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Find out how MNers are getting on with their Homebase Garden Goals challenge NOW CLOSED

(171 Posts)
AmeliaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 10-May-17 16:00:57

This feedback thread is for the 10 MNers taking part in Homebase’s Garden Goals challenge. Each MNer is undertaking a particular task to create their dream garden; either making an edible garden, a patio garden, adding some colour, encouraging wildlife or creating a garden for entertaining.

Each tester was given a £100 Homebase voucher and is undertaking a ‘one hour’, a ‘half a day’ and a ‘one day’ task to transform their gardens by following Homebase’s Garden Goals tips and instructions. They will leave weekly updates on their progress on this thread.

Here’s what Homebase has to say: “We have teamed up with Anne-Marie Powell to launch our Garden Goals challenge to help families get their outside spaces ready for summer. We want to encourage those of all gardening abilities to complete a garden project; whether that’s creating an edible garden, creating a patio garden, adding colour to your garden, encouraging wildlife to your garden or creating a garden for entertaining.”

Watch this short video to find out more:

We also tasked 5 MN bloggers with the same Garden Goals challenges, check out how they got on below:

Create an edible garden challenge before and after by Attachment Mummy
Create a garden for entertaining challenge before and after by A Strong Coffee
Add colour to your garden challenge before and after by ET Speaks From Home
Create a wildlife garden challenge before and after by Confessions of a Crummy Mummy
Create a patio garden challenge before and after by Le Coin De Mel


Throughout the 8 weeks when posting about your progress with your garden, please think about and answer the below:

- Which Garden Goal did you take on and why did you want to undertake this particular challenge? What was your garden like before you started to work on it?
- How did you find your in store experience at Homebase? Were the staff friendly and helpful?
- How useful did you find Homebase’s ‘how to guides’?
- How did you find using the shopping lists provided? Did you find everything you needed in store to complete your Garden Goal?
- Do you feel like you achieved your Garden Goal?
- After completing your Garden Goal, do you feel more confident in gardening and would you like to take on more challenges throughout your home and garden?

Each week we’d love to get an update on how you are progressing with your Garden Goal tasks and to see lots of lovely pictures. Please also share your photos on your social media channels using #GardenGoals and tagging @ Mumsnet on Instagram and @ MumsnetInsight on twitter.

Everyone who leaves their feedback on this thread as required will be entered into a prize draw to win a £300 Homebase voucher.

Thanks and happy gardening!


Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

scaredofthecity Thu 11-May-17 13:56:45

So I'll start.

I chose the patio challenge, as we have a small garden with patios on 2 levels it seemed most appropriate. We moved in late last year and it was rented before so it was needing a lot of love and attention. I have started but there is a long way to go.

I was originally going to stick to the bottom bit, but it is my DS (2) play area so it seems fairer to go for the top bit. It is a state as you can see in the pic.

So I have attacked it with weed killer and I'm just waiting for it to do it's job...

Gardengirl123 Thu 11-May-17 14:22:38

I am undertaking the 'edible garden' challenge.

I decided on this one as my garden is mostly paved. We did build two raised beds last year which have some space in them to grow. However mostly i will be using containers.

I visited my local homebase store to purchase some pots, soil and seeding potatoes. The staff were really helpful and helped me find what i needed, they also gave me advice on growing.
The plants in the garden area were all in great condition and it was easy to browse.

I cut out sections of two of the pots, and then set them inside the others so that i will be able to pick the potatoes.

BelligerentGardenPixies Fri 12-May-17 13:44:05

I'm doing the "Add Colour" challenge.

We have a fairly large garden that was very over grown and covered in brambles and broken paving when we first moved in as the old couple who were here before us were in their nineties and whilst had obviously been avid gardners at one point, it had become too much for them.

In the last ten years we cleared a lot and added a large decking but other than that we've never really done more than beat back the vegetation a couple of times a year and the space is a bit neglected.

This year we've decided to tackle it properly and start adding structure and utilizing the space better but for the purposes of this challenge I'm going to concentrate on sprucing up the decking area by painting the old wooden bench and table, renovating the play house and adding a potted plant display at the side.

My voucher came on Tuesday and I took DD to our local Homebase to buy some supplies. The store was tidy, well stocked and the staff were pleasant and helpful. I need a couple of paints mixed up on store and the young man who mixed it was very cheerful and very tolerant of the endless chattering of my DD.

I bought some lavender in pots too. These were not a planned buy but they smelt amazing (proper old fashioned lavender) that I couldn't resist!

IAmTheWorwax Fri 12-May-17 13:56:13

I'm also doing the edible garden challenge. I chose this because as much as I want to enjoy our garden for relaxing in, I would love it to be useful too.
We started doing up our garden last summer but we got side tracked halfway through and so it's just been left to get messy and not much has been done since. It's been driving me crazy but doing these garden goals has really given me the incentive to get it finished.

Today I have done a 1 hour challenge and have done a bit of tidying up. This corner of the garden became a space to chuck toys in at the end of the day, there was a pile of soil and ash from a disposable BBQ dumped there too. I've put the toys away and cleared the soil etc. I also cleaned out some pots and have replanted a few plants that were in danger of dying off in their current spot. Fingers crossed they survive!

We already have a big bed along the back of the garden so this is where most of our edible plants will be going, although I will also be doing some more pots too. I've had a look on the Homebase website and already have lots of ideas on what I could plant, I can't wait to get started!

IAmTheWorwax Fri 12-May-17 14:30:37

This is a better photo of the space I will be working with.

RueDeDay Sat 13-May-17 06:17:29

Checking in! I was selected for the 'add colour' challenge, and this is the area I've decided to focus on. I had overgrown leylandii all four sides of my garden when I moved in, which were removed during winter, but I couldn't afford to get the stumps removed too, so am looking to find a way to improve the soil over time as the stumps rot down. With this challenges I'd like to focus on the front border, and maybe grow some sweet peas or similar behind to disguise the stumps in the short term!

IAmTheWorwax Sat 13-May-17 14:14:13

looking forward to seeing what everyone else's finished garden will be like. We've all got very different spaces so far so it should be interesting.

BelligerentGardenPixies Sat 13-May-17 15:35:55

Looking forward to seeing everyone's progress too.

My goal this coming week is to fix, clean, sand and paint this bench and table. The bench is going to be painted in Heather and the table in Forget Me Not blue. I was going to start today but the kids have got umpteen social events and it's raining so I'll see what tomorrow brings.

GingerKitCat Sat 13-May-17 17:33:14

Really enjoying reading about everyone's goals and seeing photos of the progress!

I've been given the wildlife #gardengoal which I'm really pleased about smile

I think it's so important to incorporate wildlife in your garden design.
It's actually really easy to do and a fab way to get children involved flowers.

Wildlife gardening overlaps with the other #gardengoals such as introducing colour, edible garden, patio garden and even garden entertaining so maybe we can draw inspiration from each other!

I try to garden with bees in mind and fortunately Homebase stock an excellent range of plants for pollinators. I've been gradually sorting out my garden over the past couple of years and the majority of my plants are from Homebase. They're all doing fabulously (I haven't lost one shock) so I can vouch for the quality. I also find the selection top notch, plenty of easy-to-care-for attractive specimens.

In this challenge I'd like to complement my wildlife planting with other wildlife friendly ideas such as a small pond, bird feeders, log piles and insect houses.

My next post will detail what I've been up to this week with photos grin

RueDeDay Sun 14-May-17 07:09:15

Went to Homebase yesterday with DD 'helping' (mainly by riding on the trolley and shouting "this way Mum" at random intervals grin). I have bought paint and house stuff etc from Homebase before, but not been through to the garden section before, and wasn't sure how knowledgeable the staff were going to be. Well. How wrong was I. The first guy I spoke to was new-ish, but volunteered to go get the section manager, who was so helpful. I was beyond impressed. He gave me advice not only on how to improve the soil using the Homebase products, but also on how to remove the leylandii stumps by hiring a stump grinder (not a Homebase product, but I was so grateful for the help and advice!) Suggested buying the compost etc yesterday, but then coming back to buy plants after getting the stumps removed, so that they weren't just sitting round unplanted in my garden for a couple of weeks, and was generally just an excellent, very customer focused staff member!! So I spent about £60 on compost and some garden maypoles (to grow sweet peas up, hopefully replacing my no longer existent hedge in the short term!!)

I aim to do a couple of one hour tasks in the garden today, generally tidying, weeding, and starting to get the beds ready for the addition of new compost, but I'll also be looking up local stump grinder hire!

RueDeDay Sun 14-May-17 07:12:55

Oh, and I forgot to add... I ended up buying a couple of 120l bags of compost... And totally unexpectedly the staff there not only lifted them onto the trolley for me, but one of them also volunteered to come outside and help me get them into the car! A much higher level of service than I would have expected from a chain store, so I was really impressed.

GingerKitCat Sun 14-May-17 13:59:32

My first project was to install a wildlife pond. I'd estimate it took me a whole day but I sourced materials from several places so that made it a bit more time consuming. It could definitely be done in half a day or less particularly if you wanted to do a barrel pond on the patio or sink a tub/ old baby bath/ washing up bowl into the ground flowers

I did a bit of research and selected a sunny site away from the trees to minimise autumn leaves falling in. I had a massive round planter (90cm diameter, 35cm deep) hanging around that I decided to put to good use. If I hadn't had that there are a variety of small preformed liners available on Amazon and so on or you can use flexible pond liner. The digging in took a while as I live in an area of heavy clay but wasn't as bad as I thought.

I built a ramp in the bottom using bits of brick and decorative pebbles (from Homebase) to assist wildlife getting in and out as the planter has quite steep sides. I also added a couple of slim branches partially submerged as this is supposed to encourage wildlife. I then filled it using rain water from my water butt. It could do with a top up but we're having a prolonged dry spell grin

Unfortunately Homebase no longer sell aquatic plants so I had to source them elsewhere. During my research it was apparent mini garden wildlife ponds are becoming more popular and there's a lot of encouragement to create one. It would be amazing if Homebase would consider selling a small, affordable wildlife pond plant collection. The plants are so low maintenance and it might inspire people to add this important feature to their garden on a small scale!

The final challenge was to decorate the outside of the pond. For this I chose a variety of wildlife friendly and ground cover plants from Homebase including scabious, heuchera, golden grass and erysimum Bowles Mauve (purple wallflower). The flowers ought to attract bees and hopefully dragonflies and the ground cover provides somewhere for frogs, toads and newts to shelter on their way to and from the pond. I added some mini log piles and terracotta pots placed upside down and propped up to provide homes to encourage small wildlife/ amphibians and creepy crawlies. I intend to add bark chippings to the rear of the pond and I've ordered a floating solar fountain. Solar spotlights are also on my shopping list for my next visit to Homebase smile The final additions will be a miniature water lily and some slate tiles to conceal the edge of the liner.

I'm really pleased with how my project turned out and I'd definitely encourage anyone to create their own mini wildlife pond. I'm so enamoured I'm thinking about creating a second wildlife pond in a different area of the garden now I know what I'm doing!

The most expensive/ confusing aspect for a newbie like me was sourcing the correct mix of pond plants. If you have access to free pond plants (e.g. friend, daily, neighbour, kindly Freecycler with an existing pond) it's really a no brainer. Once you add your plants wildlife ponds are by definition low maintenance.

I visited a specialist aquatic garden centre but was a bit shocked by the prices for quite basic plants. Thankfully a lovely local Freecycler set me of with a collection of pond plants suitable for a small pond such as mine (I.e. not too invasive), some water snails and a bucket of water from his pond containing microorganisms to start me off smile

It's only been a matter of days and already a frog has moved in shock flowers

GingerKitCat Sun 14-May-17 14:05:14


GingerKitCat Sun 14-May-17 14:07:37

I'll post an updated photo once the plants have straightened up and I've finished the outside smile

ImNotWhoIAm Sun 14-May-17 14:26:49

ginger that looks so lovely! If I was a frog I would definitely move in grin

RueDeDay Sun 14-May-17 20:07:46

Photo from the same perspective but after a half day of weeding and tidying. I decided not to keep the phlox and the other plant in the front border, as DD is very keen to grow lavender and I want to put them there.

However, I wanted to give them a chance to grow (or in the case of the phlox, to grow at all!) I figured that to grow underneath the leylandii (that whole front border was covered) they must be very hardy, so I've dug out as much root as possible and planted them in some old containers I had lying around. If they grow, brilliant... It not, I'm not too worried.

The photos look depressingly similar to my eye! But the wholesale border has been tidied and weeded, the worst of the stones removed, and a variety of rubbish dug up!! Under the leylandii was obviously used as a bin... I found a variety of things including a rake, bird feeders, and various plastic bags under the sawdust!!

GingerKitCat Sun 14-May-17 21:17:45

Thanks ImNot! The colours really seem to pop in that photo shock grin

I wanted to comment on everyone else's projects but my phone ate my looong post when I tried to attach a photo. I had to write it again from scratch angry I'll make sure to save it next time! I promise I've read what you're all up to and it sounds excellent.

Rue I can see progress already! Doing all the manual stuff seems to take forever with little to show for it, then suddenly ta-da! I can envisage it all planted up with pretty colours flowers I love the contrast with the white brick.

Gardengirl123 that's a clever idea with the potato pots!

BelligerentGardenPixies Sun 14-May-17 21:36:41

* Ginger* - that looks so pretty. Well done!

Rue - those boarders are going to look gorgeous against the white wall.

I managed to get my bench and table prepped and painted today although will have to take photos of them tomorrow as my phone battery died. Not sure I like the table being totally blue, might need a rethink, but at least I've made a start.

GingerKitCat Sun 14-May-17 22:36:55

Thanks Pixies! I probably have too many plants in there at the moment but I didn't want to turn down free plants. Another reason to create a second pond grin

Can't wait to see the pics of your painted furniture. I love painting and rejuvenating tired wood in the garden. So far I've stuck to "seagrass" on the shed, bird table and insect boxes as I like the way it pops against the green of the lawn. I should be more adventurous really wink I painted a trellis um, seagrass today to fix to the side of the shed...

At least if you're not keen on the blue you've done the hard work prepping and sanding and the table has an undercoat now. If you decide to repaint in a different colour it should go on easily as the wood wont be as thirsty.

GingerKitCat Mon 15-May-17 11:53:11

Re. these two questions, are they referring to the paper leaflets instore or are we supposed to be following a designated shopping list for each #gardengoal (that I've somehow missed)?

*How useful did you find Homebase’s ‘how to guides’?
- How did you find using the shopping lists provided? Did you find everything you needed in store to complete your Garden Goal?*

chickensandbees Mon 15-May-17 13:42:50

So I was chosen to the do the wildlife garden!

The reasons I wanted to do this was are that we moved house earlier this year and our garden borders woodland so I would love to encourage more wildlife in our garden, also I'm concerned that bees and hedgehogs and other animals are under threat. Finally with young children, I think that wildlife is a great way to get them interested in the garden and being outside etc.

The garden is very big and has a lot of flowers and apple trees and other trees and a stream. It borders fields and woodland.

I went to Homebase and I was pleasantly surprised by the prices, especially of the plants which can be very expensive in garden centers. I bought a lot of plants that had the logo for being good for bees and butterflies, some wildflower seeds, a trowel and fork, bird feeders. The staff were pleasant, although when the box for the trowel was empty I took it to customer services to ask if they had any more she couldn't tell on the system but said that everything was out and they had lots of others on the shelves.

I'll upload some photos from my phone and then continue.....

chickensandbees Mon 15-May-17 13:47:46

These are the pictures of my shopping trip

ibuiltahomeforyou Mon 15-May-17 13:52:39

My #gardengoal was to create a patio garden.

I have a six-week-old DD and would love to have somewhere we can sit out in the summer. Our house was a total renovation project and despite moving in last year, we didn't get around to starting the garden until October, when we cleared some (poor condition) trees, dismantled a shed without a roof and took away the greenhouse, leaving just a concrete base nestled in a very overgrown garden!

The garden needs a TOTAL revamp!

We started with the hardest task! I went to Homebase with my very kind DF who was doing the actual labour as my DD was born six weeks ago by EMCS so hauling paving flags about was not a good idea for me!

The staff were, as always, courteous and helpful. There was a price discrepancy between the blue bistro set in-store compared to online so the staff were able to reduce it for us to reflect the online cost.

We bought flags, decking boards, a wooden stake, and lots and lots and LOTS of sand.

The old greenhouse base became the foundations of the patio with the stake replacing a broken edge.

I already had some weedkiller and weed mesh too.The four old greenhouse metal edges were what the decking boards were fixed to, then the structure was filled with some old bits of concrete lying around the garden before being topped up with the sand.

We then had to make another Homebase trip for more sand! The flags were secured in with some cement I'd recently bought to patch up a leaky toilet roof (the joys of renovation!). This how-to guide from Homebase's website was really helpful:

Finally the flags went on top the next day. After a quick brush it was done and all that was left was for me to buy my Dad a bottle of wine as a thank you! It took slightly more than a day, not least as we had to get more sand so the day was split up. I did buy the blue bistro set too to help with the next challenge, which I plan to do this week.

chickensandbees Mon 15-May-17 13:53:35

I chose to get these birdfeeders specifically as they are squirrel proof! The wildlife we have plenty of are squirrels in the garden. We already have a bird table and other feeders which the squirrels love, but I thought these would help the birds stand a chance. So I have one for seeds and one for fatsnax and put them up straight away. We soon found blue tits and robins happy feeding from them. This was a ver easy garden goal to achieve!!

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