Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

The 50 best garden gear

Concrete Chesterfield
Sums up the fashion for taking the indoors out. Made from concrete, this is a perfect replica, right down to the concrete coins down the back. It's surprisingly comfortable and obviously won't mind the weather.
Where Selfridges (020-7318 3791; www.indian-ocean.co.uk) 
How much £4,000
Concrete Chesterfield
Sums up the fashion for taking the indoors out. Made from concrete, this is a perfect replica, right down to the concrete coins down the back. It's surprisingly comfortable and obviously won't mind the weather.
Where Selfridges (020-7318 3791; www.indian-ocean.co.uk)
How much £4,000
Toucan Watering Can
Yes, it's useful but also a lovely piece of decoration too. This bird's made from iron so can live outside although it's not very large so if you actually want it for watering not just decoration then it's probably better suited to a balcony.
Where 00800 00268476; www.anthropologie.co.uk
How much £48
Living Larder Small Vegetable Garden
Perfect for the balcony or small garden, this pretty table takes the back-breaking element out of gardening and, if it's outside the kitchen door, is perfect for gathering a few fresh salad leaves or herbs for that night's dinner. There's a large one too and it's snail proof.
Where 01892 861202; www.sparrowandfinch.co.uk
How much £149.95
BillyOh Vertical Storage Shelf
Metal can be sharp, wood gives splinters, but these plastic shelves are light and easy to clean. Fix to the wall or stack on the floor and choose from either two, four or five shelves. Not beautiful but very useful.
Where www.garden buildingsdirect.co.uk
How much from £29
Bypass Secateur
Burgon and Ball has been making garden tools since 1730 so it's safe to assume it knows what it's doing. Its products regularly win awards so if you're starting from scratch or need to replace old gear, this is a good place to come. These come with a replacement blade and a spare spring.
Where 0114-233 8262; www.burgonandball.com
How much £16.95
Bamboo and Lacquer Stool
This will brighten up a garden on a dull day. As well as vibrant passion fruit purple it comes in sunshine, coral and ocean. As it's bamboo, it's incredibly light for moving around and just needs wiping with a soft cloth.
Where 0845 6021073; www.houseoffraser.co.uk
How much £40
Action Glastonbury Tower Climbing Frame
If you get a wooden climbing frame with a small house then your children more tempted to keep using it when they've grown out of the slide.
Where www.outdoortoysworld.co.uk
How much £578.99
Sneerboer Ladies' Long Narrow Spade
Yes, the boys can use it too but the point is the longer handle saves backache while the smaller spade is good for densely planted borders, veg patches and confined spaces.
Where 0845 402 5300; harrodhorticultural.com
How much £66.95
Home Allotment Salad and Herb Planter
These planters have four pockets (the top three help water the bottom one) and will take up to 16 herb or salad plants. Fill a wall and mix up flowers, herbs and salad for a really pretty effect.
Where 01993 823117; www.burford.co.uk
How much £8.50
Wire Storage Basket
Spacious baskets that will hold all manner of garden paraphernalia from string and secateurs to packets of seeds and gloves. You can arrange tidily or chuck it all in as you will be able to see what's what through the mesh.
Where 0844 573 8644; www.worm.co.uk
How much £19.95
Solvinden Solar Power Table Lamp
A budget-priced lamp that comes in black, white, lime or turquoise for the table, or you can hang the pendant version from a tree.
Where 0845 355 1140; www.ikea.com
How much £22.46
10ft Telstar Jump Capsule
You can buy trampolines more cheaply than this but this has a strong frame supporting the safety net and isn't as high as many other makes, so it will be less obtrusive in your garden.
Where 01245 362704; www.telstartrampolines.co.uk
How much £329
Foldaway Wheelbarrow
It's not the largest barrow you will find, but it's extremely light, which is good if you have to fill it with heavy things. And when you're done with it, it folds up flat, which makes it easy to store.
Where 015394 88100; www.lakeland.co.uk
How much £31.49
Blofield Inflatable Armchair
If the concrete chesterfield is too pricey but you like the look, then this tough PVC vinyl one might be the answer. You'll need an electric pump for it but it's probably more comfortable.
Where 020-7692 4001; www.madeindesign.co.uk
How much £371
Blue/Black Ribbed Cylinder
B&Q has a large selection of planters at good prices. Comes in three sizes and would contrast well with a white or terracotta pot in the arrangement.
Where 0845 609 6688; www.diy.com
How much £10, £15, £25
Sannox Two-Seat Garden Storage Bench
Made from acacia, which will happily sit outdoors, this bench provides a handy seat and will store the cushions from other chairs.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £149
Grow Bag Covers
Covering up plastic grow bags with a hessian sack will make them much more presentable and will add to the look of the deck or garden
Where 0845 130 6622; www.grahamandgreen.co.uk
How much £13 a pair
Not Just Cricket
This set includes a football and pump, cricket and badminton set and comes in a canvas carrying bag so it's easy to take to the park.
Where 020-8487 0011; www.thegardengame.co.uk
How much £47.99
Recycled Leather Garden Kneeler
Sooner or later, this gardening lark is going to require you kneeling down to get at those pesky weeds. You'll need this.
Where 0845 259 1359; www.notonthehighstreet.com
How much £29.95
Barrel Seat
Based on the shape of a traditional beer barrel, this is light to carry and has an easy-to-grab handle at the back. It's also the right height to pull up to a table.
Where 0845 608 4448; www.gardentrading.co.uk
How much £145
Regent Bower
Even the most ardent sun worshipper needs shade sometimes. This will look gorgeous covered in flowering foliage and there's room for a bench or little bistro table and chairs. Perfect for lunch à deux.
Where01536 510500; www.gapgardenproducts.com
How much £284.94
Cushion Storage Bag
These large bags don't have to just be for the cushions. You can chuck all manner of stuff in as they are weatherproof and strong, which means you can leave them out overnight or store them in the shed over the winter.
Where 01827 702240; www.gardenoasis.co.uk
How much £13.95
Finesse Artificial Lawn
Let's face it, most lawns are either a sea of mud or a dried up desert. So try a fake one. Perfect for children's footy, soft to walk on, no mud in the house, no watering. It's pet friendly too.
Where 01635 349000; www.perfectlawn.org.uk
How much £45 per square metre supplied and installed
Imagine a Treehouse
This is the blow-the-budget option but who hasn't fantasised about a wonderful treehouse? Dream up your own treehouse and these people will make it for you. Simple as that.
Where 07956 22550; www.treehouselife.co.uk
How much from £5,000 to around £30,000
Large Potting Bench
This zinc-topped table will fit in either a shed or a conservatory and with the shelves underneath and the draws will keep eveything to hand that you need to spend a happy morning potting up some seedlings.
Where 0845 608 4448; www.gardentrading.co.uk
How much £200
Blooming Bench
A wooden bench that has an integrated self-watering pot for year-round use. Fill with lavender for a scented sit down or herbs for something more practical. Or change according to the seasons.
Where 01488 608020; www.benchmarkfurniture.com
How much £385
Timber Raised Bed Kit
A raised bed will reduce the amounts of weeds you get and will also be too high up for even the most determined slug to get too.
Where 0845 4025300; www.harrodhorticultural.com
How much £176 for the starter kit
Jinka Storage Stack
Made from mango wood, this shelf unit will sit in the shed or kitchen and hold everything from fruit and veg to small tools and gardening gloves. The price is for one shelf only.
Where 0845 259 1359; www.notonthehighstreet.com
How much £45
Fuego Bio Firelight
Global warming aside, those evenings can still be a bit chilly, so grab a scarf and top up that glass of wine and gaze into the flames of this pretty patio light. Runs on bio-ethanol.
Where 01908 307020; www.panik-design.com
How much £130
Spring Up Goal
Stick up a goalpost in the garden and most children will be happy for hours. This one folds away in seconds and comes with a carry bag so you can easily take it to the park or away on holiday.
Where www.johnlewis.com; 08456 049 049
How much £29.95
The Curious Gardener
If you're new to gardening, this book (by The Independent's gardener in residence Anna Pavord) gives you a monthly to do list for plants, flowers, herbs and veg.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £20
Capri Three Piece Bistro Set
You can imagine lounging around all afternoon on this wicker-effect set with its matching table. Comes with cushions and can be stacked up.
Where 0845 609 6688; www.diy.com
How much £299
Lagoon Planters
This planter will add a dramatic note to the plainest of spaces either grouped in a garden or alone on a balcony.
Where 01759 373839; www.urbisdesign.co.uk
How much £675
Rowlinson Wheelie Bin Store
Whether your bins are in the front or the back garden, they're not adding to the quality of the view so perhaps a cover is in order.
Where 0845 077 8888; www.homebase.co.uk
How much £109
Looking Glass Gate
For anyone who ever loved Alice in Wonderland or The Secret Garden, this wrought iron gate with a mirror hints at hidden places beyond.
Where 0845 259 1359; www.notonthehighstreet.com
How much £265
The Silly Game
Throw the large inflatable dice to find out how many spaces of the course and in which style - leapfrog, wheelbarrow, hop or forward roll among others - to move forward. Play individually or in teams either for children or adults.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £8.99
Tomato Mini Greenhouse
Small enough for a balcony and for those with larger gardens, this is an affordable way to see if you fancy this type of gardening before going to the expense of buying a full-size one. Takes a standard growbag.
Where 0845 345 0728; www.greenfingers.com
How much £19.99
Rondo Garden Daybed
Just imagine... it's weatherproof, it's huge, maintenancefree and there's an optional hood to keep the sun off. Even the cushions are showerproof. Who needs two trees for a hammock when you can have this?
Where 020-7731 9540 ; www.gomodern.co.uk
How much £2,660
Zinc Planters
These dark bronze cylinders are one of around 170 planters stocked by Primrose so there must be something here for everyone. Choose by colour, shape or material and keep going till you run out of space.
Where 0118-945 9999; www.primrose.co.uk
How much from £19.95
Single Door Shed
The most basic shed for storing mowers, tools and other junk you don't want in the house. Many dedicated sheddies pimp theirs to specific requirements. Decide what you want yours to be for and shop accordingly.
Where 0845 609 6688; www.diy.com
How much £399
Large Copper Birdbath
Whether you want to encourage the birds or not, these giant copper flower-like structures will look great dotted around a flower bed and in winter, when it's all a bit dull and dreary.
Where 0777 4444 090; www.londongardentrading.com
How much £22
Compendium of Games
A giant set of five boardgames that they can play outside including draughts, noughts and crosses, snakes and ladders and quoits. Obviously cheaper than buying them individually.
Where 0161-798 7888; www.activetoys.co.uk
How much £20.99
Folding Tool Stool
Lightweight and flat folding, this won't take up much room in the shed and can then be loaded with the tools (and possibly a sandwich) as you set off round the garden. That way you can sit as you go and everything's to hand.
Where www.amazon.co.uk
How much £17.21
Bella Bistro Outdoor Set
Part of a large John Lewis set, this is billed as the balcony set but will co-ordinate with other items, should you suddenly find yourself with more outdoor space.
Where 08456 049049; www.johnlewis.com
How much £199
Terracino Fresco
Sometimes the classic and simple terracotta pot is just the best thing. Group them by size or by shape, add more, take some away.
Where 01892 890353; www.thepotco.com
How much £56 for this design but others start at £2
Shed-Plus Overlap Mower Store
Not everyone has room for a shed so this mower box is another solution for the junk that you don't want on view.
Where 0844 8500 710; www.shedstore.co.uk
How much £119.95
Grande Costanza Open Air Floor Light
Outdoor lighting has become more sophisticated. This is eye-wateringly expensive but it gives you an idea of what is out there.
Where 0114- 2433 0000; www.nest.co.uk
How much £1,441.02
Den Kit
This canvas bag includes a ground sheet, tarpaulin, mallet, tents pegs and rope, not to mention camouflage paint.
Where 07805 863 161; www.flibberty.com
How much £29.99
Weedmaster Plus Gloves
If you want a pair of gloves to protect your hands that are well fitted and, crucially, flexible, then try these. Available in a series of eye-catching bright colours.
Where 0800 085 0005; www.birstall.co.uk
How much £5.99
Southsea Deckchair
You can't beat the quintessential deckchair with its colourful candy stripes. The material is showerproof but it won't want to be left out for days on end.
Where 023 9265 2865; www.deckchairs.co.uk
How much £78

From secateurs to sheds, Kate Watson-Smyth weeds out horticultural essentials

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