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Blog posts tagged with 'sheds'

Is your garden secure?


With the recent increase of thefts from gardens across the UK, I thought it would be prudent to write about ways of making sure your tools and even plants are safe from light fingers. Putting a good lock on the shed is a good start. It may surprise you to know, many people still think a simple latch will suffice when it comes to looking after your expensive tools.  However, a policemen friend of mine recently told me, in the majority of cases in a domestic garden, a simple but sturdy brace and lock will put off many burglars.  But you may want to go further and reinforce the doors and roof? Also try to lock any external gates if you have them. Anything that slows a person down will add to your security. Basically, you have to assess what your garden machinery is worth. If you have gone for the top end of the market, with a beautiful Stihl leaf blower etc, you are looking at close to £500 just to replace one item.

Perhaps you have insurance and think it will all be replaced if stolen?

Most insurers now will not consider replacing any items unless it can be proved that the utmost care was put into protecting your tools, then even if you can prove due care was taken, your premium will go up in the following years. A second way of protecting your tools is to mark them. The police will give you, if you ask nicely and flutter your eyelids, a UV marker pen. Write your name and postcode on everything you wish to trace. If you want to go one step further, you can get the items engraved, etched or stamped. Again the police can do this for you. The third way, is to be vigilant. If you see anybody loitering at the rear gate of a garden or looking over fences furtively should be reported. Or indeed, any unwanted visit from people offering their gardening or tree expertise, with no form of ID, should be reported to the police on the 101 number. Equally, anybody offering to tarmac your drive, suggesting pest control or just turning up 'lost' is also to be reported to 101. I am told by a senior police officer, that this will help in future intelligence work. When you do hire someone, make sure your gardener is qualified and insured, with the proper credentials. They may be remarkably cheap, but are they who they say they are? Try to get references and evidence of previous work. Again a policeman has informed me, that some who advertise as 'gardeners' you wouldn't particularly want near your property.

 
What’s orange and boring and lives at the bottom of the garden…?

Answer...a garden shed! When we moved house four years ago I needed one to store my tools and do a bit of potting while I transformed the wilderness that accompanied our new home. I built the shed equivalent of Dale Winton. Why do all commercially bought sheds look as if they’ve been ‘tangoed’?

My previous shed had been tucked away under a huge lilac tree. Fragrant roses and honeysuckle scrambled over it and mature shrubs almost hid it from view. It was my little sanctuary, a den to which I could flee and where, while transplanting seedlings and potting up bulbs, I could forget the stresses of the day. My new shed was the only vertical feature on an otherwise bleak landscape of stony soil. I couldn’t live with it but how could I disguise it? Shrubs would take a few years to establish, as would climbing roses. In the meantime it leered ‘orangely’ at me and looked...hideous.

I applied logic and a large gin and tonic to the problem. If I had already had mature shrubs I could simply have painted it black or very dark green so it would have blended with the shadows. No such luck. There was nothing for it, I’d have to make a feature of it. I hit the garden centre to check out colours. I was amazed. Timber preservative manufacturers now produce a vast range of beautiful tints. I could have painted my shed almost any shade I chose.



I toyed with a jolly red and white striped beach hut idea for a while, then spotted a jaunty yellow which I thought might be a laugh. There was also a gorgeous blue. For every colour I could imagine choosing plants to complement or contrast. In the end I settled on a soft sage green, to complement the silver leaved plants which I knew would do well in our dry, stony soil. I also indulged myself by painting the inside a light cream, which is so much brighter on overcast days.

Four years on, the heavily scented, pale pink rose New Dawn scrambles up the trellis attached to the side. The shrubs I planted to the front are beginning to provide cover and the nearby Eucalyptus provides a bit of height. My mother was inspired to paint her shed after seeing mine. Her garden is so tiny that disguise wasn’t an option. She went for vivid blue with a stained glass window! It looks stunning surrounded by vibrant pots and hanging baskets.

Why not get creative this month? Say no to orange and yes to red, blue, yellow, grey and lilac!

-- Rob Amey