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How to cook Christmas turkey. On the barbecue.

Enjoying the outdoors.

As we enter the final countdown to Christmas day, it is worth reminding all outdoor design lovers they can make use of the space to create a little excitement.
Your barbecue can be trotted out to make many fantastic dishes, including a crispy turkey.


A recipe we recommend comes for The Guardian, in the United Kingdom.

Here is the link to the whole set of instructions: Guardian Turkey Recipe
The basics are as follow:

1x5kg turkey (from the excellent Kelly Bronze)
Bunch of thyme
Bunch of rosemary
2 lemons
200g butter

Begin by preparing your barbecue. Light the coals and wait until they're covered in a fine layer of ash, then bank them to two sides of the barbecue. Place a container of water in between them - this may need refilling during cooking.

If you like, tie the wings to the side of the body and pull the legs together with butcher's string. (There's a helpful video here.) Smear the bird in half the butter, squeeze the lemons over it and place the lemon halves in the cavity with the thyme and rosemary. Season the bird well with salt and pepper, inside and out.

Place on the grill and cover. You need a decent amount of air circulating, so the vents in the barbecue lid should be three-quarters open. If you have an oven thermometer, you want the temperature to remain at a relatively constant 180C.

Make a simple basting sauce by melting the rest of the butter and stirring in thyme and rosemary. Brush this over the bird a few times during cooking. The bird is ready when its internal temperature reaches 65C at the thickest point; mine took just over two hours.

If you don't have a meat thermometer, sneak a peek at the flesh between thigh and body to make sure it's cooked. Rest the bird for the best part of an hour, and serve with all the trimmings.


http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/christmas+barbecue+recipesIf you are slightly more adventurous, we recommend checking out what Australians have come up with for the festive season.

Taste.com provide ideas for an entire meal prepared on the BBQ.

Check out their ideas: here:http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/christmas+barbecue+recipes




December 21, 2014

Stunning Volute water feature by Tills Innovations

Add value to property.

Water features can change an outdoor space instantly and are a great way to "spruce up" even the dullest courtyard.
They also make good investments.
Buyers, as well as renters, value these features because of water's ability to add serenity and a touch of va-va voum.
Tills's Volute design is certainly a mesmerising example of what can be achieved in a small space.
What appears to be a solid piece of glass with a spinning vortex is in reality a water feature. 
Volute water feature by Tills Innovations.jpg



November 21, 2014

How to Install a Swing Gate

While there are some DIY tasks that are renowned for being particularly challenging and risky, there are others that remain relatively self-forward. Take the installation of a swing gate, for example, which can usually be completed in a quick and effective manner so long as you follow specific rules and guidelines. Although you may need some physical assistance of lifting the materials and holding them in place before they are secured, the task is simple enough to complete largely on an individual basis.

 

3 Steps towards installing a Swing Gate

 

With this in mind, let's consider the process of installing a swing gate and the steps required to complete the job in an efficient manner: -

 

1.      Select a Viable Driveway Gate and Associated Hardware

 

Before you even contemplate the completion of this task, it is crucial that you have the necessary driveway and gates and associated hardware. The product in question must cover the measured opening of your driveway space, while these gates are also available in a host of different materials such as timber or metal. If you partner with a reputable supplier such as Barrier Components, you can access in an even wider range of choice while also ensuring that your products are equipped with the necessary fittings, fixtures, tooling and hardware.

 

2.      Installation and Securing the Swing Gate

 

As a starting point, you will need to fix a pair of new and functional hinges on one of the external gate posts. This is where the gate will be adjoined to the first post, and you must follow the exact same process with the second post before also attaching the latch. Ensure that each individual component is fitted securely in place, before testing the swing gate in action and appraising whether or not it can move manually. If it functions well, you can rest assured that you have a functional gate that will survive consistent usage.

 

3.       Automate your Swing Gate

 

The final step of the process is to automate the gate, as this ensures that your manually functional product works with the accompanying motor. If you have not been supplied with a motor, you will need to purchase one independently and make sure that it has the requisite power to operate your specific size and weight of gate. If you have been supplied with a motor, you must still ensure that it has the required capacity to operate the gate consistently and over a prolonged period of time. Once this is complete, you will have a motorised and fully-functional gate that provides additional security to your home.

October 20, 2014

Garden maintenance in the winter

As the days grow shorter and colder your garden will need some TLC to keep it healthy all winter long. We've compiled some good pointers below to help you maintain a gorgeous garden, and there is also a wealth of great advice on the Swell UK Blog.

Flower Beds and Lawns.

Remove dead and decaying leaves and plants from flower beds, as not only does it look unsightly it stops light and oxygen from getting to the earth.  However, this debris can also be useful. Create a compost heap and deposit all garden waste to create a rich compost which can be used to feed flower beds and containers over the winter.

Remove any annual plants that will not flower again, they too can be composted.

Cut back any overgrown plants, shrubs or trees to avoid them becoming damaged or of course causing damage in the event of bad weather. If it snows, knock any heavy downfall off lower branches to avoid breakage. This will avoid the risk of snow from above adding to the increased weight as it falls.

Remove any leaves from the lawn to avoid any stagnant or diseased patches where it has been starved of oxygen and light. This also lessens the risk of any unwelcome pests making a home on your lawn. Experts advise not to walk on a frozen lawn as this can damage and weaken the fragile stems.

Any lawn areas that have become compacted may not drain well, so use a pitch fork to create a series of holes that will let water through. Adding some sand will help too.

Pond Maintenance

Again, remove dead leaves and rotting plants from both the surface and base of the pond. This will rot, releasing toxic fumes, which can be trapped in a frozen pond. Using a pond vacuum and a rake will make sure it's clean and tidy. A pond net is a good idea as it will keep any further debris from the water.

A pond heater is a great tool. It will create a 'blow hole' on the surface of the pond, which releases any toxins. An in pond heater is great for Koi ponds as it regulates the temperature of the water all winter long.

Remove any delicate or more exotic plants, as they will not cope with frost well. Take them indoors, wrapping the roots with damp newspaper and keep them in a warm place, such as a heated cellar or shed. Ensure that the newspaper is kept moist to keep the plants alive over the season.

Don't Forget...

Drain and insulate any garden taps and pipework. In the event of freezing temperatures this could avoid cracked, burst pipes.

Before you move any debris or rocks, check for hibernating wildlife. This is especially important if you are planning any bonfires, as little animals love a cosy, warm pile of leaves or timber.

Some flowers can be planted over the winter, and may even flower if the weather is mild. Try the Winter Flowering pansy, Violas and Primula, to name just a few.

Wrap containers in thick newspaper or even bubble wrap to protect delicate roots. Raising the container onto bricks or stones will also encourage drainage and hopefully avoid frost damage to the pots.

Check out the Swell UK Blog for more advice over the winter months, which has lots of information to help you make the very best of your garden.

 

 

 

 

 

October 18, 2014

PALOMA Garden bench with light, design by Eero Aarnio



paloma serralunga.jpg



Produced by Serralunga, the PALOMA is an affordable way to add a little 'je ne sais quoi' to any outdoor space. 




Used as a bench, a feature or even for lighting, the design is priced around the 300 euros mark.
The brand says:
'Eero Aarnio has a beautiful house on a lake near Helsinki, with bright interiors, decorated with many colourful objects he has designed himself during his long-illustrious career. In the morning he has a quick dip in the lake followed by a sauna, which is how he has remained in such incredible shape: now we understand how he creates such cheerful and spirited objects. 

The Paloma is one of his favourite animals, he would like to place it in the garden or have it floating in the lake, to create new views that soften reality, and become more poetic and mysterious. Optional: lighting system, ground fixing.
 Dimensions: 190x38xh53cm. 
Weight: 4Kg. 
Material: Rotational molded polyethylene'



paloma.jpg


October 16, 2014

Tips: How to Choose the Right Rattan Furniture for Your Garden

The Christmas season is approaching and outdoor furniture  is increasingly a gift option.

In recent years, it has become tricky to make the right choice when it come to a staple of outdoor furniture: rattan.
Here are a few tips:

Rattan garden sets are a great addition to any garden as they bring a touch of low-key class and elegance to your garden, without sacrificing comfort and practicality! In contrast to other high-maintenance types of garden furniture such as wood, your rattan furniture will need only routine cleaning to stay beautiful, and high quality rattan can even last for decades! It's worth investing a little extra money in really high quality rattan furniture, as if you go for a cheaper option it will likely break relatively quickly and need to be replaced - costing you far more in the long run than if you'd just paid that little extra to start. More to the pointcheap rattan sets look cheap. This might seem to go without saying, but rattan garden furniture has garnered rather a bad name in recent years due to the prevalence of cheap sets or imitations of the real thing. True craftsman-made rattan is a beauty and a joy, and will banish any and all preconceptions you might have. So we've established that good quality rattan is a must to enhance the beauty of your garden, but how do you know what's good quality and what's not? Here are some tips to help you make sure you're getting the genuine article, and not a cheap knockoff.

Diameter of the Stem

Rattan garden sets can be made from one of about 600 different species of tropical palms, and the diameter of the stem will vary dramatically from one species to another. However, quality rattan garden sets are never made from very thin stems. Stems which are used by reputable brands and craftsmen are always more than around an inch and a half in diameter because they are more strong and resistant to the daily wear and tear any furniture receives.

Check it Makes the Grade

Rattan furniture has its very own grading system, with quality being indicated by grades A, B and C. A indicates the highest quality rattan stem, B a good quality rattan stem, and C a lower quality of rattan stem. The surface of A grade rattan is smooth to the touch and is somewhat shiny in appearance. There should be no hairs, roughness, dents or uneven areas. However beware, treatments are sometimes put on the furniture to make it seem smoother or shinier than it really is. Always ask what grade the piece is, if they say it's not graded - don't part with your cash! While price doesn't necessarily reveal the quality of a piece of rattan furniture, too good to be true prices should always be a red flag.

 

October 16, 2014

Contributing to diversity: How to Attract Turtles to Your Garden and Pond

Turtles are fantastic additions to your garden pond and by creating a home for them you're also ensuring that they thrive as their natural habitats are actually shrinking. 

 

They have a gentle demeanour, help to reduce the amount of pesky insects like mosquitos and are great for children to observe and study.  If you're looking to welcome a turtle into your garden pond, here are a few tips to encourage them to come.

1. Provide Food and Plants

Turtles feed off both plants and animals such as small insects, so it's important to provide vegetation for them as this will not only attract them to arrive but also help them to stay.  Insects will naturally gather around ponds with lots of plants and depending on the species, turtles will have different tastes so be sure to provide a range of plants to increase your changes of a turtle turning up! Plants also provide shelter and shade and turtles just love digging around and nestling in different spots along the side of ponds so plant vegetation with different textures, sizes and layers for them to explore.

2. Create an Island

Speaking of exploring, turtles are also attracted to certain structural features in a pond. Small coves along the edge as well as piles of rocks around and inside the pond create ideal places for hiding, climbing and basking. Make sure these rock islands have a steady slope and are easy to climb so that the turtle can get in and out of the water when needed.

3. Keep Quality Water

It's extremely important to keep the water in your pond filtered and clean, as turtles tend to produce a lot of waste. If a turtle is over-exposed to dirty water, it will start to develop a number of harmful infections. Make sure you have a quality pond pump from a trusted supplier such as All Pond Solutions and check the filter monthly for any refilling or water changes.  

4. A Spot for Hibernation

If you're in a climate that gets cold and tends to freeze in the winter, you'll definitely need a place for your turtle to hibernate safely. Turtles tend to bury themselves into soft ground so it's best to sink a tray of sand or dirt in the deepest part of your pond so that the turtle can sleep safely in there. However you must be sure that a pond heater or keeps small holes in the ice so that the pond doesn't freeze over completely and suffocate the turtle as it hibernates!

October 16, 2014

Tips: How To Build A Polytunnel

We see them everywhere and sometimes need them ourselves for our own gardens.

However, we can be at a loss when it comes to creating one ourselves.

 

Here is a very clear 'how to video' to help change this!

 

Source: Premier Polytunnels



September 30, 2014

Source book - Architonic.com

Architonic is must see directory of design. 
Their outdoor section is quite high-end but full on inspiring designs.

The advantage with this site is that they connect you to the brands so you can get more information directly from them.

The site is also very well organised. The search function allows you to drill down and search specific pieces of furniture from foot stools to loungers.

inout-707-00-sq.jpg

September 24, 2014

Bloom Pot : time to plan for the festive season

As we leave summer behind us we can start planning a happy festive season outdoors.

Bloom Pots have a special X-mas design that fits that bill very well!
 
The Bloom!X'mas is available in red or white at https://www.bloomholland.nl/en/

The Bloom!X'mas

The Bloom!X'mas


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