The main purpose of a rain gutter is to protect a building’s foundation by channeling water away from its base. They also help to reduce erosion, prevent leaks in basements and crawlspaces, protect painted surfaces by reducing exposure to water, and provide a means to collect rainwater for later use. Ineffective covering can lead to expensive work to the underlying timbers and any decorative finishes, which will deteriorate rapidly in damp conditions. There are gutters and downpipes suitable for many domestic and commercial installations. Essentially these are a traditional half-round profile or the modern square section, using round and square downpipes.
At L & L we first Check if fallen leaves and twigs have blocked the gutters and outlets, which could cause water to overflow, or pond on flat roofs. When we are replacing an old gutter system, we plan to run a new downpipe to the original drain connections. for new building extensions or conservatories, we try to position new gutter outlets so that the downpipes run to an existing gully or drain. Alternatively, we install a new gully to the main drainage system or a soakaway may be built and the new connections can run to this. All measurement and material calculation can be done at ground level. To calculate the quantity of gutter required we simply measure around the relevant elevations of the building. Corners, internal or external, are catered for by using the appropriate 90° or 135° gutter angles. All gutter angles must be fixed to the fascia. Corner angles should be fixed using support brackets not more than 150mm from each end of the fittings.
The Basic Principles Of Landscape Design
Landscape design is the process of developing practical and pleasing outdoor living space.
The House is the Most Important Part of Any Garden. You can’t ignore it! It’s almost always the largest, most dominant structure in the garden. Your journey starts and ends with the house and therefore any garden plan, should always start from the building and work outwards.
Consider practical issues, such as what you and others will do on the yard. Will children be running on the grass, or will people often be walking in specific areas?
Make a list of the features that you want to have in your landscaping. Do you want a patio to lounge outside and have drinks and meals? Do you want a fountain or a bird bath? Are there plants or trees that you definitely want to have?
Unity should be one of your main goals in your design. It may be better understood and applied as consistency and repetition. Repetition creates unity by repeating alike elements like plants, plant groups, or decor throughout the landscape. Consistency creates unity in the sense that some or all of the different elements of the landscape fit together to create a whole. Unity can be achieved by the consistency of character of elements in the design. By character, I mean the height, size, texture, color schemes, etc. of different elements.
A simple way to create unity in your landscape is by creating themes. And one of the simplest ways to create themes is by using a little garden decor. Creating a theme garden is easier when it’s related to something you’re interested in or have a passion for.
If you’re into butterflies for instance, you could create a theme using plants that attract butterflies as well as using statues, ornaments, and other decor that are related to butterflies.
Unity should be expressed through at least one element in your landscape and preferably more. Using elements to express a main idea through consistent style and a specific theme is what creates harmony.
Simplicity is actually one of the principles in design and art. It’s one of the best guidelines you can follow as a beginner or do it yourselfer. Just keep things simple to begin with. You can do more later. Simplicity in planting, for instance, would be to pick two or three colors and repeat them throughout the garden or landscape. Keeping decor to a minimum and within a specific theme.
Balance in design is just as the word implies. A sense of equality. There are basically two types of balance in landscape design. Symmetrical and Asymmetrical.
Symmetrical balance is where there are more or less equally spaced matching elements of the garden design. With a garden equally divided, both sides could share all or part of the same shape, form, plant height, plant groupings, colors, bed shapes, theme, etc.
You may remember creating something like this when you were a kid in art class at school. Where you take a piece of paper, splash paint on it, fold it in half, unfold it, and then it magically creates an interesting symmetrical design. So symmetrical balance or design is somewhat of a mirror image or reflection.
Asymmetrical balance on the other hand is one of the principles of landscape design that’s a little more complex. While textures, forms, colors, etc. may remain constant to create some unity, shapes and hardscapes may be more random. This form of balance often has separate or different themes with each having an equal but different type of attraction.
Asymmetrical may be better understood as actually being unbalanced, abstract, or free form while still creating unity and balance through the repetition of some elements.
Contrast can be very interesting and this type of form can create a neat contrast. Flowing lines are pleasing to the eye but the bold contrast of a curve combined with a straight line can be very interesting.
Asymmetrical balance isn’t dependant on the shape of your garden. It can be but generally it’s not.
An example might be where one side of the garden is mostly large shade trees while the other side is predominately a lower growing flower garden or even a mix of both examples. Like I stated earlier, the landscaping can be abstract while still maintaining unity through other elements such as rocks, plants, and decor.
Contrast and harmony can also be achieved using plants. Fine foliage verses coarser foliage, round leaves verses spiked leaves as well as color compliments and contrasts.
Plant height, color, and texture may be varied from one area to the next but each area should stay consistent within its own theme.
Color adds the dimension of real life and interest to the landscape. Bright colors like reds, yellows and oranges seem to advance toward you and can actually make an object seem closer to you. Cool colors like greens, blues, and pastels seem to move away from you and can make an object seem farther from you.
Grays, blacks, and whites are considered neutral colors and are best used in the background with bright colors in the foreground. However, to increase depth in a landscape, you can use dark and coarse textured plants in the foreground and use fine textured and light colored plants in the background.
Colors can also be used to direct your attention to a specific area of the garden. A bright display among cooler colors would naturally catch the eye.
Natural transition can be applied to avoid radical or abrupt changes in your landscape design. Transition is basically gradual change. It can best be illustrated in terms of plant height or color but can also be applied to all elements in the landscape including but not limited to textures, foliage shape or size, and the size and shape of different elements. In other words, transition can be achieved by the gradual, ascending or descending, arrangement of different elements with varying textures, forms, colors, or sizes. An example of a good transition would be a stair step effect from large trees to medium trees to shrubs to bedding plants. This example is where a little knowledge of proper plant selection would come in handy.
Transition is one of the principles of landscape design that can be used to “create illusions” in the landscape. For example a transition from taller to shorter plants can give a sense of depth and distance (like in a painting), making the garden seem larger than it really is. A transition from shorter to taller plants could be used to frame a focal point to make it stand out and seem closer than it really is.
Line is of the more structural principles of landscape design. It can mostly be related to the way beds, walkways, and entryways move and flow. Straight lines are forceful and direct while curvy lines have a more natural, gentle, flowing effect.
Proportion simply refers to the size of elements in relation to each other. Of all the principles of landscape design, this one is quite obvious but still requires a little thought and planning. Most of the elements in landscape design can be intentionally planned to meet the proper proportions. For instance if you are creating a small courtyard garden, an enormous seven foot garden statue placed in the center would be way out of proportion and a little tacky to say the least. Or a small four foot waterfall and pond placed in the center of a large open yard would get lost in the expanse.
Don’t misunderstand this to mean that if you have a large yard you can’t have smaller features or garden decor. Proportion is relative and elements can be scaled to fit by creating different rooms in the garden. The goal is to create a pleasing relationship among the three dimensions of length, breadth, and depth or height.
A small water feature can be proportionate if placed in a corner or on the edge of a large area and becomes a focal point of the larger area while creating its own distinct atmosphere. An entire room, sitting area, or theme can be created around it.
Also, special consideration and study should be given to proper plant selection to avoid using plants that are out of proportion.
Repetition is directly related to unity. Its good to have a variety of elements and forms in the garden but repeating these elements gives variety expression. Unity is achieved by repeating objects or elements that are alike. Too many unrelated objects can make the garden look cluttered and unplanned. There’s a fine line here. It’s possible that too much of one element can make a garden or landscape feel uninteresting, boring and monotonous. However, unity can still be created by using several different elements repeatedly. This in turn keeps the garden interesting.
Laying Turf Lay turf in autumn when there is still sun and plenty of rain.
Prepare the area before the rolls are delivered as you don’t want them lying around for days.
Skim off the old grass.
Level any humps or hollows.
Fork the ground and rake.
Lay the turf along a straight edge.
Remember to check the label when buying a plant to see how big plant can grow too. And plant flower bed accordingly. The bed may look bare at the start but will help once plants start to grow.
When plants are young, try using plant feed. This speeds up growth.
Check to see what conditions your plant likes, shade or full sun. The labels van give you all the information you need. Preferred soil type, and lots more. If you study your garden you will see the sunny and shady areas and a simple soil testing kit can tell you what soil you have. If you are going to spend your money on plants, you may as well do it right, so they last!
Having problems with young plant climbers? Put a screw into the fence panel and tie some wire to it. I find wire better as it stays upright and does not put weight on to plant. Then wrap wire around the stem of the plant, very loosely, but this will help keep plant next to the fence.
Turf, Planting & General:
If you have never used an SDS drill before I guarantee you will be amazed at the difference in effort required to drill a hole compared to using a hammer drill and depending on how powerful the drill is you can drill much larger holes through virtually any type of masonry or concrete.
A good way to get rid of aphids/greenfly is to soak crushed garlic in warm water. Leave for about six hours or more then strain. Put the strained liquid into a spray bottle and use to spray affected plants.
To tie back large plants without damaging them, thread the string through a piece of old garden hose so that the hose is against the plant and not the string.
A piece of wood placed upright in a plastic water barrel will prevent the barrel splitting when it freezes.
To “age” new garden statues, smear with natural yoghurt. Algae will quickly cover the item making it look older.
To water a hanging basket slowly and gently. Place a handful of ice cubes in the centre of the basket overnight. The cubes will thaw slowly and water the plants.
Put broken egg shells into a watering can, fill with water and leave overnight. This will extract the nutrients making an excellent and cheap plant feed.
To clean block paving with a high power pressure washer can dislodge sand or concrete between block paving can be affected as the joints are filled with kiln dried sand which is extremely effected by pressure washing. Therefore it is highly recommended you do not use pressure washers for block paving.
My outdoor entrance step tiles are cracked. Use porcelain tiles because they are frost-resistant. Use a Bal tile adhesive.
Is there any way I can remove cement overspill from pointing, without damaging the sandstone? You need to use a suitable acid cleaner to treat the cement stains. Lithofin Cement Away can be used on sandstone. Remember to read the instructions carefully and always do a test on a hidden area of the sandstone paving.
Change your mowing pattern each time you mow. Always mowing the same way trains the grass to grow in one direction, eventually flattening it out. Mow when cool-season grasses are 3″ to 3 1/2″ high or warm-season grasses are 2″ to 2 1/2″ high. Cut off no more than 1/3 of the actual grass height each time you mow.
Grass clippings left on the lawn can generate up to 30% of your lawn’s nitrogen needs and can return previous applications of fertilizer to nourish your lawn again and again.
Infrequent and deep watering (one inch of water will soak to a depth of 4 to 6 inches) will produce the healthiest lawn.
Watering the lawn early in the morning or early evening when there is less wind and heat. One disadvantage to evening watering is that wet grass is more susceptible to diseases during cooler nighttime temperatures.
Turf : Look for thickness – not too thick, not too thin. Soil on the bottom should be 1/2 -3/4 of an inch. Look at the roots, the soil should be moist but not wet. If grass leaf is yellow or brown, don’t buy it. Make sure it’s cool, not hot or warm. If it’s warm then it’s been sitting around too long. Laying turf : Start along an edge like a curb or a patio. Butt the ends together. When you lay the second row, stagger the seams.
In southern UK, turfs are best laid in late winter/early spring when the ground has not dried out and the growing season is approaching. They can be laid later in spring through to late summer but they will need more attention to ensure that they do not dry out. Laying them in late autumn and early winter is best avoided as the grass will be dormant and the turfs can become waterlogged by winter rain. In more northern areas, the best times are early spring to mid summer.
Turfs should ideally be laid within 24 hours of delivery, any delay over 48 hours increases the risk of the grass turning yellow or the turf drying out before being laid.
When cutting railway sleepers, buy 2 new, but cheap saws. Apply candle wax to the blade, this will stop it sticking. A sleeper will still blunt a saw quickly, hence have 2.
When laying turf remember to prep the area before the rolls are delivered as you don’t want them lying around for days.
Lay the turf along a straight edge. Remember to lay them in the same direct for entire run. If you swap direct at end of garden and work your way back, you can create lines!
Using landscape fabric and bark chippings can help reduce weeds coming through in your flower beds.
When using landscape fabric, try to lay fabric and pin in place, then cut the hole for the plant, leaving a bit of room for growth.
Sturdy decking that will last can be achieved by following some important installation tips:
Ensure the area is clear and level.
Lay out the frame of decking joists remembering the long joists will be at 90 degrees to the decking boards they support.
Build the frame using screws not nails.
Fix supports or spikes into the ground with Postcrete.
Fix noggins between the decking joists at least every 50cm to stop any twisting. Larger areas of decking can be created by building frames and then joining them together.
To clean the decking, you can use a high pressure washer, or warm water with a little household cleaner, use a stiff brush to get any stubborn dirt, moss etc, out of the grooves in the decking timber, then rinse it down with clean water and let it dry out.
If you intend to paint over the decking with a preservative, you may have to sand the timber with a power sander to gain a clean stain free surface.
Ideally decking boards should always be laid in single runs i.e no joints in the middle of the decking area as this can and often will cause problems later in the life of the decking. The wood often twists at the end of each plank causing trip points.
Check your deck design against the lengths of available decking boards. This will help you avoid having too many joins in the decking boards and/or minimise the cost of materials.
If your deck is going to have hand rails or steps, make sure they are factored into the design and not added on after construction. this will ensure a more rigid and safer end result.
Maximum span between joists 500mm for residential decks.
Easiest way to fit decking lights. Cut decking boards to length but only screw them down half way along the board. Leave enough room to raise them up. Lay your lights out to make sure there is enough lead to reach the power supply. Once your happy, drill the holes to the size as per the lights packaging. Then push them in, test they are all working , then screw down the rest of the board.
Do you want to do a decking shape besides square? Well make square frames and bolt them together. This way you can create shapes and different heights. If you want a curved edge, build your decking, then using a pencil on a string to make your curve line. Following it along with a circular saw or jigsaw. Screw the fasica board on starting at one end and applying pressure to get your neat curve. Remember that thick decking may not curve lots and you may need to either soak the wood or make saw cuts in the back of it to help bend it.
Does your decking area go over any utility covers? Make sure your frame does not go over these covers and form a box around them. Cut the decking boards to the size of the box and attach them all together with a wooden battern. Attach a hinge to one end and then attach to the top of the box. Now you have an access panel.
Laying landscape fabric under the decking will stop weeds coming up through the gaps.
Never use nails to hold down decking boards, they will wobble lose.
By attaching spikes to your frame and using post crete this will prevent any movement.
Fencing that will survive for years through all weathers can be achieved by following some important installation tips:
Remove old fencing and any obstacles first as this can take some time.
Fix a string at either end of the fencing run to ensure a tidy line.
Use a hole borer if possible to ensure deep enough holes in the right place.
Use Postcrete to fix the posts into the ground as this goes solid quickly and provides a firm foundation for the fence.
Keep checking that posts and panels are level as you go.
Stand back and check that the fencing looks good to the eye.
Always use brackets and screws and never nails.
Gravel boards are great, they stop the most expensive part, the panel, from sitting on wet soil and rotting
Producing level and stable paved areas can be achieved with a few invaluable tips.
Measure out the area and draw an accurate plan of the pattern you want to achieve. Ensure a suitable sub base is installed such as compacted sub base stone and that it follows the falls (direction you want rain to flow away) that you want.
Layout some paving dry to check the dimensions and pattern is the look you are aiming for.
Lay the paving on a bed of mortar.
Use a brush in grout for a perfect finish.
The first thing you need to do before laying flags (slabs) is to prepare the ground ready for the screed, you will need to ascertain if the flags or paving will require a ‘fall’ to allow rainwater to drain away without leaving puddles.
Sub-bases for paving. This is the load-bearing layer of the pavement. Typically constructed from crushed and graded stone. Essential beneath pavements subject to vehicular traffic, it may be omitted in certain other applications.
When working against a wall, the brickwork may act as a level guide, but for open spaces, a taut string line should be used. Use a spirit level to set a line as near to level as is possible.
Mark out the area to be paved, allowing 100-300mm working room at the edges. Dig down to remove any vegetation, topsoil or loose material. Where ground is poor, it is better to dig down further and then build-up the levels using sub base stone.
Try to keep off the paving stones for the first 24hrs. After 5-7 days the patio paving should be fine for full use.
There are many designs of block paving but commonly rectangular they vary more in terms of different surface textures and colours. One of the most popular designs is a tumbled design that looks like a old fashioned cobble.
High power pressure washer, the sand or concrete between block paving can be affected as the joints are filled with kiln dried sand which is extremely effected by pressure washing. Therefore it is highly recommended you do not use pressure washers for block paving.
Circles packs are available and are a great option to adding interest. They can be used indefinitely creating a very striking and eye-catching effect. The packs work well in any sized area of paving, from a small front garden or when creating a rather unusal and different back garden terrace.
When paving against a house it is recommended that the top of the paving is a minimum of 70mm below the damp proof course. Measure out the area and draw an accurate plan of the pattern you want to achieve.
Ensure a suitable sub base is installed such as compacted sub base stone and that it follows the falls (direction you want rain to flow away) that you want.
Layout some paving dry to check the dimensions and pattern is the look you are aiming for. Lay paving on a bed of mortar.
If you paving from the rear sliding / french doors, find the middle and pave outwards. This keeps any cuts to the outside and keeps full slabs in eyes view.