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Garden Party Time?

Garden Party Time?

Garden party ideas – with the weather starting to improve (hopefully!) and the evenings getting lighter, now is a great time to spruce up your garden for those special summer BBQs and outdoor living.

Outdoor space is such a precious commodity that we all want to make the most of what we have. There are plenty of ways to give your garden an instant lift without having to spend a fortune.

We’ve pulled together a few easy ideas to help you create that perfect outdoor space.

Paint your fence, shed and wooden furniture or treat your deck to a deep clean and anti-slip topcoat of Decking Oil from our range of woodcare treatments & preservatives.

Challenge fencing woodcare products for your garden

Shed and Garden Fence Treatment in 4 colours

Build a raised flower bed, seating area or some steps with our range of railway sleepers.

Garden railway sleepers from Challenge Fencing

A raised flower bed and garden seating area made from railway sleepers

Garden railway sleepers from Challenge Fencing

Steps made from railway sleepers

Build a pergola. Either freestanding, attached to a property or built into a deck using our extensive range of treated timber.

Garden treated timber from Challenge Fencing

Pergolas can be used to create shaded seating areas

Visit the Challenge Fencing Home Page, where you can buy securely online or for home delivery from one of our branches.


What Is Composite Garden Decking?

Challenge Fencing are pleased to offer Smartboard Composite Garden Decking, the future of eco-friendly decking.

What makes composite garden decking so special?

Alan Titchmarsh is believed to be the person responsible for bringing garden decking to the forefront of British summer time gardening. Ground Force debuted on BBC 2 in 1997 and needless to say, nothing was the same after.

He has since “apologised” for creating such a huge buzz… but we here at Challenge Fencing don’t think he has anything to apologise for.

Smartboard Composite Decking child about to run onAfter all, because of Mr Titchmarsh, we have sold a lot of timber to people looking to build their own decks. It is and always has been a wonderful addition to any garden. That’s why we are pleased to announce the sale of Smartboard panels; a durable, good looking and eco-friendly composite that is the perfect alternative to traditional timber.

Why is this better than timber?

Composite Decking, Smartboard close up

Decks are wonderful, they really are… but they can be hard work sometimes.

Maintaining a healthy-looking and usable deck requires very regular upkeep, checks, cleaning, the list goes on. It’s a lot of work on something that should be relaxing.

Smartboard decking helps to get rid of all of those nagging jobs by simply being good to go all year round. Easy to clean, less likely to rot, less likely to splinter, more durable and, above everything else, good for the planet.

How is it good for the planet?

SmartBoard is the future of composite garden decking. The boards are made from residues of engineered oak flooring combined with recycled hard plastic such as shampoo bottles, meaning it is a wonderfully eco-friendly alternative to timber.

It combines all of the benefits of wood plastic composite technology while being designed to look exactly like the wood you would use to build your deck. Save the planet, build a deck!

Composite Decking fixed with Smartboard Screws

Should I consider buying some for my garden decking?

Well… yes. This is the kind of revolutionary material that will become the go-to choice for deck-builders in the coming years.

If you are conscious of the footprint you leave on the planet, opting for Smartboard composite decking will help your efforts to reduce the damage by a considerable way. Smartboard is a reversible decking with an appealing, tactile brushed matte finish creating a more natural surface than most composite alternatives.

Smartboard matt finishWhat’s more… it just looks fantastic. Colour-coded and specially designed screws* create an almost completely invisible finish that really ties the whole deck together.

Smartboard decking is available in 3 colours (grey, brown or slate) at Smartboard Composite Decking

Take a look at our Smartboard installation video on YouTube

We also stock Concrete Decking Posts which are an excellent way to build a deck over uneven ground. Add Smartframe C24 decking frame & you have the ultimate garden deck.

*warranty only applies if Smartboard screws are used.


Six of the Best: Displays and Planters

Over the past few years, we have seen some incredible ways to show off your flowers with DIY displays and planters of all shapes and sizes. Upcycling old materials, using scrap wood… you name it. There have been some absolutely genius uses of thought-to-be-useless items:

Recycled baskets turned planters

There has also been this…

Jeans used as plant container

Right now we want to take you through six of the best planters and displays that we have come across in our extensive research:

1. The Minimalist Flower Wall Hang

Wall Hung Flowers

Source: SugarAndCloth

Starting off, this is one of the simplest yet most wonderful ways to add a bit of colour to your home. Pick your favourite flowers and display them with a beautiful, minimalist “vase”. We love how eye-catching it is, despite how little there is. Call it reductionism, minimalism, modernism, whatever you want, it’s one of our favourites!

2. The Hanging Vineyard

Hanging VineyardSource: InHabitat

Everything about this makes us feel like we’re on holiday in Italy. Although a little bit more work than the Wall Hang, the end product is still absolutely wonderful! Repurposing empty wine bottles into hanging herb gardens not only saves space but will give your garden a beautiful, rustic feel. Perfect decorations on a summers evening.

3. The Chair Planter

Old chair recycled to be a planter

Source: Garden Therapy

You would think that a chair without a seat is good for very little. Well, we’ve got some news for you! If you have a garden chair that you are on the verge of throwing out, we urge you to try out the chair planter. Put your most prized succulents on a throne… where else would they deserve to be put?

4. Colander Planter

Colander Planter

Source: Country Living

A very similar project to the hanging wine bottles, this is a great way to repurpose your old kitchen utensils. The colander offers a number of benefits, not only because of them being so easy to personalise but also because they offer great drainage by their very nature! Above all else, the handles on the side will make a colander the perfect hanging planter for your garden.

5. Vertical Pallet Planter

Planters made from anything

Source: Upcycle That

A heavy duty, no-nonsense planter. A great way to hold a lot but take up minimal space is to build up. The website we found this planter on has a very helpful guide on how to build it, getting the dimensions right etc. But if you’re thinking ‘I don’t have any pallets so how can I do this?’ don’t worry. You can pick up pallets for free from any of our branches! Just give us a call and ask a team member to give you a hand.

6. All of ours

Wooden Plant Containers

We don’t want to sound biased when we say this but we have some of the best planters on the market. Not quite as “DIY” as the others, they aren’t upcycles but Challenge Fencing produce planters that look spectacular and are built to last.


Taking Your Garden to the Next Level

Whether it’s the perfect watch or the right bag, an accessory can make or break an outfit.

The same also applies to gardens. Too much and it becomes busy and difficult. Too little and it becomes boring and plain. But with the right amount of adjustments and additions, you can add a whole lot of character to your garden. Here are some of the best garden accoutrements available for you at Challenge Fencing:

Garden Railway Sleepers

Easily one of the most versatile items we offer. We have seen these used as steps for people who wanted to add levels to their garden, we’ve seen them make up flower beds and we’ve even seen them be used to make a swing.

We wrote about some of the best uses that our customers had found for their railway sleepers, not too long ago. Check it out here!

Railway Sleeper Hamac

Buy your railway sleepers here!

Garden Trellis Panels

It’s not just good looking, it’s also really helpful for your wildlife. Give climbing plants the support they need with our great selection of panels.

Not just for the plants, though. A trellis panel can act as a divider between separate outdoor spaces, meaning you’ll have your space to grow your vegetables and your children have another place to play.

Trellis Panels close up

Buy your trellis panels here!

Arbours and Arches

The perfect addition for spring and summertime but still wonderful all year round! Both offer similar things to trellis panels but they work in very different ways. While the trellis panels, arbours and arches all offer support for wall-climbing plants, arbours and arches provide more of a focal point for your garden.

An arbour gives you a great place to sit outside and enjoy the peace and quiet. An arch, though, can be the addition that really completes your garden. Both work well, but which is best for you?

Arbours and Arches Display

Garden Furniture

If you think of yourself as something of a Gatsby, parties are probably going to be one of your biggest interests. As such, it’s important to offer your guests a place to sit.

Challenge Fencing has a very wide range of furniture for you; picnic tables, rocking chairs, garden benches and much more! Long-lasting and versatile, you’re guaranteed to find something that fits your needs and wants!

Garden table and benches

Your garden is your garden so you can put whatever you want in it. But we’re confident that we’ve given you some good guidance and advice for you to take your garden to new heights and create a space that you and everyone that visits it will thoroughly enjoy.


5 More things that are not as tough as a Challenger Shed

Some things in life are tough. Difficult to understand, hard to get right, difficult to break down, it’s not easy. But when it comes to Challenger Sheds, there is no competition. Nothing is tougher than them. We’ve got 5 ‘tough’ things that pale in comparison to the Challenger.

1. Understanding BitCoin

Is it up, is it down? Do you buy now, sell later? Trading ‘cryptocurrencies’ is the hottest trend right now but getting started is confusing and scary. All of these numbers and complexities, it’s too tough.

You know what is tougher though? A shed made of premium quality Scandinavian Redwood that is 100% pressure treated to protect it against wood decay and insect attack for up to 25 years.


2. Figure Skating

If you’ve ever been to your local rink, it’s hard enough just standing upright without the complete lack of friction throwing your body all over the shop like a ragdoll! But compared to a Challenger Shed, executing a perfect Salchow and double Lutz is a walk in the park!
figure skating silhouette

3. Bowling a perfect 300

If you ignore the ridiculous shoes, bowling is fantastic. But bowling well? That’s a different story. We’d be lying if we said we don’t still need the barriers and that slide thing to get the ball going down the lane.

However, we have had a good, long look at the Challenger Shed.  We reckon we have more of a chance of bowling a perfect game than we do of the Challenger Shed losing a fight against nature.

activity, alley, ball

300? It’s been done.

4. Evenly slicing cheese

You’re making a sandwich, it’s going brilliantly and then you think about adding some cheese to it, assuming that you can cut a perfect slice of Emmental off no problem. What happens next? You end up with differently sized slices because knives don’t do what they’re supposed to.

A Challenger Shed, however, is supposed to improve the appearance of a garden while acting as a shelter for garden tools and other items you have. And what does it do? Exactly that.

Cheese and knife on a cheese board


5. Reading Ulysses by James Joyce

Allegedly one of the most difficult books to read that was ever published, Ulysses uses a number of different styles, voices, languages… You need a working knowledge of Latin, Greek, Shakespeare, Catholic theology, all manner of subjects!

James Joyce Book Edge

We read a few pages and it was tough but not “Challenger Shed tough.”


The Challenger Shed is among the finest quality garden buildings on the market. Made with Scandinavian Redwood, and treated to last for years to come, you can find yours here.


Why you should build a garden deck

If your garden is a theatre, your garden deck is the stage!

There are a number of advantages of having a garden deck from the social bonus to the aesthetic benefits. Let’s have a look at what a garden deck could offer your house:

Your own outdoor entertainment space

Group brunch on the deck? Maybe a barbecue with drinks in the evening? A deck offers you an area of your garden designed to host events! Or perhaps you’d rather sit outside with a good book? Either way, you’ll feel like royalty in maximum comfort.
Lady Sitting on a Garden Chair situated on a Decking area

Increases the value of your home

If you are considering selling your house in the future, it’s worth knowing that adding a deck to your garden can increase the value! The state of a garden plays a huge impact on a buyers decision, so imagine a potential buyer seeing a perfectly constructed deck.

They are family-friendly spaces and could be what swings their decision…

Pergola Decking area

Make it yours!

Your deck is your deck. It can be as wide as your whole garden, as narrow as a catwalk, it can be as short or as long you want! An extra something in your garden that you can customise and decorate with all manner of deck accoutrements will make your gardening life so much more enjoyable.

Add your own personal touch to your deck with Challenge’s wood-care products which can be found here!
Applying wood protection with a brush

A deck creates spaces

To re-use the stage metaphor, you can create a scene on your deck that allows you to assign set spaces to your furniture, your barbecue, ceramic flower pots, whatever you have. No longer will these things be strewn across your patio where you are unsure where they actually belong.

By keeping all of these extras off of your lawn, you will have more room and opportunities for landscaping. Planting some flowerbeds maybe?

Pergola Decking area with a Garden Bench

Minimal cost, maximum reward

Compared to a new bathroom or re-doing the kitchen, a garden deck is one of the most cost-effective ways to add value to your house. Of course, a larger deck is going to be more expensive, but as long as your deck is made with finest timber that Challenge Fencing has to offer, you will have the best deck for years to come!

Smartboard Decking area with chairs and tables

It is only finished when you say it is!

Because a deck is such an easy extension to put together, you can change it as often as you like!

Decking boards can be purchased on the Challenge website here!

Decking area with lots of flowers

Whether it’s adding extra appeal to your property or concealing unsightly drains and other necessities in the garden, there are a whole host of advantages to building yourself a garden deck.



What to do with your Bank Holiday Weekend

With the Bank Holiday coming up on the 30th March, you have got a long weekend to relax, do some pottering around the garden, just about anything you want to. We have a few suggestions on how best to spend the time:

Organise your shed

If your shed is a mess, this is your chance to make a difference! You don’t have to keep putting off sorting it out – you have the long weekend to have a clear out, tidy up, do some real spring cleaning. If you are wondering how best to tackle it, you might want to look at our organisational tips.

Organised shed

If your shed has seen better days and you think it is beyond help, don’t worry! In April, Challenge Fencing may be running a promo for our Challenger sheds… so keep your eyes peeled.

Create a garden gnome story

If you’ve got garden gnomes or other ornaments, this is a great outdoor activity for you and your children.

Take pictures of your figures in different situations and begin crafting your story. Sherlock Gnomes comes out in UK cinemas in May so be sure to watch it and see how much better your own short story is!

three Gnomes

Sadly you’ll just miss the awards season but hopefully come next year you will get the Oscar nod!

Fix your fence

Did your fence take a big hit during the treacherous weather a few weeks ago? Take the time to repair the damage using our concrete repair spurs. You can add years to your fence’s life with one of these. Have a read of our blog if you want to know how to use them!
Concrete Repair Spur for garden fence post
Or maybe your fence survived the weather but just needs a bit of TLC. Give it a makeover with something from our excellent range of woodcare products.

Trip to Virginia Water

A personal favourite, the Savill Gardens at Virginia Water and Windsor Great Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit on the weekend.

The Savill Gardens at Virginia Water and Windsor Great Park

As Spring slowly comes out to play, see the flowers begin to bloom, have tea in the café, visit the Totem Pole, it is a wonderful day out and we can’t recommend it enough.

Come to Challenge Fencing

We are open to 4:00pm on Good Friday and Easter Saturday so you are more than welcome to come down and have a look at all of the great timber garden products we have to offer.

Garden table and benches

Do you want to get a head start on your busy summer of garden parties? Come on down and get your hands on some of our excellent garden furniture.

Eat a lot of chocolate

Well… it is Easter.Pieces of Chocolate

Easter bank holiday is a great time for relaxing so whatever you do, make sure you have a lovely and enjoyable time doing it. Whether it’s spending time in your garden, planting some flowers or just enjoying the time away from work, destressing should be your number one priority.


How to Fix a Wobbly Fence with a Concrete Repair Spur

The Concrete Repair Spur – Challenge Fencing are proud to announce the saviour of fences. Why replace when you can make an easy and long-lasting repair in less than half a day?

Your garden fence has been through a lot over the past year – very strong winds, endless torrential rain and other such terrible British weather. Even if it’s survived over the last few years, there’s still a high chance that it may have lost a lot of its stability. This doesn’t mean however that you need to replace your whole fence!

Setting up your concrete repair spur is incredibly easy, made even easier with our handy guide:

1. Dig a hole for the spur

First, you need to make some space for your new spur. We recommend digging a hole around half the depth of your selected repair spur next to the fence post that needs the support.  You may have to chip away some of the existing concrete around the wooden fence post so your concrete repair spur sits flush with the wooden post. While you’re there – it’s a pretty good idea to give your fence & the newly exposed post a coat or two of wood preservatives to help prevent any future decay.

Dig a hole for the Concrete Repair Spur - illustrated

Give your fence a new look with our range of shed & fence treatments in these attractive colours – Dark Brown, Evergreen, Harvest Gold & Red Cedar.

2. Make adjustments

Once you’ve placed the spur into the new hole and you’ve checked that it fits well, you can work out the height and distance between the points where you will be drilling. The screws will be what keeps the spur in place, so it’s very important to get this as accurate as you can.

Make adjustments to Spur fit - illustrated

We recommend holding the fence post straight with some wooden braces whilst you mark out the holes for the repair spur.

3. Measure twice, drill once

Once you’ve double and triple checked to make sure that your measurements are all correct, it’s time to drill! Make a pilot hole using your drill for the coach screws. These will go through both the spur and into the fence post to ensure maximum stability.

Measure twice, drill once fitting Concrete Repair Spur to wooden Fence Post - illustrated

4. Secure your spur!

Ensure your screws are tight and now comes the fun part! It’s time to secure the spur and the post with concrete. If you’re not sure what aggregate will be best for your fence, you’ve come to the right place. Say goodbye to a long boring job, our post mix is pre-mixed for ease of use – no more mixing ratios and mind-numbing mathematics! You just need one bag of post mix per fence post under normal soil conditions. An extra couple of bags is always handy to have just in case!

Secure your Repair Spur using bolts - illustrated

Once you’ve got your spur firmly in place, fill the hole with your post mix and allow it to settle. After some time, the spur will be in place and as steady as a rock.

5. Marvel in your solid fence

The completed installation of Repair Spur

So, let’s recap: rather than spend £100’s on two new posts, gravel board and a fence panel, you now have a solid fence that’s as good as new for less than £15 plus a bit of concrete and some fixings!

Normally a damaged fence has to be replaced in its entirety, but not anymore. The Challenge Fencing Concrete Repair Spurs can fix the problem for years to come and with an ergonomically designed back weather top, your steel reinforced spur won’t lose any durability from rainy weather.

Pick up your spurs today and get to fixing that fallen fence in your back garden this weekend!

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If you would like to contact our team by telephone, please call your local branch.

If you would like to contact our team online, you can do so by filling in our contact form.


The Price of Timber These Days

UK Timber Prices

UK timber prices

Timber prices in the UK are very sensitive to market conditions both in Europe and the rest of the world. We take a look at the latest factors that are impacting on UK timber prices.

Here at Challenge we strongly believe in being transparent with all our customers. So, when we face the difficult decision to increase our prices on certain products, we always try to explain the wider market context that has led to the increase, rather than just saying our suppliers are charging us more!

Take sawn timber for example. It may surprise you but the UK is the world’s second biggest net importer (imports less exports) of forest products – only China imports more and our timber imports have been increasing every year for the last 5 years. Combine this with a gradual fall in our own domestic timber production and our UK timber mills and ultimately our suppliers are becoming increasingly exposed to global timber factors.

For example, China has demanded more timber from Europe, the UK’s first option for supply, due to sanctions imposed on Canada, China’s favoured first option for timber. This alone has increased demand, reducing supply & therefore increased prices. Add to this an improving economy in Western Europe driving demand, exchange rate volatility making imports more expensive and our own government’s increased new homes target, many of which are being built using timber-frame techniques and you can see why timber prices are on the increase.

And that’s not all! Latvia has always been an important log supplier to the UK. However, a particularly wet summer last year made log extraction difficult and supply from Latvia has fallen. This is being compounded by a sharpe increase in sea freight and road transport costs and an increased demand for wood to meet the UK government’s incentivised biomass industry.

So, the next time you see a small percentage increase in our product prices, there are many worldwide factors that have an impact on the cost of our gravel boards or fence posts. It is also very likely we are absorbing some of this ourselves so we can continue to offer a good supply of very high quality timber products at competitive prices – but yes mainly it’s due to the weather (in Latvia)!

If you have any questions about our products, please ask. We are on Twitter @Chall_Fencing our Facebook page is @ChallengeFencingLtd or you can email us using the form on our Contact page.

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