Want Backyard Chickens? Here are our top tips!

 

If you’re lucky to live in an area where chicken ownership is allowed, and you have plenty of grass, then there’s every reason to become a hobby chicken farmer. Not only do they enable you to enjoy fresh eggs on toast every morning for breakfast, but they can take care of grass insects, clean up your food scraps, and even help with the lawn mowing. Here are our top tips for backyard chicken ownership.

 

Opt for a Portable Hen House

While a permanent hen house is adequate for those with plenty of grass, they do make lawn mowing a little tricky. Not only do you have to mow the lawns around them continually, but the hens can end up in a muddy, dirty environment come winter time. Therefore, if it’s possible, either buy or build a hen house that’s on wheels.

By doing so, you can merely push the house to a new area of grass for them to enjoy. A portable hen house also makes regular cleaning far easier than one you can’t quickly get inside or push around.

 

Buy Mature Hens

It might seem like a good idea to incubate eggs, raise the chicks, then enjoy the fruits of your labour at a later date, but it can be a challenging task. If you’re new to chicken ownership, it’s best to familiarise yourself with their daily needs and consider raising chicks from eggs at a later date. When you’re only starting out, it’s best to buy mature hens to fill your coop. Right from day one they can help with lawn mowing and take care of those grass grubs.

However, it’s always helpful to be careful where you source your hens from. Some people choose to get rid of them because they’re not laying. Therefore, you run the risk of spending a significant amount of money on feed, without the reward of fresh eggs in your morning omelette.

 

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Cover the Coop Basics

If you’re choosing to build your hen enclosure from scratch, you may wonder what you need to do to make sure your new hens are as happy and as healthy as possible. Before you get your hens, you need to ensure they have a place to roost at night, a nesting box for those hens who are laying, as well as plenty of room to move around.

What’s more, if you can provide protection from predators – such as a lock-up area at night time, then you increase their chance of survival. Unfortunately, there are plenty of dogs, cats, stoats, and other creates all too keen to take your hens for themselves.

 

Establish a Routine

While hens are quite happy to do their own thing, scratching at the grass, running free on your lawns, and helping with the lawn mowing by clearing up all the bugs, they also thrive on routine. While most hens you buy as mature birds aren’t the friendliest of creatures, you’ll find that if you establish a routine, they’ll expect and look forward to your visit.

 

Therefore, whether it’s you or the kids maintaining their coop, make a point of doing it at the same time every day. The kids can collect the eggs first thing in the morning, give them any food scraps, and clean the nesting boxes too. Adding fresh hay or straw for the boxes can help to both keep your eggs clean and the coop more hygienic.

 

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Make it a Savings Scheme for Children

If you feel like you’re continually opening your wallet for your children’s wants and needs, then chicken ownership can open up the doors for a potential income source for them. With a well-established coop on the grass in your backyard, they can collect the eggs, sell them, then keep the funds as pocket money.

However, that doesn’t mean that they collect the money and don’t have to do any work! Chicken ownership does take time. You need to feed them, clean up after them, and ensure they have plenty of hearty tucker to keep producing those delicious free range eggs.

 

Know Their Food Requirements

Hens are relatively low maintenance in the respect that they eat any bugs present in your lawns, and are quite happy to look for grass grubs and any other critters as well. Therefore, having your hens free range is quite beneficial for both you and them. However, providing them with fresh water, laying mash or wheat, and any of your table scraps is also helpful. Hens will eat almost anything you eat, but be sure not to feed them citrus. You can even mash up their own eggshells to offer an extra dose of calcium.

 

Having to make the daily journey to the hen house to feed them scraps also offers more benefits than only getting rid of your leftovers as well. You benefit from getting outside in the fresh air, taking note of when you need to begin lawn mowing, and checking on your grass quality as well. As many of us work full time, we often neglect our outdoor surroundings, but hen ownership can make it more of a priority.

 

Keep it Clean

Hens aren’t fussy about where they do their business. They are quite happy to go in their nesting box, where they’re eating, where they’re roosting, and around your lawns as well. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find hen poo on your grass right where you’re about to walk! While most people buy hens to benefit from the eggs, you also have to put in the hard yards as well. Keep their coop clean, and you’re more likely to benefit from clean eggs and a nicer backyard grass area.

 

Replace their straw or hay in their nesting boxes whenever it gets dirty, and try to rake out the dirt in the bottom of the hen house where possible as well. If your children are benefiting from the pocket money, this could quickly become their regular chore.

 

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If you have plenty of lawns and grass area to share with feathered friends, then there’s no time like the present to become a hobby chicken farmer. In fact, given the ever-increasing price of free-range eggs, you can do your part for your bank account at the same time.

 

 

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The complete history of the lawn mower

 

A right of passage for many kiwi kids. Driving the lawn mower has always been a good bit of pocket money, and a step towards getting a licence for many. Mowing the lawns is engrained in NZ culture as we’re lucky enough to have so many properties with a decent patch of grass on it. 

 

So when did the first lawn mower come about? It's hard to remember a time when we didn’t have lawn mowers. Before the lawn mower was invented, we must have done something to keep our homes from becoming jungles right? 


 

A life before lawn mowers

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In the beginning, people didn’t have ‘lawns’. Everything was either occupied by livestock that kept it short, or was a patch of dirt. Come the 1820’s, some decided they would enjoy a trim turfed lawn. So instead of having your cattle trample all over it, you would need to employ a scythe man to cut it. A specialised man who had the knack of cutting an even height of grass with only shearing blades or a Scythe. 


Employing someone to cut your lawns with scissors was definitely not affordable. So only the elite had ‘lawns’. It was quite a status symbol to have a nicely kept yard. 


 

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The First Mower

The 1830’s trend of having trimmed lawns increased, and one smart engineer Edwin Beard Budding built the first (first patented) mechanical lawn mower. From Gloucestershire, England, Edwin first thought of the idea after seeing a mechanism in a cloth mill, a cylinder that cut the cloth smooth after weaving. 


He teamed up with a local engineer and they built a machine based on the cloth mill concept. A push mower, very similar to manual ones still seen today, except this was made of heavy cast iron, complete with wheels, a rear roller and a rotating cylinder of blades at the front. 

Budding’s patent said “country gentlemen may find in using my machine themselves an amusing, useful and healthy exercise."

The mowers took two people to use! One person to push, and one to pull. More than a healthy exercise by the sounds of it. However, the London Zoological gardens were the first to purchase these iron mowers for their large lawns.


Budding intended the machine to be for large estates and sports grounds, like the London Zoological gardens. But his invention did more than that, it made having a trim lawn available to more people. Lawns were slowly becoming more attainable for all classes, less of a symbol of status. 


 

Sport Innovation

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With the invention of the lawn mower, sports games were able to develop quickly. Some refer to this as the “Budding effect” as the invention created many flow on inventions and economic growth. 
 

  • Lawn bowls - Well cut grass meant lawn bowls were now not only for the rich that could afford to employ a scythe man. 
  • Football - Now easier to maintain a decent pitch, football took off. Budding was a football fan himself, some say it motivated him to create the lawn mower.
  • Cricket, lawn tennis, sporting ovals and countless other ground sports now take advantage of lawn mowing patterns. 

 

 

 

Lawn Mowers, a History:

Over the years, many people replicated Edward Budding’s original design. From 1830 - 1850 Budding and his parter had a patent on the product. During this time they licensed other companies to produce it, but after it was terminated in 1850, it was free reign for all to invent.  

 

1830

From this time until the 1850’s companies produced variations of Buddings original design, but only under a licence. 

 

1840

Early models of horse drawn mowers were designed (which of course had previously taken two people to push as it is cast iron). This didn’t suit everyone as the horses would trample gardens with their hooves. As a result the horses had to wear leather booties to prevent impressions on the grass - which sounds like a challenge in itself to organise.

 

1859

Budding's patent on the lawn mower was terminated and Thomas Green created the Silens Messor. Meaning ‘silent operation’ which was an immediate success. Using chains to transmit power from rollers rather than gears, it was more quiet than those before it. You could also get add-ons such as a clipping box. This was one of the first commercially successful mowers, over a million were produced until World War Two when production stopped. 

 

1870

Elwood McGuire designed a push mower that was much lighter with less moving parts, more functional for the everyday person.

 

1890

Steam powered lawnmowers were invented. This was quite a bulky machine with a water boiler, steam cylinders and a seat to ride up top. It took longer to heat the steam than to mow the lawns so gasoline powered mowers rose in popularity over steam.

 

1919

The United States manufactured a gasoline powered mower thanks to Colonel Edwin George. However, being created around The Great Depression, it didn’t take off straight away. It wasn’t until after World War Two that it rose in popularity. 

 

1930

The electric powered mower, also rotary cutting blades were developed, but again were not mass produced due to a lack of demand at the time. 

 

1960

Variations with lighter plastic were continually adjusted into what we see today. 


 

We can see the evolution of mowers from scissors, to manpower, horses, steam, gasoline and plastic. But the original design has stuck to what we see today and many people still purchase mowers that have the same design from 100 years ago. So the real question is; where will we be in 100 years time? 

 

For now though, we're still convinced that the best lawns are the ones looked after by Crewcut.
If you have a lawn that needs mowing, be sure to contact us for a free quote. 


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How to make the most of feijoa season
 
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Crisp and sweet, yet tangy and soft, the taste of fresh feijoas cannot be replicated. For New Zealanders, feijoas seem to be everywhere at the moment. Like a yearly epidemic sweeping the country they are being offloaded into workplaces in any form possible. 

For those with fruiting trees, hundreds of the green morsels will be carpeting your lawn (and also possibly your neighbours). We know it can be difficult to keep up with picking, and would hate to see these tasty fruits go to waste. Here is some of our best advice on how to maintain and deal with your abundance of feijoas this season. 
 

4 easy recipes to use excess feijoas

If eating raw feijoas day after day is getting a bit tiresome, try these easy recipes to make use of a few cupfuls.

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  • The classic feijoa and apple crumble dessert will never miss the mark. A great warmer on colder evenings and easy enough to get kids to help out with. But if you’ve already made enough crumbles, have a go at this feijoa crumble slice from NZ’s Nadia Lim as a lunchbox treat. 
     
  • Feijoa, date and ginger loaf, another great lunchbox addition that keeps well and uses lots of feijoas! Great toasted for breakfast with lashings of butter, or as an afternoon snack.
     
  • Feijoa ice blocks! Enough of the baking and extra sugar, simply blend feijoas, canned pineapple and some orange juice together, then spoon into ice block moulds. Kids will love them and they are a healthier dessert option. 
     
  • Feijoa and white chocolate muffins, these have a bit more flavour than just plain feijoa muffins. The white chocolate adds some luxury to these easy muffins and are sure to impress. 


 

If you’ve had enough of baking, try a few preserving methods:

  • Freeze them and save for later. Just peel and throw in some freezer bags. Great for baking a few months down the track, or to toss into a smoothie. 
     
  • Feijoa chutney, simple to make and very delicious! Beats paying big bucks at the supermarket and is great with crackers, sandwiches in cooking and so much more. 
     
  • For something a bit sweeter and slightly more adventurous try a Feijoa Jelly. A little more preparation is required, but the result is very unique. But best of all, no peeling involved, wahoo!


If all else fails and you’re almost tossing your falling fejoias straight into the compost - get your kids to set-up a stall selling them. Buy or reuse bags, and set-up a manufacturing line with your kids. They can make signs, set-up a table outside and make a few extra dollars. Very popular for those who’s only access to feijoas is for $7 a kg at the supermarket!



 

Feijoa tree care tips

If you have missed out on the feijoas this season, it’s not too late - you can plant one now, or any time of the year really. Autumn is a great time so the roots can settle in and get ready for growth in Spring. If you are in a colder climate and could be expecting snow, hold off until the soil is a bit warmer during Spring time. There are a few different types of feijoas out there, so you can do some research and plant your favourite. 


 

Why should you plant a feijoa tree?

Feijoas are great for the garden and super easy to look after. If you want to feel like successful gardener these are definiely the way to go! Feijoa trees are not affected by many diseases or pests and with a little compost and feed once a year you are good to go. 


 

Harvesting the feijoas

It is best to let your feijoas ripen naturally on the branch. When they do fall, don’t let them sit for too long on the lawn as the dew on the grass will make them go bad quickly. Gently pick your feijoas from your tree by cupping the fruit, and lifting gently to see if it will fall off without much effort. 


 

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Feijoa Hedges

Feijoa trees also make great hedges. they stop wind and will grow just about anywhere as they can cope with a bit of sun, snow and sand. The Sellowiana feijoa is most commonly used for hedges, the type of feijoas they produce can vary - mostly producing small and sour fruit and great for pollinating other trees.  They will generally grow 1.5-2m wide so make sure you plant them a good distance apart.


 

Pruning feijoa hedges and trees

The best time to prune your trees are the winter after fruiting. For your hedges it is best to cut them back about 1/3 in size, you can do this once a year. If you have a large hedge that might require some equipment definitely give your local Crewcut operator a call, as most locations offer hedge trimming services.  For regular feijoa trees (not for hedges) pruning isn’t necessary, but if your tree is struggling to produce fruit this could help. Prune it back after fruiting in winter and you may find that with more branches exposed to light, next year will be more fruit. 

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Feijoas can definitely become a garden nuisance if you don’t keep an eye on them. You miss a few days and the whole lawn could be covered, so try to keep up with them this season and make use of them all! Try not to let them sit too long on the grass, if you can, sweep them out of the way and into the compost if they are rotting. Your lawn mower will thank you, and it will deter animals from taking all the good fruit left on the tree. 

 

Good luck, and happy harvesting!


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Why you should get kids in the garden
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As we advance into a more technological age, the art of gardening is becoming more and more redundant. We notice that increasingly, people want ‘low maintenance’ instead. But having a flourishing garden with shrubs, flowers, fruit, and vegetables is one of the most rewarding things. Kids today spend more time indoors looking at screens then they do outside looking at nature.

 

Gardening is healthy and fun for children. Not only will it help with their understanding of how things grow; but they will learn responsibility, love of nature, proper nutrition, physical activity and knowledge of life. There’s also a great reward if the plants flourish as they will be able to physically see what hard work can earn. 

 

Some simple ways to get your children interested in gardening include:

  • Giving them their own little garden space
  • Using specialised, lightweight equipment that children will take pride in using
  • Making it a fun project
  • Visiting public gardens for inspiration and ideas
  • Giving them the responsibility to take ownership

We will cover these areas in more detail below.

 

While gardening can almost seem like a “grownup” task, it doesn’t have to be. Children are more than capable of getting involved in:

  • Digging
  • Picking flowers
  • Weeding
  • Watering
  • Picking vegetables when they are ready to eat
  • Garden clean-up
  • Replanting and potting
  • Decorating pots with paint
  • Picking off dead bulbs

 

Therefore, there’s no time like the present to get the gardening gloves out, gather up the children and get outdoors. Here is how to get your children interested in gardening.

 

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Their Own Garden Space

When you’ve been out gardening in the past, your children are sure to have, at some point, showed interest in what you’re doing. They might have enjoyed helping you to pick the fruits of your labour, or they may have even asked what you’re planting and whether they can help. Take this opportunity to offer your child their own piece of the garden to create and do with as they please.

Whether it’s a back corner you’re not using yourself or a small tub they can use to plant a few things, they are sure to jump at the opportunity. Children are very inventive, and when you give them the freedom to create something unique, they will often put a lot of time and effort into flexing their creative muscles.

However, it’s crucial to make sure this area you’re giving them is going to produce. Poor soil, drainage or a historically poor-performing part of your yard is not going to give your child a lot of confidence when plants fail to grow. Instead, make sure the soil is primed and ready to go – or help them to do that themselves – and offer a balanced mix of sun, shade, and moisture.

 

 

Lightweight Gardening Equipment

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Standard gardening equipment for adults is typically not something children will find easy to use. Large garden forks can be cumbersome and heavy, while shovels are typically bottom-heavy and not easy for children to lift. To get your children enthused about their new piece of garden, take them on a shopping trip. Many garden shops sell gardening equipment specifically for children looking to discover their green fingers.

From gloves and gardening aprons through to small garden wagons, forks, and shovels – all manner of gardening tools are now available for the smaller members of our families. What’s more, they are often for sale in vibrant colour schemes to encourage creativity and fun. Gardening can be fun, and tools just for them is sure to promote that.

 

Fun Gardening Project

As previously mentioned, gardening can be a lot of fun, but you have to put time and effort into making it so. If you have more than one child who has begun to show an interest in gardening, have them both get to work on creating a sketch of their new patch. They can discuss their ideas for what to plant, how to plant them, and how to bring life to their own garden.

Not only does it become a fun project that lures them away from computer screens, but it also encourages them to learn about teamwork, sharing, and innovative ideas. From the initial sketch phase, it may also help to work with them to choose vegetables, fruit, and flowers they can grow. This is where your expertise should come in, as you don’t want them to plant something you know will not grow in our climate.

 

Inspiration and Ideas

If you don’t have green fingers and your children are new to the world of gardening, then use this inexperience as an opportunity to get out and about. Take the kids to public gardens, gardening events, and even the gardening store. Invite them to talk to shop attendants and learn all there is to know about their new chosen passion. Your children are not only learning valuable gardening skills for inspiration and ideas, but they are also learning to communicate with others as well.

 

Responsibility and Ownership

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Many parents buy their children a pet to learn responsibility and ownership. The deal is generally that the child must feed it, take it for walks, and care for it. However, as many parents will have experienced, some children lose interest in doing those things fairly quickly, so the task of caring for the new pet falls into the hands of the parents.

 

Instead of investing in a dog or cat to achieve responsibility and ownership, invest in a new garden instead for the same results. Your child’s new job is not only to plant, water, and maintain the garden but to keep the plants alive too. They will take pride in this ownership, especially as the plants begin to grow, prosper, and are then ready for harvest. Then, you can look at the smiles on their faces as they eat freshly grown fruit and vegetables they produced all on their own.

 

You don’t have to have the greenest thumb to get your child interested in gardening. It’s all about ‘planting the seed’ (see what we did there) so that your children may grow their own healthy garden to share for future generations.

 


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The best gardens to see this Christmas
 
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The decorations are out, the heatwave is growing stronger, and days are getting longer. All signs of a looming Kiwi Christmas. Are you spending more time in the garden leading up to the big day? Whether you’re just tidying up the garden, or decorating with lights - Crewcut couldn’t be happier to make your lawns and gardens look their best.

Many of us get into the Christmas lights spectacular - which is such a cool way to redesign your garden just in time for Christmas. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best lawns and gardens to check out this time of the year. 

 

Auckland

Franklin Road

Of course this goes without mentioning - an Auckland Christmas tradition. Everyone's lawns are neatly mowed with decorations adorning every front door and garden. Carollers sing a festive tune and cotton candy hides the smiles of young children. 

 

Karaka Light Show - 20 Cornwall Place

Each year the Karaka light show draws in crowds because of the grand light decorations. Truly not to be missed!
 

 

 

Canterbury

11 Tullamore Place

Boasting to have plenty of Christmas decorations inside and out! Maybe a Santa’s grotto is waiting for you and your family in the backyard! Check them out, 7-11pm, from December 19-23.

 

190 Hoon Hay Road

Such a magnificent use of the front and back garden - with beautiful Christmas lights and inflatable Santas. Be sure to check this one out!

 

7 Woodglen Drive, Woodend

This place has really utilised full capacity of their front yard, creating a beautiful space. Even has a realistic Santa clause too!

 

 

Wellington

37 Sumner Terrace, Porirua

If you're into pyrotechnics, you'll absolutely love this! With a full light display, you'll be standing on the front lawn, entertained for ages. 

 

30 Caesers Place, Churton Park

Fairy lights, fairy lights, and more fairy lights! This property has gone all out with decorating the grass with multi-coloured lights. Such a simple and effective take on the Christmas lights celebrations. 

 

For a more comprehensive directory of all the light shows around the country, be sure to check out https://www.lightupchristmas.co.nz/xmas-lights.php


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The secret magic of composting
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If you’ve considered compositing as the wizardry of gardening hippies - we do hope you’d reconsider. As part of our composting mini-series, we're here to prove that composting should be a part of your regular garden and waste management. There are so many great benefits it's a wonder why more people haven't moved to the 'Composting Convoy'. 

On average, New Zealanders send about 2.5 million tonnes of waste to the landfills - or about one tonne per household. However, according to Auckland Council Waste Assessment, the normal household could compost half of the waste they create. While some waste can't be composted such as packaging, plastic and glass (which you should aim to recycle anyway) - a lot of waste you can.

Compostable items include:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Egg shells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Branches and twigs


One of the great parts of composting is you can add your grass clippings to the mix when you get your lawns mowed. Your regular Crewcut operator would be more than happy to add the clippings to your compost bin as part of their service

So you may be asking: 'apart from looking like an enviro-warrior how exactly does this benefit me?'. Oh mon frere, you have plenty to learn about the magic of composting:

  • Enrich soil to produce healthier plants in the garden
    The leftover you get from compost (in either a solid mulch form or concentrated tea) is so good for your soil. It is absolutely jam-packed with nutrients which aide in plant growth and root health.
     
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
    As mentioned previously, 2.5 million tonnes of waste get sent to landfills. A vast amount of this waste is compostable, however it's now sitting in landfills not decomposing properly. All the methane produced in these landfills are toxic and are then sent into the atmosphere - not an ideal situation. 
     
  • Reduces the cost for rubbish collection
    By reducing how much waste goes in your council bins or bags, you may be able to put out your rubbish less often. This is a big win, and you'll encourage yourself to save even more as you get better at composting. 

 

If you live in Auckland you can even get a discount on your very first composting bin! Just follow the link, complete the quiz or attend a composting event and you'll receive your discount and free shipping on a selection of compost bins. 

Composting is becoming more and more popular as people realise the benefits. In the next article we’ll show you what kind of composter you are, and how to start your own compost bin. 


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Is a hedge better than a fence?
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If you've ever watched 'The Block' or a home and garden show, you'll know how important it is to enclose your property with either a fence or hedge. Aside from the aesthetics, they have plenty of practical positives as well. However, there has been hot debate on which is better - fence or hedge. So who comes out on top?

Privacy and security

Because many hedges can grow to pretty decent heights (some can get to 2 metres!), you can be assured that your privacy will be maintained. This means a reduced risk of mischievous, thieving eyes peering into your backyard and home. Alternatively it means you can saunter in your stubbies around your garden in peace. 

Muffles sound out better

Hedges work brilliantly as a sound blocker. If you have noisy neighbours or are close to a busy road - you should definitely consider having a hedge. A dense hedge can reduce the decibels of noise by up to 50 percent. Most fences on the other hand, do very little for noise control. If you are interested in noise control with fences, you will need to consider brick or thick wood. 

Windbreak

While fences take the brunt of wind gusts, sometimes it can prove too much and causes the fence to topple over. However, a hedge will slow down a lot of the wind while allowing some to pass through.

Wildlife

Hedges are great for our wildlife! Birds stay in them, flying insects and bees carry nectar from the plants, and a neighbouring hedgehog will call it home. If you have young children - they will really appreciate all the extra wildlife the hedge will bring to the garden.

Interesting background

While a fence can look a bit boring, hedges can add a textured and interesting background to any garden. Some hedges even grow interesting flowers - a two in one surprise!

Cost

Fences often have plenty of upkeep and can get worn down very quickly. A well maintained hedge on the other hand will continue to look nice for as long as it's looked after. All it needs is sunlight, water, and 1-2 sessions of hedge trimming a year. Crewcut offers affordable hedge trimming year round, and nationwide! 


Adds value

Plenty of real estate agents agree that a well-maintained and trimmed hedge adds plenty of value to your property. This is particularly pertinent when it comes close to sale time of the property.

 

So have you been sold on hedges? If you need more help and advice on how to best look after your hedge, make sure to ask you local Crewcut operator. As we come into the sunny months, time spent in the backyard will be much more enjoyed with a nice hedge surrounding it. 


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Hey Aucklanders - money does grow in your backyard!
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As the age old saying goes: "Money doesn't grow on trees", however, you can grow your money - in your backyard. With the average house in Auckland selling for 1 million (as of May 2017), you could add even more to the house value by having a well maintained garden and lawn. While renovating other areas of the house are sure to make their improvements on the sale price - nothing sells more than the green, green grass and foliage you have outside. In fact, it can raise the value of the property by 16%, which is today's market is around $100,000+!

Potential home owners love to see outdoor areas they can raise their children in, relax in, or just have room for a fun-loving dog to run in. The extra space is a luxury as houses grow closer and closer together. If you have a lawn, take advantage of it with some regular lawn mowing and extra TLC. Crewcut's Auckland lawn mowing team covers all parts of the city and beyond - so if you need your lawns mowed, we're ready.


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The perfect gift for a Kiwi Father's Day
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Father’s day is coming up, do you know what you might be getting?

New underwear? Perhaps a box of chocolates? Or maybe another ‘best dad ever’ mug? While these are ‘mighty fine gifts’, we know you’d prefer something a bit more satisfying.

When the gardening needs doing, or the lawn needs to be mowed, are you often left with the job? While Kiwi dads are built on the ‘can-do’ attitude, sometimes this mantra gets taken advantage of by others in the family. Dads out there, we hear you.

This year, you should be able to sit back with a beer (or cup of tea) in hand and get a company like Crewcut to mow the lawns for you. Enjoy the time with your family instead and leave your backyard to the experts. We think that’s the ultimate Father’s day gift.

So send this to your kids or partner as a subtle memo that ‘hey, I don’t want socks this year’. Ask them instead to treat you with the gift that keeps on giving - the gift of never having to mow your lawns again. You deserve it, because as a Kiwi father, you’re a cut above the rest.

To arrange a free lawn quote, contact us on 0800 800 286

 

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How to get your kids outside in the holidays
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Trying to get your children outside in the winter holidays, particularly when the wintry weather isn’t overly appealing, can be challenging. While you wouldn’t dream of sending them out when it’s pouring down with rain, it’s important to use those breaks in the weather to your advantage. Staying cooped up inside during the school holidays isn’t fun for anyone.

While the kids are probably more than happy to lounge around watching TV, playing computer games or browsing the internet on their tablet, there comes a time when leaving the house is as much for their sanity as your own. Here are just a few of the many options – from things you can do at home, to extensive holiday programmes that cater to your children’s needs.

 

Auckland Botanic Gardens

There’s an abundance of activities to do here during the school holidays, including nature challenges, kids vs. wild, Matariki mobiles and much more! And if you can't make it to the programs, children love walking around the gardens and learning about all the various plants and flowers that make this garden so full of life. Winter growth is very unique which makes it the perfect time to visit the gardens. 

 

Wilder Kids

If you’re in Wellington, your kids are going to love the Wilder Kids programme. Aimed at 5-12 year olds, your children will have a fun outdoorsy day learning about nature, creepy crawlies and how to protect everything in New Zealand’s big backyard. The programme runs every school holidays, and while winter limits outdoor time, your kids will still be learning heaps.

 

sKids Holiday Programme

Safe Kids in Daily Supervision (sKids) has become New Zealand’s most significant private supervised care facility. While they provide your children with plenty to do after school, they also run holiday programmes to appeal to many.

 

From cooking and sports through to making huts, music, dancing, and taking outings, you will find every child will enjoy everything this programme has to offer. While the outdoor components of this holiday programme are weather-dependent, you are sure to see even the indoor activities challenge your children to try new things and enjoy a unique environment that may be a little outside of their comfort zone. What’s more, sKids has programmes throughout most main centres in New Zealand – from Otago all the way through to Auckland and everywhere in between.

 

Auckland for Kids

If your children fall into that age gap that makes them a little too mature for most holiday activities, they are sure to love what Auckland for Kids has to offer. Not only do they cater to young school-aged children, but teens and pre-schoolers as well. Therefore, you can rest assured there’s a vast range of activities that surely mean you won’t need to drag the kids out of the house – they’ll drag you.

 

You can choose from general holiday programmes with a little bit of everything, or something more targeted. From art, cooking, and sports through to dance, drama, photography, and film, there is so much to experience these school holidays.

 

Give Them A Project

If it’s been that long since your kids have been outside that they no longer remember what the yard looks like, then it’s time to rug them up then kick them out. When there’s a break in the weather, there’s no harm in the kids putting down their electronic devices and finding something to do outside. If you’re waiting for the “I’m bored” to fill your ears within mere minutes, then give them a project.

 

They could learn how to prepare the garden for winter crops or learn how to create a hen house. Or, if they want to earn pocket money to do something with their friends, they could get their hands dirty and remove all the dead plants that fell victim to harsh winter frosts. The backyard is a blank canvas for activities; the kids just need time to see it.

 

Mini Winter Sports

It’s all too easy to let the kids stay inside on their mobile devices all day because it keeps them quiet and out of your hair. However, given the holidays span for two weeks, and even more over Christmas, it’s not something that can fill all that time. For these holidays, why not get them interested in mini winter sports? If your backyard is big enough, they can set up a course in the yard to play on. Golf, cricket, and soccer are all valid options. Even if the grass is a little soft, it will get them outside and active, albeit, a little muddy.

 

Wintry weather is never pleasant to venture out in, but it’s also not convenient to be cooped up inside all day either. Even if the kids are happy to stay warm by the fire, it’s a good idea to get them involved in projects that will stimulate and challenge them.

 

There are several excellent holiday programmes throughout the country that provide all manner of activities. However, if keeping them at home is far more convenient, then you will also find your backyard has more to offer than you think.


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Giant Poppy and Crewcut
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In 2015, local artist Tony McNeight created a giant poppy in the Auckland Domain with over 59,000 metal poppy discs. People of all ages came down and wrote heart felt messages on these poppies to collectively create the biggest poppy ever. Tony has a strong connection to the Anzac commemorations as his family members served in WW1. This project is for all that feel like they can’t or haven’t been able to truly say thank you to those who served in WW1.  

Tony believes that Anzac is still very relevant today:
There’s something inside of us that wants to keep this fire burning….it’s a fire of freedom.

Especially for the younger generation who may have never met their past family members who served: 

For young people it’s an opportunity for them to find out about their great grandparents and what they did and who they were. What sort of people they were, what sort of hardships they went through - terrible hardships.

During the 9 days that the poppy was being created, Frederic Leturque, mayor of Arras (a town in France) came and placed a poppy. He recently requested Tony to recreate the Giant Poppy in a town square in Arras where there is strong historical connection. During WW1, Kiwis helped the French by building a large map of underground tunnels that were used to store animals, troops and hide behind enemy lines. During this time, many gave their lives to protect our freedom and the freedom of the French people.

This kind of connection is what the French people want to remember, commemorate and give thanks to. 

Tony set up a fundraiser to get his Giant Poppy over to Arras, and Crewcut was proud to support his project. If you want more information on his journey, visit his website: http://giantpoppy.co.nz


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Your garden goldmine
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Potential home buyers make their first impression on your property from the ‘curb appeal’.

Investing in your front and back yard are some of the most overlooked areas when coming to sell your home. Many go for updating the kitchen and bathroom - which of course add value, but the beloved garden brings the greatest lasting value. In the Husqvarna Global Garden Report 2011, around 5,000 homeowners, valuers and real estate agents from nine different countries discussed how a good garden can dramatically increase house values and sale time. 

Tidy and well planned gardens not only help speed up sale time by a matter of months but they can also add a whopping 16% to the value of a property. Director of Napier valuation firm My Valuer, Andrew White mentioned “Properties often sell within the first ten seconds of viewing, so first impressions are what count.”

Andrew goes on, “Six years ago I valued a property in Hawke’s Bay where the owners were hoping to achieve a $250,000 sale price. They were offered $220,000 but declined, instead opting to invest a further $500 into planting and making the outside more attractive. Within a week they sold their home for $255,000.”

Some obvious things to get done outside include: mowing the lawn, getting rid of weeds and planting some instant colour. However, gardening expert Lee Ann Bramwell shares some less obvious but clever tips for making your garden shine at the open home. 

  1. If you have a driveway, line it with trees. It translates to status and wealth.
  2. Consider a ‘social garden’. This implies a space that you can spend with family and friends. A patio with shrubbery or shady trees with chairs and a table are the perfect ingredients for a backyard barbie and drinks.
  3. A walled garden makes the buyer feel like they are in a safe and intimate area. You don’t have to create the traditional wall, instead use shrubbery, hedges, picket fence or plants in tubs. 
  4. The ‘Grown at home’ movement is becoming fashionable, as people are growing their own fruit and veggie patches. If you have space in your back garden this is definitely a small and effective thing you can create which will make your property memorable.

The Global Garden Report estimates that the average return from your garden investment is 3.1 times the amount of money invested. 

Crewcut understands the value of gardens which is why we spend so much time in them. If you need help getting your garden spick and span, give us a call. We do lawns, hedges, trees, water-blasting, and section tidies. You never know how much money we could make you in the long run!


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FFFF-For Autumn
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Here’s some Fs with the change of seasons: think fruit, flying insects, fungus and fertiliser.  No, its not that easy to remember is it? But good advice for this time of year! Remove old flowers to make room for autumn and winter bloomers and this weather is still warm enough to get some bulbs in now. Simply place them with a handful of rich compost in sunny open positions.
 
Once your fruit trees are fully harvested, nows the best time to spray while the weather is still warm. If you haven't done so already, hang up garlic and onions to dry. The vegie patch is ready for brassica, carrots, radishes and parsnips, but be on alert for white butterflies and aphids as they will destroy young plants if left unchecked.

Fungus will present with the hot humid weather in the form of powdery mildew and rust. Remove leaves from affected plants to allow air to circulate and let in sunlight . You can also talk to the Crewcut team about sprays to use.

This is a great time of the year if you’re considering lawn planting or re-sowing by pre-fertilising now. The Crewcut team can assist with ground preparation and advise on which seed to sow.

Let us know if you’re falling behind, we can provide help in any area to keep your garden on track.


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Hoe Hoe Hoe!
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It's a busy month as the end of another year draws close. With the warmer weather upon us it is time to consider feeding, watering and tidying up the garden for summer.

Harvest late fruiting citrus and feed fruit trees. Apply fertilizer to crops such as tomatoes, potatoes and strawberries and feed up the flower beds.

It is a good idea, and not too expensive, to install irrigation systems in your flower beds and vegetable gardens to ensure deep watering. Turn and water your compost heaps as they will dry out and dig that lovely brown compost straight into the garden (That's the hoe hoe hoe part). Mulch flower beds and around fruit trees, but take care not to lay the mulch too close to the trunk as it may burn the bark.

Lastly,  your hedges will need attention as they will take off and a timely prune now will prevent them from becoming unruly. You may also have decks or paved areas that could use water blasting and moss prevention treatments. Crewcut are happy to help with any tasks if you need us, we'll be around over the summer if you need things done while you're away.

Merry Christmas from Crewcut!


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