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back garden maintenance

  • Top Gardening Jobs To Do In December

    The festive season is usually all about fun and frolicking, but I thought I’d buck the trend by throwing in a quick post all about toil. Yep, this article is about hard work. It may be December and mighty chilly outside, but your back garden still needs a little tender loving care.

    #1 Look Out For Trampoline Trench With the wet weather we have been having your garden is most likely beginning to resemble a swamp by now. If you have a trampoline, watch out for trampoline trench (yes, I just made that term up, but it beautifully illustrates the problem, so go with it).

    As your children bounce up and down the trampoline feet are moving a little back and forth on the ground. As the ground is so soft at the moment, this may create a little groove, or trench, which can affect the stability of the trampoline.

    You can either pack the equipment away until the weather, and ground, improves. Or if you don’t have one already, attach a trampoline anchor kit to reduce the slippage.

    Although the long floor standing frames of trampolines are the worst culprits for this trenching, they are not the only guilty play equipment. Swings, especially, because they rock back and forth, can also work their way loose, as can climbing frames. Also as the ground swells and dries repeatedly, the movement can make any anchor points unstable. Put safety first and double check all your play equipment is well anchored to the ground on firm, flat ground.

    #2 Snuggle Containers Together Although we’ve had a relatively mild winter so far (thanks to the near endless cloud cover), things are set to turn colder shortly. If you have plant and flower containers scattered throughout your garden you can maximize their chances of survival by huddling them together. If you have a sheltered spot, cluster them there. You could even stand them on a piece of cardboard to provide a little insulation from the cold patio.

    #3 Take Care Of The Lawn You might imagine that lawn care is something reserved for the Spring and Summer, but alas, even in the Winter your little patch of green continues to need your attention.

    With all the rain and milder temperatures, most lawns are still needing a regular mow, but to prepare the grass for the Winter you should raise your blades to leave it a little longer than you would for the rest of the year.

    If there are any leaves on the lawn, scoop them up before the cause the grass to yellow, and use spikes to aerate the grass and allow it to drain.

    The good news is there’s less gardening to do in the Winter. The bad news is the gardening is less fun because it’s Winter.

    But once you’ve finished all that hard work, head over to the rest of the Wicken Toys blog where you will find some fun festive crafts, games and other ideas.

  • Top Tips To Prepare Your Back Garden For A Winter Storm

    Most of the UK north of London his faced with stormy weather this week.

    As Hurricane Gonzalo is set to make an unwelcome appearance, the Met Office has issue a Yellow Weather Warning for this Tuesday, covering much of the UK.

    Strong gales, with gusts of up to 60mph and torrential rain has the potential to cause damage to anything kept outside.

    Thankfully, we've had enough notice to make careful preparations before the turbulent weather arrives.

    Keep your home, garden and outdoor play equipment safe with these top tips.

    1. Remove Any Loose Items From The Garden

    Make a thorough inspection of your garden and notice any loose items. Some will be obvious, like toys left lying on the lawn, but others require a little more attention. Hanging baskets, bins, go-karts, bicycles, anything that could be moved by the wind should be secured in a garage. Anything lifted into the air by the wind can cause damage to your or your neighbours' property, or could potentially injure somebody by striking them.

    2. Check Anchor Points

    Large pieces of play equipment such as climbing frames and swing sets should already be anchored to the ground for safety reasons. Over time, as the equipment moves slightly during use, these anchors can work loose. Also heavy rainfall can wash away the mud the anchors are pushed into. Check every anchor point thoroughly to check it is capable of holding the frame down in the event of a strong gust of wind. After the storm has passed, re-check every point again before allowing children to use the equipment.


    3. Secure Loose Accessories

    If your play equipment includes hanging accessories such as a swing or trapeze bar, it may be possible to unclip these easily from the frame, and keep them indoors for the duration of the storm. If not, consider securing them tightly to the frame so they aren't crashing into each other in the wind.

    4. Keep Drains Clear

    If you have drains on the ground, make sure these are clear of leaves and mud so that rain water can flow freely away. If it is safe to do so, check gutters and down pipes are clear of leaves and debris so that rain water can flow away rather than flood into the garden.

    5. Bring Furry Friends Indoors

    Besides the risk of injury from flying debris, or the possibility hutches could be tipped over by the wind, storms can also cause psychological distress to pets. Keep furry friends safe by inviting them indoors for the duration of the bad weather.

    You can get more advice on how to prepare your property and cope during a power cut from the Met Office.

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