At Real Deals for You, we are proud to have the industry’s biggest names on board - with every brand from Stabila to SCAN bringing something unique to the table. So, whether you’re in need of expert measuring devices or the ultimate safety wear, discover which manufacturers are equipped with the right tools to take on your specific task or requirement!
If you’re looking to MEASURE…turn to STABILA.
Connected to the building industry for over 100 years, Stabila has paved the way for innovation in measuring equipment – developing numerous patents, while demanding the highest levels of quality throughout its extensive history.
Thanks to the its innovation, Stabila has become not only a market leader in Germany, but one of the most important manufacturers of folding rules, spirit levels and laser-assisted measuring instruments in the world. So, if you’re looking to measure up, Stabila has well and truly earned its stripes!
If you’re looking for LIGHTING…turn to LIGHTHOUSE.
Whether on the site or on the move, Lighthouse is your go-to lighting brand, with a range of products for all applications - from dependable lamps to elite torches and headlights.
To complement its incredible selection of torches, Lighthouse also offers a great choice of superior quality batteries to keep them charged for every occasion! Just a few of the reasons why Lighthouse continues to shine.
If you’re looking for WORKWEAR…turn to SCAN.
Prioritising user comfort and long-lasting service, SCAN caters for the demands of professional users and DIY enthusiasts – protecting them in the most extreme environments.
From building and construction to maintenance and associated industries, its range is designed to ensure your safety where personal protection is either required or recommended. When it comes to DIY, you’re always better safe than sorry! So put your faith in SCAN for every task.
While there may be over 2,000 RD4U Approved Stockists across the UK and Ireland, all are united by the same goal: to deliver the best in-store shopping experience!
In an increasingly digital world, why is this so important? Let’s explore why you should visit your closest stockist and #shoplocal.
Get expert advice
While online retail has changed the game, nothing beats the real life shopping experience. Walking into a store, you’re not only greeted by a friendly face - but you can gain valuable insight from genuine experts, who have years of industry experience under their belts. All of which makes finding the right tool that little bit easier!
Guarantee best value
When you buy from your local RD4U Approved Stockist, you can rest assured that you’re accessing all the latest products from the most respected brands - at the fairest possible prices. Our commitment to delivering best value means you can save big while shopping local!
Support your community
Small businesses empower communities to grow - creating new job opportunities, as well as investing back into their area. Our network of independent RD4U Approved Stockists not only bring quality and value to your doorstep – but are essential to keeping your local trade industry booming.
Ready to shop local? Click here to find your closest RD4U Approved Stockist.
Soaring gas prices mean we’re all looking for more effective and affordable ways to stay warm this winter. However, lighting the fire isn’t always as easy as it looks – and preparing the firewood takes far more than simply swinging an axe or firing up a chainsaw!
Everything from equipment choice and usage to seasoning and storage are all key factors to consider when trying to chop top quality logs. That’s why we’re thrilled that Roughneck has put together this quick and simple guide to cutting and splitting firewood, with a number of handy tips for getting your logs fire-ready!
Read Roughneck’s ‘Rough Guide to Cutting & Splitting’ here:
And if you like what you see, you can learn more about the brand and explore our extensive range of Roughneck products!
Now that summer is on its way, barbeque season is upon us. So, with this in mind, it’s time to kick your patio and decking into shape – whether it be sprucing them up with a lick of paint or blasting away the cobwebs with our extensive range of pressure washers – so you can create the perfect space to enjoy the sunshine at home.
Let’s start with the decking. Although it may look the part, it’s no secret that the upkeep can be strenuous – particularly after a wet winter, where heavy rainfall can lead to severe colour fade or a build-up of mud and grime. Luckily, keeping your decking looking its best has never been easier - thanks to the Rustins Decking Cleaner, capable of removing dirt, grease and stains and keeping your decking spick and span.
And with a quick spring clean out of the way, it’s now time to revive and restore your woodwork with the Liberon Decking Oil – ideal for feeding, protecting and enhancing the natural beauty of your timber decking and ultimately bringing it back to life. What’s more, the Wagner Fence and Decking Sprayer makes all paints, oils and stains super quick and easy to apply, so you can get back to relaxing in the garden…
It’s fair to say that patios also require a little TLC too. If you’ve neglected your patio and have let weeds or algae grow up over time, simply reach for the Everbuild Patio Wizard Concentrate which gets straight to work breaking down all greenery – without any need to wash off, scrub or pressure wash away.
And to keep your patio protected from any water damage (we know how UK summers can be), the Everbuild Path & Patio Seal is on hand to protect from general wear and tear, including water, sunlight, oil and petrol. So, come rain or shine this season, we’ve got you covered!
If it’s versatility you’re after, the Roughneck Patio & Decking Brush Set can be used on either patio or decking, and provides all you need to keep them squeaky clean – from
a heavy-duty scrubbing brush for cleaning larger areas, to a compact angled brush, best suited to reaching smaller gaps.
And if you’re in need of a little more power to pack a punch, the Karcher K2 Full Control Home Pressure Washer comes complete with a full control lance and trigger gun, to blast away all dirt, cobwebs and more. In fact, with the amount of build-up that occurs on patios and decking, yours may come out an entirely different colour than expected!
Garden maintenance needn’t be boring, and our extensive range of outdoor cleaning and treatment equipment makes sure to get the job done in as quick, simple and efficient a way possible. Now the sunshine has made an appearance, take the time to transform your decking and patio – so you can make the most of the season ahead!
Explore our range of outdoor maintenance and cleaning products here, as well as our exterior wood treatments for decking.
The sun is shining, temperatures are soaring. We barely remember what rain is. BBQs have sold out. There are rumours of hosepipe bans across the UK.
And Magnums are officially the nation’s favourite ice lolly—do they even count as an ice lolly? There’s definitely something strange going on in the UK at the moment…
Enjoy the uncharacteristically hot weather whilst it lasts though. Come December we’re sure you won’t be bragging so much about being able to work outside. But until then, we wanted to offer you some handy tips and advice, to ensure you stay safe whilst working in the blazing sun.
Increased risk of skin cancer
Working outdoors means you are more likely to be exposed to large amounts of harmful UVA and UVB rays. The former penetrates deep into the skin and leads to premature ageing, whilst the latter burns the upper layers of the skin. Prolonged exposure to both can significantly increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
Yet according to SHP Online, the UK’s leading website for health and safety professionals, only two-thirds of outdoor workers—including roofers, landscapers, electricians, builders and gardeners—don’t realise they are at risk of getting skin cancer whilst at work.
And although 90% of workers use sun cream on holiday, only 59% use it at work.
Not surprising then that five outdoor workers are diagnosed with skin cancer every day in the UK. But 90% of skin cancer deaths could be prevented if the appropriate measures are followed…
Who is most at risk?
You should take particular care if you have:
• Fair or freckled skin that doesn’t tan, or goes red or burns before it tans.
• Red or fair hair and light coloured eyes.
• A large number of moles.
People of all skin colours should take care to avoid damage to the eyes, as well as overheating and dehydration during extreme conditions.
And remember, you can still receive significant sun exposure whilst sitting in a vehicle. Most glass used for windows blocks UVB rays but not UVA—meaning drivers are also at risk. It is therefore recommended that you use sun protection when UV levels are high, even if you will be spending most of your time in your van.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Even if you are not categorised as ‘at risk’, you should still be careful when working outdoors during summer, particularly around midday when the sun is strongest.
Don’t be fooled by cloudy days either—UV rays can still filter through. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun:
• Cover up as much as possible and avoid taking your top off, even if your skin tans easily.
• Wear a hat with a wide brim or flap that covers your ears and the back of your neck—a safety helmet will also provide some shade for your head.
• Try to work and take your breaks in the shade whenever possible, especially at lunchtime—this will reduce the risk of harming your skin and help to keep you cool.
• Use a high factor sun cream of at least SPF15 on any exposed skin and reapply frequently—water-resistant creams hold up better when sweating, whilst spray formulas are handy for top-up applications throughout the day.
• Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
And finally, check your skin regularly for any unusual moles or spots. You should see a doctor promptly if you find anything that is changing in shape, size or colour, itching or bleeding.
Sun safety advice for employers
The Management of Health and Work Regulations require employers to conduct a suitable assessment of the risks to the health of their employees—for example, the risks associated with UV exposure.
The law also states that an employer has to remove any risk or look at other ways of preventing or reducing exposure if that is not possible. This includes supplying protective equipment or clothing, if necessary.
To reduce the risks associated with excessive sun exposure, employers should look at working practices rather than just putting the responsibility on the worker. This includes:
• Organising work in summer so tasks which require employees to be outside can be done either in the mornings, late afternoon or on cloudy days.
• Providing canopies, sheeting or similar covering over open areas such as building sites—shaded areas should also be provided for breaks.
• Providing information and guidance on avoiding exposure to harmful UV rays, both as part of the employee’s induction and on an on-going basis.
• Ensuring any protective clothing is lightweight, long-sleeved and comfortable—but at the same time dense enough to prevent UV rays from getting through.
• Providing lightweight brimmed hats for all outdoor workers.
• Encouraging workers to reapply sun protection frequently and providing dispensers with sun cream for employees to use.
More information on sun protection is available on Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart website: www.sunsmart.org.uk.
At Real Deals for You, we want to ensure you stay safe whilst working this summer. And we, of course, also want to help you SAVE money on top-quality tools! So don’t forget to check out your local Real Deals for You Approved Stockist for the best offers from world-class brands.
Late payments are stressful for any business owner. Not only do they negatively affect your cash flow, and consequently your salary, but you also lose time chasing payments – time which could have been better spent elsewhere. They are particularly problematic when you’re self-employed or running a small independent business – and tradespeople are hit harder than most.
The construction industry has the worst payment performance of any sector in the British economy – counting for over 30% of all late payments – according to the National Federation of Builders. And small and medium-sized construction businesses, including self-employed builders and tradespeople, are reportedly owed a staggering £30 billion.
Here’s six tips to help you ensure payments are made on time…
1. Run initial credit checks
It’s always worth running a quick credit check on customers before agreeing to do any work. After all, they’ll have done their research on you – so why should this be a one way process?
If you’re entering into a business relationships with someone, you are entitled to know a little bit about their background – and, most importantly, if they are in a position to pay for your work. There are numerous online credit check companies, such as Experian, which let you check customers’ credit ratings.
2. Be clear on amounts and payment terms when quoting
It’s always best to be completely clear about your expectations right from the outset, to avoid potential payment issues in the future. When quoting for new work, make sure your quote clearly outlines exactly what is and isn’t covered in the. For example, will you be charging for travel time?
Customers may also think it’s not a big deal to delay a payment for a few days if they aren’t entirely clear on your expectations. To avoid this, make sure that your payment terms and preferred method are detailed in your quote.
3. Get it all in writing
Once a customer has accepted a quote – and you have both agreed what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by and how much it will cost – it is important to get everything in writing, in a legally binding contact. This will help to minimise problems further down the line.
The Federation of Master Builders offers advice and access to contract templates for members, which you can then use before taking on any building work – particularly helpful if you’re unsure of the legalities involved in a contract.
4. Deliver great work, on time
If you deliver work on time and to the agreed standard, customers will have difficulty finding a legitimate reason to delay payment. Always ensure you keep up your end of the deal – that way if late payments do occur, you’ll at least know you’re in the right if you need to take it further.
You could even get work ‘signed-off’ by the customer at each stage of the job, and ask for payment in stages – meaning there’s less room for complaints or issues when the job is finished, which could lead to delayed payments.
5. Invoice promptly
Once work is completed, you need to get your invoice out the door as soon as possible – so make sure you have a system in place that allows you to send invoices quickly and simply. You should outline the exact work you’re invoicing for, to ensure there’s no room for debate about what the invoice covers – which often leads to a delay in payment. And always try to get the customer to confirm receipt of the invoice, if possible.
If you’ve set up staged payments on a larger project, then be sure to set yourself reminders of what’s due and when. You could even create all the invoices for staged payments at the start of a job, with their expected due dates and a reminder for when those invoices are due to be sent. Our blog post about managing your accounts provides a list of useful software programmes for creating and managing invoices.
6. Set a clear due date on your invoice
If you want to get paid on time, you need to make it clear to customers when and how to make payments. Do you offer 7 days payment terms? 14 or 30 days? Or do you expect immediate payment?
Delayed payments often arise from customers not realising that payments are due within a set time period, so try to avoid this situation by creating a sense of urgency. It’s also worth including your preferred method of payment in your invoice.
What to do if they don’t pay…
Sometimes you can do everything in your power to make sure payments are made on time, even making the process as simple as possible for customers – but they don’t always play ball.
Accept that late payments are going to happen from time to time, and define a simple process to ensure you are prepared to chase payments when necessary. For example, you could draft a letter or email that can be re-used anytime you need to chase a late payment, or have a system in place that alerts you when payments are overdue. You should also decide what – if any – your escalation procedure is going to be.
There are laws in place to protect you, including the Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982, but be sure to always call at reasonable hours, at regular intervals (don’t make calls immediately after another) and don’t make unsustainable claims about what might happen if they don’t pay. Stay calm and always keep a record of any calls or other forms of communication.
Offer the customer alternative payment options if necessary, such as instalments, and try to get an agreement in place for payment. It’s often a good idea to have a colleague or third party contact the customer, acting as an accounts manager, to maintain a professional distance.
If all else fails, the final resort is taking the matter to court. You can file a suit in the Small Claims Court without needing to hire a solicitor – and your case will be significantly stronger if you have signed contracts, a contact log and well-kept records to hand. You can find out more about the claim process from the Gov.uk website. If the amount is relatively small and fixed, you can also use the Money Claim Online service.
At Real Deals for You, we want to ensure you have all the information you need to run a successful business – and to help make sure you get paid on time! And we, of course, also want to help you SAVE money on top-quality tools! So don’t forget to check out your local Real Deals for You Approved Stockist for the best offers from world-class brands.
There’s no doubt about it, tool theft is spiking in the UK – and statistics indicate that 98% of tradespeople are concerned about stolen tools and van theft. And rightfully so. It is estimated a van is broken into every 23 minutes in the UK, and van thefts have tripled in recent years according to the West Midlands Police – with over 6,500 thefts in the last three and a half years.
We’ve all heard plenty of stories from fellow tradespeople of tools being nicked from the back of vans whilst out on the job. And if it’s happened to you, you’ll know only too well the repercussions it can have. Stolen tools can mean days, or even weeks of lost work – and are costly to replace. Not to mention the damage done to your van and the costs involved in repairing it.
Thieves will always look for the simplest and quickest route to get to your tools. So don’t make it easy for them. These are our top tips for preventing break ins and keeping your tools safe…
Lock your van
We know this is an obvious one. But all too often people forget to lock their van if they’ve got their hands full unloading or loading tools – or whilst they quickly pop into their local builders’ merchant. If you know that you’re frequently guilty of doing this, then consider getting a slam lock fitted. These automatically lock a van door when it’s slammed shut – to prevent opportunist thieves entering the van when it is briefly left unattended.
Don’t leave your van keys by the front door
We all think it won’t happen to us, yet there are plenty of stories of thieves using coat hangers to fish keys through a letterbox. The easiest way for thieves to steal your van is to have the keys – so don’t leave them on display or within easy reach at home or on site.
Don’t leave valuables on display
Again, this might be an obvious one. But even just leaving a bag with nothing in it on display could tempt a thief. Even if they get away with nothing, you’ll still be left with a broken window or damaged door and have to deal with the inconvenience and cost of fixing it.
Store your tools sensibly
If possible, take your tools in from your van overnight. Although this won’t prevent thieves breaking into your van in the first place, it will at least mean they don’t take off with your valuable tools. But if the thought of having to do this daily is already tiring you out, consider getting yourself a lockable, portable chest – such as this one from Stanley, or this wheeled job box from Keter.
Invest in additional security
Whilst it’s best to take expensive tools and equipment out of your van, we realise this isn’t always possible when out and about on a job. A secure storage system will make it much harder for thieves to gain access to your tools – ultimately deterring them – and will give you some piece of mind. Armogard Tuffbank provide a range of heavy-duty boxes, such as a robust van box with reinforced 5-lever deadlocks and anti-drill plates. Van racking is also a good option for keeping your tools secure. The DeWalt TOUGHSYSTEM is quick and easy to install – and is fully adjustable, so can be fitted to any type of van.
Park for prevention
If you can’t bring your tools in overnight, or will be leaving your van unattended during the day, it’s also a good idea to park in a way that will prevent or deter thieves from getting to your tools.
Parking with sliding or rear doors against a wall or sturdy fence will help keep your van safe from the ‘peel and steal’ method – whereby thieves grab the top of the van's back or side doors with their fingers, and use their bodyweight to pull them down. You should also try to park in a busy, well-lit area – preferably in view of CCTV cameras – where possible.
Ensure your van has an alarm and immobiliser fitted
Most people assume that all modern vans have an alarm and engine immobiliser as standard – but that’s not necessarily the case. If you have a cheaper or older van, it’s likely that it will come with neither. You can get a basic system from as little as £30, which will prevent the engine from running unless the correct key has been inserted into the ignition. But we think it is worth investing in a decent alarm system to reduce the chance of break ins and theft altogether.
Whilst it won’t prevent your van or tools from being stolen, having comprehensive insurance cover will make life much easier if your van is targeted. Don’t always go for the cheapest third-party cover – sometimes it’s worth paying a little more to save yourself a lot of hassle. Always read your policy small print as well to find out exactly what’s covered, and if there are any special conditions. For example, some insurers require you to have certain alarms fitted in your van, in order for tools stolen from it to be covered by the policy.
We’d also recommend keeping an inventory of any tools you carry and marking them. Keep hold of the receipts of more expensive items as well. If the worst should happen, it will make it much easier to make an insurance claim, or reclaim your goods if they are recovered by the police.
What to do if your tools or van do get stolen…
Sometimes you can take all the right precautions and preventative measures, but there is just nothing you can do to stop a determined thief. If the worst happens, then the first thing you need to do is file a police report – either by calling the non-emergency 101 number or visiting the nearest police station in person. To help police identify your tools if they’re found, and to make the insurance claim process easier, you should provide an itemised list with the make and model of everything taken. It may also be worth taking photographs of the crime scene, both for the police and your insurer.
If you need to update your van security and storage solutions, or even if you just need some new tools, then visit your local Real Deals for You Approved Stockist, where you’ll always find great offers on a range of quality products, by quality brands.
There are many benefits of working for yourself. Being your own boss, and setting your own hours and schedule, are certainly up there with some of the top reasons to go solo. And not having to ask for a day off is surely a perk as well. But there are always two sides to a coin, and with advantages comes disadvantages. The major downfall of working for yourself is managing your own finances. It can be overwhelming at the best of times – and even more so if you’ve recently branched out on your own.
No one likes admin, but unfortunately it is a necessary part of business. Of course you could invest in an accountant to handle your affairs – but that costs money. And when you’re just starting out, you want to be saving wherever you can to keep costs as low as possible.
Whether you’re a sole trader doing it for yourself, or a partner in a new business partnership, we’ve got you covered with our top tips for managing your accounts and keeping your finances in cheque - see what we did there?
Keep a record of everything
This comprises anything from sales and income figures, to business expenses and information about your personal income, to VAT records or PAYE records if you employ people. Types of proof include: receipts for goods and stock, bank statements or slips, chequebook stubs, sales invoices, or till rolls. Remember, if in doubt, don’t throw it out.
You don’t need to submit these records with your tax return, but they are used to work out your profit or loss – or to show HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if asked. So be sure to keep hold of them for at least five years after the 31 January submission deadline for the relevant tax year.
When it comes to accounting, there are two different methods to follow. With traditional accounting, you record income and expenses by the date you invoiced or were billed. On the other hand, cash basis accounting means you only record income or expenses when you receive money or pay a bill – this way you won’t have to pay income tax on money you haven’t yet received in your accounting period. This method is especially useful for small businesses with an income of £150,000 or less.
You can choose when your accounting year is to end, but remember that taxable income for sole traders and partnerships is calculated on a 6th April to 5th April basis – so it makes sense for your accounting year to reflect this.
It’s a good idea to keep your business expenses separate from your personal ones, to make accounting procedures more streamlined. Keeping an eye on spending is also much easier when expenses are funnelled into separate accounts. You can claim back for any costs incurred ‘wholly and exclusively for business’ as well – so make sure you keep all receipts.
Managing your income
Creating a zero-sum budget, and sticking to it, is a must. To do this, list all of your fixed monthly expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments; then track what you’re spending on things like groceries or petrol for the next three months, to see what your variable expenses are. Once you’ve worked out a number that works for you, transfer the amount into your personal account – this is your income. Anything else, or any new money that comes in, then goes straight into your business account.
And if your income tends to be sporadic depending on what jobs you get that month, it can be helpful to work out your average monthly income. This way you’ll have a good idea of how much you can expect to receive – and you’ll be able to put the extra amount into savings to fund less lucrative months if you have a month where you earn more than average.
Getting your head around tax
For most people, tax can be pretty confusing, and well… taxing. As a sole trader, you’ll be taxed between 20-45% depending on your income. But for business partnerships it’s a little bit more complicated. HMRC provide a whole host of free and useful e-learning tools to help you get your head around tax and self-assessment forms – as well as other topics, such as VAT and running a payroll. So be sure to check them out!
Regardless of whether you’re a sole trader or in a partnership, we’d advise you to set up a tax savings account. You should aim to transfer between 15-30% of your profits, depending on your income, into the account every month. This way you won’t get a massive shock when the taxman comes knocking!
Putting software to good use
Most people will have some basic Microsoft Excel skills, and this is a perfectly good and simple way to keep track of basic income and expenditure. But there are a whole range of cheap and readily available software designed specifically for managing your accounts. Here’s just a few…
One of the very earliest providers of accounting software, QuickBooks provides basic packages to help you track your self-employed income, whilst small businesses can use it for thinks like payroll and VAT, reporting and monitoring. Subscription prices start at as little as £6/month, and reduced rates are frequently available for the first six months.
Often praised for being highly customisable, Zoho Books helps you to issue invoices, sort expenses, and track inventory. It doesn’t currently have a payroll feature, but it can connect to your bank account for real-time updates on cash flow. Prices start at £6/month.
Great for helping you with things like invoicing, inventory, payroll, and expense claims. Xero can also import your banking, credit card, and PayPal data, and there’s an app that works on both iPhone and Android. Prices start at £10/month.
One of several providers offering free finance software, Wave Accounting includes things like invoicing and receipt scanning. You can also get additional services, such as payroll, on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Online cloud software experts, Cloudwards, also wrote a great article which reviews the best accounting software – mainly for small businesses or freelancers – and explains a bit about how they work. Take a look if you want to gain a more in-depth understanding of the ones we’ve mentioned above, as well as a few others…
Working for yourself comes with a whole heap of benefits – and you don’t want the worry of tackling your finances to outweigh the advantages. So we hope that we’ve helped make the prospect of managing your accounts a little bit less daunting with these handy pieces of advice.
If you’ve got your finances in order, and there’s room to splurge on some new tools this month, then don’t forget to check out your local Real Deals for You Approved Stockist for the best offers. And if you’ve found this blog helpful, and you’re into social media, please share it on Twitter and Facebook! This way we can all get to grips with how to manage our accounts…
Landscaping can be a real challenge, with aspects of the job involving highly labour-intensive work, such as laying patios and levelling lawns. However, landscapers are also required to interpret the ideas of a client, or a designer’s plans, recognising any practical challenges involved in this - and overcoming them with inventiveness and confidence. A good landscaper, therefore, will prove to be an accomplished, skilled and knowledgeable resource.
So, for those of you looking to get started in the landscaping business, we’ve compiled a list of our top five tips to ensure you become the best landscaper you can be - and to get you well on the way to creating a garden fit for the pages of Pro Landscaper magazine.
Pencils at the ready…
Planning is absolutely crucial before starting any project, and landscaping is no exception. Work to an overall ‘bigger picture’, breaking this up into smaller sections to make the workload more manageable. A key element to consider and study is wind and sun patterns – an evening sun terrace is no use if that spot is in the shade come 6pm, for instance. Nor is it any good if the surrounding plants, fences, or walls create a less than inviting wind tunnel.
Scaling and pacing should also be taken into account, as you’ll be working with a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. The garden should be cohesive, but not monotonous – striking a harmonious balance between size and colour. This principle can be tricky to master, but comes with practise - so keep working at it! It is also important to work around a focal point, such as a stunning sculpture or tree, to draw the eye as you scan through the landscape.
Test and measure
It is important to get an indication of the soil pH and nutrient levels, to determine suitability for plant growth - soils that are too acidic will hinder plant growth, for example. We would suggest sending a sample of soil to a local agricultural agency – your nearest one can be found online at agency central - so they can inform you of what nutrients are needed for that particular type of soil.
To save yourself time and money, measurements should be completed at the beginning of the project. Calculating the area you are landscaping is crucial to ensure you buy the correct amount of materials - and to save you multiple trips to the garden centre. Key calculations which you’ll need are square footage (length x width) and cubic feet (length x width x height). Cubic feet can then be converted to ensure the material covers an area at a specified depth (number of cubic feet x 4 gives the number of square feet with three inches of coverage).
It is also worth considering whether you need to buy bulk or bagged. Bulk buying is much more cost-effective and handy if the soil, mulch or stone is being dumped on the spot where it will be spread. But, if the contents need to be moved again later, bagged material will save you hassle, time and money.
Home and garden TV shows may make it look easy to create a garden worthy of a coveted title at the annual BUILD Landscaping and Gardening Awards. But, it is worth remembering that these programmes often have mega budgets, and well over fifty hands on deck. So, whilst it is easy to get carried away with a unique idea, you need to be realistic when it comes to designing your landscape - ensuring plans are in line with the budget, timeframe and manpower available to you.
Always consider the upkeep required as well, before implementing any landscaping project – and ask yourself, will this be practical? For example, using a natural edge around beds is much easier to maintain, and is more flexible in the long term when it comes to changing the landscape, than if you were to use plastic or metal.
Artificial fertiliser ain’t cheap - so to save yourself some money, be sure to make the most of all garden waste. Leaves can be mown into the lawn in small quantities, or added to the compost pile, to provide a light dose of fertiliser for the grass once matured. Additionally, grass clippings can be turned into mulch, acting as a natural fertiliser. Mulching also improves water retention – so you won’t need to water the lawn as often.
Choose Your Tools Wisely
When it comes to choosing your tools, you want reliability, comfort, and of course performance. With hand tools, always look for close grain wood or coated-metal handles, as they’ll be strong but not heavy to use – just ensure the handles aren’t painted, as paint is frequently used to conceal inferior wood. Fibre-glass or tubular-steel handles are also an excellent (albeit more expensive) option, due to their longer lifecycle. Where possible, get tools with a stainless-steel blade, as they won’t rust and are much easier to clean.
As for power tools, always buy your tools from an established international or nationwide brand. This way, your tools will be covered by a warranty, and spare parts will be easier to source - should anything goes wrong! Try to get tools that use the same battery as well, to save yourself having to lug several different chargers or batteries around with you.
Regardless of what tools you’re after, you should always buy the best possible options you can afford – even if they seem a tad on the expensive side. This will save you money in the long term, as you won't have to keep replacing them. But remember, at Real Deals for You, you’re always guaranteed to grab yourself a bargain!
So, there you have it. Our top tips to help get you started in the industry, and to ensure your landscaping becomes top notch!