News and Updates

News and Updates on Useful Bloke / Mark Brooks Fencing

Recent fencing and landscaping work updates

Below are examples of recent (at the time!) installed fencing and landscaping projects. More details can be found in the relevant sections however if you have any queries or a project you wish to discuss please get in contact.

Now on Facebook!

I have taken the plunge and built a Facebook page which you can find here:   Useful-Bloke - Fencing and Landscape Works.

Bedford - Fencing

Currently we are enjoying a nice mild February in early 2023 and the enquiries for the year have started slowly! Prices rose steadily through 2022 though leveled out towards the end of the year as it became more obvious that the overall economy was slowing. I think back to this time last year when Eunice and Franklin had just past through the county and everyone was rushed of their feet.  The good news at the moment is that most suppliers have plenty of stock and many are still holding the 2022 pricing.  This will likely change if we have major storms come this way over the coming months!

Gravel Footpath

One of our earliest 2023 jobs was to improve a gravel driveway surface to enable the client to push their baby buggy to the front door without getting bogged down. 

Utilising the existing materials where possible we installed Gravel Rings onto an improved hardcore base. 

This allows the gravel to be pushed back and provides a level and firm surface for the buggies.  The wheels do not sink and the stones do not migrate. 

You can find some additional detail here.

Price increases continue in 2022

Despite predictions last year from some suppliers, the anticipated post Covid price reductions (as supplies returned to normal) have not happened.  Surging fuel costs due to the crisis in Ukraine have pushed up all costs from manufacturing to supply.  

Acoustic Barrier install.
Acoustic Barrier install.

Acoustic Barrier Fencing.

We were chosen to complete approximately 80 lin mts of Acoustic fencing for Allon White Sports Car at Cranfield.

I would like to thank Allon White Sports Cars (nice folk to deal with) and wish them good luck with their new premises.

This work was carried out in April 2022. 

A run of timber closeboard fencing installed using recessed concrete posts and cant rails.
Closeboard fence on Recessed Concrete posts

Completed patio and Durapost built pergola.
Pergola and Paving project.

See the build below using Durapost.

Closeboard fencing with trellis.  Built on timber posts, treated in brown tanatone.
Closeboard fencing with Trellis

Durapost used for a pergola build
Durapost used for a pergola build

2021 Fencing and Landscaping Update.

Where to begin.... It has been a busy year for various reasons.  Having finally completed (99.5%) my own self build project in early 2021 we move finally moved in early April.  Needless to say my fencing and landscaping is not done yet.  Keep an eye out for 'Project 53' as the months progress.

The past summer months have been dominated by material price rises combined with material shortages. The price rises have been continuous and across the board however material shortages have eased a little as the world (or some bits of it anyway) has opened up and folk have returned to work.  

As i sit here typing this it is now November 2021 and I finally have time to carry out some site updates. 

Please take a look at Project - Pond. This has been one of the larger jobs that I have carried out this year and been able to document.


The Durapost brand continues to grow and improve throughout 2021. I am pleased to be involved with this product and have installed a number of jobs over the past few months.  Some of the Durapost projects have been traditional fencing (panels or closeboard) but I have also used them on a Pergola build with excellent results.

Durapost proved the perfect solution for  a pergola build and you can see the results here.  More information on the Durapost fencing components can be found here.

There is more to come from Durapost. having recently been invited to a trade day at the Birkdale HQ.  

There is a Commercial Durapost due soon. Basically this is bigger and stronger than the current version and can be used for taller fencing and hoarding applications on site.

There is an Aluminium gate kit due soon. This is a framework that can be cut down to size from 120cm wide x 180cm tall. It will fit together and can have infill cladding to suit.

Durapost Composite panels are also due soon. Made from a wood / plastic composite material using approximately 70% recycled material these will be UV resistant and maintenance free.

Watch this space for Durapost updates! 

Fencing Material Shortages

There are increasing shortages of some fencing products at this time. Chief among these are concrete products including gravelboards and slotted posts.  Some timber products is also in short supply.
I have been told (unofficially) the issue with concrete relates to shortages with the reinforcing steel rods that are placed in the posts and gravelboards as they are manufactured.

Unfortunately some jobs are being delayed due to this.

there is an alternative system available called Durapost.  This may suit some customers.

Details are here

New Website!

Hello and welcome.

The long awaited revamp of the Useful Bloke website is now here. This was largely meant to be a 'Corona lock-down' project but I always seemed to have something else to do. Its now mid August 2020 and I am dodging thunder storms so have finally got around to looking at images of fencing jobs past and writing details about fencing panels, gates and posts.

I hope the site is useful in show casing my work.

Material Supply Issues.

August 2020.

The fencing industry has largely coped with the lock-down easing fairly well around Bedfordshire however the strain is beginning to show now. We are mid way through August and because not all manufacturers have got fully up to speed yet, some fencing materials are now in short supply.

This means that not all suppliers have all products all of the time. This is frustrating for all installers who are now having to shop around to obtain components. 

Durapost is here!

August 2020.

I have seen some stuff over the past 30 years or so I have been in the business. Some just hasn't caught on and some was absolute rubbish. I never hear any more about the liquid that was going to turn soil into a concrete type substance, wonder what happened to that?

Durapost is a genuinely different and I am pleased to be able to supply and install this product. This is a fencing system, largely based around a universal metal post that can be used instead of Timber or Concrete fence posts. 

Please see details here, this is genuinely good stuff and though initially more costly than comparable concrete posts is much more versatile and pleasant to look at.