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!