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With Storm Dudley hitting the UK last week, Storm Eunice having wreaked havoc over the weekend, and Storm Franklin incoming today, the country has been facing high winds, heavy rain and weather warnings.  Here at ManoMano we are here to provide you with some advice to help protect your garden from the storms, whether that be Storm Franklin today, or another to come down the line.

Protect pots and planters from strong gusts of wind

Protect your garden including pots from storms

Terracotta pots can tip or break, and plastic pots can be thrown and cause damage to neighbors and passers-by. The best thing you can do with your potted plants is to put them safely inside your house, in the garage or in a shed.

They probably won’t get all the light they need to thrive during the storm, but believe us: it would be much worse to leave them outside.

Heavier pots should be placed against a wall and grouped together to protect each other. Those that contain raised plants should be staked to prevent their branches from breaking, and covered with a thermal blanket for the duration of the storm.

Prepare your garden before the storm hits

Use a thermal blanket to protect the plants you are growing in the garden, and secure it with stakes. If you have plastic or tunnel greenhouses and installed them without taking into account the direction of the wind, consider dismantling them so as not to lose them. Although it is sad to say so, perhaps the value of the plants is less than that of the greenhouse.

Cut all tree limbs that could break and fall on roofs, structures, vehicles, or bystanders. Use pegs to protect bushes or tall plants, and check the condition of climbing plant fixings. A little more string can make a big difference.

Check the condition of the roof of the shed and evaluate what materials you should urgently store on it. Sun loungers and garden sets can lie down or fly away depending on their weight. If you don’t have space to store them, place them as close as possible to a wall that acts as a windbreak, cover them with a cover and place something heavy on them.

Make sure that the door and window hinges fit well and that both the garden shed and the shed do not have holes through which water or wind can enter.

Collect any electrical installation, solar lanterns, empty pots, tools, watering cans and containers in a place where they are protected. If that place is the shed, try to be tidy to make the most of its capacity.

Check the rainwater collection gutters to remove leaves that could clog the downspouts. If you use it for irrigation by filling water tanks, make sure that the filters are clean and that they are in the “open” position.

Pool covers should also be well secured to prevent them from turning into huge sails and splitting. When in doubt, it may be better to put it away and store it, even if it means having to clean the pool of leaves and other debris when the storm passes.

Winter is upon us, and with it, scant daylight and often gloomy weather. What better way to brighten up your mood than making a vibrant DIY Christmas wreath for your front door? And if you’re trying to make the season as zero waste as possible, a foraged wreath is an easy, affordable, and highly satisfying project. You don’t have to be a gardening expert or florist—all you need is some sprigs of foliage, a few materials, a cosy work area, and your favourite festive playlist! Hot drinks are optional.

Materials you’ll need to make your DIY Christmas wreath:

Materials you need for a DIY Christmas wreath

For your foraged winter wreath, you’ll need the following materials:

Step 1: Forage for your foliage

For your foraged materials, explore your own garden for foliage or ask a friend, family member, or neighbour if you can take clippings from theirs. Another great way to forage is to scan the local landscape while you’re out walking the dog or going for a run. Look for evergreen foliage in a range of colours and textures for your wreath. 

Be mindful when foraging. Never cut from private property unless given permission. To ensure your wreath is environmentally-friendly, only take one cutting from each plant or bush you see. It’s also important to shake, rinse, and examine your cuttings to avoid kidnapping hidden insects or molluscs.

After collecting your foraged materials, you can condition them by placing them in water for a few hours or overnight. This will help keep your wreath from drying out too quickly.

If you have ivy or other vines taking over your garden, you can use them to make your wreath frame. Length and quantity are up to you, but test your vines to see if they bend into a circle without breaking. Remove the leaves and any scraps for the compost. 

Next, experiment with the size of wreath you want, tying the vines together with your hobby wire or even some smaller vines. You can also purchase a frame made from wire or willow branches.

Step 2: Make your foliage bundles

There are many different ways to make a wreath, but this tutorial uses the “bundle” method. You will be making small bundles of foliage—like a small bouquet or nosegay—that you will attach to your frame.

To make your bundles, set your clippings out in front of you, grouping them by type. Play around with groupings of the same foliage and combinations to see what looks best. The length and thickness of each bundle depend on your foraged elements, the size of your wreath frame, and whether you prefer minimalist or fuller wreaths.

Next, take a piece of floristry or hobby wire and wrap the wire around the lower part of your bundle—around one-third—until it is secure. Once you’ve finished wrapping the wire, twist the two ends of the wire together to secure it. Don’t go overboard with the wire, as it will be difficult to remove for composting when it’s time to take down your wreath.

Repeat this step to build all of your bundles.

Step 3: Tie your bundles to the wreath frame

Now it’s time to put your wreath together! You may find that all your bundles fit perfectly, or you may need to experiment as you go along, trimming back or adding here and there. Just remember to keep wire and foliage scraps separate so you can recycle and compost waste materials from your project.

Cut a suitable length of wire and tie your first bundle onto your frame, wrapping the wire a few times until it’s securely attached. 

The idea is to overlap your bundles around the circle, covering the stems and wires of previous bundles. 

After your first bundle is securely on the frame, tie another one underneath, being sure to cover the stem and wire of the first one. Spin the wreath in a counter-clockwise direction as you add on more bundles and cover your frame.

While adding your bundles, you can try out different combinations and make adjustments as needed. Some people like to leave portions of the frame open for a more rustic or minimalist look. For a full wreath, keep adding bundles until you have fully covered your frame.

DIY christmas wreath

Step 4: Display your DIY Christmas wreath

When winter sets in, there’s nothing like a burst of colour on the front door. But how you hang your wreath depends on the type of door you have. 

If your door already has a suitable doorknob, nail, or hook in a central position, you can try hanging it as is. If you want to adjust it vertically, you can tie some ribbon on the top and play around with different lengths before tying a knot or bow. If your door is metal or glass—or if you don’t want to do damage with a nail or hook—a metal or plastic door hanger will allow you to hang your wreath safely. 

DIY Christmas wreath can be hung on the door

You may wish to display your wreath indoors. If this is the case, it will likely dry out after two weeks due to indoor heating. To keep it fresh longer, spray it with water every couple of days. Outdoor wreaths, on the other hand, can last as long as four to six weeks, depending on various factors such as conditioning, type of foliage, and weather.

When the time comes, dispose of your wreath by composting the foraged elements and recycling the wire. To do this, first pull off any bundles you can. You may find the stems have gotten smaller as they’ve dried out. For the rest, cut off the wire, being careful not to mix recyclable and compostable materials. And if you used a pre-made wire or vine frame, keep it for your next DIY wreath project. 

Did you enjoy this article on a DIY Christmas wreath? Why not read our tutorial on a DIY Christmas Tree made from wood or even our guide on how to hang a Christmas wreath!

Are you making your own DIY Christmas wreath from foilage too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Those of us garden lovers look after our plants in all seasons, but most especially just before the arrival of the harsh winter. We know from experience that wind, rain, snow and frost can wipe out all the work that we have previously done in the garden, and for this reason it is very important to start preparing the garden for winter.

Preparing the garden for winter

Preventing damage to plants

Prepare the garden and protect plants
Prepare the garden and protect plants

Plants grown in pots usually appreciate a change of location in winter to get more sunshine and enjoy warmer temperatures. Group them together so that they can protect each other. Don’t forget about their roots: protect the pot with newspaper, bubble wrap or straw mulch to slightly increase the temperature of the soil in the pots. Your plants’ roots will thank you for it.
It never hurts to buy a few metres or bags of garden fleece frost cover to cover trees, shrubs and other types of plants. Unlike plastic, this material allows the plant to breathe and the light to reach it. It can also be used to cover cultivation tunnels in your vegetable garden.

Preparing the garden for winter: lawn care

Lawn really benefits from a good scarification in the autumn, which will help drainage and reduce the appearance of moss. This is also a good time to reseed those unsightly bold areas in the lawn.

If the weather gets very humid, the best option is to apply an anti-moss product. It will provide the lawn with two essential nutrients for the winter: iron and sulfur. After applying the product and waiting for it to act, you will be able to simply remove both moss and thatch with a rake. 

Do not mow the lawn, let it grow so it can cope better with the low winter temperatures. In late autumn, apply a fertiliser rich in phosphorus and potassium, which will also help it survive the winter. And as much as it is possible, avoid stepping on it when frozen.

Pruning trees and shrubs

Preparing the garden for winter: pruning
Preparing the garden for winter: pruning

Another way of preparing the garden for winter is pruning trees and shrubs, as most plants are dormant during the cold season. The absence of foliage will allow you to better see the trees’ branches in order to prune them, as well as to apply preventive treatments to eliminate pests that hide in their bark during the winter.

This is also the time to prune rose bushes, wisteria, and apple and pear trees: they will really benefit from it, and you will see the results in the spring with new and more productive shoots.

Winter gardening: fine-tune your greenhouse

If you have a greenhouse, remove any structure that you have put in place to provide shade during the summer. In the winter you have to make the most of the sunshine and the heat that it provides. If this is your first year with a greenhouse, keep an eye on it for a few days to figure out which areas get more hours of sunshine during the day, and put your plants there. 

Check the condition of the polycarbonate sheets for possible tears and breaks. Make sure the paraffin burners are up and ready, just in case you need to turn them on. Also, check that the ground anchoring system is in good condition.

Add mulch and compost to your flower beds

Both compost and mulch will protect your flower beds from low temperatures. Compost will also provide important nutrients to the soil, which your plants will greatly benefit from next spring.

The autumn season generates a lot of organic waste: make good use of it by adding it to your compost pile. Cover your compost bins with plastic to avoid them filling with water, as this would contribute to the appearance of microorganisms that could alter the composting process.

Preparing the garden for winter: protect your garden furniture

Protect your garden furniture during the winter months
Protect your garden furniture during the winter months

If you have a shed in your garden, use it to store all the garden furniture that you won’t use during the colder months. If you don’t have a shed, protect the furniture with waterproof covers

Wooden benches, tables, loungers and chairs all benefit from regular maintenance. Use protective oils to waterproof them and make them last longer. If you have metal garden furniture, make sure that the paint is in good condition to prevent the furniture from rusting with moisture.

Get your garden tools ready

Cold and humid winter days are perfect for carrying out DIY and maintenance jobs inside the house, where it’s nice and warm. Take this opportunity to tune up your tools: sharpen and lubricate your pruning shears to have them ready when you need them, change the broken or chipped handles of hand tools, check the mower and buy spare parts which you may need in the spring.

Use this time to clean and tidy up your shed before storing anything in there. Make sure you store boxes and other belongings making them easy to access according to when you might need them in the future. Always wash your seedling trays and transplanting pots with a bleach and water solution, in order to leave them ready for spring.

Feed the birds in winter

Feeding the birds during winter

If winter is hard for us, imagine how challenging it is for birds to find food. You can put feeders and water bowls or dispensers not only in the garden, but also the porch, the terrace and even the balcony. If you place them close to the house windows, you will be able to enjoy watching the birds come and go, and you will learn about the different bird species in your area and their habits and behaviour.

You can buy seed mixtures rich in fats and oils, which will provide birds with maximum energy. Don’t forget to regularly add water to the water dispensers and bowls, since it is very likely that they will not be able to find it in liquid form during the coldest months.

Did you enjoy this article on how to prepare the garden for winter? Why not read our tutorial on a DIY outdoor storage bench or even our guide on how to feed birds in the winter!

Are you preparing the garden for winter? Let us know how you get on via Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Would you like to set up your own bar on your terrace or in your garden? A DIY Tiki Bar or outdoor bar is the perfect place to enjoy an aperitif with the family or have a refreshing drink with friends. This tutorial will show you how to build a tiki bar step by step so you can enjoy it in the nice weather.

The sun and warm days are conducive to spending more time outdoors. Being able to do so while enjoying refreshing drinks makes it even better! So, we have put together this tutorial to show you step by step how to build a tiki bar to be your family meeting point after work, or to enjoy it with friends on weekends.

DIY Tiki Bar: tools and materials

Materials for the DIY tiki bar project

Cost, time & difficulty

The approximate cost of the materials is £80, whilst the execution time is a full day and its level of difficulty is medium, as you need to have experience in handling power tools. 

DIY Tiki Bar step-by-step

To build this tiki bar or outdoor bar, we have mainly used wood and reed. This way, we get a very natural and warm result, which goes with most outdoor environments.

Its dimensions are ideal for 2 to 4 people, but if more space is needed, several can be built and joined together.

In addition, it has a tropical style design that will bring freshness to your terrace or garden. The steps for this DIY tiki bar are detailed below.

Step 1 – Cutting the pieces

First of all, cut the wooden strips and boards with a mitre saw or a jigsaw. The pieces we will need are:

  • 3.2 cm x 3.2 cm pine laths: 2 x 200 cm long for the rear vertical posts, 2 x 180 cm long for the front vertical posts, 4 x 120 cm, 1 x 113 cm and 4 x 39 cm long to join the posts horizontally.
  • Pine wood strips 2.2 cm x 1.8 cm: 6 x 120 cm long and 12 x 39 cm long.
  • Pine boards: 11 x 11 x 45 x 1 cm for the roof, 10 x 12 x 40 x 1.8 cm for the bar top and 2 x 15 x 46 x 1.8 cm cut at an angle of 33º to join the top of the posts.

Step 2 – Building the Tiki Bar structure


To build the structure, the vertical slats of 200 and 180 cm will be screwed to the horizontal slats of 120, 113 and 39 cm long, so that the vertical slats of 180 cm will be placed at the front and the vertical slats of 200 cm at the back:

  • The 180 cm vertical slats will be placed at the front and the 200 cm vertical slats at the back.
  • One 120 cm horizontal batten at the front and two 39 cm horizontal battens at the sides shall be screwed flush with the floor.
  • At a height of 90 cm, a 120 cm front horizontal batten, a 113 cm rear horizontal batten and two 39 cm side battens shall be screwed to the front and two 39 cm side battens shall be screwed to the rear.
  • The top of the vertical front battens shall be connected to 2 horizontal battens of 120 cm. 
  • The next step is to nail the 2.2 x 1.8 cm battens horizontally, leaving a distance of 10 cm between them. Then, the 15 x 46 x 1.8 cm boards cut at an angle of 33° are screwed to the inside of the upper battens.
  • Finally, the 11 x 45 x 1.8 cm boards are nailed to the upper horizontal battens to form the roof and the 12 x 40 x 1.8 cm boards are nailed to the battens at 90 cm high.

Step 3 – Varnish it up

Next, apply a stained varnish for exteriors. It is recommended to apply a couple of coats to achieve a better protection of the wood, leaving the drying time recommended by the manufacturer between coats. This will create a weather-resistant construction.

Varnish the tiki bar so it lasts longer

Step 4 – Stapling the cane

The last step is to staple the cane around the bottom of the Tiki Bar so that it is securely attached to the slats and can withstand wind and rain.

The reed is not only decorative and gives a tropical look, but also allows you to hide a small fridge or whatever you want to store behind the tiki bar.

Finally, after you have followed all the above steps, your DIY Tiki Bar is ready for use.

Hang some outdoor LED lanterns to set the ambiance and personalise your Tiki Bar with a sign or some bunting.

Add some accessories to your DIY tiki bar

Of course, don’t forget to celebrate with a few refreshing drinks and a toast that you have succeeded in making this beautiful and functional DIY Tiki Bar for your terrace or garden.

DIY tiki bar

Did you enjoy this article on how to DIY a Tiki Bar for your garden or terrace in 4 key steps? Why not read our tutorial on a DIY solar lamp made from pallets or even our fairy light buying guide to deck out your new tiki bar!

Are you making your own Tiki Bar too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Garden makeover project by Bland Design

With the recent easing of Covid restrictions here in the UK I thought it was about time I got my garden ready for guests now that we’re finally allowed to meet up! Before I started, I only had an old table with a collapsed top and no chairs. All it takes is a few DIY projects and some help from ManoMano to totally transform your space ready for entertaining… That’s the plan at least!

The garden before its makeover
The garden before its makeover

I’ve split the garden makeover into 6 mini projects:

  1. DIY Garden Mirror
  2. Tips for painting wood outdoors
  3. Using arches to structure your garden
  4. DIY Garden Table 
  5. Setting up a pizza oven
  6. Making it comfy

1. Garden makeover: DIY Mirror 

The garden makeover features a DIY mirror
The garden makeover features a DIY mirror

Materials & tools

My garden is pretty small, so adding a mirror is a fun way to add a bit of dimension to the space (just be mindful of its placement so you don’t have any accidents with birds flying into it). For mine I made it to go behind the metal arbour seat against my fence to create a fun optical illusion that the garden extends further.

This one is surprisingly simple; cut the marine ply to the size you want (I left a border around mine and painted the edge black) and glue down the mirrors with the solvent free adhesive, making sure to apply even lines of glue.

Place the mirrors down firmly and leave it lying flat while the glue sets for a few hours and you’re done! To keep it in place I used a couple of wood screws to attach the top to the fence and the base is resting on the floor to take the weight.

2. Garden makeover: Painting Wood Outdoors

So, I’m slightly obsessed with painting everything black, however you can choose any colour… But before you grab your brushes, don’t make the same mistake that I did last year! I painted this bench a year ago and it’s peeling already because I didn’t sand it, but I’ve fixed it now!

Materials & tools

The bench from last year that hadn't been sanded down
The bench from last year that hadn’t been sanded down
The bench is a key part to the garden makeover
The bench is a key part to the garden makeover

I also painted the fence and raised planter, these are made from ‘sawn’ wood which is rough and easily holds on to the paint, which is handy, along with the sawn timber that I used to border the beds around the garden. The wood for the borders was actually repurposed from the old boiler tank in my loft but you can use this timber for the same thing. All you have to do is dig a little trench for them to rest in once you’ve painted/stained them.

Painting the wood
Painting the wood

My pro tips for painting wood outside:

  • If you’re repainting something that’s peeling (like my bench) you’ll need to give it a rub down with a wire brush and then a light sand to give the new paint something to grab on to
  • Smooth unfinished wood needs lightly sanding and possibly priming (if your chosen paint brand recommends it) 
  • Multiple thin coats with a very light sanding in between will last much longer than one thick coat. It’s more effort initially but totally worth it!
  • Wood outdoors will usually need retreating/touching up every couple of years, that’s just something I’ve come to accept

3. Garden makeover: Structures 

I quite like the slightly overgrown/woodland garden look, although it can look a little wild… In order to give the garden a bit of interest, I used simple metal arches to help structure the area. (Last year I build a massive pergola on my patio – if you you’re wanting to do something a bit more dramatic take a look at the blog article I did.)

Add some structure to your garden makeover
Add some structure to your garden makeover

I already had one arch next to the raised bed (which I really like) so why not add more! Along the fence where there aren’t any trellis I added a set of green arches to eventually grow climbing plants around. This will give the garden a bit more privacy, it’s really simple but effective – and they just stab into the ground!

And as if that wasn’t enough, directly in front of the original arch, I used an arched metal arbour seat in front of the arched mirror I made (I think that’s enough arches now). 

Although for the arbour I did end up putting down some spare slabs so it didn’t sink into the ground (I saved some old ones that I lifted from my patio last year) and it was easier than I thought it would be, a couple of bags of building sand and a spirit level was all I used to get them laid nice and flat!

Garden makeover step by step
Garden makeover step by step

4. Garden makeover: DIY table 

You can see from the ‘before’ photo that my old tabletop was a wreck (I used the wrong wood when I tiled it) but the metal frame was still usable, although you can do this with any wood topped table really – just make sure to prepare/paint the wood suitably! If this is the first time you’ve met me you won’t know that I’m a bit obsessed with gold leaf (I’m an artist and gilder) so that had to be a part of my project, but of course you can just paint yours.

Garden table - before
Garden table – before

Tools & materials:

If you’re starting with a readymade table then you can skip this step, but for mine I needed to cut a new top from marine ply, and sand the edges smooth once cut to size (I did cut a hole for an umbrella using a flat drill bit from my set. I also need some seating for my table so I got 2 metal benches that came with untreated wood tops which were perfect for painting, and a pair of black rattan chairs by VidaXL to match.

Using the same paint I’ve used for everything in the garden I painted the table and bench tops (2 thin coats sanding in between) and once dry I got to work on my antique gold effect. At this point you could paint a design/stripes/stencil you name it – if you want to see more of my gold nonsense check out my Instagram.

Once you’re happy with your look then you need to seal it, otherwise it’s going to be a little rough and hard to clean, using a clear varnish. You can get clear outdoor varnish in different finishes, but my preference is gloss, just make sure the paint underneath is completely dry before you varnish anything! And voila! You’ve got a stunning bespoke seating area that’s hard wearing and easy to clean.

5. Garden makeover: Pizza Oven

We all like pizza of some kind (and if you don’t then we can’t be friends) but it’s a bit daunting to dive right in to using a pizza oven! This pizza oven from Outsunny is a great place to start for a beginner like me.  It’s not huge or permanent and there is no need for gas canisters as it’s a solid fuel burner.

Pizza oven from Outsunny
Pizza oven from Outsunny

It needs a stable and level base of course, and since I was putting mine on the grass, I set a few concrete slabs down with sand underneath just like I did with the arbour mentioned above. Once that’s all done it’s ready to light! I will admit that I burned one… 

6. Garden makeover: Making it comfy 

British weather can be a bit unpredictable as we know, so to make the space a bit more comfortable and cosy when the sun isn’t out I added a table to bio ethanol fire, some solar lights, some solar fairy lights – and of course a couple of rugs and throws.

And to top it all off… Giant bean bags. I mean who didn’t dream of having one as a kid! 

Garden makeover project by Bland Design
Black rattan chairs from VidaXL

So, there we have it – now I just need to scrub the paint off of my hands, rally up my friends and have a little gathering in my new lovely garden!

Did you enjoy this article from Bland Design on how to do a garden makeover in 6 easy steps? Why not read our tutorial on a DIY solar lamp made from pallets or even our pizza oven buying guide!

Are you doing a garden makeover too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!