Weekend Work: Time to secure ricketty boundaries

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The Independent Online

What to do

Thinking is often better than doing at this time of the year. By March, the To Do list will be so long, there'll be no time for taking decisions about fences, decks, pools or other features that may not be earning their keep as well as they should.

In small town gardens, ricketty boundaries, often of wooden larchlap or trellis, may be the single greatest problem in terms of the way the garden looks. If you do not have a secure background against which to pin climbers and wall shrubs, you can't prune them effectively, or tie them in properly.

Spending money on strong fenceposts in between sound panels (Metposts may help; log on to metpost.com), will improve the look of a garden more radically than extra plants. When the boundary is secure, stretch wires across at 30cm (12in) intervals, so that you have plenty of places to tie in new growth. Most town gardens are too long in proportion to their width. If you keep climbers on the long side boundaries well trained, you gain perhaps as much as five extra metres.

What to see

The Conservation Foundation is planning to plant an elm in every London street with elm in its name. First, though, they have to identify which types can resist the disease that in the Seventies wiped out most of the elms in the country. For more info, go to conservation foundation.co.uk

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