Managing Outdoor Furniture (Winter Edition)

Outdoor furniture isn’t just useful for large gatherings – but also presents you with an opportunity to relax in your outdoor space after a long night. When it comes to winter, however, your outdoor furniture may start to get a bit more than it bargained for – especially if it’s not undercover. Luckily for you, our experts aren’t just knowledgeable when it comes to exposed aggregate driveways and that’s why for today’s blog, we’re going to be looking at outdoor furniture in winter, what to consider and how to take care of it.

 

What sort of furniture should you be considering for winter?

At the end of the day, you should choose whatever you like and think would be most comfortable. However, some options are a little harder to maintain if your outdoor living area isn’t covered. For example, any type of seat or couch with cushions or soft fabric is going to be a pain when it gets wet.

Whilst there are specific outdoor cushions that are designed to brave the elements and wet weather, these must be dried off as soon as possible. This can sometimes be an issue when there are consecutive rainy days. Metal framed furnishings are great as they can be easily dried with a towel if you’d like to sit on them straight away.

Timber such as cedar or teak is also pretty durable and easy to maintain – as well as wicker pieces. Between these types of materials, you’ll be pretty hard-pressed not to find some furniture that suits your outdoor area. If you don’t have a firepit, then keep a large blanket that you can use specifically for relaxing outdoors.

In terms of placement, outdoor furnishings are always better placed on concrete such as exposed aggregate surfaces. This is to avoid the unevenness of grass. This can become even worse when rain gets involved as the seats and other furnishings may start to sink into the grass at certain points since the rain makes it softer.

 

Preventing the furniture from getting wet

One of the biggest pitfalls of having outdoor furniture during winter is that it will get wet. This is obviously more-so for outdoor areas that aren’t covered, but sometimes even covered areas can fall victim to angled rain that’s been influenced by the wind. If your furniture isn’t covered – and there’s enough covered space, then you could always move it to a covered area when you know it’s going to rain.

If this isn’t an option for you, then why not consider a temporary umbrella that can be erected to cover your furnishings. You may have to spend a bit extra, but you’ll probably end up using it during the summer as well to shade you from the sun. As a bonus, you’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor furniture even when it’s raining.

A cheaper alternative to protecting your furniture from rain would be to use plastic coverings and simply placing them over your furniture. This would probably be the easiest and most efficient method as you can just leave them on when you’re not using them and take them off when you are.

 

Dealing with wet furniture

Some people may not have the time to look into the prevention techniques and might just want to know what to do after the fact. Well, as we mentioned above, if you’d like to sit on the furniture straight away – treated timber and metal furnishings can just be wiped down with a towel (the timber may still be a bit damp, but the bulk of the water will be gone).

When it comes to cushions, however, they’ll need a few hours to dry – preferably in sunlight. It is for this reason that we highly recommend you just store the cushions inside, or undercover as constantly wet cushions can encourage mould growth.

 

Have you been thinking about exposed aggregate driveways lately?

We don’t blame you! If you’re considering upgrading your outdoor furniture, then why not give your front yard a new treat as well and enquire about an exposed aggregate driveway. Here at A Better Driveway, we specialise in exposed aggregate driveways and paths (so you can lay down a great base for your backyard and driveway – taking care of two tasks at once) and will guarantee a premium job with a fast turnaround.

If you’d like to know more about our exposed aggregate driveways or paths, then please get in touch with us by filling out the contact form on our website or by calling (03) 9308 6112.

How Coloured Concrete Can Improve Your Kerb Appeal (And Much More)

Some people really care and put a lot of effort into their home’s kerb appeal. They’ll install bold fences or plant luscious gardens – it can be a way for people to express themselves. A coloured concrete driveway – or even just a pathway for that matter – is one of the best things you can do to complement the rest of your home and improve your kerb appeal. Why? The reasoning awaits in today’s blog.

 

Who doesn’t love a splash of colour?

Depending on the exterior of your home, you have the unique opportunity to perfectly match – or even contrast – your concrete driveway and paths with just the right colour. This can also be done with the plants or fencing you select. These colours will be emphasised when the sunlight shines on them and during the gloomier days, they’ll still work wonders and give you some nice, muted tones – especially if you opt for some cooler varieties.

 

Stains begone!

When it comes to stock-standard grey concrete, things like tyre treads, oil marks and other types of stains are pretty visible and require extra work to remove. If you opt for a darker colour for your concrete, however, then stains are less likely to be visible – which means you won’t have to stress about trying to remove them straight away (though you should clean it sooner rather than later). As a bonus, due to the methods used, coloured concrete tends to be quite a durable and stain-resistant material. So, not only will any stains be harder to see – but they’re also less likely to damage your concrete which will save you money on maintenance down the track.

 

It’ll increase value

As coloured concrete is such an attractive and practical option, it will also work to increase your home’s value if you ever look to sell. Any potential buyers will be blown away by the distinctiveness of the coloured concrete as well as its other benefits. Concrete as a whole is quite a lot more durable compared to asphalt, for example, which means it can withstand heavier vehicles being parked on it. It also doesn’t absorb as much heat from the sun which is a handy benefit in summer. It requires minimal maintenance and will last a long time. On top of its gorgeous physical aesthetic, this makes coloured concrete a hard feature to overlook regarding a property’s value.

Coloured concrete enhances your mood

Have you ever noticed how some colours affect your mood in specific ways? Has the colour blue ever made you feel relaxed and calm but on some other occasions made you feel sad? Colours can affect our mood with cool colours such as blue and green generally evoking relaxing feelings from us or even sad ones (hence why the music genre is called the blues). Warm colours, such as red or orange, can evoke feelings ranging from comfort and happiness all the way to anger and hate depending on the hues and other elements.

With this in mind, colouring your driveway a bold orange can help you feel more comfortable if the weather isn’t so great – like on a rainy day for example – as well as enhance your feeling on a sunny day. The ideal placement of it also means that you can start your day and end it comfortably – especially if you’ve had a tough day.

 

Are you looking for a coloured concrete driveway?

When it comes to driveways, there’s no better choice than A Better Driveway. We take the utmost pride in our work and ensure that we deliver a premium service to you – in both our product and customer service. We’ll work around your schedule to ensure your daily schedule is minimally impacted whilst still delivering quality craftsmanship.

Our expert concreters can offer you a staggering variety of colours to choose from and will make sure your new driveway lives up to the durable and colourful end-product you’ve read about in today’s blog. We’re also able to provide fantastic options for both textured concrete and exposed aggregate options.

So, if you’re interested in chatting to our specialists about a quote or would just like to know what we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to call us on (03) 9308 6112 or fill out the contact form on our website.

Your Ultimate Guide To Pergola’s

Here at A Better Driveway, we know the ins and outs of what makes the perfect concrete driveway in Melbourne – but that’s not where our expertise end. We also love giving advice when it comes to yard renovations and accessories – which is why for today’s blog we’re going to be presenting you with all the information you’ll need to know to purchase or build your own pergola. And, with so many different shapes, sizes and designs to choose from – we know you’re going to be itching to get out there and get one yourself.

 

The basics

Pergola’s can simultaneously act as fantastic conversion pieces as well as practical additions to any front or backyard. A typical pergola is supported by four posts at each corner and will feature an uncovered roof with beams going across it which in sunny conditions can cast great shadows below. The best part is you can turn your pergola into anything you want – it can be a simple wooden structure with a grass or concrete floor, or you can turn it into a comprehensive structure with a marble floor that connects to your home.

 

What can I use it for?

Pergola’s are great for lounging under since some have open roofs – you can place a banana lounge or two underneath and relax in the sun. If you’re looking for a wider use, then you can place a dining table or even a ping pong table. Think of it as a miniature outdoor room – which could act as a living room or dining room for example. Depending on the size it can become a really versatile space that you’ll use a lot more than you realise.

 

Do I need to get a permit to have one?

According to the Victorian Building Authority, a Pergola is defined by being “an open structure that is unroofed but may have a covering of open weave permeable material”. In this case, you do not need a permit provided it:

  • Occupies less than 20m2 of floor size;
  • Is no taller than 3.6m; and
  • Is no further than 2.5m in front of the front wall of your home (this last rule would only apply to front yard pergola’s.)

When it comes to close-roofed pergola’s then the game changes and you’ll most likely need a building permit – especially if you’re thinking of making it quite grandiose. However, if what your planning falls into the above guidelines then you won’t need to bother with a permit and, if you’ve got something pretty lowkey in mind, you might want to even consider building it yourself.

 

Building your own

  1. The first thing you’ll want to do is find a location to build on. Since you’ll be putting the supports into the ground you should check (before you do any digging) to ensure there are no plumbing, gas or electrical pipes beneath where you’re planning to build.
  2. Gather the appropriate materials – you’ll basically be needing a fair bit of timber (the exact amount will depend on the dimensions you choose so measure before you buy) in addition to:
    • Concrete;
    • A circular saw;
    • A hand saw;
    • PPE equipment;
    • A hammer;
    • A drill;
    • A ladder;
    • Screws; and
    • A shovel.
  3. If you’re looking to paint and/or treat the timber, then now is the perfect time to do it. You should also cut your support posts appropriately. Remember to cut the tops on an angle so when you lay the top beams across them, they can fit snuggly.
  4. Dig four holes at each corner of the site, place your support posts in there and fill them up with concrete.
  5. Place and drill your four roof beams in position – connecting each post – and then measure, mark and cut the rest of the roof beams and drill them into position – completing your pergola. You can also use a crisscrossed wooden fence piece to place on the roof if you so choose.

 

Are you looking for concrete driveway services in Melbourne?

A Better Driveway is the best place for any concrete driveway in Melbourne. We can provide high calibre exposed aggregate, coloured concrete and textured concrete solutions and will work with you to find a combination that best fits your needs.

Interested in knowing more? Get in touch with our concrete driveway experts by filling out the contact sheet on our website or by calling (03) 9308 6112.

Constructing The Perfect Patio For Your Home

Patios are brilliant additions to any home – whether it be the front or backyard. They’re gorgeous design pieces that also happen to be very practical. Each home deserves the best patio that suits the overall vibe of the home. If you play your cards right, you can even blend it with your driveway in Melbourne as well as your home. In a past blog, we looked at four specific types of patios, but today we’re going to be highlighting several elements that you should consider when looking at designing a patio for your home.

 

Planning its breadth

How big is the patio going to be? Will it lead up to your door or will it reside on the ground level? These are crucial design questions that will help shape the look of your patio. If you’re laying one in the backyard, then you might be wanting to extend it further out and create an outdoor entertainment area or living room.

This can open up a range of opportunities in terms of lounges, seating and cooking appliances. Another thing to remember about backyard patios is that they don’t necessarily have to be connected to your house. If you have space, then they can be a bit further out in your yard.

Front yard patios are generally a few steps more elevated, but it really depends on what you’re looking for and if it would suit your house. Obviously, this is a much better option for homes whose foundations are raised. Front yard patios can either be quite small and brief – with room for only a single pot plant – or, they can be a bit larger with room for a couple of chairs.

 

Picking the material

Patios generally match the material of your home – so if it’s a weatherboard home then wooden planks would make up the patio with either the same or contrasting colour. This doesn’t always have to be the case, however. Regardless of what material your house is made from – whether it be weatherboard or double brick – a solid concrete patio will always look great.

Why is this? Because there are so many different options for you to choose from, whether it be exposed aggregate (a popular choice for many paths, patios and driveways in Melbourne) or textured concrete. Adding slate tiles is also another way to distinguish your patio and really make it stand-out. If you’re opting for a tiled patio, then patterned and decorative tiles are also possibilities that could really give your home a rustic and classic charm.

 

Furnishings and details

Backyard patios can have a lot of options when it comes to filling out space – especially since they can be placed anywhere in your backyard. You can install an entire outdoor kitchen with a nice dining table and outdoor fireplace. If you’re looking for something a bit more lowkey then a ping-pong table with some chairs and lounges are also great ideas – and don’t forget to install or place some Bluetooth speakers around for extra entertainment.

Front yard patios tend to be a little more limited due to their size but can still hold a couple of chairs or small lounges as well as a small table. These can be great as some people prefer relaxing in their front yard as opposed to the back. Another feature that applies to all types of patios is if the supporting columns are going to be decorative or just plain.

 

Coverings

It’s not compulsory for patios to be undercover and sometimes having uncovered ones can be fantastic – especially in the summertime. But putting up a cover – either temporary or permanent – can also lead to a lot more opportunities when it comes to furnishings and appliances. A unique idea would be (if the patio is connected to your home) to put some glass skylights in that way you can let the light shine through in some instances. You can also opt for a pergola if your patio is detached from your home.

 

Are you looking for a driveway in Melbourne?

A Better Driveway can offer premium driveway and concreting solutions in Melbourne including patio construction. We’ve had experience dealing with patio projects and can help you plan and implement the best patio for your home.

If you’d like to get in touch with our Melbourne-based driveway experts to discuss some of our concreting services, then please contact us via the enquiry form on our website or call (03) 9308 6112.

The Ultimate Bonsai Tree Maintenance Guide

A few months ago our experts wrote a guide on crafting your own bonsai garden. Well, for today’s blog we’re going to be taking a short break from what to do with your concrete driveway in Melbourne. Instead, we’re going to be scaling it down and looking at some major factors that are involved in maintaining a bonsai tree. Quarantine is the perfect time to care for a bonsai since you’ll be home all the time and can give it the nurturing care and love that it needs to thrive.

 

Pruning

The reason we prune bonsai trees is so that they can maintain their shape. The majority of growth will be on top of the bonsai as well as the outer parts, which means these are the areas you’re going to want to concentrate on pruning to refine the shape as well as make way for the new growth.

Regular pruning is encouraged as it will drive your bonsai to distribute even growth. Any type of branch or shoot that seems to have outgrown the overall shape of the bonsai should be targeted. Bonsai can be pruned at any time but should especially be pruned during their growing season.

 

Watering

Watering your bonsai tree is a crucial part of keeping it alive – but it can get a little tricky since every type of bonsai has its own watering requirements. That being said, there are a few factors that should be considered that can help you water your bonsai tree efficiently. For starters, there’s no need to adhere to a watering schedule – in fact, it’s much better if you water it at abnormal times and only when it needs it.

How do you know if your bonsai needs to be watered? The soil shouldn’t still be wet – it should be dry at least one centimetre below the soil before you should consider watering it again. Bonsai require thorough soakings, so the entire root system is appropriately wetted. If you can – use harvested rainwater as its lack of chemicals makes it ideal to use (but tap water is still appropriate).

 

Soil mixture

The nutrients the soil will provide your bonsai trees is paramount to it thriving. A good soil mixture must provide sufficient aeration, be able to drain properly and also retain water effectively. There are five common components used in bonsai soil mixture (the first three are more common than the last two, however):

 

Pumice – This soft volcanic product can efficiently absorb nutrients and water (as well as helping to retain water) when used as a bonsai soil mixture.

Lava rock – Whilst roots can’t grow into lava rock, it does retain water and add fantastic structure to the bonsai.

Akadama – Made to be used specifically for Bonsais, Akadama is a hard-baked Japanese clay that should be sifted before use. It lasts around two years – at which point the bonsai should be repotted as aeration quality is reduced.

Fine gravel – Fine gravel can act as the bottom layer of the mixture to enhance drainage and also just generally create a more aerated bonsai soil mix.

Organic potting compost – On its own, this ingredient won’t do much good but combined with the above elements it can yield great results.

 

Whilst each type of tree will require its own mixture –two general mixes can be used for Deciduous and Coniferous/Pine bonsais. More Akadama should be added if you’re unable to regularly check your bonsai – to improve its water retention.

 

Deciduous:

50% Akadama

25% Pumice

25% Lava rock

 

Coniferous/Pine:

33% Akadama

33% Pumice

33% Lava rock

 

Fertilisation

Because Bonsai are planted in small pots – their roots are unable to branch out and search for more nutrients as a normal plant would. This is why regular fertilisation is key to a bonsai’s growth season. This is the only way they’re able to replenish their nutrients. As a general rule – our Melbourne-based driveway experts recommend fertilising your bonsai regularly throughout its growing season.

 

Are you looking for a new driveway in Melbourne?

Caring for a bonsai is no simple task and takes a lot of dedication and maintenance – but once you get used to it you can become a bonsai master in no time. A Better Driveway is still operating during the quarantine and can provide you with high-quality concrete driveway solutions in Melbourne – whether they are exposed aggregate, coloured or textured concrete patterns.

If you require a new driveway in Melbourne, then please get in touch with us by calling (03) 9308 6112 or filling out the contact sheet on our website.

5 Ways Your Children Can Enjoy Your Concrete Driveway

Our experts know that a concrete driveway in Melbourne is more than just a driveway – it’s a multipurpose tool, a landscape and a setting where the imagination of a child can run rampant. That’s why we thought we’d highlight five fun activities that your child can do on your concrete driveway. This will help encourage them to get outside during quarantine (as well as when it’s over) without having to stray too far from your home. Let’s jump right in!

 

1.     Hopscotch

A simple and timeless game – hopscotch can be host to hours of entertainment for kids and adults alike. Draw the course on your concrete using chalk (which can be washed off later using cleaning liquids and some elbow grease) or with some masking tape.

The course will range from 1 – 10 with two/three, four/five and seven/eight traditionally being jump squares that are beside each other (though this can be modified to suit your own variation). The rules to traditional hopscotch are simple:

  • Throw a marker (this could be a stone, stick or a small beanbag, for example) into the first square (if it lands on the outside or on a line you lose a turn).
  • Skip over the first square that your marker is in and hop/jump your way through the course – turning around and coming back when you reach the end.
  • When you reach the square with your marker in it then pick it up and hand it to the next player.
  • On your next turn, throw the marker onto the second square and then every square each turn after that.
  • The first person to finish the entire course with the marker having been on each square and without falling outside of the lines wins.

 

2.     Down ball

Often referred to as four square or two square (depending on how many players there are) – this game can be great because it also increases hand and eye coordination. Simply draw two squares next to each other (or a 2×2 grid for foursquare). The goal of the game is to bounce the ball more than once in your opponent’s square.

You have to bounce the ball in your square once before it can bounce in your opponent’s square. You can also play a variation with a wall as well where you’ll have to bounce it in your square and off a wall before it can land in your opponent’s square.

 

3.     Checkers

We recommend using tape for this one as there would be a fair bit of chalk involved in making a checkers board on your concrete driveway in Melbourne. Use small stones from the garden or bottlecaps for the pieces.  You can teach them how to play the game and can make it more exciting by roleplaying and making the pieces come to life. This will encourage children to use their minds and formulate strategies as well as having loads of fun outside.

 

4.     Snakes and Ladders

Blow up the board game to a larger scale outside where the kids can use themselves as players on the board. You can get pretty creative with illustrations as well to make it more fun and also let the kids add their own illustrations and art to the mix. The rules are the same as they are on the board game edition – just be sure to avoid those snakes.

 

5.     Lemonade stand

As long as they’re supervised, letting your kids make a lemonade stand on your concrete driveway can be great fun for them and also help to lift others’ spirits who are walking past. Since the quarantine, a lot of people have been occupying their time by walking around their neighbourhood which is another reason this stand is so perfect. You can set up a hand sanitising station as well on the side of the stand to encourage good hygiene. This is also a good way to teach your kids about the importance of hygiene (as well as finding that perfect lemonade recipe).

 

Looking for a new concrete driveway in Melbourne?

It’s still business as usual here at A Better Driveway so whether you’re looking for an exposed aggregate,coloured or textured concrete driveway – our experts can deliver quality solutions to you. Does your driveway just need a revamp? We can also take care of resealing and any maintenance services you may require.

If you’re interested in getting in touch with our concrete driveway experts in Melbourne, then please give us a call on (03) 9308 6112 or fill out the contact sheet on our website.

How To Prepare Meals Fresh From Your Garden

Being in quarantine, it can be difficult to decide what to eat and it’s easy to fall into the trap of ordering takeaway constantly. That isn’t always healthy, though, and it can get quite expensive. That’s why our exposed aggregate driveway specialists have decided to create this guide to help you prepare meals using the ingredients from your garden.

Using healthy, fresh ingredients you can really craft some delicious and very tasty dishes. You’ll also have plenty of time to experiment with different recipes and techniques to find your favourite meals and that perfect balance. Let’s take a look at some ways you can tackle this process to ensure you get the most out of your ingredients.

Growing a wide variety

For starters, you’re going to want to make sure you have a wide variety of vegetables and herbs growing in your garden – there’s no point just growing potatoes (unless you enjoy eating a lot of chips). By growing different varieties, you can ensure you’ll have plenty of different ingredients – giving you the versatility to make several different types of dishes.

It’s important to grow herbs as well, as seasoning is such a crucial part of meals – but is often overlooked when it comes to growing them fresh in your garden. If you have an affinity towards a certain dish or food, then grow more of that. It’s important to play to your strengths and be smart about what you want to grow so you can benefit the most from it.

 

Cleaning for cooking

Once you’ve harvested your vegetables and/or herbs from the garden you’re going to need to give them a thorough washing before using them at all. This is to get rid of any bacteria that the soil might have in it. With the herbs, submerge them in a deep bowl full of cold water and stir them around. After you’ve stirred them, leave them in for a few moments to soak before removing them.

Vegetables can be washed the same way as well as just under the tap. It depends on the vegetable and how hard it is as you don’t want to put a more fragile vegetable under a high-pressured tap. Adding half a cup of distilled vinegar to each cup of water will also help remove bacteria when submerging in a bowl.

 

Embrace all types of food and recipes

You won’t always be able to eat your favourite meal – especially not during the quarantine. Our exposed aggregate driveway experts believe that keeping an open mind when it comes to food and meals is key to tackling the quarantine. Just because a meal is simple, though, doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. Meals that you can prepare quickly are handy to know not just for now but in the future as well.

There might be some foods that you never thought you’d warm up to but are base ingredients in several dishes – which means you might have to just give it a try. Who knows, you might actually like it. This is a good way to try new things that you may never have considered prior. You can find some great recipes on this website.

 

Preserving and storing

You must learn about each vegetable or herb in your garden and how to store them properly. This is a very important element as when you harvest your garden, you’ll most likely be harvesting more than you’ll need for a single night’s worth of meals. Since there’s no point wasting food, you’ll have to store the rest. Some items can be stored relatively easily but others may need a bit of extra care.

You can also turn some items into relishes or sauces – there may be hidden potential with some foods or herbs that are worth exploring for different takes on them. Relishes, pastes and sauces can be stored easily in little jars.

 

Do you need an exposed aggregate driveway built?

A Better Driveway’s specialists are the people to call if you want a quality and efficiently crafted exposed aggregate driveway in Melbourne. Our solutions are second to none and since construction has been deemed an essential service – we’re still able to deliver these solutions through the quarantine. Pick from an extensive range of colours and aggregates to ensure you get the perfect exposed aggregate driveway you want for your home.

If you’d like to get in touch with us to discuss our services, then please contact us via the form on our website or give us a call on (03) 9308 6112.

A Better Driveway’s Quarantine Survival Guide (5 Things To Do In The Yard)

We’ve seen a pretty drastic change in the world in a short period of time and it’s taken a lot of us by surprise. As new lockdown rules are being put in place – a lot of people are starting to stick to their homes and yard. But just because you can’t go out, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some fun and productive activities. Melbourne’s exposed aggregate experts are here to give you five things you can do in your yard that won’t require much travel. Welcome to A Better Driveway’s Quarantine Survival Guide.

 

1.    Pruning

Now is a great time to get outside and maintain those trees and plants that you’ve been too busy to care for during the year. By pruning, you encourage healthy and proper growth of your plants. Each plant is different so you’re going to want to make sure you check out your specific one to know when and how to prune. In addition to encouraging better growth and flowering – is shapes them to look fantastic as well.

 

2.    Sweep your driveway

Whilst this may seem like a dull task it’s actually quite important – especially since we’re in Autumn. The pigments from falling leaves can stain your exposed aggregate driveway so it’s important to maintain it by sweeping regularly. Any loose aggregates or other materials should also be kept off of it when possible to avoid build-ups and long-term damage from occurring. Since you’ll predominantly be at home, now is the perfect time to maintain your exposed aggregate driveway in Melbourne.

 

3.    Landscaping

You can plan and enact to the best of your abilities, a backyard landscape project during your quarantine. You may not be able to complete the whole thing if you’re missing certain tools but if you have a tape measure and a shovel then you can achieve a lot more than you think.

You can perform edging with a shovel and then measure the areas you’ll want to add furnishings and other features to with the tape measure. Sketch the layout on a piece of paper along with the measurements and the list of other things you may need so you don’t forget. This way, you know what you need when the lockdown is over.

 

4.    Deadwooding

This is a technique where you essentially cut off all the deadwood from a tree – whether they be small twigs or large branches. This can happen if a tree only receives sunlight on one side constantly whilst the other side is neglected due to an obstruction, for example.

The reason we deadwood is because it looks nicer, but it also mitigates accidents from occurring – as the dead branches will eventually fall off and could injure people walking beneath it in unlucky circumstances. Larger branches could also be taken off during harsher weather and damage property. Pests are likely to be attracted to the dead and rotting branches as well.

 

5.    Questagame

Questagame is a mobile application that encourages outside exploration and learning by sighting different species of wildlife. This can be anything from a butterfly to an ant – just take a photo with your phone and learn about the species. You can compare your stats with people all around the globe and the results are shared with CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia as well as Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

Through this, experts can better understand how to adapt to protect our world’s biodiversity. So, not only are you getting outdoors and seeing wildlife in a different light, but you’re also actively contributing to the bettering of our world’s understanding and protection of biodiversity. Whilst you may be a bit limited in your yard – it’s still as good a place to start than any.

 

Looking to put in an exposed aggregate driveway?

A Better Driveway has not ceased their services at this point and is still able to deliver efficient and quality exposed aggregate solutions in Melbourne. We have extensive experience with concrete driveways and can help you to match yours perfectly to the rest of your home – whether you’re rejuvenating an old one or after a completely new one – our Melbourne contractors can get the job done. We also offer coloured and texturedconcreting solutions.

If you’d like to get in touch with us to organise a quote for an exposed aggregate driveway, then please feel free to contact us through our website or call (03) 9308 6112.

5 Seeds To Plant In Autumn

With the summer season finished up, it’s time for the cool change that autumn (usually) brings. Our Melbourne-based exposed aggregate experts thought they’d continue their theme of sustainability with a blog that looks at five vegetables you can plant this season that’ll be ready for winter harvesting and beyond – let’s dive right in!

1.    Peas

Peas are especially great to plant if you have limited space available in your garden. Growing vertically up a trellis, peas are fantastic for both autumn and winter and are also easy to pick – requiring only 70-80 days to grow. Plant the seeds 3-5cm deep and 80-90cm apart (if they’ll be climbing high – lower growing peas only require 40-50cm of separation). Water them sufficiently when you plant them but then hold off until they’ve germinated.

Remember, there are several types of peas so you’ll want to find the right fit for your garden as telephone peas, for example, can grow up to 160cm tall – so if that’s going to be too tall for you then we’d recommend another variety such as honeypod peas. As an added bonus, because peas are legumes, they’ll deposit nitrogen into the soil which is a fantastic nutrient.

 

2.    Garlic

Now, garlic will take a lot longer to grow than peas will (approximately seven-eight months), but Autumn is definitely the best time to plant them. Take a garlic bulb and separate it into cloves – each clove will be planted individually 5cm deep and around 15-20cm apart. Large cloves should be used for planting. If you use smaller, fragile cloves then you’re less likely to achieve a good result.

During its long growth period, ensure that the soil is moist and if rainfall is scarce during winter then you may have to intervene. You’ll know when it’s time to harvest as the leaves will begin to turn brown. Gently remove the garlic from the ground by lifting it and leave it in the sun for the soil to dry – making it easier to remove later.

 

3.    Broad beans

Often heralded as one of the easiest plants you could grow in your veggie patch – broad beans are ideally planted around March and May and will be ready for a spring harvest in Melbourne. Sow the seeds 3cm below the soil and approximately 10-15cm apart. Broad beans should be supported by loose string and also protected from the wind.

When harvesting, check the bottom of the pods as those are the beans that will ripen first. The pods themselves will have grown to approximately 6-8cm long. A handy trick is to leave some of the pods on the plant – that way they can dry out and you can use them to plant again the following year.

 

4.    Broccoli

Broccoli loves the cold – which means it’s great for growing during winter. With broccoli seeds, you’re going to want to sow them 1cm deep and it’s best to get them done in March rather than any later in the season. The trick with broccoli seeds is to plant them in a tray or pot for the first month and ensure they receive enough light. Migrate them into your veggie patch when they start to become noticeably larger.

Always ensure the soil is moist. During winter, they should generally be fine but be sure to keep an eye on them in case the soil does dry out. Because broccoli is a hungry vegetable – you’ll need to feed it regularly with things like compost and organic fertiliser. Once the head forms – which is generally between 12–16 weeks (but can be up to 20 in colder climates) – it is ready to be harvested.

 

5.    Beetroot

With only a three-month cycle – beetroots are definitely hot vegetables to grow during autumn, and with high doses of iron and vitamin A & C, it’s no wonder they’re so popular. They’ll need at least four hours of sun a day – so you’re going to want to organise your veggie patch accordingly. A benefit of planting these in Autumn is that the cool soil will make them tender and sweet.

Sow them 1cm deep and 5cm apart and ensure they’re watered frequently. Start harvesting them when they’re around 3-5cm wide as this is generally when they’re at their sweetest. The beetroot’s leaves can be picked and used for salads from around six weeks in.

 

Interested in exposed aggregate solutions in Melbourne?

Now that you know what vegetables work well in autumn, it’s time to match your patch with a fantastic exposed aggregate driveway. Our Melbourne-based exposed aggregate experts are guaranteed to provide you with top-notch concreting solutions for whatever your application may be.

If you’d like to get in touch with our Melbourne experts to discuss exposed aggregate solutions for your property, then please give us a call on (03) 9308 6112. You may also contact us via the enquiry form on our website.

Garden Trends for 2020 (What We Predict)

We love the ever-changing landscape of what’s trending in the gardening world. With the human mind at the helm, you never know what sort of design or aesthetic is going to take-off next. In today’s blog, we’re going to explain what we think our predictions are for garden trends this year and how some of the designs match exposed aggregate driveways or paths.

Big emphasis on sustainability

We mentioned in our last blog that sustainability is the way of the future – and it’s true. We think (and hope) that more people will be looking to establish a sustainable garden – especially the younger generations. This can be through a vegetable patch or even just by employing more organic gardening methods in general. There are many benefits to something like a veggie patch, for example, such as saving money and promoting a healthier lifestyle. Next time you look at redesigning your garden – consider a more sustainable approach to things.

 

Turn your garden into a retreat

Everyone loves to feel like they’re on holidays – which is why we’ve got a good feeling about this prediction. Think of exotic and unusual plants and flowers that will make your garden feel a little less like home and more like a getaway. Of course, it’s not just the plants, but the arrangements as well.

Structure and plant them in unique and creative ways instead of uniform, generic garden beds. If you want to do something really special, then you can border your exposed aggregate driveway with tall exotic plants, so they surround you every time you drive into your property.

 

Carefully crafted outdoor living spaces

The outdoor living room is nothing new, but we feel like more people are starting to look for more quality products nowadays – and that might reflect in this year’s garden trends. Stone tables and high-quality furnishings that are made as well as they look. This will be fantastic and encourage more outdoor time throughout the year.

This may also prompt you to update your outdoor coverings as well, making it possible to relax outdoors during the rainier weather. Once you have a solid outdoor living area, the possibilities are endless with what you can do. You could install an outdoor fireplace or even a second kitchen.

 

A succulent garden

The last few years have seen a rise in the popularity of succulents – and we don’t believe that will slow down anytime in 2020. A succulent is a type of plant that is usually quite thick – the easiest example of a succulent would be cacti. They’re thick because they’re able to retain water and moisture quite well. They should be watered roughly around once a week where you should soak the soil quite thoroughly.

Succulents commonly come as small pot plants and can be arranged creatively in your garden by hanging them from rope or chains – suspending them above – or even by creating a dedicated succulent rack. Succulent racks – and small pot plant racks in general – are pretty popular already so we think people might be favouring the more vertical option of the two – adding a dynamic layer to your garden.

 

Bordering your driveway

People are always looking for more ways to spice up their lives and the things in it – and exposed aggregate driveways are no exception. Bordering your driveway is nothing new, but this year we might see an increase in stone and rock borders. Instead of leafy green patches – pebbles with larger rocks placed throughout the bordering beds may take the spotlight.

At the end of the day, Australia is predominantly a desolate and dry country – so having a border like this is not entirely out of character. It’s also a lot easier to maintain. You can even plant succulents around it if you’d like.

 

Interested in exposed aggregate driveways?

We think 2020 is going to be a great year for garden design and can’t wait to see some of these predictions come to life. If you’re looking at replacing your driveway – or need a new one – and aren’t sure what material to choose, then A Better Driveway can help you sort that out.

Exposed aggregate driveways are unique, durable, slip-resistant and look fantastic. With an endless amount of combinations to choose from, exposed aggregate driveways are versatile and can suit any home. There are no better experts to bring your driveway dream to life than those at A Better Driveway.

If you’d like to know more about our concrete driveway services, then please get in touch with us by calling (03) 9308 6112. You can also contact us by filling out the enquiry sheet on our website.