Get into composting

Composting is another great way to reduce your kitchen waste and get free fertiliser for your garden. For successful composting, you need a good balance of ‘greens’ and ‘browns’. ‘Greens’ include vegetable peelings, fruit waste and teebags, whilst ‘browns’ are made up of scrunched up paper, egg shells, cardboard.

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It can take between six months and a year to create finished compost, but it will be worth the wait. If your garden is very small, you can still make compost by setting up a wormery that is the perfect size for patios and balconies.

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Building a garden wall as feature

Most gardens would benefit from a bit of hard landscaping, especially if the material used is beautiful and natural eg natural stone. Get some inspiration and ideas by visiting your local garden centre.

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Small walls, either built in stone or brick, are incredibly versatile in the gardens. They are specially useful for creating raised structures such as raised beds, which make it easier to plant and weed; brick barbecues; or raised water features. However, they can also be used to divide areas of a garden, or if you have a terraced area, they are vital for retaining soil.

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Home Improvement: Is size everything?

Whatever your home improvement project is; whether you’re extending up, down, side or within, size and the use of space is vital to achieving the best design and improvement.

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To get the best home improvement, why not take a drive around your local area to see how other people have done it? Keep an eye out for properties similar in structure to your own and make a note of what to do and don’t want to achieve. Look at houses from your local estate agent, online and property catalogues. Also use your dog walks, jogging and evening walks as research trips.

Most homes are extended at the back, but you can consider extending upward,  downward or sideways depending on planning permission and building regulation. The exterior appearance and size of your property will have an impact on its value and appeal.

Extensions, conservatories, porches, driveway, garages come in all shapes and sizes, from standard to premium design and space. Just make sure it is in keeping with the aesthetic of your home and that you consider the orientation – taking into account its proximity to surrounding trees, outbuildings and neighbouring properties and how much sunlight it will get during the day. For example a north-facing conservatory can suffer from lack of sunlight and bump up your heating bills.

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Use of technology for your building projects

Building projects is now very much linked to the use of computer generated materials. This does not mean to say that your project will suffer if you do not use computers and computer-aided material. However, one of the major problem with producing material by hand is that it takes a long time, and if you need to update or amend something it can become quite tedious. Another problem is that if your writing is not clear it may be misinterpreted.

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Advantages of using technology

  • information can be produced and sent electronically
  • Save time and speed up communication.
  • Ensure orders and specifications are clear and done in good time
  • Can be easily stored, retrieve and resent
  • Can be sent to multiple recipient at the same time
  • Saves resources and cost
  • environmentally friendly

To get the best of technology, it is worth pointing out that with the advancement of technology, digital cameras are now widely available at very reasonable prices. It is worth investing in one even if you do not own or use a computer. Alternatively you can use your mobile phone if it has a good digital camera. You can take and store hundreds of pictures of your project and documents without having them processed or printed. This may be vitally important in the event of any discrepancies and clarifications. If there is a problem or situation that is of urgent concern, the pictures can be sent electronically. This gives the person at the receiving end a visual aid and therefore action may be taken more quickly.

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Getting the best bathroom

Your bathroom needs to be functional and practical, but good design can also turn it into a haven where you can relax and unwind and it can also add a great value and appeal to your property. Read on for the best tips on how to strike the right balance and find out how to get the best for your money.

When you move into a new property or undertaking a property improvement project, the bathroom is often the first to get an overhaul. Before splashing out, think carefully about what needs to be changed to avoid any costly mistakes.

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Below are the tips you need to consider to get the best bathroom;

  1. Determine the best layout – many bathroom suppliers produce templates for standard sized baths, basic etc so that you can experiment with layouts to find the best that meets all your requirements. Draw out a scaled down version of your bathroom’s floor plan, marking in the windows and doors and then use the templates to determine the best positions for the fittings. Remember if you change the position of the plumbing or pipes, this can add considerable to the cost of your new bathroom.
  2. Choice your bathroom fittings – when choosing bathroom fittings, you have to consider what you enjoy doing in a bathroom for example do you enjoy wallowing in a long hot bath? Or is an exhilarating, power shower more of your thing? Your choice will either be to sacrifice a bath for a shower or have both separately or incorporated together. Whichever bathroom fittings you choose, think space, practical and long-term; a classic, white suite will never go out of fashion.
  3. Get rid of the clutter –  as most likely the smallest room in the house, its easy for your bathroom to become cluttered. Solve the problem by making sure there’s sufficient storage in which to keep toiletries, towels and other items. Installing a  vanity unit under a basin is the best use of this often underutilised space, while fitted furniture throughout creates a sleek, streamlined look.See the source image
  4. Get the fixtures right – wall tiles can really help to add colour and style to your bathroom, but floor to ceiling tiles may appear cold. Try tiling halfway up the wall, behind a basin or behind a shower instead. With flooring you need to be practical and go for a slip-resistant option. There are various floors to chose from including vinyl, rubber and stone flooring/tiles. For lighting, there are various low energy lighting options and designs to choose from. Try using spotlights over mirror or recessed area.
  5. Accessorise – complete your new bathroom with accessories such as fluffy towels, stylish taps, handles, nobs, mirror etc. And where possible and affordable add designer radiator, picture frame or paintings for a stunning focal feature.

If you can’t afford a whole new bathroom, its easy to get a whole new look by simply replacing taps, add a fresh coat of paint or new colour, installing a towel radiator or changing the wall or floor tiles.

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Building Regulation standards: The 14 Parts you need to know

Building regulations in the United Kingdom are statutory instruments or statutory regulations that seek to ensure that the policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out. Building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK. Building regulations that apply across England and Wales are set out in the Building Act 1984 while those that apply across Scotland are set out in the Building Act 2003.

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Anyone wishing to undertake building work which is subject to the building regulations is required by law to make sure it complies with the regulations and to use one of the two types of building control services available, which are not free. The two types of services are:

  • The Building Control Service provided by your local authority.
  • The Building Control Service provided by approved inspectors.

It is important to understand the areas that require compliance.

The 14 ‘parts’ of schedule 1 to the building regulations are:

  1. A – Structure
  2. B – Fire safety
  3. C – Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture
  4. D – Toxic substances
  5. E – Resistance to the passage of sound
  6. F – Ventilation
  7. G – Hygiene
  8. H – Drainage and waste disposal
  9. J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
  10. K – Protection from falling,collision and impact
  11. L – Conservation of fuel and power
  12. M – Access to and use of buildings
  13. N – Glazing – safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning
  14. P – Electrical safety

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