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JT Atkinson

  • How to Keep Your Landscape Garden Healthy

    We have put together this article to give you some tips and advice on keeping your landscape garden healthy. There are quite a few tasks you can do to ensure the plants in your garden have a long life. Examine Plant Roots Before You Buy Before you buy plants for your landscape garden you should check the plant to see if it is sick or not, you don’t want to introduce a plant with a disease into your garden as this can affect other plants. You should do some research into what a healthy plant looks like so you can check for the signs yourself. You will want to avoid taking home plants that have dead spots, rotted stems, or insects. It is also a good idea to check the roots of the plants to see if they are healthy. The roots should be firm, usually white and spaced all over the root-ball. Keep Insects Out Of Plants Regularly inspect your plants to see if they have any insects, insect damage can be serious as it can then cause further problems to your plants including viruses and bacteria. Some insects even transport viruses from one plant to the next. There are a few ways to keep insects away from your plants, one way is to create an unsafe passage – slugs, snails and caterpillars approach your plants from the ground, so spread crushed eggshells around the plant and it will be difficult for them to approach, you can also use poison, which is completely safe for humans. How to Keep Your Landscape Garden Healthy Clean Up in the Autumn It is a good idea to clean up your garden in autumn, this is the best way to control diseases that are already in your garden, it can also act as an effective deterrent to any potential diseases. Use Fertilizer You should use fertilizer however you should not use too much of it as this can cause more harm to the plant than good. Overuse of fertilizer can make the plants more susceptible to stress from drought, cold and heat. You should also get a soil test carried out to find out accurate information on nutrient levels of your soil. This will help you to provide the correct level of nutrients for your plant. How to Keep Your Landscape Garden Healthy Remove Damaged Limbs It is best to do this in late winter, wounded limbs on a plant can become infected so you should remove them in winter as this will prevent the disease from spreading to new growth. Use sharp tools when doing this as it will ensure clean cuts heal rapidly and grow back to healthy tissue. How to Keep Your Landscape Garden Healthy Water Your Plants Regularly You should make sure that your plants are getting the water that they need; however diseases also need water so you need to do this correctly to limit moisture on the plant’s foliage. Use soaker hoses and drip irrigation and hold the leaves out of the way as you water the roots. Don’t Crowd Plants Space plants out as this can improve airflow around the plants which reduces high relative humidity and allows the foliage to dry more quickly. Plants that are placed too closely together can deprive them of sunlight, water and nutrients, making them weak and more susceptible to attack. Diseases can also be spread when an infected leaf from a plant come into contact with a healthy leaf from another plant. Following the tips provided in this guide is the best way to ensure you keep your landscape garden looking good and keeping your plants healthy.

  • Essential Tools For Your Home

    At some point you will probably have to do DIY around your home, from hanging a curtain pole to heavy duty DIY work there are essential tools that you will need to carry out the job. We have listed some essential tools that every person should have in their toolbox for quick access: Continue reading

  • Construction Industry Comes Out Top For Timber Sustainability

    Sustainability and striving to be more environmentally aware are key areas for businesses to focus on. They can help a company stand out from the competition, as customers look at more than just product availability and price when choosing a supplier. A new analysis of the use of sustainable timber shows that the construction industry is leading the way in this area, but that there is still more work that could be done. The WWF-UK timber scorecard looked at the policies of more than 100 businesses concerning their use of sustainable timber. It found that a number of manufacturers and suppliers in the construction industry came out with the highest rating; three trees. In order to reach this level, the company needs to have made a public commitment to sustainability and show that they aim to use sustainable timber in as many areas of the business as possible. The scorecard highlights that some of the biggest supermarkets are also achieving high levels of sustainability. However, there are a range of businesses that still need to make significant progress in this area. Demand from customers Construction Industry Comes Out Top For Timber Sustainability Sustainability isn’t just a subject that businesses need to look at to help satisfy their environmental criteria. It’s also a topic that is of relevance to their customers and can help to increase sales. Recent research carried out by WWF-UK found that consumers are concerned about the type and quality of the timber that they buy. However, customers are not always satisfied with the information that is available regarding sustainability from suppliers and manufacturers. If they don’t know where the timber is coming from, they could be causing further deforestation without even realising it. As opposed to the information we receive on food and drink products, such as levels of animal welfare and fair-trade certification, the quality of the information concerning timber sustainability is often felt to be lacking. More can be done Construction Industry Comes Out Top For Timber Sustainability The WWF-UK campaign has been designed to highlight that every business has their part to play in increasing the use of sustainable timber. They do not have to simply be a cause of deforestation, but they can actually be a part of the solution if they simply implement the right policies. It is possible to make a difference by putting in place initiatives that can bring about change. WWF-UK wants those businesses that scored low on this most recent scorecard to make a commitment to increase the use of sustainable timber across their company. They also need to highlight these changes to their customers. This needs a commitment from the Government to support the move towards a sustainable timber industry. They want incentives and systems put in place so that we can be part of a sustainable timber market by 2020. If this takes place and consumers only buy products that they can guarantee are from a sustainable source, levels of deforestation will continue to decrease and we will reach a point where just sustainable timber is available.

  • Maintaining Your Decking

    If you have decking in your garden you will want to maintain it to keep it looking good. We have listed a few tips to help you to look after your decking. With the correct care your decking will continue looking great and be in the best condition for as long as possible. Keep your decking clean – Buy some special decking cleaner to remove moss, mould, algae as well as grease and dirt to keep your decking looking clean. You should do this twice a year, once in spring to prepare it for summer and once in autumn to prepare it for winter. Scrub the surface using a stiff brush and a hosepipe, or you can use a jet washer if you prefer. You can apply a protective coat but you should wait around 2 days for the decking to dry before you do this. Continue reading

  • Putting Your Loft To Good Use

    Loft conversions can add considerably to the value of your property and they are a great way of increasing the amount of space you have available. The room can be used for a wide range of reasons, but it’s important to think about what this will be before you start the project. This way you will ensure that you include the right features and that the new loft space meets your requirements. The perfect teenage space If you’ve got a teenager or older child who needs their own space, a loft is the perfect area to create a den for them. This puts them further away from younger siblings and gives them some privacy, where they can socialise with their friends or do their school work in peace. Young people are obsessed with games consoles, phones and computers, so you need to ensure that you have enough power sockets and extension cables in the right parts of the room. They’ll also require lots of storage space, which could be built into the alcoves to make the most of the space you have. If they’re going to be working in the loft, you should consider the amount of light that will be available. It might be a good idea to fit some roof windows to increase the levels of natural light coming in. Putting Your Loft To Good Use A cosy home office With more people choosing to work from home on a full time basis, there is a rising demand for practical office space. Converting the loft into a home office means that you’re away from the distractions of the rest of the house. Putting Your Loft To Good Use If you don’t want to be constantly going up and down the stairs, then have enough power outlets fitted to accommodate a kettle and fridge, as well as all your essential electrical equipment for work. Space can be an issue in lofts, with lots of awkward corners to take into account. In order to work around this, you should look at having your furniture custom built, including bookcases, shelves and desks. This way it will fit perfectly and you won’t end up with large areas of unusable space. When you’re planning your loft layout consider the areas that will get the most light and position your work space here. If there are going to be dark areas, then you can fit a low hanging light or directional lamps to boost the brightness. Craft central Putting Your Loft To Good Use If your work is more craft orientated, then you can fit out your loft in a more suitable way. You need to make the most of the wall space by hanging plenty of hooks and shelves to keep your tools and other essentials tidy and out of the way. You’ll also need enough storage space to keep all your elements separate and easy to access. It’s important that the room has enough light, but you can also paint the walls in light pinks and greens or cream to brighten it up further.

  • Your Season By Season Landscaping Guide

    We have put together this guide to help you and your garden through the four seasons of the year, making sure the your garden is in top shape throughout the year. Each season has its own set of tasks which can be ticked off as completed making it easy to maintain how your garden looks and also helping to improve your garden. The tasks are clear and easy to understand and can be a great way of introducing younger members of the family to gardening. The infographic can be printed off and hung up in a shed, greenhouse or garage as a reminder of what tasks are to be performed on your garden. Continue reading

  • Our Work With The Trinity Holistic Centre

    A gardening project has been started at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough by Ray Wheatley. This project started approximately 1 year ago and is dependent on volunteers helping out to keep this project going. To get started there has been a bid from Camelot (National Lottery) for manual labour.   The reason behind this project is to try to create an environment that helps patients to escape that hospital feeling in between treatments, the garden is also open to them at other times as place for them to come and relax, this is known as horticultural therapy and has been proven to reduce stress, which is why it is important to keep this garden as nice as possible. It provides a quiet place for people to sit and relax. This project has been mainly designed for cancer patients but it is open to all long term patients as well as carers, family and friends. Awareness of this project spread when patients on other wards began chatting and joining in the informal therapy.   There are raised flower beds which are on stilts and there are also some lower flower beds which have wheelchair access, these flower beds have been created using materials with local partners which caters to all ailments, shapes and sizes. This project caters for buildings, featuring flower beds and multi-sensory zones, as well as gardening, featuring planting, watering, growing and tending, as well as social interaction and solitary areas when needed. Trinity Holistic Center The sensory area was made using subsidised soil, compost and timber provided by JT Atkinson, the area aims to hit all 5 senses, there is a herb garden, rockery, flower garden, reflecting area and musical instruments. The work being done at the garden is in line with complementary therapies and is made for all ages. Trinity Holistic Center “None of this would have happened without the help of all the volunteers over the year, not to mention the materials from local businesses like yourselves” said Ray Wheatley on the impact JT Atkinson and other businesses have had in helping the project start and continue. Trinity Holistic Center "The Trinity Holistic Centre is a great local service provided free of charge to the whole community helping long suffering patients and their families. After visiting, we saw the difference it's making to people lives so naturally we are happy to do what we can to help with patient's horticultural therapy." Joe Kibirige - Public Relations at JT Atkinson.

  • Keeping Insects Out Of Your Home

    Insects and various other pests can be annoying when they get into your home but there are many different methods and products you can use to prevent them from getting into your house in the first place. Here we share some of the top tips you can take to keeping insects and pests out:

    • Purchase a screen – There are different types of screens you can get which are placed over your window. They will prevent flies, spiders, wasps, bees, mosquitoes and midges from getting in.
    • Seal cracks in your walls – Many insects will access your home by sneaking in through various cracks and openings so it is a good idea to seal these, there are a variety of different products available to buy from JT Atkinson to do this from the sealants section of the building category.

    Keeping Insects Out Of Your Home

    • If you have airbricks cover them with wire mesh – Airbricks are important components for your house as they allow air to enter the cavity walling which keeps it aired and damp free, however slugs can also use the holes in these bricks to get in your house. While you can’t block the holes you can place wire mesh over them to prevent slugs from getting in.

    Keeping Insects Out Of Your Home

    • Use baking soda and sugar – This is an extremely effective way to kill cockroaches as they will be happy to eat this mixture, which will eventually kill them. Mix the baking soda and sugar in equal quantities and spray it in areas of your home that are cockroach-infested. This method also gets rid of ants, earwigs and spiders.

    Keeping Insects Out Of Your Home

    • Don’t leave food lying around – This will attract all of the above insects and so you should always dispose of old food and don’t leave any lying around.
    Keeping Insects Out Of Your Home
  • New Insulation Standards To Improve Safety And Efficiency

    A recent report has called on the Government to enhance the minimum standards required for insulation in residential properties. It also looked at implementing a safety scheme for installers, which would provide home owners with peace of mind when choosing someone to fit their insulation. Both of these elements would help to improve the energy efficiency of UK homes and preserve some of our rapidly depleting energy supplies. Continue reading

  • Problematic Home Improvements Can Cause Issues For Property Owners

    A new survey has found that around half of the home improvement jobs carried out in this country result in some type of issue being raised. However, even though there can be a number of problems with the standard of work, only a small minority of property owners end up complaining about it. The research, which was carried out by consumer organisation Which?, shows that almost 50% of the work carried out on properties had problems somewhere along the line. The survey highlights that even though there is a large potential for issues, very few property owners would raise these and 30% don’t feel comfortable doing so.

    Common home improvement issues

    Out of those surveyed the most popular reason for issues with home improvement projects was that the work wasn’t completed on time. The schedule is generally agreed with the tradesperson, but they don’t always stick to this. Other common complaints were untidy workers and where they required more visits to the property than had been expected. Those property owners having a new bathroom or kitchen fitted faced delays in completing the work more often than those having other work. In 25% of the instances there was an issue with the timing of the project. There are also frequent issues faced by home owners with the standard of the work after the job has been completed. These problems can include items not fitted correctly, leaks or features that don’t work. This can make it harder to complain to the tradesperson, as they are not actually on site at the time. Problematic home improvements can cause issues for property owners Those having loft conversions faced the most problematic jobs, with 70% of them having some type of issue with the work. Some 25% of property owners who had a loft conversion had to deal with messy workers and 17% faced untidy workers who didn’t tidy up when the work was finished. Among those who had loft conversion problems that needed to be rectified, 60% had to pay £5,000 or less to have the issues resolved, and 25% even had to commission a new tradesperson to finish off the job.

    Working with tradespeople

    Problematic home improvements can cause issues for property owners Hiring a tradesperson to carry out your home improvement projects should help the job to run smoothly. However, this isn’t always the case and it can end up taking time and money to put the situation right. If you don’t feel comfortable raising the issues with the company, you could have to pay out additional costs to another supplier. According to the results of the research, 40% of people would rather pay someone else to do the work again rather than talking to the original supplier. One of the ways of preventing this type of situation occurring is to have a contract in place before the work starts. This can help with the complaints process and means you have the backing of a contract. However, even though this is the case, 55% of property owners wouldn’t necessarily have a contract.

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