Attending Glee, the leading garden and leisure industry show, was a great opportunity for Nathan Dodd to spot trends and anticipate products that will come onto the market in the near future.
Recent flash floods have reminded us all that this year's Indian summer is over and we are very probably heading inexorably towards autumn gales and winter frosts. Nathan James Dodd outlines what precautions you can take to protect your garden structures.
Over the next few weeks and months, wind and rain, frost and snow, will thoroughly test the durability of your shed and greenhouse together with other structures such as arbours and gazebos.
Damage prevention actually starts at the time of purchase. You should choose a product that is as well designed and specified as your budget allows. Read reviews and do some research as to the best choice at the right price.
If possible locate any garden structure in a position that's sheltered. Some compromise may be necessary as the most sheltered position may not be the sunniest.
Be careful that whatever is offering shelter will itself not be blown over, and make sure that the shelter doesn't create a wind tunnel effect as greenhouses and sheds are clearly not aerodynamically designed.
Make sure that the location is level and stable, usually hard standing of some form such as concrete or slabs, onto which the building can be secured.
An evergreen hedge, perhaps laurel which is permeable, will reduce the wind's strength without forming a gust that is redirected elsewhere.
Position your structure so that the prevailing wind goes over it rather than through it, never leave the doors open in windy weather for obvious reasons.
Ensure that any glass is secure and is fitted snugly in its frame. Be sure that all the clips are present, replace any that are missing and add more for extra peace of mind. If it is an old structure check that the putty or sealant is still viable.
Replace any cracked or missing glazing. One piece of glass falling out will quickly lead to a scene of havoc with panels being blown out from both the inside and from the outside.
The type of glass is also significant, toughened safety glass does not break into dangerous shards like the cheaper horticultural variety and is less easily broken when cleaned.
Even though you may think weather forecasting is unreliable, storm warnings should be taken notice of by closing and securing doors and windows. Don't forget to disable greenhouse automatic vents.
You don't have to be a former scout to know that it's important to be prepared for the worst and a flood pump is an intelligent purchase. If you live in a flood area there is a dedicated Government Flood Risk Website to warn of any impending deluge.
After any storm has dissipated, note down all the damage, take photographs, and get a quote for an insurance claim. On GardenSite all you need to do is fill your basket with the required replacements and click 'Insurance Claim Quote'. Enter your contact details and we'll send you a quote by email.
With only a few months' training under her belt, GardenSite's own Flori Bosnigeanu took part in this year's Great Birmingham Run, raising over £500 for the city's Children's Hospital.
Create a Halloween party in your house or garden with ideas and suggestions from David Coton that will keep your children and neighbours thrilled and spooked on the 31st October.
Looking for some advice on how to decorate your garden for halloween? David Coton has some great ideas to help you create a horror themed garden to scare your neighbours and any trick & treaters who come to your door.
To grow the biggest, scariest pumpkin in time for Halloween isn't easy as they take some time to mature and prefer a warm climate. To have the best chance of success Martyn Loach recommends sowing seed indoors during April and then planting out in late May or June.