HOW TO STORMPROOF YOUR GARDEN

UK weather is unpredictable at best and we see our fair share of gales and storms. Particularly forceful storms can not only disturb the plant life in our gardens but it can also cause structural damage to our fencing, decking and sheds – especially if we haven’t chosen the most durable construction materials. In this article, we’ll take you through some tips to windproof your garden, ranging from basic safety notes to the type of materials that work best for stormy conditions. 

6 Ways to Stormproof a Garden

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Storms don’t often strike without warning, and we frequently have a bit of time to prepare. A daily check of the weather forecast should give you enough time to tidy away any debris or furniture that could be swept into the air and damage your garden. Obviously, you can’t control neighbouring gardens, but you can clear your own property as much as possible to reduce the likelihood of damage.

Get Repairs Done

Are fence panels broken or loose? Perhaps the window of the shed is swinging on its hinges?
When a storm strikes, any unstable or rickety structures in your garden will be the first to suffer. This could result in further damage, and can also cause problems to the property and injuries if people are involved when the structures are affected by the wind. To avoid this, do a sweep of your outdoor spaces and pinpoint areas that could be compromised in high winds – this could include broken greenhouse glass or loose wooden panels. Repairing these issues now could save you further headaches down the line and may not be as time consuming or expensive as you think.

Use Composite Wood

Following on from the above point, your choice of materials for repairs, replacement or construction will influence how well it stands up in windy conditions – and how long it lasts. Created from a strong composition of recycled wood fibres and recycled plastic, composite wood products are sturdier than standard wood. What’s more, composite products are resistant to mold, rotting, warping and cracking – making them better suited to withstand wet, stormy conditions compared to traditional timber alternatives. SAiGE composite fencing has been tested and exceeds gale force 9 winds, making it the ideal solution to withstand the worst weather conditions the UK has in store.

Consider Hedges or Fences as Buffers

If your garden is more open to the elements, you may want to consider more structure and bordering in the form of hedges and fences to break up the garden. Not only can this transform the beauty and intrigue of your garden, but they also act as buffers against strong winds. This will help alleviate the pressure on your garden when storms do strike.

Store or Tidy Loose Items

Is there a storm looming? Be safe and take a moment to store away any loose items in your shed or garage, whether that may be children’s toys, gardening tools, deckchairs and any lighter plant pots. This prevents them being knocked over in the gusts, or blown up into the air to cause damage.

As mentioned in the first point, if your garden is untidy and full of debris, fallen foliage or other general clutter, this too can become airborne in a storm and so should be swept away. Keeping on top of garden maintenance doesn’t have to be time consuming, just a quick sweep every now and then can make this task easy on a stormy day.

Protect Your Plants

The crowning jewels of many gardens are the flowers, trees and other plants. Foliage and leaves can be delicate at the best of times, never mind in the grip of a storm.

Firstly, keep on top of trimming and pruning to ensure all dead foliage is removed – this way, it’s not likely to snap off in a gale and make a mess. For bigger branches that are safety risks in wind, you may want to call out a professional tree surgeon to remove these overhanging branches. Tie down any climber plants in preparation for high winds, and consider taking down your hanging baskets temporarily. If you have windbreakers or plant coverings, use them.

THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO COMPOSITE PRODUCTS

Combining the natural beauty of wood with the strength of durable recycled plastic, it’s no wonder composite wood is becoming ever more popular with home and business owners across the world. If you’re completely new to composite wood, and want to know if it’s right for your project, then read on. In this handy beginner’s guide, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about composite wood material – including what it is, the available types, its benefits and its applications. 

What Is Composite Wood?

Composite wood is a man-made product formed by mixing together recycled wood and recycled plastic, as well as resin or bonding agents and UV stabilisers. Produced under high heat, this creates a highly durable wood plastic composite material with a wealth of advantages – while displaying the authentic appearance of natural wood.

What Are the Benefits of Composite Wood?

The unique blend of recycled plastic and wood gives composite wood many desirable properties.

The benefits of composite wood include:

  • Anti-slip 
  • High strength 
  • Durability 
  • Mould and fungus resistance 
  • Does not warp, rot or twist 
  • Stain-resistance 
  • Long life 
  • Minimal water absorption 
  • Low maintenance 
  • Splinter-free 
  • Easy installation 
  • Hidden fixtures and fittings 

These desirable traits mean that composite wood is able to withstand all weathers, making it particularly suited for an outdoor environment. Let’s take a closer look at the applications.

The 4 Main Applications of Composite Wood 

  • Outdoor decking: The primary place that composite wood is used is in the creation of outdoor decks for both commercial and domestic spaces. Whether you own a restaurant, beer garden, or want to treat your own home to a dedicated outdoor living space, composite decking is a popular choice – thanks to its durability, long life, anti-slip properties, and resistance to mould.
  • Outdoor furniture: Benches, garden chairs and other types of outdoor furniture can be crafted from composite material. Outdoor furniture needs to be designed to weather all conditions, which is why composite wood is often chosen to make these pieces. Being splinter-free and resistant to mould are particularly useful for this application.
  • Fencing: When erecting a fence, users are searching for longevity, beauty, low-maintenance and resistance to the outdoor elements – traits that composite wood can offer.
  • Landscaping: Whether you’re creating a flower bed or need some edging and borders laying down, composite decking can do the job. Not only does it look beautiful for landscaping purposes, but it also will last for many years with minimal maintenance.

Are There Different Types of Composite Wood?

Depending on which supplier you opt for will depend on the types of products on offer. There are many variations of composite wood and with that comes a range of qualities. Be mindful to check test data, in particular anti-slip and strength ratings, to ensure you’re getting a premium quality composite wood product.

Generally speaking, there are two main types of composite boards: hollow and solid. The difference between hollow are solid boards are:

  • Hollow: Generally cheaper than solid boards, the hollow alternative is suited to those with limited budget. Hollow boards are perfect for residential and light commercial use and are fixed with a hidden clip fixing system.
  • Solid: This board has a higher density than the hollow type, granting it greater durability, strength and longevity. The solid boards are fixed with colour-coded screws.

How Do I Choose a Supplier?

Before choosing your decking, it’s best to order a free sample from the company you’re considering to see if it’s of the right look and quality that you’re seeking. Here at SAiGE Composite Products, we can send samples of all our composite products so you can handle the material up close and perform your own quality checks before placing a full order. This means you know exactly what you’re getting before you buy. Also, we highly recommend looking at a company’s test reports, paying special attention to the anti-slip and strength ratings to ensure you’re purchasing a durable, long-lasting board.

How Do I Install Composite Products?

Installation will depend entirely on what the application is and the manufacturer’s recommendations. For example, a multi-level deck may require an installer to attend your property and carry out the job for you. On the other hand, and depending on your DIY skills, a fence or edging may be something you can achieve yourself.

Either way, composite products have been designed to be easy to install, complete with hidden fixtures and fittings for a seamless finish. This makes it a straightforward installation for whoever is carrying out the job.

HOW TO LOOK AFTER COMPOSITE WOOD IN WINTER

Combining recycled wood material and recycled plastic, composite wood is created specifically to be durable and resistant to many conditions. While composite decking and fencing fares very well in winter, there are still a few things you can do to help it along and keep it performing its best. So, in this article, we’ll be exploring how to look after composite wood in winter. 

Scroll to the bottom for a handy infographic!

Is Composite Decking Weatherproof?

Simply put, composite decking is very resistant to the elements within outdoor environments – including the onslaught of winter. Its unique composition of recycled wood and plastic materials gives it many weatherproof properties, including:

  • Anti-slip 
  • Low rate of water absorption 
  • Resistant to freeze-thaw cycles 
  • Resistant to mould 
  • Resistant to warping, rotting and splitting 
  • High-strength 

These properties make it ideal for surviving the bitter cold, including snow and ice. However, there are still a few things you can do to keep it looking and performing its absolute best.

4 Ways to Prepare Your Composite Products for Winter

  • Sweep or wash: The colder months see plenty of fallen leaves and debris which can settle on your composite deck and fence. Our composite decking has excellent anti-slip properties, however to avoid a potential slipping hazard it’s always best to clear any leaves and debris off the decking area. Also, if left to rot, this debris could stain your deck over time. Keep it safe and looking good by regularly sweeping or power-washing your deck or fence before debris has a chance to stain the composite boards. Take care not to miss any gaps between the boards.
  • Trim trees: If any trees or branches overhang your deck, you might want to trim them back. This reduces the likelihood of any foliage falling on the deck and will prevent any unstable branches becoming victim to stormy weather. Likewise, if any plants are climbing your fence or encroaching too close, you may wish to cut them back.
  • Clearing snow: Start by carefully shovelling off the bulk of the snow, ensuring you don’t scrape the decking with your shovel. For icy areas you can apply salt to dissolve the ice, we would always recommend testing this on a small inconspicuous, test area first before using this method on the whole decking area. Gently rinse away the slush and salt residue once the ice and snow have melted down. Get in touch with your manufacturer to hear more about which de-icing products they recommend.
  • Get repairs done now: The beauty of composite decking is its longevity and resistance to wear-and-tear. Composite boards do not require any staining or sanding between seasons due to their low maintenance requirements. However, if your composite deck and subframe is very old and has enjoyed many years of use, you may wish to make any repairs prior to the harsher winter months. It’s likely that a timber subframe will fail before the composite boards therefore it’s always worth double checking this is still structurally stable.

How to Transform the Outdoor Area of Your Business

Whatever type of business you run, the outside is just as important as the inside. Outdoor zones play a practical part for businesses and create a lasting impression on customers – they can also add valuable space to your premises that has synergy with the interior design, too. In this article, we’ll explore the key benefits of transforming your business’ outdoor space and how you can go about it. 

What Are the Benefits of an Outdoor Space for a Business?

  • Selling point: In the case of bars, pubs and restaurants, having a well-designed outdoor space is a big selling point and is likely to draw in customers, especially in the warmer months.
  • Events: Corporate outdoor spaces, such as an office garden, roof terrace or courtyard are ideal for hosting events for clients and will make your company’s event stand out. The combination of decking areas and soft landscaping serves both practical and decorative purposes.
  • Employee wellness and retention: Likewise, in offices or other corporate spaces, these outdoor areas are beneficial for workers to get a breath of fresh air, recharge their batteries and ease pressure on the crowded canteen.
  • Attracts and retains customers: Landscaping and outdoor areas give a memorable first impression to customers and can reflect the ethos and professionalism of your business, helping attract and retain customers.
  • Increases value: If your long-term plan is to sell up, then an attractive outdoor area can boost the value of your property.

How to Overhaul the Outdoor Area of Your Business?

  • Choose the right surfacing: The bread and butter of any outdoor space is decking. This multi-purpose surface is the ideal place for seating, tables, hosting events, and can easily be decorated with well-placed potted plants or flower beds. Composite decking is the ideal durable choice for high-traffic commercial environments, as it boasts the beautiful natural appearance of wood, while being mould-resistant, splinter-free and anti-slip for safety. It’s also low-maintenance, making it a cost-effective option for businesses.
  • Establish borders: Create structure and partitioning in your outdoor areas by establishing clear borders. This can be done through hedging, composite fencing or balustrades – all of these convey a warm, smart appearance. If you’re opting for balustrades, consider composite wood, as this does not warp or rot like natural wood can.
  • Show some personality: An outdoor space is the chance to show a little character and let visitors know what you are all about. If you are a modern company who is at the cutting edge of their field, consider a contemporary approach to landscaping with clean lines and minimal plants. If, however, you are a family-run pub, you may want the garden to feel more homely and rustic – think lots of plants, trellises and cosy seating areas.
  • Consider plants carefully: For commercial spaces where you have minimal time to spend on maintenance, choose plants which are disease-resistant, long-lived and low-maintenance. Also, avoid trees or shrubs which are likely to shed a lot, as this may result in a lot of sweeping.
  • Make it fire-safe: Any business manager will tell you that fire safety is a top priority. To give yourself peace of mind, make sure to choose fire-resistant options of decking, balustrades and fencing that is made from fire-resistant composite products.

Ideas for designing small garden spaces

However big your garden space, we have all grown to appreciate the important of outdoor areas. Don’t let the size of your garden put you off. There are a variety of ways to make the most of the space you have available.

It’s important to firstly decide what you want from the space and how you’d like your garden to work. Do you want to grow vegetables, make your garden an extension of your home or even provide a tranquil space away from all the hustle and bustle of city life.

In this instance, size really doesn’t matter and the tiniest of gardens can provide the perfect sanctuary.

There are many ways to create your perfect tiny space, here are our top tips:

Combine different finishes and hard landscaping materials

Adding a variety of different hard landscaping finishes like paving, decking or cobbles can break up an area and add interest. Whether creating a country courtyard garden or an ultra-modern terrace, different materials can be used to create zones and add interest to a small space.

Low Maintenance

Small spaces are perfect if you have little time for maintenance and gardening. There are many low maintenance landscaping products on the market to suit various designs and schemes. Composite decking and fencing can be a great option. It will continue to look good for years to come without the maintenance requirements of traditional timber alternatives. To view the full SAiGE Composite Products range click here.

Pots and planters

Pots and planters are a great way to break up your space and soften hard landscaping. The benefit of free-standing pots and planters within a small garden are they can be moved around to change the design. Different size pots and planters create height and depth within the garden.

Vertical planting and living walls

Why not go up rather than out if space is of the essence. There are a wealth of living wall options on the market which can include kitchen garden plants of pretty florals depending on your requirements. They are a great way to brighten up a space. Built in irrigation systems or artificial planted walls provide options for those looking for a low maintenance solution.

Create a focal point

Creating a focal point can draw your eye to the end of your garden and as a result make the space feel bigger. There are a variety of different ways this can be done, using mirrors of a mural can be great options.

Paint walls and fences white

As with interior schemes painting walls white or lighter can make a space feel bigger as they will reflect the light back into the space. Also, lighter walls gives the illusion they are farther back and therefore make the space look bigger.

Add different levels

A variety of levels within the garden can add interest and a sense of zoning. Why not have a sunken patio and raised decking to create separate seating areas. Decking is a great way to create a raised area with very little ground works required. Different heights can be created by adapting the subframe, the SAiGE Aluminium Subframe system provides the perfect solution for split level gardens.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and there are so many innovative and exciting ideas when it comes to designing the perfect garden for your small space. Don’t let the size of the space put you off!

Why is Landscaping Important?

Outdoor spaces whether public or private have become more and more important in recent years and it’s taken a global pandemic to bring this to the forefront. Whether its hours a day spent in an office post-COVID 19 or days of lockdown we have never appreciated outdoor spaces more. They can provide a space to exercise, to escape the working from home environment or a place to enjoy quality family time whilst socially distancing, to name a few. Outdoor areas have endless benefits. Here are our top reasons why landscaping is important:

Environmental

Plants and trees have an important positive impact on the environment, they soak up carbon dioxide and other pollutants within the air whilst filling the air with additional oxygen. In a world with more cars, machinery and factories contributing to environmental pollution landscaping can provide part of the solution towards a cleaner environment. However small your area might be you can play your part in helping climate change.

Well-Being

There are many studies that suggest time outside can help general wellbeing, reduce stress levels and improve quality of life. With increasingly busy lifestyles, juggling work, home life and that ever-growing social calendar outdoor areas can provide peace and tranquillity away from the stresses of everyday life.  On top of this there is evidence to suggest time away from your desk, spent outside will increase efficiency.

Your Garden Can Add Value to Your Property

It’s well documented that having a nicely landscaped garden can not only add curb appeal to your property and make it more appealing to prospective buyers but it can also add value to your property. This is thought to be even more prevalent in areas of London where private outdoor spaces are becoming a commodity.

You may be thinking this is all very well but I do not have time to consider this in my own back garden…….

Many homeowners are living increasingly busy lifestyles and do not have hours to spend maintaining a garden however this no longer needs to be the case as there are many outdoor solutions that require very little upkeep so time can be spent enjoying the space when you get some downtime rather than maintaining the garden.

This is only the tip of the iceberg so to speak and there are many benefits of outdoor spaces making landscaping incredibly important for twenty-first-century living.

SAiGE Longlife decking and fencing provide the perfect solutions for these spaces. Not only are our products very durable, but they also have low-maintenance requirements making them a great option for those of you with little time to spend gardening. Their recycled wood plastic content also makes them an eco- friendly option.

How to Look after Composite Decking

A key benefit of composite products is their low-maintenance requirements, gone are the days of spending hours staining and treating your decking or fencing every year.  Instead, this time can be spent enjoying your garden. Composite decking has the look of authentic timber products but with all the benefits of composite materials and much lower maintenance. Take a look at our maintenance & aftercare page and see below some of our tips for keeping your decking area looking as good as new for years to come (with all of the below tips, we would always recommend testing a small test area first prior to using any of these methods on the whole area).

Due to the low water absorption rates of SAiGE decking water doesn’t soak into the surface of the decking as with wooden deck boards. As a result, the boards will not rot, warp or twist. SAiGE composite decking is made up of 95% recycled wood and plastic making it mould and fungus resistant.

With an expected life span of over 20 years composite decking will outlive traditional timber decking. Also, the time-consuming aftercare is significantly less and there would be no costs for staining and treating the decking in comparison to timber decking.

To maintain SAiGE decking all it takes is the occasional sweep and power wash to keep your decking looking great. We do advise taking care when power washing and recommend leaving plenty of distance between the nozzle and the decking, as well as spraying in the direction of the grain. We also advise testing a small, inconspicuous test area first.

If the composite deck comes into contact with oil:

  • Clean with a degreasing agent, as soon as possible. Rinse with water and soap
  • If stains have set into the composite deck, use fine sandpaper or a wire brush (on our brush-finished decking), following the grain

If the composite deck comes into contact with rust:

  • Use water and soap, brushing carefully with a scouring pad. Rinse
  • In cases of heavy rust, use a cleanser containing lemon acid. Rinse

If the composite deck has a grease stain:

  • Clean with a degreasing agent or soap
  • If stains have set into the composite deck, use fine sandpaper or a wire brush (on our brush-finished decking), following the grain
  • Rinse with warm water

If the composite deck has wine/fruit stains:

  • Use a cleaning agent and water
  • For heavy stains, scour with a light bleach and warm water, and then rinse off

If the composite deck is scratched:

  • In the case of small scratches, you can use fine sandpaper, following the wood grain, or a small wire brush for brush finished decking

We also sell premium Owatrol Deck Cleaner which is a specially formulated decking cleaner that has been designed to remove grease and stains from composite decking. This water-based cleaner easily removes surface and ground-in dirt. It’s easy to use simply; apply, let it work, and rinse with water.

Which Garden Balustrade?

A balustrade can provide the perfect finishing touch to a new or existing patio or decking area. Whether you need to make the area secure due to a drop, or would like to divide the area off from another section of the garden – a balustrade can provide the ideal solution. Balustrades still allow visibility unlike conventional fencing meaning you can make the most of a view or watch children while they play without having a harsh barrier dividing the garden. SAiGE composite balustrades are the ideal way to partition or define balconies, landscapes, or gardens.

Many composite balustrade systems use chunky composite posts with steel channels running through the centre. These can often look big and bulky and can sometimes twist and warp due to expansion and contraction within the composite posts. At SAiGE we’ve ensured our balustrade has a sleek, modern finish by using aluminium posts and handrails. Not only does this give a better aesthetic but it also provides an exceptionally durable and long-lasting option. The aluminium handrails and posts are finished in a powder-coated anthracite grey colour and the composite spindles are available in grey, coffee, or charcoal to match the SAiGE composite decking and fencing ranges. In addition to this, the SAiGE balustrade system has been designed with no visible fixings.

If you’re looking for a more seamless look the aluminium posts can also be used with a glass in-fill.

There are many further benefits of using composite balustrades compared to traditional timber:

Long Life

SAiGE balustrades have an expected life span of over 20 years and will not rot, warp or twist like traditional timber balustrades.

Low Maintenance

Composite balustrades are mould resistant due to the low water absorption rates so there’s no need for sanding, staining or treating unlike wooden balustrade systems, your composite balustrade will continue to look good for years to come.

Easy to Install

The SAiGE balustrade is sold in kits, the top and bottom rails come preassembled to ensure installation is quick and easy. The balustrade has been designed with a broad audience in mind and can be installed by anyone from DIY enthusiasts to landscaping professionals. We also provide full installation guides and our friendly team are always on hand to answer any questions you may have.

When choosing which garden balustrade is best for you there are many factors to consider but for a long life, durable option that will continue to look good for years to come with very low maintenance requirements SAiGE Composite Balustrade would be an excellent choice.

Is Composite Fencing Worth the Cost?

Composite fencing is more expensive than timber fencing initially. However, in the long run, you are likely to save money. Composite fencing does not require the costly and time-consuming annual staining and treating that timber fencing requires to preserve it. So, in short, yes, composite fencing is worth the cost but if you’re yet to be convinced here are our top 5 reasons why composite fencing is worth the cost.

Low Maintenance and Long Life

As previously mentioned unlike traditional timber fencing Composite Fencing does not require any sanding, staining or treating over it’s lifetime. Composite fences by SAiGE are available in three different colours to suit your garden scheme. The SAiGE composite fence boards and the aluminium posts and components have exceptionally low water absorption rates and will not rot, warp, rust or twist.

Composite Fencing will outlive traditional timber fencing with an expected lifespan of over 20 years, significantly more than wooden fences.

High Strength

Composite Fences by SAiGE exceed gale force 9 wind testing making them a very durable product. Unlike timber fence panels you can be sure your SAiGE fence will with stand strong winds and storms without the need to regularly replace wind damaged panels. The aluminium also passes a 500 hour salt spray test making the system ideal for coastal environments.

Variable Heights and Designs

Composite Fencing by SAiGE is an innovative system that can be adapted to give various heights and designs depending on the project. Each bay is 1.8m wide and available in a range of heights including; 1.8m high, ranch style fencing and a 4ft option as well as bespoke styles.

Easy to Install

Composite Fences by SAiGE are the same on both sides, the fence boards slot together horizontally like tongue and groove so the boards will look just as good on your side as the neighbours. No more giving your neighbour the good side of the fence that you’ve paid for.  Also the design of the horizontal panels means they are much smaller to manoeuvre when installing compared to a 1.8m x 1.8m fence panel, each composite board is 145mm x 1755mm x 19.5mm. We also provide comprehensive installation guides.

Environmentally Friendly

The SAiGE composite fence boards are made from 50% recycled wood fibres and 45% recycled plastic. All the Composite material is FSC certified so you can be sure the recycled wood content has been responsibly sourced.

So in answer to your question, we think composite fencing is definitely worth the investment, although more expensive initially a composite fence will outlive a traditional timber fencing and provide a durable, stylish addition to your garden.

Decking vs Paving

When it comes to designing or changing your garden there are many difficult decisions to make. One of which may be ‘which is best decking or paving?’ There are many options when it comes to decking and paving and unfortunately, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ answer. However, there are several factors to consider.

Look

This is a very personal factor, both materials have a wide range of colours and styles available catering for both traditional and modern gardens. If you’re looking for a cleaner, simpler look decking could provide a great option whereas paving would give you the flexibility to create patterns and more intricate designs.

Ground Works and Construction

Is your garden sloped? Do you have multiple levels? Do you want an elevated area? Hopefully, these are all questions you have already started to consider.

  • Decking can be used to create multiple levels within your garden and the ground does not need to be perfectly flat when it is installed.
  • Paving slabs would need to be laid on a very level surface.
  • Decking is usually constructed with a subframe on which the decking boards are then secured, a basic decking area can take as little as a week to install whereas paving can take much longer with more groundworks required and hours of drying time in between.
  • Decking can be laid where tree roots would mean a patio could not.
  • A raised decking area can make the most of a view.
  • A patio area closer to the ground level could provide needed privacy that a raised area would not.

Maintenance

There are many different types of paving available from porcelain to natural stone and even concrete all with different maintenance requirements however on the whole paving is very low maintenance and hard-wearing option.

Decking on the other hand often has a reputation for being quite high maintenance. Depending on the area in which it is installed timber decking will need sanding and staining regularly to ensure it does not rot.

With this in mind, composite decking provides the perfect low maintenance option for those wishing to use decking in their garden design. Its low maintenance and has very low water absorption rates so will not rot warp or twist like traditional wooden decking. Composite decking does not require any sanding or treating, and a good power wash will keep it looking good for years after installation.

When it comes to the choice between a patio or decking area it is very much a personal preference depending on your requirements. Both decking and paving can offer affordable, hard-wearing solutions if the right product is chosen for you.

If opting for decking, Composite decking will outlive traditional timber decking and requires far less maintenance. Composite decking provides a durable hard-wearing alternative to timber decking with a much higher return on investment over the lifetime.