How to create your own outdoor haven
Every new Create Home has a larger than average plot as standard. The generous garden spaces are already fully turfed and fenced, with neat borders laid at the front and back. But how do you personalise your garden and make it something really special?
Reuben and the team at W J Wilkinson & Sons, experts in garden design and landscaping, brought the Create show home gardens to life at St. Petersfield’s, Inskip.
Here, expert Reuben helps you think about how you want to use your plot in order to create a fantastic outdoor experience in your new garden area, which will enhance and extend your living space. Careful thought at an early stage will help you to get the most of your garden and attain an extension to your living space that is going to work for you and the whole family for many years to come.
Q. SO, WHAT’S THE MAIN PURPOSE OF YOUR GARDEN?
It’s really a good idea to think carefully about how you want to use your outdoor space early on before you make any expensive investments. There are endless ways in which you can utilise your new space for work, rest or play – or use a mixture of all of these elements.
Some initial questions to ask yourself:
- Will the garden be a children's play area?
- Do you want it to be a relaxing space for entertaining?
- Provide a safe haven for wildlife?
- Or perhaps you’d like to use the space to create and office/work from home space with stress-busting features to calm you after a hard day’s work?
Check out Reuben's steps to a perfect garden below:
1. CREATE AN AREA TO RELAX & UNWIND
- Reap the rewards of a carefully designed garden space and you will enjoy the benefits for years to come. Investment at this stage will ensure you can enjoy your new outdoor space, with the minimum amount of maintenance.
- Pay attention to the sun and wind direction. Plan everything before you start construction of your new garden.
- Add a pergola to provide a seating area and surround with plotted and climbing plants.
- A gazebo with mains lighting and heating will give shelter from rain and sun all year round.
- Install mains electricity and water to your outdoor space. You'll be surprised how often you use these convenient facilities.
- Add a water feature or pond to provide calm and a relaxing background noise.
A pergola makes a good focal point in your garden
2. CREATE AN OUTDOOR ENTERTAINMENT SPACE
- Utilise your outdoor space for socialising & eating when the weather is good and extend your living space seamlessly from the kitchen, right through into the garden. You can enjoy cooking outdoors, as your guests relax with a drink in your beautiful new garden!
- Only choose equipment that you will use. If you like cooking outdoors - then go with a BBQ or pizza oven. If you don't, enjoy your brand-new kitchen and put your money elsewhere.
- Create your entertainment area with an eye to the weather. It's getting warmer - so provide shade and it’s getting wetter - so provide shelter.
- Remember - if you're providing electricity outdoors, used an armoured cable to go underground and get experts to install it.
3. FURNISHING YOUR GARDEN
- In order to enjoy your new outdoor space to the full, an investment in quality garden furniture will really enhance your space and complement your interior style.
- Buy the best you can afford but do your research first. Cheap sets of tables and chairs will warp and need staining every year.
- More expensive outdoor seating and lighting will create a great atmosphere, making sure your family or guests enjoy themselves to the full.
- Make sure you buy comfortable, as well as weatherproof chairs and settees.
- Teak furniture discolours to a grey shade, which is great if you like it but otherwise it will need oiling every year to keep its natural colour.
It could be better to paint it with a good outdoor furniture paint. It will need doing every two years if you want your furniture to last.
- Scatter cushions, air beds and bean bags are really useful as temporary furnishings for unexpected guests, but don’t leave them out in the rain.
There are many different options of garden furniture to choose from
4. CREATE A SAFE HAVEN FOR WILDLIFE
- From installing a bird feeder or creating a hedgehog run, through to finding the right plants and shrubs, your choices will help to encourage many different types of wildlife into your garden.
- Choose a range of flowers, shrubs and trees to attract wildlife to your garden.
- We all know about buddleia for attracting butterflies and lavender for bees, but plant a range of cover at different heights to attract the broadest diversity.
- Allow an area to grow wild and you will be surprised how many species of animals and birds you can attract. Don't forget a bug hotel, nesting boxes and feeders for small garden birds.
- Have a word with your neighbours to see if you can link your gardens with a hedgehog highway letting these animal range over a large area.
Doesn't take much, just a discreet hole in the fencing to allow them through.
You can encourage insects and other visitors to your garden
5. CREATING OUTDOOR WORKSPACES
- Creating workspaces outdoors is one of the great growth areas of garden development at the moment. As more people than ever are working from home, why not create a space to work in your garden where you can enjoy the views and forget the commute?
- Remember, the higher quality of the build, the more you will use it.
- The choice and preparation of the site is the most important step.
- Note the orientation of your plot to the sun and plan for maximum sun.
- Measure accurately the size of the building you will need. Prepare the base with a level concrete site, allowing for drainage from the roof and allow a skirt around the building.
- Always use reputable installation contractors, qualified electricians & plumbers.
- Budget for all your services. You don't want to limit your use or enjoyment of the building by skimping.
- Pay attention to adequate insulation – so there’s no draughts or condensation.
- Choose the floor covering carefully. Warm, easy care and robust are important features to look out for.
- If you are self-employed or a freelancer, ask your accountant about tax claims you can make.
There are many options out there to choose from. Here is a selection of just a few of them and why they could be a good option for you:
6. CREATE A CHILDREN'S PLAY AREA
- Children of any age will thrive with their own garden space. As they play, you will be able to keep a good eye on them, as all Create Homes are designed to provide great views of the garden from inside the house.
- Make sure any equipment you buy is versatile enough be relevant to your children now, but also as they grow up. Think about size and the materials used in manufacture.
- Consider sinking trampolines into the ground so the surface is at ground level. This prevents accidents from falling from the height of the trampoline.
- Choose a safe membrane to install under climbing frames, swings and other equipment for children to land on if they fall.
Keep the little ones busy outside so they can enjoy the garden too
NEED MORE HELP WITH YOUR GARDEN?
Contact Reuben and his team for more help and advice on bringing your garden to life.
T: 01772 783252
W J Wilkinson & Sons (Landscaping) Ltd.,
Lane Ends Farm, Hothersall Lane,
Hothersall, Preston PR3 2XB.