5 Tips for getting your garden ready for summer

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During the winter months, many British gardens can find themselves neglected and look a tad melancholy. Most plants have died back, there have been months of long, dark, cold days where few people feel like venturing out into the garden. There are lots of things you could do in the coming weeks to help get your garden ready for summer.

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1. Have a spring clean

Spring is the best time to tackle a bit of garden maintenance. Sweep up, take a bucket of soapy water to garden furniture, check that gates and fences are upright and secure. Does anything need a lick of paint or wood preservative? Is the guttering full of autumn leaves? Is the barbecue rusty?

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2. Sow annuals and bulbs

Nothing makes a garden more attractive than colourful, scented, flowering plants. For a quick and easy fix, you can sow annual native wild flower seeds; corncockles and corn marigolds, poppies and buttercups. Bulbs are the gift that keep on giving; they’re low maintenance and the flowers come back year after year. We planted some dolly tubs with mixed bulbs about 18 months ago and they’ve been providing colour and beauty to our garden once again since January this year. We can’t recommend them highly enough.

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3. Re-pot plants that have outgrown their containers

Most plants are dormant in early spring, the ideal time to divide and re-pot plants that have become crowded and pot-bound. Whether you’re after a few new terracotta, metal or plastic containers, you can find a large range of pots, planters and window boxes online. Not only will you get more plants, you’ll be rewarded with stronger, healthier ones that will flower more profusely.

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4. Decorate

Decorating isn’t just for indoors. There are often large expanses of shabby wall or fence that could be livened up with paint or trellis. Perhaps you’ve got room for a shed, summer house or shepherd’s hut – somewhere to decamp on long hot days. Create a designated al fresco dining space. Put up strings of bunting and fairy lights. Consider sculptures and water features that can bring added interest and focal points to an outside space. Install a couple of gnomes if that’s more to your taste! 🙂

Butterflies on flowers in a gardencredit

5. Don’t forget the wildlife!

Visiting wildlife brings interest to a garden. It’s easy to entice them in – birds, insects, frogs and toads… even the odd hedgehog or two if you’re lucky! Make your garden a welcoming haven; provide food and water stations and places to shelter, nest and spawn. Nectar-rich flowers are loved by all sorts of critters. You’ll soon be rewarded with the buzz of bees, the song of blackbirds and robins, colourful finches and butterflies flitting about – and perhaps some fledglings to watch grow up.

5 reasons you should invest in decking for your home

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garden decking with metal bistro furniture

With the recent run of horrendous winter weather, thoughts don’t immediately turn to decking; but it’s actually a great time to give it some consideration. An opportunity for a bit of unhurried thought mulling over options in terms of position, design, materials and finish. There’ll be a few months to put money aside… and also the chance to get a reputable & professional company such as EnviroBuild booked in before the spring rush. Then you can sit back and look forward to your lovely new decking being installed and ready to use the moment sunshine reappears. Here are five reasons to invest in decking for your home.

decked extension surrounded by trees

1. It can increase the value of your property

Decking can add considerably to the value & saleability of your house – providing it’s well planned and well executed – it needs to feel like an integral & coherent part of the house/garden scheme. Simple, timeless styles are preferable – and products with a long life expectancy and accompanying guarantees are most desirable. Poor quality decking with cheap, poorly installed materials will never add value.

decking boards

2. It’s eco friendly

Wood plastic composite (wpc) decking, which is the material used by EnviroBuild, is made from 60% recycled wood fibres and 40% recycled high density polyethylene. Both products which would have otherwise ended up in landfill.

Decking with osteopurmum flowers

3. It’s practical

This composite material is easy to maintain and comes with a reassuringly long guarantee. It doesn’t need to be stained or treated. It won’t split, splinter, warp or rot and the composition inhibits mildew growth. It’s also safe as it’s slip resistant.

Decked area with deckchairs

4. You can do it yourself

You can get the professionals in to install the decking, but if you’re practical and handy with tools, then it’s definitely a potential DIY project. There is lots of information online to help you successfully install decking yourself.

Decking with far-reaching views over countryside

5. It’s good for you!

Having a decked area in your garden encourages you to spend more time outdoors; with all the benefits of relaxing in the fresh air, pottering in the garden or watching the nature around you. It might do wonders for your social life too… all those parties you’ll be hosting on your new decking! 🙂


10 Perfect plans for the smaller garden

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Having a smaller garden may seem like a huge drawback with limited options but there are ways to spruce up your garden so that you can enjoy it no matter what size it is. Knowing how to decorate and plan for a small garden will ensure that no space goes to waste – these ten tips will help you to bring your garden to life regardless of its shape and size.

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  1. Growing Herbs

No matter how small your garden is, there will always be enough room to grow your own herbs. People grow them in their apartments, balconies, windowsills and patios. There are lots of different herbs you can easily grow, such as basil, parsley, coriander and thyme; all perfect for picking and adding to your cooking.

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  1. Make a Pond

You can attract wildlife and nature into your garden by building a small pond. Choose an area that gets a lot of sunshine and try to keep the pond as clean as possible so that your creature friends can enjoy their new home.

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  1. Layered Steps

With limited space, there may not be enough room for steps that go outwards, which is why layered steps that go up instead are the perfect feature for a small garden. It will add a touch of sophistication to your garden and kids will love using the steps as stepping stones while they are outside playing.

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  1. Climbing Plants

If you can’t grow flowers and plants on the ground, then why not grow them up your walls and fences instead? Birds adore climbing plants such as ivy and may even choose to make a nest in yours.

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  1. Composting

According to nationalgardeningweek.org if you want your garden to be alive with wildlife, building a compost heap is a sure way to attract them whilst also enriching your soil.

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  1. Lighting

Add some light into your garden at night with outdoor lanterns and fairy lights. If you ever feel like having a party, turning the lights on outside will add a nice romantic ambience.

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  1. Flowers

Flowers instantly brighten up our homes and gardens, which is why they are something of a garden necessity. Having a small garden doesn’t mean that you can’t have flowers. Use small pots and position them in a way that saves the most space. Flowering plants such as this great example are great at attracting wildlife such as butterflies and bees to your garden.

White modernist chairs in a small gardencredit

  1. Garden Furniture

Adding a small garden bench to your garden will provide you with a place to sit and enjoy the view. If you have enough space, you could also add a small table and a few extra garden chairs.

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  1. Garden Ornaments

Adding a few ornaments can make your garden appear more welcoming and complete. There are thousands to choose from, including sculptures, stone bird baths, saddlestones etc.

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  1. Lighter Walls

According to UKTV, you can create the illusion of a larger garden by painting brick walls white. It is thought that by choosing lighter paving slabs and lighter exterior paint, you can make a small space seem bigger and more spacious.


Spring bulbs

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Last autumn, we did some forward planning.

packs of spring bulbs

It was November to be precise – and we went to our local garden centre and chose a selection of spring bulbs.

dolly tub to be planted with spring bulbs

We had two of these lovely old galvanised dolly tubs originally used for washing clothes. They make such great planters in terms of looks and the fact that they don’t shatter after a frost.

spring bulbs being planted into a dolly tub at the beginning of November

Their large size & depth also provides the necessary space to have layers of bulbs which allows a succession of flowering and gives continued interest over many months.

shoots from snowdrops coming through the soil in early January

The first green shoots appeared in January when the snowdrops popped their noses above soil level.

snowdrops in the snow in late January

Snow drops in the snow – an exquisite sight!

Multi-coloured crocuses flowering at the beginning of March

They were followed in late February by the crocuses – a wonderful shot of colour after a long, drab winter.

Daffodils flowering in mid-April

April saw the daffodils in their prime…

Spring bulbs flowering continuously from January to May and beyond

…and the tulips arrived in May.

Tulips with daffodils flowering at the beginning of May

It’s been a real success – starting with the simple beauty of snowdrops and ending with a gorgeous mix of colour, scent and forms. Here’s a list of the bulbs we planted if you’d like to try it yourself. After each layer, add a little extra compost to cover the bulbs before adding the next layer:

Bottom layer (planted first) – Tulips Triumph Mistress of Darkness

Layer 2 – Narcissus Spring Fragrance Mixed

Layer 3 – Crocus Vernus Mixed Colours

Top layer (planted last): Snowdrops Single

Gardening for Wildlife

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Cottage garden with borders, paths and shed

Image credit: Kellan

Nothing beats sitting in your garden on a sunny afternoon, listening to the birds sing and watching other little wild creatures shuffle in and out of your garden. To encourage more wildlife info your garden, there are lots of tips and tricks you can implement so your garden is even more welcoming.

Starlings eating on a bird tableImage credit: pjs2005

Bird Tables

Having a bird table is a wonderful addition to a garden: you’ll have so many different bird species fluttering in and out of your garden throughout the year. There are many different types, from free standing bird tables, through wall mounted, ground feeding and small ones hanging from trees or fences. Place yours in front of a window so you can watch the birds even when the weather is chilly, and keep it stocked up with bird feed throughout the year to ensure you have your fair share of feathered visitors.

detailed view of a log pileImage credit: Martin Bamford

Log Pile

Piles of logs not only allow your wood to dry out for the best log fires in your fireplace, but they also allow biodiversity to thrive. It’s a great location for growing different mosses, and encouraging small mammals, insects and amphibians. Build it in a pyramid shape if you’d like to attract hedgehogs too, but never set it alight without checking for wildlife.

frog popping its head out of a pondImage credit: Dan Zen

Pond Life

Ponds are great for wildlife, and they’re really easy to construct. Make sure the edges are shallow: that’ll allow easy access for little creatures like frogs and newts. Install plants around the edges to shelter the pond life, and keep it clean with pond cleaners that aren’t made with too many chemicals.

Virginia creeper growing on a wooden fenceImage credit: Laura Bernhardt


Climbing plants are not only beautiful, but they also provide excellent nesting habitats. There are lots to choose from but good ones are roses, honeysuckle and clematis. If you have a bit more space, plant a hawthorn hedge, blackthorn or hazel: the hedge will provide nesting sites along with nuts and berries for wildlife during the harsh winter months.

Bee on lavenderImage credit: Alden Chadwick


Encourage bees with pollen and nectar-producing plants like lavender. The Royal Horticultural Society can advise on the best plants, and you can also provide a dry nesting box for bees: one with a see-through window would allow you to watch them at work!

The garden is an amazing place for wildlife if you can create the perfect environment. With just a few easy steps you’ll have a garden bustling with life!


Create the perfect World Cup atmosphere with Birstall

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yellow football against a blue skyImage credit: Joe McCarthy

The World Cup only comes around once every four years; here we take a look at the top three garden accessories from Birstall Garden and Leisure Centre to help you make the most of the worldwide football celebration while it’s here.

Whether you’re creating a World Cup haven in your garden with the television outside, or watching the games inside and continuing the party in the garden afterwards, these top three products will make sure you enjoy every moment!

Weber Spirit Classic e210 gas bbq

With all of England’s World Cup games kicking off in the evening, the Weber Spirit Classic barbeque will keep all your guests satisfied with some top-notch food flavour; with two stainless steel burners the compact design has a 26,000 BTU per hour input giving a sleek yet powerful grill capable of cooking all your favourite food to perfection.

Camelot hexagonal easy-up gazebo

It’s impossible to guarantee the British weather, but you can be sure that you’ll always be dry when you’re enjoying your World Cup party with the Camelot – hexagonal easy-up gazebo. The pull down mesh nets, weatherproof frame and UV resistant canopy offer complete comfort and guarantee your World Cup celebrations won’t be called off because of the rain.

patio heater

With many of the World Cup games going on into the early hours of the morning, a patio heater is a much-needed garden accessory to keep you cosy all the way through until extra time. A ThermoFilm gas patio heater uses a high-grade stainless steel burner which heats an area of up to six metres while making only a quiet whisper, so you’ll be toasty warm without being distracted by any excess heater noise.


Get these World Cup garden must-haves now and enjoy them all summer long!

Established in 1969, Birstall has 45 years’ experience kitting out gardens & outdoor spaces and was the first online garden retailer in the UK, 15 years ago.