Create a bug hotel

Create a bug hotel

The estimated 24 million private gardens in Britain are thought to cover an area bigger than all of our national nature reserves combined. But many newer properties simply don’t have all the natural nooks and crannies that our insects need. And pollinating insects like bees are vital to the survival of many plant species. So even if your garden is small, it can be an important link to the countryside, and offer a much needed home for wildlife. Our friends at the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust have been checking out the bug hotels created by children at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival. Here are their ideas on how you can create your own at home. A perfect project to keep children busy in the garden this summer… Walking round Hampton Court Flower Show, it was cheering to see that today’s youngsters are definitely getting the garden bug – in more ways than one! Schools’ insect hotels were certainly drawing the crowds. The ingenuity which had gone into the construction was admirable and every house was certainly different. The basic principle was the same; to build a shelter for insects in order to improve the biodiversity of the garden. How to create your own bug home Start with a box frame filled with different layers of material. Kebur pallets are ideal (our yard usually has a good supply that you can pick up for free) Cover it with a waterproof roof Create insect holes from objects you have at home. Whatever you use, one end has to be sealed. The young architects at Hampton Court were experts in recycling all...
High quality fencing to suit your needs

High quality fencing to suit your needs

Do you need new fencing panels for your garden? Whether it’s to keep your pets secure, block an unsightly view, shelter from the wind or give your garden a bit more privacy, the right choice of durable fencing will make a huge difference to your garden. At Kebur we’re proud of our wide selection of fencing supplies, and are keen to give our customers the very best value. High quality fencing and timber structures We’re excited to be stocking KDM’s range of treated fence panels and timber structures, which are superb quality. We’ve chosen KDM because of their exceptional range of products and their commitment to sustainability. As well as our classic European fencing panels, trellis, picket fence panels and gates, you can now try some of our stunning new options like the heavy-duty Tongue and Groove Lattice Top panels (pictured above). This durable fencing is great for privacy and looks the same from both sides. If you’re looking for a bargain, we’re also offering up to 15% off our Grange fencing and timber products while stocks last. Fencing to suit all tastes and budgets Here is a glimpse of some of our favourite KDM fencing products…   For a contemporary and versatile look, our slatted panels are quick and easy to install and are available in six sizes including 1.8m wide. You can now design your own pergola to create your perfect spot for shade or to link different parts of your garden together. All you need is these ready to assemble pergola components. With a range of horizontal rails that fit easily into slotted posts with corner...
Planning a new driveway

Planning a new driveway

Planning your perfect driveway The value of kerb appeal is not to be under-estimated. The front of your house creates an important first impression, adds value to your property and makes a huge difference to the welcome you get when you return home. Whilst you may need to include a parking space and room for dustbins, you’ll also want to think about creating the right look for your home, as well as that all-important budget. Design Start off by looking at your essential routes out of the house; how will you get from your front door to the road and any side gate or garage? Consider what design will best complement your home. Straight lines can look formal and contemporary, while softer curving edges suit a more traditional or informal property. Parking Where do you want to park your car and will you need space to turn? Positioning your car away from your front door and window will give you a better view from inside your house and leave your front doorway clear. Planting A really easy way to inject character and style to the front of your property is using plants, yet nearly 5 million front gardens in Britain have none in them. Plants offer helpful privacy and shade, not to mention benefits for wildlife. If you are tight for space, consider pots or plant some ground cover amongst decorative aggregates (below). Native hedging like beech that holds its leaves in winter can be great for privacy while silver birch can create a dappled shade and perfect screening for bedroom windows. And if time is an issue, go...
Make a mini pond for your garden

Make a mini pond for your garden

If you liked our blog on how to create a pond, and maybe didn’t have enough time or space, this post is for you. Our friends at the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust give some top tips on how to create mini pond. Using a small container like a Belfast sink, which can be picked up easily from reclamation yard, you can make a small water feature, ideal for a patio or compact garden.   Seven simple steps to make a mini pond Make your sink watertight. If the plug has gone missing, don’t worry, a small blob of concrete will quickly make it watertight Put in a layer of gravel or stones on the bottom. This will hide your plug hole and provide habitat for small insects If you can, fill the pond from a water butt. Otherwise let the water stand for a couple of days Introduce aquatic plants. Try to choose one plant for height, such as a Cyperus or Iris Pseudacorus. Most garden centres now stock a range of plants, including vital oxygenators. For preference put plants in aquatic baskets, but just a simple pot will be enough to stop plants spreading. Put a couple of staggered bricks inside the sink to help creatures to climb out and go searching for slugs. This one also has a ramp to ground level and has been quickly colonised by frogs. Raise the sink on bricks to give toads and newts a damp and dark space to enjoy underneath. This will be especially popular if it’s surrounded by dense planting, such as wild strawberries, scented hardy geraniums or ferns....
Three minute guide to choosing topsoil

Three minute guide to choosing topsoil

The nature of your soil can make all the difference as to whether your plants and lawn fail or flourish. If you’re wondering what topsoil to buy, start by understanding a few basics about soil and organic matter. This will make your choice much easier. What is topsoil and when to use it? Topsoil is the very top layer of soil, which is high in nutrients and organic matter and provides the structure for plants to grow. You may need to add topsoil into your garden if you’re making new beds or borders or as a base for a new lawn. This is especially important where the natural soil is poor or non-existent. If you have a new-build home, for example much of the topsoil may have been taken away during construction. What to think about when buying topsoil? Your plants and soil: Your choice of topsoil will depend on what you are planting and what kind of soil you already have in your garden. Lots of plants and vegetables will do well with plenty of organic matter because it provides important nutrients for their growth. Other plants like wildflowers, do well in poor soil without compost. Most plants like a neutral pH that is not too acid or alkali. You can test your soil pH with a simple kit from a garden centre or online. If you are planting acid-loving plants like rhododendron, azalea or conifer, they will benefit from a slightly acidic ericaceous topsoil. Level of screening: Screened topsoil has been sieved to remove larger lumps of soil, roots, stones and other debris according to size. For...
Seven ways to use decorative aggregates and how to choose them

Seven ways to use decorative aggregates and how to choose them

There are lots of reasons why you might consider using decorative stone to transform your outdoor space. From driveway shingle to rockery boulders, pebbles for ponds or a black basalt border, decorative stones and garden aggregates are versatile, great for drainage and easy to lay for quick impact.  This guide helps you think about which products are most suitable for your landscaping needs, so you can choose the right aggregate for your garden project. What can I use decorative aggregates for?   1. Improve drainage As decorative aggregates allow water to run through into the ground, they can be great for reducing the risk of your garden flooding. Use shingle or chippings as an alternative to paving or set paving stones within them to make an attractive path.   2. Create a drought-tolerant garden Rockeries, alpine gardens and gravel gardens are great options for low maintenance and well suited to poor soils and the uncertain weather patterns we’ve experienced in recent years. Most decorative aggregates can be used in this way and rockery boulders can provide dramatic structure, especially well-suited to sloping gardens. See the RHS advice on how to create a gravel garden.   3. Landscape a pond If you’re creating a pond, aggregates can be perfect for creating a ramp for wildlife and to soften the edges. Pebbles and cobbles can re-create the feel of a river or beach. Be careful to choose an aggregate suitable for fish. Some natural stone such as that with lime content will affect the PH of the water and make it unsafe for aquatic life. Although most suppliers provide pre-washed stone,...
How to lay garden sleepers

How to lay garden sleepers

Why use garden sleepers? Sleepers are hugely versatile and can be used in a wide variety of building and landscaping projects. Whether you are making sleeper steps, planters, edging, terracing, screening or benches, our timber sleepers come in a range of different colours and styles so you are sure to find a sleeper suited to your garden project. How to choose garden sleepers Reclaimed Sleepers: are the sleepers that have been on the railway. They provide an attractive rustic look but caution must be taken when handling these as they can be very heavy. Avoid skin contact and don’t use in public or play areas. Treated Brown Softwood Sleepers: are lighter in weight and easy to use. These sleepers are pressure treated for long lasting protection. New Oak Sleepers: are surprisingly good value. Made from European Oak, they provide a neat modern look and have become the most popular choice in our range. New Treated Brown Hardwood Sleepers: are made of Alder, Aspen or Birch and are less likely to split than oak sleepers. How to lay garden sleepers When using sleepers for a retaining wall, or for steps or terracing, firstly, make sure your area is clear of debris and vegetation and dig down a shallow trench. Concrete the sleepers in on a 100mm deep bed. Haunch at the back end of the sleeper and if possible, the front end too. This will help fix sleepers to the ground so they remain stable. If using sleepers for a low border or planter it may well be enough to fix a wooden post or spike behind the sleepers and fix...
6 ways to make your garden safer for hedgehogs

6 ways to make your garden safer for hedgehogs

At Kebur we believe we have a responsibility to care for our local environment and help our customers learn about the many ways we can support wildlife in our gardens. We were delighted last month to become Hedgehog Champions. Britain’s only spiny mammal, hedgehogs have changed little over the last 15 million years. One of our first steps as champions has been to stock hedgehog friendly gravel boards which help our prickly friends get around between gardens and reach vital sources of food and water. Hedgehog numbers in UK towns and cities have fallen by a third in the last 10 years, and by half in the countryside. One of the main reasons is that gardens are so often enclosed and don’t have enough wild spaces where the creatures can find food and shelter. This Spring is the perfect time to make your garden friendlier for hedgehogs. Start with these quick ways you can make your garden safer… 1. Link your garden with a simple hole A 13cm diameter hole in fencing or a gravel board is enough to allow hedgehogs to pass from one garden to another. The mammals typically travel one mile a night in search of food and a mate so getting around easily is really important to their survival. You can easily cut a hole in a timber fence or gravel board, or use a ready made hedgehog friendly concrete gravel board. 2. Make an escape route from a pond or pool Although hedgehogs can swim, they can become trapped in ponds or pools and drown. Make a gentle ramp from stones, wood or chicken...
Splash out on a pond!

Splash out on a pond!

If you’re looking to attract wildlife to your garden, you’ll be amazed by the difference a wildlife pond will make. Our friends at the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust have some great ideas on how to create a pond, below… this could be the perfect project for a Spring weekend! Why create a pond? In the Spring you’ll find the tadpoles wriggling their way out of the spawn and sunning themselves in the shallows. Adult frogs are beginning to leave the water now. They’ll be hopping through the undergrowth looking for food and a damp place to hide. As the water temperature rises, you’ll recognise male smooth newts by their orange and black spotted mating colours as they slide over the stems of emerging plants. The water lilies are sending small glossy pads to the surface providing welcome cover from hungry herons. If you look closely, you might see strange circular cuts in the leaves of marsh marigolds. This is the work of the sedge caddis fly larvae. The larvae make protective cases to cover their bodies, leaving only their head and front legs exposed like a tortoise. The sword shaped leaves of flags (iris pseudacorus) begin to spike the air, ready for a burst of vibrant yellow flowers in May. Blackbirds have started to thieve the mud for nest building and the sparrows are lining up to drink or have a bath! Where is the best place for a pond? Ideally you need to locate the pond in a sunny spot away from overhanging trees. Netting in Autumn will help prevent leaves falling and decomposing in the water. Decide on...
Create a sustainable space with your landscaping project

Create a sustainable space with your landscaping project

Thinking about how you can create a sustainable space with your landscaping project? At Kebur we strive to improve the sustainability of our business. We are continually looking at ways we can support landscapers and gardeners to have a positive impact on the environment. We want to share some ways you can select your materials carefully and boost your environmental credentials… Use recycled materials You may be surprised to know how many landscaping products are wholly or largely recycled in content, which is great news for those looking to reduce, re-use or recycle. For example, you can choose decorative stone such as slate paddlestones or marble chippings that are sourced from previously unused waste or by-products from industry. If you’re creating a deck, Saige composite decking is produced using 95% recycled materials and comes with a 10 year warranty. And we offer some stunning contemporary paving solutions using largely recycled content. Choose FSC To ensure you are able to enjoy forest products for years to come, look out for timber products with the FSC® logo. The timber used in these products is harvested to promote responsible management of forests. All our timber garden products supplied by Grange are FSC® certified, meaning you can enjoy fencing and garden structures with a clear conscience. Consider life-span Paying a little more for quality can mean your products last a lot longer. When choosing a lap panel, cheaper panels may have only three or fewer vertical batons to support them and may be more vulnerable to the wind. Paying a few pounds extra for a 6 foot lap panel with five vertical batons...
Find patio inspiration right on your doorstep

Find patio inspiration right on your doorstep

Are you planning a patio project and don’t know where to start? This early Spring weather may be inspiring you to look for garden and patio ideas. If so, you need look no further than your doorstep. As we’ve been compiling our Kebur Porcelain and Natural Stone Collection brochure for this year, we’ve been bowled over by the quality of photos we’ve received from our very own landscaping customers. We wanted to share some of our favourite images of these landscaping projects with you. We think you’ll agree they show just what beautiful gardens can be created when you use the talents of your local landscaper. Black Limestone The intense darkness of Black Limestone contrasts beautifully with the white render to create a striking and contemporary look. The deep colour of Black Limestone can be achieved and maintained using a colour-enhancer sealant such as Dry-Treat Intensifia. Photo courtesy of RE Landscapes           Andhra Grey Limestone The subtle colour variation of Andhra Grey Limestone adds interest to this low maintenance garden design. And we like the way the 900x600mm paving slabs create a linear look that really work to lengthen the space. Photo courtesy of Winslade Landscapes         Rusty Slate Natural Rusty Slate with its varied colour tones makes a stunning backdrop for naturalistic planting in this characterful garden. Because it is designed on the diagonal, the paving and path create a feeling of space that invites you to explore. Photo courtesy of Poison Ivy Garden Design           Silver Grey Sandstone Trade Pack We love how the grey tones...
New granite options for your garden

New granite options for your garden

This Spring, we’re excited to be adding three new choices to Kebur’s popular Natural Granite range. Black Granite, Arctic Storm and Arctic Mist are all hard-wearing, versatile stones and will bring something unique to any back garden:   Arctic Mist Granite: this stone has a light grey colour with smokey veining. Available in a 600x600mm size format Arctic Storm Granite: a stunning natural stone, this has a dark grey colour with white streaky veining. The 1000x500mm size format really shows off its character Black Granite: is a consistent dark graphite colour throughout. It retains its colour well. You can choose from three standard Contempo sizes (900×600, 600×600 and 600x400mm), a linear plank format (900x200mm) and matching sawn setts (200x00x50mm and 100x100x50mm). Due in stock from early March.     All the new granite paving is 25mm thick with sawn sides and a flamed surface. Mix and match them to give a contemporary look. The black granite setts will define edges or features beautifully. We expect these to be popular when used alongside our porcelain paving as well. Just a reminder that we offer a professional pre-sealing service for all natural stone. Although granite is really durable, we highly recommend sealing it with a breathable sealer to prevent installation problems. We can take away the hassle and worry of doing this yourself and pre-seal your stone with Dry-Treat Stain Proof ready for laying straight...
Indian sandstone with luxurious leather finish

Indian sandstone with luxurious leather finish

We’re so pleased to be introducing a truly individual flamed and sawn quartzitic Indian sandstone to our Kebur Contempo Natural Stone Collection this season. We think you’ll love Pearl White Flamed and Leather Sandstone, a smooth natural sandstone paving, as much as we do. Brexit may be on the horizon (or not) and in these uncertain times, some may be sitting back waiting to see what will happen. Whatever this summer holds, we will still want to enjoy our gardens. So we are determined to continue bringing new natural paving stones to our collection so our customers can enjoy a great choice and really add that wow factor. Hardwearing Indian sandstone paving Quartzitic Indian sandstone like this is hard to come by in the UK yet it offers a fantastic and durable alternative to a honed or riven sandstone. Available in a choice of finishes and size formats, the contemporary Pearl White Sandstone will bring warmth and character to any garden: Pearl White Flamed Sandstone has a predominantly beige colour with subtle veining that adds character and retains its colour well over time. Available in the three Contempo sizes (900×600, 600×600, 600x400mm), these paving slabs have sawn sides with a flamed finish for consistent texture. Pearl White Leather Sandstone is similar in appearance to the Flamed Sandstone but with a smooth, leather finish. It is available in a contemporary 900x600mm size format, perfect for a linear laying pattern. Pearl White Leather Sandstone is also available in matching sawn sandstone setts (200x100x40mm and 100x100x40mm), which will complement natural stone and porcelain schemes equally well. We love its neutral tones, variety...
How clean lines and an open layout transformed this Hampshire garden

How clean lines and an open layout transformed this Hampshire garden

Mr and Mrs Collins asked us to redesign their Hampshire garden which they found overgrown and enclosed due to the position of a number of large shrubs and the poor layout. The brief was for a low maintenance two-tiered patio with a contemporary look, clean and simple lines to suit the house and a high-quality finish. Our clients chose Kebur’s Contempo Thunderstorm porcelain, in a large format 900×450 for the top tier and a complementary, lighter grey Contempo Waterfall porcelain in the same size tiles for the lower tier. Both are finished with sawn graphite granite setts as an edging around the perimeter of the patio. Contrasting bullnose granite step treads were used with a porcelain insert. Twinning Kebur Contempo porcelain with natural stone accessories created a sleek and striking effect. When we visited Mr and Mrs Collins a year on, they were delighted with the end result and now use their garden more than ever. ‘Because the patio is easy to keep clean and the garden is designed with low maintenance in mind’ Mr Collins said, ‘I am finding I now enjoy gardening more than I did before’. Before: a small eating space Now: Plenty of space to eat and relax Before: enclosed and overgrown Now: Contemporary lines in keeping with the house Before: poor sight lines from house to garden Now: A calm spot to look over the garden During the works After: porcelain steps with granite...
5 low budget ways to spruce up a tired outdoor space

5 low budget ways to spruce up a tired outdoor space

You don’t have to spend a fortune or all your spare time on your garden. If yours needs a pick-up in time for Christmas, these easy weekend projects won’t break the bank and will still leave you time to enjoy a cosy Sunday roast…   1. Paint your fencing The British weather can have a damaging effect on any garden so all timber needs a bit of TLC from time to time. A simple coat of wood treatment can prolong the life of your fence and leave it looking much fresher. With a range of colours on the market, you can transform the look of your garden, all for relatively little cost.   2. Refresh with decorative aggregates Make your garden easier to maintain by replacing grass with decorative aggregates. This space has been given a contemporary facelift by switching lawn for a local gravel and elegant grasses, which are great for drought resistance and don’t need regular mowing!  Gravel provides better drainage than paving and is a great value option for large spaces. Photo by Oxford Garden Design – More exterior ideas 3. Add a garden structure for a focal point Focal points help guide your eyes through your garden, entice you into the space and add your personal character and style. Sit and stand in places where you are most likely to look at your garden and visualise where you would like to lead the eye. Consider statement planting, a winding path and seating or timber structures. This path leading to a pergola creates an appealing place to relax.   4. Clean up your driveway or patio Natural stone can be prone to build up of stains, mould, algae and residue that can be difficult to...
Why my garden is special…

Why my garden is special…

Creating the perfect garden requires careful thought about the look and feel you want, working with your existing space, light and budget, and usually over-coming the odd challenge to make things happen! We asked Christine from our sales team what makes her new garden special… What were your main considerations when designing your garden? We moved to our new home December 2016.  The only room that needed any attention was the outside room, better known as the garden. It was unkempt, unloved with no real appeal. There were many discussions about what we wanted from our garden. As it’s southeast facing it attracts sun most of the day. We discussed our ideas with Dan Grimes, a landscaper who uses Kebur.  We wanted an open feeling, somewhere to sit, sunbathe and most importantly relax in the evenings and weekends. Nothing too fussy and reasonably low maintenance. Each time Dan came around, our planned patio area was getting larger – we’re really glad it did! Why did you choose the products? The slabs we wanted needed to be low maintenance, bright and good looking. We had a budget, discussed and weighed up which would be the best options to suit our requirements. Kebur had just launched their new porcelain range. Although they were at the higher end of our price bracket, we liked the fact that they didn’t need sealing, are very easy to keep clean, hard wearing, anti-slip and keep the same appearance from new. We chose the beautiful Thunderstorm porcelain which has a lovely detail that looks very like veining in natural stone. What was it like having the work...
Keep kids happy this summer without leaving home!

Keep kids happy this summer without leaving home!

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to keep your children entertained this summer, why not create a place for activity and adventure right in your own back garden? Who doesn’t love a sand pit? Using railway sleepers, you’ll have one built in no time. Build a sandpit from railway sleepers You will need: Untreated railway sleepers Timber-fast landscaping screws Play sand Fabric membrane to stop weeds from growing into the sand and allow water to drain if it rains Choose your spot Make sure your sandpit it is positioned somewhere flat, away from hanging trees that could drop leaves in the sand, and that it is visible so your children can be supervised. If you want to build the sand pit directly on to decking, make sure that the area is strong enough to hold the structure and as well as sand and children. Five simple steps Dig up any turf and flatten the area using a rake so that the sand pit can sit straight on the top of it. Measure and cut the railway sleepers to size using a circular saw, hand saw or chainsaw if you are confident enough and lay the pieces around the perimeters of the area you have prepared. Be careful and get help because the sleepers are heavy. Fix the sleepers together using Timber-fast landscaping screws. Depending on the size and depth of sandpit required, the railway sleepers can be placed on edge or laid flat in two layers, with staged joints in a brick bond pattern. Screw them together to ensure that the structure is firm enough for children to...
How to make a planter out of sleepers

How to make a planter out of sleepers

Sleepers have many different uses in the garden but one of the most popular is using them to create planters. You don’t need to get in a professional landscaper to do it, these simple and easy instructions are perfect for DIY! 8 easy steps to making a sleeper planter Mark out your area: Firstly, you need to mark out the area that you want to create into a planter. Cut sleepers: Once you have purchased sleepers you need to decide what shape you want the planter then cut the sleepers down to the correct size using a handsaw or electric saw. Lay into shape: Once these are cut, lay them out on the area into the shape that you want your planter to be. Butt them up end to side at the corners. Mark your outer perimeter: Then using a shovel, mark out the area into the grass on the outside perimeter of the sleepers. Dig a trench: Now that you have marked out the area you need to dig out a trench around the edge which the bottom sleepers will go in half of their depth. Arrange sleepers: Arrange them so the butt end of one meets the side of the next in a clockwise fashion. Using a 4-foot level and framing square, level and square the four timbers, adding or removing gravel as necessary. Fix sleepers together: Next you can place the next sleeper on top. Screw them together at the 90 degree corners, allowing at least 50mm (or 2″) of the screw to go into the adjoining sleeper. Kebur sell hardened steel, self drilling, timber framing screws, black coated...