Thursday 14 August 2014

Everything You Need To Know About Choosing An Automatic Gate

The decision to install an automated gate is generally triggered by a desire to upgrade the security of your home, not just by restricting access to the property but also by creating an effective screen from the outside world. As well as delivering a feeling of enhanced privacy, certain styles of automated gate will make it very difficult for an opportunist thief to catch a glimpse of the house and any valuable assets. And if you have young children, or pets, an automated gate will also guard against the risk of any unplanned and unaccompanied exits from the family home!

Automatic Gate Checklist!

If you are considering investing in an automatic gate, here are some important pointers to bear in mind:
  • Make sure that the gate you purchase is CE marked and is supplied with a Declaration of Conformity. All automated gates are legally required to carry a CE mark to show that they comply with the EU Machinery Directive.
  • Automatic gates are actually classed as a machine, and as such, should only be installed (and maintained) by someone that is suitably qualified and therefore familiar with the knowledge necessary to deliver a safe and legally compliant gate. Gate Safe is a charity (supported by RoSPA and the UK Police Initiative ‘Secured by Design’), which was set up to improve standards in automated gate safety. The charity has rolled out an approved training course especially for installers (the course is accredited by IOSH, the world’s biggest health and safety membership organization). Check out your nearest Gate Safe Aware installer by visiting
  • Don’t be tempted to skimp on the safety features which any suitably qualified installer should recommend for your gate. You may not be aware, but since 2010, there have been 15 accidents including six fatalities involving automated gates. The installer is likely to recommend photo cells and safety edges for the gate – you may feel they detract from the overall aesthetic appeal of the gate but what matters more, having a great looking gate or having a safe gate?
  • Check that the gate you are purchasing will offer a long life service. Timber gates should be suitably treated to offer protection against rot and wood boring pests, Jacksons timber gates come supplied with a 25-year guarantee as standard. Metal gates should be supplied with a galvanized finish to provide added protection against rust. All Jacksons metal gates are galvanized as standard and are supported by a 25-year service life guarantee.
  • Look carefully and check that you also have some kind of warranty for the automation equipment that is required to power the gate. All automation products supplied and installed by Jacksons are covered by a 25 month parts and labour guarantee, subject to a service contract being taken out in the second year.
  • When you receive a quote for the automated gate, be sure to confirm that this includes a 12-month fully inclusive maintenance agreement, as it is essential that all automated gates are reviewed every six months as a minimum. The quote should also include a gratis training visit for the users of the gate.
For more helpful advice on automated gates visit Gate Safe.

Ask an expert! If you have any questions about choosing and installing an automated gate our team can help! Use the comments box below.

Friday 8 August 2014

Be Prepared To Face The Floods

flood prevention tips, fencing, flood defence
The break in the recent summer sunshine and ominous predictions for flash flooding bring to mind the terrible damage caused by the floods of earlier this year. January 2014 saw some parts of the country experience the wettest weather since records began in 1910.

Of the 28 million homes in the UK, over 5 million are prone to flooding – or one in six in England alone. But around 40% of these householders are blissfully ignorant of the fact that their homes are at risk!

Flood Prevention Tips

To make sure you don’t end up joining the growing queue for insurance claims relating to flood damage, here are some steps to take to prevent or limit the amount of water, which is able to enter your property following extreme weather conditions.

  • Sandbags are a popular short term fix, which, when used with plastic sheeting, can help to prevent mud and silt from entering the property. However, they are not proven to prevent all water from weeping through.
  • If you are aware that a flood situation is likely to occur, it is possible to install guards that will prevent water gaining access to your home via gaps in the front / back / patio doors.
  • Ventilation bricks which could potentially provide a pathway for water can be screened off by fitting covers.
  • If you are living in a flood prone area, it may be wise to ensure all floors are properly sealed.
  • Tactical landscaping so that the garden slopes away from the house can help reduce the amount of water that is able to access the property – be aware that hard landscaping can increase the levels of water ‘runoff’.
  • Consider fitting non-return valves in sewage pipes to stop sewage backing up into the house.
  • Look at installing a perimeter fence which has built in flood defence qualities.
For further information on flooding visit You can also view areas at risk of flooding on the Environment Agency website

Monday 28 July 2014

Hot Hot Hot, Shade Solutions from Jacksons

shade solutions, home and garden
The weather pundits have predicted a blistering heat wave is on its way but much as we all love a bit of sunshine, sizzling in the soaring high temperatures is neither enjoyable nor healthy without access to some shade.

No Natural Shade in Your Garden?

Not all gardens are blessed with trees that are big enough to offer sanctuary from the sun, so here are a few ideas on ways in which to add the cool factor to your garden!

shade solutions, home and garden

Retreat to the Retreat!

The Retreat Wooden Garden Shelter is the ideal find for shade seekers. The contemporary shelter has been designed using Jacksons’ popular Venetian panels to create a stunningly stylish focus point for your outdoor space, with the horizontal pales casting dramatic bands of light and shade whilst you relax in the ultimate chill-out zone.


Perfect Pergola

A carefully positioned double pergola can work wonders in terms of creating welcome shade in the garden, especially if you can add fast growing climbing plants capable of delivering a living roof!

Safe Swimming

For those fortunate souls with a swimming pool in their back garden, the quickest way to cool down is to jump in! Always remember the safety hazards associated with water, especially if you have young children in the home. A timber garden deck around the pool will be less slippery when wet than paving (and warmer too) and by creating a robust balustrade surround; you can introduce controlled access to the water. Alternatively you can screen off with a regular timber or metal fence but be aware of the dangers of siting the fence too close to the water. If a child does try and scale the fence you need to take steps to ensure that they don’t fall directly into the swimming pool.

All Jacksons timber products are guaranteed for 25-years thanks to the company’s famous Jakcure timber treatment system, so whatever source of shade you choose, you can rest assured it will represent a long term investment.

If you would like any advice on creating shade in your garden, contact the Jacksons team on 0800 408 4340, or pop a question in the comments box below.

photo credit: zharth via photopin cc

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Ten Convincing Drivers To Install A Carport!

timber, car port, carport
A garage is the traditional solution to having a safe space to park your car but this often incurs considerable expense, can take a lengthy amount of time to install and in some circumstances may even require planning permission. A carport on the hand can be erected in a few days, costs a fraction of the price of a garage and is generally free from planning controls.

What Is A Carport?

A carport can be described as a car shelter with a roof that is supported by posts. It is classed as an outbuilding, which means that it is deemed to be a permitted development beside a home with the following limitations:

- carports are not permitted to be built on land forward of the wall that forms a home’s principal elevation

- the structure must be single storey and balconies or overhangs are not permitted

- the eaves height can be a maximum of 2.5 metres

- the carport cannot amount to exceeding 50% of the property’s land

- if a property is located in a National Park, and the carport is located more than 20 metres from the house, the carport must not exceed 10 square metres

- Local Planning authority guidance should be sought for carport installations by a listed building

Why Carports Get The Green Light

  1. Provides protection from the elements – from strong sunshine to freezing snow and ice. Powerful UV rays can have a detrimental effect on your car’s paintwork (especially on strong colours), whereas keeping your windscreen free from snow and ice means no time is wasted getting the car fit to drive on a cold winter’s morning. It will also put a welcome stop to arriving to find your car covered in unwanted debris, ranging from falling leaves to unsightly bird droppings.
  2. Older persons or anyone living on their own might feel safer stepping from the comfort of their vehicle straight into the house without having to negotiate the perils of parking in the street.
  3. Kits like the Timber Carport from Jacksons come with a 25-year guarantee and without the aggravation of a) sourcing a reputable builder and obtaining estimates for a new garage b) pinning a builder down to ensure the build is completed on time and in budget.
  4. Carports can often prove a deterrent to opportunist vandals who are less likely to want to inflict damage on a vehicle which is located so close to the home.
  5. Because there are no doors to a carport, they are regularly seen as more convenient to a garage since you can simply drive straight in. Not having to deal with doors can also prove a bonus if you are also struggling to unload shopping and / or supervise young children!
  6. The open sides of a carport means that you can generally get away with not having to install lighting.
  7. Carports can also provide a useful shaded play space / entertainment area.
  8. A carport may provide space for the family car as well as storage for other vehicles such as a caravan, motorbike, boat or trailer.
  9. Whereas you might be restricted on where you can site a garage, a carport can pretty much be located anywhere on your premises.
  10. Investing in a carport will add value to your property.
For more information on the Jacksons Timber Carport (available in a single and double configuration), visit or tel 01233 750 393.

Monday 21 July 2014

Top Tips For The Ultimate Garden Gathering!

garden party, garden improvements
Finally, we have the glorious weather conducive to hosting the perfect garden party, but it’s not just the temperatures that need monitoring to create the right vibe for an alfresco get together. If you are planning some outdoor entertainment over the summer, and want your party to go with a bang, here are a few basics you need to get right:

Garden Party Tips

· Party zones

Think about dividing up your outside space (just like the interior of your home) to enable different areas of the garden to provide specific functions. This is where employing creative screening to divide the outdoor space into ‘rooms’ can come into its own. Natural hedging, living willow screens or ‘fedges’ (cross between a fence and a hedge), chunky pergolas or designer inspired unusual fencing can all be used to great effect to introduce a sense of structure and organised order into your outside accommodation. Take a look at the stylish Venetian, Woven and / Jaktop garden fencing panels from Jacksons or consider incorporating a brick effect timber retaining wall like Jakwall.

· Shady spaces

garden party, Jacksons Retreat

Blue skies and sunshine are the perfect combination for an outdoor celebration but don’t forget spending too much time in the heat can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. Always provide plenty of sanctuary from the sun, if you don’t have any natural shade consider installing a dedicated timber shelter, like the Retreat from Jacksons or a double pergola with climbing plants. For a quick fix, a simple sun sail provides effective protection in a choice of colours.

· Perfect pathways

If you are going to invite your guests to walk around the garden, moving from ‘room’ to ‘room’ you need to make sure there are safe pathways for them to use. Paving can be an expensive and can also become slippery in the rain, grooved timber decking boards can be used to create a safe slip-resistant walkway and you can even provide a balustrade as a finishing touch.

· Keep the volume down

Even if the music isn’t blaring out, the noise created by a crowd of people chatting can become a source of irritation to anyone not invited to the party! Equally, you might want to drown out the sounds emanating from a nearby road or commercial business. Acoustic fencing will not only deliver an effective sound barrier, it also acts as a helpful filter to avoid general / exhaust pollution invading your private space.

For more information visit or tel 01233 750 393.

What tips can you share for the perfect garden party? Whether it's creative decorative ideas, outdoor games to keep your guests entertained or the ultimate recipe for a summer fruit punch, we would love to hear from you. Use the comments below.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Staycation This Summer?

garden improvements, decking
Rather than spending your hard earned cash on a quickly forgotten foray to far off places, why not put the money towards improving your outdoor space – you’ll certainly get more than two weeks enjoyment out of your investment!

Garden Improvements Great Ideas

Here are our top five garden improvements for summer:

1. Dreamy decking

A timber deck will provide a whole new dimension to your outside room. Perfect for outdoor dining, ideal as a low maintenance year round (mud free) outdoor play area or simply sublime as a dedicated relaxing retreat, decking continues to rule in the stylish garden stakes and is a natural choice to achieve the ultimate seamless indoor / outdoor living. Be sure to choose timber which has been adequately treated to protect against rot and insect attack, all wooden dcking boards are supported by the unique 25-year Jakcure guarantee which ensures a long service life – not to mention added peace of mind!

2. Add kerb appeal

We can be totally fixated with the fencing required at the back of the house to create a safe and secure outside area, but often at the expense of what’s happening at the front of the property! If you want to give your home an instant makeover, you can’t beat a smart new fence to create immediate kerb appeal. Whether it’s a traditional picket (palisade) fence, a rustic post and rail or maybe uber smart metal railings, be clear on the maintenance requirements to keep the fencing looking good in the years ahead. Jacksons timber fencing requires no additional maintenance as the preservative is forced deep into the heart of the timber, while all Jacksons metal railings are galvanized as standard to keep rust at bay.

3. Bin busters

Whilst we all applaud the focus on recycling and want to do our bit to protect our precious environment, the extra number of bins now lurking outside a house can lead to a somewhat unsightly first impression! And let’s not get started on the subject of wheelie bins that go AWOL! Give your bins a base of their own and install a Wheelie Bin Store to keep them safely tucked away in an attractive timber store between collection days.

4. Great gates

A gate that has come off its hinges or which is clearly in poor condition not only looks untidy – it is also a clear indication of a reckless attitude towards home security. Installing a new gate can make a real difference to the overall look of the property and sends out a clear message to any passing opportunist thieves.

garden improvements, car port
5. Parking perks

Imagine a world where you don’t have to ever search for a parking space near your house again, where your car is always free from frost and ice and the windscreen is never littered with debris! And best of all, where you never get soaked again unloading the shopping in the pouring rain! If all this appeals then you should consider purchasing a car port. A timber pergola is a highly cost effective alternative to constructing a garage, providing all the parking perks without the building hassle - and at a fraction of the price!

Visit to find out more, or call 01233 750 393.

So what garden project are you planning this summer? We would love to hear about your garden improvements so share your ideas in the comments box below.

Monday 14 July 2014

Training Boredom Busters From Hannah Biggs

Schooling is an absolute necessity if you want to improve your performance, regardless of which equestrian discipline you are involved in. But ask any horse to accept being schooled relentlessly in the same arena, day after day, following the same routine, and you will soon find yourself with a very bored horse (not to mention rider!).

Hannah has to train incredibly hard to deliver the exacting performances expected of an international dressage rider, so here are her top boredom busting tips:

Dressage Tips and Training Solutions

  1. Look at breaking up your training sessions. I always aim to never ride in the school for more than two consecutive days. So while I might focus on specific movements in the arena, I will alternate this with hacks or even a ride on the gallops. This not only gives the horses a welcome change of scene, it helps them to relax whilst being exercised at the same time.
  2. Keep ‘test fresh’. Obviously when I am in the school, I practice on the various elements of the test due to be presented at my next competition. However, I make a point of not continuously running through the whole test. I might for example, ask the horse to prepare for a particular transition / movement but not follow through with the actual request, perhaps adding in a change of flexion / a quick sideways move, a shoulder-in. What I am working towards is a horse that is supple and listening to my aids, rather than predicting what comes next. As a rider, you want to feel like you have the opportunity to adjust a movement at any point, either speeding up or slowing down, keeping the head up or asking for the head to work lower, changing flexion - all of these subtle requests need to be willingly accepted AND quickly actioned by the horse.
  3. Most of us don’t have the luxury of having a trainer on the ground at all times, to give guidance and maintain your motivation. I would recommend schooling with earbuds (in-ear headphones) and listening to music playing on a radio / iPod (try downloading the iRide app) to help with concentrating on the job in hand and also to provide a regular rhythm to ride to.
  4. Don’t overlook the benefits of introducing trotting or canter poles to your routine to help improve strength, swing and coordination. In addition, a simple pole work exercise can do wonders for helping to develop bend, balance and impulsion.
  5. Anyone will become bored if tasked with doing the same thing everyday with no particular ‘end’ goal. So while I have a clear long-term end goal (to represent Team GB at the next Olympics) I also regularly introduce frequent mini goals to provide a bench mark for evaluating improvement. For example, I might decide that for a particular horse, I really need to work on improving their half pass to the right, to improve the elasticity and suppleness. At the end of the month, I will revisit that particular movement and assess if there are any noticeable changes in performance. I also look to my trainer (Emile Faurie), my physio team and ultimately the judges for informed feedback to determine if I have successfully achieved what I set out to do.
Let me know how you get on with above tips. If you have any advice you can share on schooling please use the comments box below.

Hannah Biggs is a member of the Jacksons Professional Rider Team and also the World Class Development Squad. As one of Britain's leading dressage riders she competes at an international Grand Prix level. For more expert training tips join the Jacksons Equestrian Club to gain exclusive access to training videos from Hannah and other members of the Jacksons Professional Rider Team.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

All The Places We've Been!

jacksons show gardens
June was another busy month for the events team at Jacksons. Hot on the heels of the launch of the two newest designer gardens at Jacksons’ headquarters in Stowting, came the opening of the ‘Jacksons FC’ garden at the McArthur Glen Ashford Designer Outlet. Amy Roberts, the designer behind this dramatic showpiece took her inspiration from the current Football World Cup celebrations in Brazil. The entire garden is themed around a football pitch that is complemented by lush tropical planting and two Jacksons Retreat shelters which are designed to emulate the dugouts on a professional pitch. Visitors to the garden can even enjoy a bit of the beautiful game themselves – by exercising their arms at the table football feature! The centerpiece to the exhibit is a large widescreen TV which will be broadcasting all the major sporting fixtures throughout June and July – definitely making McArthur Gen the preferred shopping destination for all boyfriends / husbands!!

Our next outing was to the Cheshire County Show, which took place 17-18 June. The Chester team did us proud at the event, making sure that our stand was voted second best in show – here we are on Facebook!

equestrian fencing, guy williams, jacksons professional rider team
2014 represents the company’s third year at Hickstead and the June Derby meeting proved a great success for both Jacksons and Guy Williams, a founder member of the Jacksons Professional Rider Team. Our stable themed stand attracted a considerable amount of interest, as did the £500 prize draw which will run over the June and July Hickstead meetings. Guy was on top form, winning the prestigious Bunn Leisure Speed Derby, exactly 10 years since his last victory in the class.

Riding the 12-year-old chestnut gelding Casper De Muze, Guy produced one of only two clear rounds to finish more than 2sec faster than his nearest rival - even though his horse lost a shoe half way round the course!

Next stop the Kent County Showground, watch this space!

If you saw us at one of these events share your highlights using the comments box below.

Monday 7 July 2014

Put An End To Fence Disputes...

The Myths Of Boundary / Fence Responsibility!

fence disputes, garden fencing
Fence disputes are one of the most common reasons neighbours fall out; often down to a misunderstanding over who is responsible for a boundary. If you are unclear over who owns your boundary fences, put an end to fence disputes with our definitive guide.
"If I’m looking from the front of my house, I have ownership of the fence on the right (or left!)."
"The post and horizontal rails of a fence are always on the owners side."

True of false? The above arguments are often put forward as the defining criteria for determining who is responsible for a fence but in reality, there is no legal foundation for these beliefs. So how do you know who has responsibility for a fence?

Fence Disputes: Check The Deeds

A title register which provides details about the ownership of boundary features such as fences, may be included in the title deeds for a property.

‘T’ marks are the most common marking on deed plans which confirm boundary feature ownership or simply who has the responsibility to maintain and repair the fence. However, the Land Registry advises not to ‘live and die’ by the title deeds as it is often the case that information was only sent to the Land Registry when the property was first registered and has not been updated since then. Your property may originally have been part of a bigger parcel of land or indeed part of another estate, or perhaps new boundary features have been built by previous owners - all these situations can influence a conclusion that the original boundary responsibilities may simply be no longer relevant. Add to that the fact that it is not unusual for the deeds to contain no information about boundary ownership or responsibility and it is clear that deeds don’t necessarily have all the answers…

12-year rule

If you are trying to resolve a fencing issue, it is worth remembering that there is also ’12 year rule’ which may be put forward in boundary dispute cases. Known as ‘adverse possession’ this is when one party has been using the ‘disputed’ area of land continuously for the past twelve years. It is quite a complicated area and the best advice would be to seek legal guidance if this crops up and you can’t reach an agreement.

Take The "Dispute" Out Of Fence Disputes: It's Good To Talk

Whether you have written documentation or not, undoubtedly the best way to resolve any kind of issue relating to a fence is to either talk through the problem with your neighbour, or put it in writing. Regardless of whether you are installing a new fence, or repairing an old one, traditionally the posts are installed on your land and the face of the fence, should point towards your neighbours. It is worth giving up a tiny portion of your land if it helps to avoid any disputes. This is especially relevant given that in the future, you will need cooperation from your fellow homeowner to gain access to their land to enable any fence repairs. 

fence disputesLove Thy Neighbour

In the interest of promoting good neighbourly relations, Jacksons has designed a fence that looks equally good on both sides. Usually it is accepted practice to have a rail or two to strengthen the fence across the horizontal and to attach the pales to. The Chilham fence was specifically designed to offer a premium fence panel that features no rails on either side, ensuring a beautiful view from both your own, and your neighbours’ garden.

If you would like a free quote for your fencing project, complete our online enquiry form or contact Jacksons Fencing on 0800 408 2234.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Is Your Fence Fit To Face The Elements?

Rotting and decaying garden fencing is not a pretty sight in anyone’s patch, is yours holding up against the elements? Here’s our guide to investing in a garden fence that can stand up to whatever the weather throws at it.

garden fencing
Installing a fence is a fairly major expense for most of us, but one that can have a dramatic impact on the appearance of the garden and even the value of your property. But as you stand back and bask in the beauty of your good looking garden, make sure that you are 100% convinced that the product you’ve just invested in is capable of doing its job for many years to come.

If you splashed out on a brand new car, you wouldn’t be happy if after just five years, the vehicle was covered in patches of rust would you? So when you buy a fence, you need to be assured that in a relatively short space of time, you won’t be faced with weakened posts and a failing fence.

But how do you make sure that the fence you buy won’t show signs of rot for a considerable number of years? Any timber which comes into contact with the ground or water, needs some kind of treatment to ensure that is protected from wood decay and insect attack. The question is, what constitutes a long lasting and effective timber treatment?

Timber Treatment For Fences

Here’s some advice to bear in mind when selecting a treated timber fence:

  • Not all timber is suitable for timber treatment so ask what species of wood have been used in the fencing you are choosing. Corsican pine, radiata pine, southern yellow pine and scots pine are all softwoods which respond well to timber treatment, allowing the preservative to penetrate right through to the ‘heartwood’. Sapwood is the younger living section of the wood on the outside that is most likely to be susceptible to rot and damage caused by wood boring pests, heartwood is the wood at the ‘heart’ of the timber, that is more resistant to decay.
  • Ask about the treatment process that has been used to protect the wood. If the preservative has just been applied by dipping or brushing, it will only be treating the surface of the wood and will not be suitable.
  • Look out for a timber that has been pressure treated which means the preservative is forced right through the outer sapwood deep into the heartwood.
  • Not all pressure treated timber will deliver a long life because for pressure treatment to be 100% successful it is necessary to thoroughly dry the timber first. Basic air drying won’t give a consistent result, the only way to really dry the wood effectively is to place it into a kiln and force hot air through the timber to achieve a moisture content of less than 28%.
  • Look at the anticipated life span of the treated timber. Jacksons has its own unique Jakcure timber treatment system which offers a 25-year guarantee against rot and wood boring insects.
By buying a long lasting fence you will be doing your bit to save the planet too. Replacing a rotten fence is not only a matter of investing further money and time, it also represents a sizeable cost to the environment. If you have to pay for new fencing after just five years, it puts added pressure on a finite resource and also adds to the amount of concrete waste product that ends up in landfill sites. And there’s still the increase in fuel emissions caused by the transfer of materials to consider …

And don’t forget, always ask for a fence which features timber that has been responsibly sourced, either under the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) chain-of-custody schemes.

If you have found this post useful, please share with your friends and family who may also be interested!

Monday 30 June 2014

Top Tips To Keep Your Home Safe This Summer

summer holidays, home security
The peak summer getaway season is almost upon us. But whilst you and your family may be planning how to enjoy a blissful two weeks lapping up the sunshine, sadly there are undesirable characters at large who will be doing some planning of their own! Right now opportunist thieves are on the look out for vulnerable properties to break into whilst the owners are on holiday…

Summer Home Security

Here are our top tips on how to make sure your home is not an easy target for burglars when you are away:

  • A pile of yellowing newspapers on the doorstep is like a public advertisement advising that a home that's unoccupied. Stopping the newspaper (and milk) before you leave is an absolute must.
  • Invest in timers that turn on the interior lights for a few hours every evening. If you can get a neighbour to take out your rubbish and put the bins back after the rubbish is collected, it's another way of communicating that everything is proceeding normally at your house.
  • Put in place exterior lighting which is activated by motion detectors for the driveway and other areas around the house. If a light comes on when someone approaches, a burglar is less likely to make an attempt to enter – equally the lights going on will notify your neighbours of any unusual activity.
  • Always park your car in the garage with the garage door closed when you are there. That way anyone spying on your daily routine won't be aware that your car is missing when you do leave.
  • Gravel paths prevent a silent approach and might alert your neighbours to the arrival of any unplanned visitors to the property.
  • Thieves can hide behind trees and shrubs. Trim back or remove any shrubbery next to doors or windows. If you are going to use plants next to the house, consider thorny plants such as holly or roses. Cut back any branches that hang over the roof, and remove any lower branches from trees to prevent them from being used as a foothold / means to gain access to the property.
  • Hedges and shrubs in the front garden should be kept to a height of no more than 3' in order to avoid giving a burglar a screen behind which he can conceal himself.
  • Tidy away any garden tools when you are finished and store ladders securely – otherwise they could be put to use by criminals.
  • Security mark valuable items to make them less desirable to thieves. Marking them can also make it easier for them to be traced back to you if they are recovered after being lost or stolen.
  • A two metre fence should keep your house secure but many burglars are quite athletic so a fencing topper from Jacksons like Security Comb or High Tensile Barbed Wire can be used to provide an added deterrent.
  • A dedicated high security anti-climb fence like EuroGuard Combi from Jacksons, which combines the beauty of natural wood with the strength and security of steel is a good alternative to a fence with a topper.
  • With driveway gates, consider whether it is preferable to close off the view to your property from passers by (a thief can’t be tempted by what they can’t see) or to choose a design that allows visibility, for example if you live in an area with an active Neighbourhood Watch programme. Look for a sturdy, fully framed design fixed to substantial posts and integrated with fencing or walls. Jacksons ‘Courtyard’ gates are timber clad on both sides for good looks and feature a welded, galvanised steel frame, that is fixed to substantial steel posts.
  • If you have installed automated gates, make sure you have not left any wheelie bins or a similar item which can be used to try and scale the gate.
  • Finally, don’t have your home address showing on your luggage labels – you will simply be advertising the fact that your home is empty!
If you have found these tips useful, please share with your friends and family by clicking on the share buttons below.

photo credit: Highways Agency via photopin cc

Friday 27 June 2014

Hickstead Winner's Top Showjumping Tips

You may not be competing at Hickstead this week, but any keen showjumper will be interested in receiving tips from a rider who conquered the renowned Derby bank and went on to win the Hickstead Derby! Last year’s triumphant winner Phillip Miller, shares the following advice:

Showjumping Tips

  1. Flatwork is so important. I spend a lot of time schooling, working on the horse’s adjustability and balance. My top horses rarely jump at home.
  2. The horse must accept the leg aids. Even with a fizzy or excitable horse, they must accept some leg pressure — it acts as a support. If you go from no leg aid to too much as you approach take-off, the horse will overreact.
  3. A strong canter rhythm is the key to a good showjumping round.
  4. The canter should be adjustable. Ask the horse to go forward by allowing with the hand, then collect by sitting more upright through the upper body.
  5. If you find you lose impulsion or rhythm on the turns, try going into a showjumping canter and then riding a 12-15m circle, while maintaining the same pace. Work on turning with your leg and seat aids and not your reins.
  6. Try riding down the 3/4 line of the arena and make sure your horse stays straight _— straightness is a key component to riding a course.
  7. I use lots of v-poles when training, as it gets the horse to lift up through the shoulder and be neater in front.
  8. If your horse rushes, think of sitting up on the approach until the very last second. If you’re forward in your upper body position, it will encourage them to be quicker.
  9. If you’re coming down to a double or treble, don’t change the way you ride — think of every jump as being the only fence, and just ride to combinations as you would for a standard oxer or upright.
  10. Be consistent with your training. If they rush off after a fence, bring them back to a halt on a straight line. If they’re allowed to pull you around at home, they’ll do it at shows too.
Reproduced courtesy of Horse & Hound.

Find Jacksons Equestrian at Hickstead

Visit the Jacksons Equestrian stand (no 71, near the entrance to the members area) today, Friday 27th June at 2.30 pm to meet a hot contender for this year’s Hickstead Derby, Guy Williams. And for more top tips from professional riders, join the Jacksons Equestrian Club. Membership is free, you simply need to register on the Jacksons Equestrian website

Share your Hickstead highlights with us: leave a comment in the box below.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Hickstead Here We Come...

What Jacksons Equestrian Are Up To At The Hickstead Derby 2014

    equestrian fencing
  • Sponsorship of Ring Five.
  • A Jacksons jump featured in Ring 5.
  • Sponsorship of one of the leading British showjumpers competing at the event, Guy Williams who is a founder member of the Jacksons Professional Rider Team.
  • New stand near the entrance to the members area (stand no 71) showcasing Jacksons’ Equestrian stables and fencing.
  • £500 prize draw on the Jacksons stand.

The Hickstead Derby meeting 2014 which starts tomorrow, bodes to be a busy event for the Jacksons Equestrian team, with the organizers confirming a record number of entries to one of the most famous fixtures in showjumping.

Come and wish Guy Williams the best of luck on Friday 27th June at 2.30pm, on the Jacksons' stand, as he prepares to take on the infamous Derby bank on Sunday …. And don’t forget to drop into the Jacksons stand to take part in our prize draw which runs throughout the show (25-29 June 2014).

For more information on Jacksons Equestrian visit

If you visit Hickstead this week, let us know what your highlights were using the comments below.

Monday 23 June 2014

Noise Nuisance No More!

garden fencing, noisy neighbours
Picture the scene, a stylish outdoor space, a table laden with a delicious spread, close friends and family quietly chatting and sipping a drink, in short a stunningly beautiful setting for a garden party. Tranquility and contentment reigns … until the calm is shattered by your noisy neighbours’ shouting accompanied by the excited barking of their anxious dog.

While summer represents the time we look forward to spending more time outside, it also highlights any noise issues affecting our homes. Whether it is noisy neighbours, heavy traffic or even the sound of machinery emanating from a DIY enthusiast’s garage, noise pollution can easily spoil the enjoyment to be derived from your garden.

Noisy Neighbours - the solution!

But before you put your house on the market there is a much simpler solution! Environmental noise barriers can literally turn the volume button down on any sound problems experienced in your property. Jakoustic from Jacksons not only provides an effective means of dealing with unwanted noise, it also provides an attractive security fence to deliver protection against any unwanted visitors.

So if noise is affecting your summer (or winter) don’t despair, invest in a new fence which can absorb or reflect the sound, and peace will soon be restored!

If you have a noise problem that spoils your enjoyment of your garden, tell us about it. Share below and we will give you give you some ideas to reduce it, or a least a sympathetic ear!

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Get Your Garden Ready For Summer

Finally summer is officially here and this is the time of year when every homeowner wants to make the most of their outdoor accommodation. Whether you choose to use your outdoor room for alfresco dining, as a safe space to keep the children occupied, as a secluded retreat for some well earned rest and relaxation – or more than likely a combination of all these, it’s worth checking your garden is ready for the predicted sizzling summer ahead!

Summer Garden Planner

pergola, garden, outdoor room

Be sun savvy

Much as we all love a bit of sunshine, there are obvious risks associated with spending too much time basking in the direct sun so you need to take steps to include a space in the garden that provides sanctuary from those damaging rays. You may be lucky enough to have a number of large trees capable of forming a shaded canopy but if not, here are some alternative shade solutions:

  • a carefully positioned pergola upon which you can train climbing plants. All Jacksons Pergola kits (available in single, double and corner formats) are crafted from Jakcured timber supported by a 25-year guarantee against rot and wood boring pests. Incorporate Trellis Panels in either square, lattice or diamond to complement the pergola and help train any featured climbers.
  • a dedicated structure such as the Jacksons Retreat Garden Shelter which as well as creating a cool and comfortable shelter, will also deliver a dramatic focal point for any garden setting.
  • a shade sail made from heavy duty fabric capable of providing effective UV protection.

fencing, gardens

Safe and secure play area

For children, the garden becomes the outdoor playroom during the summer so it is vital that they are kept safely contained whilst they are outside. Make sure all fencing posts and panels are intact and secure, and that there are no gaps / weaknesses in the fence line. Rotted posts represent a hazard to children since as soon as a fence becomes unstable; there is a risk of it falling, so seek out fencing products with a long lifetime guarantee. All Jacksons timber fencing is protected by the unique Jakcure timber treatment system which enables the company to offer a 25-year guarantee against rot.

Jacksons Timber Playtime fencing is RoSPA approved and was originally specifically designed for play areas in parks, recreation centres and schools, but it is also ideally suited to residential situations and as a perimeter fence in a family garden. Don’t forget that if you choose to install any climbing or play equipment in the garden it should really be sited on a dedicated play surface and definitely away from any concreted areas, walls, fences or large bushes. Trampolines should either be surrounded by a bespoke safety net or, for a more visually appealing solution, sunken into the ground.

Pool protocol

If the family garden includes a swimming pool, outdoor hot tub or even a pond, it is important that any access to water is carefully controlled, by including a strong boundary fence. The boundary must be sited a safe distance from the water so that if a child attempts to climb over, they will not fall from the fence directly into the water. Preference should be given to selecting a fence with an anti-climb design such as Palisade or Bow Top fencing.

Alfresco entertainment

If you plan to seriously party alfresco, it might be worth reviewing the benefits of attractive timber acoustic fencing to prevent any noisy neighbour complaints! Jacksons Jakoustic fencing has been proven to reduce noise levels by as much as 32 decibels.

What are your plans for your garden this summer? Do you have a project on the go? We would love to hear your gardening ideas and how you are creating outdoor living areas for your home. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Monday 16 June 2014

Product of the Month: Fencing Fashion Parade

Has the Chelsea Flower Show fired up your imagination on ways in which to inject a dash of designer flair into your own outdoor space? If so, installing a new fence can do wonders to create an instant style statement. Here we share some garden fencing ideas.

Garden Fencing Ideas

To many, the word FENCE equates to images of trusted featherboard panels. However without wishing to dismiss this classic genre of fencing, if you’re on the lookout for something with the wow factor, Jackson’s, the fencing experts, have a number of other stunning newcomers to consider …

Let there be light …

The ultra chic Venetian Fencing Panel has proved a massive hit with garden designers. The horizontal pales provide an ingenious solution to installing an effective and tasteful boundary, but not at the expense of reducing the amount of light filtering into the outdoor room.

fencing panel, garden fencing, fence

garden fencing, fencing panel, fence

Artisnal finesse

A thoroughly modern take on a traditional woven style of fencing, the Woven Fence Panel offers the benefit of amazing light and shade effects courtesy of the substantial woven slats. This is combined with the unique strength and privacy not usually associated with a semi- solid structure.
fencing panel, garden fencing, fence

Smart security

The beauty of natural wood joins forces with the inherent strength of steel in the EuroGuard Combi fence. Ideal if you need a fence which boasts good looks as well as added security benefits.

Designer chic

Classic palisade fence panels are given a designer makeover in the Palisade Paliframe Panel, which incorporates a decorative cut out feature that doubles as an effective way to allow additional sunlight to filter into the garden setting.

fencing panels, garden fencing, fence

fencing panels, garden fencing, fence

Love thy neighbour?

Whether it’s a sleek modern urban space or a cosy traditional English cottage garden, the Chilham Panel will always be warmly received by your neighbours as it dispenses with the need to choose who gets the best view of the fence! Interlocking grooved boards deliver a premium fence that requires no rails – so a smart panelled boundary can be enjoyed on both sides of the fence!

fencing panels, garden fencing, fence

Symmetrical style

The ‘hit and miss’ system which feature pales or boards fixed alternately on the front and back of the fence panel creates yet another neighbour friendly fencing offering, while the chevron design adds a splash of symmetrical elegance.

And remember in addition to its enviable style credentials, all Jacksons timber fencing has undergone the unique Jakcure timber treatment which provides a 25-year guarantee against rot and wood boring pests.

Visit for more details or visit one of our three fencing centres in Ashford, Chester or Bath.

If you have any questions about any of the above garden fencing ideas above, leave a message in the comments box below and we will get back to you.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

How Safe Is Your Automated Gate?

automated gate, garden security
Having an automated gate installed at your property is no longer a luxury extended to the affluent elite. Today, many home owners are interested in adding extra security measures which offer improved control over who gains access to the home, as well as helping to keep children / pets safely contained with the grounds. An additional benefit of automated gates can also include enhanced privacy and creating an effective screen from the outside world.

Automated Gates Safety Concerns

But while electric gates have become more popular, many homeowners remain oblivious to the potential dangers associated with them. An electric gate is a machine and as such, can represent a major safety hazard if the correct installation and maintenance procedures are not followed.

gate safe, automated gates
Unlike other trades, there is currently no formal professional qualification which must be passed before a tradesperson can practice as an installer. As a result, there are a number of installers in the field, who are actively promoting themselves as automated gate professionals but who lack the relevant competence, expertise and experience to deliver a safe and compliant gate. You wouldn’t dream of asking an unqualified mechanic to service your car so why would you not employ the same logic when looking for someone to install or service your gate? Three children have been crushed and killed by unsafe automated gates and many others have been injured. The charity Gate Safe (founded by Jacksons) promotes improved standards in safety for automated gates and has launched a dedicated training course for installers (accredited by the world’s biggest professional health and safety membership organization, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health). So now it is possible to source a Gate Safe Aware installer that has taken and passed the specialist training to deliver a safe automated gate. Gate Safe Aware installers can be found via the Gate Safe website

Tips before installing your next automated gate:

· Beware of automated gate kits which make it possible to transform a regular gate into an electric machine. All too often, the suppliers of these kits have little or no installation experience and consequently, no specialist advice or guidance is issued when the item is purchased.
CE marking

·Make sure your gate is CE Marked – any gate failing to display a CE marking may possibly still be safe but it is not legal.

· All automated gates should be installed with a minimum of two types of safety feature, Gate Safe recommends that photo cells (often referred to as magic eyes that stop the gate closing on a person or a vehicle) and safety edges (fitted to protect the various trap points on a gate and when activated, stop the gate and causes it to reverse a short way) are included on all automated gates

· Regularly review the physical environment in which the gate is operating. For example, if the photocells become cluttered by litter or even snow, remember this means the safety of the gate will be compromised, although in most cases if a photocell is blocked the gate simply won’t operate

· Ensure that the gate undergoes regular maintenance inspections – a minimum of every six months

· Don’t forget to be assured by your installer that the core mechanical functionality of the gate is sound. Last year two deaths occurred as a result of heavy gates falling on top of a victim but this was not due to a failure to install the relevant safety features. Sadly the incidents were caused by an acute malfunction of the gate itself and a lacking in the basic understanding of the forces acting on the gate

To request an audit for a new / existing gate from Gate Safe Aware Installers Jacksons Fencing, visit or telephone 01233 750 393.

For more information on the Gate Safe campaign, visit or call 01233 750 620.

Gate Safe is supported by RoSPA and Secured by Design.

If you have any questions about installing an automated gate, please use the comments box below. If you family members or your neighbours are looking to install electric gates, perhaps you could share this post with them.

Monday 9 June 2014

Do You Have A Pet Friendly Garden?

It’s not just the two legged inhabitants of the home that are likely to enjoy time in the garden this summer, the garden also represents a natural paradise for pets during the warmer months. But is your garden pet friendly?

Dog Safe Fencing

dog friendly gardenThe most important consideration for any garden which is likely to home pets, particularly dogs, is to make sure that it’s securely fenced in. Relying on existing planting or dilapidated fencing is simply a challenge to most four legged friends, who given half the chance, will find a way out of anything less than a 100% dog proof.

A design featuring closely fitted panels such as Featherboard or Tongue and Groove will obviously create a dense barrier, which even the most mischievous mutt would find hard to penetrate but not all properties will suit this style of fencing. Classic Palisade picket fencing is a highly popular choice for a garden setting but be sure to check that there is no room for any pets to dig their way out from under the bottom of the pales. A more open design such as Jaktop or post and rail will require additional wire stock fencing at the base to prevent any attempted escapes. Be aware that fencing which still provides a view into the garden can sometimes draw attention to valuable items – including pets – which the opportunist thief might consider as easy pickings.

Secure Garden Gates

There is no point having a robust fence installed around your garden if the entry gates into the premises are not secure. Make sure that the hinges and bolts are working properly – a gate which has come away from its hinges or that has dropped making it difficult to close can easily offer an exit route for pets. Rust can cause the gate fittings to no longer function efficiently so always choose a gate with galvanized bolts and hinges.

Any fencing or gate which is prone to rotting will compromise the safety of the garden so always seek out products which are supported by a long life time guarantee. The unique Jakcure timber treatment process from Jacksons offers a 25-year guarantee against rot and wood boring pests, representing peace of mind that your fencing investment is safe and also delivering a maintenance-free fencing solution.

Sanctuary From The Sun

Pets like children, require access to shade in the garden to avoid over-heating. If your garden does not benefit from natural shade supplied by trees and hedges you should consider installing some kind of shelter from the sun to keep animals comfortable. There are plenty of choices ranging from giant sails to bespoke buildings such as the Jacksons Retreat. And if installing an actual shelter seems extravagant, don’t forget, the provision of shade will always be a necessity for all household members, not just the pets!

Planting Protocol

There are a number of plant species which are highly dangerous to animals and these are to be avoided in the garden at all costs. These include daffodil bulbs, deadly nightshade, narcissus bulbs and umbrella plant. Visit The Dogs Trust for more details. Some species of plant regularly used to create a hedge which acts as an effective boundary are also included in the list of ‘toxic’ plants. Pet owners are therefore encouraged to opt for a suitable strong fence which represents a more responsible (and lower maintenance) choice.

For more information on Jacksons Fencing visit our website.

Have you got an innovative idea for making your garden pet friendly? Do you think it's possible to have a pet safe garden that's also a haven for humans too? Please share your ideas and thoughts using the comments below.

photo credit: tjuel via photopin cc

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Jackson's Event Round Up

It’s been a busy start to the Spring / Summer programme and the sales and marketing team has been working flat out to keep the Jacksons flag flying at a number of high profile events over the last couple of months.

Agricultural Events

First up was the Agri-Expo at the Kent County Showground which took place at the beginning of March. Organised by our good friends R.A.M.S.A.K (Ring of Agricultural Machinery for Sussex & Kent) and the K.C.A.S. (Kent County Agricultural Society) this provided a perfect opportunity to remind visitors to the show of Jacksons’ heritage and expertise within the agricultural community.

Equestrian Events

Chilham Castle Horse Trials near Canterbury followed, running Saturday 26th and Sunday 28th April and attracting over 600 competitors. Set in the 350 acre of historic parkland in the heart of Kent the event proved a success despite the patchy weather. Jacksons Equestrian sponsored a jump on the course and also showcased the quality stables / field shelters which now feature within the Jacksons portfolio.

Sticking with the equestrian theme, 14-18th May saw Jacksons Equestrian make its first ‘royal’ engagement, exhibiting at the Royal Windsor Horse Show which took place in the stunning grounds of Windsor Castle. The show provided the ideal launch platform for the Jacksons Equestrian Club, which provides members with exclusive access to ‘how-to’ training videos from the Jacksons Professional Rider Team. Joining us at the event was international dressage rider Hannah Biggs and Paralympic dressage rider Natasha Baker OBE also stopped by …

The Jacksons team then travelled hot foot from Windsor to keep its annual appointment at the Heathfield & District Agricultural Show in Sussex, which took place on the 24th May.

fencing, equestrian

Next up was a show of support for our Chester and Bath fencing centres that saw Jacksons exhibit at the Staffordshire County Show (28/29th May) and the Royal Bath & West Show (28th -31st May).

Show Gardens Open Day

Finally, the 31st May marked the fifth consecutive official Show Gardens Open Day at Jackson's Stowting headquarters. Visitors flocked to our very own mini Chelsea Flower Show to admire the seven beautiful show gardens which represent the work of garden designers from all over the country. To add to the day’s celebrations, the event also featured a ‘best of Kent’ farmers market.

Were you at any of the events above? Let us know how much you enjoyed them, or if you were competing, how well you did. Use the comments below.

Monday 2 June 2014

Get Your Beer Garden Ready For The World Cup!

smoking shelters, beer gardens
All too often beer gardens don’t feel like a garden at all, and are frequently just used as a convenient smoking area. With the World Cup just around the corner and the promise of good weather – here are a few ideas to create a great atmosphere in your pub garden to help your customers chill out while soaking up the sun, and the beautiful game!

Creative Seating in Your Beer Garden

Raised beds represent an ideal way to create additional seating in addition to any conventional picnic benches, but with no sacrifice on space.  Incorporate plenty of bright flowers to inject a burst of colour and help create a genuine garden scene.

Fencing for Privacy and Noise Reduction

acoustic fencing
If you plan to use the pub’s garden to provide an opportunity to watch the games on an outdoor screen, you may want to consider acoustic fencing. With many matches scheduled to take place late at night just when the pub is packed with cheering fans, your neighbours will certainly thank you if you do have an acoustic fence! Our Jakoustic acoustic fencing works by eliminating any gaps in the fence that sound could potentially travel through, creating an effective sound barrier.

Smoking shelters

smoking shelter, beer garden
With the pundits suggesting temperatures are set to soar, creating a dry and shaded area for your customers is a must! If you are intending to install a smoking shelter always remember to speak to your local planning authority first. Our Zone and Retreat shelters conform to the smoking legislation as they are not “wholly or substantially enclosed” but in addition to this, their stylish, contemporary design ensures they also double as a stunning focal point for the garden.

Decking: a great solution for busy pub gardens

Decking will enhance any outside area and prevent muddy walkways if the weather is not what we want, creating a low maintenance and easy to clean solution to your alfresco dining / drinking needs. For a busy pub garden opt for heavy duty decking  which is specially designed to cater for higher footfall  - destined to increase during the World Cup season!

With just over a week before the World Cup kicks off, you've just got time to get your beer garden into shape.

If you're a pub landlord or pub manager what are you planning for the World Cup? We would love to hear how you're preparing for this feast of football, so share your gardening ideas below.