Summer is fast approaching and now it’s worth thinking about how to prepare a garden for the holiday season. A swimming pool is certainly an ideal option that not everyone can afford. A self-built wooden terrace is a good alternative – you can create a recreational area with couches or an outside dining room with a table, chairs and an umbrella necessary in the strong sun.
The garden terrace is an extension of the house, space for relaxation and meetings. Its location is not easy – from the south the heat can be felt, from the north there will be too little sun, from the west – a gusty wind teases. But every terrace can be arranged so that it is a nice and quiet corner.
Above terrace on concrete slab or terrace on the ground
A terrace built on the ground can be built in several ways. It is quite popular to make a concrete slab and finish it with frost-resistant ceramic or stone tiles. However, if you want to avoid major construction work, you can instead build a wooden platform, lay clinker brick or stone slabs or cubes directly on the hardened, but also water-permeable foundation.
Above-ground concrete terrace is most often built for new homes. Its popularity is due to the fact that it can be finished in many ways, and a well-made concrete terrace is durable and does not require too much care and maintenance.
Another type of ground terrace is also interesting – terrace on the ground. It is built faster than a concrete terrace, there is almost no wet work. And if you use the right finishing material – stones, clinker pavement or concrete slabs – such a terraced terrace will last even several dozen years.
Above-ground terrace on a concrete slab – construction and finishing of the terrace surface
First you need to prepare the foundation. For this purpose, humus is removed from the surface intended for the terrace and a layer of gravel is 12 inch thick, preferably in two layers – each of them must be thoroughly compacted mechanically.
Sand or lean concrete bedding is made on the foundation. Very careful performance of these layers is important because they protect the terrace slab from cracking caused by uneven settlement or frosting in clayey soils. In addition, it will not be necessary to reinforce the terrace slab, which is made of concrete. It is usually 4 inches thick. It should be dilated, i.e. separated from the walls of the house with a gap filled with elastic material (for example, a strip of properly cut foam board).
The surface of the terrace must have a 2% slope from the wall of the house towards the outside so that it can easily drain water. It is obtained by making a fall layer not less than 2 inch thick on the terrace slab from a fast drying concrete mix. The surface level of the terrace should be chosen so that after laying the surface it is a few centimeters lower than the floor in the house. If this is not the case, it may turn out that water flows into the house during the rain.
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The traditional wooden fence works especially when we want to shield the property from eyes of neighbors or passers-by. However, wood provides the possibility of constructing not only very tight fences. At the same time it is a very decorative material, which thanks to its color and texture provides various visual effects.
Wooden fence fits stylistically to the garden in the country or Mediterranean style. It also works well in modern arrangements, because it can be shaped in various ways and combined with stone, metal and gabions. The wooden fence consists of rails or boards, of various shapes and types, which are attached to the crossbars vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Depending on how you want to cover the property, we can choose a full or openwork fence. The wooden fence can be made of boards mounted to posts embedded in the ground, vertically placed rails, narrow boards mounted on a wooden frame or ready-made elements.
Many advantages, several disadvantages
The biggest advantage of a wooden fence is its low cost, huge decorative value and versatility. We have an almost unlimited selection of shapes and colors of wood that allows you to build the most fanciful and original forms. The wood is easy to process, so you can make the entire fence yourself and make repairs yourself. Wood preservation is a fairly simple task. Well-protected and regularly preserved wood is relatively durable. In addition, wood can be renewed and changed its color many times.
The disadvantage of fences made of wood is their lower durability and the need for regular maintenance (minimum once every few years). Wood, especially poorly protected, is subject to biological corrosion under the influence of weather conditions. It falls prey to mushrooms and bark beetles, especially after long and wet winters. After a few years of use, it can crack or rot. But well maintained and cared for can last for several dozen years. The disadvantage of wood is also its flammability.
Types of wood
Wood for fence construction must be properly seasoned and protected against moisture, fungi and insects. It’s best if it is factory impregnated. Rails that are close to the soil are particularly vulnerable to moisture. Such fences must be built of the most durable wood. Less durable wood can be used for a fence supported by a foundation. Fence elements are most often built of deciduous or coniferous wood. Harder and more durable exotic wood (giant thuja, merbau, tatajuba or massaranduba) does not require impregnation and can be renewed less often.
However, it is chosen less often because of the high price. Of the national deciduous species, oak is the most durable, and of coniferous species larch. For rails and planks, less hardy but cheaper hardwood (acacia, elm or ash) or coniferous (pine or spruce) are most often chosen. Popular alder or ash wood is also less durable. Birch, linden or sycamore boards should not be used as they deteriorate quickly despite regular maintenance.
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For obvious reasons, spring is the busiest time in your garden. It is then that nature comes to life and prepares for the summer season. That is why it is particularly important to help plants during this period. The appearance of our plot in the summer will depend on spring garden works. How to care for the garden in spring? We present some tips that will guarantee your plants healthy development at its earliest stages. Although it might seem that there is still some time left to the real madness in the garden, the work done in the early spring period will have a huge impact on the appearance of the garden in the full season. It should be remembered that an impressive garden is not only planting and caring for plants, but also a series of seemingly invisible works.
1. Spring fertilization
At the turn of March and April the first fertilization should be done, which supports the growth of plants and makes them more resistant. The fertilizer should be spread around the flowers and dig the soil in the highest layer. Natural fertilizers such as compost or compound fertilizers will work best, which, thanks to properly selected proportions, do not poison plants, but guarantee their proper development.
2. General cleaning
As you can guess, garden care in the spring must be started with general (not without reason called “spring”) cleaning. Rakes and pruners should move. At the very beginning we have to clean the garden of everything that winter has brought to it. Let’s pick up the branches we have picked up, pick up rotten leaves, pine cones and fruit and fix the elements of the garden building. After these initial actions, we can get on with the real spring cleaning of the garden. Our task will be to rake the remains of plants and dig those that did not survive the winter. Despite our best efforts, it happens that frosts, wind and the weight of snow will be destructive for plants. Then we should get rid of damaged roots and dried bushes.
3. Pruning trees
One of the most important cleaning points in the spring garden is pruning plants. In order for them to grow healthily throughout the whole season, their development should be facilitated. Before we pick up the scissors and saws, we must remove the winter covers from the bushes. It’s best to do it when temperatures stabilize already in the black – most often at the end of March. Let’s choose a cloudy day so that the sun does not damage the shoots that have developed under the covers. The date of pruning plants should be selected depending on their type. The earliest – because at the end of February – we can get on the fruit trees. Make sure that as much sun reaches the crowns as possible. Thanks to this, the fruit will be more shapely and tastier. We should also remove wolves, or annual shoots growing from the trunk, which do not bear fruit. In early spring in the garden, it’s best to take care of apple, pear and plum trees. Other fruit trees can wait until summer.
4. Planting first plants
If the early spring is extremely warm and sunny, you can be tempted to plant the first plants. They must, however, be varieties resistant to low temperatures, which are not in danger of freezing, such as violets, asters or irises. Species more sensitive to thermal changes can be covered with agrotextile or planted in pots and put on the window. At every stage of garden preparation for the season, gardening equipment such as saws, pressure washers, sprayers, rotary tillers and scarifiers will also be necessary.
5. It’s time to take care of the lawn
A properly maintained lawn can be a showcase of our garden. For this to happen, proper gardening should be done in the spring. In addition to raking, which we have already mentioned, we can aerate our lawn, if the March temperature allows it. The next step will be fertilizing the grass – it’s best to do it before the expected rainfall, so that the fertilizer will be dissolved immediately. It is also important to mow the grass in places where it is apparently lacking. In winter, the lawn may have been damaged, and early spring rodent activity is also significant. It is also worth cutting the edges of the lawn with a special shovel.
When the temperatures are good for spending time outside, it’s a good idea to look after your garden, not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for relaxation. Light, undemanding work and being among green plants will allow you to calm down and de-stress. If the garden is to look beautiful in the summer, pre-spring work is even necessary so that the plants can adapt accordingly.
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