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Tips for the perfect summer garden

Top tips for keeping your outdoor space under control and looking good this summer.

Summer gardens are an important component of leisure time for many of us. Alongside the beautiful weather, it’s also a bountiful season for backyard flora. However, as Tristan Eastaugh, Product Manager at Cyclone explains, the hotter weather can also be tough on our plants. “It’s important to take care of your garden in the summer months, and with some careful planning and the right tools, you can also promote healthy growth throughout the season.” 

Here are her top 5 tips for a sizzling summer garden:

  1. Mulch mulch mulch!

A fresh layer of mulch helps to conserve moisture and suppress weeds. In fact, mulch can reduce evaporation from the soil surface by as much as 70 per cent when applied correctly, so it’s a vital ingredient in obtaining a water-wise garden. It can also help to prevent soil erosion and even-out temperature variations.

First, it’s important to give the area a good weed and soak, then spread a 5cm layer of mulch evenly over the soil. Organic mulches such as straw and bark break down over time, helping to nourish and improve the soil. Just avoid placing them too close to the stems of plants to avoid rotting.

  1. Fruitful planning

Deciduous trees that bear summer fruit benefit from a good prune as soon as the crop is harvested. Plants that bear new wood this season, such as peaches and nectarines, are also good candidates for a summer prune. Summer cuts heal quicker, so there’s less chance of disease entering the plant. It also helps promote a bumper crop for the following season, as it gives the plant plenty of time to develop lots of new fruit-producing growth instead.

Start by removing any dead, damaged or diseased limbs. Then tackle any structural flaws like crossing or rubbing limbs and branches that grow inwards. Finally, cut back one third to one half of all growth made since spring. 

  1. Prolong perennial colour

Similarly, pruning faded and dead flowers reaps great benefits at this time of year. Summer is the height of perennial colour, with vibrant species like Rudbeckias, Salvias, Phlox and Blanket in bloom. This action of ‘dead-heading’ not only keeps plants looking tidy, it can prolong the flowering of some perennials and encourage another flush of flowers.

  1. Ruffle up the roses

Most of us think of rose pruning as a winter job, but if you want to get the best out of repeat-flowering varieties, such as Autumn Damask or Gypsy Boy roses, then summer pruning is a must. After each flush of flowers simply prune off a third of the growth in a rounded shape using a pair of straight hedge shears. Yes hedge shears! It’s that easy. The straight blades are perfect precise pruning, while the stem cutter (known as a notched blade) on the shear is ideal for managing larger stems with ease. You’ll be rewarded with another flourish of blooms six to eight weeks later. A great idea is to time your pruning ready for them to re-flower for a special event or garden party.

  1. Improve your soil

Warmer weather is great for giving your compost heap an extra boost. It’s also an environmentally friendly way to recycle the additional kitchen and garden waste we get around the festive season.

Adding compost to your garden beds helps nourish and enrich the soil by encouraging healthy microbial activity, as well as improve its structure, drainage and moisture holding ability. Add a good balance of ‘green’ matter, like vegetable peelings and lawn clippings, and ‘brown’ matter like dry leaves, shredded newspaper and straw to the compost mix.

For the best quality compost turn your heap every three to four days – air is important to the decomposition process and turning re-heats the pile to keep it in an aerobic state, as well as eliminate odours.

Bathroom renovations: Get that on-trend industrial look

Think minimalism, matte black, metals and mesh with a pop of colour. The industrial look that has crept into bathroom renovations will remain a strong trend in 2019.

Andy Grigor, Head of Design & Innovation at Methven, says that the trend towards softer and more tactile versions of industrial materials in new and existing bathroom renovations will be popular in residential homes in 2019.

“Industrial aesthetics have made their way into the bathroom from other areas of the house in a fun way, with simple shapes and matte surfaces, taking centre stage,” says Australia by Design‘s Grigor.

Here are Grigor’s top five design elements to inspire your own bathroom renovations and get that on-trend industrial look in 2019:

Truth to materials

Concrete whether it’s porous and unrefined or smooth and sanded, is growing in popularity with a strong nod to the use of urban industrial materials.

“We are seeing with increasing popularity concrete being used for floors and walls and even whole basins,” says Grigor. “It’s also a great material for built-in shelving and hollowed out niches to hold towels and other accessories.”  

New nature bathroom renovations

Natural materials such as wood, work to balance and create softness, and perfectly complement the industrial theme.

“The use of reclaimed wood, gives a great rustic and worn in charm while creating warmth and softness in juxtaposition with the colder industrial materials such as metal and concrete.”

“The wood being used is also becoming rougher and less refined celebrating its imperfections, so reclaimed wood is a great choice and a way to incorporate recycled materials into your bathroom and house.”

Wood can also be incorporated as a panel wall or with the use of storage boxes like crates and other accessories such as stools.

Black is here to stay

“While bathroom design is calling on industrial influences, there is a softer approach to the concept in bathrooms with the use of more modern materials such as matte black finishes,” says Grigor.

“Matte black tapware is very popular due to its ability to pair so well with other current design and style trends. For example, the use of natural materials like timber and stone in bathrooms has also been growing, and black tapware and accessories complement these beautifully.

Putting metals to work

With reference to the urban city and industrial workspaces, the use of metals remains strong in bathrooms, with warmer tones such as copper, gold and bronze being utilised as eye-catching features.

“These metals can be used through tapware to even hairdryer holders, and suggest a touch of luxury against the industrial theme,” says Grigor.

“For bathroom accessories you can use antique-like cake moulds as containers or metal tins combined with mesh and raw string to get that rough, yet repurposed look.”

Stainless steel rather than chrome is also becoming a popular choice. 

Pops of colour

Another trend in bathroom renovations that’s continuing into 2019 is the mid-century Miami look, with a focus on soft colours and dusty pastels such as mint and powder pink.

“Classic 1950s patterns are also popular on tiles and textiles, as well as mid-century curves making a comeback,” says Grigor. “Pale wood can also beautifully complement the mid-century Miami colours.”

Read more: A growing bathroom trend to also look out for in 2019 is green walls.

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