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27 May 2013

MULCH

Posted by Shona. No Comments

Ways to purchase your Mulch at BC Sands:

  • 60LT Bag
  • Certified Bulk – Quantities from 1 to 100 cubic metres plus!
  • Bulka Bags – Bulka Bags can be craned up to 11 metres from the truck, including upper levels
  • Blown – Limited Access Sites, Waterfront, Apartment Blocks,RoofTopGardensand Steep Entries. Quantities from 6 to 100 cubic metres plus!

All Mulch available at BC Sands:

Pine Bark Mulch – Slowest of the mulches to break down – so handy in low maintenance gardens. Looks good in shrubberies and under trees, giving a complementary feel to the surrounding landscape.

Soft Landing Mulch - Used as a playground mulch and conforms with Australian Standards AS4422. Also used as an attractive, durable mulch. Ideal in a formal setting against dark foliage.

Port Stephens Mulch – An attractive, tan coloured mulch. Handy in low maintenance gardens. Looks good in shrubberies and under trees, giving a complementary feel to the surrounding landscape. Ideal for garden beds adjacent to houses or timber fences.

Cypress Uni Mulch – Has a beautiful smell and long lasting colour, plus great stability in windy areas, this is definitely a landscapers favourite!

Eucy Mulch – A fine and uniform mulch in rich, red/brown tones. It is an attractive soil covering, especially in native gardens. The Eucy Mulch has proven to be stable even on slopes, and does not creep down hills

Wood Chip Mulch Softwood – This is an inexpensive mulch with an attractive honey colour. Slower to break down than leaf mulch.

Wood Chip Mulch Red – This inexpensive mulch is similar to softwood chip however gives a bold contrast in the modern garden. It comes in an attractive red colour with environmentally friendly dyes. It takes longer to breakdown in comparison to the leaf mulch.

Leaf Mulch w/ Wood Chips – An economical mulch that is ideal for native and informal gardens. This is a mixture of leaf and woodchip waste that breaks down to provide structure and nutrient to the soil.

See our website for more information on pricing and mulch sizes: http://www.bcsands.com.au

 


9 May 2013

extreme firewood stacking

Posted by Shona. No Comments

Some time ago, we published an article about storing firewood.

With the nights and mornings getting colder, now is the ideal time to brush up on our firewood stacking tips, as well as to admire some amazing firewood stacks we have discovered online …



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6 Jan 2013

Mulch algebra?

Posted by Shona. No Comments

Step One:

Work out the area to be covered. Yes it is time to get back to basics. All those maths questions you thought were pointless at school? Turns out they had a practical purpose after all. The area to be covered is the length times the width. For example  6 metres long x 5 metres wide = 30 M2.

Mulching a circular garden? The area of the circle is 3.14 X the radius squared. For example a circle with a 4m diametre has a 2 metre radius. The area would be 3.14 X 4 = 12.56 M3

Step Two:

Work out how deep you want your mulch. Usually it is anywhere between 50 mm to 100 mm (that’s five to ten centimetres!) Up to you … and a matter of taste.

Step Three:

Times your area by your depth. Our 30m2 garden with 70mm depth of coverage would use 2.1 cubic metres of mulch.

Step Four:

Want to know how much that weighs in tons? Just for the hell of it? Or so you can brag about how much you have shovelled/lifted to your mates? Times the cubic meterage by .3 for an approximate tonnage.

Bonus Question:  If you wanted to put a border around your circular, newly mulched garden … how much edging would you need?

 


17 Sep 2012

Re-purpose your old garden hose into stepping stones

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Re-purpose Garden Hose into Pavers

If you have a hosepipe that kinks, leaks or is simply not long enough for your needs, then don’t chuck it away, because you can re-purpose it and turn it into pavers, stepping stones or mats. All you need are some landscaping supplies - a useless garden hose, some cable ties, a sharp knife or scissors, a ruler and a dash of elbow grease.

There are a few general guidelines and the rest is up to you and to your imagination:-

  • Make sure all the cable ties are facing the same way because the part you cut off can be sharp on bare feet;
  • Another reason for facing the ties the same way is because it makes your artwork look smoother and more attractive;
  • Plan a pattern to offset or align the positioning of your cable ties to give it an even or ‘woven’ look;
  • If you find the mud squishing between your toes, all is not lost!  Simply make your stepping stones, pavers or door mats deeper by joining two or three together with cable ties.

Making Round Garden Hose Stepping Stones

  • Straighten out your garden hose so that it has no kinks, bends or curls;
  • Cut the beginning of the hose at an angle and make the opening have contact with the beginning of the next round so no ‘end’ is visible;
  • Winding the hose tightly around itself, place cable ties around each two or three coils at regular intervals;

When you have the desired size, cut the hose off at an angle again and tie the end off against the previous loop to give it an ‘unending’ look.

Making Rectangular Garden Hose Pavers

  • Cut even lengths of hose to the length of your paver block.  This may need adjusting with a sharp knife later, but cut it as accurately as possible to start;
  • Cable tie two pieces together.  Place another length down and tie the second and third together in a different place;
  • Repeat with length number four, tying it to length number three in the same alignment as the first and second pieces;
  • Repeat the pattern until it is long and wide enough to fit your application.
  • If you decide to make the paver deeper by adding a layer or two to it, join the sides with the sharp ends of the cable ties together so that if you should ever want to flip the paver over you can.

Making Garden Hose Mats

  • The principle is the same as with the pavers but this time you use garden twine to weave the lengths of hose pipe together.  Plan your weaving pattern before you start;
  • Start by laying out all the pieces and if possible ‘sew’ them together by passing the garden twine through one length of pipe and into the next one;
  • When you have the width you want, start weaving across two or three lengths of garden hose from one side and then the other, wrapping it once around each piece to hold it in place.

There you have three ways to use up an old garden hose you thought you might never be able to use again.  It just goes to show that with a bit of ingenuity, you too can be an artist in your own garden!



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6 Sep 2012

Innovative use of cinder-bessa-betta blocks

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Where, oh where to start! There are so many useful, fun, and just plain crazy ways to use concrete blocks.  Working our way down the list, let’s start with some useful things to make using this amazing building resource:-

  • Turn a patio into a private courtyard by turning your concrete blocks side on, and allowing the light and air to pass through.
  • Flower beds can be made more interesting in several ways: by raising them into stepped beds then building them up with sand and soil to create a contoured garden or by placing the blocks side on and using the holes for individual “plant pots” around the edges of the garden bed.
  • Creating strong, easy to build stairs or with the help of some sand, a ramp for easy access to a higher area.

Moving on to the fun things, some ideas we came across were:-

  • A miniature castle complete with battlements for your young marauders & defenders.
  • A cheap but strong wine rack which, depending on how the blocks are placed, can be both interesting and space-saving.
  • A pillar on which to put the speakers of a sound system.  Glued together end-on and painted or rendered in a nice bright colour, not only can bessa blocks make a good sound system better, but the holes also provide a great place to store CDs.
  • Build a wall with random placing of up-side-down capping blocks at right angles to the course, so that half of it sticks out. This makes a great cavity to put hanging plants or strawberries. You can then render the finished wall with textured render or a bagged effect and you have privacy without having to stare at a blank wall.
  • Using some sand and concrete blocks, you can make a stand for your water-tank at the perfect height for a bucket to be placed underneath.

Now on to our favourite list, the “how did they think that one up?” category:-

  • A bird nesting box.  It’s true, we saw a concrete Bessa block suspended in a tree from galvanised wire or chain with two little wooden faceplates, each with a hole and a peg for a perch and a solid wood back-plate.
  • A base for a gym. We came across a man who had made his own bench-press out of Bessa blocks. It was built to his height and was therefore more useful and cheaper than a bought one.
  • One amazing person had created a wall that looks like a quilt by painting or rendering one face of each block with intricate patterns and then placing the concrete blocks vertically and horizontally in a herringbone pattern.
  • The craziest of all applications for a cinder block was the toaster… yep, someone actually drilled a couple of holes to insert an element at the top of a one-hole block and then plugged it in and called it a toaster.

We suggest you don’t try this last one at home, but it does show that how you choose to use concrete blocks is only limited by your imagination! Who says landscaping supplies cannot be innovative?



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3 Sep 2012

Landscaping with Lettuce

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There really aren’t any excuses for not growing some of your own food!

All you need is some organic vegetable mix, a little fertiliser and a bit of imagination. You can create edible landscaping on your windowsill, under your roses or on your patio floor. You can literally grow fruit and vegetables anywhere that has light and a flat surface.

Of course, creating a special space for a vegie patch beyond the lawn in the back yard is a long held tradition, but what about incorporating vegies in amongst the rest of the garden.  For example, why not place some inconspicuous carrot plants in among the mulch around the roses, or thread some tomato plants up among the sweet-peas on your fence or trellis. Growing a passion fruit vine on a perimeter fence not only helps screen you from your neighbours, but you get to eat vitamin C rich fruits every year.

Did you know that so called “fresh” herbs from supermarkets have already been cut for a minimum of 2 days by the time they get to the shelf?  That’s not exactly fresh!  And sadly, you have to buy a whole bunch, much of which may well go into the bin.  You, however, can nip out on to your apartment balcony, pick a sprig of parsley and place it neatly on your magnificent grilled fish.  Or you can get a few leaves of basil from your windowsill for that Italian pasta recipe.  Now THAT is really fresh!

Here are some more ideas on how to landscape with edible plants:

  • Grow a miniature fruit tree or two on your porch.  They grow happily in large tubs and while the tree may be small, the fruit is full size.  Simply apply water and fertiliser regularly and let your tree reward you.
  • Pick strawberries from your retaining wall.  If you have a retaining wall with any sized gap into which you can pop a little plant, put a strawberry plant in there and surround it with pebbles so the fruit stays clean.  The advantages are that you don’t have to bend down to pick the fruit, and you have a nice green plant holding the soil back.
  • Plant vegies such as lettuces, leeks and celery in attractive rows and take advantage of the diverse colours and textures! Far more practical than traditional annual bloomers!  Planting them in pebbles will  prevent them from getting sandy.  This leads to less washing off dirt and more cooking and eating!

After all, nature abhors a vacuum, so instead of letting the lawn take over, the weeds grow or dust settle, use your imagination, spread a little organic vegetable mix, and incorporate some edible plants in your living space!

PS.  Bonus – you’ll be decreasing your carbon footprint too!

These two great images were taken from award-winning landscape architect Senga Lindsay’s new book. She has seen garden design trends come and go in her twenty years of working in the field, but by far the most prevalent has been the resurgence of interest in edible gardening.

See inside the book here.



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28 Aug 2012

Fathers and Their Gardens – “Old Man’s Tales”

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fathers and their gardens

“Old man’s tales”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Father’s Day is just around the corner, we thought we’d share some “My Dad always said” gardening tips with you. We collected these stories by asking some dads for ONE gardening tip they really want to pass on to their kids.

There were some techniques we’ve never heard about before, so we thought we’d share them with you.  Now we’re not saying that we’ve tested these tips, but we encourage you to go ahead and try them….and who knows, maybe they’re so good you’ll be passing them on to your kids!

  • A practical and cheap way to increase the iron content for plants that need it more than others is to keep a handful of nails in a tin can full of water, and when they rust, simply empty the water onto the plant and refill the tin can. Of course, there is a less time-consuming solution….we can supply you with trace elements, fertilisers and nutrient rich soils – you know, while you’re waiting for your tin of nails to rust.
  • Dig weeds out of your garden beds by the light of the moon rather than during daylight hours.  Not only is it a cool and comfortable time to dig, but the main reason for digging weeds outside of daylight hours is because it is said to discourage the growth of weeds, as the seeds can’t germinate in the dark. One further good reason is that your dad can get all the gardening done in the evenings, keeping the weekends free! Of course, introducing your dad to gardening by moonlight gives you a great reason to buy him some outdoor floodlights or garden lights.
  • Mint can get into your lawn and spread into all sorts of places it’s not wanted, so a tip one dad shared was that, in order to stop his mint plant from escaping, he buried a 50cm long piece of pipe in the ground and then planted his mint in it. He challenges anyone to report mint incursions where they aren’t wanted after using his method. We stock a wide range of drainage and water pipes if you’d like to get your dad to try it….you have to admit it’s more interesting than socks or ties.
  • To obtain a longer vegie growing season, keep your plants warm when nights are chilly. First thing in the morning, place a couple of buckets of water among the plants in your vegie patch, then let the sun warm the water up all day long and it will keep your plants and soil nice and warm long into the night.  In the morning, simply tip the water on to the plants and refill the buckets for another day of free warmth. Putting a stick in each bucket will allow bees and other creatures to climb out if they go in there for a drink. Of course, if you have a layer of mulch over your vegie patch, it will also help keep the soil warm and therefore extend the growing season.
  • Now here’s a tip we didn’t expect to hear about, but a committed tomato grower swears that his dad taught him that digging powdered milk in around your tomato plants makes them juicy. We haven’t tried it and would love to hear from you one way or the other.

Giving your dad a $20, $50, $100 or $200 gift voucher from BC Sands is a great way to let him choose his own garden mulch, sand, soil or garden mix, or maybe even a new roll-on lawn. Enjoy your father’s company – and if you are a father, we hope you create some happy memories this Father’s Day.



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27 Aug 2012

Not talking turf at the 2012 Leader Home Show

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BC Sands exhibited at the Leader Home Show over the weekend. As the relatively new marketing co-ordinator here… it was my first taste of meeting the public and talking turf in person … so to speak.

Mine was perhaps more a “meet and greet” role – I said hello… and then introduced the customers to the experts on our team! (Well someone had to do it)

The Home Show cemented my theory that all people love a free pen! And a magnet! Kids love sandpits… and making pet rocks… and sucking air out of helium ballooons!

Our stand was an interactive one, with our friends at Bedrock Landscapes and Sand Sea and Stone providing works in progress all weekend using BC Sands supplies. Ever the information sponge, I did a bit of eavesdropping over the course of the weekend… and learnt:

  • decomposed granite is far cheaper and alternative to concrete or paving.
  • it can be mixed with cement before we deliver it so that it compacts down and stabilises when you hit it with the “wacker packer” lol!
  • cypress mulch smells nice and is ideal for sloping sites becuase it doesn’t roll/move
  • paving saving or river sand is the ideal thing to lay under your pavers so thay have a stable, even surface to sit on. You want a substrate that “floats” as the soil & clay tends to be reactive with the moisture level of the soil.
  • succulent plants grow well in between pebbles
  • there is not much you can do about your guinea pig ruining your lawn!

 Oh and the bloke in the funny hat above? That’s the owner of BC Sands… Mark. Proudly sporting his “Win an iPad” ensemble.



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16 Aug 2012

Taking Care of Shade-Loving Plants

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There are a number of shade-loving plant species, and if treated well, they will look really magnificent in a shade-house, under a patio or even under the shade of a large tree. When placed around in pots and hanging baskets they can instantly transform a barren space into a colourful and lush, green tropical retreat. Read the rest of this entry »



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8 Aug 2012

The Art of Pruning in Your Garden

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Did you know that there are times when you should prune and times when you shouldn’t? If not, then these guidelines are for you:-

First and foremost you should know that it’s not often that a plant is killed by pruning, in fact quite the opposite since most plants thrive on a good pruning, so don’t be afraid to snip, cut and saw like a surgeon. Read the rest of this entry »



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