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Garden Parties

garden parties

Garden parties with the summer finally here – this is the time of year to think about having one. There’s nothing like a house full of friends and kids, daft costumes, silly games with lovely smells wafting through the air.

Even though the summer has now long gone, if we are lucky, we can still use and enjoy our outside space.

If you are going to be ready to use your garden to boost your entertainment capacity you need to do a bit of work on it and invest in the right kit.

A bit of planning and spending on the right things will drastically increase the usability of your garden and reduce the time taken for you to get it ready for use.

Flooring

Think about the area of the garden that has the potential to be used – where will people stand and where will they need to walk to access the house, seating and eating areas?

These areas should not be surfaced with soil and grass – if the ground is damp it will quickly turn into mud and end up all over your lovely house.

In addition your guests will not be encouraged to use the garden in case they make a mess of their shoes and clothes. If you don’t do something about that surface you will not use your garden for most of the year, so get it sorted.

Fast & Temporary Flooring

Pink Pathway
Funky Temporary Pathway

Quick solutions are old sheets, plastic or paper coverings. You can buy rolls of cheap wallpaper or decorator’s paper & plastic on 100m rolls. These solutions are cheap and disposable – so you can leave your lawn intact underneath.

However they are not that hard wearing and need to be well pinned or weighted down along the edges to be safe. You can also search for ‘aisle runners’ which are pathwide strips of material used for wedding aisles – they work just as well for garden paths.

Another temporary solution is rubber matting. You can buy this from specialist online suppliers and business wholesalers – it is heavy so it does not need securing and it provides a non slip surface. You can roll it out for your party and then roll it back up to reveal your lawn.

As rubber matting is more expensive this would be a good option only for those who host a lot of parties – or have tonnes of money!

Semi-Permanent Flooring

A semi-permanent solution is astro-turf. You can cover your whole garden, but a cheaper solution is to focus on walkways and eating areas. You can buy this off the roll and install quickly – just get advice from the seller on the best way to secure their brand. Alternatively, look for a hard wearing grass seed.

Permanent Flooring

If you want a permanent solution then you should consider decking, paving, concrete or compacted gravel. You can install these yourself or you can use a contractor. These are not quick to install – but if you do it yourself and order your goods from a builder’s merchant they can be surprisingly cheap.

Don’t go too cheap though – a bit of extra budget for machinery like gravel compactors or a cement mixer can drastically decrease the time taken and also greatly improve the quality of the finished result.

Around the perimeter, ‘landscape sleepers’ can give a much needed finishing touch as well as afford some protection to the area.

A Game Area

Giant Games
Most Sets Are a Wee Bit Smaller Than This One!

It is fun to have a game area in your garden for parties. The kids get out there, the adults follow (as they need to keep an eye on the kids) and before you know it the adults have taken over and the kids are relegated to watching them have all the fun.

It’s a great ice breaker and a good way to keep everyone together. As we are outside and the light might not be the best, normal games are not the thing – what you need are massive giant games!

These used to be really expensive but now you can pick them up for buttons. You should choose something simple that does not take too long to play, so chess is not a good choice. Our personal favourites are giant dominos, giant plastic darts, giant snakes and ladders and giant connect four.

Music

Every party needs music so you need a music system. These days there are some great portable blue tooth and wifi enabled speakers. You can play directly from your phone or your mates can take control and use their playlists.

Although these systems are versatile they don’t have the power for large outdoor spaces. If you host parties regularly or you have a special occasion to cater for it will make sense to buy a professional standard PA system – but choose a portable one. 

Portable PA systems are compact and easy to store and move around. You can even buy ones that are specifically designed for outdoor use. You can pick up a good quality portable PA system in the range of £100 to £150 which is cheaper than hiring a DJ or sound system.

A more permanent solution is fitting weather proof exterior speakers and some wiring so you can plug your indoor sound system into your exterior speakers.

Furniture & Heat

Don't Forget Glass & Plate Rests
Don’t Forget Glass & Plate Rests

If you want people to congregate in your garden you are going to have to make it comfortable for them. Think about how to keep them warm and where they are going to either sit or rest glasses and plates. Standing around with a glass in one hand and a plate in the other is no fun and a recipe for lots of breakages.

You can bring your inside furniture out – but then if there is a rain shower you need to move everything back inside. It’s much better if you can create an attractive well thought out seating area. People will be drawn to it and as soon as you have a few gathered more always follow.

Sociable Seating
Sociable Seating

Pick the spot in the garden most shaded from cold winds and/or that gets late sun. You can plant cheap hedging or put up sections of trellis or fencing to provide a wind break. You need to create a focal point for people so they are facing one another, you don’t want lines. So a couple of round tables on a diagonal or benches opposite each other would be great. You can spend as little or as much on these items as you want.

Firepit & Grill
Heat and Food!

Next think about heat. Gas powered patio heaters look great and keep the hot parts out of harm’s way. Chimenea’s and fire pits are more atmospheric but not as child and pet safe. The great thing about fire pits is they can second as a grill and or food warmer – how great would it be to sit round a fire pit while you all toast marshmallows or have a fondue? If these items are too pricey or you want a fast solution you can simply load up your BBQ with logs and create your own fire pit.

IMPORTANT: If you are going to use a fire pit or chimenea with lots of people, alcohol, pets or children thrown into the mix then please read these safety tips.

Lighting

Picture this – all your guests have arrived and they are settled in your warm, bright kitchen. You have prepared your garden brilliantly but no one wants to go out there. What have you forgotten? Well just look out of the window – it’s dark so no one can see your wallpaper pathway or cosy seats. You forgot to light it up.

Lighting is essential for people to safely move around your garden and reduce spills. It is also vital to making the space look warm and inviting. Always spend a few minutes on lighting, it’s well worth the effort.

Simple, But Effective Garden Candles
Simple, But Effective Garden Candles

You can introduce lighting really cheaply – here is your chance to use up all those candles people keep buying you, even the ones that stink (no one will smell them outside). Cut the bottom off a plastic drinking bottle to use as a lantern cover.

You need to do a few things to make sure air can circulate through the bottle otherwise the candle will not remain lit. Remove the cap and then make a small hole or two round the bottom. The air will be drawn in through the bottom holes and escape through the cap.

To water proof it you can screw the cap on and cut a few narrow slits, or punch holes, at the top for air to escape. Just place the bottle over your lit candle and bury the bottle a few inches in the ground to secure it.

If you really want to raise the bar on garden parties then go for an inflatable building to suit the theme of your party!

Another cheap and fast solution is to use torches. Waterproof them with plastic bags and sellotape. You can hide them in plants, suspend them from guttering and tape them so they point at any angle. Experiment with up-lighting as this looks most effective. Down lighting should be used with care as it is not flattering for your guests. Yellower bulbs are warmer than blue/white lights which can look clinical and cold.

Bottle Garden Lights
Bottle Garden Lights

I always use torches in this way before I put permanent garden lights in. You can try lots of different angles and positions until you find the ones that work best. At that point you can invest in solar lights or get an electrician to lay some cabling.

So what are you waiting for – get yourself a party organised and make sure you can use that outside space.

So checkout our shop page for more great items https://screwsandstuff.com/screwandstuff-shop-/dual-screen-vertical-monitor-mount-fo-13-inch-to-32-inch-monitors/

We also have an Ebay shop https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/GIFT4PET

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Gardening Protection

gardening protection
Gardening Protection

Gardening without injury – 7 Inexpensive Must-Have Accessories.

Gardening is more than just an activity that results in the growth of a variety of plants, flowers, vegetables and fruits. It’s an instant stressbuster, mood lifter and a total body workout. Ample research indicates that gardening provides physical, mental, emotional and physiological benefits to humans. Moreover, gardening enables us to connect with nature and grow crops that are nutritious and organic.

While gardening is a fun activity, it can also be a little dangerous. Getting cuts, bruises, scrapes on the knees and other injuries are common while growing tomatoes or pruning roses. For most of us, such injuries are just a bit of an inconvenience. However for the very young, elderly these injuries can be real health risks. Soil, compost and animal faeces and urine harbour a range of dangerous pathogens like listeria, tetanus, legionnaires disease, Weil’s disease and salmonella. If you receive a cut or scratch whilst gardening the risk of infection is increased as any pathogens in the environment can enter your body. This can happen through the cut by-passing a range of your usual defences.  Therefore, it’s essential to purchase protective gear in order to prevent such injuries from occurring frequently. Luckily, many protective gardening accessories are reasonably priced.

Below are some cheap protective gardening gears that every seasoned gardener must adorn before getting down and dirty:

1. Gardening Gloves

Perhaps the most important accessory any gardener should have are gloves. Gloves not only prevent the formation of dirt under your fingernails. But they also prevent wood splinters, tiny shards of glass and other sharp objects from bruising your hands. There are several inexpensive gloves available online. Some are even lightweight and feel like a second skin.

2. Gardening Knee Pads

Needless to say that gardening requires the gardener to get down on their knees and feel the soil. Unfortunately, doing this for a long time results in weak knees, knee aches and pain in the knee caps. A simple, effective and economical way to protect your knees is by putting knee pads underneath them. There are a diverse range of knee pads available in the market today. These range from soft cushioned ones to those made of harder material.

3. Gardening Aprons

Gardening aprons are unlike the kitchen ones that moms adorn while cooking a delectable family meal. These types of aprons serve two important purposes. First, they keep dirt and dust away from your clothes and second, they have multiple pockets to store your favourite tools. Suspenders, shoulder straps and buckles help keep the apron in place.

4. Cut-resistant Sleeves

Ask any experienced gardener if they’ve ever had cuts or bruises while gardening and the answer will always be yes. Some might even say it comes with the job. Fortunately, cut-resistant sleeves made of a material called Dyneema can change this occupational hazard. Such sleeves are sturdy enough to protect the wearer from cuts and bruises yet are gentle on the skin. No cuts, no red rash and no discomfort.

5. Magnetic Wristband

On the surface, a magnetic wristband may seem like an unnecessary item to purchase. But in actuality, it prevents gardening tools from forming cuts and wounds on your skin by keeping the tools glued to your wrist. Lightweight and easy to strap on, a magnetic wristband is certainly a tool worth having.

6. Kneeler Seat

Knee pads are great for protecting your knees but you know what’s even better? Kneeler seats. Because they serve a dual purpose. The first is protecting your knees and back. The second purpose of kneeler seats is to store handy tools. So you can store handy tools like pruning shears, scissors, gloves and small hand trowels. Then move along with them. Moreover, some of these seats are also portable
Kneeler seats are especially useful for senior citizens. Who have weak knees or arthritis but don’t want it to prevent them from enjoying the benefits of gardening.

7. Pruning Gloves

Regular gloves don’t offer adequate protection against nicks from thorns. So it’s important to have a set of pruning gloves handy while clipping your beautiful red roses. Since they are tougher than regular gloves, they provide better protection.

Final Thoughts

No one likes getting a splinter under the skin, slapping a plaster on a cut or getting a bruise. Use the protective gears and tools above to make gardening a safe and fun activity.

More hints and tips for the garden here https://screwsandstuff.com/spring-gardening-tips/

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Spring Gardening Tips

spring gardening tips

Spring gardening tips; the sun is out, the birds are singing, and the grass seems to be greener in general; which also means it’s time to make that garden look a bit more appealing!

What do you know about organic gardening? Do you have particular techniques you like to use? Or do you prefer to pick things up as you go? Successful gardening is no big secret and the truth of the matter is that with the right information, you don’t have to be a professional horticulturist to fully appreciate a garden; anyone can achieve their ideal garden organically. Even if you can’t go the whole hog there are some easy ways to greatly reduce your use of chemicals and fertilisers. Make good use of our spring gardening tips.

Spring gardening tips, you’ll soon be on your way to attaining that organic garden of your dreams!

  • Pay close attention to the positioning of your plants. You can utilise certain taller plants to shade plants that are sensitive to the sun. Don’t be afraid to move your plants – either in Autumn or early spring while the plant is dormant.
  • Mix a combination of water, vinegar and alcohol to scrub away salt deposits that build up in clay pots. This ensures you can use them again (just make sure they are dry prior to using them though!).
  • A cheaper alternative to insect repellent is washing up liquid; simply just squirt a little into a water spray bottle and spray the plant foliage to keep those insects away.

Fencing

  • It is worth spending a little extra and investing in a fence to go around your garden. It keeps put unwanted animals and also helps stop weed seeds and pests from entering your garden.Spring Garden
  • If you are garden proud, it may be worth investing in artificial grass for your garden. This will ensure it stays looking pristine not only during the warmer season, but all year round. Artificial grass does not need feeding, weeding, watering or cutting!

Pests

  • A great way to get rid of slugs in your garden is to leave out a container or bowl filled with beer. Ensure that the lip of the container is at ground level. Slugs are attracted to beer so will be drawn to it and drown.
  • Another common method of ridding your garden of leaf eating insects is to use chilli pepper. Simply add a tablespoon of red chilli pepper per quart of water in to a spray bottle and spray on to the leaves and foliage.
  • See organic gardening as more of a hobby rather than a chore. Gardening is incredibly therapeutic, once you relax you will learn that you enjoy it a lot more.
  • Consider buying or building a composter. You can recycle all your kitchen and garden waste into a natural and organic fertiliser.
  • If you are a pet owner, ensure you read ingredients and be wary when using repellent and weed killer; these can be harmful for your pet.
  • Remember that soil needs to be pretty dry before digging; digging soil while it’s wet can destroy the structure which defeats the whole purpose. Because it is wet it is also much heavier so the job is much more tiring!

Lawns

  • If you forgot to use grass seed in the Autumn to fill bare patches and thicken your lawn you can still sow in mid-spring. However, you need to keep the seeds moist so wait until a period of showers is forecast. If this is not possible then make sure you water your new seeds regularly. We recommend buying your seeds from an agricultural grass seed supplier online. The quality will be much better and the price lower. Many of the grass seeds sold in DIY chains are old and their germination rates relatively poor.
  • Once you have the base of your garden covered, add a few visually appealing additions; this can do wonders for the aesthetic appeal of your garden. Think wind chimes, a water feature, a bird house or even a sculpture.
  • Last of all, you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy your efforts, so invest in a garden bench or perhaps even a swing gazebo! After all that hard work, you deserve it!

In conclusion

So there you have it, obviously, there is a lot more to gardening than just the above basic tips, and the more you reap, the more you will sow! Just remember, if you are a beginner or budding gardener, nobody gets it right the first time; it is normal to tinker a little, change things about and experiment – it’s all part of the fun!

Great Article on building a pizza oven in your garden.

https://screwsandstuff.com/how-to-build-a-pizza-oven-in-your-garden/