Archive for June, 2016

5 Reasons to own a Garden Hammock

Posted by admin on Jun 22, 2016 under Backyard

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If you’re having trouble convincing your other half that a hammock is a worthwhile and necessary purchase; look no further! There are numerous reasons that affirm having a hammock in your life will improve your overall quality of life, but for now, we will just explore our top 5 reasons to own a hammock in your garden!

1 – Closer to Nature

Often, we do not take the time to stop, unwind and appreciate the wildlife around us. Creating a home for nature in your back garden can be very rewarding and relaxing too! Many of us only notice larger forms of wildlife such as gulls, pigeons or muntjacs, due to our lack of patience and a lack of time to simply stop and “take five”.

So just what could be visiting your garden? As cited by the RSPB, animals and insects that are commonly spotted during this time of year include:

Badgers, hedgehogs, rabbits, foxes, grey squirrel, common newt, common toad, common frog,
Ladybirds, Speckled Wood Butterfly, Large Red Damselfly, Blue Damselfly, Garden Tiger Moth, Holly Blue Butterfly, Hummingbird Hawk Moth, Large White Butterfly, Magpie Moth, Peacock Butterfly, Orange-tip Butterfly, Painted Lady Butterfly, Red Admiral Butterfly, Cinnabar Moth.

As noted on digitalwildlife.co.uk, a variety of birds can also be spotted frequenting your garden, including:

Collard Dove, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Starling, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Carrion Crow, Coal Tit, Wren, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Greenfinch, Wren, Songthrush, Jackdaw, Greenfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Siskin, Redwing, Fieldfare, Marsh Tit, Bullfinch, Brambling, Lesser Redpoll

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2 – Boost Creativity

Those who work in a role that employs high levels of creativity will understand the sentiment of writer’s block, even if they do not have to literally write great swathes of literature. Conjuring quality, constructive and innovative ideas for business meetings can be equally challenging. And the latest discoveries in neuroscience have recently revealed how creativity can be hindered when the mind is overworked for long periods of time.

As noted in an article on inc.com, ‘Scientists studying brain scans recently discovered that moments of creativity take place when the mind is at rest rather than working on something. Overworking your brain makes it sluggish and lacking in creativity; the opposite of “sharp”, if you will.’ In lesser words; not taking the time to relax kills your creativity.

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3 – Boost your Vitamin D

Those who work long hours in offices are likely to put themselves at risk of suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. This is namely because a good source of vitamin D is absorbed through our skin via natural sunlight. Being cooped up indoors is not healthy for our bodies or mind.

According to the NHS:

‘Vitamin D has several important functions. For example, it helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones and teeth healthy. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain and tenderness as a result of a condition called osteomalacia in adults.’

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4 – Promotes healthy sleep and relaxation

Hammocks are a great way of catching up on any sleep missed through late nights or early mornings. They can be especially beneficial to shift workers, who may only get short periods of time in which they can nap.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, for a healthy sleep pattern, you should be able to affirm the following statements:

• You fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of lying down to sleep.
• You regularly sleep a total of seven to nine hours in a 24-hour period.
• While in your bed, your sleep is continuous—you don’t have long periods of lying awake when you wish to be sleeping.
• You wake up feeling refreshed, as if you’ve “filled the tank.”
• You feel alert and are able to be fully productive throughout the waking hours (note, it’s natural for people to feel a dip in alertness during waking hours, but with healthy sleep, alertness returns).
• Your partner or family members do not notice any disturbing or out of the ordinary behaviour from you while you sleep, such as snoring, pauses in breathing, restlessness, or otherwise night-time behaviours.

A lack of sleep can be dangerous, not only when operating machinery, but to our overall general health. According to the Independent, ‘Over a third of the population are getting less than six hours sleep a night raising their risk of an early death by 12 per cent.’ Restoring a healthy balance by catching up on missed sleep is not only advised, it’s a necessity.

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Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

5 – Social value

Everyone loves a hammock. When supervised, children equally love having a turn in the hammock. From the young to the not-so-young, garden hammocks provide a popular retreat during the warmer months. Who doesn’t love feeling the warm kiss of sunshine on their face?

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Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Feature image credit: Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

How to Spot (and avoid) Low Quality Teak Furniture

Posted by admin on Jun 16, 2016 under Buying Furniture

Everyone knows if you’re looking to buy a new set of furniture to deck out your garden with, then teak is the way to go. But with the popularity of teak growing, and hence lots of teak retailers popping up all over the place, you have to be careful where you buy from.

To ensure that you’re getting the highest quality teak furniture, we’ve compiled a list of things you can check/look for in your set.

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Construction:

If you want your furniture set to last (which of course you will do) then its construction is the most important factor. Poorly constructed furniture will just collapse/break and won’t do well in adverse weather conditions.

A lot of retailers use bolts to put their furniture together, however if you see this, then stay well away! The problem with bolts is that they tend to loosen over time which not only compromises the teak but creates that annoying wobbling effect.

You’ll have to replace the bolts which will cost you an unnecessary amount of time and effort.

Instead, go to teak manufacturers who use Tenon joints to make their furniture; these will be more expensive however add extra strength and a better aesthetic finish. Plus, you won’t have to worry about lots of upkeep in the future.

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The Finish

The finish on your furniture set will give you a good idea as to its quality. The higher quality the teak, the smoother and shinier it will be; you should be able to run your hand over the wood and not feel a single grain.

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The Retailers themselves

The sellers of teak furniture should be passionate about it, and therefore happy to talk and answer any questions you may have showing high levels of knowledge and conviction.

If the seller seems unsure, unwilling to answer questions or evidently doesn’t know what they’re talking about, then don’t be afraid to make your excuses and walk away – there are plenty of other teak retailers that will be able to knowledgeably direct you to the best set for your garden.

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Maintenance

Following on from our last point, seller of high quality teak should be concerned with its maintenance, and should inform you of the best way to keep it looking its best over time.

The reason why you should ask this question is because it is, essentially, a trick.

A truly passionate teak owner will know that teak requires no maintenance over time due to its high oil content and dense nature; the reason teak is so expensive is due to the fact it can be left outside in adverse weather conditions without the threat of cracking, splitting or losing its aesthetic finish.

If your seller knows this, then you know you’re more than likely being shown some of the highest quality teak in the business.

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Use our guide and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your new furniture set all summer long… good luck in your search!

The Ultimate Teak Furniture Care Guide

Posted by admin on Jun 8, 2016 under Teak furniture care
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Image credit: Shutterstock/ SmarterMedium

You’ve found your perfect teak furniture set, you’ve checked to see it’s in stock and you’ve had it delivered to your door, now you must look after it. Teak furniture requires careful handling to make sure your set stays as clean and as crisp as the day you bought it. The reason this type of furniture is so popular is because it is the highest quality of garden furniture available, which means it’s the longest lasting of all materials so long as it is taken care of. But many customers aren’t aware of correct teak furniture care methods before they buy it. So here is a quick 10 step-guide to keeping your teak furniture’s natural glossy gleam.

Teak Versus The Universe

10 Step Teak Guide infographic

Teak furniture is exposed to all the elements outdoors, come storm or shine so it can easily get damaged if due care is not taken. Here are the 10 steps you need to take.

    1. Protect your teak – Apply a layer of quality protectant such as teak sealer to your furniture. This will prevent oxidation of the outer layer of wood, so it won’t turn grey. Teak wood contains natural oils that give the furniture its honey colour, but this will only last a few weeks if the wood is not treated and protected.
    1. Storing your set – weathering of teak takes approximately nine months if furniture is left outdoors. Weathering will turn your teak a silvery-grey discolouring. Store your furniture in designated furniture storage units, your garage or shed. Do not move teak furniture from gardens into heated indoor rooms as temperature differences may cause wood to split. Do not move teak furniture from garden into heated indoor room for storage as temperature differences may cause wood to split.
    1. Sanding – lightly sanding your teak furniture is the best way to preserve its natural golden colour. It can also help get rid of stains and smooth off rough edges, that naturally occur as a result of weathering.
    1. Washing – teak requires a gentle approach, so put down your pressure washer and get the drizzly garden hose out. Hose down your teak once every 2 or 3 weeks.
    1. Take cover – If you do choose to leave your teak furniture to fend for itself against the elements, then you should at least give it the respect it deserves with its own outdoor furniture cover.
    1. Security – Teak furniture burglaries are an uncommon, but terrible occurrence. Don’t let it be you. Securing your furniture against burglaries is simple. Keep your garden entrances sealed and garden doors locked. Also, don’t brag about your beautiful teak set to your friends and colleagues, their jealousy might get the better of them.
    1. Flooding – In case of flash floods consider fixing small buoyancy aids with your written address to your teak furniture so that it will stay afloat in high tides or when river banks bust. Then you’ll stand a better chance of being reunited with your beloved set once things get back to normal.
    1. Natural disasters – If you live near an active volcano, volcanic eruptions may be a risk to your furniture. Due to the highly-flammable nature of teak you don’t stand a good chance, but if you have time, move your furniture to your roof to help it avoid encroaching lava slides.
    1. Nuclear bomb – Teak furniture is often considered the most durable of all woods. But we cannot guarantee durability against radiation. In the unlikely event of a nuclear disaster, there is very little you can do to protect your teak furniture from radiation. The only chance you have is to build a nuclear bunker in your back garden. But, your time is probably limited in the event of a nuclear attack, and your furniture should and always be an afterthought of your safety.
  1. Tornado – tornadoes are extremely uncommon in Britain, with roughly 30 recorded a year. Nevertheless, be vigilant and strap your furniture down. You can get weight bags and outdoor furniture ground anchors to protect from the blusteriest of storms.