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Fences protect privacy; Home Decor.

NOW that spring's here, you'll want to start thinking about getting your garden ready for the longer evenings and warmer weather.

There's nothing nicer than using your garden as an extra room and, for most people, it's important to have privacy, shelter and secure boundaries - especially if you have pets and kids.

The quickest and cheapest way to create a secure boundary is with wooden fencing.

Fence your garden now and you can start training climbers and shrubs up it to make it more attractive for summer.

But you can't just stick up a fence where you please.

Planning permission is needed in a number of situations - for example, if the fence is more than 2m high or, next to a public highway or footpath, just 1m high.

The other thing to bear in mind is who's responsible for the boundary you're fencing, because it won't necessarily be you. If you're pulling an old fence down, you do, of course, need to check that you own it first, or get permission from the neighbour who does.

Cooperation from your neighbours is essential so speak to them well in advance.

You should buy wooden fencing from responsibly managed forests - look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo - and that has been treated with preservative to prolong its life. If it's not pre-treated, you'll have to do it yourself.

You should also treat any ends that result from cutting the fencing or posts to size.

With a post, you do this by placing it in a bucket of wood preservative for an hour or so. Wear protective gloves and goggles when dealing with preservative.

It's important to get the fence posts really secure. The best way to do this on open ground is to put them in a hole surrounded by concrete and hardcore, though you may only wish to do this with certain, key posts.

Use a post hole borer or hole spade to dig the hole, both of which can be hired.

Start by putting a brick in the hole directly under where the post will go. Next, fill the bottom of the hole with hardcore, put the post in and fill up to about halfway with more hardcore.

Check that the post is vertical using a spirit level and, when you're sure it is, compact the hardcore. Add more hardcore, until the hole is two thirds full, then fill up with quick-setting concrete (round it off at the top so that water runs off when it rains).

As soon as the concrete is in, check again that the post is vertical and adjust if necessary.

If you're using fence panels, first use pegs and string to set out where the fence is going to go. You can use post sockets for the posts, if you don't want to concrete each in, which have a pointed end so they can be knocked into the ground with a sledgehammer (other sorts of post socket are available, for example, for fixing to an existing concrete base).

It's a good idea to use a post "dolly" when driving the socket in, as this protects the socket from the sledgehammer. It's possible to knock the socket askew as you drive it in, so check regularly that it's vertical using a spirit level.

CAPTION(S):

TRADITIONAL... a garden fence provides privacy, shelter and secure boundaries.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 16, 2007
Words:560
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