Here’s How to Choose Modern Garden Furniture to Complete Your Patio

Outdoors are trickier to furnish than indoors. And if your patio or porch is developed in lines of modern garden design, then I must say that you have a lot of work to do before you make up your mind to complete it with a specific style of furniture. No matter how you chose to bring about the final picture of your patio, all of you would look forward to having comfortable furniture to relax, entertain, dine and make the most of your patio space. And with so many options of garden furniture that range from cheap to plastic, flimsy, elegant, futuristic, etc., it becomes all the more difficult to choose the right type of furniture for a particular garden design in Essex. Read on to find out tips for selecting the right garden furniture for your outdoors.

1. Disregard the lines between the indoors and outdoors: Gone are the days when it used to be believed that home interiors should have all the posh-looking furniture around the fireplace. Today, this belief still holds true but for your outdoors, as the trend is to boost the curb appeal more than anything else, it makes sense to lay your hands on modern outdoor furniture that can be versatile and tough enough to withstand the weather conditions. But before you choose them, make sure that they suit the theme of the garden very well. There is nothing better than having a patio with attractive and comfy furniture. The best thing about such a furniture is that you can get ready for your evening pool party just by dressing it up with cushions and throwing some vibrant pillows.

2. Keep in mind your lifestyle: While planning to buy garden furniture, you should be cognizant of your lifestyle. If you are someone who loves to sprawl under the sun, then you can work out your patio with beanbags, reclining chairs, swing chairs, hanging beds, mats, mattresses or large sofas with lots of cushion and pillows. On the other hand, if you love minimalistic style, you should think about getting simple yet pleasing garden furniture, more in a lounging style. And if you are a party rocker with a pool by the side of patio or arrangements for barbecue or outdoor kitchen, then choose furniture accordingly wherein you cannot afford to miss tables.

3. Try to get creative and add an element of interest: You do not necessarily have to go with conventional style or bring home furniture off the shelf. You should consider beautifully designed porch swings, hammocks and outdoor daybeds, making your home perfect for lounging, sleeping, dining, relaxing, enjoying, outdoor parties and other activities. You can also add a water feature to your outdoors to make it a focal point.

4. You can match to the indoors furniture for a more coordinated overall look: From colors to patterns, styles, materials and lines, you can choose to mimic either one thing or everything in order to create a unified image of your home. If you will religiously follow this point, then it would be easier for you to choose the kind of furniture that would be suitable for your outdoors.

Choosing the right kind of furniture for the exteriors of your home more or less depends on the garden design, your taste and the style of your main home. With these points in mind, you can easily work out a functional and aesthetically pleasing garden.

3 Points to Consider to Achieve a Beautiful Garden Space

Landscapes are an important part of your living environment. You may choose to differ but the truth is that the spirits of your home can be lifted just by your attractively landscaped outdoors. Where on one hand a dull or inappropriate landscape can mess up with the appearance of your home, on the other hand, a pleasing and beautiful yard can boost the curb appeal of your home and make it welcoming not only for you but also for all the visitors. By having such yards, you will have another reason for enjoying your home.

Knowing that landscapes can enhance the beauty of your home and make your home complete, it becomes imperative to succeed in landscaping and gardening at your place. It is something which is easier said than done. Read on to find out three points you should keep in your mind in order to ensure that the outcome of your efforts that go in landscape gardening in Essex is nothing less than perfect.

1. Plan before you plant: Planning is really important before you take the plunge. A lot goes into bringing together a beautiful, functional and flawless yard. While planting, paving, decorating, etc. may sound easy, there is a great scope for errors to stop you from creating the garden of your dreams. It may even become hard to admit later for you upon realizing that your garden is not up to the mark that you failed to take into proper consideration a very small but important part of gardening such as plant selection.

So, to avoid that to happen with your garden, you should plan before you plant. It means you should draw a base map, analyze your homesite for vegetation, topography and climate, analyze your neighborhood, evaluate your needs, consider the shape of the lot, its dimensions, what all you want it to accommodate, location of sidewalk, driveway, garage, fountain, etc., plan outdoor “use” areas and map all these things.

2. Be consistent with landscape design principles: It is vital to keep your yard consistent with certain underlying landscape design principles. After all, you cannot afford to have a landscape with elements added in a hotchpotch way and that do not add up to create a unified picture. Such are the mistakes that landscape design principles save you from. To start with, your landscape must have unity; that is to say, its visual characteristics must have something in common. Such as, its plants should maintain uniformity; there should be a harmony between various colours and textures; paving should have a design, colour or texture pattern; etc.

Apart from unity, there should be a visual balance – symmetrical or asymmetrical – in your landscape design. And then don’t forget to accentuate certain areas or focal points. And it goes without saying that you have to take care of properly utilizing the space you have for landscaping.

3. Planting needs to be done carefully: You cannot go easy on planting, especially when you know you can muddle up the landscape if you select plants without giving an inkling of thought on their site conditions, weather, suitability for your landscape design and other factors to name a few. To understand this point better, consider this: there would be a little scope for adjusting a medicinal plant in your landscape if you want to work out a super elegant garden. So, plants needs to be selected carefully. Take into consideration soil, topography, design and theme of your landscape for the purpose. Even if you are planning to add a splash of colours to your garden, you should not mindlessly pick all the vivid flowering plants without thinking about the plan you have to stick to.

Professional landscape gardeners in Essex keep these three points in their minds; that’s how they come up with impressive yards that get the approvals from aesthetes and specialists from all over the world. If you, too, want to bring about a fine garden with no mistake, then bear these aforementioned points in your mind all along.

Haskett at Hampton Court Flower Show

With the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show fast approaching, the Haskett team are working around the clock to finish off the final details for their debut trade stand at this year’s show.

The show takes place from Tuesday 7th July to Sunday 12th in the beautiful surroundings of Hampton Court Palace. Visit the website for Hampton Court Palace.

As well as displaying details of our landscaping and countryside services, we will be exhibiting a new range of handmade oak planters that will be for sale at the show and from our online shop (soon to go live!). Our uniquely HASKETT range will also be on display and will include hand crafted obelisks, arches and a variety of insects which look at home within any luscious planting scheme or even hovering above a pond. There will also be a selection of stone pots and handmade oak furniture.

HASKETT can be visited at stand A14

For information on prices and to book tickets visit the RHS website

Hedge Planting Season is Nearly Over!

Before the winter is over, why not think about planting a hedge to create an attractive boundary or division in your garden, not only are they useful for keeping children and pets in, they can be natures answer to barbed wire and can help keep intruders out. They are environmentally friendly and can provide shelter and food for wildlife. Hedges offer beauty and interest in all seasons and soften the lines of buildings and hard landscaping making properties look more in keeping with their gardens.

Hedges can also help to reduce the impact of strong winds by filtering them, solid walls and fences can cause turbulence

Boundary Hedges
There are many hedge species suitable for boundary hedging.
Laurel, Privet, Beech, Hornbeam and Thuja. All of these hedges are either leaf retaining or evergreen therefore providing year round privacy.

Security Hedges
Boundary hedges can also perform a similar task to a security hedge however hedging plants with thorns will always be the most effective deterrent. Pyracantha, Berberis Darwinii and Berberis Stenophylla are all suitable choices. Hollies will also make an excellent prickly hedge although rather more slowly. Suitable deciduous hedging species include Quickthorn, Blackthorn and most Roses. A mixture of plants can be equally effective, Mixed Native hedges are excellent for security as are simpler mixes such as Hornbeam and Quickthorn which combined are prickly and leaf retaining for winter.

Hedges for Screening
Perhaps you need to screen an ugly building, or create privacy in an overlooked garden. Maybe you live near a busy road and want to filter the noise and pollution?
In certain situations it could be best to plant a combination of hedge and trees, keeping the hedge at a manageable height allowing the trees to act as the high level screening. If you need to screen noise and pollution then the hedge needs to be deep and dense. If space allows the best species are Leylandii or Laurel ideally planted in a double row. Other suitable species include Thuja, Portuguese Laurel, Yew, Evergreen Oak and Hornbeam.
Stilt hedges can also provide high level screening and as the name suggests the hedge is ‘lifted’ clear of the ground, growing on clear stems of between 1 and two metres with a further 1-2 metres of hedge. Stilt hedging offers screening at high level without the sense of ‘imprisonment’ that a wall of such a height would bring.

Low level hedging and path edgings
Small hedges and path edgings add a well designed touch to paths, borders and kitchen gardens with obscuring views to other parts of the garden. Smaller hedging varieties include common box which can be clipped regularly to create crisp defined edging. Other more informal low level hedges, often include flowering shrubs such as Lavender, Rosemary, Perovskia, Spirea Anthony Waterer, Cotton Lavender and Potentillas.

Mixed Native Hedges
Mixed hedgerows are a valuable source of food for wildlife and provide essential shelter for birds and insects.
Native hedging is usually supplied as a bare root plant, available from November through to the end of March. With a carefully considered selection then you can achieve interest through the seasons from spring blossom to summer fruits, autumn colour to winter structure. If you aim to have at least 70% Hawthorn and Blackthorn then the remainder can be made up of a wonderful selection of as many different native hedging species as possible for maximum wild life appeal.

There are even more possibilities with hedges, perhaps you are looking for a flowering hedge, a hedge to create a backdrop to a herbaceous border or to frame a vista within your garden? If you need any help or advice in selecting the best hedge for your garden call us on 01277 899325 or email

Published in Our Views by zeal

Has spring finally sprung?

What a wonderful sight when snowdrops appear through frozen ground marking the first glimmer of hope that spring is on its way.

The best time to plant snowdrops is in the spring. Bulbs are best planted in-the-green after they have finished flowering and before the leaves have died down. The reason for this is that snowdrops stand a better chance of establishing themselves rather than if planted dry and rootless in the autumn.

Bluebells are another flowering bulb that benefit from being planted this way too. Make sure that the bulbs are sourced from a reputable supplier and look for native bulbs grown from cultivated stock.

Bulbs available ‘in-the-green’ Galanthus nivalis (Single Snowdrop). This is the most popular snowdrop variety and the most common.

Best planted in swathes rather than blocks as this achieves a more natural look.

Galanthus nivalis flore pleno (Double Snowdrop) A double flowering version of the single snowdrop. Double snowdrops are just as hardy and can be treated in exactly the same way as single snowdrops.

Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite) deep golden yellow flowers appear early in the year and over time will carpet the ground. Suited to woodland, grass and borders .

Hyacinthoides non scripta (English Bluebells) These are the true English Bluebells, recognizable by their lovely, deep violet-blue flowers that hang to one side. They have a wonderful scent and when planted in a woodland setting also create a beautiful blue haze.

Hosepipe ban – is there an alternative watering system for your garden?

It has been well documented that the UK has been experiencing lower than average rainfall, leading to drought conditions in some areas. The South East was officially declared in drought by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, following a summit this week with water companies, horticultural trade bodies and growers.

The effect this will have on gardens throughout this region will likely be long reaching, with a hosepipe ban expected to come into force as early as April 5th. The use of hosepipes and sprinklers – including lawn sprinklers and micro sprinklers – for watering gardens will be prohibited. There are some exceptions to this, if you have a bore hole, a rainwater harvesting system or if you are a registered disabled, blue badge holder, then some suppliers (although not all) will allow the use of sprinklers. Please make sure you check with your water provider for details.

In regions of drought where a hosepipe ban will be imposed, there are really two choices for watering your garden – a drip irrigation system or carrying heavy watering cans around every day.
Several of the water companies have now recognised that it is more efficient to use a drip watering system than even hand watering. Most of the drought affected areas will now be permitted to use a drip irrigation system provided they are fitted with a pressure reducer and can be controlled with a timer.

What is a drip irrigation system?

It is a low pressure, low volume water delivery method, designed to deliver a small amount of water – in some cases just a drip – direct to the roots of the plant. It keeps the plants roots moist without saturation. A drip irrigation system is made from flexible plastic pipe with valve controlled perforations positioned around the base of the plants. The pipe can easily be disguised with a layer of mulch which will also provide an additional barrier to help prevent water loss through evaporation.

The benefits of drip irrigation

  • There is up to a 50% reduction in water usage when it is correctly installed and maintained
  • It connects directly to the hose bib so no need to cut or disrupt water pipes
  • It targets the exact area where the water is needed (plant roots not weeds) and at the exact time (using a timer)
  • Water is delivered without the roots becoming too wet, reducing the promotion of fungal diseases
  • It can be used in almost any environment : flower beds, raised beds, pots, vegetable rows, balconies etc
  • improves water holding capacity in sandy soils

If you do not already have an irrigation system, then a drip system can be easily installed. If you do already have a sprinkler or other irrigation system, then it can be converted temporarily to get your garden through this period until the ban is lifted. Please note that a drip irrigation system is not able to cover lawns.

At Haskett we are able to supply and install a drip irrigation system in your garden to ensure that your investment in plants, shrubs and trees will be secured. Please contact us and we will be very happy to discuss watering solutions for your garden.

Autumn is upon us

With autumn almost upon us, the days are getting shorter and the list of garden jobs just seems to be getting longer. Following one of the wettest summers on record, the last few weeks of warmer weather have encouraged our gardens to put on a last minute flourish. It seems the confusion of seasons is encouraging an autumn growth spurt!

Leaves have begun to fall, but the grass hasn’t slowed its growth just yet. It is important to get the leaves cleared off to allow the grass to take advantage of these extra weeks of growth before the final cut of the year.

Perennials can be cut back once they have finished flowering. Dead and decaying material can be removed, leaving flower heads and seed pods to provide winter interest as well as food and habitat for wildlife.

Hedges can be cut back at this time of year as all nesting birds should have flown, although it may be a good idea where possible to leave areas of berries to provide food for the birds in the coming months. This is also the time to assess hedgerows for suitable stretches for laying. This will provide the hedge with many more years growth without compromising the integrity of a boundary.

Autumn is also the ideal time to have a good look around the garden to assess paths and paving. Loose or lifted slabs can become a trip hazard and dips will fill with rain and dirt over the winter months, causing unsightly and slippery surfaces. If repairs or replacements are needed, autumn is actually one of the best times to contact a local, accredited landscaper. As the weather draws in, you will probably not be spending so much time in the garden, so why not have the professionals in your garden instead? When spring comes the garden will then be ready to be enjoyed with new beds and borders ready for planting.

Wet Weather and Your Garden

With the wettest winter on record, if our gardens are not flooded, they have certainly had more than their fair share of water. Some of our plants will undoubtably suffer from the deluge, however there are ways to manage and minimise any water damage within our gardens, and there may also be some benefits to be had in the long term.

Problems of waterlogged Soil

When soil is waterlogged, plants will literally drown. The water fills all the air spaces between the soil particles and this means that oxygen can not reach the roots. As a result this causes the soil to stagnate and root growth is prevented.

How to know if your garden is waterlogged

Other than the fact it may be undewater … the leaves on plants may turn yellow, wither and drop off. The plant may also wilt, giving the impression that it has insufficient water. The surface of the soil may look soaking wet and there may be standing water upon it. Plant roots often turn black and begin to rot, causing stunted growth or the plants may fail to sprout or shoots die off.

Compaction of Top Soil

Once the soil becomes waterlogged, any traffic, either by foot or vehicle will cause the soil to become compacted and drainage will be significantly reduced. Once the soil becomes compacted, drainage is affected and puddles easily form on the surface. Lawns will quickly become boggy and the soil will retain too much water, easily turning to mud and creating ‘dead’ patches as plants fail.

Disease as a result of excess water

Waterlogging and compaction can create ideal conditions for diseases such as phytopthora and other fungal attacks. For example, box is prone to box blight in poorly-drained sites.

How to reduce the impact of waterlogged soil

Avoid walking on wet soil as this will speed up compaction. If potted plants have become waterlogged, they should be dujg up and any damaged parts of the roots removed, then replanted in fresh, free-draining compost. dead or dying shoots should be removed. Drainage on lawns can be improved by spiking and adding a lime free san

Ways to help prevent waterlogging

When planting, a good covering of mulch can be added over and around the root area. Plants should be regularly fed tha clay soil, roughout the growing season the promote new root growth.
All plants should be regularly watered in the dry seasons as plants are more likely to suffer from drought stress after extended periods of waterlogging.

Soil structure and drainage can be improved, particularly in a clay soil, by adding a good amount of organic matter before planting. The same can be added to a free draining soil to add nutrients and help add bulk to the soil.

Raised beds filled with a free draining topsoil can be a good solution to waterlogging, however if planting in the ground waterlogging can be reduced by forking the sides of the hole to allow the water an escape.Beds and pots can have gravel or pottery added below the soil and then raised above the ground, allowing space for water to drain away.

There are several more extreme methods of removing excess water from the garden including construction of a soak away or specific drainage system. This could be simply a ditch filled with gravel or perhaps a more sophisticated pipe drainage system. For this you may want a qualified and recommended garden company to assist with levels etc.

How to make a feature of your ‘Water’ garden

In some circumstances it may be worth considering what plants are in the garden and what may be better suited to the environment. If plants consistently fail or are poor to perform due to waterlogged soil or flooding, it may be worth looking at replacing them with trees and plants that are better suited to wet soil. Trees and shrubs that do well in moist conditions include salix, cornus, betula, sambucus, liquidambar, ash and amelanchier. You could plant irises, carex, gunnera, primulas, hostas, rheum and rodgersia and create a bog garden. This will also help to promote wildlife within your garden.If you are planning to lay a lawn, ensure the ground is not compacted and dig in plenty of organic matter, grit and sand before laying turf or sowing seeds.

In all cases or if you are unsure about the conditions for any plants within your garden, or are looking for a solution to drainage or planting areas, it is always worth asking the experts

Spring Time In Your Garden

The rains have stopped, the clocks have sprung forwards and the sun is breaking through. Finally, spring is in the air!

There is plenty to be done in the garden in the month of April.

As lots of plants start to flower and flourish, the weeds will also start to put on new growth and begin to reappear in beds and pots. As the growth can be rapid with the warmer weather, it is important to pay attention to the weeds and remove them while they are small and before they begin to flower and produce more seeds. Adding a 5cm – 7.5cm layer of mulch of well rotted manure around shrubs will help to inhibit the growth of the weeds as well as helping the soil to retain moisture during the summer months. Be careful of placing the mulch against the stems of the plants as this may encourage them to rot.

Slow release fertiliser can be lightly forked into the surface of the soil. This will give your plants a boost as they enter the growing season.

April is a good time to start planting summer flowering bulbs such as Gladiolus and Lilies. These can be planted onto pots, beds or borders.

Any plants which need supporting should have their supports placed now. This will allow them to put on new growth through the support, as it can be very difficult to add a support once the plant is bigger and there is a risk of damaging the plant. Check the ties on climbing and rambling roses. The new shoots should be tied onto the supports and also check existing ties are secure but not too tight that they may damage the plant.

Spring is the time to get the garden in order for the busy growing season ahead. Check your tools and sharpen, repair or replace them where necessary. Take a look at your compost heap and turn it, allowing oxygen to enter the layers. This will help speed up the decomposition process and produce a better compost more quickly.

Looking at the vegetable patch, there are plenty of vegetables that can be planted out this month:

Leafy vegetables:




All of these can be grown from seed or seedlings. At harvest time cut the plants 2-3inches from the ground and the plants will yield several crops.

Root vegetables:

carrots – best planted from seed into moist ground to encourage germination

onions – best planted from ‘sets’ – small dry onions bought from a nursery/garden centre

potatoes – best grown from ‘seed potatoes’ – bought from a nursery/garden centre


grown from seed, most varieties will require a support or trellis to grow up. Garden peas should be harvested once the peas are formed within the pods but before the peas are fully mature.

Local Sculptor Creates Stunning New Garden Art

Local sculptor, Graham Thrussell has revealed one of his latest pieces of work, The Freedom Faery. Haskett are delighted to share these pictures with you, having had the pleasure of installing previous works of art by Graham into Client’s gardens.

The Freedom Faery

By Graham Thrussell Artist Blacksmith.

This Sculpture represents ones desire to be free.

Although she may be bound to stay rooted and held back by the ivy that entwines her she has found a way to free her spirit.

Her dress represents the great oak of the forest their roots running deep into Mother Earth but their branches like her arms are free to reach out and touch life.

Touch her hands and free your self from what ever may be holding you back from flying high.

“The moment you can visualise being free from the things that hold you back you have indeed begun to set yourself free.”

A hand forged steel frame wrapped in hammered steel each piece welded to form the figure you see before you.

Graham is able to undertake commissions for metal garden sculptures, he has incredible skill in bringing his work to life, with the finest attention to detail. If you can dream it, Graham can make it! Graham can be contacted via Haskett – or direct to Graham –

Solar Farm Landscaping

Solar farms are cropping up more and more on the landscape in the UK, they are a great option for some farmers, using their fields to house the solar modules which harness the sun’s energy. The modules convert the sunlight to electrical energy which can then be fed directly into the electricity grid. It is hoped that within the next 7 years the UK will get approximately 15% of its energy from green/renewable sources. There are 7 new sites proposed for rural Essex which, if all go ahead, will have approximately 315,000 panels which in turn will provide renewable electricity to around 20,000 homes.

A rigorous planning procedure is in place to judge if the site is suitable before approval can be granted. The suitability of the site, potential impact on the locality and relevant renewable energy targets are some of the factors considered. The site can usually be anything from 1 to 100 acres. 25 acres should power approximately 1515 homes and save in the region of 2150 tonnes of CO2.*
Not only does a solar farm present a stable source of income for landowners, it is a reversible method of harnessing renewable energy and can provide a habitat for birds and insects, encouraging biodiversity which otherwise would not be present. The options available to the site would be to sow a wildflower crop around the modules or a simple grass crop.

At Haskett we have been involved in the landscaping of several solar farms. The work we do is essentially to meet planning requirements and to enhance the site. In order to meet these requirements we would include the following:

  • application of herbicide to remove unwanted plants/weeds
  • cultivation of the areas around the modules
  • sowing with wildflower mixes or amenity grass
  • hedge and tree planting

We also undertake maintenance of solar farm sites which includes (but is not limited to):

  • mowing
  • herbicide application
  • hedge cutting

With correct management a solar farm can provide not only renewable energy for thousands of homes, but also a wonderful habitat encouraging biodiversity of flora and fauna of the natural world.

<p.*based on average annual consumption figures for a house of 3300kWh of electricity (source Dept of Energy and Climate Change, Ofgem)

Haskett join the Association of Professional Landscapers and Horticultural Trades Association

Haskett are delighted to announce that we have been accepted into the Association of Professional Landscapers and the Horticultural Trades Association

To apply for accreditation we had to supply evidence of our experience within the landscaping industry as well as provide at least six satisfactory customer references of completed work within the past two years. Our customers were all contacted and asked to complete a questionnaire ensuring satisfaction that our work was of sufficient standard and that they were happy with the service that Haskett provided. The APL inspection took place visiting two sites, one job in progress and another landscaping project that was recently finished. The inspector seemed suitably impressed with what we were doing and even suggested entering the APL Awards! So watch this space as we hope to land one of the coveted prizes for outstanding landscaping work in the coming future!

As well as representing the UK’s best individual landscape gardeners professionals and their companies, Haskett also receive accreditation into the Governments TrustMark scheme, this ensures that we are a reputable and trustworthy organisation and that we adhere to a strict code of practice that includes insurance, good health and safety practices and customer care.