DIY disasters

DIY, that classic British pastime. There’s nothing better than working hard on something in your home on a nice relaxing Sunday, then being able to smile proudly the fruits of your hard labour.

Sometimes, though, it is worth getting an expert in to offer a helping hand. Courtesy of the internet and other people’s home disasters, we’ve been able to find a few snaps of eager DIYers who might have benefitted from a little outside assistance…

The Electromaniac

Badly wired doorbell
How to save on electricity bills. Photo courtesy of

We can’t help but wonder what might happen if you’d been caught in the rain… If you’re not so keen on a shock to welcome you home, perhaps you’d be better off looking for a local electrician.

The Elastic Bands Enthusiast

Tap attached with elastic band
Don’t leave the tap running… Photo courtesy of

Let’s face it, if there’s any way of putting that ball of elastic bands sitting on your desk to good use, this isn’t it. If you value being able to turn on your taps, find a plumber here.

The Divorcee

Home repair clock
What’s the time? Time for a new clock. Photo courtesy of Daily Mail

Anyone think this is reminiscent of the German man who cut all his possessions in half when breaking up with his long-term girlfriend? It may be time to invest in a new clock…

The Acupuncturist 

Sustainable gardening…. Photo courtesy of The Daily Mail

Sheer genius or pure laziness? If you’re sprinkler’s on the blink, and you don’t fancy getting this arts and craftsy, you can find sprinkler repair specialists who can help to end your garden drought.

The Tetris Champion

A creative approach, sure… Photo courtesy of

Some blocks were just not meant to fit together – time to find a door fitter.

The Baker

Roof tiling disaster
No one will notice! Photo courtesy of

Note to self, gingerbread houses are not fit for real life purpose. Or is it processed cheese? Either way, find a roofer here.

The Scouts/ Brownies Graduate

Badly fixed wall
How knot to repair your wall…. Photo courtesy of

You spent hours learning how to master the Sheepshank and the Clove Hitch, so damn it, you’re going to find a way to use it! Or, accept that neon blue doesn’t quite match rock red and find yourself a bricklayer.

DIYers, we salute your valiant efforts, but there is no shame in defeat. Some things are simply better left to the professionals.

For more tips and insights, why not check out our other blogs?

Gone with the Wind – how to make the most of your autumn garden

By Andy McIndoe, Gold Medal winning Chelsea designer for the last 22 years

The highlights of the autumn garden are some of the most heart-warming and surprising and can represent a great opportunity for garden projects. Maybe it’s the rich fall colours that seem to glow even on dull days. Or perhaps it’s that lush burst of growth of the grass, encouraged by morning dew and more frequent rainfall. The gardening and landscaping year is far from closing, there’s plenty that you, or your gardener can do to make the most of the season and prepare for the future.

Grass Blades morning dew
Morning dew in the garden

There is a treasure trove of seasonal plant material on sale in garden centres and nurseries. Even if it’s still alive, get rid of summer bedding from those patio containers and pots. There are lots of wonderful autumn and winter container plants that will really brighten up the patio and doorstep: violas, pansies, heathers, heucheras, cyclamen and a host of foliage subjects. Many of these will stay looking good through winter.

There are also all those lovely spring flowering bulbs to plant in preparation for another season. Plant any small bulbs such as snowdrops, iris and fritillaries as soon as possible; they deteriorate quickly if left out of the ground for long. Hold off planting tulips until late autumn as if planted too early they can suffer from frost damage or the disease ‘tulip fire’. Daffodils and narcissi can be planted at any time.

Spring daffodils plant anytime
The signal of springtime!

Leaves are falling, so keep gathering them regularly and do not leave them lying on the grass. It’s best to mow them up with the mower on a high setting if possible. This chops the large ones coarsely and adds a few green grass cuttings that help the composting process. It is certainly much less backbreaking than raking – quicker too – so if you don’t have the right equipment, ask your local lawn care professional for advice.

Remember, if you’re looking for help around the garden, autumn is often the best time for planting trees and shrubs, and can be a good time of year for general garden maintenance, as well as removal projects once barbecue season is over. Some shrubs will give instant impact if planted now and they can also benefit wild birds that visit your garden. Cotoneasters are a great choice – tiny white flowers in spring that attract bees and other pollinators, scarlet berries in autumn and winter that the birds really enjoy. If you are thinking of a planting a tree, think beyond spring blossom. Sorbus and malus both have colourful fruits that provide winter food for birds, if you can tempt them to something organic away from the bird feeder.

Red Pommes of firethorn Pyracantha
Autumn Beauty

If you choose just one shrub to plant it has to be a hydrangea: these have gone from being old fashioned to super-trendy in the past couple of years. They are at their best in autumn when their brighter colours fade to something far more sophisticated and beautiful, before they turn parchment in winter. For flower arrangers this is the time to cut them and dry them to preserve their faded beauty.

Whatever you have planned for your garden, ground preparation and careful planting gives the best results. So fork over the ground and mix in plenty of garden compost or shrub and tree planting compost. analysis of website . Dig a hole that’s plenty deep and wide enough and plant firmly. Always stake and tie any new trees securely.

While summer is unfortunately drawing to a close, this is certainly no time to abandon your garden. Taking care of your garden now will reap rewards all through autumn and winter and give you the chance to play host when others can’t!

Andy McIndoe
Andy McIndoe

Follow @AndyMcIndoe on Twitter for more expert insights.

Andy is MD at Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres, as well as a tutor and blogger at the online gardening school MyGardenSchool.



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How to make the most out of the Summers evenings

Summer – it’s definitely one of the best times of the year. The evenings are longer, the sun is (mostly!) shining and everyone seems to have a spring in their step. Let the good times roll…. for the time being. We’re soon to be faced with the dark, dreary monster that is… WINTER.

When Winter rolls in and you find yourself dreaming about long summer evenings, don’t live in regret having spent your sunnier days curled up re-watching episodes of Breaking Bad on Netflix!

But do you need some inspiration? Don’t fret – Bark have got you covered, with some of the best ideas for Summer evening activities. It’s time to make the most of the season, creating some special memories with your mates along the way.

Park life – Want to boost your mood and physical energy? Then ditch the gym membership and get yourself to the park! Even the experts agree; according to Jo Barton of the University of Essex exercising in the fresh air could be “life-changing”. Yes – life changing! And not only that, exercising in nature also “lifts your mood and boosts your self-esteem”. Still not convinced? Why not bring the world of the gym outside with you by hiring the best personal trainer to put you through your paces? Sign us up – ASAP!

Break a sweat in the great outdoors
Break a sweat in the great outdoors

Awaken your inner adrenaline junkie – Use the Summer to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Why not take a trip to the UK’s first inflatable sports aqua park? Or enrol in Flying Trapeze School? Take the plunge and do something a little different – it will give you something new to chat about in work on Monday!

inflatable aqua park
Take the plunge!

Host a garden party – We’re all for parties at Any old excuse will do! While we’re all too used to partying indoors, Summer gives us an opportunity to take the fun (and the dancing) outside. With the help from a gardener, turn your garden into the perfect party paradise. Simple touches can help set the vibe – be it themed décor to ambient lighting. White holiday lights are perfect for a Summers evening; string them along fences and wrap around small bushes. If you really want to impress your pals, why not hire a bartender to keep the drinks flowing all evening? It’ll be the party your neighbours wish they had organised…

Garden party
Make your neighbours jealous…

Visit a rooftop bar – Taste the high life by relaxing with friends at a rooftop bar long into the Summer evening. These top rooftop bars across the UK are perfect for a sunny tipple, often with fantastic sights and views to boot!

Dance the night away – Let’s face it, the British weather is very unreliable. We can’t enjoy the great outdoors when the rain is pouring down in the middle of July, but we can still act like the sun is splitting the rocks – right? Why not get your sunny disposition straight to the dancefloor? Not only will you increase your exercise levels, but you’ll have fun and meet new people at the same time. Happy mind, happy body. With the rise in popularity of TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing, many people across the UK are taking up ballroom dancing lessons. Maybe one day you’ll be so good that you’ll perform at events, or feature in the next series of Strictly? Your dancefloor awaits you…

dancing class
Get your dancing shoes on!

A Summer well spent brings a year of content – so make the most of what is left of yours!

For more top tips, why not check out our other blogs?

Have our suggestions inspired you? Or have you found a quirky Summer activity? Let us know what has been memorable this Summer!