There's no doubt that trees can make a whole lot of difference to a garden and give it a comforting and mature feel. And there are plenty of trees to choose from, ranging from trees that mature to magnificent specimens like oak and ash, to conifers that grow stately or sometimes unwieldy to exotic species like palms that happily grow in the more temperate parts of Sussex, towards the coast.
Like everything else in the garden, it's important to plan ahead - and even more so when you're planting trees that could be around for a very long time. Take into account how close to the house you're planting and whether the tree has intrusive roots, like a willow or more contained ball-like roots, which may not cause so much damage but might mean the tree is less stable in a windy situation.
Landscaping a garden has a lot of elements and trees can form a wonderful backdrop, whether you're planting a solid evergreen hedge to show off a feature or choosing a sculptural tree that is a feature in itself. Select the type of tree you want and incorporate it into your garden plan before buying anything. It's easy to get carried away at the garden centre if you don't know exactly what you need.
If in doubt, consult an experienced landscape gardener for help and advice.
Who doesn't love block paving? Remember the days when state-of-the art was coloured tarmac? There's still a place for tarmac, don't get me wrong, but block paving does so much more for a property.
Block paving is so hardwearing and durable and it looks tremendous. There's an opportunity to incorpate all types of patterns, or just keep it simple. Either way it will enhance your driveway or patio and be around for many years to come.
Check out our page on block paving here
Be sure to get an expert to lay the paving, because it's easy enough to get a good finish when the job is just done, but a few years later sagging can appear if the base wasn't properly constructed. Not only should it look great when it's first laid, but your surface should continue to look that way.
Your block paving area will be easy to look after and will probably need nothing in the way of care in the first year years. After that it may take a little maintenance in the form of weed spraying once or twice a year, but if you keep that under control there's little else to do. If the surface gets dirty eventually, you can have it professionally cleaned or use a power washer. If your blocks have been laid with sand between, you may need to replace the sand by sprinkling into the cracks because the high pressure will remove everything, but you'll be rewarded with block paving that looks as good as new and resists weeds again for the next few years.
Everything in the home and garden requires some sort of maintenance or replacement, but in my opinion block paving is about as good as it gets and provides a practical and good-looking surface that is sure to enhance the value of your property.