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Pressure washers: low maintenance garden design

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Pressure washers: low maintenance garden design
Pressure washers: low maintenance garden design

One of the best ways to maintain a garden is using high quality tooling such as pressure washers which will assist in keeping maintenance to an absolute minimum and get the job done as quickly as possible with no fuss. In this article we will go through some of the best pressure washers and the way in which they can be used and also if there are any advantages to any of the modern technology gardening gadgets available these days.

Pressure washers have come a long way over the last 5 years and there’s some incredible technology advancements and I hope to share those with you in this article.

The ultimate in low maintenance and design: cordless pressure washers

The ultimate low maintenance and design is the cordless pressure washer that’s because basically the quickest to set up and the quickest to disassemble as well as the best in terms of the amount of time it takes to get a garden clean. It doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with the decking or need to clean down the windows and doors or a conservatory type item for that matter, the best thing to have is a powerful cordless pressure washer because it simply gets the job done far better and quicker than every other out on the market.

powerful cordless pressure washer
powerful cordless pressure washer

Because of the battery technology these days it actually happens that the cordless pressure washers have got plenty of power and last for at least 30 minutes at a time which gives you more than enough to clean down even than ample size garden.

Why is low maintenance cleaning so important?

Low-maintenance cleaning in the garden is so important because we just simply don’t have the time these days we were all working and actually trying hard to earn money with that don’t have any time to get the garden keep it maintained. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that the tools we buy have do the job exactly as they should and help us to minimise the overall amount of time that we need to spend doing this. I should give us a little bit of a chance to spend some time with the family or without children and perhaps not so much on chores around the home. That’s why if I had any recommendation it would be to get yourself a pressure washer for a low-maintenance garden.

Pressure Washer Cleaning Garden Bench
Pressure Washer Cleaning Garden Bench

Another reason the tools that we buy are so important is because we want to make sure that we make an absolute brilliant job of the cleaning that we do. And having a high quality pressure washer makes cleaning extremely easy and comfortable to do. If you’ve ever tried to scrubbing the deck for example you’ll understand that it takes hours and hours by hand and actually extremely painstaking labour whereas if you’ve got some decent chemicals and a higher powered pressure washer you can get the job done in a fraction of the time as well as save yourself an awful lot of energy in the process. There’s a lot of places where a pressure washer won’t work and you will need to use your hand but in the situation of something that’s just a large flat surface area such as decking or windows and conservatories and it makes absolute sense to use a pressure washer wherever possible.

How long does it take for a pressure washer to pay me back around the garden? If you want

to consider the case study of having to clean the decking by hand or using the pressure washer it’s typical the decking that’s cleaned by hand takes almost 4 hours whereas cleaning it with her pressure washer will take just as little as 1 hour. That means every single time you clean your decking your saving 3 hours and if you calculate how much you would say for earning 3 hours work then that’s how you should really be looking at how quickly a pressure washer will pay back in the garden. That would make extreme low-maintenance high quality design idea in my mind. If you consider the typical decking is cleaned three times a year that means that you’ll save 9 hours. Most people earn enough money to justify the cost of a pressure washer with just the decking cleaning alone. If you can see that a decent pressure washer only costs around about £100 then 12 hours means that even on minimum wage in the UK that you have covered the cost of a pressure washer pretty quickly. Overall it’s one of the best low-maintenance garden items you can have and if I was going to design a garden to be low-maintenance it would be one of the tools I would have for sure the pressure washer

Design Inspiration: Drought-Resistant Garden

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Drought Resistant Garden
Drought Resistant Garden

If you live in the south of England, you’ll probably be sick of drought warnings and hosepipe bans. But even if you aren’t affected by the current lack of rain, you’d do well to learn a bit about drought-resistant gardening since global warming is likely to give the whole country longer, drier summers. So what can gardeners do?

Firstly, you can begin to change the style of plants you choose to plant. Instead of opting for traditional moisture-loving flowers and shrubs, take a look south for inspiration. Locations such as the Mediterranean, North Africa, Mexico and parts of Asia have many gorgeous indigenous species that are perfectly adapted to drier conditions. And don’t forget perennials such as grasses – many species are drought resistant and look stunning. You could even create a rock garden full of succulents – the ultimate camels of the plant world that can go months without watering – yet stay in tip top shape.

Next, collect and store as much water as you can, using traditional water butts as well as more modern ideas such as trapping water beneath patios and inside walls. “Gardeners should make the most of any downpours” You can also reduce water loss from the soil using mulch, and try not to dig when it’s really hot.

Hot Plants

With a bit of research you’ll soon discover that there’s no end of gorgeous flowers, shrubs and trees that can survive and even thrive with very little watering. Take plants that you see across the south of France, for instance. Lavenders, sunflowers and many herbs such as rosemary and thyme are perfectly suited to dry conditions. Paths lined with purple and white lavender and herbs, not only look stunning, but insects – and cooks – will love them too.

Planting Herbs
Planting Herbs

Most silver-leaved species, such as convolvulus are also extremely drought-tolerant, so you could also create shimmering silvery borders.

Supersavers

If you think capturing rainwater means ugly green plastic water butts, think again. There are a variety of gorgeous rainwater storage systems on the market – how about an aged oak barrel straight from a Scottish distillery? Or what about stylish silver galvanised or white metal water butts that will look fabulous on any patio?

Out of View

The idea is to dig a large hole in your garden and create a miniature underground reservoir inside by lining it with waterproof membrane. Stack specially designed plastic boxes on top of the membrane and you can build on top of it, laying a patio over the whole thing, for example. When it rains, water percolates through the patio and boxes beneath and is trapped by the membrane. A pump installed inside one of the boxes can then spray the water to wherever it is needed in the garden. You could even build a reservoir inside garden walls and under paths.

agave

Hold the Water

Succulents aren’t just plants for popping in small displays on your windowsill. You can turn their fantastic variety of colour and texture into striking displays in the garden, whether in established rockeries or in tubs, pots or sinks. They come in all shapes and sizes, from spikey, stripy Agave to delicate sedum and the architectural Echeveria. With their fleshy leaves, these hardy little plants will need next to no watering yet create a stunning display throughout the summer.

Meadowlands

For more inspired drought-resistant planting, you won’ do better than grasses. Many of the blue foliage varieties such as Festuca Elijah Blue and Elymus magellanicus look amazing but can tolerate extremely dry conditions. Some Californian grasses and sedges such as Carex praegracillis can also handle extremely dry conditions. The shorter species are perfect alongside paths and patios or in tubs. The taller varieties can be planted as transparent screens that will highlight colourful planting beyond.

Gardening Guides: How to Plant in Pots

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Re-potting a house plant

  • Check the roots of your houseplants regularly. When the root ball fills the pot it is time to repot into a larger container. Water your plant about an hour before repotting, as this will make it easier to remove the plant from its pot and reduce root damage.
  • Remove your plant from its pot. Check the roots for damage and cut off any that look dead or diseased.
  • Choose a clean flowerpot about 2” bigger than the one the plant was growing in. Fill the bottom of the new container with about 2” of Multi-Purpose compost. Place the plant in the centre of the container and fill all round the side of the pot with more compost, making sure that you push the compost down into the sides with your fingers, but still ensure there is air in the compost. Tap the sides of the container to aid settling the compost.
  • Water the plant. Keep the plant in its normal environment until it has settled into its new pot or container and feed with a high nitrogen fertiliser to aid vigorous root growth.
Re-potting a house plant
Re-potting a house plant

Tips for success with terracotta pots

  • Soak terracotta pots thoroughly before planting, so they do not draw the moisture from the newly planted compost and plants
  • Make sure you give all plants a thorough watering before planting.
  • Plant up large pots in their planting position to save you lifting heavy items.
  • Place a layer of coarse gravel in the bottom of your container, this will help drainage. Fill to the brim with compost, but only firm it once plants are in place.
  • Mix water-retaining gel into the compost before planting to help your plants survive if you forget to water.
  • Add either a controlled release fertiliser to your compost before planting, or feed your plants every week with a suitable fertiliser, Regular feeding makes a difference to how your plants perform throughout the summer
Terracotta clay pots for garden plants and flowers.
Terracotta clay pots for garden plants and flowers.

Design Your Own: Garden Surfaces

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Garden Surfaces
Garden Surfaces

Stone, slate, decking, gravel – modern gardens are as much about textures as they are about plants. So, choosing the right surface materials is all part of bringing your garden plan to life. Whatever surface you go for, getting the design right in the first place will save you a lot of headaches later.
If you’re laying a patio, create gaps in the design by leaving out a few paving stones. You can fill these openings with decorative gravel, slate or plants.
Lay decking planks close together (around 5mm). The surface will be more comfortable to walk on in bare feet – and you’ll be less likely to lose objects between the cracks!

Decorative Gravel

Perfect Patios

A patio of stone slabs is an ideal way to extend your living space into the garden. If the patio is adjacent to the house, make sure that the surface will be at least 15cm below the damp-proof course. And incorporate a slight fall away from the building, so that rainwater won’t pool. A drop of around 1cm per 1m should do the trick. Design-wise, explore slabs of differing – but related – sizes. The patterns you can build up with these slabs will be much more interesting than a plain grid.

Crunch Time

Gravel is the cheapest of the hard surfaces on offer for the garden and it’s also one of the easiest to lay. But that doesn’t mean you can skimp on the preparation. It’s not enough to level the earth, sling down a weed suppressing membrane and scatter some gravel. You need to stabilise the area first. Dig to a depth of at least 10cm and edge the area with pressure-treated timber boards of the same height. Then pack in a 7cm layer of “scalpings” – rough stones. Hire a vibrating compressing machine for this job. Only then can you scatter your 2.5cm layer of surface gravel.

Garden Surfaces
Garden Surfaces

Best of the Rest

The warm hues of brick paths work well in the garden but need regular attention to stop them becoming slippery. They’re also a good edging medium. Cobbles – available in natural and artificial stone – make a highly decorative surface. They can be quite a challenge to lay accurately, though. Bark can do duty as an inexpensive material for informal paths. It also makes a great surface for children’s play areas. Smooth pieces of slate look smart and are much easier than gravel to push a wheelbarrow over.

Design Inspiration: Lush Planting

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Lush Planting
Lush Planting

Architectural planting is big in the gardening world at the moment and if you’ve ever fancied giving it a go then look no further! The key is to pick plants with strong, positive shapes and position them to create interesting single features or as a contrast against softer, more rounded planting areas. Keep it simple – you can use colour, but shape is the key here and the more striking the better.

Key Plants

Use big-leaved plants like Hostas and Cannas for impact – in addition, they’ll create a sense of abundance. Combine these with the vertical spikes of purple-leaved New Zealand Flax (Phormiums) for a strong contrast of colour, form and texture. Mature ferns or fern-like plants give further contrast and add lushness to a scheme. Even fairly ordinary ferns can seem exotic when twinned with large-leaved plants.

To create a lush and verdant feel in your garden, try adding the following plants…

Canna

Cannas have not only huge paddle-shaped leaves but orchid-like flowers in fiery reds and oranges. They grow up to 1.5metres (5ft), are semi-hardy and suit most soils. For a striking arrangement, plant alongside Australian Callistemons with its red bottlebrush flowers and Abutilons.

Canna
Canna

Honeybush (Melianthus)

This architectural, evergreen shrub has exotic, glaucous blue foliage – spectacular, grey-green to steely blue-grey leaves that will grow up to 50cm (20in) long, with spikes of brownish-crimson to deep brick-red flowers. Plant with the large Euphorbia mellifera from Madeira to attract attention.

Hosta (Hosta)

Hostas are good-lookers in many situations. They’re perfect for shady gardens and light woodlands, and they’re just right for patio pots and herbaceous borders. Their flowers are a satiny mauve and white and they grow to around 35cm (14in) high, 66cm (26in) wide. They are, however, less than perfect when slugs have been at them, so make sure you control the pests if you want pristine Hostas.

Hosta

Holboellia latifolia

This twining evergreen South American climber has rich green leaves and can be grown on a north-facing wall. Vigorous and hardy (although it may need sheltering from strong winter winds), it will grow up to 4.5m (15ft).

Design Inspiration: Seaside Garden

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For many people, the epitome of a seaside garden is the one belonging to the film director, Derek Jarman. Out of the windswept dunes and shingle of the Kent coast near Dungeness, he created an extraordinary garden filled with sculpture, stones and plants that blend seamlessly into the beach beyond. Not all of us are gifted with such imagination and talent, but the lure of seaside living is still a powerful one. The advantages of living by the sea are obvious – the downside is that your garden has to withstand some pretty hostile elements – like salty sea spray and gales.

So, can you create a horticultural paradise by the sea, or are you better off terracing the whole thing over and just looking at the view? Contrary to accepted wisdom, many plants will withstand and even thrive in seaside conditions, and as long as you’re realistic about what you plant, you can create a verdant seaside garden. It could even be a look that inland gardeners will want to copy!

First steps

Before you decide which plants to buy, think about the prevailing climate. Are you in the south or west where the weather is quite temperate, or are you battling against the colder temperatures of the north? Then take a look at the view beyond the garden. Is your garden near a sandy beach or a rocky inlet? It’s important that all gardens ‘fit’ the environment they are in, but this is particularly true of seaside gardens.

Natural reflections

If you’re gardening near a sandy beach, choose plants that reflect the dunes beyond. Use grasses like the tall grey green grass Helictotrichon sempervirens (blue oat grass). Try to concentrate your planting in naturalistic drifts.

Helictotrichon Semperviren

Golden sands

Tree lupins are a perennial that love sandy conditions. They come in a range of colours from lilacs through to yellow, and will give years of pleasure. Try to keep colours pale and neutral. The Astelia chathamica ‘Silver Spear’ is hardy and will survive damp, temperate conditions. It has lovely silvery leaves, and in late summer it will be covered in orange berries. Or add more splashes of colour to your neutral background with gazanias. Or try Coleonema album, an evergreen shrub which will be covered in white flowers throughout the year.

Astelia Chathamica
Astelia Chathamica

Rocky roads

If the coast you live by is not sandy but rocky, bring those influences into your garden. Build stone walls, use water-worn stones as objects of interest, and choose colours for the planting scheme that are in a darker palette like blues, purples, dark pinks and reds.

Evergreen shrub
Evergreen shrub

Try the Beaufortia sparsa ‘swamp bottlebrush’, an evergreen shrub from Australia with orange-red flowers along the stem. It will grow to 2-4 metres (6-12ft) high and spread up to 3m (9ft). It loves full sun, well-drained soil and will withstand salt winds. Or the Banksia canei is another Australian shrub well suited to coastal areas. It’s an evergreen with greenish yellow cone-shaped flower heads that are sometimes tinged with mauve.

However, if your garden is prone to frosts, choose the tougher Banksia integrifolia. It will produce spikes of yellow flowers and grow up to 6 metres (18ft).

Finally, no seaside garden is complete without a swathe of fabulous Canna lilies. They come from South Africa but will survive in the more temperate parts of the UK..

Garden Design Guides: Laying Out Your Space

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Flower garden
Flower garden

You don’t need to be a whiz with a calculator or a budding artist to design a successful garden. The principles behind a great design can be mastered by anyone who takes the time to do a little planning.

A successful garden design makes the most of the garden’s space while achieving a harmony between its elements – plants, structures and the open spaces. By combining lines and shapes, you’ll be able to come up with a scheme that highlights your garden’s best features and connects it visually with your home. But before you start, you’ll need to sketch out a plan…

Sketch your basic layout

Begin by measuring your garden’s boundaries and sketching them out as a rough plan usig graph paper and a pencil. Try not to get too bogged down by exact measurements, but do your best to ensure that everything is in proportion.

Sketch

Put in your fixed features

Mark out any fixed aspects, like the position of the house and its doors and windows; the main gate and features you plan on keeping like pergolas, patios, water features and large trees/shrubs. You should also mark in any features that you plan on hiding in your new design – an unsightly shed or compost bins, for example. This is your basic layout. You might want to make a few photocopies or print-outs of it at this stage so you can experiment with the possibilities!

Compost in wooden box on sidewalk
Compost in wooden box on sidewalk

Fill in lines and shapes

Think of your garden plan as an empty picture frame which you can fill with any lines or shapes you choose. Lines will lead your eye through the garden to areas of interest and shapes create blocked-out areas for hard or soft landscaping.

Flowing lines and curved shapes give the garden an informal feel, while circles can work in both formal and informal designs. Straight lines, squares and rectangles are more formal and provide a simple framework for gardens of all sizes. Lay them on the diagonal for a more relaxed look.

Consider the view

Be sure to look at the views from the larger windows that overlook the garden. A path that leads into the distance, or a strong feature like a pond, can be enjoyed every day from indoors.

Patio and pond
Patio and pond

If you’re blessed with a good view from the garden, use lines to draw the eye out towards it. If not, try to stop the eye wandering into the boundaries. Internal divisions and screens can be used to divide the garden up into parts for different uses or to create an element of surprise by screening a secret hidden arbour or seat, for example.

Problem shapes

Lines and shapes can also be used to great effect when trying to conceal your gardens’ flaws. Gardens can be made to appear longer, wider or shorter by using perspective tricks.

For instance, break up a long, thin garden by creating a series of smaller areas which you have to walk through, one by one. Changes in garden surface (gravel, decking or paving, for example) or planting taller items as screens between the areas will help create different environments.

Garden

Ready to go?

When you’re happy with your final design, it’s time to get out the measuring tape to measure up your space and draw yourself a more accurate, scaled plan. This will help you to calculate the amount of materials you’ll need to buy. At this stage, it might also be worth starting a scrapbook of photographs and ideas culled from magazines and catalogues to add colour to your vision and serve as an exciting reminder of where you’re heading.