The renovated gazebo with a smart new roof.

EVEN dedicated gardeners don't feel like working in the garden when it's minus 7C. However, gardening columnist CEDRIC BRYANT says it's an ideal time to take a slow walk round the whole garden and assess any overdue maintenance. 

I HAD a job that I've been putting off for years. It's been 20 years since the construction of our gazebo, with the only maintenance being occasional painting, but winter's not the time to do outdoor painting. That can wait until warmer spring days. 

Cedric Bryant.

But the roof needed urgent attention. Originally with a split bamboo roof, which had remarkably stood the test of time until finally falling apart. 

It is important for us to keep our garden in reasonable shape with visits from time to time from garden clubs. 

These dedicated garden-club members cast their eagle eyes over every aspect as they look at plants and sit and enjoy afternoon tea.

We have seats with timber slats, which are reasonably easy to maintain. However, both our seats have cast-iron ends with paintwork that's got to the stage of serious deterioration, even to showing rust. 

Equally, the timber slats were getting to the end of their life. 

The seats are now ready for the next 20 years.

So I decided this state of affairs was seriously letting the side down and couldn't continue. 

Now to find help from people interested in doing small jobs.

First up was finding tradesmen to put a new Colorbond roof on our 2m x 2m gazebo, a relatively small task. Simple: just ring a few handymen or roofing contractors, I thought. 

I contacted three, all of whom said they were interested and would call to give me a quote within the week. Three weeks later, the silence was deafening. 

Fourth time lucky with Rory, of ISL Home Maintenance, who turned up a couple of days later and had the job completed within four days.

Next the seats. I dismantled them as some of the timber slats needed replacing. Taking a sample for sizing to two branches of a well-known DIY firm was a complete waste of time. They were simply not interested in helping me. 

Then I remembered the original Magnet Mart Home and Timber firm, which still had a branch in Yass Road, Queanbeyan. Its staff found the right timber and cut it to size in no time at all.

Next the metal seat ends, which were a bit more complicated. First step was to sandblast the old paint and rust back to the bare metal. 

This was easy as I had used the same firm for more than 20 years when designing and restoring gardens – AA Sandblasting, just off Gladstone Street, Fyshwick. In just a few days they had the seat ends sandblasted and undercoated with a special paint. 

Then to the final paint. The only long-term finish for outdoor metal furniture is powder coating, with the paint baked on, but the metal has to have been sandblasted first. 

I have used Canfab, at 88 Gladstone Street, Fyshwick, also for more than 20 years and as the photo shows, the finish is fantastic.

The end result is illustrated here and our gazebo is ready for the coming summer and those eagle-eyed visitors. 

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Ian Meikle, editor