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  1. Trends change as the seasons and years come and go, and this year we're seeing some exciting developments in our gardens... The 'grottage' A portmanteau of the words garden and cottage, the grottage is essentially a garage conversion turned into a much more pleasant habitable space that allows the indoors and outdoors to flow into one another. It’s a way of maximising disused garage storage space, and turning it into something beautiful and loved. They vary in style, with some that are smaller and with more of a sun house feel and others akin to a summer house with separate facilities – perfect for the Airbnb generation. One way to help your grottage feel much less garage-like is to combine the outdoors with the structure, perhaps by adding trellis panels along the side of the building and growing a variety of climbing plants. More colour in outside structures People are painting the structures in their garden – such as fencing or a gar

  2. Most of us are familiar with gazebos or may have a wooden garden arch installed, but there is one new wooden garden structure growing in popularity across the UK which you may not be aware of: carports. What is a carport? A carport is essentially a structure used to provide shelter to a vehicle. Usually constructed from wood, carports can be minimalist and functional or ornate and decorative. If your front garden has a running theme, you could even arrange for a new carport to match your fencing or trellis. Why consider a garden carport? Apart from being an aesthetically pleasing feature, carports are a practical means of ensuring your cars or bikes are protected from sunlight and the elements. Excessive exposure to sunlight can prematurely ruin the paint job on your vehicle, and excess rain could cause rust on the bodywork of your car. A carport is a practical solution to ensure the exterior of your vehicle remains in good condition. Is

  3. Growing fruit and vegetables at home has become hugely popular over recent years, with people trying their hands at everything from a few small herb pots on the window sill to full-size allotment plots stuffed with delicious produce. There are plenty of benefits to growing your own food; it’s healthier, tastier and better for the environment - but it can also be time consuming and tricky to get right, which is why using raised vegetable beds could be the answer to all your gardening woes. Soil quality A strong plant needs a strong foundation, and this comes straight from the soil you plant it in; garden soil is notoriously difficult to grow in, and is often full of clay and stones and lacks nourishment. One option is to use a rotavator to dig plenty of compost and soil improver through, but this can be a pretty costly exercise. A far easier alternative is to add some raised beds to your garden - as they sit on top of the existing soil, you can simply fill them wi

  4. A garden arch makes for a truly eye-pleasing addition to gardens of any type or size, but there are various considerations to make before placing one in your plot, to ensure you get the most from this attractive feature. Where you decide to locate your garden arch can influence the look you want to create. If you position it close to the house, it will provide you with the best view, and will act as a focal point for your garden. Many people like to place their garden arch over a path, or to link different parts of the garden together, but it can also be placed out of view, so that it can surprise and delight you as you enter secret or hidden parts of the garden. Think about where you place your garden arch in relation to other structures, such as trellis panels, a pagoda, gazebos or a garden arbour. Your garden arch deserves to be shown off in its own right, and shouldn't have to jostle for attention when placed next to other structures. Consider where you locate your garden arch

  5. Small gardens may lack the number of options for adding structures and planting compared to big gardens, but that's not to say you can't create an attractive and inspiring outdoor space. In most cases, all you need is to follow a few simple rules and add a dash of creativity, and you can establish as beautiful a garden as any. 1. Focus on vertical The secret of gardening for small areas is to capitalise on your vertical space, as this focuses on height, rather than width. Adding tall, lofty plants against structures such as fencing, garages or sheds makes the best use of your space, creating a natural, colourful zone that conceals any unsightly brickwork. 2. Add a trellis Climbing plants, such as clematis or rambling roses, are especially ideal for small gardens, and will happily romp away when placed against trellis panels. A trellis is a vertical structure, so perfect for small gardens, and with so many options and styles to choose from, they can serve as a feature or focal

  6. Fencing and trellises are the perfect way to define your boundaries, but with so many styles, it’s hard to know what to go for. Here are a few suggestions for how to beautifully frame your garden - and keep your neighbours on side too! The first thing to do is to take a look at your garden, and see where the boundaries are. You may have a perfectly rectangular garden, or you may have more of a higgledy piggledy garden with lots of adjoining properties – this is often the case with character properties where over time, land has been sold and developed. Then consider how overlooked you are, and whether there are any eyesores you would like to screen out – a neighbour’s garage, for example. Obviously a fence is a more solid option, and for screening out things you don’t want to see, they’re perfect. They are attractive on their own, but you have the option of planting climbers and training ramblers over them if you wish; you might want to screw in some eye hooks and wires t

  7. For many, gardens are viewed as another room of their home; an oasis of relaxation to escape to at the end of a busy day, a space to socialise with friends, and somewhere for children to play. While the UK climate may be somewhat unpredictable, we do enjoy enough warmth and sunshine throughout the year to encourage most to take full advantage of their outdoor space by adding features and structures that enhance their garden experience. Many gardens across the UK are home to gazebos; these are pavilion structures which provide shelter, shade and a place to relax and dine. Other popular garden structures include pagodas, garden arbours and arches. The vast majority of garden structures are made of wood and are completely exposed to the elements. Year round your gazebo, arbour, trellis, arch or pagoda is exposed to sun, wind, rain and snow and you will need to take measures to protect your wooden structure if you want it to last. How to protect your wooden structure: 1. While

  8. If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, but also enjoy the practicalities of having a roof over your head, a pergola might be the perfect choice for you. So, what is a pergola? It’s a wooden framed structure which goes in your garden. Made up of columns with a wooden grid roof of rafters and beams, you can keep it freestanding, or have it partly attached to your house. Some people like to use them as frames for climbing parts to really bring the pergola into your garden landscape. These climbing plants can create a beautiful, natural roof and walls if you want a bit more coverage. Some of our favourite climbing plants are perfect partners for a pergola. Wisteria loves climbing a pergola, and if you’ve got the right conditions, vine-based plants like grapes or jasmine also work well with the frame. A pergola also lets you enjoy the outside for a little bit longer each year. Get the garden furniture out a few weeks earlier than your neighbours and let your pergola protect you from the sun’s rays at the hottest part of the day. At the end of the summer, when everyone else has put away their patio furniture, you can still pop outside and enjoy the sun, using the natural plant roof and walls to protect you from the incoming autumn chill. Want something a bit more dramatic? A pergola is really versatile. Paint it in your favourite colour or to tie in with your colour scheme. Add a sheet of canvas to give yourself a bit more coverage, and paint on your own design – or let the family do it, for a truly personalised feature. If you enjoy spending time with friends and family, your pergola will give you the chance to entertain your guests outside. Go for a pergola large enough to fit your table underneath, and look forward to al fresco lunches and dinners. Get yourself that extra room with a pergola from Live Outside. It’s a new way to enjoy the comforts of the great outdoors, and we’re sure you’ll love it.

  9. A trellis is a beautiful addition to any garden, but it’s a job half done as you don’t want to leave it bare, even when it is beautifully finished in natural wood. It needs plant life to really blossom and you want a fast climber that will turn your trellis into a focal point for your whole garden. It’s up to you whether you opt for a simple wall mounted trellis or you go for broke and combine these stunning plants with a pagoda. Of course, you can also place these plants on your fencing, but trellis panels placed against the fence will give you a spectacular look as the plants can weave their way around the woodwork. Here are some of our favourites: 1. Solanum jasminoides Otherwise known as Chilean potato tree vine, this fast climber is evergreen, so it will bring colour to your garden all year long and won’t look too sorry for itself in the winter. In the summer, it comes alive with a riot of blue flowers and it also climbs with ease. So get it started on your tre

  10. Although winter’s chill lingered in the air longer than usual this year, the spring season is now well and truly under way here in Britain. You may even be thinking about investing in new structures for your garden so that you can spend more time there during this warmer part of the year. But what structures are essential for creating the ideal springtime garden? We think there are four structures that are indispensable if you want to construct the perfect garden for this uniquely lovely season. 1. A gazebo A gazebo is the perfect place to socialise and admire your garden while it is in full bloom. Gazebos can also offer shelter during light springtime showers, meaning that you don’t need to be forced back inside by a little rain. We offer a huge range of gazebos in different styles, so you’re certain to find one that suits your tastes on the ecommerce part of our website. 2. A garden arbour During the springtime, you’re likely to want to view your garden from a less