Forest Garden

Your garden may be small but that doesn’t mean it can’t become a beautiful outdoor space. A place to rest, to connect with nature, to grow or play.

As you’ve landed here, we’re guessing you must be questioning how to improve your small garden, yard or courtyard, so read on. We have a whole lot of small garden inspiration for you, including an example of a courtyard space we transformed. We also have some clever space-saving products too. Thought you couldn’t have a garden bar or a greenhouse – you can now!

Ready to feel inspired to update your small garden?

Stylish Shiplap Pent Garden Bar

The benefits of a small garden

With a population seeking downtime like never before, it’s no surprise that outdoor spaces, however large or small, add value to homes and property. A well-designed courtyard can be a valuable addition to a home. Why is this? Let’s look at the benefits a small outdoor space can offer.

🌱Extended living space for relaxing, dining, entertaining or playing.

🌱A source of stress relief and a calming retreat to support your wellbeing.

🌱A place to connect with nature, support wildlife and live a more sustainable lifestyle – growing your own food, herbs or flowers, even composting becomes possible.

🌱Space for kids to play and learn.

🌱A canvas for creativity and self-expression. There’s so much joy to be had by nurturing plants and creating a happy haven of colour.

🌱Smaller gardens are easier to maintain which once again supports your wellbeing.

Understanding your small garden space and your vision

If space is limited, you’re going to have to be really specific with how you use every centimetre of space.

Start with your vision for your garden. How do you intend to use the space? What’s the number one thing you will do in your garden? Prioritise this and work out from there. Is growing your priority? A space to enjoy your morning coffee and to dine in the evening with friends. Is encouraging wildlife important to you?

Is your space overlooked and you’ll need to create a private area away from eyesight?

Another important consideration is the amount of sunlight your outdoor space gets. Is it shady, full of sun or a bit of both as this will sway your usage decisions too? Like where you position a raised bed of flowers or your seating area.

Is there a style and vibe you’d love to create with your courtyard? Mediterranean, tropical, minimalist, cottage. Think about your interior living style and consider how you might transport it to the outdoors.

Designing a small garden

Less is more in a small garden but that doesn’t mean everything needs to be small. A lot of small elements can create a very cluttered feel, so you may be better off choosing bigger more dominant features and planting to balance the space – but at the same time, don’t overwhelm the space. Think simplicity.

Stylish Slatted Trellis 180x90cm

Vertical space is hugely important in a small garden where often you have more space upwards than you do outwards. Think about growing plants on walls, training them upwards or hanging them from a structure such as trellis, our living screen planter (great for rental properties as it doesn’t need to be fixed to a wall) or our vertical slatted wall planter.

Vertical structures that can serve multiple purposes are ideal, like privacy screening that can also provide support for climbing plants. Our slatted archway works well for this purpose as do all our screens, and slatted corner pergola. Keep scrolling down to see how we used our slatted arch in our courtyard transformation example.

Create key focal points within the space. Something to lead the eye and create interest. Consider a small pergola, a tree, colourful planter, sculpture, or water feature.

Clever multi-purpose usage of areas is going to be the ideal situation. A space that works for 2 different purposes. Think about storage under bench seating rather than free-standing garden furniture. Raised beds or linear planters that can also act as dividers. Our fold-down garden bar provides a brilliant entertaining space and when not in use can be folded away almost flush with the wall.

A tree is always an asset to an outdoor space, even in a small garden. It leads the eye, attracts wildlife and can look really pretty adorned with solar lights. Garden designers always champion trees in small gardens.

Mirrors and reflective surfaces are also useful in giving the illusion that the space is bigger than it really is.

Small courtyard garden transformation case study

Stylish Slatted Garden Arch

We worked with multi-award-winning garden designer Martyn Wilson to turn an underused yard into a stunning courtyard garden space. It was an easy process with the creative use of zones and our linear planters, corner seating, trellises, and panels.

The brief was to create a stylish space with relaxing seating, alfresco dining and subtle planting. We even managed to squeeze a greenhouse in for a bit of growing space.

We also collaborated with Marshalls Slabs to turn this unused space courtyard in Worcestershire into a beautiful, multi-use area.

Want to create your own courtyard garden? Here’s some of the features we incorporated.

🌱Fold Down Garden Bar to create the perfect space for a morning coffee or evening drinks, accompanied with tall bar stools.

🌱Slatted Garden Arch to create a walkway between the entertaining space and seating area and create a vertical growing space.

🌱Linear Planters to divide the 2 zones.

🌱Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse to support the homeowners’ interest for growing their own vegetables. We also have a smaller greenhouse available, the Georgian Tall Wall Greenhouse.

🌱Modular Garden Seating V3 was used for the seating area, incorporating upright trellis panels, 2 benches, 2 square seats/tables, and 2 square planters. We have 5 different modular garden seating sets including 2 smaller versions.

🌱1.8m x 1.8m Grey Painted Contemporary Double Slatted Fence Panels to edge the garden and create privacy.

🌱600mm Slatted Garden Trellis was positioned against the back wall to create vertical growing space.

🌱Marshalls Argent© Smooth paving 600x600mm

Final thoughts on small space gardens

When it comes to small garden spaces and courtyard gardens, every choice and every inch counts. Applying key design principles can turn even the most compact courtyard into a lush, inviting hideaway with focal points leading the eye and space maximised through the use of vertical gardening.

Whether your aim is to create a vibrant space for entertaining or a quiet corner for reflection, remember that simplicity often speaks volumes, and the right lighting can bring magic to the smallest garden at twilight.

We hope this guide and case study inspires you to see beyond the limitations of size and helps you to cultivate a space that reflects your personal aesthetic and fulfils your outdoor living dreams. Your tiny patch of outdoor space is waiting to become your garden.

Thinking of growing your own cut flowers? Transforming your garden into a mass of vibrant colour and then bringing the joy of fresh blooms into your home? From tulips to cosmos, dahlias and zinnia, there is so much satisfaction in nurturing tiny seeds to become beautiful flowers.

To help you embark on your journey of growing cut flowers from seed, we asked cut flower growing expert Sophie Van Gerwen, better known to her Instagram followers as @floraldaysintheshires, to guide us through a year of flowers. Sophie has been growing flowers from seed for over a decade having set up various school gardens and forest schools.

From her garden in Wiltshire, Sophie shares her extensive knowledge to bring you a plethora of tips, mini-tutorials and general advice, tailored to each of the seasons. It’s perfect for beginners, but there are plenty of tips for you if you’ve already been growing for a while.

Meet Sophie: https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cnq2X5gqIre/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Whether you have a modest courtyard or balcony space or a sprawling garden, our guide is designed to ensure that you can create your very own patch of flowers, heaven for you and for the pollinators too.

Read on for a trove of tips, with each month unfolding new ideas and secrets. Let’s grow together with this year of growing cut flowers.

JANUARY & FEBURARY – Planning your cut flower garden

The early part of the year is for planning your cut flower garden. This is the time to decide which flowers you would like to grow and where you will grow them. Consider bloom time, height, colour, and how they will look together, but also think about your favourite flowers and the sort of blooms you would love to have indoors through Spring and Summer.

It can be useful to jot down notes, make lists and sketch out your plan for your garden.

Some questions to ask yourself…

🌱Which seeds will you sow?

🌱How many plants will you need?

🌱Will you plant in garden beds or pots and containers?

🌱How will your garden beds look?

🌱Do you need to prep your garden beds?

Order your seeds early to ensure you get the varieties you want.

MARCH – Seed Sowing season

March is the time to start seed sowing. Look back at the plans that you made in February, select your seeds and follow the advice on the packets.

Sophie’s favourite flower varieties that you may like to try include Larkspur, Cornflowers, Sweet Peas, Verbena and Gomphrena.  Scabiosa, Cerinthe, Ammi Majus, Salvia Clary Sage, Calendula (these are hardy annuals) and later in the month, Cosmos, Zinnia, Didiscus, Rudbeckia and strawflowers (these are half hardy!)

Use a windowsill propagator and peat-free multipurpose compost with a little added vermiculite to help with drainage.

Then you can start seed sowing. Leave your seeds to propagate indoors on a sunny windowsill to germinate as your greenhouse may not be warm enough. You can move them into a greenhouse once it’s a bit warmer and the seedlings are developing. You will need to transplant your seedlings into individual pots when they have 2-3 sets of leaves upwards.

“Seed sowing is such a wonderfully mindful activity that I just love”, says Sophie.

These tiny seeds of the beginning of what could be, a year of flowers!

Watch Sophie sowing here seeds: https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cp7CLUEKbT7/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Planning to grow sweet peas?

Sweet peas are totally worth growing for the whimsical country garden vibe they create.

Tips for sowing the sweet pea seeds:
🌱 Sow your sweet pea seeds into deep pots or root trainers as any pea plant likes to grow long roots.
🌱Put them on a warm sunny windowsill and they will germinate quite quickly.
🌱Pinch out the growing tips when the seedling has at least 3 pairs of true leaves. This will encourage the plant to branch out giving you more flowers.
🌱Sweet peas need moist and well-drained soil and need a sunny spot.

Once planted outside later in Spring, Sophie grows her sweet peas up obelisks. You can also use a wigwam of canes or sticks, jute netting, a timber screen or trellis.

APRIL – Dahlia potting

Arriving in April, it’s time think about dahlias, which will flower through August and late into Autumn when the first frosts arrive. There are so many styles and colours of dahlia to choose from including single dahlia’s, pompons, cactus and balls. Gardeners World explains. https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/dahlia-types-explained/

Potting up your dahlia tubers in the Spring means they get a head start with their growth before you plant them in your garden.  When your tubers arrive, pot them up using a multipurpose peat-free compost mixed with a little vermiculite.

New dahlia growth is loved by slugs and snails so starting them off indoors or in your greenhouse will protect them in those early stages.

Water them in but then don’t water them again until you see signs of new growth as overwatering can rot the tuber.

Think about how you going to protect your dahlias when you plant them outside after the last frosts. Sophie uses copper rings which help prevent snail damage and Nematodes for slugs.

Dahlias will need a sunny spot and support when you plant them outside so preparing these things in advance will help you grow these gorgeous flowers for the summer and autumn.

Which way up does a dahlia tuber go? Watch Sophie plant her dahlia tubers: https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cqe_eI2KsbM/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

APRIL – Cosmos sowing

Cosmos is a fabulous seed for beginners to grow. A half-hardy annual cut flower that is perfect to sow in April and May.

They are a true “cut and come again” flower as the more you cut from them, the more flowers they produce.

They come in some fabulous colours, work well in the cutting patch or garden and can even be grown in pots or planters.

Sow the seeds in April in peat-free compost straight into 9cm pots and pop them onto a sunny windowsill. They can be planted outdoors into containers and garden beds after the frosts and you will have flowers all summer and into Autumn.

Sophie grew some yellow varieties last year – Xanthos and Kiiro but here are some others you may like to try:

🌱 Pink cupcakes
🌱 Double click Rose Bon Bon
🌱 Purity
🌱 Apricot Lemonade (great for pots)
🌱 Pink popsocks (great for pots)

END OF APRIL – Pinching out dahlias

Towards the end of April, it’s time to pinch out the growing stems of dahlias to encourage them to bush out.

This, in turn, produces more flowers. We only do this for any potted dahlias that are not sending out more than one stem. If they already have multiple stems, then you won’t need to do this step.

Count from the bottom, 2 or 3 sets of leaves and cut just above the leaf node. If any leaves are damaged cut slightly higher.

Give your potted dahlias a water at this stage and even a little diluted seaweed feed to help give them a boost.

Allow them to grow on in your greenhouse or warm home until the risk of frosts has passed. Then you can begin to harden them off by increasing the time they spend outside each day until you can plant them outside. This hardening off process may take about a week.

Remember you’ll need to think about how you will prevent them being eaten by slugs and snails so invest in some nematodes and copper rings.

How to pinch out your dahlias: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CrkaRd_qjye/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

MAY – Direct sowing

Early May is a good time to direct sow flower seeds as the soil is warming up. There are lots of seeds that can be direct sown, although some do better than others. Seeds that could work with this method include Salvia clary sage, corncockle, cornflowers, calendula, dill, and nigella.

Mix your seed with some multipurpose peat-free compost and follow Sophie’s guidance. https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cr2bwHzK7Gw/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==


Loosen the soil where you are going to grow them, then sprinkle with the mix of seed and compost. Push the soil down a little to make sure the seeds have good contact with the ground, water and then allow nature to do its work.

You could even direct sow zinnias and cosmos in this way. Make sure they are well watered and as the seedlings emerge, try to protect them from slugs and snails by using beer traps or wool pellets.

MAY – Planting flowers for pollinators

Did you know one out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators such as bees? (source WWF) https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/our-tips-how-bee-friendly. That’s how important bees are. Meaning planting our gardens to attract and support bees and other pollinators is essential.

Sophie’s top flowers for pollinators are Borage, Lavender, Single dahlias, Foxgloves, Sunflowers, Cornflower, Rosemary and Cosmos.

Will you add some of these to your cut flower garden to encourage the bees?

JUNE – Plant out your dahlias

It’s time to plant out your dahlias. Harden them off first by gradually getting them used to being outside during the day over a week. Pop them outside each morning and then put them back into the greenhouse overnight.

When you are ready to plant them, prepare your soil by removing any weeds and get planting. Sophie suggests adding a handful of bone meal to the soil to add phosphorus which helps with healthy root development. Water them in as they will need a drink.  Then water them once or twice a week depending on the weather. Sophie also feeds her dahlias every 2 weeks once they start flowering.

Your dahlias will need support as they can grow up to 1.5m tall. You can use a simple system of a roll of stock fencing supported by a bamboo cane or could easily use bamboo canes with string or jute netting. The supports look huge to start with but you’ll be amazed how quickly your dahlias will grow up to and beyond the support.

You will need to protect your newly planted dahlias from slugs and snails. You could treat your beds with nematodes which really helps or use beer traps, copper rings or wool pellets.

Watch Sophie plant out her dahlias: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CtBJcdTKsVS/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

JULY – Cut your flowers

July is the month you’ve been working towards and the month to start cutting your flowers to enjoy indoors.

Some tips for you for cutting flowers
1. Cut your flowers using a sharp pair of snips as not to snag the stems.
2. Cut at the beginning or end of the day rather than in the midday sun.
3. Cut with a slight angle to enable any water to run off the old stem rather than into it as this can cause disease.
4. Cut as deep into the flower stem as you like and cut above a pair of leaves if possible.
5. Put your flowers into a bucket of cool water up to their necks and leave for at least 24 hours in a cool place.
6. Take off any leaves that will sit below the water line of your vase to stop any bacteria forming in the water. This will make the blooms last longer in your vase.

Watch Sophie cutting her flowers: It’s time to start cutting your flowers if you haven’t done this already. This is why we have grown them and as it’s #britishflowersweek… | Instagram

JULY – Roses in cut flower gardens

A note about roses, one of the most well-known of all cut flowers.

To keep roses looking fresh and to encourage a second flush, it’s best to deadhead them to stop them from developing rose hips.

To do this, cut off any dead flowers and this will encourage your rose to make new flowers. This is obviously depending on the rose you have as some only flower once during the year.

These roses are Olivia Rose and A Shropshire Lad from David Austin Roses https://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/ and they both will flower again once deadheaded.

Include pics

AUGUST – Time to enjoy your cut flower garden

August is a time to really enjoy the garden and all the flowers you’ve grown. Continue to cut and deadhead which encourages plants to keep producing more flowers before they go to seed.

Feeding your plants throughout August will encourage more growth and flowers into September and beyond.

By August Sophie also has a greenhouse full of biennial seedlings to nurture ready to plant out in September. These include Papaver, Rudbeckia, Angelica Archangelica and foxgloves.

Sophie’s garden in August: https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cvg2OiSKu98/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

LATE AUGUST & SEPTEMBER – Seed collecting

Late August and September are perfect for collect ingseeds from your favourite cut flowers and it’s a great way to save a little money in the process. Saved seed is fresher and should germinate quicker too.

Tips for gathering seeds

You’ll need a pair of scissors, envelopes and a pen.

1. Allow your favourite flowers to go over and develop seed pods.

2. Choose a sunny afternoon to harvest the seed pods and flowers. You want to collect seeds before the pods have burst open.

3. Cut the seed pods or dried flower heads, being careful that the seeds don’t spill all over the place! Catching the seeds into an envelope works well.

4. Put them in a place to dry. This could be on a sunny windowsill or outside if it’s not raining or windy!

5. Once dry, store in a paper envelope naming the seeds straight away. Otherwise you won’t remember which seeds are which.

Seeds Sophie recommends collecting include Poppies, Nigella, Cress, Scabious, Briza, Orach, Dill, Sweet peas, Ammi, Cerinthe, Larkspur, Honesty and Tagetes.

SEPTEMBER – Enjoying dahlias as cut flowers

For September we return to dahlias, the queens of colour in a late Summer and early Autumn garden.

As your dahlias start to get into their stride after a tricky start, you may wonder how to get a decent stem length on your blooms to enable you to use them in a vase.

1. Cut deep into your plant! Dahlias are truly “cut and come again” plants and will reward you with more blooms when they are cut. Don’t worry about cutting off side stems in the process as your plant will grow new ones!

2. Disbud your dahlias. Disbudding is the process of removing the side buds on a main stem to allow the plant to put all its energy in the main flower. This means you get larger blooms on the main stem.

3. Feed your dahlias! After a tricky start with all the rain we’ve had, your dahlias may have grown tall but will now need more potassium and phosphorus to grow those beautiful blooms we all love! I feed mine once a week during the flowering season.

Watch Sophie cutting her dahlias https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cw3BPOmrHYk/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

OCTOBER – Tidying up and planning again

In Autumn, jobs for the cut flower garden are more limited, but as light levels drop, it’s important for your plants and seedlings to get as much light as they can during the darker months.  And so greenhouses need to be cleaned inside and out. If you have a wooden greenhouse, it may also need oiling to protect it over the winter months.

Hardy annual seedlings and salvia cuttings can be potted up to get them ready for overwintering in the greenhouse.

You might also like to move your succulents under glass, as well as planting up some violas and pansies to bring joy throughout the winter.

Autumn is also a good time to plan what to grow for the following year whilst your success of

Sophie’s Autimn garden: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CyFmtinK_M1/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

OCTOBER – Saving your dahlia tubers for next year

It’s time to think about whether you will lift, dry and store your dahlia tubers or cover them in a layer of mulch, for the winter!

Sophie does a little of both in her Wiltshire garden. The weather is generally wet with some frosts. The dahlia tubers in the garden borders are covered with old compost. This is called mulching and it gives the tubers a layer of protection against the cold weather. Sophie has done this successfully with most of her tubers for the past 4 years, only loosing a few to rot due to it being very wet.

Sophie then lifts her dahlia tubers in the cutting garden. In 2022 she did this too late (during the second week of November). “When we had a very cold spell in early December, the tubers hadn’t had time to properly dry and therefore they all rotted.” So in 2023 Sophie began to lift her dahlias at the end of October to protect them for Winter.

To lift your dahlias, choose a dry day and shake off as much soil as you can. Then turn them upside down and store them in a frost free place to drain and dry. This can be in a greenhouse, shed or kitchen. Then carefully pack them into crates with newspaper, or straw and store them in a frost free garage.

How to care for your dahlia tubers: https://www.instagram.com/p/CyXrj2JqjS_/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

NOVEMBER

November is the time to start thinking about next year’s garden and making sure you have a colour filled Spring garden.

Tulips planted in pots and containers look stunning and can be useful in smaller gardens or on a patio. They can be grouped together with other pots of tulips or other spring bulbs to make a beautiful spring display. November (or later) is a good time to plant tulips as any earlier they can be susceptible to tulip fire. https://www.rhs.org.uk/disease/tulip-fire

How to plant your tulips

🌱Using a mixture of peat-free multi-purpose compost and horticultural grit for drainage, fill your pots to about 2/3 of the way from the bottom.

🌱Add your tulip bulbs with the pointy end facing upwards. Bulbs can be planted quite close together in pots but they shouldn’t be touching each other.

🌱Cover the bulbs with more compost and top with a layer of grit. This helps to stop soil escaping in heavy rain.

🌱Place them in a sheltered spot outside to stop them becoming waterlogged as this can make the bulbs rot. They do need a frost though and this is encouraged so don’t put them in a greenhouse or shed. Position them in the spring to enjoy their blooms!

🌱If you have lots of squirrels in your area, top with chicken wire, holly leaves or every chilli powder to deter them.

How to plant tulips in pots; https://www.instagram.com/reel/CzO8PkyLGma/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Growing cut flowers is a thoroughly rewarding way to spend time, sowing seeds, nurturing seedlings, potting on, planting out and reaping the rewards later in the year. We hope you’ve picked up some tips from our year of growing cut flowers and that you have as much fun growing as we did.

As the cooler damper months approach, it’s time to prepare your garden and Winter-proof your garden shed. We’ve been designing and manufacturing sheds for over 50 years and whilst we have now hit upon a design that minimises the need for annual maintenance, you will most likely have a shed in your garden that does need to be taken care of. We’ve picked up plenty of shed care tips along our journey to share with you.

Follow these steps to winter-proof your garden shed:

1. Clear the gutters and roof: The first step to winter-proof your garden shed is to clear out dead leaves and debris from the gutters and from the roof. When leaf debris accumulates, it will also collect and pool water which will cause damp spots. At best, the damp spots will create higher moisture levels inside the shed damaging the garden tools and equipment you have stored. At worst, you’ll also risk rotting the timber structure. Keep the gutters and roof free of debris to prevent dampness from occurring.

2. Cut back foliage: Similarly, you will need to make sure you cut back any overgrown foliage and branches so they are not resting on your timber. Any foliage touching your shed will also be a risk for the creation of damp spots, whilst larger vegetation such as branches risk being moved and broken in high winds or with heavy snow and damaging the structure of the shed.

3. Treat the wood: If you have a dip-treated shed, it is important to treat the wood. The application of an annual wood preservative paint will protect the timber from moisture, insects and funghi. We also recommend the annual application of a wax or oil-based weatherproofing finish.

A clear dry day is best for treating your shed so that the oil has time to soak in and penetrate the timber, giving it long-lasting protection. Apply it on a rainy day and you’ll risk the treatment being washed off before it has had a chance to work its magic.

4. Inspect the roof: Next you’ll need to check the integrity of your felt roof, looking for cracks and damage.  Check for cracks and damage. Replace the old or broken felt to prevent leaks and ensure the interior of your shed and the items you have stored remain dry and safe all Winter.

5. Consider what you store: You’d think that a shed is a shed and you can store whatever you wish in your shed over winter. The truth is there are many different ways to design and build a shed, some more weatherproof than others. Some shed designs will let more air and moisture in and will also have shorter lifespans. So carefully consider what you store in your shed, like valuable garden tools that could attract rust over the damper months.

Have you winter-proofed your shed yet?

Introducing the new maintenance-free choice for sheds

New in 2023, we’ve launched our brand-new range of weather-beating sheds – the Beckwood sheds. Designed to be completely maintenance-free (annual preservative treatment is never needed), these study sheds are the perfect option for busy lives. They are made with pressure-treated timber providing a 25-year anti-rot guarantee, the longest guarantee in the market. Check out the Beckwood range today.

If you’re fortunate enough to own a wooden greenhouse, you’ll know the joy of having this idyllic growing zone nestled in your garden or on your patio. Timber greenhouses really do stand head and shoulders above their metal and plastic greenhouse counterparts. They are so much more than a functional space to nurture seeds and vegetables: they’re also an attractive garden feature to enjoy throughout the seasons.

With over 50 years of expertise in designing and manufacturing timber garden products, we’re here to guide you in choosing the perfect paint colour to enhance the beauty of your greenhouse.

Why choose a timber greenhouse?

Opting for a natural wood greenhouse offers a multitude of benefits, chief among them is that the materials effortlessly blend with the natural landscape of your garden.

Our research study showed how much gardeners are thinking about the environment and really embracing natural materials including wood in their gardens as a sign that they are doing the right thing by buying more sustainably.  Wood has firmly established itself as the preferred choice for the eco-conscious gardener.

Many quality wooden garden items including our range of timber greenhouses, are pressure-treated, ours come with a 15-year anti-rot guarantee. With simple maintenance, your timber greenhouse will endure a long lifetime.  

After that, as a natural resource, the timber will feed the ground from which it came (unlike plastic) leaving no particles that could be potentially harmful or have a lasting impact on the environment.

By choosing timber, you’re not only enhancing your garden but also contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.

To paint or not to paint. Enhancing your wooden greenhouse

So should you paint your wooden greenhouse or leave it as it’s natural timber?

The choice is yours. At Forest Garden, we provide you with the freedom to choose.

It’s worth noting that all our timber greenhouses come pressure-treated, complete with a robust minimum 15-year anti-rot guarantee. This treatment involves impregnating the wood with preservatives, safeguarding it against the perils of fungal decay and pesky insect invasions.

Opting to maintain the natural wood finish is a fabulous choice, ensuring your greenhouse will become part of the natural beauty of your outdoor space. Over time, the wood’s colour will gracefully evolve into a charming silvery-brown hue, enhancing its rustic appeal.

Stains and water repellent can be applied if you would like to add a touch of personal style to your greenhouse, provided you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Consider selecting a natural wooden stain that not only retains the timber’s original colour but also ensures the natural wood colour doesn’t fade over time. We would suggest a UV Clear Wood Paint such as those from Thorndown Paint Wood Paint range.

What colour to paint your greenhouse

Painting your greenhouse will give it added protection from the elements and turn it into a real feature within your garden.

The world of paint offers endless possibilities, allowing you to tailor the look of your greenhouse to your preferences. Paint can create quite a transformation, so think about the look you are going for. Are you aiming for a big colour pop or statement feature or something softer that harmonises with the natural tones of your garden?

Thorndown Paints has a wide range of wood paint spanning the spectrum from lush greens to muted blues and creamy neutrals – practically every shade of the rainbow.

We’re always thrilled to see the creative flair of our customers when it comes to painting their greenhouses. Greens and creams are definitely the most popular colours, but we’ve also seen blues and pinks too.

If you’re in search of inspiration, take a look at the spectrum of colours we’re showcasing in this blog.

How to paint your greenhouse

To achieve the best results when painting your greenhouse, consider the following tips:

  1. Pre-assembly painting: As our greenhouses are delivered flat packed ready for self-assembly, it’s ideal to paint before you construct. That way you can easily get into any tricky corners.  A word or warning, please double check the components list to ensure all of the parts have been included.
  2. Paint before you remove the protective film. Each glass/acrylic glazing window panel is covered in a protective film to ensure the glass is kept clean and unscathed in transport. Paint before you remove the film and you will have the cleanest lines for your end result.

Best greenhouse paint?

You will need to use outdoor wood paint for your wood greenhouse. We have worked with and used Throrndown Paints many times so can recommend them as a starting point. Customers have also previously used Cuprionol and Rustoleum paints and reported great results.

So which colour paint will you choose?

Ultimately, the decision of whether to paint or leave your timber greenhouse in its natural state is a deeply personal one, a choice that mirrors your unique gardening vision and style.

As you ponder the colours and finishes that will adorn your wooden growing haven, don’t forget to take a peek at our stunning range of timber greenhouses.

How you use your shed says a lot about where you live, according to new data from Forest Garden, the UK’s leading manufacturer and distributor of wooden garden products.

To celebrate the launch of their brand new Beckwood range of sheds, Forest Garden surveyed 2,000 shed-owners across the UK to find out just exactly what is going on in those special garden buildings.

And it turns out shed-owners in London are most adventurous with what they use their sheds for – closely followed by Northern Ireland, the North West and the West Midlands.

Among those in the capital who admitted to changing their shed’s primary function, 28% turned it into a ‘Chillout Space’, while 18% used theirs to create a ‘Dining Area’. Other uses included ‘Cinema’ (15%) and ‘Art Studio’ (10%).

Meanwhile shed-owners in the east of England are least likely to use their shed for anything other than storing garden tools (81%).

And Northern Ireland not only has more sheds per person than anywhere else – but one of them will probably have a freezer in it.

Jenny Davis, Forest Garden’s Head of Marketing, said: “Sheds are no longer simply a dumping ground for garden furniture and equipment. They are versatile and dependable and ideal for those who want to store more than just a spade.

“Our Beckwood range of sheds have been designed with this in mind.”

Nationally more people would rather turn their shed into a bar (8%) than into a home gym (6%), and while the 25 to 34-year-old age group are the most likely to make these alterations, the 55 to 64-year-olds are close runners-up in converting theirs into a cinema.

Twice as many women than men have converted their garden sheds into a music studio, while 35 to 44-year-olds are most likely to keep bikes and other sporting equipment in their sheds. Similarly, 25 to 34-year-olds keep mountaineering and hiking gear in theirs.

39% of those over 65 questioned said they go into their sheds once or more every single day. And 20% of 55 to 64-year-olds say their shed is mainly full of ‘broken stuff”.

118 people in the survey admitted to having spent the night in their shed.

The results come as Forest Garden, the UK’s leading manufacturer and distributor of wooden garden products, launch their Beckwood range of sheds, designed to accommodate far more than garden equipment.

The NEW range of Beckwood Shiplap Sheds are made with weather beating, interlocking cladding giving a watertight seal that will stand up to everything the great British weather can throw at them.

What’s more, they come with a 25-year anti-rot guarantee the longest guarantee in the market. They are fully modular and are completely maintenance free, annual preservative treatment is NEVER needed. Most other sheds require immediate treatment once built, then yearly treatment thereafter.

Adding height to your garden means adding interest, privacy and structure. Height in a garden leads the eye and creates focal points around the space. By incorporating vertical elements, such as towering plants, climbing vines, raised beds, and multi-level structures, you can create a visually stunning outdoor space that you cannot wait to spend your time within.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the many advantages of embracing height in your garden, from maximising your growing space to creating shade and privacy and a beautiful garden to be proud of. We also have plenty of ideas to share with you.

Let’s discover how to take your garden from ordinary to spectacular through the addition of height.

Why is height important in a garden?

By incorporating vertical features and growing upwards, you will enhance the overall appeal and functionality of your outdoor space. Adding height means creating interest but also increasing your growing space.

Features such as screens have the added benefit of providing privacy and seclusion whilst overhead structures such as pergolas, arches and gazebos create shade, perfect for relaxing and entertaining beneath in the warmth of mid-Summer.

Stand by for 7 ways to add height to your garden design…

1. Add an Arbour to create your very own garden retreat

Curling up with your favourite book in a sheltered spot in your garden is one of the simple pleasures of garden life. And an arbour is the perfect structure to relax within. Whether you lean towards a traditional or contemporary design, an arbour offers a wonderful, secluded nook to escape to. The lattice or slatted sides, along with the sturdy timber structure, also serve as excellent support for climbing plants like roses, ivy, or wisteria, adding a touch of natural beauty to the arbour.

An arbour is also a beautiful addition when placed at the end of a pathway. Acting as both a visual attraction and a destination, it draws your attention and beckons you to explore further.

2. Create privacy with a garden screen

If you find your patio or garden exposed to prying eyes from neighbouring properties, garden screens can create private zones within your garden. They work wonders in dividing different areas of your garden, whether it’s framing an outdoor dining spot or concealing a compost area from view. Even for an area with a hot tub or a yoga deck, garden screens can be highly beneficial.

Not only do these screens offer functionality, but they also serve as attractive design features. You can use them to showcase garden art or hang planters, adding an artistic touch to your garden space. And don’t forget that garden screens provide an excellent support system for climbing plants, which in turn will contribute to the overall privacy and greenery of your garden.

Our modular outdoor furniture sets include built-in trellis screens for this very purpose. We have a large range of trellis and screens and you can also use our single slatted fence panels as screens

3. Grow upwards with a living wall or vertical planter

Living walls and vertical planters are another way of adding height and have the added benefit of softening expanses of fencing and brickwork. They also increase your growing space significantly. And we love to see vegetables growing upwards as well as climbers and flowers.

Ferns and succulents look amazing growing on vertical planters and vine-like climbers create stunning living walls.

4. Shelter your entertaining area with a pergola

Pergolas provide height and make a real statement piece in the garden. They create year-round interest and can become a real focal point of a garden.

Positioned over a patio or deck, a pergola is an ideal solution for creating dappled shade, especially over a dining or entertaining space. If you’re after a pergola that offers more substantial shade, take a look at the Ultima Pergola which is available with or without a canopy.

Pergolas also look pretty magical as the daylight fades with fairy lights or lanterns hung beneath.

5. Line a pathway with an arch or set of arches

Have you thought about adding an archway to divide areas of your garden, or to create a striking entrance to a certain garden zone? Our set of three sleeper arches creates a spectacular feature.

One of the most common and eye-catching spots for an arch is at the entrance of your garden. Placing an arch here welcomes visitors and sets the tone for the rest of the garden.

If your garden has winding pathways, incorporating an arch along the path can create a magical and whimsical feel. Likewise, arches can be used to frame a view.

Check out the Whitby Arch for something truly unique, the sleeper arch set or Slatted Arch for the contemporary look or for the classic country garden aesthetic, you might like the Hanbury arches, Ultima Pergola arches or Classic arches

6. Add a multi level planting area with raised beds and tall planters

If the goal is to add height and interest to your outdoor space, then height doesn’t necessarily mean super high. Raised beds and tall planters will add plenty of levels and gradients to a garden. Raised beds and planters also make your garden easy to access and the deep soil provides your plants with ample space to root down and thrive.

Use tall planters and our corner planter to create clever borders around your seating area and place different foliage or plants of varying heights.

7. Introduce trees and tall plant varieties into your planting scheme

And lastly, turn towards your planting scheme to introduce vertical interest. You’ll need to be patient while your trees and tall plants mature, but nature is a brilliant way to change a flat landscape into a lush and multi-dimensional garden haven. Trees have the added benefits of providing shade to cool the summer heat and become a sanctuary for various wildlife.

Ready to Take Your Garden to New Heights?

Height really does play an important role in creating an attractive garden space. Embrace vertical by incorporating tall plants, structures, and design elements and you’ll be able to take advantage of the extra growing space, shade and visual interest.

Adding height with pergolas, screens, archways and arbours is definitely the easiest way to instantly transform a garden.

Is your patio looking a little sad, uninspired or neglected? If you’d like some ideas for sprucing it up and making it an attractive and pleasant place to be, then read on…

1. Zone your patio from the rest of the garden

You’ll find that dividing the patio from the rest of the garden can make it appear like a separate garden room or intimate space. Having a distinct edge to the area creates a clear sense of space and focus.

At Forest Garden, we have a Linear Long Planter that might just do the trick. Boasting strong horizontal lines and a contemporary look, you can plant flowers for colour, or leafy plants and shrubs for texture and structure, creating a striking display. This style of planter works well as a boundary between the patio and the lawn or driveway.

Our Living Screen Planter can be used in a similar way – either to create a border between the patio and the rest of the garden, or to disguise a house wall or shed. If your patio is close to the kitchen, you could always use our planters as a place to grow herbs to add to your cooking. Why not use one of our hard-wearing and eye-catching planters to help you define your patio area?

2. Add soft furnishings to your patio seating area

You may want to give your patio a glamorous makeover by purchasing an outdoor rug. There’s a new trend in outdoor rugs made from recycled plastic and they’re absolutely beautiful! They come in all kinds of colours and designs.

And adding bright cushions and throws to your outdoor seats can add a hint of luxury as well as comfort.

Our Harvington 5ft Bench or our Harvington Love Seat look gorgeous with added cushions and accessories, helping you to create that perfect spot for relaxation. You may even want to include some bright flower pots or planters, some fairy lights and a coffee table – then your patio will make you feel like you’re on holiday all the time!

3. Upgrade your garden furniture

Choosing the right style of garden furniture to fit the space is crucial. You don’t want your patio to feel overcrowded and cluttered, so choose the items carefully. Also, decide if you want to use the patio for outdoor dining, with a table and chairs, or simply for relaxing with a coffee table and a lounger.

Forest Garden’s sleeper furniture works well with our corner and linear planters. Our Sleeper Benches are both strong and attractive – and they provide great places to have a coffee and read a book.

Alternatively, our fantastic Modular Furniture range is ideal for designing a private and cosy garden room. Each set comes with a selection of upright trellis panels, a bench, a square planter and a square seat. You can easily create a personalised, secluded and peaceful space with this versatile furniture.

4. Add a pergola to your patio

4Adding a pergola to your patio can really make it stand out. This instantly turns your outdoor space into a beautiful feature.

Depending on the size and shape of your patio, you may want to purchase our delectable Dining Pergola with its modern, striking lines. This certainly will create a talking point! The laddered side and roof panels not only make the pergola appealing, they’re perfect for growing sweet-scented climbing plants and creating shade.

If you have less space, our Slatted Corner Pergola works in a similar way to our corner planter, in that it delineates the edge of the patio, but it also allows you to train climbing plants here and create a beguiling, shady space. You may even want to add hanging plant pots to your pergola.

Our slightly more robust design of Radial Pergola works in the same way, creating intimate and attractive outdoor rooms.

5. Add a garden bar to your patio

5.     If you like to entertain in your garden, a Fold Down Wall Garden Bar is the ideal solution – especially if your patio is restricted in terms of space.

No matter how small your patio is, this fold-down bar is an enjoyable idea and the perfect location for entertaining. It even fits on a balcony! This wall-mounted bar allows you to store bottles and glasses on internal shelves and it has a fold-away serving table. You’ll be amazed at its space-saving design. If you have more room add either an Apex 6×4 Garden Bar or a Pent 6×3 Garden Bar.

Whatever steps you decide to take to improve and smarten up your patio, don’t be afraid to add your own personality to the design. Make it as comfortable, usable and attractive as you can – a place where you’ll long to spend time both on your own and with friends and family. Enjoy the outdoors in comfort!

Even in a rainy country like the UK, it’s sensible to consider adding some shady patches to your garden for when we get the elusive sun. Although most of us enjoy being out in the sun – and sunbathing can boost our Vitamin D levels – it’s vital that we don’t burn.

So, creating shade where we can cool off and unwind is always a good idea. Shady places are perfect for relaxing in, for reading a book, resting, enjoying a meal, or working outdoors. So, how can you add some shade to your garden?

Garden shading ideas the natural way

Of course, if your garden is big enough, planting some trees is a wonderful, long-term solution. However, trees will take many years to grow, and you won’t benefit from their shade for quite some time, so you may have to think about an instant yet stylish solution, such as:

Pergolas create fabulous garden shade

A pergola might just be the answer you’re searching for, and at Forest Garden, we have many to choose from.

  • Our practical and versatile 2m square Modular Pergola comes with a roof, which immediately provides shade and shelter so you can enjoy your outdoor space fully. You may even want to select some side panels for extra protection and privacy.
  • If you have a larger garden or patio, our Dining Pergola is really eye-catching. This beautiful and elegant design allows you to create a room outside – the perfect space for outdoor dinner parties. The laddered side and roof panels make the pergola attractive and perfect for training climbing plants and creating shade.
  • Our robust Ultima Pergola comes in two different sizes and makes a striking addition to your garden. With plenty of head height, you could add some hanging plant pots or creepers to make a stunning and sweet-scented display. The Ultima Pergola is available with and without a canopy.

Choose a pergola with a canopy or create some dappled shade of your own with shrewd planting. A pergola is a great way to transform a garden or patio.

Relax in a shady spot beneath your very own Arbour 

There’s nothing more relaxing and peaceful than having a pretty arbour in your outdoor space. A garden arbour can be an intimate and cosy place where you’ll want to read a book, enjoy the scent of summer flowers, or enjoy a drink with a friend.

  • Our Lyon Arbour is made with an attractive trellis on the sides and back, and a pleasing roof. Again, this design is perfect for growing climbing plants such as jasmine, rose and clematis.
  • Our modern and sleek Firenze Corner Arbour is larger, but designed to fit into a quiet corner in your patio or garden. Combining slats and benches, this attractive arbour is both versatile and comfortable.
  • Alternatively, if you’d like to make a real statement in your garden, our solid timber Cadiz Arbour might be what you’re after. The side panels, made of trellis, give the arbour an airy and spacious feel. This is a lovely place to rest in the shade.

Create instant shade with a garden Gazebo

At Forest Garden, we’re proud of the beautiful gazebos we have to offer. You’ll enjoy being able to bring the indoors outside – and in style!

Offering lots of protection from the sun and rain, our Premium Hexagonal Garden Gazebo comes with a choice of roofs – from thatched, to cedar or timber. And coming in two sizes, there’s something for everyone’s tastes. Arrange some outdoor sofas, cushions, rugs and plant pots inside, and you’ll have created the ideal place to entertain and relax.

Our larger Premium Oval Wooden Gazebo is a real signature piece. This breathtaking gazebo is perfect for larger gardens or work venues. It can be used as a wonderful outdoor office, a place to entertain, or somewhere tranquil to put your feet up after a long day. You may even want to do your yoga or Pilates here on a hot or rainy day!

Solutions for seeking shade

The great thing about all of our garden structures is that they add height and eye-catching design to your garden, creating an instant focal point. They’re the perfect place to grow some climbing plants and create an intimate atmosphere in your outdoor space that will last for years to come.

Who would have thought that shade could be so beautiful?

At Forest Garden, our wooden garden furniture is both hardwearing and attractive. It also looks completely natural blending into a garden setting. Wooden furniture is easy to maintain and can transform your garden or outdoor space, making it more useable, inviting and versatile.

You may think it’s going to be tricky to choose the ideal piece of furniture for your outdoor space, garden, patio or backyard, but we’ve devised some simple questions to help you.

Do you like to eat outdoors?

Parties and barbecues in the summer? Hot drinks near the fire pit in the autumn? If you think there’s nothing better than eating and drinking al fresco, take a look at these beautiful garden furniture sets:

·       Our Rosedene Outdoor Dining Table is strong, attractive and has a splinter-free finish. Generous in size, six people can easily sit around it to enjoy outdoor dining.

·       The Refectory Table and Sleeper Bench Set is sturdy, strong and eye-catching. The smooth-planed benches and large table create a comfortable place for entertaining family and friends.

·       Depending on the shape of your garden, you may want to select a circular design of table. Have a look at our beautiful Circular Picnic Table with Seatbacks. This clever design is gorgeous to look at and the perfect answer to eating in comfort outdoors.

Do you like to sit and read outside?

Perhaps you love reading, admiring nature or simply star-gazing in your garden? Do you need to sit down and rest sometimes? Then you may be interested in our garden chairs and timber benches:

·       Our single Sleeper Bench will fit in most outdoor spaces. Its clean lines are contemporary and pleasing. Place it beside a table or alongside a path to create a resting spot. They also look amazing painted as a feature amidst a much loved garden bed or surrounded with pretty outdoor lighting.

·       The Rosedene 5ft Bench is designed for longer periods of sitting. It also creates a charming feature in any outdoor space. With its splinter-free finish and high arm rests, you’ll relish sitting here and admiring your garden.

Timber garden furniture can also be beautifully styled with outdoor cushions, throws, and other outdoor soft furnishings. With the right garden furniture you’ll have an alfresco extension of your home to enjoy. And let’s face it, there’s nothing better than curling up with a book and listening to the birds sing.

Is your garden limited in terms of space?

Are you always having to rearrange things in your outdoor living space and store things away, depending on what you’re doing in the garden or on your balcony? Well, some modular garden furniture might be very helpful to you:

·       Modular Seating Option 1 contains a bench, upright trellis and square planter. Ideal for smaller spaces, like yards, patios and balconies, it’s a modern alternative to an arbour and creates a cosy seating area. Why not plant some sweet-scented flowers or herbs in the planter to add to the relaxing atmosphere?

·       Our modular furniture is versatile and can be arranged to suit your tastes. Modular Seating Option 2 is very attractive and includes a square seat as well as the bench, trellis and planter. And, of course, these designs are easy to take apart and rearrange or move. They really do brighten up nooks and corners.

·       For entertaining in limited spaces, our Fold Down Wall Garden Bar is perfect! No matter how small your patio or balcony is, you will have an outdoor bar of your own. If you install it at a height suitable for garden chairs or bar stools, then you can also dine here.

But why choose Forest Garden furniture?

Want to know the benefits of buying garden furniture from us? Well, read on!

1.     We’ve been in this business for over 50 years. In fact, we’re the UK’s leading and most trusted maker and distributor of wooden garden products.

2.     Most of the timber we use to make our garden furniture is grown and felled in the UK, sustainably, so our carbon footprint is relatively low. We’re also a Carbon Neutral business. That means everything from sourcing to sawing, manufacturing to haulage. It’s all carbon neutral.

3.     Forest Garden has been honoured with the first ever King’s Award for Enterprise, for Innovation. It’s a huge accolade for any business to be approved by His Majesty the King.

4.     Our products are sturdy and made to last, using high-quality materials.

5.     Our team members are experienced, dedicated and highly skilled.

6.     We love gardens, and we know you do too!

Thinking of growing vegetables with your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces?

Being outdoors does us all good, but it’s also a great opportunity to teach kids about planting seeds, caring for new plants and growing food.

But how do you begin to introduce children to growing veg and other plants? Here are a few fun ideas:

  1. Egg-citing cress: Let’s start with this old favourite. When you’ve cooked and eaten boiled eggs, save the shells, having removed just a small section from the top. Have fun drawing silly faces with the children on the egg shells, using felt tips, then fill the shells with compost and add your cress seeds. You can use the egg box as a ‘stand’ for these mini shell planters! You’ll need to keep the seeds warm and moist; this is something that even young kids can check on each day for you. Cress seeds germinate quickly and will be ready to eat in your sandwiches within a few days, while the funny-faced egg shells will look hilarious with sprouting green hair!

2. A trough of herbs: Another activity is to plant some herbs in flower pots and containers. Although this is gardening on a small scale, it’s manageable for children and they will enjoy taking responsibility for the plants and then snipping the chives, parsley, basil and mint when they’re ready to eat. It’s also an interesting way to discover new flavours and to identify different kinds of plants with different shaped leaves. Forest Garden’s Kitchen Garden Trough, a rustic-style planter, would be perfect for this activity.

3. Getting stuck in: For older or more adventurous gardeners, May is a good time to plant cucumbers, courgettes, beetroot and salad leaves. Growing their own vegetables can encourage children to try new foods. So, getting stuck into gardening can be great for fussy eaters! There’s nothing better than harvesting the food they’ve planted, preparing it and proudly bringing it to the table. This article from Gardeners’ World Magazine provides plenty of tips for growing veg at this time of year: https://www.gardenersworld.com/what-to-do-now-june/

4. Learning and growing: If you’d like to carry out an educational and thought-provoking activity with children, you could study the effect of sunlight on sprouting seeds by growing seeds both in a sunny position and in the dark. The seeds grown in the dark (e.g., in a cupboard) will shoot up quickly, trying to find sunlight, but these plants will be pale and weak. The seeds that grow on a sunny window ledge or in a greenhouse, for example, will grow more slowly but will be stronger and healthier. The children could even draw some pictures of their results. Our Mini Greenhouse is the perfect size for children to embark on their first gardening adventures!

5. Reach for the stars: Another fun activity is to have a growing competition! Ask the kids to plant a sunflower seed in a pot to see how tall their sunflowers will grow. Keep the sprouting seeds in a warm, sunny location and water them regularly, then measure how high they’ve grown on a regular basis. See whose sunflower grows the tallest! This would work with other plants too – e.g., seeing whose strawberry plant grows the most strawberries, or whose tomato plant grows the highest.

6. The miracle of seeds: When children are eating tomatoes or peppers, for example, point out the small seeds to them. The kids may not have realised that the potential for new life is contained inside those tiny seeds! It’s quite miraculous when you think about it. You may want to save the seeds, pot them up, and then grow them in your garden or in our handy Grow Bag Tray Container – to realise that amazing potential.

7. Spuds: Something that children love to grow is potatoes because they’re versatile and can be cooked in so many ways. For fussy eaters, potatoes can be a great place to start when growing veg. If you don’t fancy giving up a section of your garden for your children’s growing experiments, why not purchase our wooden Potato Planter, which makes growing and harvesting spuds both tidy and simple?

8. Short on space: If you don’t have much space for gardening with your children, you may want to consider some of Forest Garden’s space-saving and adaptable options – for example, our attractive Linear Corner Planter which can be placed in the corner of a yard or patio without taking up too much room. Starting off small is often the best way to progress – it won’t feel too daunting for children and it will be a patch of garden they can take responsibility for themselves.

Get outside this season and have fun with your kids. Let your garden be an inspiration to them!

Have you noticed that growing your own flowers for cutting and arranging is becoming ever more popular? It’s an ever-increasing trend. And that might just be a good thing for all of us. Read on to find out why…

Growing cut flowers brings joy

Everyone loves to have fresh blooms on display in their homes – they’re so vibrant and uplifting. There’s nothing more special than using your own flowers to mark significant events, from Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day to weddings and funerals. Cut flowers are symbolic and play a big part in our lives.

But the environmental impact of the flower industry is devastating.

Local home-grown flowers are best

Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) tells us that only 14% of the blooms sold in the UK are actually grown here. 86% of our flowers come from the Netherlands or from warmer countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Ecuador.

Imported flowers are flown hundreds, if not thousands, of miles in refrigerated planes. In Europe, most imported plants originate from East Africa. That’s a long way to travel!

Grow your own cut flowers the sustainable way

Perhaps this is why more and more people are growing their flowers sustainably in their own gardens, either for their personal enjoyment or to sell locally.

The UK’s love for decorating homes with flowers

There’s no getting over it, cut flowers are loved in the UK. According to The Guardian, 50% of British households purchased cut flowers in 2021. That’s a lot of households! (In 2021, there were 24.8 million households in England and Wales alone.)

It’s easy to see why people are changing their ways and growing their own flowers. Not only is the carbon footprint of cut flowers being reduced, but the local environment is being enhanced for our much-needed pollinators.

Flowers for pollinators

The UK Government’s Bees’ Needs campaign explains that there are five things we can all do to help pollinators in our gardens:So, growing your own cut flowers organically, without the use of pesticides, is a fantastic thing to do for bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, flies and beetles – our crucial pollinators – which have been decimated in recent years due to loss of habitat, climate change, disease, and the use of pesticides.

1. Plant more flowers, shrubs and trees.

2. Allow areas of your land to grow wild.

3. Don’t mow the lawn too often.

4. Leave insect nests and hibernation spots alone.

5. Think very carefully about the use of pesticides – do you really need them?

Local flower growers to the rescue

Lately, in the UK, many small businesses have been established to grow and sell their own cut flowers from nearby land or from their own gardens. You can look up these businesses on the ‘Flowers from the Farm’ website: https://www.flowersfromthefarm.co.uk/

‘Flowers from the Farm’ is a non-profit organisation. It was established in 2011 and it has doubled its membership in recent years. Many of their growers use peat-free, organic conditions in which to grow their flowers, and they use paper wrapping instead of plastic. The businesses listed on the website supply flowers for special occasions or sell bouquets in nearby shops. And the variety of flowers can be staggering and, delightfully, the selection changes according to the season – as it should do.

Plan your own cut flower garden

If you’d like to start growing your own cut flowers, Country Living explains which are the best flowers to grow according to the season, from hyacinths in March, to pussy willow and tulips in April, to hydrangeas and jasmine in June. You can find out more by reading this interesting and highly useful article: https://www.countryliving.com/uk/homes-interiors/gardens/a26926413/seasonal-british-cut-flowers/

You can also follow the monthly tips we share from our cut flower expert Sophie @floraldaysintheshires over on Instagram.

What do you need to make a flower garden?

If you want to start experimenting with some blooms of your own, you might want to consider purchasing some Forest Garden Raised Beds. By using raised beds, you can introduce a different type of good-quality soil into your garden and you can improve drainage for your flowers. As the beds are raised, they’re also easier to keep weed-free. Forest Garden has a variety of styles to offer, and some of our raised beds make attractive features in their own right.

If you don’t have much space in your garden, then some of our planters might suit you better. From our Accessible Gardening Planters, which wheelchair users and the elderly can reach easily, to our beautiful Planter Sets, you will be able to create beautiful displays of flowers which are easy to access and pick.

Cut flowers make beautiful gifts or they can adorn your home with radiant beauty and natural fragrances. Why not go “blooming” crazy – for your own sake and for the planet’s?

Can gardening really reduce stress, reduce depression, improve self esteem and have a positive impact on our mood? Are there health benefits of gardening beyond the obvious physical exercise gained from digging and pottering amongst this natural environment?

It was Hippocrates, traditionally referred to as the “father of medicine”, who said: “Nature itself is the best physician.”

At Forest Garden, we think he was absolutely right, though nature isn’t just wonderful for our physical health, it’s great for our mental wellbeing too.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 15th to 21st May, so let’s spend a little time considering why nature and gardening are just so good for us.

1.     Gardening helps keep depression at bay

Getting your hands in the soil is known to keep depression at bay.

This has been proven by research. Making contact with the earth, and a specific bacteria in the soil called Mycobacterium vaccae, actually triggers the release of serotonin and dopamine in the body, in turn boosting our immunity and raising our spirits.

Serotonin, of course, is a feel-good chemical that fights depression.

And it’s been shown that dopamine is released when we harvest our own food. Researchers believe this chemical reaction in the body could go back 200,000 years to when our hunter-gatherer ancestors felt elated at finding food sources!

So sometimes, it seems, we need to take off our gardening gloves and have direct contact with the soil to boost our mood.

2. Gardening is powerfully rewarding

There’s nothing better than feeling the power of nature around us. The joy of watching seedlings grow is nothing short of miraculous.

But we’re quite like plants ourselves! We too need Vitamin D from sunlight to keep well – in fact, it’s essential for many bodily functions. Studies have shown that being outside in the sunlight and having enough Vitamin D in our bodies can reduce our risk of certain cancers, diabetes and even dementia. It also helps us sleep better.

We’re not advocating getting sunburnt, but the healing power of a little sunshine every day goes a long way for our bodies and minds.

3.  Gardening helps improve sleep and mood

A strong link exists between low mood and insomnia. If we can’t sleep well, then our brains just don’t function properly. But an afternoon’s gardening can be quite strenuous and can promote a good night’s sleep. Raking, digging, chopping and mowing are all superb forms of exercise that will tire out our muscles, relax our brains and help us to sleep at night. Why not give it a try!

4. Gardening stimulates our senses    

Being in the garden is a wonderful way to stimulate our senses – all of them!

The beauty of flowers and trees fills our eyes; we’re often surrounded by buzzing bees and the sound of delightful birdsong; we can smell the beautiful fragrances of fruits, vegetables and flowers; we can touch the many different textures of the plants around us; and we can taste the delicious and natural foods we grow.

When our senses are stimulated in the relaxed setting of our gardens or allotments, our minds start to slow down and feel calm.

When we take note of nature around us, it’s an exercise in mindfulness, which is good for the soul.

5.   Barefoot walking regulates stress

Many studies have been carried out into the advantages of walking barefoot in the garden.

Make sure to avoid any sharp objects so we don’t injure ourselves! But walking barefoot has actually been linked to the development of the brain and nervous system, proving that it’s great for young children to run around and explore barefoot in the garden.

The thick skin on feet is designed to keep pathogens out, so we shouldn’t worry too much about germs. Research has also shown that walking barefoot can regulate stress responses and boost our immunity.

What a beautiful way to reduce stress. Letting the grass touch your skin doesn’t just feel good; it really is good for our physical and mental health.

6.    A garden is a place to switch off

Designing a seating area for quiet time in the garden is always a lovely idea.

Having a little retreat away from the busy world where our minds can switch off is so soothing.

We may want to read a book, paint a picture or simply just “be” for a while. We don’t take enough time out from our busy schedules to rest and become mindful, and to enjoy what’s around us.

Mindfulness is about being aware in the present moment, while calmly acknowledging our thoughts and feelings in an accepting way. It’s highly therapeutic. So, during the warmer months, having a pleasant spot in the garden where you can sit and be mindful is beneficial to our wellbeing.

7. Gardening improves self esteem    

According to ‘Healthline’, studies in the United States have shown that gardening offers improvements in both self-esteem and mood.

Many people have found that their anxiety levels drop, they feel less depressed and their state of mind improves when they’re gardening – and these effects can be long-lasting too. It seems we were meant to be outdoors and growing food and other plants. It takes us back to our roots (if you’ll pardon the pun!).

8.     Gardens are social spaces

Gardens can also be superb places for social interaction. Whether you enjoy going to a school, allotment or community gardens, or you simply like to ask friends round to spend time in your own garden, socialising outdoors can be so refreshing.

Just spending time talking and laughing with our friends can lower our stress levels and soothe our minds. After all, we all know the old adage that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ – and it really is true.

We need to make time to connect with other people and in green space too. And if you like to work in community gardens, you can also learn new gardening skills and tips while making friends.

9.     Eating home grown food is good for our health and wellbeing

Of course, growing your own organic fruit and veg will boost your physical and mental health.

We can’t separate our mental wellbeing from our physical wellbeing; these two things are completely intertwined.

So, eating healthily – including a good variety of different-coloured produce – will benefit us. Food grown at home can be chemical free and truly organic. And, naturally, there will be no air miles involved!

If you’re someone who worries about the environment and your carbon footprint (eco anxiety) growing your own food is definitely the way to go.

10.  Regular exercise in green spaces is a winner for mental health

Whether you incorporate gardening into your regular physical activity routine or not, the positive benefits of getting active outdoors are endless. Mental Health charity Mind talks of how physical activity and movement helps maintain positive mental health. Mind reports that “Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times”.

Your garden offers the perfect easy access green space for working physical exercise into everyday life. Let’s name it green exercise and make it part of our week.

Final thoughts on mental health and gardening

Finally, to make sure gardening is a truly positive experience that builds up your stamina, reduces your anxiety and boosts your mood, ensure you think about the following points:

a.     Avoid chemicals in your garden, if at all possible – pesticides, fertilizers and weed killers can all be dangerous.

b.     Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.

c.      Take regular breaks, especially if you’re crouched weeding in the same position or doing some heavy digging for long periods of time.

d.     Use sun cream if you’re out in the sun.

e.     You may need to consider using some insect repellant, depending on the conditions.

f.      Consider having a tetanus injection once every ten years as tetanus lives in soil.

g.     If you’re strimming or pruning, for example, remember to wear gloves and safety goggles.

Wishing you happy gardening, and a happy mood! Take care.

Planting is now wheely attractive

Planting is now wheely attractive
As National Gardening Week fast approaches, Forest Garden, the UK’s leading manufacturer of wooden outdoor products, has unveiled six new additions to its ‘growing’ planter range (awful pun, we’re sorry).

Tall planters complete with their own storage – ideal for watering cans, pots and pruning tools, a living screen and planters with wheels, are now available just in time for National Gardening Week 2023 (May 1-May 7, 2023).

Jenny Davis, Head of Marketing at Forest Garden, said: “Whether you want to try growing your own veggies or create a stylish outdoor living space bursting with colour, our collection has something to suit your outdoor style and, just as importantly, your space.

“From compact raised beds and corner planters to living screens and trellis, whatever you want to sow during National Garden Week, we have the perfect planter to reap the best of your efforts.”

The new additions join Forest Garden’s already comprehensive collection of planters but have been designed in response to customer feedback.

Jenny added: “Customers wanted planters they could move around their garden so adding wheels increases their versatility. Those with compact spaces have asked for more innovative storage solutions which is why we came up with planters with integrated storage.”

Forest Garden’s collection of new planters are available now from forestgarden.co.uk with prices starting at £95.49.

For more: 
sam@jwcpr.com

Forest Garden have been honoured with the first ever King’s Award for Enterprise – for Innovation. The highest and most prestigious award possible for UK businesses. 

Founded in 1974, Forest Garden, which employs over 500 people, is the leading manufacturer and distributor of wooden buildings, fencing and structures for residential and agricultural gardens. 

The prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise is for Forest Garden’s innovation of a world-first fully automatic high-speed fence panel manufacturing process. 

Forest Garden CEO, Guy Grainger, said: “Whilst innovating the manufacture of fence panels may not seem particularly exciting, in our sector it has been nothing short of revolutionary. 

“To have successfully introduced a new panel suitable for automation into our market, alongside replacing a traditional manufacturing process with ground-breaking high-speed automation, are achievements of which we are particularly proud.” 

By fully automating the manufacturing process, the company has reduced panel production time by almost 70%, improved production margins, and enabled their UK-sourced and manufactured products to compete with imports. 

Automation has also delivered a more uniform, quality product and increased the business’s ability to meet storm-driven surges in fencing demand. 

Using only sustainable British timber, Forest Garden are part of the Forest Garden Group whose operations across Worcestershire and Scotland include sawmills and manufacturing plants. 

Forest Garden are one of 148 organisations nationally to be recognised with a prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise. Announced today (Friday 21 April), Forest Garden has been recognised for its excellence in Innovation. 

The King’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the UK. The awards were first established in 1965 and since then over 7,000 companies have achieved a King’s Award. 

2023 marks the first year of The King’s Awards for Enterprise, reflecting His Majesty The King’s desire to continue the legacy of HM Queen Elizabeth II by recognising outstanding UK businesses. The awards celebrate the success of exciting and innovative businesses which are leading the way with pioneering products or services, delivering impressive social mobility programmes, or showing their commitment to excellent sustainable development practices. 

Click here to watch our video.

You’re in need of a greenhouse, but you’re tight on space and need to find the best small greenhouse for your garden.

Why choose a small greenhouse?

Maybe you’re new to gardening or your outdoor space is at a premium and you don’t want either of these things to stop you from having a go at growing your own food or creating a beautiful cut flower patch.

Or you need a sheltered spot to start your seedlings off for a happy growing season and would love to have a warm space to ripen your tomatoes and other vegetables through Summer. You could even extend your growing season or house your tender plants over the cooler months.

There are many benefits to small greenhouses. They’re space savers, they offer a sheltered spot for growing plants and ours have been designed to look stunning too. A small wooden greenhouse can be an asset to the design of your garden. They even look good in front gardens.

What can you grow in small greenhouses?

Mini greenhouses are brilliant for gardening beginners and those with a small garden. Most (all of ours) are designed with removable shelves which allow room for both seedlings, young plants and more mature vegetables as the growing season progresses.

You can store your newly planted flower and vegetable seeds in trays in early Spring, transfer them to individual plant pots as the seedlings mature and once many varieties are moved outdoors after the last frost, the small greenhouse can be used for cultivating vegetables such as tomato plants, cucumbers or peppers.

What is the smallest greenhouse size?

The mini greenhouse is Forest Garden’s smallest greenhouse. At just under 1.5 metres high, 1.2m wide and a narrow depth of 62cm it is a small free standing option with a sloping roof and double doors for easy access. The lower height means it’s perfect for positioning beneath a window.

It’s wide enough to accommodate a standard-size grow bag. The front edge is lowered to encourage efficient rainwater run-off and allow maximum light to enter through the styrene glazing.

Cold Frames are another small space saving option and are suitable for plants that are ready to be moved out of the greenhouse or windowsill and into their outdoor space. When there’s no longer enough room in your mini greenhouse, plants can harden off in the cold frame.

Types of Small Greenhouses

There is a wide range of small greenhouses available made from differing material, including temporary plastic options and aluminium frame greenhouses. The Forest Garden range has a unique difference – all greenhouses are all wooden, manufactured here in the UK from sustainable British timber and are built to last!

The Forest Garden small greenhouse range includes the Georgian Tall Wall Greenhouse, Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse and the beautifully designed Victorian Walkaround greenhouse.

The elegant Georgian Tall Wall Greenhouse features a steeply pitched roofline, its design inspired by the Georgian era. At just over 2m tall, the tall slim design lets in optimal sunlight and gives plenty of room for starting plants. For small gardens, this is a greenhouse with a lot of style.

The Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse is another attractive, flexible and compact option. At 1.98m high, 1.47m wide and 74cm deep, it’s ideal for both seedlings, young plants and the removable shelving means that the tall plants and grow bags can be accommodated at ground level.

Last but not least and if you want to stay small but have a little extra space, the Victorian Walkaround Greenhouse is the queen of small greenhouses. The unique design allows easy access to plants from the outside with 4 opening doors that can be hung to suit the position of the greenhouse. The removable shelving can be slotted in and out as required. There is an option for an auto vent for added ventilation.

How effective are mini greenhouses?

Mini greenhouses are an amazing addition to any garden and the perfect solution for small space gardens. They are really effective for starting plants off, sowing seeds and channelling heat and sunlight for sun-loving veggies later in the season.

An opening door or lid is essential not only for easy access but for free-flowing ventilation too.

They take up a minimum amount of space, but at the same time offer a heat filled structure for growing flowers and vegetables.

Do mini greenhouses protect from frost?

Small greenhouses can be used to extend your growing season. Like their larger cousins, smaller greenhouses offer a sheltered spot for plants to stay dry and get started.

Gardeners World suggests temperatures stay at up to 5 degrees warmer in an unheated greenhouse than the outside temperature, so a mini greenhouse is a perfect solution for making the most of the sunny spring days but keeping new seedlings warm at night when there’s still a risk of frost.

Why choose a Forest Garden greenhouse?

All mini greenhouses by Forest Garden are supplied as small greenhouse kits flat-packed for easy self-assembly.

Each is made of a wooden frame with styrene or acrylic glazing, a safer alternative to glass.

They are supplied in their natural timber finish but can be painted in your choice of colour to create a decorative feature in your garden.

Forest Garden small greenhouses are manufactured from FSC® certified timber and come with a 15 Year Anti-Rot Guarantee

Which small greenhouse will you choose?

Whether you decide on a small greenhouse, a set of cold frames or a larger traditional wooden greenhouse (take a look at our Vale Greenhouses), the Forest Garden greenhouse range includes a beautiful option to suit your outdoor space.

What are the garden trends for 2023? You’re thinking of updating your garden, making some changes and you’re on the lookout for inspiration. Would it be worth tweaking the design of your outdoor space, experimenting with new planting, creating dedicated zones fit for purpose or just leaving as much as you can to rewild? 

Taking a look at the garden trends for 2023 gives you a superb starting place for planning out your garden.

Here are 10 garden trends to help you shape your garden for Summer 2023 and beyond:

  1. Sustainable gardening is leading the way. This means a focus on using natural materials from the UK, clever upcycling for garden planters, furniture and features, fewer insecticides, thoughtful decisions around water usage and putting nature first. 

There will be a continued focus on growing your own food to ensure an organic and plentiful supply of vegetables. Artificial grass will decline in popularity and self-seeding wildflowers are firmly on trend – both for ease of growing and their environmental benefits.

2. Thoughtful water management and related planting win – to accommodate our increasingly unpredictable climate. More gardeners will harness rainwater and position plants in logical spots to assist in watering. 

They’ll choose drought-tolerant species needing less watering and design their gardens to thrive with unpredictable rainfall. Could it be time to take our planting cues from the Mediterranean? There’s certainly a lot of talk of doing this in the gardening community.  Water-tolerant species include lavender, many herbs, hebe, a variety of grasses, eryngium (Sea holly), Agapanthus, Geums, hardy geraniums, verbena and bamboo.

3. Nature will come first. Befriend the minibeasts and encourage wildlife to flourish.  This means rewilding areas, leaving areas of lawn to become meadows, growing wildflowers and creating the best spaces for bees and butterflies. Gardeners will also create purpose-built habitats and shelters for small creatures.

4. Home composting will increase as the use of peat-based compost ceases.  By 2024 new legislation will ban the sale of peat to gardeners in the UK so if you want quality compost at an affordable cost, then it’s time to reap the benefits of the home composter.

Alternative wood and coconut-based composts work well but there’s nothing richer than homegrown compost, full of wiggly worms and mini beasts.

5. The Mediterranean will influence garden design and in particular Greece. Get the look in your garden with earthy colours and natural materials, mixing stone with planting such as gravel garden areas, and pretty herb gardens combined with hardy lavender.  

Archways are a good choice for creating interest, planting to shade seating areas, patios and terraces will be popular, and there will be lots of terracotta. Olive trees and even Bougainvillea will be on the rise in the UK too.

6. Vertical gardening will extend outdoor spaces. There’s lots of talk of gardening upwards. Using walls and fences to maximise the space you have outdoors. The perfect solution for small gardens, courtyards, terraces and balconies. 

Living walls soften expanses of brickworks. Vertical gardening will include decorative screens and panels, hanging pots, pergolas, arbours, and containers at the foot of walls and fencing. 

Vertical screens are also useful for zoning spaces within your garden. Separating a seating area from the lawn, hiding the composting and storage area and marking out the boundary of a grow-your-own area. Plus you won’t be needing bamboo canes if you have a screen.

7. The Cottage garden makes a resurgence. Joy for the whimsical, romantic garden of times gone by. Flowing lines, rustic borders, wild meadow areas and dedicated plots or raised beds for growing your own flowers and vegetables. How pretty would the Victorian Walkaround Greenhouse look beside the vegetable plot?

8. Entertaining at home means low-cost socialising, a trend welcomed by many after a tough Winter with cost-of-living challenges.  Comfy outdoor furniture and dedicated seating areas, outdoor kitchens, pizza ovens and bars are all on the increase to create happy entertaining spaces. 

Forest Garden has added a range of modular furniture sets, complete with planters, vertical screens and benches and now offers 3 different garden bars.

9. Lastly – could you swim with the frogs? We read that natural swimming pools are set to become more popular. A garden pond for swimming whilst also making homes for pondlife. No chemicals and at one with nature. We’re not convinced about taking a plunge with the water boatmen and tadpoles and coming out covered in pond weed, but maybe we didn’t get the right idea of this trend. Although it’s not so different to wild swimming, so maybe it could work. What do you think?

You’ll be amazed to discover we’ve added 70 new garden products to our range for 2023. So much more choice means so much more enjoyment! There’s bound to be something that catches your eye which you’ll want to include in your garden this year.

To give you an overview, we’ve introduced to our range some new arch, arbour and pergola designs, two garden bars, some modular seating, a new range of log stores, a potato planter, a linear planter on wheels, updated shed designs and attractive fencing panels, a living screen planter and a range of useful vertical screens. With so much choice on offer, you’ll want to get into your garden and make some new plans straight away!

Let us tell you a bit more about some of these high-quality wooden products

Arches

Our striking Sleeper Arch comes as a set of three minimalist arches, which really add structure and height to your garden. Use them to accentuate a path or to separate one garden room from the next. Our sleek Slatted Arch is highly contemporary and adds an element of chic to your garden or patio. The Classic Flat Top Arch comes in two different widths and is perfect for showcasing your climbing roses, jasmine and clematis. We also have simple, no-fuss Hanbury Dome Top Arches in stock. In all, we have 11 different arch designs at Forest Garden, to suit all tastes and budgets.

Arbours

We’re proud to introduce our new Palma Arbour this year, which is a slatted single wooden arbour. Offering great value for money, this modern, charming design will provide you with a sense of tranquillity and refuge in your garden.

Pergolas

Coming in two different sizes, our Ultima Pergola is – well, the ultimate! It really is an irresistible garden feature. Use it to highlight a seating area, or grow some climbing scented flowers over it to tease the senses as you walk beneath it on a summer evening.

Garden bars

In case you hadn’t noticed, garden bars are a big and growing trend, and our new collection will suit any budget. Our compact Fold Down Wall Garden Bar makes an outdoor bar a possibility in the smallest garden or courtyard, or even on a balcony. Whereas our fun Shiplap Dip Treated 6 x 4 Apex Garden Bar can help you turn your outdoor space into a summer party venue!

Modular seating

Our pergolas, arbours and furniture have proved to be so popular that we decided to develop a new range of Modular Garden Seating this year. Perfect for including a small resting place in your garden or for creating an impressive garden retreat, these units offer a modern alternative to an arbour. With five versions available, you can adapt the layout of the seating to suit your changing needs.

Log stores

At Forest Garden, we’ve built a vast array of log stores to suit all tastes and budgets. Each is designed to keep your logs dry and to allow ventilation. From large and medium Apex Log Stores, to Compact Pent Log Stores, and even Corner Log Stores, you’ll be able to find the perfect design to suit your outdoor space.

Linear planters

In stock, we have some gorgeous, natural timber linear planters, including a new movable range on wheels, which are easy to reposition and highly versatile. Use them as points of interest to make your garden more attractive.

Potato planter

As we’re sure you know, potatoes prefer a good depth of soil to grow in. We also know that digging up potatoes can be back-breaking work. So, we’ve come up with the ideal planter for your spuds. Not only is it deep and strong, it’s highly attractive too. Growing and harvesting potatoes has never been so easy!

Fencing

Our Pressure Treated Contemporary Picket Fence Panels are proving to be very popular. This intriguing structure adds a modern and refreshing feel to your garden. While our Pressure Treated Decorative Europa Domed Fence Panel is also unique. These horizontally mounted boards with a grooved profile create a delightful wave effect in your garden. At Forest Garden, we think fencing should be spectacular.

Living screen planter

This novel idea provides you with a deep and sturdy planter, complete with a screen. This offers protection for sensitive plants and allows you to grow climbing plants with ease if you don’t have a convenient wall nearby. Our Living Screen Planter really does create a beautiful and problem-solving garden feature.

Vertical screens

Finally, our host of vertical screens can create effective framing for an outdoor dining area, while offering protection from the elements. They’re also great for growing plants against or for dividing your garden into rooms or zones. There are many styles to choose from – from vertical or horizontal slats to trellis – so we’re bound to have a design to tempt you.

We’re proud to be able to offer so many new products. Enjoy perusing them at your leisure. We hope they’ll encourage and inspire you to make some exciting new plans for your garden this year.

Many of us are feeling the pinch; fuel bills have rocketed and the cost-of-living crisis continues. But this doesn’t mean you can’t update your garden in small and meaningful ways to make it feel fresh, useful and appealing. Small changes can have a big impact, so don’t let tight budgets stand in your way.

Here are nine low-budget garden upgrades that will make a significant difference to your outdoor space:

  • Adding a raised bed: Raised beds make neat and attractive places to grow vegetables. They’re easy to maintain and they drain well, meaning that you can often plant your veggies earlier in the season. We have two sizes for you to choose from, and we’re sure this small investment will save you money throughout the summer as you’ll be able to grow your own soft fruits, salads and vegetables.

  • Trellis planter: Our brand-new trellis planter combines a rectangular planter with an attached trellis. If you don’t have a handy wall to grow your plants against, the trellis provides great support. Whether you want to grow a few mangetouts, French beans or climbing flowers like sweet peas, the trellis planter provides a convenient solution.

  • Slatted wall planter: If you’d like to create your own living wall of plants, this wall-mounted planter is a superb idea. It’s a wonderful way to add interest to an expanse of brickwork or concrete. This vertical planter gives you a planting shelf and a slatted trellis on which to attach potted plants or to grow creepers like ivy and clematis. If you’re creative, you’ll be able to design a wall of beautiful colours and scents. You may even want to grow some strawberries here.

  • Compact log store: Need a tidy place to store your logs? Our compact log store may just be the answer. With a roof to keep the logs dry, this wooden storage container is both practical and effective. If you have a larger supply of logs to store, Forest Garden offers a variety of sizes, styles and shapes to suit your needs.

  • Breaking up garden zones and creating height: A wooden archway or pergola is an attractive addition to any garden. These structures really can change the look of a garden instantly, adding height and dividing different sections of the garden in a pleasing way. Structures like these have the added bonus of providing support for flowers and vegetables to grow up. Why not select an arch to separate zones in your garden, or consider using a pergola to mark the route of a path or to create a seating area? We have a variety of choices, including some lower budget options.

For example: Hanbury Dome Top Arch – Forest Garden or Hanbury Flat Top Arch – Forest Garden

Ultima Pergola – 2.4 x 2.4m with Canopy – Forest Garden or Slatted Corner Pergola – Forest Garden

  • Mini greenhouse: If you don’t have a lot of space, a mini greenhouse, made of wood and styrene glazing (which is safer than glass), is the perfect place to grow a few tomatoes, peppers or chillies, and to protect those delicate plants over the winter. It also looks fantastic! And don’t forget our favourite tip: save the seeds from your supermarket tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers because you can plant these instead of spending money on packs of seeds.
  • Clear the clutter with some storage: You may have decided that now is the time to get the garden organised before spring, and you could really do with a storage solution – perhaps a storage box or a small shed. Many of us have garden tools, brooms and mowers lying around, which really need protecting from the elements. Or maybe it’s garden toys, wellies and paddling pools that you’re tripping over! We’ll have the perfect solution to help you get your garden organised. 
  • Linear and corner planters: These beautiful planters offer a way of drawing attention to a patio, breaking up zones in the garden, or adding interest to an empty area. Whether you’re using the planters to create a divide, or to disguise a boring wall or fence, they’re aesthetically pleasing and highly adaptable.

  • Potting bench: No serious gardener should be without a potting bench! Whether it’s situated in a greenhouse or in a sunny spot in the garden, you’ll probably spend a lot of time here planting seeds and repotting plants. With an additional shelf below the table for storing pots or tools, this compact design is perfect for smaller gardens.

Which option would suit you best? Enjoy choosing how you’ll make a low-budget upgrade to your garden.

Six ways to get started in your garden

Many of us are passionate about our gardens and have been gardening for years, while some of us are complete beginners and have little gardening experience. The delightful thing about gardening is that it can give us huge pleasure no matter how much we know or how big or small our gardens are. It’s all about being outside in the fresh air, getting your hands in the earth and connecting with nature.

So, where to start? Here are six ideas to get you thinking about your garden:

  1. Zones

If you’re designing your garden from scratch, consider the kinds of zones that would work best for you. You may want a paved area or decking for seating and barbecues. Perhaps you want a vegetable patch? Maybe you want to incorporate a greenhouse or a garden shed? Do the children need a play area, perhaps with a lawn? You may also want to establish a wild zone to attract insects and wildlife. Decide what works best for you and your family, and then plan where each zone will go and how large it will be.

Vertical slatted screens, planters, raised beds, modular seating areas and low level fencing can all help to divide the garden into zones.

2. Herb garden

If your garden is very small and you enjoy cooking, perhaps your focus should be on planting herbs in pots and containers. Of course, you may have enough space to set aside a patch to create a herb garden. Herbs can add so much flavour to recipes and salads, and they’re renowned for their health benefits – whether it’s basil and oregano in your pasta dishes, parsley in your fish dishes, or rocket, coriander and chives in your salads, you’ll be glad you spent time growing these versatile and tasty plants.

Click here for wooden planter ideas.

3. Flowers

Are you the kind of person who loves to have cut flowers in the house? And do you love watching bees and butterflies flitting around the garden? If so, herbaceous borders are what you need. Some of our wonderful National Trust and English Heritage gardens can inspire us with their breath-taking displays of flowers. These might even prompt us to create flower beds in hot colours, including reds and oranges, or cooler colours like blues and purples. Or you may just want to go colour crazy! Attracting bees and other insects to the garden is essential for the environment, so please consider planting some bee-friendly flowers in your garden.

4. Low-maintenance perennials

If you don’t have much time or energy to spend in your garden, you’ll want to select plants that are easy to manage. In this case, choose some hardy geraniums, spring-flowering bulbs like snowdrops, daffodils and crocus, and perhaps some summer lilies. Wildflowers are also easy to grow, if you set aside a zone for them. Easy-to-grow plants that provide ground cover, so you don’t have to weed too often, include lavender, chamomile and lily of the valley.

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5. Vegetables

With the cost-of-living crisis ongoing, it’s a good idea to grow as many of your own vegetables as you can. Of course, you’ll want to ensure you have good-quality soil, so think about creating a compost heap for this purpose. Start with vegetables that aren’t too difficult to grow, such as salad leaves, onions, beetroot, peas and potatoes. You may not realise but you already have the seeds you need to grow many vegetables – Dry your own seeds from the vegetables you buy to eat. Tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, pumpkin and green beans all grow really well.

If you fancy a greenhouse (we have a fabulous range of compact greenhouses for small spaces), enjoy planting some tomatoes and chillies. Organic vegetables, picked fresh from the garden, are full of health-giving nutrients and are so tasty!

6. Wildlife gardening

It’s vital to do our bit for Mother Nature, and attracting wildlife into our gardens can add so much pleasure and interest to our lives. Have you considered having a pond in your garden? Of course, if you have young children, make sure the pond is shallow and safe. Ponds can attract frogs, newts, dragonflies and damsel flies. You might want to allow the grass to grow long in a particular zone of your garden; this provides cover for shrews and mice. Hedges work in a similar way and create nesting sites for birds. And, of course, wildflowers attract bumblebees, honey bees, butterflies, ladybirds and much more.

Wherever you decide to start, make sure you get outside and enjoy your garden. It’s only through trial and error that you’ll learn what grows well in your soil, and which zones serve you best and give you the most pleasure. The main thing is to get started!

It’s time to fire up the garden bar optics, chop up the lemons and ready the ice bucket in time for World Gin Day and our very special offer that you won’t want to miss!

This year, we’ve teamed up with our very good friends over at the Craft Gin Club to offer you 50% off your first, specially curated membership box that would usually cost £65*! Oh yes, we kid you not *adds to cart*. 

And what a better setting to make some cocktails than in our very own Garden Bar. We decided to keep it simple and go the a classic G&T using all of the ingredients found in our subscription box! 

Our wooden garden bar makes for the perfect setting for alfresco drinks in the summer and storage in the winter. It features a solid top bar and has two bi fold shutters that open easily to create a serving hatch. With access from the side, its modular design means the door can be fitted on either end of the building. Made using dip treated shiplap cladding this Wooden Garden Bar is the perfect addition to your garden this summer! 

To order your first box full of ‘ginuine’ goodness, mixers and lots of other goodies, simply visit the website https://www.craftginclub.co.uk/, choose your membership (monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly) and add the code FOREST50 at checkout. The Club will do the rest.

Let’s all raise a glass to gin in the garden – G&T anyone? 

*All boxes after the initial purchase retail at £40

Front gardens are the gateways to our lives. The places where we embrace loved ones, chat over the fence with neighbours and where more recently we’ve found ourselves celebrating special occasions, clapping for heroes, and enjoying socially distanced tea and cake as part of the VE day commemorations. As our front doors closed for many months to visitors, our front gardens opened and blossomed as they brought together doorstep communities like never before. 

Jubilee Celebrations – Tanya and Ollie 

“We can’t wait to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee with our newly found friends in the front garden,” said Tanya and Ollie whose doorstep community blossomed during lockdown.  

As the UK population was asked to stay at home, Tanya and Ollie moved to their front garden to enjoy the sunshine at its best. As a result, their neighbours followed suit and soon, a doorstep community thrived as these newly found friendships began to grow.   

“It’s been absolutely great getting to know our neighbours by sitting in our front garden on the sunny afternoons and evenings,” said Ollie and Tanya 

“We bought the house just before lockdown, so didn’t get a chance to meet everyone, but during the COVID years we moved our garden furniture out onto our front garden as it gets the evening sun and invited neighbours to sit with us if they were passing. We’ve hosted plenty of BBQs or ate takeaways in the front garden with some drinks, and it really made us feel a sense of community and we have made some lifelong friends by doing that.” 

Now, as people ready their front doors with pots bursting full of blooms and treat their fences to a fresh coat of paint in time for the Queens Jubilee picnics, we’re launching a competition to find images that capture the heart of these Doorstep communities. 

Maybe you and your neighbours meet amongst the lavender and carefully curated pots every Friday for drinks or do you take your chairs outside to enjoy a sweet sundowner with friends. Perhaps you’ve created a bar area where you share laughs and drinks with your community or maybe you’ve created a green oasis from which you relax whenever possible? How ever you enjoy your front garden, we would love to see pictures of those moments and to explore the stories behind them. Who are the people in your community and what makes them so special and pivotal in bringing back the great British front garden.  

Simply upload any images with a description and tag in anyone that was there to Facebook and Instagram using #DoorstepCommunity and tagging @ForestGarden to be in with the chance to win a contemporary Slatted Planter Set (RRP £166.99).  

With World Bee Day (20th May) buzzing into view, we’re offering 50 local Worcestershire schools the chance to receive a FREE Bee Friendly Planting Kit worth over £100.

Delivered for free, the kits which consist of two Junior Raised Beds compost and bee friendly seeds will give the schools everything that they need to create a special garden to attract bees – no extensive grounds or gardens are required. What’s more, a specially created fact file for teachers to work with will have the industrious students finding out more about bees and creating a bee haven in no time.

“As a sustainable British company whose roots are literally part of the UK’s ecosystem, we feel deeply connected to the environment and to the wildlife that is essential for the health and wellbeing of the forests. The majority of our products are made using timber that is grown and felled in Scotland and brought to Worcestershire to be made into gorgeous garden items.

This is just one way for us to be able to give something back to the local community and to also be able to support the bees that have been having a bit of a hard time lately. If we were to connect all of the schools in the region, think about what an incredible superhighway that could be for the local bees, ensuring that they have what they need to sustain them but also ensuring that our children grow up loving and nurturing such an important part of our world.”

To be in with a chance to receive a FREE Bee Friendly Planting Kit, schools should only apply if they are in the Worcestershire area. Email marketing.group@forestgarden.co.uk to nominate your school.

Hybrid working is the NEW normal with many businesses adopting this method as a direct result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. This has left many Brits scratching their heads as they try to set work-life boundaries within a shared traditional living/working space. As we look for solutions in these changing times, there’s a question on everyone’s lips – can I just work from my shed?

“More than 80% said their firms had adopted hybrid working” – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60421056

We offer a range of garden buildings to fit any budget and any garden size. It only takes a few simple steps to turn your Shed, Log Cabin or Summerhouse into a home from home office. Here are some things you may need to considering when thinking about working from a garden building.

  1. Think about insulation – where our Xtend range comes fully insulated there are some steps you can take to further keep your garden building warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. From insulation boards, to mineral wool, to bubble wrap, DIY stores offer a range of insulation solutions suitable for garden buildings.

2. GO GREEN – Become more sustainable and self-sufficient by attaching solar panels to the roof of your garden buildings. Solar panels come in a range of shapes, sizes and strengths from one that can power your whole work station to ones that simply connect to a ceiling light.

3. Utilise your space – Whether you’re in the garden shed or summerhouse you can create a WFH environment alongside your day to day lifestyle. Why not have an office/bar or an office/workshop, personalize your space to make the perfect working from home environment.

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With the clocks going back and the weather turning a little cooler, we thought it was time to catch
up with Forest Garden’s Marketing Manager Jenny Davis about the Grow Off challenge and if the
rumours are true that she’s hung up her trowel for good.

“When I was asked to take part in Forest Garden’s Grow Off challenge, I had no idea what I was
getting myself into. I had never grown my own and my garden, whilst being a perfectly good‐sized
one, was a mecca for ball sports courtesy of two small boys. In the end, I decided that the only place
that I could safely grow anything was at the side of the house which had its own set of challenges.”

“The courtyard area to the side of the house is only 12 x 12 and has two walls, and a hedge to
contend with as well as a low‐lying wall so planters were essential so too was a greenhouse as I
don’t have windowsills to start any seedlings off. I used Forest Garden’s Victorian Tall Wall
Greenhouse which is narrow and could comfortably sit against one of the walls leaving plenty of
room for other things. I have to say the greenhouse was perfect. It was small but that didn’t mean
that I needed to compromise, change the way I thought yes but having that covered outdoor space
allowed me to give my seedlings a great start and not having heaps of space taught me to stagger
the growing season.”

“In terms of crops, tomatoes were a real winner for me. The Grow Bag Planters made it so much
easier to manage the plants and they looked attractive dotted around the area. My only ‘note to
self’ would be to plant earlier as I now have a whole heap of green ones to turn into chutney. Beans
too were a real family winner and I now know that courgettes, whilst super easy to grow and
plentiful are just not for us. I also now know why cabbages are covered in netting, the caterpillars in
my garden were certainly well fed this year – lol! As for the compost that I used, everything that was
grown in Melcourt did well, other composts were sadly lacking from this experience for sure.”
So, who won?

“Suze definitely had more of everything, but I put that down to beginners’ luck and the addition of
cat fertilisation.”

“Beans and peas for both myself and for Suze were the clear winners in amount of crop but also in
the fact that our families just enjoyed eating them which was a huge bonus really.”

Would I do it all again?

“Definitely. There are lots of takeaways from this including don’t grow things that the family hate
eating and look for smaller leaved varieties so that the garden doesn’t look and feel like the Day of the Triffids. I’m looking forward to doing it all again, in fact, I already have a nicely growing crop of carrots that should be ready eat as part of our Christmas dinner this year – I can’t wait!”

A special thank you goes to Melcourt for their compost and to Thorndown Paint who have
supported this challenge.

From perfectly aligned carrots to a sensory explosion of flowers, allotments are as unique as the individuals that tend them but there are a whole host of reasons why they can be a challenge. 

Allotments are often ungated so for that reason keeping those secateurs and all-important deck chairs safe can create a logistical/security headache for keen gardeners, so too can the lack of electricity and space to grow those prize-winning leeks and onions. 

To celebrate National Allotment Week (9-15 August), we’ve put together our top tips of Savvy allotmenteers that may help with some of those challenges faced. 

Shedulous storage

For many, the allotment is much more than just a place to grow veg. It’s a place to connect with the earth and to those that share the passion for growing your own. They can be social places, places to unwind and even share a brew or to mull over the day ahead. Whatever the motivation, a shed can enhance that experience whilst also being a place to hang up your gardening gloves at the end of the day. “Do your research before choosing an allotment worthy shed,” urged Jenny Davis, marketing manager for Forest Garden. She recommends the following tips:

  • Look for a shed that has additional security features built in such as metal roof brackets
  • Choose a product that has smaller paneling which makes the shell much more robust
  • Doors always offer an easy route to a would-be thief so ensure that you have double Z framed doors with a decent lock
  • Anti-tamper, hidden hinges that can’t be accessed externally are also a must

Our recommendation:

We recommend the Forest Garden Overlap Dip Treated 4×3 Apex Shed. RRP. £304.49. with dimensions of 194.1(h) x 133.8(w) x 100.9(d)cm, It’s small enough to suit even the cosiest of plots, windowless for added security and has plenty of hidden security features to keep your strimmer’s and mowers secure. 

Raising levels

As we all know, weeds can often feel like an uphill battle for gardeners so our top tip for banishing the weeds has to be – add a raised bed to the allotment. Place a plastic membrane or thick pieces of cardboard down on the ground to suppress weeds then add a raised bed on top. Add compost and topsoil and you’re all set to grow – it really is that simple!  

Our recommendation:  

Caledonian Large Raised Bed. RRP. £74.99 

A grandmother from Waltham has undergone a garden makeover which has transformed her life and the way in which she works thanks to the team at ITV Love your Garden and Forest Garden, the UK’s leading and most trusted manufacturer and distributor of quality wooden garden products.

Having survived lymphoblastic leukaemia without a much-needed stem cell transplant, award-winning author Venessa Taylor, spent much of lockdown writing her first book whilst also campaigning on the importance of bone marrow donations across all ethnic groups – all of which she did from her front room. When she was nominated by friends to receive a garden makeover from the team at ITV’s Love Your Garden, she knew that she wanted a space that not only supported her wellbeing but also gave her somewhere from which she could write and continue campaigning.

Forest Garden came to the rescue with a stylish Xtend Garden Room which Venessa heralded as ‘lifechanging”. She explains: “After being medically retired due to my illness, I’ve missed being able to leave the house to go to work each day so having that ability now has helped me to regain focus.

“My garden room is my special space. It’s part of the garden so I can open the doors and feel the sun on my face and listen to the birds or, I can choose to shut myself away in my warm and cosy cocoon. It’s a practical and stylish space and one that inspires me and encourages me to do well.

“I’m not a gardener but this garden inspires me and spurs me on each day. Already, I’m ahead of schedule on the sequel to my first book, Baller Boys, a book about children and how they can be the best versions of themselves through football, that was originally a passion project between myself and my son in law who we sadly lost recently to a rare disease.”

Jenny Davis, Marketing manager for Forest Garden said: “Our research shows that 1 in 3 women in the UK feel calm and reflective in the garden, so we were only too happy to support Venessa and the creation of a space that which had this at its heart. The stylish Xtend Garden room and Grey Painted Contemporary Double Slatted Fence Panels which were also supplied have helped to create a modern but contemplative space from which to work and to relax and are delighted to hear that she is writing and continuing campaigning as a result.”

 To see Venessa’s garden, visit https://www.itv.com/hub/love-your-garden/2a1173 to watch again. 

The Xtend range of Garden rooms are available https://www.forestgarden.co.uk/product-categories/garden-buildings/xtend-by-forest/. RRP from £8,837.99.

The Grey Painted Contemporary Double Slatted Fence Panels 1.8m x 1.8m Grey Painted Contemporary Double Slatted Fence Panel | Forest Garden RRP. £220.49

“October is also the month for harvesting apples and late pears”

The weather is the key driver for activity in the vegetable garden in October. Frost marks the end of the road for many plants such as runner beans, peas, courgettes and outdoor tomatoes but it is also the trigger to enhancing the taste in leeks, sprouting broccoli and some cabbage types.

It is also the time when some pot grown fruits and vegetables are moved into the comparative warmth of the greenhouse. But beware that you are not taking unwanted guests along with them.  Slugs and vine weevils are such unwelcome lodgers and you don’t want them migrating around other plants.

An ideal way to control both is using nematodes. You mix them with water and pour onto pots and containers using a watering can with a coarse hose. A couple of treatments in October/November will ensure no further damage from these pests.

Although they will be killed off by frosts, do leave runner beans and peas in situ for a couple of weeks because they naturally add valuable nitrogen to the soil.

October is also the month for harvesting apples and late pears.  Many will store well over the winter providing they are kept in dark, frost-free areas where the air can circulate freely around them.  But watch out for mice attacks. Many green grocers have lots of stack-able plastic trays in which their vegetables arrive and are often only too happy to give them away. Lined with old newspaper, they make perfect storage units for over wintering apples.

When you have collected up the apples do not be tempted to start pruning the tree.  Leave that until the end of November or early December.

Providing the weather is dry and frost free, this month is a good time to turn over the soil in the vegetable garden. A thorough rough digging, adding some well-rotted farmyard manure or compost if available, will do wonders for the soil in the spring. There is no need to break down the larger lumps of earth as the winter frosts will do that for you.

The last of the autumn raspberries should be picked this month but do not prune the canes until February. Keep the soil weed free and a light hoe around the base of the plants will allow the winter rains the penetrate down to the roots.

The greenhouse will become the winter quarters for a lot of plants and tomato, aubergine and peppers will still be growing and fruiting. Be mindful of the amount of water your give them because, as temperatures even in the greenhouse drop, excess moisture will not be evaporated off and there is a risk of mildew and rot to some of the plants.

Now is a good time to sow some lettuce seeds for winter salads.

Keep greenhouses tidy. Do not store unwanted pots and boxes in them because they are perfect homes for pests. Allow the air to circulate. The glass will need to be kept clean to maximise the reducing amount of winter light. Make sure all broken windows are mended as all plants hate cold drafts. Check that greenhouse heaters are working and that your have the appropriate fuel for them.

A cold frame in the garden can add an extra month or two to the growing season both at the back end and in the spring as it significantly extends the growing season.

Keep your plants and yourselves warm – winter is on its way.

Hints and tips on preparing your fencing for the upcoming winter weather

Ali, Bronagh, Callum, Deirdre…  Whatever the name of the winter storm, the impact can be the same – damage to the exterior of our homes and gardens.  Fences which have been subjected to torrential rain, hot sun, drought and high winds throughout the summer and autumn are now being pummelled by the real gales that blow in off the Atlantic over the harsh winter months.

At Forest Garden we take winter preparation seriously. If needed, we can make up to 55,000 fence panels a week to replace those damaged in your gardens.  In fact, we can hold so many panels in stock that, if we made them into a fence, they’d stretch from our HQ near Kidderminster all the way to John O’Groats. That’s 600km!

But fence damage – or the worst of it, anyway – can be avoided if you take some simple steps at this time of year.

Check the posts, as this is one of the most common causes for a fence not staying upright. Concrete posts which have become loose in the ground should be dug out and reset in fresh concrete. Timber posts which have rotted should either be replaced or can be repaired with steel repair spikes or concrete repair spurs.

Replacement fence panel battens and caps are available to replace – and reinforce any panels that are damaged, but if damage is extensive the whole panel should be replaced. Remember, if the high winds hit, fences tend to act like sails in the wind. They can literally get carried away.

Forest Garden has a wide range of designs with a choice of style, construction, treatment, height, posts and accessories.  The collection brings together the latest designs combined with innovations, from traditional to noise-reducing panels, to decorative screens and low-level fencing.  Forest Garden fencing carries either a 10 or 15-year anti-rot guarantee.

View our full range of fence panels here
https://www.forestgarden.co.uk/product-categories/fence-panels-gates-trellis/fence-panels/