Outdoor Living UK Blog

  1. Choosing Garden Water Features

    Choosing Garden Water Features

    If you have already researched the reasons to incorporate a water feature into your garden, the next thing to look into is the options available. Today water features are available in a variety of sizes, designs and they can be made from an assortment of materials. This can make choosing garden water features difficult but with the right guidance, you can quickly and easily find the right feature for you.

    Water gardens are living water features, filled with and surrounded by plants to create a lush natural setting.
    Reflecting pools are usually a focal point located near a landscape feature that is reflected in the glassy surface of the water.
    Ornamental pools normally incorporate a decorative piece such as a cascading fountain or waterfall creating movement.

    Come in a variety of shapes and sizes; these can be more traditional carved stone, granite, reflective metals or use natural unfinished slate. They create sound of water tumbling and splashing on itself combined and a cool refreshing mist.

    Like fountains, waterfalls add sound and motion to the garden. Often created with natural stone slabs or boulders, but can be created using more angular smooth materials as part of a more minimalist style. They can be used as a focal point to bring a vertical dimension or link different levels within a garden.

    Streams are ideal for linking features together and creating a flow through a garden, they are ideally suited to a larger space.

    The location of features running on mains electricity is only limited by the length of the cable. By running the cable to an outdoor plug or a socket you can switch on your water feature whenever you desire or leave it running all the time. For a more eco friendly option you could choose solar which also allows the feature to be completely self contained. These water features do need a good level of sunlight, which may limit where you can place them in the garden.

  2. Attracting wildlife to your garden

    Native wildlife is under pressure like never before due to; destruction of habitats, climate change and diseases such as that affecting bees. But with a little effort we can help by encouraging hedgehogs, birds, butterflies, bees and pond life to our gardens.

    Not only are they fascinating to watch, but actually benefit our gardens through pollination of plants and natural pest control. For example hedgehogs, frogs and toads eat slugs and snails, and birds and beetles eat aphids.

    • Here are my top tips for attracting wildlife to your garden.
      Choose a selection of plants which mean you will have flowers in your garden over a long period, to encourage bees, butterflies and other plant visiting insects and ensure you have colour in your garden throughout the year.
    • Create a log pile; this will provide habitats for insects, fungi, mice, hedgehogs, frogs, toads and newts.
    • Reduce the use of pesticides, these can harm wildlife which naturally control pests in your garden such as ladybirds which eat greenfly; and frogs, toads and hedgehogs who eat slugs and snails.
    • Water features without fish provide a habitat for Frogs, Toads, Newts and Dragonflies. Even something small such as an old sink sunk into the ground will do, but there a many options for stylish water features to enhance your garden.
    • Plant wildflowers in your garden, these will not only look beautiful but will provide food and shelter for many native species.
    • Attract birds, bats and hedgehogs by providing specially built boxes for nesting and hibernation or add an insect hotel to attract insects including bees.
    • During the Autumn and Winter months put out seeds, nuts and fat balls to attract birds when food sources are scarce, they will continue to visit and help with pest control by eating bugs and greenfly during the warmer months.

  3. Water Features: Reasons to have water in your garden

    There are many reasons you might want a water feature in your garden. To add to the aesthetics, and create a focal point or to have a positive impact on wildlife or your wellbeing. Water features are available in a variety of sizes and designs and are ideal for both large gardens or for small secluded patios. Here are some reasons why you should have a water feature in your garden.

    Water Feature

    You can match the features with your style as an extension of your home
    There are many different designs of water feature. This makes it easy to find a style to complement your personal aims. For example a modern, minimalist space might incorporate Asian inspired features. This could be made from natural materials and accessorised with grasses and bamboo. For a country cottage feel garden antique style water features would fit well.

    You can use them to reflect sunlight
    Sunlight enhances water features shining through their water streams. This light can reflect off of plants and other design features to enhance their beauty and even create mini rainbows.

    Water Feature wildlife

    Water makes spaces appear larger
    Clean clear water has reflective properties which can make spaces look bigger. To maximise this reflection choose smooth surfaces and plants with smooth leaves near the feature. You could even add lights in the surrounding area or underwater to add to the effect.

    Water attracts wildlife
    Wildlife is more likely to frequent your garden when there is water available. Even a small feature can encourage birds into your garden for drinking and bathing. Ground level features such as ponds can also encourage frogs, newts and hedgehogs.

    Water creates an atmosphere of tranquility in your garden
    On a hot summer day, having running water can physically cool the garden down. Water creates a tranquil sound which can have positive health benefits including reducing blood pressure and stress levels. This can therefore improve physical and mental health.

  4. How to grow your favourite fruit and veg

    If you have never really thought about growing your own fruit and veg, don't have a greenhouse and thought that it would mean hours and hours of digging and raking huge beds which take up your whole garden. But believe it or not you can actually grow some fruit and veg in pots and hanging baskets. So why not a go at growing a few different kinds, these are some of the simplest to grow and with minimum effort.

    fruit and vegetables

    Salad and herbs

    You can buy herbs at most garden centres or even in the supermarket. Plant these in pots outside during spring and summer and most will continue to grow year round if watered regularly. Alternatively plant them in small pots and keep them near the window in your kitchen for fresh herbs year round.
    You can sow salad leaves between these herbs outdoors in summer or in an unheated greenhouse or windowsill all year round in pots or trays of moist, multipurpose compost, or even between your bedding plants. Just ensure the soil its moist and they are in sun or semi shade and harvest as required.

    fruit and veg

    Tomato plants are really quick to grow either from seed or bought as plants and can be grown outside during spring/summer months. Choose a tumbling variety like ‘Cherry Cascade’ that can be planted in hanging baskets. You only need to feed and water them and keeping them off the ground prevents slugs and snails getting to them.

    Really easy to grow! Plant potatoes during late February and March in bags or pots only part filled with compost. When the green shoots begin to appear cover them with more compost. Repeat this until the bag is full, and remember to water them. Around 15 weeks later, the foliage will die back. Empty the bag or pot out to collect up your own home grown potatoes.

  5. Choosing A Garden Water Feature

    Choosing A Garden Water Feature

    There are various factors to consider when looking to purchase a garden water feature. Cost is of course one of the most important factors. Your budget is often something which can't be compromised upon. Fortunately with such an extensive range we believe we will have the perfect water feature for your garden. This is whether you have a large or small budget to spend.

    Aside from your budget it is also important to consider the ongoing cost of running your water feature. With constant developments in efficient and reliable solar powered features, running costs can be kept to a minimum. In many cases they can be removed entirely. With modern manufacturing methods and strong materials maintenance costs can also often be kept extremely low.

    Outdoor Water Feature

    So you know your budget and the potential costs or lack of required to run and maintain a feature. The next step is to look at your garden and more specifically where your sparkly new water feature will be installed. If you own a beautiful countryside cottage with traditional external features or furniture, a stainless steel water blade or ball will stand out like a sore thumb.

    We speak to customers with traditional gardens on a daily basis. Their aim is often to purchase a water feature which will look like it has been there for as long as their home. With such an extensive range of traditional, ornate features, this is something which is easily possible. What's more, a diverse range of materials offers traditional looks but with modern day strength and durability.

    This combination means that rather than having to compromise, you truly can have the very best of both worlds. Not just a feature which looks like it belongs in your garden, but one which will remain that way for years to come.

    Alternatively you might have a newly landscaped garden with modern furniture, sharp edges, outdoor heating and a large decked or patio area. With such a contemporary outdoor living space, an ornate fountain or pond is not going to fit your desired look. This is where our modern water features are the ideal choice. We're sure you have seen stainless steel sphere water features, but what about stainless steel blades which can be integrated into a wall and provide a constant tranquil flow of running water?

  6. Kent Garden Show 2017

    Kent Garden Show 2017

    On 27th - 29th May 2017, Outdoor Living UK will be exhibiting at the Kent Garden Show. With over 300 exhibitors in attendance, the show presents a great opportunity to discover some fantastic ideas and products for your own garden.

    In addition to medal winners from the Chelsea Flower Show are various nurseries, gardening goods and water feature suppliers such as ourselves.

    In attendance this year is Jacqueline Aviolet to answer visitors’ gardening questions. Also, Jim Buttress will be signing copies of his book, The People’s Gardener on the Saturday.

    The gates open at 9:30 each day and close at 17:00. Last admission is at 16:00 except for Monday when last entry will be at 15:30. The cost for entry is £8 for adults, £7 for seniors and children under 16 go free.

    Visiting The Show

    The show will take place at Kent Showground, Detling which is directly off the A249 between the M20 (junction 7) and the M2 (junction 5).

    If you will be using a satnav to find the show, simply enter the post code ME14 3JF.

    Our team will be there offering help and information regarding all of our products. They will of course also be taking orders on the day. The Kent Garden Show is a fantastic day out and the weather looks promising too!

    With a craft pavilion, food hall, brass band and children’s rides, there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained for the entire day. We hope to see you there and please feel free to come and say hello on our stand!

    The Outdoor Living UK team.

  7. Which Garden Plants are Poisonous to Dogs?

    Which Flowers are Poisonous to Dogs?

    We all want to have a beautiful garden full of colourful flowers that help to create a relaxing outdoor space for us to enjoy. Flowers come in so many different colours, sizes, shapes and scents that the choice is almost endless.

    For those who have dogs in their household though, there are things to consider when choosing flowers such as which garden plants are poisonous to dogs? Dog lovers will know that a curious canine is part of the family and we all love to protect them against potential risks. Unfortunately there are certain flowers which can be poisonous to dogs so it’s obviously very important to avoid these.

    Which Plants are Poisonous to Dogs?

    If you’re in the process of building your dream garden from scratch, below you will find a list of plants and flowers to cross off your list immediately!

    You may however be slightly less fortunate and already have a fully blooming garden or just be moving into a house with one. If that’s the case then it’s a good idea to Google the following for images and have a good look around before letting your four legged friend roam freely.

    • Aconitum
    • Amaryllis bulbs
    • Asparagus fern
    • Azalea
    • Cyclamen
    • Daffodil bulbs
    • Day lilies
    • Delphiniums
    • Foxgloves
    • Hemlock
    • Hyacinth
    • Hydrangea
    • Ivy
    • Laburnum
    • Lily of the valley
    • Lupins
    • Morning glory
    • Nightshade
    • Oleander
    • Rhododendron
    • Rhubarb leaves
    • Sweet pea
    • Tulip bulbs
    • Umbrella plant
    • Wisteria
    • Yew

    It goes without saying that should you find your dog eating any of the above or either convulsing or appearing under the weather following time in the garden, you should seek advice from your vet immediately.

    We hope you found this blog post on "which garden plants are poisonous to dogs?" helpful. If you have, why not sign up to our newsletter to read our gardening blog posts before anyone? Alternatively, feel free to visit our main site to browse a huge range of garden water features, garden furniture and a whole lot more!

  8. Choosing Fencing for Your Garden

    When looking to replace fence panels in your garden there are various factors consider before making your purchase. It’s quite easy to rush into things choosing fencing panels which don’t suit your garden or will need replacing again in two to three years. But taking your time to consider the following will ensure you can enjoy a great looking fence that will also last for many years.

    Garden Fence Purpose

    The first factor to consider when choosing fencing panels is the purpose of your fence. Are you simply replacing a broken fence at minimal cost or are you looking for a fence that offers you maximum privacy? For privacy you will require a fence that is higher than a tall person’s eye line. We’re not suggesting your neighbours will be peeking over your fence but any lower than the odd glance is inevitable.

    Do you want a fence that simply serves a purpose or do you want it to be decorative or at least easy on the eye? If you have children you’ll likely want a fence that will withstand the odd hit from a football or crash from a bike.

    Fence Panel Size & Cost

    The next thing to think about is the size of your garden and how many fence panels it will take to completely fill the perimeter of your garden. Measure your garden accurately, check it and then check it again. The last thing you want when choosing fencing is to have to buy additional panels or worse still, find out that there are none left of the style you have used. With the size of your garden measured out, you’ll know how many of a certain panel you’ll need and how much it will cost to complete the job in your chosen panel.


    Let’s be honest, appearance should probably be top of the list. Our home is a place where we sit back and relax; forgetting about the stresses of work and enjoy complete comfort. To do that, our home has to look and feel the way we want it to. There are various different styles of fence panel. You might choose a modern, clean style that will compliment a simpler minimalist garden. Alternatively you might prefer a rustic style fence panel with a rougher finish.

    After deciding on the overall style, the next step is to choose the colour or tone you want your fence panels to be finished in. Not only is this a way to add colour to your garden but it will also protect them and ensure they last for many years.


    With your fence panel style and size decided and an idea of what treatment you’ll apply, you can begin choosing the products to achieve your dream garden. Why not view our Grange Fencing products to see if we have the perfect fencing selection for your garden? You can then choose a weather protection treatment in your chosen colour and protect your fence for the perfect overall finish.

  9. Growing Vegetables - A Quick & Easy Guide

    Being more money savvy and making savings wherever possible has become extremely important with the rise of the cost of living in the UK. More and more people are looking for ways to cut back on their food bill but more importantly, doing so without eating unhealthily. Growing vegetables is just one way for you to do just that.

    The Benefits

    One of the most effective ways to do this and one which has numerous benefits is growing vegetables and fruits in your own garden. Of course there is the obvious benefit of the on-going cost saving which can add up to a huge amount over the months and years to continue to harvest your own foods. But growing vegetables also encourages a healthier lifestyle, allows children to learn about the process of growing food and ensures you and your family are eating fresh fruit and veg with no added chemicals.

    What's more, it's also extremely satisfying to harvest your own fruit and veg before cooking them and enjoying a beautiful meal that you have not only prepared but grown yourself too!

    Getting Started

    To help you get started with growing your own, we've put together a handy and simple infographic to give you some ideas of the types of fruit and veg you can grow in your own garden and also simple steps on how to do just that! You may want to spend a bit more time getting to know the process but we hope this will give you some inspiration.

    Growing Vegetables & Fruit - The Guide

    [caption id="attachment_730" align="alignnone" width="700"]Growing Vegetables Growing Fruit & Vegetables in Your Garden.[/caption]

    For more information and thorough steps on how to grow vegetables and fruit in your garden, why not browse our referenced sources of fantastic information? We'd love to see and hear about how you got on so feel free to get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments section of this post!

    Thanks for reading. The Outdoor Living UK team.


  10. Getting cold !!!!

    It is times like today you really start looking forward to the Spring, freezing weather really often restricts what you can do as opposed to when the sun is shining you feel alive and just want to be active.

    If you have a water feature in your garden then don't forget to protect it from the frost, either by placing chemicals in the water is pacing a cover over it or even store it away during the winter months.  If you want any advise then call 01733 688464 for further information.