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Tag: outdoors

Life Hacks – The Camping with Kids Edition

Life Hacks – The Camping with Kids Edition

*This post was written in collaboration with SimplyHike.co.uk.

 

Over the past couple of weeks, Hubs and I have set ourselves up with the ultimate camping kit. I decided on a whim that taking the kids camping would be a brilliant idea and still think it will be. In my rush to head off out into the wild though, I failed to fully consider just what camping with kids would entail. I’m a woman of routine and I do like my home comforts. In my haste to get our kit together, it didn’t occur to me that I would need all the tips I could get to make camping with kids as fun as possible!

 

Getting the right family tent –

After a little research, we decided that to make the whole experience as comfortable as possible then we would need to invest in the right tent. It would need to be big enough to fit in everything but the kitchen sink! It would also need to have a high waterproof rating and be strong enough to stand up to bad weather if we needed it too. With all of this in mind, we opted for the Coleman Mosedale 5 family tent. It has a huge living area, as well as two blackout bedrooms and we’re sure it’s the ideal home for our travels!

Coleman is a make that has been around for some time too. I’m always checking reviews on items before I buy them and this was no different. The reviews for the Mosedale 5 are really great, so many people said they’d made some amazing family memories in this tent and we want to be a part of that too. The best thing about this tent is that it’s so reasonably priced, perfect for families who need to get the whole camping set up without breaking the bank.

 

 

Getting the right equipment –

As well as the right tent, to make camping as family friendly as possible, I think it’s so important to get the right equipment. I did a little research through Simply Hike and I was gob smacked by how much high-tech camping equipment there is out there. We’ve invested in stoves, lanterns and so much more to make our tent a home from home. My absolute favourite piece of kit though is our cooler. It’s the ideal companion for any camping trip, perfect for keeping food and milk fresh all the time we’re away. We’ve even taken it on road trips, it’s ideal to keep drinks cool when you’re out on hot days!

 

 

Life hacks –

As much as having the right equipment makes for the perfect trip, there are many more hacks that you need to know if you’re going camping with kids. So to make your lives easier, as well as my own, I put it to my fellow bloggers to come up with the ultimate list of life hacks, the camping with kids edition!

Here’s what they had to say;

Sarah from Boo, Roo and Tigger Too: ‘Get shoe covers or old shower caps to pop over shoes as they come in and out of the tent to save getting mud/wet everywhere. As taking shoes on and off can be a pain, especially if you are the one who has to help each time’.

Nisbah from Five Adventurers: ‘Always set up the tent first at home before you go for the actual first camp! I have seen lots of families struggle with this. Always have loads of treats for camp fires.’

Janet from Falcondale Life: ‘We always buy a packet of glow sticks and use them as nightlights. We hang the big chunky ones inside the bedrooms. Outside we stick some garden solar lights in the ground so that there is no tripping over on the way to the loo in the dark.’

Louise from Pink Pear Bear: ‘Pack outfits rolled together (including pants and socks) so you can just grab an outfit for each child without having to rummage through the whole case. So much easier to just grab a roll and pass it to them to get themselves dressed knowing everything they need is there!’

Jennifer from My Mummy’s Pennies: ‘Take plenty of bin bags! They are super useful! Use them for muddy clothes or to put wellies on in the tent, even for sitting on wet grass.’

Claire from Wild Mama and Her Tribe: ‘Try a practice camp in the garden or locally to get used to the ‘its cold’ it’s dark’ ‘there’s a spider in my sleeping bag’ ‘it’s too lumpy’ ‘why are there no light switches’ – it’s a sanity saver.’

Fiona from A Mum Track Mind: ‘Camping with babies and toddlers can be hard work but what babies and toddlers are hard work full stop. They are also free-spirited, wild at heart and fascinated by the world around them, which are qualities that sadly we often lose as we get older. It’s best to switch your thinking from over-anxious parenting to a slightly more care-free style of parenting and let it go a bit. Rules, bedtimes and nagging can resume when you get home.’

 

A huge thankyou to all who made this post possible!

 

 

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Three Ways to Make a Small Garden Work for the Whole Family

Three Ways to Make a Small Garden Work for the Whole Family

*This is a collaborative post.

 

Spring is my favourite season of the year. I love the light nights, the pretty flowers and the warmth! Spring always hold so much hope and it always feels so good to have a long summer ahead of us. Each year I spend the early spring sprucing up our garden, making sure that it’s clean and tidy and ready for spending our days outdoors. As we have quite a small garden, organising our space doesn’t take up too much time. What we do have to think about though, is how we can make the small space that we do have, work for each of us individually and as a family together.

Now that our girls are both on their feet, we just can’t get away without having outdoor toys for them to play with. From trampolines to slides, you name it we have it! Long gone are the baby days when a blanket and a few toys would suffice. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the girls having toys out there, I want them to enjoy our garden too. Having said that, it’s nice to make sure we have an adult space outdoors. So that we can sit out in the evening and relax, or work which is much more likely! We also have two rabbits who love to spend time outdoors when the weather is fine, so we really do have a lot to squeeze in to a small space.

 

Here are three ways we make our small garden work for the whole family;

 

Have designated areas for each member of the family –

Even though our garden is small, we have designated areas for each of us. Granted the kids have most of the space and we do have a lot of brightly coloured plastic around the garden, but we make sure that each item has its own space. We have an area with patio furniture, which we use to relax in. You can find some great patio furniture deals from Groupon, there are pieces to suit every taste and garden size. This area also has a small BBQ in it too, so that Hubs and I can enjoy our evening meals outside on summer nights!

I love to see pretty flowers and I think it’s good to get the kids involved in a little gardening. So, we have a very small but neat garden area that we grow a few seasonal flowers in. This area benefits the whole family and when the flowers are in bloom, it draws your attention to them instead of the kids toys. Our bunnies have their own little space too, so when we’re all outside together everyone is happy!

 

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Be selective with what you keep in your garden, don’t over power your space with too much stuff –

I’ve already mentioned that we have a lot of kids toys in our garden and to be honest, we are on the brink of over powering it. These days, we have to stop and think about the things that we buy, so that we don’t add too many bits and bobs to an already small and crowded area. We make sure that the toys that we buy can be stored in the garden shed and when we recently bought a new table, we went for the smaller option to make sure it fit nicely in the space we have. It’s important to step back and look at what you have. If it feels like things are getting on top of you, then it’s probably time to have a clear out and get some garden back!

 

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Keep your outdoor space tidy –

This is by far the easiest way to make sure that your garden works for everyone that uses it. They say that an untidy house makes for an untidy mind and I’m sure this works when you head outdoors too! I always make sure that things are put back in their place at the end of the day, that way each area doesn’t encroach on another.

 

Photo Credit

 

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A Year of Forest School – Book Review & Giveaway

A Year of Forest School – Book Review & Giveaway

* I was sent a copy of A Year Forest School and Play the Forest School Way for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions of my own. 

 

If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you’ll know that as a family we love to spend time outdoors. Our eldest daughter especially, loves nothing more than to get her wellies on and head out to explore. So when we were asked to review A Year of Forest School and Play the Forest School way, I knew they would go down a treat! On writing this, we’re just heading into Spring, the days are getting longer and the weather warmer, so it’s the perfect time for the kids to have some fun, the forest school way!

 

Creating a forest school from home –

 

A Year of Forest School is the second book written by Jane Worroll and Peter Houghton, after Play the Forest School Way which sold 10,000 copies in its first year! Both of these books are packed full with outdoor activities that can be completed rain or shine and are ideal for getting the littles out into the fresh air.

A Year of Forest School is written in the order of seasons. It has an array of different activities, some that are perfect for Winter fun and others that can be enjoyed in the warmth of Summer. One of the things that I love most about this book is that each activity has a little information box, containing the most important details about the project. This box contains a run down of what you’ll need, how many people can take part and what age range it suits best. This makes it really easy to flick through the book to find an appropriate task that the kids will love!

Each of the activities in A Year of Forest School aren’t only fun for the kids, they also teach them so many life skills along the way. Many of the tasks require focus, teamwork, fine motor and communication skills to complete, When they’re having fun though, they don’t see this learning as a chore. They jump right in and love every single minute of it!

 

 

 

There’s more to come –

 

Watkins Publishing are also putting together forest school packs which include a poster, reward sheet and stickers. As well as two activities from the books!  All of this material will be available online and there will be a limited amount of physical packs they’re able to send out.  What better way to enjoy the holidays with you littles, than getting them involved in the forest schools movement!

 

 

There’s a copy of A Year of Forest School and Play the Forest School Way, up for grabs for one lucky reader! All you have to do to be in for a chance of winning is to enter using the form below. Please do check out the terms and conditions…good luck! 

 

Win Two Forest School Books!

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Transform Your Garden with Decorative Gravel

Transform Your Garden with Decorative Gravel

It can be so difficult to keep up with gardening when you’re a parent; sometimes our garden tends to get overlooked when we’re busy with the girls and keeping the house organised. However, the garden can be such a lovely space for the whole family to enjoy, so it’s great to get things sorted before the summer months come along. Luckily, in many ways gravel and other aggregates can really jazz up the garden and make it easier to maintain too!

Whether you’re looking for understated Cotswold gravel or gorgeous plum slate chippings, Gravel4You is a huge decorative aggregates supplier with a range of bulk bags on offer. I’ve teamed up with them to give you some great ideas on what you can achieve with gravel in your garden:

Using Decorative Aggregates in Your Garden

Gravel isn’t just for mulching (though it is useful for this and many other practical applications!) There are plenty of ways you can use decorative aggregates to transform your garden space. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Pathways

Decorative aggregates can help you update your garden with magical winding paths, making your outdoor space great for a stroll or for enticing children’s imaginations to run wild as they run around. Using a mixture of gravel and stepping stones creates a lovely path for children to play on. Good decorative aggregates for paths include pea gravel and golden flint gravel (anything smaller than 10mm may get stuck underfoot!)

Gravel Gardens

Looking for relaxation in your garden? Creating a gravel garden with a variety of chippings and stones can provide even the smallest gardens with a peaceful space to maintain and enjoy, as well as the perfect environment for low-maintenance, hardy Mediterranean plants.

Cosy Fire Pits

Another great way to use gravel in the garden is for creating a fire pit where you can relax by the fire on long evenings. You’ll need plenty of gravel to surround the pit and for drainage in the pit – plonk some chairs around the pit and you’re set for cosy outdoor relaxation! Of course, this will require supervision when the kids are about.

Getting the Kids into the Garden

In the age of screen entertainment, sometimes it can be a struggle to get kids outside to play and enjoy the fresh air – this goes for adults too! I love anything that encourages my girls to get outside and exploring. Gravel4You have that covered too – their play-safe range of bark chippings and play pit sand are great additions to the garden for children’s areas.

 

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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Lapasa Down Jacket Review – Discount Code

Lapasa Down Jacket Review – Discount Code

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to work with fitness brand Lapasa, on their great range of yoga leggings. I was really impressed with their product, so much so that they are still my favourite workout leggings. Recently I got the chance to try out one of their down jackets and with the British weather this week, it couldn’t have come at a better time!

I’ve never owned a down jacket before and if I’m honest I didn’t even know it was a thing. After looking through the Lapasa site I realised that this kind of jacket would be ideal for me, as a family we spend a lot of time outside and so keeping warm is always at the forefront of my mind!

Lapasa Duck Down Jacket

These quilted, duck down jackets are super lightweight. I was really surprised by how warm the jacket is considering that it’s so light. When we take the girls out we have to carry their drinks, their bikes and anything else they pickup along the way. So a jacket that’s warm and allows for movement, but doesn’t weigh me down is perfect!

I chose the burgundy colour, but this piece is also available in black, blue and navy. I would usually have opted for black as that’s a safe colour for me, I’m so glad I went for the burgundy though. It’s nice to push the boundaries a little and add a little colour to these dark winter days!

Now as I’m a blogger, it will come as no surprise to you that I always have my phone and often my camera with me. These days I can’t leave the house without and array of equipment in tow. So what I really love about this jacket is that it has deep pockets, I know my phone is safe and on hand when I need to snap a few shots!

This jacket really is great for anyone who loves an outdoor adventure. If you’re the more extreme sports type it definitely ticks all of the boxes. If like me you’re a little tamer, it’s a jacket that is expertly suited to everyday use. Since wearing my jacket, I’ve commented so many times on how warm it is. I’ve never had a jacket that keeps the wind out so much. So, top marks Lapasa! This is a really fabulous product that I’m proud to wear!

The guys over at Lapasa have provided my readers with an Amazon discount code. Use ‘mummyhoo’ to get 5% off of your order!

*This post was written in collaboration with Lapasa. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Child-Friendly Lawn Care and Garden Tips For Your Home

Child-Friendly Lawn Care and Garden Tips For Your Home

When it comes to thinking of things to do that are cheap and accessible with the children, playing and planting in the garden is a great choice. Even though we don’t have the biggest outdoor space in the world, it is enough for us to get some fresh air, teach the kids about nature and seasons and for both us adults and children to relax. I like to spend a little time each year planning out my lawn care and gardening ideas, to make sure that we get everything out of our garden that we can! I’ve put together some ideas to create a lovely and safe garden (no matter what your space limits!) that will suit both kids and grown-ups. 

 

 

Safety First!

My number one priority is keeping the garden a safe space for my children to explore in. It’s so important to be able to let them run around without that worry that they’ll hurt themselves. A fence is a great first step in child-proofing your garden, to make sure they don’t escape whilst you aren’t looking! If you’re considering a pond, I would probably advise against it. Not only are ponds costly and require a lot of maintenance, they are a risk to smaller children and older, unsupervised kids. A great alternative is a solar-panelled water feature, which will give you that water element and most children find them really entertaining to look at! High steps also present a potential danger, so if you can, try and level them out or reduce the height of any steps. 

Grow Their Minds

Gardens are a fantastic place to teach your kids the amazing things that happen in nature. In our garden, we have a small planted area for them to experiment with. You can plant tulip bulbs from early October, so that they flower in the Spring, or get veggies on the go (pro-tip: Autumn is great for planting rhubarb!) This will teach children the responsibility of caring for plants and it will give all the family fresh vegetables and flowers to enjoy! 

A sensory area is another great stimulation for growing minds. Why not build in wooden boxes filled with pebbles, sand, bark chips or other materials for them to get their hands in. 

Lawn Care and Plant Tips

The lawn is the centrepiece of any garden, and for a family it’s great to have a flat, healthy and open lawn. I find it best to avoid any large trees or bushes in the centre of the lawn, as that can block your view of the children playing in the garden. Having a lush, green lawn is something for us grown-ups to enjoy and makes a beautiful setting for BBQs or entertaining friends. When it comes to lawn care, choosing fertilisers and a care plan can be complicated and costly. Hiring professionals to look after your lawn care can save you time and money. Greensleeves’ treatments are child-friendly, so you can rest assured that your kiddies aren’t picking up any nasty chemicals!

Welcome Nature

Your garden can also help you do your bit for the environment. You can find loads of easy guides online to make home-made bird feeders, which will keep those little hands busy and your garden birds happy. I know my children get really excited when they see birds snacking on the feeders that we’ve made together. I’ve also noticed a few guides on building hedgehog houses and planting wild flowers that attract bugs and wildlife, but we might not quite be at that craft level just yet! 

 

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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Tips for Taking a Baby Outside on a Windy Day

Tips for Taking a Baby Outside on a Windy Day

Autumn is only just around the corner now, meaning that the temperatures are going to drop soon and we are likely to encounter some very blustery days. When it comes to taking your newborn baby outside in these conditions, it’s important that you dress them up right so that they are comfortable for the entire trip. Here’s some aspects to consider:

Don’t believe that the wind causes ear infections

Let’s first get a common myth out of the way — having a baby out in the wind will not result in them getting an ear infection.

This is because the location of an ear infection is found behind the ear drum and way back in the inner ear. Therefore, external exposure like wind or even water will not affect this area.

Instead, the risk factors to bear in mind is their age (ear infections are prominent in children aged between six months and two years old), family history, exposure to smoke and to a small effect, the use of a dummy.

Remember that if you’re cold, your baby will be colder

Now that we have that myth out of the way, it’s time to cover some facts. First of all, it’s totally fine to head outside with your baby right away if you’d like to. However, many paediatricians advise that you keep newborns away from crowded places due to germs being prevalent in such locations. It’s best to delay that trip to a shopping centre, supermarket or a restaurant with your baby by a few months then!

Furthermore, Ed Glasser, M.D., F.A.A.P., clinical associate professor of paediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver, has pointed out to Fit Pregnancy And Baby: “Infants lose about 50 per cent of their heat from their heads.”

Add to this the fact that babies will cool down a lot quicker than adults, as well as the point that it is more difficult for them to generate heat once they have lost it, and the need to protect them when it’s cold outside becomes very important.

Some general rules of thumb to bear in mind is to dress your baby in one more layer than you’re going to be wearing when venturing outside, ensure they are wearing both thermal and waterproof layers to protect them from the weather elements, and checking that their fingers, toes, ears, nose and chin are all covered but that they can still breathe easily.

It’s best to only plan on being outside for short periods of time with your baby when it’s cold and windy, as well as heading inside as soon as your newborn looks uncomfortable and you’re unable to shield them from the blustery conditions.

The effects of windy weather on a baby’s skin

Cold and dry air can cause issues to your baby’s tender skin, as the conditions run the risk of sapping precious moisture and leaving their rosy cheeks feeling leathery and wind-burned.

Hands and feet are particularly prime target areas when there’s a chill in the air, so protect their fingers with a snug pair of mittens and ensure their feet are nice and snug by enhancing your buggy, pram or pushchair with some Cosytoes.

A couple of top tips to consider is to change your infant’s mittens or socks if they get wet, with a fresh pair to avoid skin becoming irritated and applying some baby moisturising cream as soon as you spot any of your baby’s skin which looks or feels dry.

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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Four Fun Garden Activities for Kids

Four Fun Garden Activities for Kids

This week, 14th – 20th August 2017, marks National Allotments week. When I found out it was coming up, it reminded me of the many hours I used to while away on my Grandfather’s allotment and how much fun I had in the process. As a result I love nothing more than spending the day outdoors in the nice weather, whilst my girls wear themselves out discovering nature. We don’t have a huge outdoor space but we definitely make the most of what we have. Our garden is jam packed our with flowers, toys and a sandpit for the girls to play in! So with that in mind and taking into account our love for the outdoors, here are four fun garden activities to keep your kids entertained this Summer!

Growing Plants

Growing plants is a great way to teach children about nature and for them to have fun! The planting process means they can get messy digging holes in the compost and planting seeds. Then teaching them to look after their plant by watering it and making sure it has enough sunlight gives them responsibility, which they will love. The best part though is seeing their little faces when their plant begins to grow. Growing plants is a great way to teach your children how to nurture another living thing.

Make a Den

Making a den is brilliant fun for kids! You can gather up sticks, leaves and anything else you find lying around to build walls and to make a roof! Making the den is only half of the fun though, once their little house is built they’ll play for hours in and out of their new crib! If you really want to make den building extra special you could take a look at Garden buildings from Lidget Compton. My girls would love their own house in the garden, it’s the perfect parent free zone!

Make a Bug Hotel

Bug hotels are super easy to make. All you have to do is gather up leaves, twigs, bricks and wood – literally anything you find sat unused in your garden. Then piece them all together creating a variety of habitats, with nooks and crannies galore for bugs to hide in. It doesn’t take long for insects and the like to take up residence in their new accommodation, the kids will be fascinated by all the different species that move in!

Homemade Bird Feeders

Homemade bird feeders are a great way to attract many different kinds of birds into your garden. My girls love to see our feathered friends, so making feeders is a firm favourite of theirs. You can use old plastic milk bottles, drinks bottles or even hollowed out fruit such as oranges. All you have to do is fill them with seed, hang them in your garden and watch the birds flock for the goodies you’ve put on offer. They’re fun for the kids to make and it’s amazing to watch the birds enjoy their seed!

What are your favourite outdoor activities?



 

*This is a collaborative post.

 

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Make Your Garden More Private with These Top Tips!

Make Your Garden More Private with These Top Tips!

Are you getting tired of the neighbors looking into your garden whenever you are enjoying a bit of relaxation in the afternoon? Perhaps you don’t have the problem of nosey neighbors, but your garden is located in such a place that makes it feel like you don’t have any privacy at all? If this sounds familiar, don’t fret, as we have some top tips to help you bring some privacy to your outdoor area.

Put a fence up – Let’s start with the most obvious tip of them all, putting a fence up. A fence can give your garden a more polished appearance while also enabling you to benefit from more privacy. There are many different styles of fences on the market, and if there is only one part of your garden that makes you feel exposed, you may want to consider a chain link fence in the yard. This is a good option because it is a transparent fence, ensuring the sun still comes through. You can simply plant climbing plants up the fence at the part you want to be covered, adding beauty and giving you the privacy you need without making your garden feel dark and too enclosed.

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Put up a pergola – Create your very own outdoor living room with a pergola. This is an investment that is definitely worth making. You can create your very own private destination within the garden for those sparkly summer evenings. This is a great way to add the wow factor to your garden while also creating a space for barbecues and entertaining friends.

Hang drapes – This is an elegant garden addition that will also give you the privacy you are aiming for. By strategically placing swaths of fabric over your outdoor area you can create a breezy coastal vibe and lots more privacy. This is also a budget friendly solution, especially if you already have an arbor or patio.

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Grow a hedge – If you are looking for a natural solution to your privacy problems, why not plant a hedge? This may take a little bit more effort, but it will be worth it in the end. When choosing the right type of plant for your garden, make sure you consider the important factors, i.e. how often it needs to be pruned and watered, what type of light it requires, and how high it will grow. Classic choices for hedges include the likes or privet and boxwood. However, flowering bushes like laurel and rhododendron are beautiful and they can grow up to eight-feet tall.

Make a potted screen – A final suggestion for adding more privacy to your garden is to create a potted screen. Almost every type of plant can be grown in a pot, and this is a much more flexible solution than some of the options mentioned above, making it an excellent solution for rental accommodation. For maximum privacy, plant varieties of fruit trees, tall grasses, and bamboo.

If you use one of the five suggestions that have been mentioned above, you can make sure your garden looks beautiful while also benefitting from the added privacy you need.  

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What Makes A Garden Worth Spending Family Time In?

What Makes A Garden Worth Spending Family Time In?

The sun is shining outside and many are lamenting the fact that they don’t have any private outdoor space of their own to enjoy the weather in. However, you don’t have to suffer like them. If you have the space you could create a garden that the whole family can enjoy. Not just for the summer, but for the whole year. So, what makes a garden space that works for the whole family?

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A Garden that’s Tended to

First of all, you have to be comfortable with actually being out in the garden. A garden that is crawling with weeds and growing outside of its boundaries is not fit to be a family garden. Even if you’re not going all-out with landscaping and creating beautiful flower displays, you should have a schedule that allows you to take care of the garden and keep it from being an eyesore without too much effort. Privacy is another major factor of a garden you can be comfortable with. Tall fences or bushes don’t only let you and the family enjoy the garden without peering eyes. They can be good for offering shaded areas too.

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A Garden that has some Actual Usable Space

Sure, you might be just fine with spending some time lying on the grass or just sitting on the back step. If you want to socialise and enjoy the occasional meal outside however, you need space that’s liveable. Stone patios are more permanent and require a little less maintenance, but decking can be cheaper especially if you’re willing to do the DIY which isn’t hard. Good living space is about more than function, consider selections like rattan garden furniture from www.oakita.co.uk that can make the space comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. Treat the outdoor family space as another part of the house, with all the same focus on décor and comfort. If you do, you’ll be inclined to spend a lot more time in it.

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A Garden Fit for all Seasons

Of course, to spend time in your garden you have to be able to stick whatever the weather’s throwing at you. You might be outside to enjoy some sunshine, but when the weather is not so warm sitting outside can be uncomfortable. Outdoor heating from places like https://www.heat-outdoors.co.uk/ can help keep a garden pleasant and useable throughout Autumn and Winter. Otherwise, throughout the rest of the year the garden can be forgotten.

The garden has to be safe and comfortable and it has to have space that’s fit for  family use. Most importantly, it has to be useable the whole year around. The garden can be one of the most important ‘rooms’ of the house, if you get it right!

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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