Category: Landscaping

Humble Driveways are Frequently an Overlooked Part of Your Home

We are not all ‘blessed’ to live in manor houses with and impressive, vast sweeping driveways right up to the front door. However large or small your driveway happens to be, should the opportunity arise where you can improve, re-lay or create a driveway be bestowed upon you, consider the options carefully.

Options for Driveways – Surely Not That Many?

You would think so but actually there are many factors that need considering and various pitfalls to avoid.

The first pitfall to avoid at all costs is do NOT lay the driveway yourself, unless you really do know what you are doing.

Doing-it-yourself is a great way to save money and there is nothing quite like the moment when you sit back, admire your handiwork and say, with a certain sense of smugness, “I did that”.

Driveways, however, are a little more complicated with the foundations and all the other bits you will never see again, need to be perfect before the prettifying top layer goes on. If they are laid wrong, driveways buckle, dip and subside and before you know it, parking the car on the drive becomes akin to a roller coaster ride.

Top Tip number 1

Hence, top tip number 1 is this – get the professionals in to lay driveways.

Top Tip number 2

Which bring us nicely top tip number 2, make sure you research driveway contractors in your area. The best way forward with this is to ask around; driveway contractors usually display their advertising boards at the end of gardens to market themselves for future projects. Or, if you see a newly laid drive, why not ask the homeowner who did it and an idea of cost? Personal recommendation is a good way of selecting contractors.

Materials For Driveways

However, you will need to have an idea of what you want your driveway to be made of. There is a bewildering array of materials available and they all have good points and not-so-good points.

Choosing material for driveways comes to down to several things – your budget and your preference.

Here a whistle-through of some driveway materials available:

Cobblestone

Great for ‘fitting in’ with older style properties but you may find this option quiet expensive.

Paving or flag stones

These slabs now comes in a variety of colours that can be mixed and match, no longer being just ‘pavement grey’. They can also be textured and can be laid in some interesting patterns. They are fairly easy to lay BUT, as pointed out at the start, you need to make sure that a) the foundation is correctly constructed and b) the correct materials are used – otherwise, you’ll have the edges of the flag lifting, uneven one will be broken and the list could go on.

Concrete

A mass produced material and probably the cheapest material for use as driveways. However, there is an unpopular tag with traditional contract and that is the use of cement, meaning that concrete is not an eco-friendly product. For some people, this is not acceptable. There is an environmentally-friendly version called Ashcrete that uses fly ash and other ingredients; if you can source any of these new modern concrete mixes than this may rest easier with your eco conscious.

Asphalt

The stuff they use on roads and, like concrete, it is an economical choice. It is an oil-based material meaning it has a certain degree of flexibility so that it can mould itself.

Tar & chip

Not a material often seen but gives an overall ‘rough’ surface, with loose stones. If you feel you need extra-grip on your driveway surface, then this is the material for you.

Stone

Look fabulous and rather decadent but you will need maintenance (weeding in between the stone paving …)

Gravel

Now, gravel driveways do give a satisfying crunch under footfall and car wheels. Again, correctly laid they can last a very long time and, a ‘hidden’ benefit is this can also be well within budget. Utilising a professional company to lay the correct ‘foundations’ you can top coat the driveway at the point with cheap gravel. You can then simply add the gravel you really want when your budget allows you!

Resin-bonded driveways

This material is the new kid on the block! However, be warned – it is the material used for cycle lanes and such things. But, if you can see past these commercial uses, you could have creative fun with this material with all designs catered for, and a wide range of colours. But, the more flamboyant your design, the more flamboyant the final bill…

Top tip 3 is research

Driveways are not just a place to park the car; they make a statement and can complete the aesthetic appearance of your home. It is a wise move to research and invest in your driveway but do not just rely on web research alone; get out and about – have a look and see what’s out there!

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5 Useful Techniques for Raising Bed Garden

Landscaping is an essential part of the process of developing your garden or backyard. Landscaping requires skills, experience and a complete know how on the grass material and flowers. Many landscaping tasks are both physically and mentally daunting. Physically because they often require shifting around extremely heavy objects. And mentally, because there is always the fear that the particular landscaping project will go terribly wrong and all that effort will be wasted.

Raised Beds A Great Weekend Project

Creating raised beds is a relatively easy starter project for many people. They are used to create attractive planting areas for flowers or better still vegetable gardening. We briefly look at the best way to approach this project, from preparation to completion.

Essential Considerations

  1. Raised bed garden is basically called garden of boxes. People basically use this particular method to grow small amounts of vegetables and flowers. Also, it attracts the visitors and adds life to your yard that is landscaped. Apart from all the useful aspects it also helps with the drainage system of your garden and also prevents the garden from pests like snails and slugs because of its structure.
  2. It is a bed type structure that also helps your soil by the sides and doesn’t let it erode away. Thus, it doesn’t only provide food but also helps the garden and maintains it.
  3. Third useful aspect of these raised bed gardens is that they are quite smooth and eroded in a way that the gardeners who turn older can sit on it and weed the seeds; this will help them reduce their back strains and other back bone issues. Thus, it also helps medically.
  4. You can also add versatility by mounting PVC pipes in your structure which is help the bird nets elevate and help your bed get exposed to the sun properly so that fresh and quite amazing vegetables can be grown.
  5. Avoid using wood by the sides of this raised bed garden because of the danger of pests. These pests that eat wood can ruin all your bed. In order to save your vegetables or flowers use more gigantic material as tiles and marbles which will survive for long. Professional gardeners use these materials because they know the intensity of that wood-made bed gardens.

Raised beds not only look great, but they enable easy access which makes gardening a lot more pleasurable, especially if you have limited movement.

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