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Planning Retirement Online


Summer in the garden  

                              June 2008

 

summerhouse

Summer is here at last and in case you hadn't noticed, the DIY stores and garden centres are already giving huge discounts on their garden furniture and accessories..

Why not treat yourself to some new outdoor equipment and enjoy some relaxing in the garden?

 

Barbeques

 

  • Gas barbecues have the advantages of instant, steady temperatures for precise cooking and being easy to clean. You will also need to buy the calor gas.  Prices I found while surfing websites ranged from £79 to £1300
  • Traditional charcoal barbecues come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from folding types to take on the beach or picnics, to those that are suitable for garden use, and of course built in barbecues. Prices I found while surfing websites ranged from £6.25 to £499.99

Garden centres, DIY stores, supermarkets and garages all seem to stock a range of barbecues, including 'one-off' disposable barbeques for as little as £1.99. Your social habits will dictate which type you buy, but a word of caution ... over the years we have had many barbecues that have either been left out in the rain, or put away in the shed without being cleaned first, only to be thrown away the next spring. Sound familiar? 

So if you are new to eating "al fresco" buy a cheap, small barbecue first.

* If you are planning a barbecue on the beach or in a park, do check that you are not breaking the law.

 

Garden Furniture

 

  • Family favourites, and good old standbys are the resin tables and chairs that stay out in all weathers, don`t rot and are easy to clean. They come in some good colours now and don`t show the dirt as the white ones did.  Prices from about £45 in the supermarkets
  • Wood table and chair sets come in all styles. B & Q state that "Virtually all wood used to manufacture their furniture comes from independently certified well managed forests"   Prices from about £180 for a hardwood set with four chairs.
  • Metal framed garden furniture is the most expensive but hardest wearing of all, and will grace your garden for many years.   Prices from £250 for a set with four chairs.

  • Don't forget other garden accessories such as  parasols and gazebos to create a shady spot on those hot sunny days........  

As with barbecues, your requirement for garden furniture very much depends on your lifestyle. If you have young children or grandchildren you won`t want them spilling sticky drinks all over your new padded cushions.  For permanent seating, benches dotted around the garden painted in "Cuprinol Garden Shades"   look good.  You can also paint a few pots and bits of trellis to match, livening up those dull winter months.

 

Garden lighting

  • Solar powered lighting is the best for simplicity and convenience. Just buy the lights and let the sunlight do the rest......... I have had some solar powered lights in my garden for about five years which are still going strong. Of course they are not as bright as electric halogen lights, but they have the advantage of being totally portable. 

  • Electric lighting is much cheaper but you will need an electrician to install the system for you. Once in place they are permanent and cannot be moved around like solar powered lights.  

  • Then there is the fun stuff, pond lighting, outdoor party light sets, net lights which cover gazebos, globe sets, Chinese lantern sets, parasol lighting, patio torches, oil lanterns, linking spot lights, tree lights and lastly, bug fighter lights that help to repel insects....  

Garden lighting is both practical and appealing. When it is dusk there is no need to cut short your enjoyment of the outdoors, just switch on the outside lights and you will see a whole new dimension to your garden.  Do be considerate of your neighbours who may not like a spectacular lighting display beaming in through their windows!

 

chiminea

 

Patio heaters

  • When it gets chilly and you`re  relaxed you won`t need to go indoors if you have a patio heater.  Gas patio heaters provide warmth that`s mobile, efficient and easy to control.

  • Terracotta Chimney Patio Heater burns natural smokeless fuel.

  • Try a combined oven/patio heater (Chiminea) to enjoy  the unique flavours of foods roasted, baked or smoked over aromatic wood chips and herbs, then as the evening draws in warm yourself around the Chiminea`s welcoming glow.... www.chimnea.co.uk 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amazon book - A year at Kew  Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden Amazon book - RHS Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS) Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)
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