Reviewed by Louise Totton
I have always loved to have a lovely garden – I enjoy gardening, having colour outside and creating a nice outdoor space. I moved house last year, and for the first time ever, have now got a house without a proper garden. I moved from a suburban world of manicured lawns and self-contained areas of green to a village on the edge of the countryside. Because it’s a small village, and I’m right by the village centre, there is very little garden space, and virtually all of the properties just have a small courtyard at the front. Having said that, everyone makes the best of their small space, and there are some quite beautiful planters, pots and hanging baskets along the road.
Container and planter gardening is new to me – I have always had flower beds and borders before, but I am actually really enjoying it, it can just be a bit of a challenge finding the right pots and containers. It’s easy enough getting pots for the ground, but the courtyard also needs higher level interest too, because of the walls and the fact that it is quite contained.
Wyevale Garden Centres have a number of options for smaller gardens such as mine, and we were spoilt for choice when it came to choosing something from the website. In the end, we went for the Forest Compact Cascade Planter, which I thought, based on the website photos, was absolutely stunning! The Compact Cascade is a three-tier planter with three trough-style containers sat on an A-frame / ladder style construction. The planter is made from pressure-treated timber and comes with a 15-year guarantee against fungus and rot, which is good to know as it’s not a cheap product and you want to know that it will last!
The product was delivered, and the delivery driver was kind enough to take it into garden for me, which was great as it’s not light. I had somehow expected the packaging to be a little bigger, and I was slightly concerned as it appeared to be a collection of planks, but my other half assured me that it’d be fine and we’d get it built in no time.
We then had a week of torrential rain and downpours, so we moved it into the house and eventually decided that we had enough space in the dining room to get it built. We unwrapped the packaging and were literally confronted with differently sized planks of wood, a bag of screws and a set of very basic instructions. We’d allowed an hour or two to get it built, but once we started looking at the instructions, it became obvious we’d need longer. For a start, we would need a drill, as all holes (110 of them) would require drilling – there were no pre-drilled holes and no markers to tell us where to drill.
The wood itself is doubtlessly good quality wood, and it is a good colour. The issue is that the instructions are less than clear, and there was no guide to give us confidence as to where to drill. Obviously, once you have drilled a hole, you are committed and you don’t want to get it wrong on such an attractive and expensive bit of furniture, so it took us a long time to check and double check everything we were doing. It would also have been helpful for the instructions to have indicated the size of drill bit we would need, but again, we had to guess.
All told, assembly took us around four hours. My other half is quite handy and even he struggled with certain aspects of the instructions, so I would imagine that others would have a bigger issue. That said, now the planter is assembled, it is an incredibly solid structure and I have no doubts at all that it will stand the test of time.
Each trough holds around 20 litres of compost, so one bag will fill the whole thing. It actually holds an awful lot of bedding plants and flowers, and I think it looks absolutely stunning in the garden. I love how it means that we have colour higher up as well as at ground level, and the higher two tiers would be ideal for the less mobile or older people to manage without having to bend or stoop. It is absolutely perfect for smaller gardens, or would be just as good in the corner of a patio or decking in a larger garden too.
Despite the initial issues with getting this assembled, I still think it’s a great product. I only wish that the website had indicated that it isn’t for a complete novice DIYer to assemble, and that a drill would be required. As a finished product, I would have rated this as 5/5, but because of the poor instructions, difficulty to assemble and lack of pre-drilled holes, unfortunately it drops to a 4/5, and would advise it for those who are confident in building it from scratch.
For more information or to buy visit www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk.