aloe vera

Aloe Vera- The Wonder Plant

Summer’s here, therefore, for all the people who have to be outside without shade in this scorching weather, it’s time to start investing in good old expensive sunscreen creams and lotions. However, another much cheaper alternative to this malady is a dollop of aloe Vera gel. Therefore, this summer why not invest in planting an aloe Vera plant in your garden as well?

Aloe Vera plants prefer warmer weather so this is the perfect time to plant a few pots of this plant. Aloes desire warmth so in cooler regions, it is better to keep these plants potted so you can place them near a sunny window inside your house, rather than to plant it permanently in gardens outdoors. The root structure of an aloe plant is quite shallow so wide pots with drainage holes can hold the plant better than deeper ones.

aloe veraThe aloe plants can be bought from any garden shop or it can be propagated from its cutting. Either way it holds its own well and is the perfect plant for forgetful owners. A pot filled with any good general purpose potting mix with extra perlite can hold the aloe plant. This plant requires to be fertilised just once in a year in warm weather with half strength fertiliser.

The key to a healthy aloe plant is not to over water it. This plant can survive up to a month without water but can decay easily when left standing submerged in water. The easiest and surest way to water aloe is by letting the soil soak water completely before watering it again.

 

This succulent plant will be your friend in harsh weather by treating the worst sunburns overnight. Aloe gel can also be used as baby nappy rash cream and a spoon of aloe gel with a spoon of glycerin makes the perfect rash cream for all skin types.

 

raise dgarden beds and terraced garden

Raised garden beds and other way to add a vertical element to your garden

Many homeowners and outdoor designers get stuck on the idea that landscape design is only about the horizontal aspects of the yard. More thoughtful ones, however, realize that adding some height to a backyard space adds not only a dramatic visual element but also some valuable functionality. Here are just a few ideas to help get you started on “building up” your backyard space:

 

steel raised garden beds

Add raised garden beds

Adding this backyard space works on many levels. It allows you to create an ideal growing medium for your your flowers or vegetable garden and also creates an enhanced viewing or working platform.

Just frame out the space with wood, stone or plastic and fill with the best growing materials at your disposal. Then include the plants of your choice, sit back and enjoy.

 

 

Install planters on your deck

While some homeowners will opt for the mobility and versatility of simple garden pots, there are some distinct advantages to using raised planters in a backyard landscape. They add privacy by blocking the view and external noise, attract birds and butterflies to the space if planted properly and can also have an aesthetic sense all their own.

 

Build a terraced hillside

For homes with a seemingly unusable hillside, a terraced garden may be the ideal solution. Start by cutting several tiers in the hill, then run a suitable sets of steps down the middle of the space so that you can view the terraces from up close. While you can just sit and admire the view from the bottom, it is especially nice to place a piece of art or a fountain at the top of the steps to create a destination for your guests.

 

Include sunken walkways

It is not always necessary to go up to create a vertical element, if your garden is already established, consider excavating a step-down, sunken-pathway though your raised garden beds. It creates a very interesting path for your guests, gives them a better view of your flowers and can even be beneficial to the flowers themselves by adding extra drainage.

As you can see, adding a vertical element to your garden can be as simple or as complicated as you desire. The effort of installing anything from simple raised garden beds to highly convoluted garden walkways, however, will always be worth it – for you, for your guests and for your plants.

 

See our range of macrocarpa and corrugated steel raised garden beds here. Or if you have a need for a landscape construction service in the Waikato we recommend Outdoor Effects.

pohutukawa tree and coast

Add some Christmas colour to your garden

The festivities are in the air and mistletoe is a hot commodity inside many houses this time of the year. So, why not refurbish your garden with a festive tree too? Here, in New Zealand, the summer is upon us and the New Zealand Christmas tree or Pohutukawa can be seen in its most beautiful form for the occasion.

Thus, the summer season is a great time to add this beautiful and majestic tree to your garden. Adorned with red blossoms to celebrate the Christmas season, the Pohutukawa is the perfect ornamentation for any garden for years to come. The upkeep and tending requirements of this tree are also minimal, and once it is well settled in your garden, virtually nothing is able to affect it permanently.

pohutukawa tree and coastA few tips to keep in mind before adding this new guest to your garden. Pay close attention to the location you choose to plant it. The roots of this plant are invasive and can intercept the boundaries of buildings so don’t plant it too close to home.

This tree grows best in soils with pH of 6.5 or above. So be sure to adjust the soil pH to favorable conditions. To plant a tree a hole the size of twofold of the girth of its root ball and roughly the same depth will be able to accommodate and hold the tree.

The New Zealand Christmas tree prefers humid soil. So it is essential to take care of its water supply. The tree will need at least 20 gallons of water every week especially in the first couple of years. After this the tree becomes more stable and can flourish well with 20 to 30 gallons of water every month.

A tree will reach flowering age in around ten years if you start from a seed. Fortunately grown and partially grown trees can also be bought from different vendors.

A beautiful addition to any garden, the Pohutukawa is a nature’s Christmas present!

 

cartoon man on 4 steps

4 Steps to a new garden shed

Step 1

When planning which garden shed is right for you, first consider how much room you are going to need. Normally garden sheds less than 10 square metres do not require a building permit. You will need to check with your local council if unsure.

A handy hint: If you have space in your backyard and the budget allows it, get a bigger garden shed than what you think you need now. You’ll be surprised how you will manage to fill it up!

Step 2

Once you have worked out the size of your garden shed you will need to choose where it will go in the garden. If the garden shed will be out of sight down the side of the house then a zincalume finish may be acceptable, and is cheaper than coloursteel. If the garden shed is going to be more visible then a coloursteel finish will be more attractive.

Our Galvo garden sheds offer a choice of 3 colours at very affordable prices. The Garden Master sheds have a much wider selection of colours and allow you to mix ‘n’ match colours to compliment your home.

Step 3

Depending on the size of garden shed you choose, there may also be a choice of roof type. Garden Master Sheds do have the flexibility for you to choose what type of roof you would like – flat, sloping or gable. Not all roof types are suitable for all size sheds so please check with us before ordering if you wish to change the shed roof.

How many doors does the shed have, and how many do you need? Do you need the doors in a specific location? The Galvo Sheds cannot be altered from the standard designs, however Garden Master Sheds are custom designed to suit your requirements. Doors can be in any location, side wall or end wall.

Step 4

Garden ShedTime to order your garden shed. At The Garden Shed Company we make it easy to order online, and can deliver your garden shed right to your door if required. Need a timber floor, shelving, or tool racks? Get maximum use out of your garden shed with the right accessories. Want someone to erect it for you? That’s no problem either with our nationwide assembly service.

garden oasis

Gardening tips to create a relaxing oasis in your garden

For those of us who love spending time in the garden, being outdoors and among nature can be a great way to relax. Take that relaxation to the next level by creating your own soothing spot with a few decor and gardening tips.

  • Find ways to ensure that gardening is enjoyable and not just another chore to check off a list. While many favorite plants will take time to nurture, these plants can be combined with more low maintenance varieties to cut back on time spent working and increase time spent relaxing.
  • Add seating in shaded areas. While sunlight is great, you’ll need some relief from the heat. Find a great spot under the trees or consider adding an umbrella or pergola to your garden design.
  • Give your garden visual appeal. Of course, your plants will be the star of the show in the garden. However, there are many other elements to consider. Choose planters and decor items in coordinating colors and beautiful finishes.
  • Create interest with textures. Gardening tips include more than just Species of plants and visual appeal. A soothing garden will work with all of the senses to create a relaxing experience. Choose plants that are soft, fuzzy, smooth, or textured to include the sense of touch.
  • Consider colors. When gardening, choose plants in soothing colors. Look for muted shades and soft tones that will help to give you a calm feeling when you’re lounging in your garden.
  • Choose curved lines. This tip is true for both plants and design features. When created your plant bed, use organic shapes rather than rectangles to create your outlines. Continue the theme when choosing seating and decorative items. Curved lines are much more calming than straight lines and sharp edges.
  • Including scents. The scent of a garden is one of the first elements that guests will notice when they enter. If calm is the feeling you’re looking for, choose scents that have been proven to have therapeutic effects. Lavender, honeysuckle, and primrose are all popular choices.

gardening tips to make an oasis with water featureHow do you like to relax in your outdoor oasis? Following these gardening tips will help you to create a space that you’ll be happy to come home to.

9 garden shed tips

Here’s nine things to consider when buying a garden shed

1. Price vs. quality

 

I’m not saying you need to pay an arm and a leg, but the reality is there are differences in steel quality and durability of the finished product. Cheap imported sheds may not have parts readily available for them and the backup service and support may not be there when you need it.

2. Does the design of the garden shed enhance your property?

Your choice of garden shed will have an effect on the overall appearance of your property. It’s worth considering the choice of materials and colours when selecting a shed, and choosing one which compliments the house. Select one with a rustic design made from natural timber for a country-style house. Look at colour coding the roof and walls of your shed to match the house. This is easy to do with the Garden Master range of sheds.

3. Make you garden shed blend into the landscape

Plants can help the garden shed blend into a landscape. You may be able to screen the shed from view with shrubs or install trellises up against the wall of the shed. The trellis could also have a vine of some sort growing over it.

4. Choose a suitable cladding material

We have garden sheds available in PVC, timber or steel. Timber can require more maintenance than the other cladding materials, but if looked after it maintains an attractive appearance and will last for many years. Stain or paint your shed for best results.

PVC tool sheds are extremely durable and low maintenance. While they may lack the visual appeal of timber, for some houses they are very complimentary.

When it comes to steel garden sheds, the lowest cost option is a zincalume or galvalume finish. These are fine of the shed is tucked away out of site, but you may want to consider spending a little extra for a coloursteel model. Both zincalume and coloursteel are long lasting, trusted building materials.

5. What about building permits?

Generally any garden shed under 10 square metres doesn’t require building consent. We are not aware of any councils in NZ that have a different policy. Some will say that the shed has to be the height of the shed out from the boundary fence.

6. Site preparation

You must have a floor for your shed. Suitable surfaces are concrete slab, pavers or timber. Depending on the type of garden shed you are purchasing there will be different requirements and ways of attaching it to the floor. Site should be level.

7. Build it yourself or get a professional to install it

Garden ShedNone of our sheds are particularly difficult for someone with basic handyman skills and some simple tools to put up. If you haven’t built a shed before just bear in mind that the first one does take longer as you read the instructions, familiarise yourself with the plans and materials etc.

A professional will be able to build the shed much quicker than you would so it may be worth considering whether the cost of your time is worth it.

8. Will the shed be big enough

You’ll be surprised how much stuff you’ll accumulate as time goes by. If space and budget allows it, it’s often wise to go a little bigger than what you need right now.

9. Don’t forget the accessories

The small touches make such a difference! Depending on which of our great garden sheds you choose, there are a range of options to choose from. These can be design features such as windows and skylights, or accessories to organise your storage space more efficiently such as shelves and hooks.

 

this is not a cheap garden shed

Choosing the right garden storage shed

Sooner or later every home needs extra storage space. Garden storage sheds can provide safe, secure storage and are very affordable. Find out why quality is important.

Storage space is at a premium in any home, and that applies to outdoors as well as in. If you’re searching for someplace to store anything from lawn clippers to a ride on mower, a handy garden shed may be just what you need.

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Don’t Be Tempted By Low Cost

When it comes to garden sheds its fair to say there is a huge number of sheds on the market. Trying to compare garden storage sheds from different manufacturers, in different stores and made from different materials is time consuming and confusing. You may be tempted by the low cost garden sheds available in some stores, on Trademe or the internet but we suggest you give the purchase of a new garden shed some consideration.

One of the most popular garden sheds in New Zealand is the kit set steel shed. There is almost certainly a size and style of shed to suit every storage problem. Modern steel garden sheds come in many different colours, roof designs, door configurations, and price ranges.

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Sizes To Suit All Back Yards

You’ll find shed kits in sizes ranging from as small as around 1.5 x 0.8m to 3.8 x 3.8m or maybe even larger. Smaller sheds often have only a single door and usually have a flat or sloping roof. These garden storage sheds can have limited headroom. With larger garden sheds, you get double doors and enough clear height inside to stand and move around comfortably.

Steel sheds are sold in kit form, and while they are designed to be assembled by anyone with a few basic hand tools, some designs will prove more challenging than others. The typical garden shed kit has a plastic bag full of what seems like enough screws, nuts, bolts and rivets to build 10 garden sheds.  This is one time when the Kiwi tradition of “referring to the instructions as a last resort” shouldn’t be followed. Fortunately, a few minutes spent reading the instructions at the start will make it easy work later on.

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Ready To Assemble

When you are ready to assemble your garden shed you should unpack it and check that all the parts are there and in good condition.  In the unlikely event that part of your garden shed is missing or damaged, you should be able to go back to the supplier (hopefully that’s us) for a prompt replacement part. As our garden sheds are made right here in New Zealand, there is no issue with replacement parts.

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Easy To Follow Instructions

white garden Storage Shed with blue doorWe have all been frustrated by inadequate or poorly worded instructions when assembling kitset furniture or perhaps even garden sheds you have built before.  A good garden shed should come with great instructions. 38 years of manufacturing garden sheds has allowed Garden Master to fine tune their instructions to make assembling their garden sheds as simple as possible.  You may find a cheaper garden shed, but if it takes you twice as long to erect it, was the saving really worth it?

Raised garden bed preparation tips

Once you have assembled your kitset garden bed, its time to fill it.  The following instructions will ensure you give your plants the best possible environment to grow in.  While Macrocarpa is long lasting, it does gradually deteriorate when in direct contact with soil.  For this reason some people choose to staple black polythene plastic to the sides of their garden beds, which will extend the life of it.

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Raised Garden Beds – The Perfect Growing Environment

Use an even mix of organic matter and soil to grow your vegetable crops.  This combination promotes healthy growth as it provides optimum drainage, aeration and water holding capacity. The simplest method to employ when filling raised garden beds is the “lasagne method”.

Fill the garden bed with alternating layers of organic material (Tui Organic Compost) and soil (Tui Vegetable Mix). Tui Organic Compost boosts plant establishment by improving oxygen availability to plants and increasing microbial activity.

Tui Vegetable Mix is blended with blood and bone, dolomite and sheep pellets to give vegetable crops the best start and ensure sustained growth. Add Tui Super Sheep Pellets between layers. The pellets release fast-acting and long-lasting fertilisers over time. Repeat layers finishing with Tui Vegetable Mix.

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Planting and Maintaining Your Raised Garden

Growing Mix Tui Vegetable is great for a garden bedYou can plant or sow your seeds immediately as Tui Vegetable Mix won’t burn the plants. If sowing seeds, sprinkle a layer of Tui Seed Raising Mix on the top of the garden bed. The mix provides ideal conditions for seed germination and it contains gypsum to promote strong root establishment.

Space plants in accordance with the recommendations on the seed packet or seedling tray. Dividing the garden bed into squares can make it simpler to space plants and manage crop rotation, which keeps your soil and plants healthy. Planting in the early evening will minimise transplant shock. Water soil lightly after planting.

The isolated growing environment of raised garden beds offers a low maintenance form of gardening. Garden tasks can be completed without standing on and compacting soil and the confined growing area makes it easier to protect plants against pest and disease.

The chance of weeds establishing is reduced so your vegetable crops won’t have to compete with them for space and nutrients. Further discourage weeds and add valuable nitrogen to the soil by applying a mulch such as Tui Pelletised Pea Straw. This pelletised form of pea straw is convenient, clean and easy to use, it expands 4 times in size after watering.

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Feed And Water Your Plants

Water crops deeply at the roots on a regular basis (2-3 times a week is recommended). Watering little and often will cause plants to develop shallow roots which are easily damaged in hot weather. Use a wetting agent like SaturAid to draw water directly into the soil avoiding run-off and wasted water.

As plants grow they extract nutrients from the soil which needs to be regularly replaced. Tui Eco-Fert is an organic fertiliser made from seaweed and marine plant extract. It promotes greater root and flower development increasing crop setting and plant growth, ensuring your crop reaches its full potential.

 

 

Garden Tips

5 Tips for easier gardening

Now that you have your new garden shed you may be all inspired to spend some time working in your garden. There’s always something to do but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard work. Although many gardeners enjoy the time they spend working in their gardens, there comes a point when jobs can get ahead of you and make you can feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

So here are 5 tips that I hope you will find helpful. Some of these are common sense and some may seem like more work in the short term, but they all really will make life easier for you.

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Feed the soil:

You’ve heard it said a hundred times – but do you do it? Start with good soil and you’ll wind up with great plants. Healthy plants are more resistant to disease and attract fewer pests, plus you won’t need to fertilise as much or as often. Start with a good analysis of your existing soil. You can have all the essential nutrients tested or just the pH level.

If your soil is deficient in any minerals or nutrients, amend the soil according to recommendations. Then keep regularly adding organic matter like compost. Slow release natural fertilisers can help supplement deficient nutrients, but feeding plants with synthetic fertilisers can destroy the beneficial organisms and organic matter within soil and only provide a short term fix.

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Group plants by their needs:

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Right plant for the right spot.” That’s just the beginning. Of course you’ll want to put sun lovers in the sun and ground covers where they can roam, but consider how efficient it would be if you put all your plants that love lots of water together so you could just turn on the sprinklers or drag the hose to one area and be done.

The same goes for plants that require a lot of deadheading or vegetables that need to be harvested daily or hourly, like zucchini. You can still mix in different bloom times and variations in colour, form and texture. It’s just the heavy maintenance chores that should be consolidated.

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Choose lower maintenance perennial plants:

There will always be some annuals that you have to have but make the backbone of your garden perennial flowers that can take care of themselves. Plants that look good all season and don’t need deadheading, pinching or staking are great!

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Raised garden bed

Raised garden beds & containers:

It’s much easier to control your garden if it has definite boundaries. Containers and raised garden beds provide the ultimate in control.

You control the soil, water, exposure and even limit the growth of the plants in a container.

Raised beds separate the garden from their surroundings. Ideally, lift the beds up by 6 inches or more.

You’ll have the benefits of controlling your borders and you’ll be saving your back at the same time.

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Install an irrigation system:

This is a suggestion that sounds like it’s going to cost a fortune and require a professional to install – but it won’t. There is an initial cost, although nothing like what you might fear. But unless you rely solely on rain to water your gardens, you will actually save money in the long run. Drip irrigation is far more efficient than any other type of watering. Plus it puts all the water right where your plants need it. Add an inexpensive timer and think of all the time you’ve saved yourself.