As well as nurturing the hive and their immediate environment, I need to plan in case I want to expand. I think I will want to have at least 4 hives.
My apiary is a separate parcel of land at the bottom of the garden overlooking fields with grazing cows and facing south. We call it the pan handle because on a map that is more or less what it looks like but it housed a tennis court many years ago and must be about 100 feet by about 60 feet so as large as the gardens of many houses. There are mixed hedges all round – hedges=shelter from wind so that is good. Much of the hedging is holly and I guess the pollination from bees could mean more berries? Some of the holly plants have become trees more than just shrubs. We also have our garden bonfire here.
However, to make the most of the site and reduce the distances I might need to move equipment I am going to relocate the bonfire to the very bottom and I think I am going to put some solar lights down the sort of entrance avenue that separates the pan handle from the main garden. I can place the solar panel in light though the entrance avenue is rather in shadow. I have started to ask on the beekeeping forum for advice on layout and my original idea for two crescents of 4 hives is already changed in my mind. I think I should investigate some double stands. I can then have one facing SE and another facing SW on teh same stand. I read that some people use colour and shapes by the entrance to help the bees identify their own hive to reduce drifting. How fascinating this is becoming!