Check out these top tips to help you care for and make the best use of
your fencing products, decking and sheds, as well as some great advice on storage
Easy Fence Panel Installation
Installing or replacing a damaged fence panel is much quicker and easier if you use a purpose-designed post support system. Forest's 'FenceFast' easy-fit range, available from most garden centres, is particularly simple to use and is the only type to cater for almost any post size and design.
Easy Fence Post Repair
Thankfully there is a labour-saving way to repair a broken or rotten fence post that was originally set in concrete, without the effort of digging up and replacing the concrete itself. A purpose-designed easy-fit 'repairfast' spike (available from garden centres) can be installed around the old post base, and a new post can be fixed into place.
Install to Last
- To keep fences firm and rot-free check whether they are actually installed correctly. Pressure-treated timber has been fixed with an anti-rot preservative during manufacture so it is protected from the elements - and direct ground contact - for around 15 years. Dip-treated panels, however, need a pressure-treated gravel board beneath them to prevent direct ground contact and extend panel life.
- Invest in suitable posts. Heavier fence panels and most garden pergolas will benefit from the added strength of 100mm posts
- Check your posts are long enough before fixing. Always ensure posts are sunk at least 600mm (2') into the ground. If you are erecting panels over an uneven or sloping surface remember you may require longer posts in places
As with anything in life, you get what you pay for. Whether you need to replace a complete garden boundary, arch, pergola or shed buy the best quality you can afford; you'll be minimising repairs and replacements later on. Where you position these items is equally important. If you can't avoid an exposed spot then look for a style that can cope with the elements. Extra heavy-weight, lattice-work fence panels can be an especially good buy - they provide strength and durability whilst allowing the worst of the winds to pass harmlessly through.
Timber Care Top Tips
- Check the condition of all your garden fences, posts, structures and stores, securing any loose joints and replacing weakened or broken items. Sand off any old, flaking stain or dirt from dry surfaces and apply an annual coat of good quality wood preservative.
- Spring & Autumn are good times to work on your fence. Any flowers and leafy plants in borders alongside the fence will have died back, so walking on the area will not damage them too much. However, maintenance on any trellis with climbing plants should be carried out in early spring before the plants start to grow again.
- Decking will benefit from a good clean and an application of preservative or stain, decking oil and decking protector, to help prevent moisture damage and mould growth.
- If roofing felt has been torn or damaged on garden buildings, replace and ensure it is fully secure. Give all glazing, oil hinges and window fixings a good clean. If metalwork shows signs of rust, clean and apply a paint treatment specifically made for garden furniture. Check all fixings are tight and then your building will be ready to withstand the winter weather to come.
- The best time to treat your shed is usually in spring or autumn when you have a dry day. This means that the timber will not be too wet or dry ensuring you get the optimum absorption of treatment in the timber. Do not treat you timber when it's raining as the treatment will simply be washed away.
- When there is no more need for garden furniture, store it in the shed or garage to protect it from the winter weather and allow it to dry out.
- Be frugal and save seeds in a cool, dry, frost-free place, such as a tin box in the shed. These can then be sown in the spring.
- Remember to check that your tools are in good working order and store them away for when you next need them.
- Dig and store summer tubers and bulbs, which can then be planted again in spring.
- Winter gives cuttings and leaves a chance to break down and produce nutrient-rich compost, which will be ready for boosting the garden in the New Year. Now is also a really good time to turn your compost heap. It will heat up nicely and then gently rot over the winter.
- Avoid bonfires where possible. Instead, put garden waste on the compost heap or add it to the council's green waste collection.
- Be sure to rake your lawn and keep it free from leaves. Whilst leaves will provide the lawn with nutrients, they will also help encourage unwanted weeds and also suffocate the lawn, which needs to breath. The leaves also make great compost!
- A good composter should be compact, allow plenty of air to circulate and offer easy access.
- Good compost needs just two main ingredients: 'brown' and 'green'. Heap on plenty of 'brown' materials (such as dead leaves and plants, straw or sawdust) and layer with 'greens' (grass cuttings and any vegetable kitchen waste). Try to use more browns than greens as this will make your compost decompose better.
- If the materials you use are fairly dry, water your compost heap from time to time to keep it 'sponge-moist'.
- Don't use diseased plants or tough weeds such as dandelions and couch grass; you'll simply be spreading them back onto your garden later.
Protecting The Environment
Most of the timber used in our products is cut in our own sawmills from trees which have been grown in UK forests.
These woodlands come under the control of the Forestry Commission. This government agency has a statutory duty to ensure responsible management of existing woodland and must comply with sound environment practice.