Outdoor living

Embracing the Outdoor Living Trend

Following on from the lockdowns of the recent years during the Covid 19 pandemic, one of the biggest trends to emerge in 2022 is outdoor living. The garden has now become an extension of the indoor space, allowing you to do pretty much anything you can do in the home, outside.

Here are some of the biggest trends and examples of how you can embrace them:

Exterior is the new interior

Think moving your living room to the garden!

The main way to embrace the outdoor living trend is with comfortable outdoor furniture that allows you to enjoy the garden at any time of the day or night. Luxurious sofas and chairs, finished with sumptuous cushions and cosy knitted throws allow you to relax throughout the day.

Including rattan garden sofa and fire pit sets in your outdoor living area allows you to enjoy the space as you move into the evening and night-time. Rattan is also a great way to include the eco-friendly trend for this year, providing a more natural aesthetic.

Including a dining set in your outdoor living space means you can even enjoy meal times in your garden as well as using it for children’s art and homework activities or laptop time.

Enjoy the outdoors in any season

If you want to use the space on colder days (or nights), outdoor infrared heaters and radiant heaters provide even heat distribution, with a similar feel to natural sunlight. There are many energy efficient options available, so you can enjoy your outdoor time without worrying about the cost of living crisis!

Outdoor entertainment areas

Once upon a time, outdoor entertainment meant wheeling out the BBQ. Today, outdoor entertainment has evolved significantly, inspired in part by European outdoor spaces.

Outdoor kitchens now play a big part in many garden designs, including everything from gas cookers to fridges, sinks and worktops. Outdoor bars and cinemas are also gaining popularity, including a sheltered space to drink alfresco whilst enjoying your favourite movies on your devices.

A change of scenery

Another change that came as part of the Covid 19 restrictions is an increase in people working from home. Rather than being confined to the same 4 walls 24 hours a day, garden offices and outdoor working became popular.

Garden rooms provide a separate space away from the home. Including everything from insulation to electrics, they make the perfect home office and allow you to separate work from home life for a better work-life balance.

If you prefer something less permanent that you can use as and when, you could create a decked area with tables and seating for an impromptu outdoor office.

Outdoor lighting

With the increased popularity of outdoor living, there has been an explosion of outdoor lighting options beyond the traditional fairy lights.

From electricity powered wall mounted lights to portable solar powered lights, the choices are endless.

If you’re looking to add some stylish drama to your outdoor living space, outdoor pendant lights are an excellent choice and can be positioned above dining tables, hanging from natural wooden beams for example.

Positioning LED lighting next to water such as ponds also creates a stunning effect at night-time.

Uplighting positioned around your seating area provides a more subtle aesthetic, perfect for relaxing with friends and family into the evening.

However you decide to decorate your outdoor living space, it’s definitely a trend that’s worth looking into as we head into the summer months.

Gardening Trends for Summer 2022

The new year has arrived, and with it also comes new gardening opportunities to explore. This post looks at the most pressing issues affecting garden design, materials, planting, and aesthetics.

Nature Rules

This year’s overriding theme will be a shift toward plant-led, wildlife-friendly gardens that allow everyone to help the environment. Because of the increased concern about climate change, people are becoming more aware of the necessity of biodiversity; thus, gardens will be brimming with insect and plant life. People will refocus their attention on a natural aesthetic with some roughness on the edges, embracing the charm that this gives.

Drought-Tolerant Planting

Mediterranean-style gardening will become increasingly popular because of the uncertainties of global warming and the possibility of prolonged periods without rain. Drought-tolerant blooming plants like lavender, verbena, and perovskia will attract pollinators, while shrubs like Santolina chamaecyparissus Hebe pinguifolia and Teucrium fruticans will be planted to replace conventional box and yew.

Strong Colour

We all need colour in our life after the pandemic’s pressures and strains; gardening schemes are shifting away from the subtle pastels and subdued colours that have been popular for the previous decade and toward something far more dramatic. Lustrous, jewel-like colours will be popular — but not always in harmonious blocks or sweeps. Planting plans will be natural and random, like a stylized meadow, and geared toward pollinators rather than humans.

Patchwork Terracing

Large swaths of terracing or paving are becoming less popular as plants take over. Large sections of brick or stone are not only more difficult to look at, but they also create an impervious surface that generates extra water run-off. Low planting patches in between the pavement softens the appearance and enhance your plant population, or you may just leave huge, gravel-filled spaces in between slabs and let nature run its course with self-seeding plants.

Plastic Reduction

Most people will make it a goal to reduce the use of non-recyclable plastics in gardening. While we will reuse current seed trays and pots, we will not purchase new ones and will instead search for alternative and more sustainable items produced from biodegradable materials like cardboard, wood, or rubber.

Small Garden Furniture

Every garden is different, and we all have our style of garden decorating. When you have a small patio or garden, you would want to utilise and make the most of your limited space, and with the right garden furniture, even the smallest of gardens can seem much bigger and more inviting. Here at Hastings Garden Centre, we have made a guide on ways to incorporate small garden furniture into your garden.

Minimalist garden for space-saving solutions

A minimal garden makes use of limited design elements by creating a simple, uncluttered relaxing environment. To achieve a clean look, you can limit objects in your surroundings by opting for folding chairs and folding table.

Folding furniture is a great way to maximise and extend your space, and it’s perfect for summer events, and spares can be used to accommodate a guest. These can easily be stored and taken out of storage instantly, and they will make your garden look peaceful from the view inside your home.

Family Garden Bench

Picnic benches are perfect for large open gardens since they can be placed against a wall. Garden benches are great for families as they allow you to participate in fun activities in the central area and give the kids plenty of space to move around freely.

Traditional wooden benches are available in different colours, shapes and sizes that can cater to other occasions. A round style bench is perfect for small gatherings, whilst a straight bench can come in handy for compact-sized gardens.

Bistro Style area

Cafe style furniture and bistro sets can give a small garden a designated spot to sit and catch up with friends and family without taking up too much space. A bistro set will have at least two chairs and a table with various designs made with lightweight metal and slim components, which helps to create a compact space that feel large and spacious.

If you want to opt for a bar-style environment for outdoor events and gatherings, raised bar stools on skinny legs will keep the floor clear and allow light to pass through, creating an airy and space-enhancing aesthetic for your garden.

Outdoor dining with garden tables and chairs

A sturdy garden chair and table set is the most popular furniture choice to turn your patio into a sunny social gathering area. Larger spaces are perfect for complete seating sets. You can co-ordinate your set with matching chairs, sofas and tables, and there’s plenty of options for colour scheme, designs and furniture size to choose from.

For a less permanent option, a metal pergola is ideal for occasional parties and bbq with friends and families since they can create a cosy outdoor living area where you can place sofas and tables. The added protection and shelter from a pergola makes it easy to accessories the space with outdoor cushions and lighting to create an ambient and relaxing atmosphere.

Whichever garden furniture you buy, make sure to invest in a decent furniture set that will last you for many years to come. Always cover your furniture or store them inside during the winter when it is not used to elongate their lifespan and keep them in the best condition.

Winter Planting

Planting during the winter months can be pretty quiet as most plants aren’t able to grow during these times. However, it doesn’t mean you should stop gardening and planting. There are other ways you can still enjoy gardening during the winter. Below are different ways you can continue to enjoy gardening during the winter months.

Tidying your greenhouse

Your greenhouse will most likely be empty around winter, which is why it’s the perfect time to tidy up the space in your greenhouse. You could organise your gardening tools or prepare for spring and summertime by making more space. You can also decorate your conservatory by planting a pot of succulents and have them as decoration around your greenhouse.

Flowery plants

Not all plants are dormant during this time of the year. There are many plants with flowers that bloom during winter. Head over to your nearest garden store and get yourself some plants that thrive in the winter months. These plants include the winter jasmine, winter iris, hellebores, winterberry and snowdrops. These plants can make your garden looking new and alive even in this season.

Help wildlife

Winter can be hard on wildlife. For example, garden birds will have a hard time looking for food or water. You can help feed them by laying out bird foods in your garden or trees. The bees also suffer during these times. Making your garden bee-friendly can help them survive the harsh winter months.

Winter vegetables

Some vegetables thrive during the winter. It includes leeks, Brussels, kale, parsnips and cabbages. If you fancy growing some of these vegetables, winter is the perfect time to plant them.

Bare root plants

Bare root plants do well during the winter. These are plants that are sold without soil around the roots. You will find that many fruit trees and bushes are sold this way.

Outdoor Lighting Ideas for Your Garden

With the correct lighting and outdoor garden design, you can completely transform an average garden into a pleasant outdoor haven that you’ll want to relax in day and night. A creative outdoor lighting idea might be what your garden needs to make the area atmospheric and inviting during evening and nighttime.

Playing around with different styles and lighting products can illuminate your outdoor area with a warm and cosy glow at dusk. Several options include mini lanterns, floor spotlights, fairy lights on trees or walkway lamps, to mention a few. Picking the proper lighting can highlight key features in your garden, add a personal touch to your favourite space and draw attention to the garden’s main feature.

To help you design your ideal outdoor garden, we have included the best outdoor lighting ideas that are on-trend right now.

Accentuate your favourite plants with a rope light

If you have a favourite flowerbed or plant that you have spent endless hours working on during the summer, then you can illuminate any garden patch and make them stand out with rope light. Running the rope light along the edge can help you shape and give your plants a chance to glow even during the colder seasons.

Weave plants and trees with fairy lights

You can utilise fairy lights or outdoor Christmas lights by wrapping them around trees, plants or structures around the garden. Whichever option you opt for, a string of outdoor fairy lights can bring the very best of your trees and create a magical scene during the night. It’s low in maintenance and great for value.

Illuminate your pathways with floor lights

Aside from its practical and safety purposes, floor lighting positioned in your garden pathways can invite your guest to make their way around your garden and fully experience its entirety. Floor lights are great alternatives if you’re not a fan of posts or stake lights and prefer a subtle and minimal design footprint.

Mix and match different light bulb shapes and elevate them at different heights

If you’re into retro or vintage garden lighting styles, mixing and matching your light bulb shapes adds depth and a sense of spontaneity to the environment. Combining various features from quirky string lights to different sized lanterns adds a whimsical and playful atmosphere in your garden, helping you and your guest feel relaxed and cosy.

Different Styles of Gardens

The delightful season of spring is a few days ahead! If plant life has found a dear place in your heart, then now lies the perfect time to start working on your garden. For many individuals, selecting a garden style may not seem of great importance. While “at the moment gardening” without any intention or consideration of style and other gardening principles may still grow to be beautiful, it is best to analyse your living environment’s landscape and plan and plant your garden accordingly. There are various styles of gardens that will get you started on a garden that you can be pleased with, and we are delighted to share a few with you.

Contemporary Gardens

This type of garden style’s beauty is that it can be applied to large and small spaces or gardens. This unique style of gardening follows strict use of space budding into beautiful colours of neat and crisp rows of plant life. Usually, with a more linear and contour style, this garden type adds simple but modernistic elegance to the environment.

Small Gardens

Many people may argue that small gardens are some of the most difficult to design. However, there are various ways to make full use of a small space and put together a desirable garden. A small garden will require you to get creative and think outside of the box. Growing plants on shelves, fences, or walls is a wonderful idea for a small space, which creates an environment that is serene and possibly lively.

Urban Gardens

For individuals that reside in the city, garden spaces and opportunity may be minimal. Outdoor spaces tend to be used for multiple purposes; therefore, gardening should be structured to make use of specific spaces. Gardening on different height levels, walls and hanging pots are excellent ways to create a beautiful space while facilitating other activities.

Cottage Gardens

Cottage gardens are a typical English style of gardens. The beauty of this style of garden is that it can quite simply be adjusted to fit an urban environment. Cottage gardens have a history of people making use of their space to grow flowers and vegetables and fruits. This style is still common today but with only vast amounts of flowers and plants beautifully abiding on narrow corridors and pathways. At the same time, cottage gardens may have a wildlife style; they are still groomed with structure and discipline with the application of patterned colour and hedging.

After selecting a design that best suits your environment, you can include more creative elements in your gardening plots. Different styles of pots or objects such as small statues, rocks or fountains are ideal ways to create a beautiful balance in the gardening space. Selecting a suitable style while adding unique elements that reflect your personality may be easier said than done. However, we guarantee that it will be a rewarding experience when the full-blown spring season invites your plants to display their colour and beauty boldly.

Types of House Plants That Are Easy to Maintain

Do you have trouble keeping plants alive? If so, you are not alone. Many people find it challenging to grow and maintain plants. Luckily, some houseplants are easy to grow and perfect for those that don’t have a green thumb. Let’s learn more about these hard-to-kill plants.

Yucca

yucca

Yucca is a beautiful houseplant that is unique looking. Its deep green leaves add contrast to any room and help improve the air quality inside your home. Yucca simply loves the sun and does best in direct sunlight. It should be planted in a deep container and watered sparingly.

Aloe

Another popular plant that can easily be grown indoors is aloe. There are many different varieties of aloe to choose from so finding one that you like won’t be hard. Aloe has many health benefits and the juice from the plant can be used to treat sunburns. This plant thrives when placed in indirect sunlight and should be watered once a week.

Christmas Cactus

This beautiful plant has been grown by generations of Americans. It is an extremely popular plant and in fact, you might even find one growing in your grandmother’s window. Christmas cactus is a hearty plant that is easy to care for. It doesn’t require daily watering and it puts on beautiful blooms of red, white, pink, or purple during December.

Snake Plant

snakeplant

Last, but certainly not least, we have the snake plant. This houseplant with its funny name is one of the easiest plants to care for. To keep this plant looking great, simply water it a few times a month. Many people who grow this species claim that it can go without water for an entire month without affecting the health of the plant.

As you can see, these houseplants are easy to care for and they don’t require a lot of effort for them to thrive. So, if you would like to add beauty to your home, why not consider adding some of these plants to your living space?

How to Design a Beautiful Garden Landscape

When planting new plants, you’ll find that it can be quite challenging to decide where to plant them in your garden. This is where gardening landscape comes in to play. Ever notice that some garden looks organised and pretty while other gardens tend to look messy and disorganised? Owners with beautiful gardens have most likely planned the future look of their garden whereas the others have not thought about this. So before you start randomly planting around the garden, it’s essential to craft a plan on how you want the garden to look like. To help you get started, we’ve come up with the following tips below

Plan

The first step is always to plan ahead. When planning, ensure that your garden already looks good but at the same time have an idea on how you want it to look in the future when the plants are fully grown. When planning the space, it’s also ideal to leave some space around your garden where you can use for planting in the future. This will save you removing or throwing away any plants in the future when you’ve realised that you have to make some space.

Plant Selection

There are thousands of plants to choose from, and it’s wise to pick a plant based on their size and their growth rate. Once you have an idea of what the plant can do, then you can effectively plant them in the right area. You may also want to find out which space in the garden tends to get the most light from the sun. Some plants would benefit in an area where they get the most light.

Focal Point

A well-designed garden tends to have a focal point where it attracts the most attention from visitors. A focal point can be anything including an object from a bench or a fountain. This is the most stunning area in your garden.

How To Save Money On Your Gardening Equipment

Whether you’re looking to maintain or recreate your garden, it’s always wise to save a few a pennies when purchasing new equipment. Especially when we have a budget in mind, it’s essential to keep the cost as low as possible. So to help you save money from purchases, we’ve come up with the following ideas on how you can save and get more out of your money.

Seed

Instead of buying a developed plant, why not buy the seeds instead? The seeds will cost you less money compared to purchasing a half-grown plant. The difference in price is quite vast, for instance, a bag of seed will only cost you around £2 whereas the plant will cost you around £20 or more.

Out of season equipment

It’s much cheaper to buy outdoor and garden furniture when they are about to go out of season. So for instance, the items are most likely to go on sale at the end of summer. It’s the perfect time to buy them so that you can save a little bit of extra cash.

Recreate your furniture

Just because you have old furniture doesn’t mean they need to go to waste. Old furniture can be updated by recolouring or recreating for a different purpose. There are plenty of DIY projects for old furniture online.

Online

Some furniture online is much cheaper compared to store prices. There are also plenty of reviews that can help you make a decision when purchasing products online.

Second hand

Second-hand furniture can be found in different places including car boot, charity or even online websites including eBay, Facebook and Gumtree. You can get some great deals in second-hand shops would sell them for half the price.

A basic guide to planting your vegetable garden

Having your own vegetable garden can help you save money in the longer run. If you’re planting your vegetable garden for the first time, it’s ideal to learn how to plan and make a start. On this article, we’ll be providing a guide on how to start your vegetable garden. Let’s get started!

What to plant?

When planning what to plant for your garden, it’s always best to start small. Think about the type of vegetables that you eat the most. Also how much vegetables do you eat as well? You’ll find that some vegetables including chilli, peppers, squash and tomatoes are good to plant any time of the year. For some vegetables, you may want to find out which season is best to plant them.

How much space?

Now that you have an idea of what kind of plants you are looking to grow, you should be able to figure out the amount of space you need. Keep in mind that you won’t need a big space to start with. You can always start with whatever you currently have.

What you need to grow your plants

There are three basic rules that you must always apply to successfully grow your plants. Number one is to position your plants where it’s directed at the sun. Most plants will need at least 6-8 hours of sun as it will help the vegetables to grow. The next rule is to provide plenty of water for the soil. Lastly, the soil is the main base for success. Make sure to buy soils that are organic and well drained.

How to care for your plants

Depending on the season, you may want to think about how much water your plant will need. For instance, if the season is too dry and there isn’t any rain coming through then it’s important that you water the topsoil of the plant when they are looking dry. You may also want to invest in fertilising your vegetables.

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