Down in the Garden

June 25, 2010

Some Fun Outdoor Activities

Filed under: Uncategorized — gardengamesandleisure @ 10:09 am

There’s a never ending number of activities you can do with your kids outdoors to keep them happy. For those without nearby parks, the garden makes the perfect place to have fun, even in small gardens without a lot of space, you just need to make sure that the activity is enjoyable and interesting enough. A garden allows kids to appreciate the nature around them, enjoy the fresh air and have fun at the same time. Below we’ve listed just a few of the activities you could enjoy with your kids in the garden.

TREASURE HUNT WITH YOUR KIDS

Kids always love adventure. It follows that kids would love an adventure hunt out in the garden. Setting up a treasure hunt is easy and can be played with virtually any items, most kids will enjoy searching for sweets and chocolate most, but anything that interests them will do. Make sure to hide them well as kids are particularly good at finding things! Treasure hunt is best enjoyed with a group of kids, such as a birthday party.

GARDEN SANDPITS

Just about any child enjoys playing in the sand at the beach, but for many who live inland getting to the beach regularly may not be so easy. The answer to this problem is to bring the beach to your garden, or a small part of it at least. All you need to purchase is a sandpit, some sand and you’re ready to go. Pick up a plastic bucket and spade and your kids will think they are at the seaside!


MAKE A DEN

Kids have vivid imaginations, and nothing comes close to stimulating them as much as an outdoors den. Throw a sheet over a table, between two chairs or similar and your kids have a cool place of their own to play, but do make sure that wherever you choose is safe. The fun is amplified when friends or siblings join in.

GIANT GARDEN GAMES

It may be hard to imagine for modern generations that games consoles were not always around to entertain, and that some fantastic, mega fun games can be played outdoors – no plug sockets required! Just take a look at the range of garden games available on our website, where you’ll find classic garden board games, fun activities and much more. These games have been specially chosen to be fun for the whole family. Even without the kids they can still be a lot of fun!

PLAY HIDE AND SEEK

Last but not least is the classic game of hide and seek. No doubt this classic game has remained popular throughout many years as it’s only requirement is having a handful of good places in which to hide – which just about anywhere will have. Some precautions need to be observed, such as making sure kids know the boundary limits and to not go near places where machinery or dangerous chemicals may be. Make sure that you keep harmful chemicals and equipment away from places where your children may possibly hide.

So there we have it, five of many fun activities that can be enjoyed outdoors with the kids and family. Hopefully these pointers have inspired you to do more with your outdoor space this year. We’re sure you’ll think of a few more fun ideas yourself! Have fun and enjoy the nice weather this Summer.

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May 20, 2010

It’s Time to Buy New Patio Furniture!

Filed under: Uncategorized — gardengamesandleisure @ 12:19 pm

It’s Time to Buy New Patio Furniture!

Warm weather is here. Do you know what that means? It is time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather in your fantastic backyard. Part of that enjoyment should include relaxing on your patio or deck. If you don’t have any furniture to sit on, you need to go shopping. You need a website that not only sells furniture, but also sells grills, outdoor games, fire pits and basketball equipment.

You have a fantastic deck, but you need a grill and a place to sit and enjoy a meal out there. Visit the website where you can buy a grill and furniture, its one stop shopping. It is time for a beautiful table and 4 chairs so you can eat that burger sitting down. Styles are endless so buy what meets your needs.

Choose from propane or charcoal grills. Don’t forget the accessories, such as a brush to clean the grill or a three piece tool set. You need the right tools to cook outside, so why not get them at the same time?

Don’t buy cheap plastic tables and chairs when you can buy wood. Teak furniture is very beautiful. It holds up well in all types of elements. You can buy a teak table and 4 chairs, or other styles with 6 chairs. If you want to add some punches of color to the outdoor furniture, add some brightly colored cushions.

If you just want some lounge chairs for your deck, there are a few options. Get a sun lounger with wheels and you can move it anyplace in your yard. If you want to sit up and read a book, then the steamer chair would be a great addition.

Don’t forget outdoor lighting to add beauty to your outdoor spaces. Extend your time outside with solar powered lighting for your pathway or tabletop. Exterior lighting is decorative as well as a safety feature, you don’t want to trip and fall.

If you want the kids to burn off some energy, get them a trampoline from the same company. They will love it. You can buy something each member of your family will find useful, comfortable and beautiful.

Buy your outdoor furniture and other accessories from an established company that offers excellent products, along with friendly and helpful customer service. If a problem occurs with a product you purchase, we will gladly take care of it.

February 23, 2010

The 2010 Summer Garden Plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — gardengamesandleisure @ 3:33 pm

Like so many people I’ve had enough of Winter. Don’t get me wrong, I love snow & Christmas but we’ve done that now and the allure of the garden and sunshine and everything else that goes with it is now becoming ever increasingly appealing.

Every year, like many people, we try and make a few improvements to the garden and the outside of the house in general (see some of the other blog posts). Today we formulated our plan.

  1. Get the redundant bit of land next to the summer house and behind the swing chair at least looking nice if not serving a purpose.
  2. Grow raspberries.
  3. Get a clematis going along the fence nearest the climbing frame.
  4. Treat all the visible fence panels as they are getting a bit ropey.
  5. Make a balance beam from the 2 extra bits of wood delivered with the climbing frame.
  6. Assemble the sand-pit that came with the climbing frame.
  7. Power-hose the patio & side passage.
  8. Get the summer house furniture and the teak chairs all matching with bright red cushion covers, maybe with a parasol for the table.
  9. Paint the garage door blue.

Now that I’ve put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard anyway, let’s see how far we get. Below are pics of all the areas that we are looking to improve and I’ll blog back at the beginning of September, hopefully with photographic evidence that summer 2010 wasn’t all World Cup, Wimbledon, barbecues & backgammon.

Give the garage door a re-painting of blue

A wooden sandpit, as it currently is

The perfect area to grow raspberries

Needs a hoseing down

Start a Clematis growing along the fencing

The fence could do with a treatment

January 8, 2010

Frozen Parsnips Anyone?

Filed under: Uncategorized — gardengamesandleisure @ 9:36 am

There’s not much going on down in the garden at this time of year, everything has been battened down, the teak is in the summerhouse and the garage is full to bursting with garden toys and BBQ bits and loads of other stuff that we take for granted when our gardens are fully operational. Also, at the time of writing, the garden is frozen solid and we’re expecting a load of snow..

There is, however, one garden project that is ongoing, and is indeed being enhanced by the very cold weather we are having. It could be an attempt to enter the Guinness Book Of Records for the worlds largest snowman, but it’s not. It could be an experiment to see the effects of constant freezing and thawing on a whole range of garden furniture and toys, but it’s not. So what is it I can hear everyone exclaiming..

It is of course Adam’s Parsnip Project (does it sound familiar) and I’m very excited as by the time they’re ready for harvesting in March it is these re-occurring freeze and thaws that each time they happen will make the parsnips even tastier and are fully responsible for their unique sweet and nutty flavour. The rule here is the more times they freeze, the better the parsnip.

So even whilst the garden is a frozen wasteland of unused accessories that in the summer months I couldn’t live without, I still get a bit of pleasure venturing out to the garden on occasion and checking that all is well with the parsnips.

Have a look at Gardening Patch as further reading for all you parsnip enthusiasts out there.

November 25, 2009

Monster Climbing Frame

Filed under: Uncategorized — gardengamesandleisure @ 4:18 pm

My house is cluttered up with far too many toys, many more than one 2 year old needs which is the cumulative result of two Birthdays and three Christmases with lots of grandparents and aunties etc. all being more than generous. With Birthday number three approaching and Christmas number four just a bit more than a month after that we were starting to fret about the colossal amount of toys and games and other bits and pieces that we definitely could live without taking residence in our residence and eating up the last piece of carpet we have.

It had to be stopped – but how? Simple, get any one of our family members who would take pity on our plight and see if they would club together for a monster Birthday/Christmas present thus negating the necessity to collate even more household child entertainment devices. And one more feature to our plan – the said combined offering to be an outside item.

Our garden is wedge shaped and is wider than it is long; it has a lot of bits and pieces (unsurprisingly) and we have always had one end of the garden for the swings, slide, trampoline, sandpit etc. and the other end of the garden for things like a summerhouse, bbq, furniture etc., a adult/child divide with a fair amount of lawn in the middle.

There is a reason lots of parents lovingly refer to their little ones as ‘monkeys’, it is not because of unfortunate facial hair conditions but more for their love of climbing…anything. It is this trait that our particular monkey has been exhibiting for some time leading to the simple answer to the above mentioned simple problem: the monster present had to be a climbing frame.


As you might notice I have a few very good climbing frames to choose from on the site and if you have got the space the Carisbrooke climbing frame is absolutely one of the best you can go for. Once the old swings were taken down, or more accurately, dug out, the trampoline found a nice home in the very corner of the kids end of the wedge and construction began. I learnt that there is a reason why we offer an assembly service for this particular model and that £400 is a very reasonable price to pay; the job was enormous, the Carisbrooke is massive, a monster climbing frame that wouldn’t look out of place in any park, with so many fun features any child is guaranteed to love it.

The end result – we have one very happy 3 year old, mainly because of his new monster climbing frame and also because each and every one of the afore mentioned family members still produced a space eating delight for him to unwrap on his big day.

November 16, 2009

Chiminea FAQ

Filed under: Uncategorized — gardengamesandleisure @ 12:01 pm

This is the first in a series of posts on making the most out of your Chiminea. With Winter just around the corner you may find yourself being more and more confined to the indoors with little use for your garden or patio area.

Many would like to still be able to sit outside on the rare sunny evenings but often it’s just too cold! Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy your outside space year round? This is where the chiminea comes in. We think (and hope you do too) that the elegant style combined with the practicality of heating makes for a winning outdoor centre piece. For outdoor heating we’ve struggled to find anything that comes close to the quality, style and functionality of a Chiminea.

Though we’re convinced of the benefits, we feel and often hear that people just aren’t sure what to do with a Chiminea.

We thought’d we draw out a small but concise table comparing a chiminea, typical gas BBQ and a fire pit.

Chimineas:
Food
Heating
Wood other material
Decorative

Fire Pit:
Heat
Cooking
Wood/Paper

Chiminea Gas BBQ Fire Pit

August 28, 2009

A Garden Feature Featuring a Garden Water Feature (and a Palm Tree)

Filed under: Uncategorized — gardengamesandleisure @ 10:04 am

I am particularly proud of our latest home improvement born on a bored Sunday afternoon in July looking at the redundant bit of space in a corner of our garden next to the summer house. It’s one of those areas of the garden that never seem to get the sun and suffers from bad drainage evidenced by the boggy appearance of mud and moss.


But what to do with it – a wedge shaped bit of land 80cm at the back of the isosceles to 165cm at the front, an upside down ‘V’ shape if you can imagine. We decided fairly swiftly on a stainless steel water feature from the selection of five we had in the garage – ex demos’ from an exhibition stand I had set up in the past. Our choice was between the Angel, Cautley, Orgate, Backstone or Aspley. After a short time we eliminated the spheres in favour of the tubes and ended up choosing the Orgate water feature as we liked the angled face where the water comes out.

Loosely, we decided on a tall plant at the back, water feature in front, a couple of plants, the whole area covered in plum slate and sectioned off with log roll. Simples!

So off to B&Q we went. They are doing a good deal at the moment on log roll, 3 for the price of 2, we got the small 15cm height, 3 rolls at a cost of £11.98. Foolishly thinking it would be enough we bought 125 litres of compost for £6.98. On to the Factory Shop where we knew they were doing a deal on plum slate, 3 bags for £12, and weed proof mesh & securing pegs for £6.97. Sorted – apart from the tall and short plants, but we thought we would sort that out later.

We got back home where it promptly started to rain, and whilst I am keen, I’m not mad. The next day we were at her parents house for a BBQ when I commented on a palm tree they had in a pot and casually said that it was what we could do with for our project. Fortuitously they had other designs for that part of their garden so there we were, all raw materials purchased or beggared and Tuesday was construction day.

The next day it rained all day. On to Wednesday and armed with a spade we made a start. First thing, dig a hole for the water feature, but only half the depth of the bucket as we were going to build the area up with earth, compost, and due to an unfortunate incident involving our cat in our Sons sandpit, sand. So far so good, it was to be fair one of the finest holes I had ever dug.

Then to mark out the boundaries with a 1 inch trench in which we would hammer down the log roll. That done we set out the log roll and raked the peat over the entire area. It was then that we realised 2 important things, 1) the log roll would not be high enough at the back, and 2) we would need more compost. So off to B&Q once again and bought another 3 for the price of 2 log roll, but this time the 45cm height at £29.98, and got a good deal on 280 litres of peat for £8, half price as the bags were a bit ripped.

Back home and the back two thirds of the log roll replaced with its taller cousin, water feature bucket down and all the peat & sand added and it started to take shape as it evolved into a three tiered masterpiece. But there was something I had forgotten, a nagging doubt remained; oh yes, the hole for the palm tree. No problem, step 1) clear the peat from the back third; step 2) dig another fine hole. The hole for the palm was only one third the depth of the roots as there was to be a further 40cm of compost built up around it. The palm went in, the peat was replaced and I was happy, in fact I was grinning all the way to B&Q where I purchased another 280 litres of bag damaged compost for an even better value £5.00.

Back I came, up tools and the 3 levels really started to take shape, the back sectioned off with 45cm log roll, the rest with the shorter variety. Weed proof mesh down and pegged and the water feature went in. Then the slate went down and we realised we had massively underestimated our requirement. Back to the Factory Shop and another £12 lighter and three bags of plum slate heavier. Once it was down it looked great, just missing a few plants and one more problem to solve in that the water feature jutted out at the front as it was placed level on a slope. No problem.

Bored with B&Q, Homebase had all Lillies, Celosia, Grasses, Hemerocassis Varsity & white chip stones that we needed, all for a reasonable £18.95. Once they were down it was finished, we just couldn’t wait until night fall to see the true effect of the 9 multi-colour rotating LED’s on the water feature reflecting on the steel & illuminating the water as it cascaded down the tubes – and it did look lovely. Unfortunately the rest of the patch was in darkness and not seeing the light made us see the light, which was of course that we needed some lights.

Straight on to the world wide web, 4 x solar lights for £10 and 2 x 50w Par 38 spotlights for £20 and I realised that we must start doing a line in outdoor lighting on the Garden Games & Leisure website. Anyway, that may be to come but in the meantime we have transformed the dullest, drabbest area of the garden into absolutely the nicest most tranquil area you could want and have also noticed that now it is raised up it does get the sunshine for a few hours a day. Happy days.

August 3, 2009

BBQ Summer – What a Washout!

Filed under: Uncategorized — gardengamesandleisure @ 12:01 pm

The Met Office have recently done a bit of a U-Turn and have now seen fit to revise their ‘Odds on for a BBQ Summer’ statement they made in April. Other untruths from the Met reported by BBC News were that ‘we are heading for a long period of BBQ weather this year’ but on to July and all is not quite as reported what with the case of 100 children being evacuated from a water-logged Camp Site in the Lake District and general gloom on most seafront promenades up and down the country.

Ewan McCullum, chief meteorologist at the Met Office went public in April and said ‘We are seeing a signal for a warmer than average summer which again means that we could have good hot spells and perhaps get the BBQ out’, but in the last couple of days he has added ‘The phrase we used was Odds on for a BBQ Summer, we were talking about a 65% chance, that meant there is a 35% chance that July would turn out the way it did, but as I say we still have August to come’. Never mind Ewan, I’m sure August will be lovely!

July 27, 2009

Summer Holiday’s in the UK

Filed under: Uncategorized — gardengamesandleisure @ 12:52 pm


We are now into the 6 week school summer holidays and more and more families elect to either stay at home or holiday somewhere in the UK. This may be something to do with a) the economy, b) the poor exchange rate, c) swine flu, but it’s got to be good news for the UK in general.

We have noticed a massive increase in our sales of Garden Games which suggests that the beach in Spain is being swapped for the garden in England, our best sellers to date being the Mega High Tower and Seaside Soaker.

You can have a look at the complete range of fun items for the garden in our Garden Games Category.

July 1, 2009

Britain Is Too Hot For BBQs

Filed under: Uncategorized — gardengamesandleisure @ 10:29 am

Madness, if the weather isn’t a perpetual perfect temperature and balance of wet and dry and the thermometer dares to stray a couple of degrees above or below the accepted norms then we have heatwaves, ice ages, floods, droughts and a general breakdown in all public and some private services. 33 degrees C today, which I’ll admit is hot and ‘officials raise the threat level from amber to red, some measures including putting social services and hospitals on alert for a wave of casualties from the scorching weather…’ and we are all advised to stay in.



Thing is, whatever we Brits consider as extreme weather is just the norm for half the world, our hottest ever day of 38.1C (100.6F) in Gravesend, Kent in 2003 might be considered chilly in parts of Africa, America, Australia, Asia & some parts of Europe (go to Seville, then you’ll know what hot is). Likewise, or maybe not when you consider -27.2 degrees C is actually very cold and is the lowest ever temperature in Britain, but definitely likewise when the plummet below -1C has us hoarding food and petrol because of the inevitable supply chain problems that this ‘freak’ weather is bound to cause – it is a wonder how Scandinavians survive their winters.

Make the most of the (quite possibly short lived) fine weather, take some time out in the garden with friends or family – play some garden games or even put up a basketball net!

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