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The UK Gardens You Must See in 2020

The UK Gardens You Must See in 2020

Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your next planting season or you’re just in need of a visit to nature’s great outdoors, the UK is teeming with stunning gardens to discover and explore.

We’ve split them out according to season, so whenever the feeling takes you, you can experience a beautiful outdoor space.

Winter Gardens

Mottisfont Winter Garden, Hampshire

With a specially planted winter garden, Mottisfont boasts vibrant colours and intriguing scents. A one-acre garden planted with their gardeners’ favourite winter plants, you can enjoy dogwood, ornamental bramble, berries and winter-flowering perennials, as well as the burgundy and russet tints of ornamental willow and the scents of honeysuckle, witch hazel and viburnum.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont

Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Cornwall

The winter temperatures and shelter from the wind means that even semi-hardy plants thrive at Tremenheere in the colder months. The dramatic landscape, textural plants and artwork make a visit at any time of the year an inspirational one.

www.tremenheere.co.uk (opens mid February)

Ecclesgreig Castle, Angus

This castle, famous for its role as inspiration to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, boasts the snowdrop walk. With over 150 different varieties of snowdrop, hailing the oncoming spring, you’ll walk through balustraded gardens with classical statues and topiary.

scotlandsgardens.org/ecclesgreig-castle (open day 1st of March – it’s a private property and is only open on certain days throughout the year!)

Spring Gardens

Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Kent

Sissinghurst Castle Garden is one of the UK’s most famous gardens. Created by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson in the 1930’s, who transformed the practically barren garden into an outdoor space in one of the first examples of “garden room” design. It’s a must-see garden, from the Lime Walk and the pretty orchard, to the crocuses, daffodils and bluebells in the woodland and fields.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-garden

Attingham Park, Shrewsbury

In Spring, the parkland at Attingham Park begins to bloom. From the bluebell woodland to the walled garden to the tulip displays that burst into life and bring vibrant colours, you can also see the historic bee house, deer, otters and dragonflies and all the usual pond life.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park

Abbotsford House Gardens, Scottish Borders

The home of Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish historical novelist, poet, playwright and historian, who was known for his imagination. Designed by the man himself, it’s an example of a Regency garden layout, and would have showcased the latest plants from around the world.

www.scottsabbotsford.com

Summer Gardens

Scampston Hall, North Yorkshire

This regency country house boasts a contemporary walled garden designed by Piet Oudolf, a Dutch landscape designer. Set within the 18th century walls of the original kitchen garden, it now has a distinctly modern feel.

www.scampston.co.uk

Trebah, Cornwall

A sub-tropical garden in a Cornish valley, next to the sea. With 100-year-old rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias, and giant gunnera, it’s bursting with exotic blooms. They also have adventure play areas, children trails and special events all throughout the year.

www.trebahgarden.co.uk

Great Dixter, Kent

Great Dixter is a house and garden with lots of interesting history. The garden in particular is fascinating to explore, as it sits all the way around the house. The designer of the current garden didn’t believe in segregating plants based on habits, so you’ll see all sorts of plants, and all sorts of colours, together. It’s a riot of a garden that shouldn’t be missed.

www.greatdixter.co.uk

Chatsworth, Derbyshire

The garden at Chatsworth is nearly 500 years old! It’s changed over the years, but there are still many early features that are just as beautiful today as they were when they were installed. From modern waterworks and sculpture walk to a Victorian rock garden and maze, it’s a must visit for 2020.

www.chatsworth.org

Autumn Gardens

Kingston Lacey, Dorset

Autumn at Kingston Lacey is breathtaking. The kitchen garden has fruits and vegetables now ready for harvest, the Japanese garden is red, orange and gold, and there are unusual fungi growing in the fernery. A stunning place to visit in autumn!

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy

Marbury Country Park, Cheshire

Once the gardens of a grand estate, Marbury country park boasts lime avenues that are picturesque in the autumn. With a community orchard, an outdoor pool and an arboretum, it’s a rich and beautiful park that everyone can enjoy.

www.visitcheshire.com

Killerton House, Exeter

From a giant redwood to a Chinese Scarlet Rowan, and a Cotoneaster lacteus with its red berries and furry leaves, Killerton House has lots to boast of in autumn on its 6400-acre grounds. You can even make cider there!

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/killerton

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

In 2020, the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh are celebrating 350 years! So whenever you visit, there’s lots to explore. In autumn, however, the vivid reds, oranges and yellows are a real showstopper.

www.rbge.org.uk

Anywhere that you love that we’ve missed? Let us know on Twitter @Namgrass and on Facebook @NamgrassUK!

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How to make your garden more eco-friendly

How to Make Your Garden More Eco-Friendly

You’re probably aware that the environment is a pretty hot topic at the moment. And you’d be forgiven for thinking that just having a garden makes you pretty eco-friendly already, but like everything we as humans do, our garden has an impact. But don’t worry, there are many different ways that you can improve upon the impact your garden has.

Don’t Buy New

Your garden might be made up of plants, but it also probably consists of a patio or decking, fencing or walls, furniture, pots and more. That’s where you can make a difference – instead of buying new, you can buy something that’s been reused or recycled, and you’ll know that the origin, extraction, manufacture and installation is that little bit more eco-friendly. Look for recycled concrete or plastic for your decking or fencing, as it can be pretty convincing when it’s moulded to look like wood. Places like ebay, freecycle or preloved have all sorts, from furniture to old tin baths, gnomes, buckets – anything and everything that could be put to good use in your garden. Anything that you’re thinking of buying for your garden, you can reduce the impact it has by buying recycled or reused.

Conserve Water

One important element for a lush, green garden is water. But where that water comes from and how you use it is important too. Capitalise on the water that comes from the sky on a very regular basis here in the UK and get yourself a rainwater butt. Collect and store this water though-out the year and you’ll conserve water, reduce your water bills and lower your carbon footprint. You can conserve water by making sure that you are watering your plants. You don’t have to know how each plant likes to be watered, you can simply check the soil, see if it’s damp and if it’s dry, then it should be watered. Only watering plants in the evening – this way the plant can retain more water with its oxygen and nutrients.

Avoid Chemicals

It’s tempting to go straight to the strong stuff when it comes to garden pests, but they can cause harm to other living creatures higher up the food chain. Bees, for instance, might get nectar from that weed you just sprayed with weed killer, and unsurprisingly, it’s not good for bees either! Instead, opt for the natural remedy. For instance, if you’re battling slugs, use copper rings or 2 pence pieces to discourage them. Whatever your ailment, there’ll be a more eco-friendly option for you.

Encourage Wildlife

We’ve already written about encouraging wildlife into your garden (read the full article here), and it definitely has eco-benefits. Think about some of the things that animals need to live – food, water & shelter and consider what kind of wildlife you want in your garden. If you want more insects, consider a variety of native plants, and you’ll entice lots of butterflies and bees. Install an insect hotel for them to live in, as well as a woodpile for those who like a bit of dead and decaying wood. Bird boxes, bird feeders and bird baths will all make your garden more appealing to birds too!

Grow Your Own Food

Growing your own food is great in a number of ways. It means that you’re not eating food that’s been flown across the world, it’s cheaper, and it will taste better too! It doesn’t really matter how much space you have, you’ll be able to plant something! Container gardens are a great place to start, especially if you’ve got limited space. There are plenty of herbs, vegetables and even some fruits work well in containers.

There are lots of different ways to make your garden more eco-friendly, and these ideas just scratch the surface, but it’s a great place to start.

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What Plants are Poisonous to Dogs?

What Plants are Poisonous to Dogs?

It’s easy to forget when creating an aesthetically pleasing garden that plants can be poisonous to both pets and people.

Generally, we look for plants that we think are pretty or interesting, that complement our garden style and other plants that we’ve chosen, and it’s easy to forget that they might be a risk to our pet’s health. Plants such as deadly nightshade, hemlock or lethal mushrooms are often the first things to spring to mind when we think of poisonous plants, but there are many more. In fact, many common garden plants are potentially toxic to our pets. You may think that dogs know that something is poisonous, but they are naturally inquisitive – and they will more often than not eat anything. We’ve all seen those bee-stung faces!

Spring Bulbs & Flowers

Spring bulbs are amongst the most common of garden flowers, and some of them are not just toxic but can be fatal for dogs if eaten. Daffodil bulbs and flowers are poisonous, and if in a vase, the water they sit can be poisonous if drunk.  Your dog would suffer from an upset stomach, vomiting, and make them sleepy and unsure on their feet. Tulips can make your dog drool, sick and give them diarrhoea. Tulips can also give dogs heart problems and difficulty breathing. Azalea, bluebells, cyclamen, foxglove, onion, rhododendron, rhubarb leaves and yew can all be fatal. One of the main issues with spring bulbs is that some dogs like digging things up in the garden, and think bulbs are for eating. It’s recommended to look up your chosen plant to check whether it’s toxic to dogs before you plant it in your garden.

Slug Pellets

Not strictly a plant – but definitely worth mentioning. Slug pellets are used to deter slugs from eating plants, so it’s a regular feature in many a gardener’s arsenal, but if consumed, your dog could have convulsions, breathing problems and be unsteady on their feet. Ideally, avoid using at all if possible. There are many other ways to control slugs, such as copper tape, eggs shells and more that won’t be poisonous to your pets.

How to Prevent your Dog from Eating Toxic Plants

Preventing your dog from eating toxic plants might seem like an impossible task, but there are a few things you can do to minimise the risk. The first step is obvious – avoid planting the poison in the first place. If you’re not sure whether a particular plant is toxic, then make sure that any clippings are tidied away and not left out to wilt. Berries should be cleared away too, so your dog doesn’t even get a chance to consume it. Some dogs may eat poisonous plants because they are bored or stressed, so you may need to look at ways to relax or engage them so they’re less likely to eat garden plants in the first place.

What to do if your Dog has eaten a Poisonous Plant

If you know or suspect that your dog has eaten something poisonous, then seek veterinary advice immediately. Poisoning can manifest in a number of ways, so look out for:

  • Coughing, drooling, wheezing, unconsciousness
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea, disorientation, convulsions, lethargy, twitching, dilated pupils
  • Irritated skin, hives, excessive licking, scratching

Never induce vomiting as it may be more damaging to your dog than if the poison is left in the stomach. It can be tricky to diagnose poisoning, unless you saw your pet eat something toxic, as it is impossible to test for all toxins. There may be an antidote, but more often than not the vet will have to try and maintain normal organ function until the poison has been dealt with out of the body.

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How to Lay an Artificial Grass Roof

How to Install an Artificial Grass Roof

Adding artificial grass to a flat roof is a great way to make sheds, garages, and outbuildings look brighter and more at home in the garden. Whether you’re covering up a felt roof, commonly used on sheds, or want to update a roof terrace or balcony, you’ll get the best results if you follow our installer’s guide to creating an artificial grass roof.  

What You Need

garden shed on fake grass with leafy trees

To install an artificial grass roof, you need:

  • A measuring tape
  • A sharp utility knife
  • Joining tape (if multiple pieces of grass are to be joined)
  • Artificial grass adhesive & a cartridge gun
  • Underlay or shockpad if working with an uneven surface.

Once you have your equipment together, you need to choose, measure up, and order your artificial grass ahead of installation day. Many builders’ merchants and garden centres can sell you artificial grass, and you can use our stockist finder to find your nearest Namgrass retailer.

To calculate the amount of artificial turf you’ll need to order for your green roof, measure the length and width of the roof and multiply the two numbers to get the total surface area. Divide this number by the width of the artificial grass you have selected to find the minimum length you need to order to cover this area.

Make sure you allow at least 10cm excess in each direction to ensure a good fit and easy installation, or you may struggle to get a professional finish. For example: if your chosen artificial turf is cut from 2m wide rolls, covering a 10m­roof would require approximately 5.2m of grass to allow for 10cm of excess in each direction.

Laying an Artificial Turf Roof

Once you have your tools and artificial grass ready, you can start installing your artificial grass roof:

1 – Ensure the roof you plan to cover is structurally sound, and in good condition. Check to make sure it’s not cracked or affected by rot, otherwise you may damage your roof further during installation.

2 – If your roof is uneven, slatted, or tiled, installing a layer of board, shockpad, or underlay can level out the surface to create an even finish.

3 – Work out where you need to cut your artificial grass to cover the full roof, ideally on a piece of paper before you start cutting. Only once you’re confident you’ve got this right should you start cutting the turf to size before placing it in situ. When cutting artificial grass, be sure to cut along the lines of drainage holes in the backing material, or your grass may begin to unravel.

4 – Once you’re satisfied with the fit, fold your grass back along the edges where any pieces meet each other, so that there is a gap between the two pieces of grass and the black backing material is facing up along both pieces of turf.

5 – Roll a strip of joining tape out along the full length of the join between the two pieces of grass, with the shiny side down and sticky side up. Apply a thin layer of artificial grass adhesive along the length of the tape, and fold the grass back down, fixing the black backing firmly to the glue and tape.

6 – When you’re happy with the fit and position of your artificial grass, and all the joins between each piece are secure, roll your turf up to one end and lay an even bead of artificial grass adhesive around the perimeter of the roof.

7 – Unroll your artificial turf carefully, making sure the edges lines up properly with your original fit. Lift the edge you rolled the grass away from up and apply a bead of adhesive along this edge and press your turf back into position.

8 – Once the adhesive has dried and your turf is firmly secured, give it a quick brush over with a bristle brush to raise the pile and lift any flattened grass.

joint tape rolled out to join artificial grass
glueing artificial grass with glue gun

After a few hours, your artificial grass roof will be firmly secured in place and looking fresh, green, and natural. Now you can relax and enjoy your handiwork, without the added fuss of maintaining a natural green roof.

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Our 5 Favourite Gardening Blogs

Our 5 Favourite Gardening Blogs

One of the best ways to get inspiration for garden design, information about care and maintenance and a sense of community is through garden blogs. With information on everything from encouraging wildlife into your garden to growing veg to figuring out your new design, you can discover everything you need for a happy, beautiful garden with blogs.   Here at Namgrass, we have a few gardening bloggers that we love, and we want to share them with you.

The Middle Sized Garden

As the name suggests, this blog caters to those of us with gardens that are bigger than a courtyard, but smaller than an acre. Aimed at people who need a bit of inspiration, or who are in need of hints and tips to help them turn their garden into a space they love.

With gorgeous imagery and a mix of helpful articles, you can read about gardens you should see if you’re travelling, garden design trends and even decoration for garden parties. If you have questions about your garden – from which hedge is the right one to how to find a gardener – then this blog should be your first port of call. www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk

Veg Plotting

With over ten years under her belt, Michelle at Veg Plotting is an experienced gardening blogger. More of a personal blog, she tackles a number of different subjects, ranging from her experimental “try it and see what happens” allotment to her weekend wanderings in London in search of green walls.

She’s like a friend updating you on the latest she’s been up to with #mygardenrightnow, interesting things she’s discovered and any gardening insights she thinks might help you too. vegplotting.blogspot.co.uk

Wildflower Hour

Wildflower Hour is a blog, a podcast and a twitter hour with the mission of helping everyone love wild flowers. Every Sunday between 8 and 9pm, the people behind Wildflower Hour encourage everyone to share photos of the flowers that they’ve found in Britain and Ireland.

Whether it’s to share the beauty, to find out if anyone can ID the flower you’ve found or just to enjoy a flood of wildflowers in your feed each week, we love the idea. Do you know how to recognise a basal rosette, for instance? They also create a half hour podcast where a group of enthusiastic botanists talk about wildflowers and nature in general. You don’t have to be a plant nerd to listen either! www.wildflowerhour.co.uk

Rusty Duck

Each post of Jessica’s, the lady behind Rusty Duck, reads like a story. She’s been documenting her adventure in the country with wildlife that has no concept of a garden boundary, and a cottage renovation.

Relatable (how many of us have chased squirrels away from the bird feeder like a banshee?), funny and always entertaining, Jessica’s blog posts never fail to evoke a reaction, whether it’s laughter or understanding. Rusty Duck has won many accolades which proves that her blog really is as good as we say it is!

Wildlife Gadget Man

Did you know that the hedgehog population of the UK is falling dramatically? Your garden can provide hedgehogs with food, a safe place to sleep, and help them hide from predators.

Wildlife Gadget Man’s website can help you turn your garden in to a haven for wildlife. His website is a really useful resource if you’re interested in that Venn diagram between attracting wildlife, technology and gardening DIY. It even has a section on wildlife blogging if you’re interested in starting up your own blog. From building birdfeeders and making hedgehog homes to nest box camera guides and more, it’s filled to the brim with helpful information to make sure that your garden is ideal for wildlife. wildlifegadgetman.com

Do you have any favourite garden bloggers? Do you have any that you love that you don’t see here? Let us know on Twitter @Namgrass

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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Artificial Grass

The Ultimate Guide to Buying Artificial Grass

The popularity of artificial grass is growing. More and more people are opting for this route due to the ease of artificial grass maintenance in comparison to that of a natural one.

As specialist suppliers of artificial grass in the UK, we want to make the process of browsing and buying artificial grass as easy and straightforward as possible. There are however, are a few important factors to consider, so we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to buying artificial grass, so when you come to buy yours, you’ll feel armed with all the right knowledge to make the best choice for you.

How to Choose Artificial Grass

The reason you’re looking into buying artificial grass will inform all the decisions that come afterwards, so it’s important to know why. There are a number of reasons why you might want an artificial lawn, including:

  • To look beautiful all year round – no messy mud!
  • To save yourself the effort of keeping a natural lawn – easy artificial grass maintenance
  • To stand up under the stress of kids and pets

Your Budget for Artificial Grass

The first thing you should do is to set your budget. Artificial grass cost will be a deciding factor on the types of products that you look at – you don’t want to fall in love with a type of grass that you can’t afford. Most grass will be sold in metres squared, so knowing how much you can afford per metre will help you filter out grass out of your price range.

  • Measure the space you want covered by artificial grass. Our How to Measure Guide and Plan Your Project tool explains how to do this in full.
  • Decide whether you’d like to handle the artificial grass installation yourself or have an installer do it for you. You will have to pay for an installer, but it will be usually be smoother than doing it yourself. If you do opt for DIY, take a look at our How to Install Guide.
  • There are a few factors that can increase the cost of artificial grass installation, including how much work needs to be done to prepare the ground. Artificial grass is a permeable surface, so any water will go through into the soil below and drain away. However, if your soil is very dense, like clay soil, then you may need more aggregate in order to make sure that water doesn’t pool when it rains.
  • If you’re doing the install yourself, you’ll need to consider whether you are able to remove the material and introduce the aggregates you need easily (the average job of 40 sqm is around 5-6 tonnes of aggregate).
  • It’s also worth budgeting in for the tools and accessories needed for the job. If you’re handling the artificial grass installation yourself, then be sure to check our guide to the 10 artificial grass tools you’ll need.

Get a few quotes to compare prices and decide whether an installer doing it for you is within budget. You can find your local installers here.

The Different Qualities of Artificial Grass

Time for the fun bit – choosing the right grass for you. Not all synthetic grass products are the same, so let’s take a moment to look into the different qualities of artificial grass, and what to look out for when comparing products.

Pile Height

Artificial grass comes in a variety of pile heights, depending on its intended use. Longer grasses, around 30mm mark, will give a lush, luxurious look, whereas shorter, 16-27mm products will look neater, and make for great artificial grass for dogs, pets, or kids.

Weight

Good quality artificial grass should be weighty, with a weight of 2-3kg per metre square. The weight is particularly important if you’re installing it yourself, as you will have to lift and move the roll around.

Colour

Because there are two elements to an artificial lawn, the grass blades and the thatch, there’s a vast range of colour combinations to choose from. You could go for a natural look, but whether that’s a light or a dark green is up to you and what looks natural in your garden. We’d recommend ordering samples and going out into your garden at different times of the day to see how the sunlight makes it look. Make sure that the pile is facing the house or the main viewing point. This is how your lawn will be placed and it makes a difference to the way your lawn will look.

Samples

When comparing samples, it’s important to look at the quality of the yarn and the backing. As well as the right colour, the yarn should be UV stabilised so it won’t fade in the sunlight. It should feel like natural grass too. The backing should be permeable, so water can drain through, as well as containing holes in case it rains heavily and there is a large volume of water. In fact, why not order up to four free samples from us today?

 

Things to Consider

A few other questions to ask include:

Where is the grass made?

The quality of artificial grass can vary depending on where it’s made. Chinese manufacturers, for example, use C4 materials (as opposed to C6), which could be recycled polyethylene that’s sensitive to temperature and potentially unstable when it comes to UV light. This means that the product is cheap, but the quality is poor too.

Namgrass is manufactured in Belgium, using high quality, C6 materials. This means that your artificial grass is stronger, less sensitive to temperature, UV stable and softer to the touch.

What is the warranty like?

When looking at samples, or comparing manufacturers, it’s important to look at the warranties in detail. How long does it last for and what does it cover?

Namgrass’ warranty is for 10 years. Being part of Europe’s largest manufacturing group we have a very close working relationship with them so we can comfortably offer warranty on our grasses. It covers UV stabilisation or colour fade and the general integrity of the product.

So there you have it, a complete guide to buying artificial grass. If you have any more questions about synthetic grass, feel free to get in touch or ask your installer – they’ll be able to answer any questions that you may have specific to your artificial grass project.

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Your Year of Gardening Jobs

Your Year of Gardening Jobs

The joy of gardening is that it changes throughout the year.

Whether you’re tending to an ornamental garden or you’re growing your own vegetable patch, no two months are the same.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy guide on what to do each month in the garden, then you’re in the right place. Read ahead for our breakdown of monthly tasks to keep your garden looking beautiful.

January

In the depths of winter, the weather can be bitterly cold. It makes it a great month for planning, sorting and getting your seeds and plants in order. Put out food and water for birds and leave your garden uncut to provide shelter for wildlife.

If you’re considering an artificial grass lawn, now is the time to get planning. Use our Project Planner to spec out what you might need.

Your Must-Do Jobs for January

  • Clean pots and tidy the shed and/or greenhouse
  • Dig over any vacant plots
  • Plan your fruit and veg crop and order your seeds
  • Start your veg. Onions, leeks and garlic should be planted now
  • Prune apple and pear trees.

February

The days are getting longer and the temperatures are rising, it looks like spring is definitely on the way! Preparation for the next season is key, as well as helping your garden come back to life.

Your Must-Do Jobs for February

  • Prepare veg seed beds and sow seeds under-cover
  • Net any fruit and veg crops to keep the birds off
  • Prune winter-flowering shrubs, wisteria and hardy evergreen hedges
  • Chit potato tubers.
Year of Gardening - Spring-min

March

Spring finally says hello in March and the arrival of slightly warmer, sunnier days means that you can get out tidying the garden and sowing seeds.

Your Must-Do Jobs for March

  • Plant summer bulbs and protect your new shoots from slugs
  • Plant shallots, onions and early potatoes
  • If you have a natural lawn, it may need mowing now. Of course, an artificial lawn won’t need mowing at all!
  • Tend to weeds.

April

Spring is sprung as flowers start to bloom and trees start to blossom. Sunny days interspersed with April showers and chilly nights mean that outdoor planting can begin.

Your Must-Do Jobs for April

  • Sow hardy annuals, herbs and wild flower seeds
  • If you have a natural lawn, you’ll have to sow any new grass seeds now and repair bare patches
  • Feed shrubs, roses and citrus plants
  • Prune fig trees
  • Tie in climbing and rambling roses.

May

There are plenty of things to do in the garden as May gets underway. Spring bulbs will fade but the rest of the garden will start growing voraciously.

Your Must-Do Jobs for May

  • Earth up potatoes
  • If you have a lawn, you should be mowing on a weekly basis throughout summer
  • Clip hedges (though be careful to check for nesting birds)
  • Start to plant out summer bedding
  • Regularly get rid of weeds.
Year of Gardening - Summer-min

June

Summer is here, and all that light and warmth makes for lots of growth and an enjoyable time working on the garden.

Your Must-Do Jobs for June

  • Hoe in dry conditions to keep down weeds
  • Position summer hanging baskets and containers
  • Stake tall or floppy plants
  • Harvest early potatoes and salad vegetables
  • Use water sparingly so it doesn’t get wasted.

July

July is the perfect time to enjoy your garden and revel in the hard work you’ve put in! It’s one of the hottest months of the year, so plants need to be well tended to. Keep new plants watered and make sure you keep on top of those weeds.

Your Must-Do Jobs for July

  • Clear any algae and debris from ponds
  • Deadhead bedding plants and repeat-flowering perennials for continuous flowering
  • Pick courgettes, unless you want marrows!
  • Your natural lawn will need some summer feed
  • Water potted plants and tubs if dry.

August

As the temperature continues to heat up, watering becomes really important. It’s also holiday season, so you might have to get help to look after the garden if you go away.

Your Must-Do Jobs for August

  • Deadhead flowering plants
  • Collect seeds from garden plants
  • Harvest veg as it becomes ready
  • Feed the soil with manure
  • Keep an eye on water features so they don’t run dry.
Year of Gardening - Autumn-min

September

Autumn is creeping up in September as the temperature cools and the days get shorter. It’s the month for enjoying the spoils of harvest from your fruit or vegetable patch.

Your Must-Do Jobs for September

  • Net ponds
  • Dig up any remaining potatoes
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs
  • Clean out the greenhouse.

October

The trees are changing colour from vibrant, lush greens to reds, oranges and browns. The temperature is decidedly chilly, and the threat of winter is on the horizon.

Your Must-Do Jobs for October

  • If the weather is still dry, this will probably be the last chance you’ll get before the wet weather to mow your lawn
  • Cut back on perennials
  • Move tender plants indoors or into a greenhouse
  • Finish collecting seeds from the garden.

November

It’s windy and it’s rainy, and it’s getting cold. Some plants will need protection from the weather, and birds may need help with food and water.

Your Must-Do Jobs for November

  • Clear up fallen leaves from lawns and ponds
  • Plant tulip bulbs for spring next year
  • Plant out winter bedding
  • Put out bird food.
Year of Gardening - Winter-min

December

There shouldn’t be too much to do in the garden this month. The cold will mean that you’ll be mainly checking winter protection and harvesting any winter veg.

Your Must-Do Jobs for December

  • Take hardwood cuttings
  • Harvest leeks, parsnips and any other root crop
  • Prune acers, birches and vines
  • Check greenhouse heaters.

How are you feeling about the year ahead? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook @Namgrass

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Great Grass Giveaway Garden

Family garden laid with artificial grass

Great Grass Giveaway winner

In celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday last year we ran a competition to transform your lawn and giveaway 90sqm of Namgrass. To enter you had to tell us your best gardening tip and the public did not disappoint! Our lucky winners Joan and Bob Carr from Southend-On-Sea told us:

“Every day when I go out into the garden to put washing out etc. I always go out to the garden and get the weeds out, check for dead flies, and check the fruit trees so more can grow quickly”.

Not only were they super excited about having their lawn transformed, it was perfect timing! Having recently moved from Stevenage to Southend-On-Sea they didn’t have time to focus on the garden as much as they’d like to. The new family home boasts three generations of the family from grandparents Joan and Bob to two young grandchildren, they really wanted a garden that was fuss-free and that the kids can enjoy all year round and not get muddy. Namgrass artificial grass was the perfect solution! The product we used was Meadow for its deeper colour and trying to keep it as close to the colour of their natural lawn. Watch their story and find out more about the lovely winners.

We had thousands of entries to the competition, each with a useful tip so we’ve compiled a few gardening tips for you to try. Rachael Buckley A lovely garden can be ruined by pests that munch on your plants! Deter them by sprinkling left over coffee grounds on your beds! Keeps the pests away and enriches the soil! Katy Hanson My top gardening tip: If you like wildlife to visit your garden. Bees and finches are particularly attracted to lavender! If you also ensure you have some daisies, as these are important as they have nectar in their centre. Claire Dainty My gardening tip is don’t stress about it, your garden is there to enjoy!! Do what you can and gets the kids involved! My son loves to pick fruit and veg.

Bird feeder hanging from a tree
Grandmas garden sign hanging from a tree

Debbie Tunstall My top tip to keep your garden in bloom. Make sure you dead head morning and evening this helps the plant to produce more flowers. Carley Smith My mum’s top tip was ifyou’re not sure whether it’s a weed or a flower ask yourself do you like it? As long as you love your garden that’s all that matters. Karen Scammell I use pop bottles with the bottoms cut off to use as mini cloches for my sunflower seedlings and to keep the slugs off while they grow. Joanna Blyther My best tip is to invite everyone over for a ‘garden party ‘ and when they arrive get everyone to do some gardening for you.

Coleen Collins Let all flowers seed & then swap seedlings with friends & neighbours. Great variety of plants for free! Ruth Mears Put Vaseline around all your plant pots fancy containers, it stops the snails or other bugs from getting to your plants. Frances Newton My gardening tip is I keep my plants in pots which stops my 3 dogs digging them up and I can move them around which makes my garden more interesting. We hope you find these tips useful, we sure did! Keep your eyes peeled for more gardening tips coming soon.

Glass bottles hanging from tree
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How to Keep Your Artificial Grass Looking Newer for Longer

neat and tidy artificial lawn

How to Keep Your Artificial Grass Looking Newer for Longer

Artificial grass is probably one of the best investments you could make to your home. Gone are the weekends spent trying to tame your lawn, or telling your children (or dogs) to wipe their muddy shoes (or paws) from the garden. Instead, you will have extra precious time to spend on what you love to do and you’ll have the added benefit of having more space in your garden or garage – you won’t need to store a lawnmower anymore! With this in mind, you want your grass to look as perfectly manicured as it was when you first had it installed, and we have a few tips to make your grass last longer.

1. Protect heavy traffic areas


Think of your artificial grass as outdoor carpet. And just like the carpet in your home, your artificial lawn will have heavy traffic areas. The impact of heavy traffic can quickly cause the fibres of your grass to sit in different directions, which makes it look flatter than the rest of your lawn. So just as with natural grass, we recommend we recommend having a paving slab or two to step onto right under the stepping point from your home or any other heavy traffic areas.

2. Rotate heavy equipment


If you have a lovely set of garden furniture, planters or even some goal posts resting on your lawn it may be time to consider a layout shift. Just like natural turf, the fibres of artificial lawn will sit flatter due to being in more use and under more impact. Fear not! A good brushing with a stiff yard brush will help to stimulate the grass pile, resulting in a fresher looking lawn. Changing the layout of your lawn will also result in even wear, keeping it in better condition for longer.

3. Consider placements of decorative pieces


More often than not, once you have artificial grass laid, you tend to want to ‘finish’ the garden using additional plants and decorative pieces. What you need to consider is whether there are any mirrors, shiny features or any glass adjacent to the area you are installing – even a garden shed window.

It is quite common to have these in a garden, but the placement of the grass and the shiny objects are an important consideration. If they are in full sun for the majority of the day, the sun’s rays can be reflected and magnified onto the grass causing it to burn. Therefore, the layout is really key in ensuring that doesn’t happen.

4. Keep it Clean


After a while, common debris such as soil and twigs can find their way onto your lawn. Although these things will not directly affect your lawn, this matter does encourage the growth of weeds – the dreaded plant life for all lawns, both artificial and natural! Give your lawn some TLC from time-to-time with a good brushing, using a stiff brush or plastic rake. Alternatively, turn your neighbours’ heads by giving your lawn a vacuum – after all it is your outdoor carpet!  

5. Artificial Grass and Pets


Artificial lawn is a great option for pet-owners. While our furry friend’s business can leave natural lawn discoloured, creating an overall patchy effect, this does not happen to artificial grass. However, it is still a good idea to apply an artificial grass cleaner, this will not only freshen up the appearance of your lawn it will also reduce the build up of odours.  

By taking these steps on board you’re sure to have a luscious lawn for years to come!

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Keeping the Kids Entertained this Summer

Keeping the Kids Entertained this Summer

Keeping the kids entertained can be difficult at the best of times, especially during the summer break. Are you struggling with inspiration and wanting to make the most of your garden this summer? We have some fun ideas that will get the whole family involved and in the garden!

The Classics

Games played and passed on from one generation to the next. These games are timeless.

1. Swingball – need we say more? Hours of fun – even if you’re playing on your own!

2. Making dens – there is something quite magical about building dens in the garden. It’s an adventure in itself trying to find materials to make the den out of – old sheets or curtains, battered logs or simply some cardboard boxes. Once it’s made comes the fun part – decorating. Do you have old furniture lying around which can be used in the den?

3. Piggy in the middle – a simple but fun game for all the family. Even the dog can get involved!

Kids playing in their paddling pool
senior man with his grandaughter planting a seedling on allotment. Man and a small girl gardening.

For Those Who Like to Explore

There are many things to find in the garden – natural or otherwise. The look of satisfaction on your little ones faces will be totally worth the muddy fingers.

1. Play the archaeologist – plant some toys or treasures around the garden for your children to find. They will have hours of fun digging to see what hidden treasures they can find. If your children are younger you can use a sand pit table and hide toys in the sand for them to dig out. You may even have a mini Indiana Jones in your midst!

2. Something for the brave – try and find as many insects as you can. Children love this game and are not shy about getting dirty and stuck in. This game is also a great numbers game as the children can count each one they’ve managed to find.

3. For nature lovers – show your children some pictures of various flowers and plants in your garden and ask them to find it. For each they find, reward them with a fun fact or a healthy treat (or not!).

Get Moving

If you’re sporting types, then why not hold your own Olympics? Whether it’s a one-day event or you spread it across the summer, there’s no better way to get little ones moving.

  1. Length-of-the-garden race. However long your garden is – get your kids and their friends to run the length and back.
  2. Football. If you’re lovers of the sport, then consider a tournament! If not, a how-many-can-you-get-to-the-back-of-the-net competition will do.
  3. Bowling. Grab a lawn game set and have a see if you can knock over the skittles!
  4. Jumping. How high, how far. Get the tape measure out and see who wins!
Cute little blonde hair boy enjoy blooming lilac in the domestic garden in warm day.
Father and son playing soccer in the garden

Take the Heat Off

There’s nothing kids love more, than a water fight on a hot day. With that in mind, why not transform your garden into the ultimate waterpark complete with hosepipes, sprinklers and a paddling pool. Create your own slip n’ slide using a large sheet of tarpaulin and hosepipes – then see who can slide the longest! Fill balloons with water, to create a water balloon pinata, which is sure to bring fun and a much needed cool down to all the family!

Gardening

Help the children understand the garden from a young age and get them to help you with planting flowers, herbs or seeds. By planting themselves they’ll have more of an interest in its progress. You could even hold sunflower races to see which sunflower grows to be the tallest.

As you can see the garden really is a great playground for you and the family. However if you have a lawn which is more Sahara Desert than play-pit then it might be time to consider artificial grass so your lawn is play-time ready all year round.