath! Some students who meet up in these classes end up collaborating on other upcycling projects together.

Upcycling rubbish clearance is also a source of pride as participants end up with a really cool object that was salvaged from an old piece of junk. They can show the “before picture” and talk about how their upcycling creation would have ended up in the landfill rotting away producing greenhouse gases and leaking toxic leachate into the ground water! They can talk about how they breathed new life and new vision into an old piece of junk. They can say they renewed the soul or spirit of the object or perhaps reincarnated it into a higher purpose!

Sometimes upcycling classes show up in the most unexpected places. Last February, the Royal Air Force Museum hosted an upcycling class with volunteers from the Loop at Grahame Park, piloted by Groundwork London and the London Community Reuse Network (LCRN). This group is funded by the European Commission’s LIFE+ Programme, not something you’d normally expect to see at the Royal Air Force Museum but it was a marriage made in heaven.

Some of the patrons who came to see the Royal Air Force Museum ended up taking the upcycling rubbish clearance class while people who came specifically to take the class ended up enjoying a museum they probably would not have visited otherwise. While participants in the class learned how to decoupage and tips on how to stencil, perhaps the greatest thing they learned was the joy of experiencing something new with a diverse group of people.

At the London Upcycling Show last November, there were many different upcycling classes offered, as well as inspiring upcycling exhibits. Rrubbish clearance that had once been thought of as useless was transformed into something that people highly desired. Afro Retro showed people how to convert Christmas jumpers, often tossed in the rubbish clearance bin after the holiday, into something more fashionable that could be worn year round. ThinkFOUND Furniture showed people how to make furniture out of scaffold boards.

The London Upcycling Show also featured unique and challenging upcycling rubbish clearance competitions with cash prizes. However, the camaraderie forged during these events meant so more more than the money prizes! Many contestants from last year are already planning the to attend the third London Upcycling Show coming up this fall and it promises to have even more participants. While some Londoners originally though that upcycling was just a fad, the growing success of events like these are proving that upcycling has staying power!

If you live in the UK and want to find an upcycling class in London or elsewhere, just Google it! The Old School Club, started by an entrepreneurial Mum, offers upcycling classes on sewing and upholstery. They even offer special upcycling classes for kids and upcycling parties for adults! London’s Obby was recently offering seventeen upcycling classes in their mix. Some people even seem to be turning upcycling rubbish clearance into a “money hobby!” Gumtree recently listed thirty-six upcycled living room furniture pieces for sale.

Many UK companies are catching the upcycling spirit as well! Clearabee is one of the best examples of this. Clearabee offers several rubbish clearance services. However, instead of taking the rubbish they clear to the landfill, or fly tipping it as so many others do, they make a concerted effort to divert the rubbish they collect from the landfill. They give top priority to upcycling whenever possible, following by resale/reuse and then recycling. In fact, Clearance upcycles, reuses, or recycles ninety percent of the rubbish they clear, giving them the best track record in the entire UK.

Using the services of Clearabee is the same as supporting upcycling, reusing, and recycling! Wouldn’t it be grand if one day our great great grandchildren read an old newspaper article from 2018 on “waste removal” and ask, “What’s that?” The London upcycling bug heads us in that direction for sure!

Ways to Jazz up your Shed

A shed is a main focal point of your garden and can sometimes look a bit boring or out of place if not maintained properly.  Instead of being something picturesque to look at, it can become a bit of an eyesore. In reality – it doesn’t need to be that way.  When people look around your garden shed, they should be looking at it because it looks great and ties in with your garden and personality.  We have put together some ways in which you can jazz up your shed and make it your own.

First Step is, Choose the Right Shed

There are lots of sheds out there, so make sure you choose the right one for your project.  Wooden sheds are usually the most popular.  These are easily adaptable, and have a traditional, rustic feel that people seem to like.  You can check out Buy Sheds Direct’s range for some great and affordable options – and this will also make sure it is of the highest quality and incredibly durable as they’re one of the top recommended companies.  A shed is an investment in your garden, once you have put all that work into it – you don’t want to have to go changing it.  Once you purchase your shed, it will be with you for a long time.

Don’t be Afraid to Be Bold

Don’t be afraid to be bold when it comes to selecting a colour.  Wooden sheds are easily painted, and you can choose whatever colour you like.  You can choose a colour that reflects your personality, and or go with something vibrant to make it stand out.  Although traditional wood can look beautiful and traditional, a lick of paint to mix things up definitely won’t hurt.  Alternatively, you might want to use your garden shed as a bit of a haven, in which case – you might want to select a nice cream or pastel colour if you are more traditional.  The good thing is, you can always repaint – the look isn’t permanent.

Add a Window Box

A window box is a lovely touch to a garden shed and can definitely jazz it up.  Choose your favourite flowers – and use them to fill up a lovely decorative window box.  If you have chosen a light coloured shed, you may want some vibrant flowers to offset this and add character and colour.  This could also be a nice gardening project for you in the summer time and give you an excuse to spend more time outdoors.

Include Some Lighting

To create a nice atmosphere, it could be a good idea to add some lighting to your shed.  You can get some great outdoor lights that can be used, however an increasingly popular trend has been fairy lights.  It will have the Hansel and Gretel approach – and look like something out of a fairytale.  If you are having a garden party or a barbeque in the evening – this can be a great way to set the tone and draw attention to your beautifully decorated shed.

Create a Pathway

People will be more likely to look at your creation if they can see something leading up to it.  A beautiful pathway can be a great way to draw attention to the focal point of your garden. There are lots of different options when it comes to this.  You can get some great stone pathways that will define the shed even more, and they are also relatively cost-effective as well as easy to maintain – so there is little work for you to do.  This can also improve the look of your garden in general.

Create a Landscape around your Shed

If you want to make your shed stand out, you need to make sure that the surroundings are right.  You could do things simply like mowing and shaping your lawn, or else you can go for something a little different and create your own vegetable patch.  There is nothing better in terms of a garden project like growing your own vegetables.  You can cook food with vegetables from the garden, and it can be a great activity for the kids too!

Showcase a Workspace

If you like a little bit of DIY, or some great garden projects – there is no reason why you can’t showcase this outside your shed.  It could be that you are potting plants or doing something else that will place focus on it and show off your lovely plants!

A shed doesn’t need to be a simple storage solution for your garden, it can be much more than that.  Put your own stamp on it, and it can be a great talking point for guests and visitors.

Making Your Garden Surfaces Kid Friendly

It might seem utterly bonkers to say that grass could be ‘out of fashion’, but there’s been a definite shift in recent years away from the traditional lawn and towards more modern solutions which can be used all year round. Grass is great in many ways, but is probably the single-most high maintenance flooring for a garden as it needs to be mowed, edged, fed, watered and weeded on a regular basis. Also, if you have pets it can be hard to clean up after them if their main toilet area is grass. Today, I thought I’d show you some really great alternatives to a grass lawn so that you can be inspired for your own lawn makeover.

Rubber Mulch Play Area

You know those squidgy rubber floors that you see in play parks, usually beneath apparatus like swings and slides? Well, it’s possible to use those on a more domestic level, too. It’s clean, safe, easy to maintain and will give your kids a safe area for playing on. It also comes in different colours and textures; find yourself a rubber mulch play area specialist and they’ll be able to advise you on all the options available.

Astroturf

Astroturf or fake grass is a great option if you still want to maintain the LOOK of a lawn, without all the maintenance. It’s a little on the expensive side but we know several people who’ve replaced their lawns with fake grass and they feel like it’s one of the best decor decisions they’ve ever made.

Bark Chips

Bark flooring is also something you see a lot in parks and playgrounds and it can be a great option at home as it’s largely something that you can buy and lay all by yourself. It can be expensive if you have a large area to cover and you’ll probably need to top it up every now and again to account for chips which get washed away in wind or rain, but it can look really nice and give the area a rustic feel, if you aren’t a fan of the super-modern.

Shingle

Shingle is a great choice if you are trying to cover a large area on a budget, but it’s not so great for play areas of if you have pets. It’s good for people who just want to make a relatively under-used area look a bit smarter and is easy to top up with an extra bag every now and again, making it a popular choice for people who are trying to sell a house and smarten up the exterior.

Slate Chips

Slate chips are really popular at the moment because they are usually grey, a colour which has soared in popularity for decoration and masonry in recent years. Slate gives a really premium look to a driveway or patio area and although it’s not cheap it doesn’t need to be topped up as often because each chips is heavier and doesn’t get brushed away as easily.

Common Garden Problems

I’ve blogged about our garden a few times in the past; it’s a really decent size with a large lawn and a patio area and it’s one of my favourite things about this house. There’s more than enough space for a massive trampoline, the girls’ paddling pool in the summer and various other slides/tents/swingball-type things, without ever feeling cluttered. However, although it might seem like a big blank space would be easy to manage, we still find various common garden issues which make it harder to maintain. We’re not afraid to get stuck in and get our hands dirty to sort things out ourselves, but sometimes you have to admit that you’re beyond your level of expertise and pass the job to someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. Here’s a few of the things we’ve struggled with:

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed is probably one of THE most common problems here in UK gardens and although it might seem tricky to deal with for the average gardener, there are companies out there who have the expertise to deal with japanese knotweed eradication with relative ease. Knotweed can look unsightly but if it’s left to go wild, it can even cause structural issues with your buildings, so asking the professionals to deal with it is a really good idea!

Slugs

Last year, I thought I’d have a go at growing some tomatoes, strawberries and a few herbs. They were all doing really well, until a bunch of slugs came along and made a very quick meal of them! I don’t like using strong chemicals, but my mother in law swears by putting crushed eggshells around her seedlings as the slugs don’t like to crawl across them, and so will leave your plants alone.

Ivy

Our next door neighbours seem to have a love affair with ivy – it grows over almost their whole property and they seem to be quite happy to let it do so. This was fine, until the burgeoning growth started to push one of our fences down. The trouble with ivy is that it’s seriously hardy and even harsh chemicals don’t always kill it off. Ivy needs to be attacked from the root and some people advocate using a mixture of boiling water, white vinegar and salt to kill it without using pesticides.

Mosquitoes

Living by a body of water, as we do, means that we have mosquitoes buzzing around for about 9 months of the year, and only the super cold weather kills them off. Lots of people use citronella but the sheer amount of them here would never be put off by a candle. We also don’t like spraying DEET on the kids because it’s such a harsh chemical and they’d need to be showered in it on a daily basis to have a decent effect here. We’ve invested in an electric fly killer, which sits in the hallways and also deals with other flying beasties, and it’s the first summer where we’ve had a moment’s peace!

Wildlife

Living in the countryside means that as well as the usual cats and foxes that everyone has to deal with, we also regularly encounter moles, voles, badgers, bats, egrets, herons and many more animals on a daily basis! We love them usually, but they do sometimes bring problems. Largely we let them go about their business, but it does get annoying keeping our lawn in good order only to wake up to a dozen molehills over the grass! We haven’t come up with a kind solution to this yet, so for now we’re just trying to live peacefully with them.

Common Garden Problems

I’ve blogged about our garden a few times in the past; it’s a really decent size with a large lawn and a patio area and it’s one of my favourite things about this house. There’s more than enough space for a massive trampoline, the girls paddling pool in the summer and various other slides/tents/swingball-type things, without ever feeling cluttered. However, although it might seem like a big blank space would be easy to manage, we still find various common garden issues which make it harder to maintain. Here’s a few of the things we’ve struggled with:

Japanese Knotweed

 Japanese knotweed is probably one of THE most common problems here in UK gardens and although it might seem tricky to deal with for the average gardener, there are companies out there who have the expertise to deal with japanese knotweed eradication with relative ease. Knotweed can look unsightly but if it’s left to go wild, it can even cause structural issues with your buildings to asking the professionals to deal with it is a really good idea!

Slugs

Last year, I thought I’d have a go at growing some tomatoes, strawberries and a few herbs. They were all doing really well, until a bunch of slugs came along and made a very quick meal of them! I don’t like using strong chemicals, but my mother in law swears by putting crushed eggshells around her seedlings as the slungs don’t like to crawl across is and will leave your plants alone.

Ivy

Our next door neighbours seem to have a love-affair with ivy – it grows over almost their whole property and they sem to be quite happy to let it do so. This was fine, until the burgeoning growth started to push one of our fences down. The trouble with ivy is that it’s seriously hardy and even harsh chemicals don’t always kill it off. Ive needs to be attacked from the root and some people advocate using a mixture of boiling water, white vinegar and salt to kill it without using pesticides.

Mosquitoes

Living by a body of water, as we do, means that we have mosquitoes buzzing around for about 9 months of the year, and only the super cold weather ever kills them off. Lots of people use citronella but the sheer amount of them here would never be put off by a candle! We’ve invested in an electric fly killer which also deals with other flying beasties and it’s the first summer where we’ve had a moments peace!

Wildlife

Living in the countryside means that as well as the usual cats and foxes that everyone has to deal with, we also regularly encounter moles, voles, badgers, bats, egrets, herons and many more animals on a daily basis! We love them usually, but they do sometimes bring problems. Largely we let them go about their business, but it does get annoying keeping our lawn in good order only to wake up to a dozen molehills over the grass! We haven’t come up with a kind solution to this yet, so for now we’re just trying to live peacefully with them.

Creating a Proper Family Garden

We’ve lived in our current house for almost two years now and this year we’re planning to do a bit of a makeover in the back garden. It’s a pretty big space and is very basic, with a large lawn and a patio area, and it’s completely functional as-is, just a little uninspiring. We’re planning to live in this house for years to come so it stands to reason that we should be optimising the space that we have for us as a family. HouseBeautiful have written a great article about making the most of your garden and it’s got me thinking.

Borders

At the moment, our lawn is just one large, plain space, but we’ve been toying with the idea of edging all along one side and adding a flowery border. It would add some much needed colour to the space and would break up the huge expanse of green that the eye sees. We’re also big fans of anything that attracts bees so we’ll definitely be looking into what to plant for a bee-friendly garden.

Shelter

Given the fact that this is Essex and not Marbella, having a shelter in the garden would make it so much more usable because we wouldn’t be at the mercy of the unpredictable English weather. Oeco make a range of garden rooms which would provide us with an amazing outdoor space to allow us to be indoors and outdoors at the same time.

Lighting

Outdoor lighting is something that I get REALLY excited about (I know, I’m tragic) and I’m planning to get some solar powered string lights to give the garden a beautiful Midsummer Night’s Dream feel to it. Our current outdoor light is a fixed-point, motion sensor floodlight which is NOT conducive to relaxed evenings in the garden.

Furniture

Our current garden furniture consists of an old picnic bench which was left be the previous tenants and some plastic garden chairs which were passed on by my mother in law, The current stuff is okay, but it really doesn’t inspire you to spend any time sitting on it! What I’d really like is one of the outdoor sofa sets which would allow us to sit in the garden as a family, as well as enjoying a meal and having guests over too.

Design Touches

I think one of the things which makes our garden look totally plain is the complete lack of design touches, like pots or plants and ornaments. It’s my birthday in June and I’m hoping for vouchers for a garden centre so that I can buy some bits to make our garden look fabulous.

What have you done to make your garden a better space for your family?

So You Can’t Have A Conservatory…

Conservatory’s have always been desirable additions to make to a property. They add extra space, they connect the house to the garden, they are lovely to sit in in summer in the sunshine, or in winter listening to the rain and wind outside. They also let a lot of extra light into the rest of the home. The problem is, there are several reasons you might not be able to have a conservatory including:

  • The necessary means to actually have one built.
  • The ‘right to light’ law means your planning permission has been turned down.
  • The design of the conservatory may not be deemed acceptable to neighbours and may therefore be turned down.
  • You may be trying to build in a protected habitat, so you can’t build because the habitat is protected by law.
  • The building may count as an environmental issue and so, planning permission may be turned down.

There are lots of current laws and legislations surrounding planning permission, and unfortunately it may be that the property you are in cannot be extended in that way.

So what now?

First and foremost you need to let go of the idea of a conservatory, because that simply isn’t the destiny of your home. It was most likely a big dream for you, because it isn’t cheap so you’re likely to have really wanted it to put plans in to make it happen, and that is really hard to digest. But, there are other options for you, that can give you many of the positive points of having a conservatory, without the extension itself.

Light, Light, Light

One of the biggest aspects of a conservatory is the light it brings in. You get to sit in a lovely light room, and the connecting room benefits from this addition of natural light as well. One easy way to get around this, is by investing in bifolding doors. Just think about it. Instead of a big, dark wall cutting you off from the garden, you might not have a conservatory but you will have a big beautiful set of doors that let light in and connect you to the garden. Timber orangeries could also be an option. 

A Lovely Outdoor Space

You may have nicely trimmed grass, some well kept flower beds and perhaps a table and chairs outside, but you don’t have an outdoor space that is essentially another room. A space you can relax in, do work in, entertain in, during all weathers. If you can’t get a conservatory, why not use that garden space to make a ‘garden room’? The key to this room being multifunctional is weather control. Whether it is decking or concrete you’re sitting or standing on, you should have adequate weather protection above you so if it rains, or if the sun is really hot, you have protection. Other ideas to make the perfect garden room are:

  • Adding heating gadgets like an outdoor heater so you can enjoy the space no matter what the weather
  • Adding seating you absolutely love, so you feel comfortable in that space
  • Adding lighting like outdoor fairy lights so the space can be used after dark
  • Adding gadgets like a pizza oven or chiminea (with adequate ventilation) so you can have fun cooking outside as well

Add A Sun Room

A sunroom is often mistaken for a conservatory, but it is not the same thing. A conservatory is often fully glazed, whereas a sunroom has a roof with tiles and offers more protection from the sun. Your sunroom should be OK under Permitted Development laws as long as it hits certain rules such as:

  • Not being bigger than 30 metres square
  • To be single story and no higher than 4 metres
  • To not extend out further than 6 metres on a semi-detached property, or 8 metres on a detached property
  • To be completely free of any porches, verandas or balconies
  • To stand lower than the existing roof of the property

You can check the criteria on the Government’s official planning permission website. This could be the perfect second option for you if you can’t have a conservatory because of planning permission.

See If You Can Get Round Planning Permission

Usually the only rules you can get around when it comes to planning permission relate to when neighbours disagree with your proposed plan. With the right to light law, you would probably need a specialist lawyer if you wanted to contest it as the rules around it are very blurry. If the neighbours are unhappy for any other reason, then you may well be able to adapt your plans to suit. If your heart is set on a conservatory, it may be worth the hassle of changing the plans to make the neighbours happy, and get planning permission.

Add A Summer House

A summer house is a building you have in your garden, but it is not attached to it. A summer house will usually fall under the ‘outbuildings’ category which means it should come under permitted developments. However there are limitations with wildlife conservation areas, listed buildings and other laws and legalities – so always check before you build. If you are able to have one, although not attached to the house, this could be the perfect way to have an additional leisure space on your land.

Hopefully you’re feeling a little more inspired to move forward with your plans to have the home you really want. Remember, whatever puts a stop to your current plans, can always be manoeuvred around or worked with to create new plans, or get your current ones going again, you just need to do your research, make compromises and be persistent.