Keeping on top of that outside maintenance

Now spring is upon us, it is worth thinking about some of the outside maintenance that you need to be on top of.  This includes: 

Walls, fences and gates 

Garden walls and parapet walls should be checked to ensure that the capping is well pointed, preventing water from running into the top of the wall, and that the capping also has a proper overhang and a groove under the edge, to prevent water from dripping back into the wall.  Fences should be treated every one or two years and the top rail to the fence kept in good condition, as this protects the panels below.  Capping should be provided for timber posts. 

Metal gates and fences should be painted every four years and more often if used regularly.  Wooden gates should be checked to ensure that they have not dropped and that they are supported when open and closed. 

Paths and car parks
External hardstanding areas in poor condition

Paths should be checked to ensure that there are no trip hazards and that they are not uneven (slabs and broken concrete).  Steps should be marked clearly and vegetation removed, with paths being cleaned regularly to stop them from becoming slippery.  It is helpful to provide a grit store or stores alongside the path(s) to be able to grit them easily during freezing temperatures. 

Trees, hedges and shrubs
Overgrown area next to building

Hedges should be cut back annually outside of the bird nesting season (or more often if faster growing).  It should be noted that yew or leylandii should only have the previous year’s green cut back; otherwise, it will kill that side of the hedge.  Ivy should be cut back from trees and walls, as it kills the trees and absorbs the moisture in walls.  This can be more easily removed by cutting the ivy near its root and allowing time for it to die before removal.  Trees should also be monitored structurally for damaged and dangerous trunks and branches.  Trees also need to be kept at a reasonable height to prevent their roots from damaging neighbouring structures.