Archive for the ‘Backyard’ Category

6 Ways of Attracting Wildlife to Your Garden

Posted by admin on Jun 18, 2019 under Backyard

The hustle and bustle characteristic of those overcrowded urban environments in which most of us drone away from dawn to dusk can become quite overwhelming. Having a beautiful garden may provide you and your family with a place where it’s possible to relax following a busy day at the office.

Establishing a stronger connection to the natural world is now more necessary than ever. The UN warned in its 2019 Global Assessment that entire ecosystems are deteriorating and, in some cases, even vanishing as a result of human activity, with approximately 1 million species being threatened with extinction.

However, through the bleak predictions of more than 140 expert authors from 50 countries, a hopeful light still glimmers: the report advances the possibility that it’s not too late to make a difference. Change must occur at every level from local to global, and it needs to start right now with each one of us!

In what follows, we’ll provide a few quick and easy tips to help garden owners do their part in preserving the diversity of life on the planet we inhabit. Attracting wildlife to your garden will both create a beautiful environment for you to enjoy, and provide various fauna with new habitats following the systematic destruction of their own.


6 Ways of Attracting Wildlife to Your Garden:

1. Attract Pollinators

2. Become a Beekeeper

3. Plant a Variety of Trees

4. Install Nesting Boxes

5. Create a Water Feature

6. Replace your Garden Walls with Hedgerows

Photo credit: happyfamilyart/Shutterstock

1. Attract Pollinators

Pollinator is a blanket term for all organisms which, by moving pollen from one part of a plant to another, allow it to become fertilised and to produce fruits or seeds. Without these organisms plants would not be able to reproduce; they are thus integral to the proper functioning of the natural ecosystem.

If you’re wondering how to attract wildlife to your garden, setting up your yard so that it’s appealing to pollinators is a good first step.

There are over 1500 pollinators in the UK, including various types of bees, hummingbirds, moths, and many others. In order to attract these types of creatures to your garden, you should look to plant different types of flowers in your yard.

Look to seed local varieties of flowering plants as it’s likely the local fauna will prefer these. However, some types of flowers are better than others at attracting pollinators. Here are a few of the best you should look into, according to what type of animal you’re looking to attract:

Butterflies:

  • Lilac
  • Mint
  • Lavender

Bees:

  • Sunflower
  • Bee Balm
  • Snapdragon

Hummingbirds:

  • Fuchsia
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Columbine

Putting together a rock garden will also go a long way in creating a yard that’s teeming with life and which oozes natural beauty. A rock garden is a small hill made of dirt and rocks on which specific plants (sometimes referred to as ‘rock plants’) are planted.

Few people are aware of the fact that the vast majority of bees (about 70% according to some figures) do not live in hives, instead choosing to nest in the ground. Building a small rock garden will provide these species of bees with a great place to settle down. You could even set up a place within your rock garden or close to it where to you can build a potential nesting place for wild bees. If done properly, bees flying overhead will identify this spot in your garden as a perfect place for them to nest.

Once pollinators make a habit of frequenting your garden, you’ll see the flora flourish year after year as the bees, butterflies, and birds go to work and spread pollen far and wide. You’ll probably see new flowering plants pop up in your garden, brought by these same insects and birds.

Photo credit: OlgaKok/Shutterstock

2. Become a Beekeeper

If your local population of bees isn’t quite where it needs to be, or if you’ve just been unlucky and haven’t had any bees nest in your rock garden, you could always get into beekeeping.

When done properly, beekeeping can be a fun and healthy hobby which also brings material benefits (in the form of honey and beeswax, which have a plethora of uses). If you’ve got family members who are allergic to bees, or if you yourself are allergic, keeping bees should certainly not be at the top of your priority list when it comes to attracting wildlife to your garden. However, for everyone else needing more information on how to start and manage a backyard beekeeping operation, our guide to backyard beekeeping will certainly prove to be invaluable.

Keeping bees in your backyard will attract various types of wildlife which prey on the honeybee. These include birds, small mammals, reptiles, and even other insects. With a steady supply of bees available in your garden, birds might even look to nest in the yard so as to take advantage of the feeding opportunity.  

Photo credit: Chiyacat/Shutterstock

3. Plant a Variety of Trees

One of the most effective actions you can take in order to attract wildlife to your garden is to go on a tree planting spree. Trees provide the basic necessities of wildlife survival:

  • Food – the fruits, buds, and even sap of trees in your yard will feed animals such as squirrels, possums, tree frogs, and of course birds.
  • Water – rainwater which collects on trees’ leaves becomes an excellent source of fresh water for wildlife.
  • Shelter – a wide range of animals make their nests in trees, not only birds. Squirrels, frogs, butterflies, and even possums can nest in trees. (Although possums do not create their own nests, they will appropriate any hollowed-out log or tree segment which has been abandoned by the owner).

Thus, planting trees will instantly create a hotspot for nest-building. It’s best to choose trees that are native to the area you live in. This will ensure that there are already animals which use these for food or shelter, making it more likely that these local species will set up shop in your garden.  

If you’ve got enough space to work with, planting a few trees one next to the other will create a forest-like habitat in which animals will feel safe. This will increase your chances of scoring a few garden denizens.  

Photo credit: Ed Reinsel/Shutterstock

4. Install Nesting Boxes

We have touched upon the sway which trees have on animals, providing food, shelter and even water for all manners of local fauna. Let us now turn our attention to a specific type of creature: the bird.

If you want to attract birds to your garden, you should look into building (or buying) and installing bird nests throughout your yard. A pre-built bird nest offers obvious advantages to a bird looking to settle down. Firstly, they don’t need to waste time building their own. Secondly, the wooden structure of the pre-built nest is usually more durable than what birds are able to build themselves.

Photo credit: Ron Zmiri/Shutterstock

5. Create a Water Feature

We’ve gone through various tactics you can adopt in order to attract land animals to your garden, but what about aquatic wildlife?

In order to attract this kind of wildlife to your garden you’ll need to first install some sort of water feature. Creating a small pond is quite easy; all you need is a shovel and some liner in order to keep the water from being absorbed into the ground. Here are a few general pointers:

  • Don’t dig too deep. Your pond should be mostly made up of shallow areas, as this is what most of the wildlife you want to attract prefers. If you want to have a deeper area in which to drop some fish, make sure it isn’t deeper than 40 feet.
  • Don’t make your shallow areas too shallow. If they are, you could see them dry out completely during hotter summer days (and nobody wants that, least of all the creatures that have come to call it home).
  • Make sure the hole is level so that you won’t have water leaking out on one side.

Most pond wildlife will feel best in shallow waters. During mating season, frogs search out shallow ponds in order to lay their eggs. Tadpoles love shallow ponds and it is here where they flourish. If you want to attract frogs, make sure the pond has lots of vegetation around it and is well shaded.

Various other animals will be enticed by garden water features, including most insects. Small mammals such as hedgehogs will rejoice at the sight of a safe drinking spot.   

Photo credit: Dmitry Naumov/Shutterstock

6. Replace your Garden Walls with Hedgerows

Another great tactic for those wondering how to attract wildlife to their garden is replacing garden walls or fences with hedgerows. Hedgerows are hedges made of shrubs or trees which act as natural walls or fencing.

By planting a native hedgerow you’ll not only deliver nesting places for wild birds, but you’ll also provide food during the winter months for animals which eat berries, nuts, or hips. If any of these are nesting animals, they might make your garden their new home.


Looking to the Future:

With wildlife on our planet in peril, and with natural habitats dwindling daily, it will take both a top down and bottom up approach to fight the impeding doom which we’ve steered ourselves towards. We know that change happens gradually, and most often starts with a few individuals taking action and setting an example. Why not transform your garden into a safe haven for wildlife? Why not create new natural habitats in our own backyards as the old ones keep vanishing?

After you’ve optimised your garden for wildlife attraction, you could check out our post on the best garden furniture for small gardens. After all, you’ll also need a place to rest while marvelling at the natural oasis you’ve created.

There are also probably many of you who will want to get rid of some types of pesky wildlife which are ruining your garden. For this, we’ve put together two handy guides on how to keep foxes out of the garden and how to get rid of wasps in the garden.

Create A Luxury Garden With These Pool Furniture Ideas

Posted by admin on May 29, 2019 under Backyard, Buying Furniture

Photo Credit: Alexandre Zveiger / Shutterstock

We have some excellent pool furniture ideas to transform your garden into a useable and luxurious space. Before we get started, it’s best to choose some colours and themes for your garden (if you haven’t done so already). For instance, you could go with a bright tropical paradise, a lush green zen garden or navy beach house atmosphere. Once you have a few ideas, you can visualise your new luxury garden with the best pool furniture.

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How to design the perfect garden tablescape

Posted by admin on May 17, 2019 under Backyard, Buying Furniture

Photo Credit: IVASHstudio / Shutterstock

As much as we love bringing the outdoors in, there is something exquisite about a leisurely dinner in your own garden. Are you are throwing a dinner party, celebrating a special occasion or having a romantic dinner for two? We have a vast array of ideas to inspire your next eye-catching outdoor tablescape.

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Top 4 Summer Garden Trends of 2019

Posted by admin on May 1, 2019 under Backyard, Gardening, Uncategorized

Summer is right around the corner and with that comes endless BBQ’s and gatherings with all your family and friends. From the months of May to September (excluding the odd day of torrential rain in between) most of your free time will be spent situated in your garden.

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How To Make A Zen Garden

Posted by admin on Mar 12, 2019 under Backyard, Uncategorized

What is a Zen garden?

Zen gardens, also known as Japanese Rock Gardens, originated as a place of contemplation. The ambient textures, sounds and lighting form a peaceful space for reflection amidst life’s busyness. In recent days, the stand-out gardens have been adopted by the active and the laid-back, attesting to their universally appealing nature.

What do you need to create a Zen garden?

There are seven key components in creating a Zen garden:

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To Bee or Not to Bee? A Guide to Backyard Beekeeping.

Posted by admin on Apr 25, 2017 under Backyard

beekeeping in your backyard

Photo credit: Aleks Kend/Shutterstock

There have been many reports on the decline in the bee population, which has become a major concern for conservationists. For many, it brings Einstein’s famous quote to the forefront of our minds: “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live”.

Oftentimes a mere hobby, backyard beekeeping could in fact be a solution to the dwindling bee population. For those of you looking to do your bit for the bees, this guide aims to help you get started.

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5 Reasons to own a Garden Hammock

Posted by admin on Jun 22, 2016 under Backyard

garden-hammock-small

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

birds-small

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.

hammock-reading

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.’

nature

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.

sleeping-man-hammock

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?

family-hammock

Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Feature image credit: Dudarev Mikhail/Shutterstock

How to Throw the Perfect Summer BBQ

Posted by admin on May 19, 2016 under Backyard, Buying Furniture

bbqfeature

Summer is just around the corner and – come rain or shine – dusting off your old BBQ at the first site of blossom is an old British tradition.

But before you don your ‘Grill Master’ chef’s hat and novelty apron, there’s a lot to consider. Throwing a killer BBQ is an art – and since you’re likely to be in competition with half your friends and neighbours as to who can throw the best grilled meat fiesta, we’ve put together a handy guide outlining everything from prime cuts and mouth-watering marinades to culinary condiments and delectable drinks that will ensure you BBQ goes off with a bang.

The Main Event

bbqmeat

It goes without saying that a BBQ isn’t a BBQ without ounces and ounces of prime cut meat to get your teeth into – and the possibilities are endless. Although burgers and sausages are the classic BBQ party choice; chicken, steak, lamb chops, ribs and most types of fish work just as well, if not even better on the grill.

For a crowd pleasing meaty marinate try placing soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, and pepper in a blender. Add hot pepper sauce and freshly chopped garlic cloves, if desired. Then simply blend on high speed for 30 seconds until thoroughly mixed and slather all over your meat of choice before chucking it onto the barbie.

Alternatively/additionally why not try something a bit different and opt for fish; BBQ grilled salmon teriyaki is a great combination, or tilapia coated in a simple salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil marinade is an easy yet seriously tasty option.

The Side-kicks

bbqsalads

After all, what’s Batman without Robin? Your delicious meats need some equally delicious sides/salads to keep them company on your plate. Fresh salads topped with cold lentils, chickpeas or butter beans and a dressing of lemon and olive oil go well with every type of meat and are light and summery, hence perfect for a BBQ party.

Secondly, condiments are key! Ketchup, mustard, brown sauce, hot sauce, mayonnaise… to name but a few. Remember everyone has a different favourite, so try and get as many of the classics as possible, and if you want to be really great host include some low fat/sugar options for health conscious guests.

If you want to go above and beyond the call of hosting duty, why not try making your own homemade ketchup?

Simply purée tomatoes with juice in a blender until smooth. Cook onion and garlic in oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has gone golden (this should take about 8 minutes) Add paprika, chilli, allspice, a pinch of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of black pepper and cook for one minute, stirring frequently, Add the tomato purée, tomato paste, brown sugar, and vinegar and simmer until very thick (should take around 45 to 55 minutes).

Finally purée the ketchup in a blender until smooth and put in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. And there you have it, a deliciously little crowd pleaser that is sure to set your BBQ apart from the rest!

The Refreshments

bbqcocktails

There’s nothing better than a chilled beer or glass of prosecco on a warm day – and a BBQ is the perfect opportunity to combine food, drink and great company. As aforementioned, beer and wine are always popular options (especially summery beers such as ‘Sol’ with a wedge of lime for good measure).

For a more sophisticated take on drinks though, cocktails are always a good idea (we don’t know a single person who doesn’t like cocktails).

Popular spirits such as vodka and gin work well with almost anything – we suggest lemon juice, sugar, mint leaves and crushed ice for a tasty and refreshing summery beverage which is easy to make and even easier to drink!

The Furniture

bbqteaktable

Not much can beat sitting around the table in the great outdoors with great food, drink and your closest friends; and a good quality table and set of garden chairs are the best place to start!

Teak furniture is well known as the best possible garden furniture you can get – not only does it look stunning, but it’s quality and hard-wearing nature mean you can leave it out for the entire period of winter with no damage.

Here at Faraway furniture we have a variety of different styles and sizes to suit any family.

So there you have it – our guide has all the tools to guarantee a BBQ party to end all BBQ parties (except the weather… unfortunately that one’s out of our control)

Making the most of small garden space

Posted by admin on May 18, 2016 under Backyard

Feature Image

A lack of garden space should never equate to a lack of style. Creating a tranquil and picturesque garden retreat, whilst still optimising the available space, initially, may appear relatively challenging. However, with some careful planning, and the addition of a few simple garden accessories, designing your dream garden could not be easier!

What your garden means to you…

Typically, a garden serves a multitude of purposes. For some, the garden is a retreat used to escape from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. For others, it may be a social space in which summer BBQs are hosted and children can play. Generally, a garden is often used for both purposes whilst also acting as a visual stimulant for your eyes; something that you can take pleasure in viewing from your lounge, kitchen or bedroom window. A garden should never detract from your home, and should never be branded as lost cause. Even the smallest of spaces can be made into your very own idyllic space.

Latern

Indulging your senses

A garden should marry sounds and sights, textures and fragrances. When designing your garden, you should attempt to incorporate accessories that do not invade your garden, but enhance it. For example, bird feeders are small and compact. They can be easily hung from trees and will encourage wildlife into your garden. Birdsong is an audible treat and helps to promote relaxation. Many families also enjoy spotting robins, finches and other such birds that may frequent the feeder.
Your garden should be an inviting area in which you can relax at any time of day or night. By including solar lights, fairy lights, lanterns or candles, you can transform a gloomy, cold and sparse garden area into one that is appealing, warm and charming.

Relaxation

Promoting Relaxation

Your garden accessories and wooden outdoor furniture perform an important function, in that they promote total relaxation. Whilst lying in a hammock, listening to the gentle melodies of wind chimes, or the tranquil sound of a garden fountain; the stresses of modern life are drastically reduced. To achieve that desired idyllic ambience, it is important that your garden is kept well-maintained, as the aesthetics of a garden largely impact upon relaxation levels. Smaller gardens can potentially require less in the way of maintenance, which is beneficial.

Wind chimes

Optimising Space

A garden should stimulate your senses through a range of textures, colours, fragrances and more. With a smaller than average garden, this can still be achieved however, certain substitutions may be made so that the area does not become cluttered. For example, an elaborate flowerbed would intrude upon the space that could otherwise be used for seating or BBQs. It would appear to visually reduce the room in your garden. Instead, opt for pot-plants, with bold, bright and colourful plants. This provides the desired greenery to the area without impinging upon the rest of the garden.

Tip: Look to incorporate plants that encourage butterflies, birds and other forms of wildlife.

Fairy lights

Enjoying your garden

Gardens are often made a social space. Barbecues in particular are popular throughout the summer months. If you have a smaller garden space, you may not have the room for a large BBQ set however, provided that you have ample seating outdoors, the food can be prepared indoors before being taken outside to enjoy. Large beanbags can be a colourful and fun alternative to larger garden furniture sets. You can therefore choose a smaller set and extend the seating area with the beanbags. This idea is usually surprisingly well received by visitors, who often choose to seat themselves on the beanbags, leaving the traditional hard wood seating for those less mobile. The relaxed nature that is associated with the beanbags often encourages a good social ambience.

To Sum Up…

• Keep things simple – too much, and your garden could end up looking cluttered.

• Encourage wildlife with plants, bird feeders and fountains.

• Make your garden accessible by night with fairy lights, candles, lanterns and solar lights.

• Provide ample rest areas so that you can sit and unwind.

• Keep your garden well-maintained and tidy.

• Treat your senses with chimes, aromatic plants and different textures.

Top 10 Essential BBQ Tips To Help You Host The Perfect BBQ

Posted by Irene on Oct 28, 2011 under Backyard

BBQ is an excellent way to celebrate your birthday or other special event or occasion with your family and friends. To make it a memorable and fun event for everyone, follow these top 10 essential BBQ tips:

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