Wednesday, 30 May 2012 1:38 PM
Regardless of the size of your outdoor space, you'll want to make the most of it, whether by having barbeques in the summer months, creating a peaceful haven from the hustle and bustle or growing your own produce, and landscaping can help.
Here is a brief guide to give you an idea about how you can transform your garden.
What is landscaping?
Landscaping simply means altering the appearance of a piece of land to make it more aesthetically pleasing by installing new features or changing the contours or shape of the ground. This doesn't need to be a massive project - you can do something as simple as installing a fountain, digging out a pond or laying a patio, as all of this falls under landscaping.
Can I do it myself?
You can, of course, tackle any landscaping project on your own, although if it is on a large scale or particularly complex, it could be advisable to contact a professional to ensure it goes smoothly and looks as you want it to when it is completed. If the job you are intending to do requires significant remodelling of the ground - such as building raised flowerbeds or levelling a sloped piece of land - you will need to consider equipment hire as well.
Renting machinery to compact soil or underlay for a patio could also be something you need to look into if this is a project you are hoping to complete yourself. Here are a couple of suggestions about some of the ways you can landscape your garden:
Adding levels to your garden can have a variety of benefits, particularly if you find it difficult to bend down. As well as making it easier and more comfortable to work on your flowerbeds, raised areas can also draw your eye to plants you especially want to highlight.
Installing raised flowerbeds is relatively straightforward. Firstly, you need to decide whether you want to make the structure out of wood or bricks - using the former is generally easier and quicker. Regardless of which option you choose, you will need to measure the area in question and dig out the bed. Marking the edges with pieces of string is a good tip to help you keep it straight. Once you've done this, you can make the frame. There is no right or wrong height - choose something that suits you and your garden. The final stage is to fill the bed with compost and get planting.
Laying a patio
There are several stages to laying a patio and you will almost certainly need specialist equipment to do the job properly. The first step, as with a raised bed, is to mark out the area where the patio will go. Bear in mind if you are positioning the patio next to the house you should lay it with a slight slope away from the property to prevent water pooling next to the walls. Locating a paved area here also means you'll need to dig a deeper bed.
Once you've dug down by 15 cm (or 30 cm if you're next to the house) you'll have to put in a layer of hardcore between 5 cm and 8 cm deep. This then needs to be compacted, which is best done using a vibrating plate. Plan the layout of your slabs before you mix the mortar and start laying them. To ensure you keep an even level throughout the process, hammer wooden pegs into the ground and check they are spread correctly using a spirit level.
Tap the paving slabs down with a lump hammer as you go and constantly check they are even as you work. The final stage is to fill the gaps between the stones using a mix of three parts building sand to one part cement.