Making changes to your garden?

Looking for inspiration for your next garden project, or simply don’t know where to start? Read our top tips and case studies to help you choose garden materials and decide what to do next.

See also our installation guides.

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... read more

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... read more

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... read more

Reflections on a Hampton Court show garden

This summer has seen Kebur scoop a coveted Silver Award at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, our first year being involved in a show garden. The garden, A Place to Meet, was designed by Cherry Carmen for the landscape industry body, the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL). As well as supplying the hard landscaping materials for the project, our professional team of installers also led the build, with 18 APL member companies involved. We talked to Craig Deeley, our Contracts Manager, who led the build, to reflect on the experience… What materials did you use? We worked with Cherry Carmen on a design that would demonstrate excellence in landscaping skills and highlight some different ways of using natural stone including a raised patio, plunge pool and wildlife pond. As we were keen to use some of our new contemporary natural stone, Cherry’s idea was to show how our Black Granite and Pearl White Leather Sandstone could be softened with naturalistic planting.   Naturalistic planting Pearl White Sandstone raised patio Contemporary black granite steps The inviting plunge pool How was the experience? Manic! I found it really positive from a personal point of view. It’s great to see how designers use planting schemes to complement hard landscaping. You have to put your life on hold the whole time you’re there. It was realistically an 8-week project so we worked 12-14 hour days for 17 days to get it done. There was very little time at home!  I loved doing it though and would love to do it again. What were the highlights? Coming together with other talented members of... read more

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.... read more

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... read more

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,... read more

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... read more

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... read more

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... read more

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... read more

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... read more