Category Archives: Winter Gardening

Home Security Month

Home Security Month: How Secure is Your Garden?

By | Fencing, Winter Gardening | One Comment

As the nights draw in, burglars become more opportunistic and take advantage of the early darkness. Burglaries are likely to increase by around 20% this time of year.

To remind us all to survey our home security this Autumn, October is Home Security Month. This includes your garden. Tools, statues and plants in gardens are often worth thousands, and the average value of stolen goods is £850. But we don’t secure them in the same way we would an iPad or television. Your garden is also your first line of defence against would be thieves who are targeting your home.

Weird Things People Steal

dog-in-garden

We wrote before about how 50% of dog thefts occur from your garden. More obvious targets include expensive electronics such as mowers and gardening tools (which can be used to break into homes). Bicycles, ornaments and furniture are also commonly taken. Then it can get weird. People have had decorative barrels, swimming pool pumps, and plants stolen by opportunists. Potted plants, hanging baskets, and even planted shrubs have been swiped and sold on. The problem has become so severe in some places that public places such as Anglesey Abbey have begun security tagging their snowdrops.

Choose the Right Secure Garden Fencing

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It’s obvious that a short, cheap, weatherbeaten lap fence made from softwood won’t deter thieves very much. It can be harder to figure out what will keep undesirables away. Well, secure garden fencing will help. Colourfence is an excellent candidate. The surface is smoother, making it harder for burglars to get a foothold and climb into your garden. The material (zincalume) is tough, so it can’t be easily damaged or destroyed; and it isn’t susceptible to fire the same way wooden alternatives are. A trellis top can provide extra security; especially threaded with thorny climbers such as roses.

Choose the Right Gate

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Colourfence also produce high quality, secure gates, which are made from a combination of Colorbond steel and high quality pre galvanised, powder coated square tube. The gates come in a variety of sizes and lengths, and can come with a range of locks, handles and drop bolts. They share the qualities of Colourfence fencing; they are extremely low maintenance and very durable. They are also weather resistant, and wind resistant up to 130 MPH – another important quality in October and the coming winter.

Tweaking Your Garden For Security

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You can plant spiky shrubs next to your fence to deter people from climbing over the fence. This may seem harsh if you are being invaded by next door’s kids, but a thief may well see this and decide to look for easier prospects. Other ways to frighten them away include light and noise. Noise in particular can be your friend. You can try anything from a gravel driveway to a professional alarm. With light, you can try dusk to dawn security lighting or motion sensor lamps, which can startle people away and make your garden seem like too much trouble.

General Tips

  • Keep your bins away from your gates / fences
  • Microchip your pets
  • Use land anchors to secure your plant pots
  • Invest in good, weather proof padlocks for sheds and gates
  • Use a bike lock as well as locking your shed
  • Check your insurance covers your more expensive items.
  • Keep bushes trimmed back.
  • Make sure ladders are locked away.

Home Security23

 

Winter5

Wind-Proof Fencing: Protect Your Home this Winter with Colourfence

By | Winter Gardening | No Comments

Did you know that not all home insurance policies cover storm damage? Fences and sheds are usually excluded from insurance policies, according to the Association of British Insurers. Even if you are covered for storm damage, insurers may disagree on what constitutes a ‘storm’ and decline to pay out.

Is this really a problem? Well, there were 12 major storms during Winter 2013-14, which was the stormiest period of weather the UK has experienced for at least 20 years.  Winter 2015-16 was the second wettest and there were nine ‘named’ storms from November onwards.

Assess

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Insurance claims will also often be denied if you are deemed to be ‘liable’. This means, for example, if you knew your roof tiles were loose or fence panels were rotten. So the first thing to do is assess your property and garden. Try to spot any obvious issues; is your home in good repair? After all, compromised roof tiles or damaged guttering will be the first casualties. If you have trees or large shrubs in your garden, check them for dead or rotten branches (it might be worth getting an expert to check this for you).

Luckily you can do a number of things to prepare for stormy weather. You can even look at getting an optional add on policy specifically for storm damage. It’s worth keeping an eye on the news for storm reports, and setting up some news alerts online. You can even follow the Met Office on Twitter (@metofficestorms) for storm warnings.

Prepare

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First, focus on basic home maintenance. Arrange for a tree surgeon to prune back any shrubs or trees. Secure your car in a garage, store away any electronic items and make sure flower pots and garden ornaments are tidied away (to avoid smashed windows). Ensure your TV aerial is carefully fixed and check for any electrical leads that could come loose (this could cause severe problems). Also, strap any trampoline down as strongly as possible.

Next it’s time to think bigger. Sheds and fences are the two biggest ones. They will likely need securing or even replacing. Can your shed be easily dismantled? This is an extreme step, but some models can be taken apart very easily. This can be the easiest way to protect it during a spate of severe weather. Next, take a look at your fence – and be brutal. Will those three year old store bought overlap panels really survive Storm Desmond style 80 MPH winds?

Replace

 

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If your fence is older, damaged, or starting to show signs of rot or wear, it might just be time to replace it. While this is an investment, it’ll be much better value than paying to fix your neighbour’s windscreen after your fence lands on it. One of the best alternatives to cheap overlap fencing is Colourfence. It’s a strong, durable fencing solution designed to withstand gusts up to 130 MPH.

Colourfence is made of zincalume steel. It’s corrosion resistant and rot proof; it’s also designed to stand up to the most extreme weather conditions. These strong fence panels require very little maintenance and are guaranteed for 25 years. They are also fitted by fully trained and accredited experts, so you don’t have to worry about cowboys or DIY mistakes.

So, is it worth it? Well; the reality is that our weather is getting more extreme. One Oxford University study found that climate change has increased the chances of Desmond-like storms by about 40 per cent.

Colourfence may be a higher initial investment than cheaper wooden panels, but work out as being the best value fence panels long term. The panels are specifically designed to withstand strong winds, and are guaranteed for a quarter of a century, so will be replaced in the unlikely event that they do get damaged.

How are you planning to prepare for another stormy winter?

Wind Proof Fencing Winter

Winterising

10 Wonderful Ways to Winterise Your Garden

By | Winter Gardening | No Comments

Winter gardening can be daunting, especially when the evenings draw in and the wind starts to bite. However there’s still plenty to do, and the crisper air can be refreshing and invigorating.

  1. Winter Crops
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    In November & December, plant spring bulbs such as daffodils – ideally in a sheltered place. Many food crops such as kale, parsnips and chard will survive over winter, and some varieties of kale will even cover you during the Hungry Gap.

  1. Mulch
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    Mulch is an ideal way to prevent weeds gaining a foothold and protect the soil from erosion. You can use bark chippings, or make your own from compost. Bio-degradable mulches such as seaweed and leafmould will help to protect the roots and nourish the soil.

  1. Weeding

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    Before mulching, pull out any weeds, and make sure to consign them to the bonfire or your green bin rather than the compost heap. It’s a good time to remove tender invaders before they can properly take root. Group containers together for protection and consider covering the soil with permeable fabric.

  1. Care for the Ground
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    Gently till any bare land to encourage earthworms and plough nutrients into the soil. Rake up any leaves and mow the grass. Feed the compost heap with lawn clippings, raked leaves and dead and dying foliage. Use the resulting compost to nurture the soil and keep the plants warm.

  1. Protective Planting

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    Plant protective foliage. This can include windbreaks, such as evergreen shrubs and hedging. Cover crops are a great way to protect and nourish freezing ground. Examples include ryegrass, barley or microgreens such as mustard (which are more suitable for smaller gardens).

  1. Maintain Garden

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    Clean the gutters of debris to help prevent pests and freezing. Audit garden buildings – fix broken tiles, clean windows, clean exteriors. Move firewood to not be flush against the house to discourage vermin – do encourage hedgehogs though, as a means of natural, effective pest control.

  1. Watering

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    Do water the plants; increasingly dry winters make the process more important than ever. Hydrate evergreens – consider wrapping them in damp horticultural fleece to keep the warmth in. Manual watering may be better than sprinklers and other automatic systems due to potential freezing.

  1. Maintain Garden Tools

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    To prevent rust and damage, it’s important to take stock of your garden tools, and go through maintenance. First, carefully scrub any dirt from the tools. Then sharpen, and either oil and store carefully, or place (handles upright) in a box of sand.

  1. Replace Fences

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    Replace rickety and windblown fences with stronger, more durable units. Colorbond steel offers a variety of colours to brighten your garden, made from a material so strong it has a 25 year guarantee. This corrosion-resistant Zincalume steel is perfect for weathering the winter cold.

  2. Pest Control
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    Practice companion planting to encourage natural predators of aphids and bugs that can persist in mild winters. Ensure you spread mulch carefully over open ground and keep your garden healthy by watering and clearing debris (to avoid disease and souring the ground).

WINTERISE

How are you going to winterise your garden? What are your tips?