Hedging your bets: top alternatives to box hedging

Hedging your bets: top alternatives to box hedging

Planting a hedge in your garden can have many benefits; shrubs and hedges can add privacy, security, visual interest and protection from the wind. Box has been a traditional choice to define formal garden areas. However, with the recent increase in box blight and imported pests, many gardeners are looking for other options. In this blog, our friends at the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust share their ideas on wildlife-friendly alternatives to box hedging. Box plants are evergreen, slow-growing and can be clipped into neat shapes, such as balls, pyramids and spirals. This makes them a firm favourite in modern gardens where space is at a premium. However, blight and box tree caterpillars are proving an increasing problem. Box blight is a rapidly spreading disease that causes bare patches to leaves and stems.   Privet The humble privet is a great option instead of Box because its young growth provides valuable food for brilliant green privet moth caterpillars. These transform into one of Britain’s largest moths. If you hold back on cutting, you will be rewarded with small panicles of creamy white flowers which bees love. Later, birds will be attracted to the dark berries and they will also enjoy the cover of its twiggy growth. Even a neatly sheared privet hedge is loved by sparrows in suburban gardens.   Lonicera nitida Lonicera nitida offers similar advantages to garden wildlife. Known as ‘Poor Man’s Box’, its small evergreen leaves mean it can easily be shaped into neat edging or grown into eye-catching topiary shapes. Clipping will expose the tiny scented honeysuckle flowers and purplish/black berries as a food source. Lavender...
How to achieve a professional finish with porcelain paving

How to achieve a professional finish with porcelain paving

We often get asked by landscapers and garden designers about the finer points of finishing a porcelain project. Because of its superb durability, porcelain paving is low maintenance and doesn’t need any additional treatments such as sealants during installation. However, there are a few differences between laying porcelain and natural stone. If you’re thinking about laying porcelain paving, we recommend reading our porcelain product guide thoroughly to understand the basics. These include laying on a full bed of mortar over a compacted sub-base, using a slurry primer and ensuring a minimum joint width of 5mm. In this blog, we thought we’d expand on this and share some of our top tips for achieving that top-quality finish in your porcelain paving jobs. How do I cut porcelain paving? Porcelain is exceptionally hard wearing, but it can chip when being cut. You don’t want your attention drawn to unsightly dinks around the edges of your tiles. Our advice is to use a dedicated porcelain diamond blade. Score when dry, add water and cut completely through both ends. then work slowly through the rest of the cut. This way you should achieve a beautiful clean finish. Can I get a curved edge on porcelain paving? Curved edges are an all-important element of many great garden designs. But some people think that these can’t be achieved with porcelain. However, cutting on a curve is straightforward if you have a handheld grinder with the correct blade and are confident using it. Always let the weight of the tool do the work and never force it or it will crack. Alternatively, bespoke cutting services are...
Visit us at the Landscape Show

Visit us at the Landscape Show

We’ll be showcasing some of our favourite products at this industry-leading event on 17 and 18 September at Battersea Park. Why not keep abreast of the latest landscaping knowledge and join us for a preview of our collection of natural stone and porcelain paving and accessories the show’s extensive programme of free seminars up to date ideas on landscaping design and techniques your chance to meet with industry-leading designers and contractors   Register now for a free ticket and visit us on Stand...
Apply now to get your landscaping project recognised

Apply now to get your landscaping project recognised

We’re delighted to be sponsoring the Hard Landscaping category in this year’s Small Project Big Impact awards. These awards celebrate the talent that goes into creating beautiful gardens for under £25k. Smaller projects often get overlooked in the industry media. Yet these landscapers tend to face real challenges from limited space and/ or budgets. Hard Landscaping only category Excellent core skills A lovely finish Excellent value for money Efficient use of products A great level of technical ability Under £25k   If any of your projects match these criteria, enter this category. As well as industry recognition for your hard work, winners receive a prize package supported by leading suppliers in the industry. These include a generous £1000 worth of Kebur materials! Hurry, applications end 30 August.   Enter...
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...
Reflections on a Hampton Court show garden

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...
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...