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Where does our obsession with the patios come from

A. The concept of the outside room may be fairly new-fangled but we Brits have really been going patio mad since the late sixties. Patio is a Spanish word for outside seating area and the concept01:00 Wed 30th May 2001

What is trompe l oeil

A. Trompe l'oeil translates from the French as 'tricking the eye'. Basically it is the art of decorating interiors with murals of landscapes and views, animals or even household items that look01:00 Wed 30th May 2001

Why do plants produce scent

A. It is basically another way of attracting pollen spreaders, and not just insects. Colour is the usual vehicle to draw these agents, but where that is lacking the plant uses smell and that is why01:00 Wed 30th May 2001

How do plants survive in walls or between paving slabs

A. Many old style boundary walls are basically banks of earth clad with stones, so if plants can get established between the stone they can root in the soil. The same applies to paving slabs that01:00 Tue 22nd May 2001

How can I stop ants nesting in my plant pots

A. You can get chemical treatments for ants, but many of us are reluctant to use them, especially if we have pets or young children. A time-honoured method of controlling ants is to pour boiling01:00 Tue 22nd May 2001

When was the first Chelsea Flower Show and who started it

A. The very first show in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, was held in 1912 and organised by Sir Harry Veitch, whose world famous nursery was situated at the World's End on the nearby01:00 Tue 22nd May 2001

I m thinking of buying a property to let out as an investment. Is this a good time to buy

A. While the stock market continues to yo-yo banks and building societies are slashing their mortgage rates to encourage potential landlords. There are buy-to-let mortgages available with deposits01:00 Tue 15th May 2001

Is the idea of the garden room still fashionable

A. It appears so. It is interesting that this is more and more an urban-led thing, or to be more accurate, led by those with small to medium gardens. The concept of the 'outside room' is much less01:00 Tue 15th May 2001

When should I be planting up my hanging baskets

A. From now on really. Garden centres should have good stocks of young fresh plants now and you want to get them in sooner rather than later to make sure you have a good show over the summer months.01:00 Tue 15th May 2001

I need a new lawnmower but don t know what sort to chose. Are there any general rules

A. There are two basic considerations which will dictate what sort of mower is best for you. First is the size of your lawn. Second is whether you want it to look like the a bowling green, with the01:00 Tue 08th May 2001

Why do so many of us find assembly or operating instructions so difficult to follow

A. Most problems arise with goods from overseas which have instructions that have been 'translated'. If the translator translates literally from the original language the result is often01:00 Tue 08th May 2001

Spring has finally arrived for many of us. What should we be doing in the garden

A. The May garden is bursting into life and it is a real tonic after the miserable months of wet that was this winter. It's tempting to take a break, sit back and enjoy the first splashes of colour.01:00 Tue 08th May 2001

I'm after a particular plant, but my local garden centre doesn't stock it. Does it mean I can't get it

A. Garden centres are big business these days and tend to only stock plants that are reasonably well known, are available in large quantities and that sell relatively quickly. Rarer or more unusual01:00 Tue 01st May 2001

I ve got no garden, but I want to grow some plants in window boxes this summer. Where do I start

A. There are now lots of attractive planters for window sills available, from ultra-chic (and highly expensive) ornate retro lead planters to good old reliable terracotta. It may seem blindingly01:00 Tue 01st May 2001

I want to extend my home. What can I do without needing to get planning permission

A. You can generally extend up to 10% of the volume of a terraced property and 15% of a detached one without having to apply for planning permission. Common extensions, particularly in terraced01:00 Tue 01st May 2001

How do you determine who is responsible for a garden fence or wall

A. Boundaries, and who is responsible for what is one of the most complicated parts of property law and the biggest cause of inter-neighbourly disputes. With modern properties it is usually clear01:00 Tue 24th Apr 2001

What are the signs that bats are nesting on your property

Jayne b-t asked A. Traditionally, bats nested in caves or in holes in trees, but as more and more trees were cut down over the centuries they increasingly took to roosting in buildings. The image01:00 Tue 24th Apr 2001

Why would you want to create a wildflower area

A. There are plenty of good reasons to let part of your garden go wild. Wild flowers used to be a common site, but with modern farming methods and the gradual creep of housing development in rural01:00 Tue 24th Apr 2001

What are the pitfalls of moving from the city to a remote part of the country

asks Tony B:A. Earning a living is probably the biggest one. And the first question locals will ask you. They will already be aware of how difficult it can be to make a living. So, work out how you'll01:00 Mon 16th Apr 2001

What plants should you put next to a computer to clean up the air

asks Su Smith:A. Most homes and offices can usually produce a few sad-looking spider plants, but they could be useful. There are a whole range of plants that have been found to clean up the atmosphere01:00 Mon 16th Apr 2001

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