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Get your garden fit for summer

If you like to spend lazy summer days in the garden, now is the time to tackle those essential outdoor maintenance jobs, like fixing the fence.

Get your garden fit for summer

May, 2018

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Garden furniture

Garden furniture

If you have hardwood furniture, lucky you! Because the timber’s natural oils make it extremely durable and weather resistant, so you really just need to remove algae and lichens with a brush and soapy water. But softwood furniture will quickly degrade if it’s not looked after properly.

To get softwood furniture ready for summer, first wash it then let it dry. Now apply a good quality wood preserver, and always brush WITH the grain. Make sure you work it into joints and hard-to-reach nooks and crannies where water can settle and rot can set in. And pay particular attention to flat surfaces where rain collects. If your chairs and tables stand on grass, the legs can rot from the bottom up. So collect some plastic bottles, cut off 3 or 4 inches from the base to produce an open-top plastic dish, and pour in 2cm of wood preserver. Now stand the legs of your furniture in the liquid and leave it for a couple of hours. This will allow the preserver to soak in deeply, providing excellent protection against the damp.

Fix up your fences

Fix up your fences

It’s important to keep your fences in good condition, because if rot gets into the timber, your panels will crumble and split the next time a storm blows in. First, tie back or cover any plants that are in the way, then check the condition of your fence panels. If any boards or slats have come loose, secure them in place using a small screw - and always drill a guide hole to avoid splitting the timber.

If you find any splinters, break them off and sand down the rough edges. Now slide in a dustsheet underneath each panel to avoid splattering the ground, and apply masking tape to fence posts or plinths. Wood stain and preserver can cause skin irritation and damage eyes, so it’s a good idea to wear goggles and disposable gloves. Start with the top edge, then the vertical uprights, then panel by panel. And remember - horizontal strokes for horizontal panels, vertical for vertical panels.

Shabby shed?

Shabby shed?

If your shed’s original paint has begun to fade, rot can quickly set in. And after suffering a winter battering, now is the perfect time to treat it to a fresh coat of stain or wood preserver. You’ll need a can of exterior wood paint, a stiff hand brush, broad paint brush, masking tape and protective clothing.

First, check your shed for loose slats, and nail them down tight before you start. Next, give the entire exterior a good clean with the stiff brush, and cover handles, hinges and windows with masking tape and newspaper. Before you start painting, put on some disposable gloves and protective glasses or goggles. Now give the paint a good stir and start brushing. Begin at the top and work your way down, always brushing with the grain. And make sure you get plenty of paint on the panels so the timbers can soak it up. The deeper it soaks, the more protection it provides.

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