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Celebrating Garden Wildlife Week in the UK: Some advice from our local plant expert at City & Bloom Manchester 

garden wildlife week birds

Celebrating Garden Wildlife Week in the UK:

Some advice from our local plant expert at City & Bloom Manchester

garden wildlife week

It’s Garden Wildlife Week in the UK, a time to celebrate and appreciate the incredible biodiversity that can thrive in our very own backyards. From chirping birds and fluttering butterflies to buzzing bees and curious hedgehogs, our gardens have the potential to become vibrant havens for wildlife.  

We spoke with Mark Thorley from City & Bloom, a vibrant initiative in Manchester that celebrates the beauty of urban gardening and brings the community together through the transformative power of plants; they gave us advice and some tips on how we can encourage more wildlife in our own personal outdoor spaces. 

Join us as we embark on an exciting journey to explore the wonders of garden wildlife and learn how we can make a positive impact on the natural world around us. 

1) How can I create a wildlife-friendly habitat in my garden using plants?

To create a wildlife-friendly habitat in your UK garden, focus on planting native species that are well-suited to the local climate and soil conditions. Native plants provide food sources and shelter for UK wildlife. Incorporate a mix of trees, such as oak, birch, and rowan, which offer nesting spots and food for birds.

Plant native wildflowers like foxgloves, primroses, and meadow cranesbill to attract pollinators and provide nectar sources. Include shrubs like hawthorn, blackthorn, and dogwood, which offer berries and nesting sites.  

garden wildlife week 2
garden wildlife week 3

2) Are there any plants that are particularly beneficial for pollinators?

Absolutely! Many plants in the UK are highly beneficial for pollinators. Some examples include native wildflowers like foxgloves, bluebells, cornflowers, and red campion. Herbs such as lavender, thyme, rosemary, and borage are also attractive to pollinators.

Planting a diverse range of flowering plants that bloom throughout the seasons will ensure a continuous food source for pollinators in your garden. 

3) How to attract birds to my garden?

The melodious tunes and vibrant colours of garden birds can bring joy to any outdoor space. During Garden Wildlife Week, take a moment to: 

  • Set up bird feeders and provide a variety of seeds to attract a diverse range of bird species. 
  • Provide fresh water in a birdbath or shallow dish. 
  • Create nesting spots by installing bird boxes or leaving natural nooks and crannies for birds to make their homes. 
  • Enhance the garden with native trees and shrubs that offer both food and shelter for birds. 

4) What plants attract butterflies to the garden?

Step into a world of enchantment and encourage the captivating beauty of garden butterflies. Here’s how you can welcome them into your garden: 

  • Plant a colourful array of nectar-rich flowers like lavender, buddleia, and marigolds to entice butterflies. 
  • Provide specific host plants, such as milkweed for monarch butterflies, where they can lay their eggs and nurture their caterpillars. 
  • You could also create sunny resting spots by incorporating flat stones or basking areas where butterflies can soak up the warmth. 

5) Which flowers attract bees?

Celebrate the essential role of bees as pollinators and guardians of our food system. Join the buzz by: 

  • Cultivate a bee-friendly garden with a diverse selection of flowering plants, including sunflowers, asters, salvias, and bee balm. 
  • Native wildflowers like poppies, foxgloves, and native grasses.  
  • Flowers that bloom in different seasons to provide a continuous food source for bees. 

Avoid using harmful pesticides and opt for organic gardening practices to safeguard bees and their habitats. You can also provide a shallow water source, like a shallow dish with pebbles, to offer bees a place to drink and cool down. 

garden wildlife week 4
garden wildlife week 5

6) How to make a hedgehog-friendly garden?

Hedgehogs, with their prickly charm, are valuable allies in the garden, helping control pests and promoting a healthy ecosystem. Here’s how you can create a hedgehog-friendly haven: 

  • Leave patches of your garden wild and untidy, providing hedgehogs with shelter and safe spaces to hibernate. 
  • Avoid using slug pellets and other toxic chemicals that can harm hedgehogs and their food sources. 
  • Install hedgehog highways by creating small openings in fences or adding low-level gaps to allow hedgehogs to freely roam between gardens. 

7) What are some low-maintenance plant options that still attract wildlife to the garden?

If you prefer low-maintenance plant options that attract wildlife, consider native species that thrive in the UK with minimal care.

Native grasses like tufted hairgrass and Yorkshire fog provide habitat for insects and small mammals. Perennial flowers like purple coneflower, yarrow, and oxeye daisy are not only low maintenance but also attract bees and butterflies. Shrubs such as hazel, holly, and guelder rose provide berries and shelter for birds while requiring minimal attention. 

8) What are some native plants for wildlife gardening?

Enhance your garden’s biodiversity by embracing wildlife-friendly gardening practices: 

  • Incorporate native plants that provide food, shelter, and nectar for a wide range of wildlife. Choose from native wildflowers, grasses, and trees like poppies, foxgloves, native grasses, and oak trees. 

You could also include: 

  • Native wildflowers like poppies, black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers, and goldenrod. 
  • Native grasses such as switchgrass and little bluestem, which provide shelter for small mammals, birds, and insects. 
  • Native trees and shrubs like oak, birch, dogwood, and elderberry, which offer food sources, nesting sites, and protection for wildlife. 

Make sure to also create a water feature, such as a small pond or birdbath, to attract various species and provide a refreshing oasis. We recommend limiting the use of chemicals and pesticides to protect the delicate balance of your garden’s ecosystem. 

garden wildlife week 6
garden wildlife week 7

Mark also mentioned No Mow May to us, but what is No Mow May? 

No Mow May is an exciting movement that encourages homeowners and gardeners to let their lawns grow freely without mowing them during the entire month of May. By abstaining from mowing, we give nature a chance to thrive as wildflowers, native grasses, and other plants bloom and provide essential habitats for pollinators like bees and butterflies. This initiative not only creates stunning visual displays but also contributes to the preservation of biodiversity and supports the health of our ecosystems. 

To learn more from Mark, you can find them or one of their helpful colleagues in the store, situated on the 3rd floor in Afflecks Palace. You can also head over to our Instagram or Facebook page to see what products they can recommend, and other neat tips to create a thriving garden for wildlife.  

As Garden Wildlife Week unfolds, let’s celebrate the magic and diversity of the natural world in our very own gardens. By making small changes and embracing wildlife-friendly practices, we can create thriving habitats for birds, butterflies, bees, and hedgehogs. Remember, creating a garden that welcomes and supports wildlife requires a combination of food sources, water, shelter, and the right plants. 

Let this week serve as a reminder that our gardens hold the power to support and preserve the wonders of wildlife. Together, let’s embark on a journey to protect and cherish the rich tapestry of British garden wildlife.  

Happy Garden Wildlife Week! 

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Top Gardening Tips for a Full Bloom this Summer!

gardening tips for a summer bloom

Top Gardening Tips for a Full Bloom this Summer!

picking the right plants

Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy your garden, with the sun shining and the birds chirping. But how do you ensure that your garden is in full bloom during the summer months? Here are some tips and seasonal plants that will help your garden flourish this summer. 

1. Choose the right plants for your garden

The first step to a full bloom this summer is to choose the right plants for your garden. Consider the type of soil you have, the amount of sunlight your garden gets, and the amount of water your plants will need. Some popular summer plants include sunflowers, petunias, marigolds, and zinnias. 

2. Start early!

Start planting your summer plants early to give them time to establish themselves before the heat of summer arrives. Consider planting your seeds indoors or in a greenhouse a few weeks before the last frost, and then transplant them outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

3. Water your plants regularly

Water plants regularly to keep them healthy and hydrated during the hot summer months. It’s best to water your plants in the early morning or late afternoon to prevent water evaporation during the hottest part of the day. 

water regularly
deadheading flowers

4. Fertilise your plants

Fertilise your plants with a balanced fertiliser to give them the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Consider using a slow-release fertiliser that will gradually release nutrients over time. 

5. Deadhead old blooms regularly

Deadhead your plants regularly by removing spent blooms to encourage new growth and more flowers. This will also prevent your plants from going to seed too quickly, which can cause them to stop producing new flowers. 

6. Add some shade

If your garden gets a lot of direct sunlight, consider adding some shade to help your plants stay cool and hydrated. You can do this by planting taller plants to provide shade, or by using a shade cloth. 

7. Consider container gardening

If you don’t have a lot of space for a full garden, consider container gardening. You can plant your summer plants in containers and move them around your patio or balcony to get the right amount of sunlight. 

container gardening
sunflowers

Now, let’s look at some seasonal plants that will help your garden bloom this summer:

8. Sunflowers

Sunflowers are a popular summer plant that are easy to grow and come in a variety of colours and sizes. They love full sun and well-draining soil and can grow up to 12 feet tall. 

They can be planted directly in the ground in late spring, after the last frost, or they can be started indoors about 4-6 weeks before the last frost date and transplanted outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

9. Petunias

Petunias are another popular summer plant that come in a range of colours, from bright pink to deep purple. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil and can be planted in containers or in the ground. 

Petunias can be planted outdoors after the last frost, which is usually around late May or early June. They can also be started indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost and transplanted outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

petunias
marigolds

10. Marigolds

Marigolds are a classic summer plant that are easy to grow and come in a range of colours, from yellow to orange to red. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil and can be planted in containers or in the ground. 

Marigolds can be planted outdoors after the last frost, which is usually around late May or early June. They can also be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost and transplanted outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

11. Zinnias

Zinnias are a colourful and long-lasting summer plant that come in a variety of sizes and colours. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil and can be planted in containers or in the ground. 

They can be planted outdoors after the last frost, which is usually around late May or early June, depending on whereabouts in the UK you are! They can also be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost and transplanted outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

zinnias
dahlias

12. Dahlias

Dahlias are a stunning summer plant that come in a range of colours and sizes, from small pom-poms to large dinner plates. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil and can be planted in containers or in the ground. 

Dahlias should be planted outdoors after the last frost, which is usually around late May or early June, depending on whereabouts in the UK you are! The tubers should be planted about 6 inches deep and 18-24 inches apart. They can also be started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost and transplanted outdoors once the soil has warmed up. 

In conclusion, with the right plants, regular watering and fertilisation, and some shade, your garden can be in full bloom this summer. Consider adding some of these seasonal plants to your garden to add some colour and vibrancy for a full bloom this summer! 

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How to transform your summer house into a garden office – Step by step

desser office furniture for garden office guide

How to transform your summer house into a garden office

summer house garden office 1
Improve your workspace this summer with a garden office. Be in a quiet and private space with natural light.

Transforming a summer house into a garden office can be a great way to create a peaceful and productive workspace, away from the distractions of the main house. In this blog, we’ll cover some of the key considerations and steps involved in this process.

Step 1: Assess the Space

The first step in transforming your summer house into a garden office is to assess the space. Consider the size and layout of the summer house, as well as any existing features like windows or doors. You’ll need to determine whether the space is large enough to accommodate your workspace and whether it has sufficient natural light and ventilation. 

Step 2: Plan the Layout

Once you’ve assessed the space, it’s time to plan the layout of your garden office. You’ll need to consider factors like the placement of your desk, storage solutions, and any additional furniture or equipment you may need. It’s also important to think about the flow of the space and how you’ll move around it throughout the day. 

Step 3: Insulate the Space

If your summer house is not already insulated, you’ll need to add insulation to create a comfortable working environment. This will help to regulate the temperature and prevent heat loss during the colder months. Depending on the size and layout of the space, you may also need to install a heating system to keep the space warm. 

summer house garden office 2
Plan your garden office carefully by considering location, function, size, building design, materials, and features.
summer house garden office 4
Enhance your garden office with warm and inspiring lighting options to create your desired ambiance, from classic bulbs to eco-friendly LED strips.

Step 4: Install Electrical Sockets

You’ll need to have access to electrical sockets in your garden office to power your computer, lighting, and other equipment. Depending on the location of your summer house, you may need to hire an electrician to install additional outlets or to run a new electrical line to the space. 

Step 5: Add Lighting

Natural light is important for creating a pleasant and productive workspace, but you’ll also need to have adequate artificial lighting for working during darker hours. Consider installing a mix of overhead lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting to create a comfortable and functional workspace. 

Step 6: Decorate and Furnish the Space

Finally, it’s time to decorate and furnish your garden office. Choose a colour scheme that promotes focus and productivity and add any personal touches that will make the space feel inviting and inspiring. Consider investing in ergonomic furniture and storage solutions to maximise comfort and organisation. 

Transforming a summer house into a garden office can be a rewarding project that creates a comfortable and inspiring workspace. By assessing the space, planning the layout, insulating the space, installing electrical outlets, adding lighting, and decorating and furnishing the space, you can create a functional and beautiful garden office that supports your work and productivity. 

desser office furniture
Natural Rattan Porto Chair

Our mango wood products are not only beautiful and sturdy, but they are also sustainable. Our artisans source the wood from mango trees that no longer bear fruit, so they are repurposed for furniture instead of discarded. This makes our products environmentally friendly and perfect for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint.

Additionally, our mango wood products are perfect for a garden office. They blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, adding warmth and character to the workplace. They are also durable enough to withstand varying weather conditions, ensuring long-lasting use. With our fantastic mango wood products, you can create an eco-friendly and stylish garden office that you can be proud of.

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The best summer house furniture ideas from Desser & Co experts

summer house furniture ideas

The best summer house furniture ideas from Desser & Co experts

burford summer house furniture set desser 1
Burford Summerhouse Furniture Set

Spring and summer are a wonderful time to relax and enjoy the outdoors, and what better way to do that than in a summerhouse? A summerhouse is a great addition to any garden or backyard, providing a cosy and comfortable space to escape to and enjoy the sunshine. And of course, no summerhouse is complete without some stylish and functional furniture. 

When it comes to choosing furniture for your summerhouse, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, you want your furniture to be durable and sturdy. Our natural rattan furniture is perfect for long term sun exposure, as well as being super lightweight and easy to move around, whilst still being robust. 

Another important consideration is comfort. You want your furniture to be cosy and inviting, so that you and your guests can relax and unwind. This means choosing pieces that are designed with comfort in mind, such as plush cushions, armrests and footstools.

So, what kind of furniture is best for a summerhouse?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Summer House Chairs

Summer house chairs – Our natural rattan armchairs are a staple of summer living, with their wide armrests and supportive back cushions providing the perfect spot to sit and enjoy the view. Pair them with our comfortable seat cushions and scatter cushions for added comfort. 

Clifton Armchair
The classic look of the Clifton Chair features delicate wicker weaving, a natural glossy finish & velcro arms, providing extra comfort and differentiating from traditional cane furniture. The Clifton armchair is perfect for sitting back relax and reading a book.

Dijon Grey Armchair
Understated charm coupled with minimalist sensibility makes the Dijon range perfect for anyone looking for a modern furniture set. The Dijon Armchair, in a stunning grey wash finish, combines sweeping arms with compact lines in a classic core rattan, providing a sturdy base to this contemporary design.

Bali Light Oak Armchair
The Bali chair combines classic cane pole shapes together with smooth armrests allowing for perfect relaxation, offering a stylish and traditional look. In a stunning light oak wash finish, it brings a modern finish to a contemporary design for your conservatory, living room or summerhouse.

Centurion Armchair
The fabulous Centurion armchair is the perfect addition to any summer house. High-quality wicker weave paired with laminated arms and legs, the Centurion pieces are comfortable and durable.

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2. Summer House Sofa

If you’re looking for the ultimate in relaxation, a 2-seater sofa for a summer house is the way to go. Choose a sturdy, comfortable, and stylish sofa and be sure to add some cosy pillows and blankets for added comfort.

Clifton 2 Seater Sofa
The classic look of the Clifton 2-seat sofa features delicate wicker weaving, a natural glossy finish & velcro arms, providing extra comfort and differentiating from traditional cane furniture. Clifton really does provide a great centrepiece to your conservatory, orangery or living room. 

Dijon Grey 2 Seater Sofa
Understated charm coupled with minimalist sensibility makes the Dijon range perfect for anyone looking for a modern furniture set. The Dijon 2 seater sofa, in a stunning grey wash finish, combines sweeping arms with compact lines in a classic core rattan, providing a sturdy base to this contemporary design. A perfect size to share with a friend, family member or loved one.

Bali Light Oak 2 Seater Sofa
Comfort is key when it comes down to the Bali 2-Seater Sofa with a light oak cane finish and will look beautiful in any home. It not only looks wonderful, but it is also a natural, hand-crafted, ethical product manufactured from sustainably farmed materials. 

Centurion 2 Seater Sofa
This 2 seater is the compact sofa of the Centurion range. Big enough to seat 2 people comfortably, this is a great option for providing comfort and class to your home. High quality wicker weave paired with laminated arms and legs the Centurion pieces are comfortable and durable.

3. Summer House Accessories

How do you make a summerhouse cosy? If your outdoor space is for reading and relaxing, some comforting accessories can help to complete the look and create a calm and cosy environment! 

Bookcases
If your summerhouse is for reading, writing, or even listening to music, a good bookshelf is ideal storage, particularly if you’re short on space. Our bookcases are great for storing books, photos, board games, vinyl records, and more! 

Scatter Cushions
Comfort is key to making a cosy summer house. Scatter cushions are a great way to add comfort and complete the look of your summer house. 

Rugs
Keep your toes warm in your summer house with a plush shag rug, or complete any aesthetic with a beautiful woven Berber rug, and create a Scandi vibe.

Coffee Tables
From contemporary modern styles to traditional cane, our range of coffee tables is ideal for summer houses and creates a space for you to relax with a brew and a good book.

Lamp Tables
Great additions to any summer house, the perfect side table is ideal for readers and those who like to relax in the garden. Some are available with extra storage drawers or a bottom shelf.

Footstools
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the view from your summer house. Take comfort to the next level by adding a footrest to your summerhouse. Some footstools have thick cushions, with additional storage underneath.

Plant Baskets
Bring some of the outdoors into your summerhouse with wicker baskets and natural rattan planters. It couldn’t be easier or tidy up in style with our range of baskets, ideal for storing away logs, blankets, books or any other household items.

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    Garland Grey Scatter Cushion (17″ x 17″)

    £20.00
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    Hydrangea Blue Scatter Cushion (17″ x 17″)

    £20.00
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    Manhattan Cane & Wood Coffee Table with Drawer and Open Shelf in Black

    Sale! £249.99
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    Vale Light Oak Lamp Table

    Sale! £110.50
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    Chester Natural Cane Footstool

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    Chester Natural Cane Coffee Table

    Sale! £250.75
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    Haute Shaggy Rug in Beige – 4 Sizes Available

    Sale! £161.49£424.99
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    Medium Natural Rattan Etagere

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How to design your garden with Custom Renovations/ Custom Landscape Designs

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How to design your garden for spring 2023

with Custom Renovations/custom landscape designs

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Custom Renovations/Custom landscape designs

As spring 2023 approaches, most of us will be looking to revamp, redesign, or redecorate our outdoor spaces, so we can spend more time basking in the warmer weather. 

If you’re planning a big design project, it can be difficult to know where to begin, like garden layouts, pathways, seating, and planting – what comes first? Whether you’re starting with a blank canvas or want to make some custom choices for your existing space, Custom Renovations/Custom Landscape Designs can help you every step of the way!  

From assessing your garden and drawing up plans, to final executions and finishes, Custom Renovations/Custom Landscape Designs specialises in maintenance and soft landscaping, driveways, landscape design, garden patios and paving, fencing and decking, and garden extras. You can expect unique design, the best materials, and professional service every time.

With a dedicated team for each service, they can tailor everything to your requirements. They also can visit monthly or weekly to maintain your garden and offer hedge-cutting services, using the latest self-powered tools then all waste produced will be removed and recycled from site. For more information on their list of services, get in touch with them today to see how they can help you transform your outdoor space!  

Last year, Custom Renovations/Custom Landscape Designs approached us to provide them with select pieces from our luxury Aruba garden furniture collection for a client who had recently undergone a home extension. Here’s what they had to say: 

Our client contacted us to design and build a large outdoor space to complement a recent extension including a bar, games room and gym. The family do a lot of entertaining, so we designed different spaces for cooking, dining, sunbathing and relaxing in the evening sun.

With grown up children living at home we went for a contemporary design with rendered raised beds and porcelain tiles. Along with a water feature, a built in BBQ and a custom-built concrete fire pit. We chose planting with a Mediterranean feel including olive trees, palms and agapanthus for pops of colour.

We wanted the furniture to complement this look. The Desser Outdoor Fabric Furniture range is an ideal high-quality choice for the family. Especially with the modular units that can be added to the corner sofas to seat many people and the snug lounge set for more intimate groups. The sun loungers are comfortable, stylish and perfect for enjoying the sun all day.

We were blown away with the quality and service from Desser. Delivery was fast, the furniture is easy to assemble, and the all-weather fabric means there is no need to bring cushions in at night.

Custom has been established for over 17 years and we provide a full design, build and landscape maintenance service. With our in-house landscape architect working closely with the construction team we work mainly in Altrincham, Hale, Bowdon and Sale. Entertaining at home is more important than ever and gardens provide another room to enjoy. We pride ourselves in quality builds with a skilled team to bring our designs to life.

The furniture from Desser completes this stunning garden and we will not hesitate to recommend their products to our clients in the future. Thank you!
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Custom Renovations/Custom Landscape Design
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Shop our outdoor fabric furniture collection

Aruba Fabric Furniture for Custom Renovations/Custom Landscape Designs

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Walker Landscape and Design – See our Aruba Collection at RHS Tatton Park

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Walker Landscape and Design

See our Aruba Collection at RHS Tatton Park

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Walker Landscape and Design

Last summer Walker Landscape and Design exhibited a trade stand at RHS Tatton Park to showcase themselves as a design and build company, and an outdoor living company.

They design and build luxury gardens, outdoor spaces, and install a range of high-end outdoor living products provided by a selection of quality suppliers including, EO Kitchens and Fire Magic Outdoor Kitchens, Renson Pergolas, DeliVita Pizza Ovens, Solus Firepits, and supply Millboard Composite decking and cladding. 

We were approached by them after they spotted our luxury range of outdoor fabric furniture, particularly our Aruba Collection

"It was great to meet the team at Desser and find out about the Aruba range, when we saw the range, we knew it was perfect for our business and our clients. Luxury, stylish and perfectly suited to the gardens we are building. It complements our other products so well aesthetically, and we were so impressed that the furniture doesn't need covering and how the material was dry again not along after the downpours at Tatton!" 
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Grace Walker
Director

The Aruba Collection is made using Sunbrella fabric, the perfect fabric for our standard British weather, go from rain to shine in a matter of moments, and you will never have to worry about your garden furniture getting too wet during those random showers. 

Sunbrella fabric is fade resistant, which means it will retain its colour over time. As a solution dyed acrylic fabric, each thread is coloured all the way through unlike other fabrics that are surface dyed. With normal use, your garden furniture should last up to 10 years, if not longer! 

We also sell a range of Olefin fabric furniture, which features the same properties as Sunbrella but has a slightly different texture. If you would like to see our entire range of Outdoor Fabric Furniture, follow the link below. 

Walker Landscape and Design recently spoke about how adding value to your home in 2023 is particularly important in the current market and how garden landscaping has been found to increase the value of your home by up to 77%, according to the Post Office Money Study.

To read their article about how to add value to your home in 2023, click here. (This will open their website in a new tab)

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Aruba Outdoor Fabric 8 Seat Bar Set