Leafing the Way

It’s that time of year again when autumn leaves pile up at the side of roads, in parks, sports pitches, car parks and public spaces. The colours might look wonderful when they’re still on the trees, but when they fall they aren’t quite so appealing.

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Damp leaves that become stuck to paths and walkways can present a slippery hazard, and piles of leaves can harbour pests and diseases, putting other plants at risk.

Using a handheld leaf blower sounds good, but we at Billy Goat believe we have something far more powerful and efficient.

Our range of Force Blowers deliver unbeatable power to get a large clean up job done in a matter of minutes. Don’t believe it? Watch the video and see how our Force Blowers, ranging from the F6 for residential and small property use, to the F18 Ultimate for all large-scale commercial and industrial jobs, compare to handheld and backpack models…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwR53WawjF8

F18

The F18 Ultimate creates an air velocity of just under 200 mph, blowing leaves farther and faster than with any other model in the lineup. It’s 570 cc commercial engine gives it phenomenal power, and there is also a self-propelled option, so fatigue from hand pushing is not an issue on large jobs.

For more information about Billy Goat’s Force Blowers, visit http://www.billygoat.co.uk/Force%20Blowers.html

How to create an urban wildflower meadow

Creating an urban wildflower meadow in parks and gardens has become increasingly popular recently, as grounds teams and gardeners consider ways to encourage wildlife such as birds and bees, and help them thrive even in the most densely built-up areas of our cities.

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As part of a new trial, farmers are also experimenting by planting wildflowers within their crop fields, to boost the numbers of natural predators of pests, thus helping to cut down on the need to use harmful pesticides. This trial, run by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, is set to be monitored for five years to see if it is a real practical solution in reducing the use of pesticides.

So, how can you create a wildflower meadow in a green public space?

Choose an area to create a wildflower patch. Depending on the size of the space, this could be as small as 1 metre x 1 metre, or a large area underneath woodland trees or close to a hedging.

If there is an established lawn, you can remove this by using a sod cutter. Billy Goat’s 18” Hydro Sod Cutter makes short work of the job, leaving you with a flat, cleared area in no time.

Once the area is clear, use an overseeder to sow wildflower seeds. Our OS550 Push Overseeder lets you select the drop rate for the seeds, taking out all the guesswork. It also has an optional power rake accessory, giving you two functions in one machine.

Billy Goat OS552H Push Overseeder

Billy Goat OS550 Push Overseeder

If you want to sow wildflower seeds in amongst already established grass, which gives a great natural appearance, then use the power rake mentioned above to rake over the lawn, removing thatch and dead matter as you go. This will help to create some space for the seeds to reach the soil, giving them a better chance of germination than if you simply scattered onto the lawn without raking.

Wildflower seeds sown in autumn should start to appear the following spring.

For more information about Billy Goat’s Sod Cutters, click here.

For more information about Billy Goat’s Overseeders, click here.

Don’t Let Autumn Growth Get Out of Hand

Evidence of the prolonged heatwave this summer can be seen in the trees, hedges and grassy areas on residential streets and parks. Many trees are showing signs of heat stress and the grass is yellow.

The weather is set to become cooler this month with plenty of rainfall, so weeds, brush and shrubbery will once again be growing.

Cleaning up overgrown areas of land now is a good idea before the growth gets out of control. Whether it’s an unused field, overgrown scrubland or a dense orchard, we have brush mowers up to the task.

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Sturdy and-heavy duty Billy Goat machines are simple to operate and will clear areas with complete ease. Our brush mowers are designed for cutting the toughest of overgrown areas. They plough through dense brush up to 6’ high, as well as grass and weeds as tall as 8”. Even saplings don’t stand a chance! These powerful machines are unfazed by hidden items lurking in the grass such as rocks, fence posts, even tyres! They make clearing vast areas, meadows and fields a breeze, as well as also being handy for clearing paths and tackling overgrowth that has perhaps got a little out of hand.

Brushcutter brushmower - Billy Goat

There are five models in the range offering a variety of options. All models have a 26” cutting width and a heavy duty blade spindle that is reinforced on four sides to tackle the toughest of cutting tasks with ease, as well as a rigid deck for extra stability. There are two self-propelled models with three speeds, both powered by 13hp petrol engines, and weigh in at 166kg.

For more information about Billy Goat’s brush mowers, visit: http://www.billygoat.co.uk/Brush%20Mowers%20Page.html

Take advantage of the heatwave to clean up property!

The prolonged weather has had a dramatic effect on the shrubs, grass and trees which would normally be lush and green at this time of year, along roads, pathways, parks, residential streets and council land. Instead, growth has slowed right down and foliage has turned yellow and very dry.

Now is a good time to take advantage of that, by cleaning up areas that would otherwise be overgrown and difficult to reach. In many areas, litter and debris may be more visible because there is less growth, so tidying up now will keep areas clear before autumn arrives.

Billy Goat’s Outdoor Vacuums, with models designed for domestic, commercial and industrial use, will make light work of lifting debris and litter, as well as leaves and foliage that have dropped earlier than usual thanks to the lack of rain.

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Each of the wheeled vacuums can be used on hard surfaces as well as grass, so cleaning up car parks, city streets, school grounds, churches, hotel grounds and festival sites can all be done easily and in less time than you might think. Bottles, cans, general litter and even small tree branches are not a problem for the commercial models – and each come with an attached refuse bag for easy collection of rubbish, making disposal a breeze. There is also the QV QuietVac Contractor, noted as the “world’s quietest”, ideal for use on residential streets or hospital car parks!

For more information about Billy Goat’s vacuums, visit: http://www.billygoat.co.uk/Wheeled%20Vacs.html

 

Cleaning Up After Summer

It might still be summer (and we’ve definitely been lucky with the weather so far this year), but it pays to plan ahead when you’re thinking about clearing up large areas in the autumn.

Rough grass, overgrowth and brush can take hold in any location and conditions. Whether it’s an unused field, overgrown scrubland or a dense orchard, a heavy-duty brushcutter makes light work of a big job. It is often easier to cut down dense growth after the flowering period, so late summer and early autumn is the perfect time to tackle it.

They plough through dense brush up to 6’ high, as well as grass and weeds as tall as 8”. Even saplings don’t stand a chance! These powerful brushcutters are unfazed by hidden items lurking in the grass. They make clearing vast areas, meadows and fields a breeze, as well as also being handy for clearing paths and tackling overgrowth that has perhaps got a little out of hand.

Brushcutter brushmower - Billy Goat

Another consideration is autumn leaves and how you might clear them. Piles of damp leaves can pose a health and safety risk on paths and public walkways, not to mention that they look unsightly, so vacuuming them up in one go makes a daunting task quick and easy. We offer a range of vacuums that suitable for domestic and professional usage and can be used on different surfaces.

Outdoor vacuum debris vacuum

 

Our Favourite Picks from RHS Chelsea 2018

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week did not disappoint, with plenty of gardens embracing design ideas that you can apply in your own garden, as well as championing the benefits of green space for health and wellbeing.

RHS Feel Good Garden

che1One of our favourites exhibits this year was the RHS Feel Good Garden designed by Matt Keightley and built by Rosebank Landscaping. The positive effect of gardening and being in a therapeutic, tranquil green space to relax are the central focus of this garden.

Earlier this year, we wrote a blog highlighting recent research by Fields in Trust which stated a clear link between mental wellbeing and exposure to green spaces. Spending just a few minutes around nature, plants and fresh air can dramatically reduce stress, anxiety and increases levels of calm.

The RHS Feel Good Garden has been designed to deliberately draw visitors in and has plenty of seating where people can pause for a moment to relax and admire the largely yellow and purple planting schemes.

The Silent Pool Gin Garden

chel2For us, the Silent Pool Gin Garden, designed by David Neale and built by Neale Richards Garden Design, was one of the best examples of a garden that could easily be created at home.

It combined hard landscaping in the form of lots of decking, pathways, sculptures and stone walling, with soft planting, water and beautiful copper pots.

The many textures of this exhibit helped to create a serene setting that could easily be recreated in an urban domestic garden.

The Pearlfisher Garden

chel3We loved the Pearlfisher Garden designed by Karen Welman and John Warland and built by The Garden Builders, for its unique message about the oceans’ vast underwater garden and its precious eco-system.

The beautiful glass ceiling over the garden helped to create a dappled shade effect, mimicking the movement of water. Most of the planting was made up of cacti and succulents to echo the look and structure of underwater plants and coral.

We think there is plenty of inspiration and ideas to be taken from RHS Chelsea year after year, both for your own garden and public open spaces to benefit entire communities.

Celebrating a Landscaping Project that Benefits Everyone

At Billy Goat, we’re always delighted to read about another successful landscaping project completed in the UK. As manufacturers of heavy-duty, no nonsense cleanup equipment for residential, commercial and municipal needs, we’re all for transforming a disused area of open space into something beneficial for the local community, and that’s exactly what the residents of Tunbridge Wells and Friends of Calverley Grounds have done.

The Calverley Adventure Grounds landscape project in Tunbridge Wells was completed in September 2017 after several years of trying to organise and get the plans off the ground. Jennette Emery-Wallis from LUC, an environmental consultancy, is an experienced landscape designer and a local resident of Tunbridge Wells. When the Friends of Calverley Grounds carried out a survey and determined that the majority of residents wanted to see a disused space turned into a playground, Jennette offered to sketch out a design for them pro bono to get the wheels in motion.

From then on, a small group of volunteers got together to take on the challenge of raising the required £225,000 budget to complete the playground. By creating and organising local events and campaigns, such as an Easter fun day, a Black-Tie auction and activities such as sponsored walks and raffles, as well as spreading the word to locals through social and traditional media, the target was easily reached.  Local companies also got involved to sponsor the project, and play manufacturer Timberplay donated much of the equipment needed for the playground.

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The design of the playground was carefully thought out to respect the history and nature of the site. Volunteers had a clear vision from the start and wanted the playground to become a local attraction for all, and not simply a square space with standard play equipment dotted around.

Once a spa town, it was decided that the playground should incorporate water in some way. An ‘S’ shaped sand pit snakes its way through the site to replicate a stream, with small water features and water tables added. Herbaceous planting in blues, purples and lots of grasses gives the feeling of being close to water and the site is split into different areas for both younger and older children.

We love this design project for several reasons; namely because it shows what is possible when a local community bands together to create something that benefits all. Secondly, because it demonstrates how a disused site can be transformed into a space that improves the look and feel of the local area, and offers a green, open place for all to enjoy. We have written before about the importance of pubic green areas in the UK, and we hope more local communities can be become inspired by stories like this one.