Premier Polytunnels Blog

Due to harsh weather conditions, winter can take its toll on your garden, leaving your outdoor space looking overgrown and a little forlorn. Subsequently your garden may need some care and attention when spring arrives.

Although it may be a few months away, when winter begins to thaw, it’s time for gardeners to spring into action. That’s why we’ve put together this spring garden checklist so that you can prepare! 

Garden Tips for Spring Planting

As successful gardeners know, planning is essential and the cold winter months provide the perfect opportunity to get organised. Let operation clean-up commence with these essential pre-spring tips:

Complete basic maintenance and repairs, such as raking the lawn, collecting debris and fixing the fence – the waste you collect can be added to your compost heap.

Prepare beds and borders by clearing old mulch, removing weeds and any old annuals. It’s also a good idea to turn over soil to increase air circulation and improve nutrient levels by adding compost.

Clean plant pots, propagation trays and gardening tools to prevent diseases.

Prune fruit trees and perennial shrubs to promote growth.

Inspect your polytunnel for any damage and, if needed, apply repair tape to repair any small holes and tears. If the damage is more substantial, you may need to replace the polytunnel plastic. Also, it’s a good idea to remove any debris and clean the polythene cover to allow more light into the tunnel during the darker months. 

Gardening in Spring, UK

After preparing your garden and polytunnel, it’s time to select your seedlings and plan your planting process. Our garden tips for spring planting will take you from early to late season, highlighting the types of flowers, fruit and vegetables you can sow, plant and harvest each month.

Early Spring

Spring Garden ChecklistMarch and April are important months for sowing, whether you want to plant beautiful blooms or grow your own vegetables. However, because the early part of the season can be prone to frost, it’s essential to protect seedlings. To do this, you can sow seeds indoors using a propagator or place them under cover in your polytunnel – this will provide the shelter and cover they need.

During March, there are lots of crops you can sow in your polytunnel, including tomatoes, peppers, beetroot, lettuce, cucumber, carrots and cauliflower.

In April, you can add broccoli, pumpkins and squash to your polytunnel, as well as radishes, spring onions and sweetcorn. This is also an ideal time to plant your March seedlings.

Additionally, to make your garden come alive, plant your summer flowering bulbs during early spring. This includes vibrant annuals like Foxglove, Sweet Williams and Lupin. Pot them up and place in your polytunnel until all signs of frost have disappeared. 

Mid Spring

Growing grapes in a polytunnelAs May arrives, your garden may be starting to bloom. With temperatures warming up and frost gone, you can now place your plants outdoors, whether in pots, raised beds or directly into borders.

Midway through the season you can also expect to begin harvesting a range of delicious vegetables. This includes varieties like asparagus, lettuces, spinach, coriander and salad leaves. You can continue sowing and planting, growing a larger range of produce like French beans, kohl rabi, swiss chard, grapes and melons.  

This is also an important time for maintaining your garden. Remember to keep on top of pest management, remove excess shoots and make sure your polytunnel has adequate ventilation.

Late Spring

Gardening in SpringAs the season draws to a close in June, you can expect to see a riot of colour throughout your garden. Now is the time to complete your planting, by adding bedding plants and less-hardy varieties. This may include Petunias, Pansies and Begonias.

Depending on the vegetables you have sown earlier in the season, this month you can harvest garlic, courgette, cauliflower, basil, cucumber, and tomatoes. You can also sow and plant a new range of fruit and veg, such as strawberries, kale, aubergine and florence fennel.

Continue with your maintenance schedule to keep your garden looking colourful throughout summer. You can encourage late flowering by pruning shrubs and removing dead heads.

Follow these tips for a productive and fruitful spring garden. You can also find more monthly tips for gardening in spring in the UK here. For more information about which crops to sow, plant and harvest in your polytunnel in spring and for tips on how to get the best from your tunnel, take a look at our monthly growing guides.

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A common question we get asked here at Premier Polytunnel is “Do I need planning permission for a polytunnel?” The quick answer is, generally you don’t. However, there are some exceptions to the rules, therefore we have put together this guide to give you as much information as possible about the planning regulations for polytunnels.

Planning Permission for Polytunnels UK

Polytunnel Planning PermissionA polytunnel is a great addition to a garden or allotment and a great investment for a keen gardener. With the development of new 5-layer polythene covers it is now possible to grow any plant in a polytunnel. Even in the cold UK weather, fruits and vegetables flourish in polytunnels, with the growing season stretching all year round. Many award winning flowers are also grown this way, with a polytunnel helping to put you in control of nature.

So, it’s good news that generally you do not need planning permission for a domestic size polytunnel for your garden. However, there are sometimes exceptions when it comes to planning regulations, therefore you should always check with your local planning office if you’re unsure.

Do you need planning permission for a polytunnel?

If you are planning on building a polytunnel which meets any of the following criteria, you should contact your local planning authority to clarify if planning permission is required:

  1. If the polytunnel is more than 3m high.
  2. If you want to position your polytunnel within 2m of the site boundary and whereby the tunnel would be more than 2.5m high.
  3. If building the polytunnel would result in more than 50% of the area around your house being covered in buildings that were not part of the original plans.   
  4. If you want to position your polytunnel whereby any part of the tunnel would be part forward of the front of the house.

There may be further restrictions to planning if the site has a listed building or is in a Conservation Area, National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.

Planning Permission for PolytunnelsIf you want to build a polytunnel for commercial use, if you want to build a larger commercial size polytunnel, or if you want to build more than one structure, please have a word with your local planning department for further advice.

When it comes to building an allotment polytunnel on your plot, it’s worthwhile checking with the allotment committee to find out if there are specific rules about the sizes of tunnels they allow. For example, some of our customers have been limited to an 8ft wide polytunnel due to the individual allotment committee rules.

For more information about the planning rules for outbuildings, including greenhouses and polytunnels, please visit the Planning Portal website.

Polytunnel Planning Permission on Agricultural Land

Planning Permission on Agricultural LandFor farmers wanting to build a Sheep House Polytunnel for use as an agricultural building on a farm, the good news is that planning permission is not required for farming operations. Planning permission is also not required if there are permitted development rights on the farm. However, some planning rules include special conditions for agricultural land and buildings, and you will usually need to apply for planning permission if your plans for the farm meet any of the following criteria:

  1. If you’re planning on changing how you use the land or buildings from farming to something different.
  2. If you’re applying for a grant to fund a project that needs a building or other development.

You will also need planning permission if you want to build a house on the land – luckily this doesn’t include a polytunnel house for your sheep!

For more information about the planning rules for farms, please visit the gov.uk website.

If you have any queries or questions about this guide or if you would like to order Manufacturer Specifications and Scale Drawings of our structures, please do not hesitate to contact our Sales Team today!

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Whether you’ve just moved into a new property or have been putting off overhauling your overgrown garden, the landscape you choose could help you get the best from your outdoor space.

Want to know how to design a garden layout? In this guide, we’ve broken the process down into three easy-to-manage stages to help you create a whole new outdoor space!

How to Design a Garden Layout

Garden Polytunnel LayoutAs an amateur gardener, it may be hard to feel inspired when looking at a blank space. To help you better visualise and create a garden you can be proud of, consider drawing a landscape plan. This method is quick and easy: simply take a photo of your garden, print and draw your new plan over the top.

Alternatively, if you’re unsure how to design a garden, creating a mood board can be an ideal starting point. From materials and layouts to furniture and colours, this could help to provide the inspiration you need to transform your outdoor space.

Another effective technique is to create a wish list. By considering all the individual elements you would like in your garden, such as a polytunnel for your vegetable patch, you can then use this as a checklist and start to filter these features into your overall design.

Floors, Boundaries and Finishes

When planning your garden layout, it helps to divide it into three crucial areas: the garden floor, the boundary and the finishing touches – for example, furniture and accessories. Because designing an entirely new garden can be a daunting project, this will help to break it up into more manageable chunks, allowing you to focus on each area in turn.

Garden Floor Layout

Garden Design PolytunnelAs the most important part of a garden redesign, the floor is the heart of your outdoor space. The layout and landscape you choose will determine how functional your garden is, so take your time when planning.

Consider how you would like to use the space and the ways in which you could divide the area. For example, if you enjoy entertaining, eating al fresco or hosting outdoor family get togethers, incorporating a separate seating area could be a key element. Installing decking or a patio could help you create a separate zone, while paths, archways and raised beds can be used to section and divide.

There are many simple and effective ways to alter layout, such as a circular shaped lawn and path, using symmetry to create an aesthetically pleasing design, or choosing a central focal point such as a water feature to draw the eye.

Updating the Boundaries

When designing a new garden, you may focus on the layout of the floor but it’s crucial to update the boundaries too. This is particularly true in small gardens or backyards where floor space is limited.

Adding design elements to the boundaries, whether a fence, wall or hedge, can enhance the overall finish and feel. This may include creating a vertical garden by using a fence panel to grow herbs, or introducing a tiered planting section by building a staggered outer wall.

Adding the Finishing Touches

Garden DesignJust like your home’s interior, the final touches can enhance the overall design and layout. By selecting the right accessories, you can transform your garden, turning it from an outdoor space into a relaxing retreat or entertainment area.

This is where you can have some fun and let your personality come out. From picking an outdoor furniture set and soft furnishings to selecting different varieties of plants and choosing a colour palette, these elements can bring all your hard work together and complete your garden redesign.

Transform Your Garden or Yard

From the smallest of city-centre backyards to sprawling family gardens, these tips can help you design a layout for a garden of any shape or size. Additionally, for further inspiration, read this RHS guide for style and inspiration tips.

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