Repairing Your Broken Fence

fallen borderThe recent gales have caused havoc in many of our towns and cities and for many of us we have seen our fences either blown down or waving around and leaning over at crazy angles. Many fences are erected by the builder of the house any is very common for the all-important fence post that is set into the ground, often with concrete to be untreated timber, the result a rotten post at the bottom. It has to be said that if a fence post is properly treated it will last for thirty or forty years, possibly longer.

So if you find that the fence between two properties had fallen you first have to first make sure it’s yours. There is an unwritten rule that a good neighbour puts up a fence with the post and rails’ facing their own property, but this is not a legal obligation. If the odd post has failed it could be possibly to repair this without taking the fence down. Support the fence with lengths of timber on either side. Dig a hole around the base of the post, cut the rotten part away and remove any concrete.

Place a concrete spur in the hole against the remains of the post. Then drill holes through the post at the marked spots. Push the bolts through the post and spur side. Put on the nuts and tighten with a spanner. Brace the post with lengths of timber, checking it is vertical with a spirit level. Fill the hole with concrete, leaving the timber supports in place for 48 hours while it sets. This is likely to be a temporary measure, because if one post has failed, in all probability the other may follow soon after, so consider taking the fence down completely and replacing all the posts with good well treated new ones. If the panels are sound, treat them with a spirit based preservative and you will have a fence that will last for many years. Get great fencing products here….

What Garden Furniture Should You Consider?

Have you ever been sitting in you living room, there is a sudden gust of wind and your inexpensive plastic patio table chairs have flown past the window, ending up in next door’s garden? That’s not good for outdoor furniture hey? If only you had spent a bit more money and purchased heavier furniture. Well, for a number of reasons we recommend cast aluminium garden furniture.

One of the best websites we have found for metal patio furniture is Outside Edge as they are the only aluminium backyard furniture factory left in the UK who make their products from scratch, from raw metal to ‘finished in the box’.

We can honestly say that these table and chairs or loungers are not going to be found buried in the side of your garden shed! Aluminium has a good weight to it but it is not painfully heavy like cast iron and of course it cannot rust.

metal garden chairs

So you can pick the furniture up yourself and move it anywhere on the patio with relative ease, but it will not degrade outside.

So what is cast aluminium? This metal, when molten, is nice to work with as it runs smoothly which is perfect for casting. A mold is made using either sand, iron or steel, of the desired object in the negative. The liquid aluminium runs into the mold and when cooled forms the required part. It is removed from the mold and cleaned.

The parts are then put into a jig for repeated accuracy and welded together. For example a standard garden chair would have the following cast parts: back, seat, legs x 4 and arms x 2. The cleaned chair should then go off to be powder coated and baked in an oven, before being packed.

Most people actually think that the metal furniture that they see in garden centres or in other peoples homes is made from iron or steel but of course most of the modern garden furniture nowadays is made from aluminium. There are a number of reasons as to why this versatile element is used in many industries; such as the aeronautical industry, ship building, cars, boats, engine parts, cookware, filtration, architecture and more. As mentioned it is light but strong and can be readily worked. Aluminium also conducts heat quickly and efficiently, for instance it can be used for radiators.

One down side is that although aluminium never rusts it does oxidize. This only happens to the very beginning of the surface and does not affect the structural qualities of the metal. This is counteracted by lacquering and/or painting, particularly powder coating. Once the product is coated, for backyard furniture, aluminium is perfectly suited because there is virtually no up keep and washing is easy with pressurized water.

Unlike wood, aluminium patio furniture can be left outside all year round as it will not deteriorate or blow away!  Outside Edge offers garden sets in a variety of shapes and sizes from 2 seat bistro sets to huge 14 seater extending garden suites. There are loungers and benches but our particular favourite is the modular corner dining set. They also provide accessories like parasols, cushions and all weather covers.

Outside Edge’s cast aluminum is undeniably practical but it’s also design led. There are classic Victorian designs, contemporary shapes and even some standard municipal patterns. So go to their website, as we feel sure there is something for everyone!

aluminium sofa set


How To Care For Ferns

garden of ferns

How To Look After Ferns

Ferns are very popular plants, in interior and exterior spaces, in the garden or inside your house – so how do we look after them?

The plants are actually pre-historic, scientists think that ferns were the staple diet for dinosaurs! There are thousands of different types and they can be sparse or very dense, spindly or thick. Having said this the treatment for all ferns species is pretty similar. Broadly speaking, ferns are quite self sufficient but there are a number of standard steps to follow which will ensure the plat thrives and matures.

Put A Fern In The Right Placeshady fern

Ferns are somewhat sun shy, they suffer from a mild case of photo-phobia! Find a a shady place where the fern will get a little bit of sunshine, perhaps facing to the north, a planting area directly facing south is a big no no! You want the suns rays to lightly touch the plant not fry it alive all day. The fern in the wild grows much better in shaded areas.

Make The Atmosphere In And Around The Fern Humid

Ferns like moisture in the air, they like it humid, they like it wet. So how do we artificially create a humid atmosphere in your suburban garden? Well, there are mainly two strategies. The first is to use 2 pots, one inside the other. Plant your fern in a ceramic pot then place this planted pot into another garden container that is slightly larger. Place sodden thick moss into the 2nd pot and keep it wet, also cover the top of both containers with soil. Check this natural humidifier every few days and keep the top surface soil wet. Secondly, you could use a humidifier placed next to the ferns, but of course this will cost money to run.

humid helmet

Don’t Vary The Temperature Levels

As nearly all the ferns that are sold for indoor use are originally from the tropics, cold or oscillating temperatures will kill them. Make sure the average temperature does not fall outside a 5 degree tolerance and that the median is about 70 degrees centigrade. Pretty much all ferns will expire if the temperature plummets below sixty degrees

One place in your home that is great for ferns is the bathroom where it is often humid and warm!

Keep Water Levels Constant

As you have probably realized by now, ferns are thirsty chaps so keep them well watered. This does not mean just the humidity but the earth that the fern is planted in must not be dry but not waterlogged – if you can leave an imprint of your hand in the soil with light pressure than that is wet enough! We suggest top ups rather than an over soaking.

Should You Feed A Fern

Yes, monthly feeding should be more than adequate. We recommend  a tree fern fertilizer like this one from Thompson & Morgan. You could visit your local home and garden store, garden centre or gardening department store but it’s so much easier to order online! Potting soil will deplete after a while so if you feed the fern the plant will be healthier and eventually more vigorous – you do not want a skinny fern! Maybe wait at least 4 months before you start with the fertilizer.

Throw Away Any Dead or Poor Bits

Remove all the dead, dying or dodgy parts so the rest of the plant is vigorous – just like pruning a vine which makes the grapes better.

Move The Plant To Another Pot

After say a year it is good idea to re-pot your fern. Disease can establish itself in the soil and it is recommended that you use new soil eventually which introduces natural nutrients. Also your plant is growing (hopefully) and you do not want your fern to be pot bound. If the root system is allowed to become too dense any plant eventually strangles itself.

There you have it, so good luck and we hope your fern stays firm!