Avoiding mistakes as a new home owner
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Avoiding mistakes as a new home owner

First-time homebuyers may not have the burden of a house to sell in difficult times, but they can still make a lot of mistakes during the buying process.

Leaving Financial Planning for Later

There are a lot of online calculators and tools to help you determine how much you can truly afford before you start the buying process. Here’s a great mortgage calculator by The Nest. However, when you start getting serious about buying a home, you need to know exactly how much you can put into a house and hopefully, get pre-approved for a mortgage.

DIY Home Buying

With all the classified listings out there, along with websites like Craigslist and apps like Zillow, you may start looking at homes ages before you ever contact an agent. But wait, do you even need an agent? Can’t you just figure this out on your own? Well, maybe, but buying a home is an incredibly complicated process, and it helps to have a real estate agent to coach you through the ins and outs of financing, scheduling inspections and making an offer.

Falling in Love Too Soon

Many first-time buyers become enamored with one particular property and suddenly it seems like they’ve just got to have it. But, this is a bad idea where home buying is concerned. Not only can falling in love with a home make a difference with the real estate agent — they’ll make you pay for it — but you can be setting yourself up for heartbreak if it isn’t in your budget or another buyer makes a better offer.

Renovating Too Soon

Even if you don’t let yourself fall in love before you can afford it, you may come into the home with a very specific work-in-progress vision for your home. Maybe you want to remodel the kitchen right away to make it the airy, open-plan cooking space you’ve always dreamed of. Maybe you want to add a conservatory or tack on an orangery.

The increase in value to the home will practically make these renovations pay for themselves, right? Well, it may not have the effect you were hoping for. In this unpredictable market, you never know if making upgrades will reap the rewards you’ve been hoping for or be a thousand pound mistake in the making.

Forgetting That There’s More Than the Mortgage Payment

First-time homebuyers may know what they’re getting into as far as the monthly mortgage payment is concerned, but there is so much more to homeownership than your mortgage. Suddenly, you’ve got additional taxes, home insurance, higher utility bills and maintenance to contend with. These things can overwhelm those used to renting.

Be sure to estimate the cost of living, as well as the mortgage payment before you close on the deal. There are a lot of ins and outs to buying your first house and you’ll always run into things you didn’t expect or plan for. Fortunately, if you avoid making these five common mistakes, you are well on your way to finding the home of your dreams at a price you can afford.

Photo Credit: MarkMoz12 via Compfight cc

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5 Tips for Exterior Home Maintenance
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5 Tips for Exterior Home Maintenance

After the harsh conditions of a cold winter, and the even wetter start of spring that we have endured in the UK, some outside maintenance around your house will be essential. There are a few key things to consider when inspecting the outside of your property for potential maintenance work, so it helps to know what you are looking for in the first place. Here are a few key tips to make sure that you know exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to outdoor renovations.

 

Guttering, Drains and Roof Tiles
Throughout the winter, the chilling weather will have a real effect on  gutters, roof tiles and drains. When the water freezes in gutters and drains, they expand and are put under pressure; unfortunately this causes cracks and breaks to appear. These can be patched, but it is a definite nuisance. Similarly, roof tiles can receive a battering from wind, rain and hail, so replacing them in the sunnier and dryer months of the year is advisable.
Whilst the rain has been pouring down, all of the debris that accumulates on roofs like moss and leaves are washed down into your guttering. This can cause blockages, and even result in the gutters breaking or splitting. Now that there is a nice gap from the dire winter weather, it makes sense to get a head start on repairs. For those with fairly reachable gutters you can use a long ladder to clear out the debris, but for those with very high roofs this may not be so easy or safe. If this is the case then it may be advisable to hire a specialist lift for a day, so you can carry out the task in a safe manner.

 

Outside Plumbing
Checking outdoor plumbing could be the most important aspect of looking after the house exterior, as it may show problems that will affect the interior of your home. If you have taps on the outside of the house, make sure you check if there are any problems. If the water flow is losing pressure, or if the water flow is intermittent, this could mean that there is a leak in the plumbing system. Similarly, if the flow seems strong, then plug your finger into the facet. If the flow stops without much resistance, you may have a leak somewhere else in the interior plumbing line. If it sprays everywhere however, then you have nothing to worry about. If the above problems are occurring, it is worth calling in a professional plumber to see what the root cause of the problem may be.

 

Probing for rotten wood
This is a simple exercise that can be undertaken using a screwdriver or a pointed piece of metal. If you have any wooden fixtures or overlay on the outside of your house, they can be prone to rot and warping. Although most wooden exterior fixtures should have been weather treated before they are exposed to the elements, it is possible that they are still prone. Walk around the outside of the house and probe the wood to see if there is any give. This should expose any sort of rot that may be taking place under the surface. If there has been any warping at all then it sensible to replace that fixture or try and salvage it by sanding it down and weather treating it again.

 

Move the firewood

As it gets cold in the winter, storing firewood as close to the house as possible is advisable, as it provides quick access. The problem with storing the wood next to your house is that is can be a nesting place for wildlife, or could begin to rot and erode away at the side of your house. The correct procedure for storing firewood is that it has to be 1.5 feet off the ground and 2 feet away from the house itself. This keeps it nice and dry, preventing the wood from being ruined.

 

Looking at the foundation

When there has been significant rainfall or just any rainfall in general, it is worth checking the land and ground around the your home and garden, so ensure it is draining water adequately. Your grounds may be prone to earth and stone erosion, which can lead to structural problems in the future. Keeping an eye on prone areas is a significant measure to ensure that you do not get caught out.

 
This article was written by Drew Rapley, an expert in homecare and DIY.

 

Image used under CC licence courtesy of 

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Childrens bedroom ideas
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Childrens bedroom ideas

At some point, every family needs to take care of the furniture and decoration of a beautiful nursery. Decorating a nursery is something that’s dependent on the personal taste of the parents, but if you’re struggling for inspiration, here are our best tips on how you can make the walls of your children’s bedroom pretty without blowing a budget.

1. Firstly, the walls of the nursery must be easy to clean. No matter how hard you try to explain to your children that they must be careful and should keep a room clean, they’ll inevitably end up stained and dirty. Choose waterproof wallpapers or waterproof paint, which can be cleaned easily by end of tenancy cleaners.

2. No matter what type of bed you choose for your room, it is important to know that the well-decorated wall behind it highlights and complements the colours and look of the bedroom. Make the most of different styles to ensure your child’s bedroom remains attractive and impressive.

3. As much as you’ll want to retain  the theme of your home into a child’s bedroom, it often isn’t condusive to the mind of a young child. Beige, cream and other neutral colours are good for hallways and living areas, however when it comes to kids, it’s often the case that brighter, bolder and more engaging colours are utilised. Make a statement and branch away from the monotony of an adult room. Don’t hesitate to use wall stickers when decorating the walls of the nursery. Make the most of flower motifs, animal forms, or utilise stickers of your child’s favourite character.

4. Another great idea when it comes to decoration is to add individual personal touches. This way both you and your children have the opportunity to spend some time together and enjoy the nursery renovation. Take some special eco-friendly paints and use your palms and fingers in order to create some unique designs on the walls.

5. Buy a couple of templates from your local craft store and use them to create a feature in a certain part of the nursery. This will help you turn your children’s bedroom in a true fairytale world. The best part is that you can actually use these templates not only on the walls, but also on all pieces of furniture you want to customise.

6. Whilst decorating the nursery, try not to opt for any extreme decoration or furnishing. Children grow up quickly, and they will soon have more mature and grown up tastes. It’s worth being mindful that it won’t be long before you’re having to decorate all over again.

Photo Credit: Curtis Gregory Perry via Compfight cc

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New home security advice
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New home security advice

With so many things to consider whilst and after moving into your new home, security will probably one of the last things on your mind, however if you aren’t quick in establishing some security protocols, it can lead to disaster, and also affect your home insurance policy. Here are our helpful tips to ensure that your new home stays safe and secure.

  1. It is a very good idea to call a security company to fit an alarm, this can be done within hours and should not disturb you whilst unpacking your belongings. By installing a house alarm, you will hugely reduce the risk of your property getting targeted. Always ensure that your alarm is fully active as this may affect your insurance policy if your alarm system is not always running.

  2. A very popular means of securing your home is through utilising a home security camera. By having a CCTV system installed , you’ll keep your property secure and under surveillance 24 hours a day. There are numerous CCTV cameras available which can be fully displayed or be hidden as a spy camera. You can also view you CCTV footage live on your mobile phone, iPad or laptop so you can always view your property wherever you are.
  3. It is also a good idea to get all external garden gates and doors bolted and padlocked to ensure that garden valuables are safe and secure.

  4. It is vital. to ensure that you have changed all your bank, building society, insurance and other important documents before you move, as this will avoid issues such as internet fraud and stolen identity.

  5. It’s a good idea to join a neighbourhood watch scheme, this will not only help you get to know your neighbours and others in your local area, but will also give an extra piece of mind whilst you are out so that you have close neighbours keeping an eye on your property for you.

  6. It may also be beneficial to change all lock on your doors and windows in your new home, as you will have no idea of who will have a copy of previous keys.

  7. If you are away from your home for long periods of times, it may be a good idea to get timer lights fitted in your new home; this is especially recommended in the winter months when it gets darker earlier in the day.

  8. Make sure that all bushes and trees in your garden are regularly trimmed back and keep neat and tidy, this will not give any opportunist burglars anywhere to lurk in the shadows.

By ensuring that your home is secured, you’ll not only have personal peace of mind, but it’ll also ensure that your possessions are safe. 

Karen Pierce is a 33-years-old blogger from London. Her big loves are her family and her dog. Karen has great flair for home improvement and garden design projects. Currently, Karen writes about Pimlico Man with Van.

Photo Credit: DaveBleasdale via Compfight cc

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Quick and easy DIY home items
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Quick and easy DIY home items

When moving into a new home, free time can be scarce, and if you do find yourself with an hour to spare, you certainly don’t want to waste it. With the madness of moving into a new home and undertaking decoration projects, you might be of the mindset that the last thing you need to do is take on extra DIY projects, however with money often scarce and new home objects required, crafting everyday items can be a real money saver, whilst also adding a personal touch to your home. Don’t waste your time with menial tasks, these three DIY ideas are simple and perfect for your new home.

Wine cork coasters

 Everyone thinks: “That cup won’t leave a water ring” or “That’ll come off with a bit of elbow grease”. But staring longingly at the table you have now versus what it used to look like, you realise those cups sitting on the table were a mistake. Table are expensive and coasters are not. You now know the little barrier is a table saver. A simple coaster will benefit the life of your coffee table and its appearance. Make up for your lack of judgment by making your own coasters. Give a proper use to the multiple bottles of wine that made your table resemble a bad attempt at an Olympic rings watermark project.

They’re easy to make and give your table a professional yet rustic feel. (Professional because the watermarks will never leave their ‘mark’ on your table again!)

You’ll need:

  • 20 corks per coaster (less if you cut them in half)
  • Sharp craft knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Felt
  • Ribbon – any colour, but a dark red or black is a nice contrast to the cork
  • Hot Glue Gun

 

  1. Carefully cut the corks so they are all the same size and flat on both sides for stability.
  2. Arrange the coasters in a pyramid. Begin with three, then four, then five and reverse it with four again and end with three. This makes a honeycomb shape.
  3. Glue together with your hot glue gun. Make sure to let them dry in between gluing so the corks don’t shift.
  4. Cut a round or honeycomb shaped piece of felt and glue to the bottom of the coaster. Make the felt a tad smaller than the coaster so users won’t be able to see this bottom piece. The felt will prevent leaks from condensation of drinks and give more stability.
  5. Cut a piece of ribbon and glue around the outside of your coasters. Glue with the natural shape of the coaster.
  6. Repeat for as many coasters as needed.
  7. Enjoy that your wine drinking has turned itself into a handy craft!

 

Driftwood Candleholder

If you have a stable piece of driftwood lying around the house that you took away from a beautiful holiday, turn it into a decorative memory. A driftwood candleholder makes a beautiful centrepiece.

You’ll need:

  • Stable piece of driftwood
  • Drill with hole saw bit
  • Stain – Only if your driftwood isn’t the colour you’d like it to be
  • Votive candles
  • Pencil
  1. Ensure that your piece of driftwood can sit easily and stable on a table. You don’t want it shifting with a lit candle inside.
  2. Arrange candles on top of the driftwood, three to five depending on how many will fit without cracking the wood. About three inches apart should be safe.
  3. Mark your votive candle placements with the pencil.
  4. Drill the holes not too deep but to the size of the votive. You want to see a bit of the tin candleholders above the wood to ensure the candle will not burn the driftwood. Let the tin candleholder do its job and drill shallow holes to begin. Keep testing the depth with a votive to ensure you don’t drill too deep.
  5. Once finished drilling the votive candle holes, you may stain the driftwood or leave it natural.

 

 

Update plain vases with gold (paper):

Vases are used for numerous pieces in your home: storage, candles, centrepieces and oh yes, flowers. Dazzle up the clear vases you have and trick everyone into thinking you went to the posh home store in town.

You’ll need:

  • Gold leaf sheets
  • Brushes
  • Gold leaf adhesive
  • Gold leaf sealer
  1. Coat the bottom 4 inches or top with gold leaf adhesive. Create whatever design you like, but I suggest a simpler is better. Let it sit until it is quite sticky.
  2. Take the gold leaf sheets and rip into small easy to use pieces. Apply gentle pressure to the vase with the brush. Try to smooth as much as possible and add more or less for the texture that suits you. A cracked look is popular so don’t worry about perfection.
  3. Get hanging pieces off with the dry brush and apply the sealer.
  4. Let dry completely.

Photo Credit: zoomar via Compfight cc

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7 DIY mistakes to avoid when renovating your home

7 DIY mistakes to avoid when renovating your home

For first time home buyers, money can be tight, meaning that it’s often the case DIY is a necessity, as opposed to calling in the expert. As touch as it might seem, DIY work can be exciting, rejuvenating and satisfying. It unearths and builds your capability and creativity, offers a sense of fulfilment and perhaps most importantly, it saves money as you typically bypass specialists.

However, if you are planning to take on a DIY and renovate your home, you need to take several factors into consideration. Renovating your home demands discipline, dedication and a definite approach which is sure to test your creative, mental and physical stamina. DIY isn’t always easy and without the right preparations, things can go awry.  To make sure your DIY project goes smoothly, check out our insights into the DIY mistakes to avoid.

1. Planning

This will include scheduling of tasks, budgeting, measuring and calculating various sections, tools and raw materials required, and the time it will take to finish individual chores as well the entire project. If you skip any of these, the chances are you will either abandon the renovation midway through or simply hand over the rest of the work to a professional. Either way it will result in loss of money, time and lead to a real sense of dissatisfaction.

2. Using inappropriate tools and opting for shortcuts

This point fits in well with the above point on planning, as you should do an initial check to make sure you have all the required tools to complete the job to a high level. Using a hammer and a hand held bit to drill a hole will most probably chip the surrounding area and won’t offer a solid grip. If you find yourself in this situation, the best option is to use an electric drill, an appropriate bit and a right size anchor. Whether it is painting, carpentry or masonry work that you’re undertaking, using the wrong tools will result in a poor finish, may take you extra time to finish the chore and will definitely put your work and home at risk of damage.

3. Cheap materials

Cheap materials can seriously hamper the quality of your work. Compromising on the number of steel/wood girders, or using alternate materials for erecting a structure can jeopardize the end result of your labours. Cheap materials don’t last long and it may cost you more to replace them with a more expensive product at a later date. It therefore makes sense to employ the best available resources. The same rule applies to flooring, furniture and paint work.

4. Leave specialist tasks to a professional

DIY doesn’t mean you have to screw every piece of furniture, wire every switch or paint each wall yourself. There will be jobs and errands that fall outside of your area of capability, and in that case, you need to pass it on to the specialists. When considering jobs, be honest with yourself and truly weigh up if you’re capable of completing the task.

5. Going overboard

Keep a check on your financial resources after each task is completed. This will allow you keep a leash on how much you’re spending. It’s all well and good planning a DIY job to save cash, but if you don’t keep to a budget, you can easily exceed the amount you’d pay a professional.

6. Avoid customization

Design and renovate your home in such a way that it won’t go out of fashion as the seasonal styles alter and change. This is easy enough to do, and simply means staying away from customized items. Choose fittings and colours which are evergreen and do not require special attention.

7. Stay sensible

Undertaking DIY work can be exciting, however don’t get ahead of yourself and begin to get carried away. Make sure you don’t tear down the entire house in your excitement to get started. Carry out work section by section, as this will help you shift and store items easily, have somewhere to retreat to every night after a hard day of work in another part of the house, and mean you aren’t living indefinitely in a building site. It also means once a particular job is completed you can take a breather before initiating the next round of renovation. This will ensure sure you don’t feel stressed and aren’t left in a constant state of juggling tasks and jobs.

Bernard Naylor is a Passionate Blogger and Writer. He likes blogging about Home & Garden, Health & Fitness, Online strategies that are related to SEO, Content, PPC & Lead generation.

PhotoCredit: CC courtesy of

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Spring decorating to brighten your home
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Spring decorating to brighten your home

 

Thanks to Jeska Hearne, the author of Lobster and Swan blog, for the creation of her article exclusively for First Home News. 

Jeska is an interior design writer who lives to make her (and hopefully our) surroundings a happier, more beautiful place. Her interest began when she was in college where she studied Graphic design and design communication, and developed her obsession with the beautiful pages of Vogue and Elle. 

 

Freshen the air indoor areas of your home with a deep Spring clean. I’m loving all the Spring cleaning activity on Pinterest at the moment, with  lots of lists of all the things I could easily do when I get the cleaning kit out. With lots of lovely brands offering natural cleaning products that smell as good as perfume these days, it doesn’t have to be a thankless task carry out that much needed clean.

Here’s my checklist, and although it isn’t all so fun, all will be worth it in the end when you can put your feet up in a fresh relaxing home:

  • Safety first – check smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
  • Clean out and tidy your kitchen cupboards and fridge, discarding anything that is past it’s expiration dates.
  • Dust, vacuum and mop floors and skirting boards.
  • Flip or rotate your mattress.
  • Clean mirrors, light bulbs and windows to let all that extra light in.
  • Wash pillows and curtains to help reduce allergens and dust mites.
  • Hang rugs and throws out in the fresh air on a clothes line to freshen.
  • Open all doors and windows to thoroughly ventilate your whole house with fresh spring air.

Add a rug

I enjoy plain and simple interior settings but love to add a surprising splash of colour with soft furnishings and decorative details that can easily be swapped into different rooms throughout the year. A soft rug underfoot is all the better if it comes with a bold pattern to lift a room aesthetically.

Creative art

Create living art installations using blossom, spring flowers and twigs. I’m a huge fan of two tone apple blossoms and cherry is another option if you’re looking for a shabby chic look. Utilise frilly blooms, which look lovely in vases or tied together on a front door and do things like scattering edible petals on tiered cakes to use as gifts if you’re visiting friends. There’s nothing more joyful than being handed a posy of pretty coloured flowers after all the greyness of Winter.

Decoration

For an instant spring wow moment decorate the treads of your stairs with vintage floral wallpaper. I loved this idea the minute I discovered it in a book I was reviewing. To paper your own,  just cut to size and glue pretty patterned papers to your stair treads with a wash of PVA glue and then seal them with another layer. Once dry, use a clear matt varnish to create a more protective finish.

Image credits: Rug via Gabba Gabba Gorgeous, Spring Cleaning via House to Home.

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Burger Love
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Burger Love

Thanks to the author of Tinned Tomatoes blog, Jacqueline Meldrum, for the creation of her article exclusively for First Home News. 

Jac is a food writer and recipe developer who specialises in vegetarian cooking and more recently vegan cooking. Her interest in food began when she became a vegetarian 24 years ago, and she’s been trying out new recipes since then. 

 

Everyone loves a good burger. We eat them in restaurants, from burger vans, hot from the barbecue, baked in the oven or slapped into a frying pan.

The trouble is that bought burgers aren’t always healthy or all that tasty. In fact there have been reports that say some of the poorer quality bought burgers can cause asthma in children.

The good news is burgers are easy to make, healthy and they taste amazing!

You can bind your homemade burgers together with egg, but mashed potato, mashed sweet potato and mashed beans are also good binders. Black beans are particularly good and they have a great flavour.

You could make your burger from mince, veggie mince, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, courgette, beetroot, aubergine, sweetcorn, a range of different cheeses, nuts, herbs and spices. Its up to you.

To make burgers with your favourite flavours, simply grab your meat, choose your binder, bulk them out with porridge oats, spice heavily, as burgers lose a lot of flavour while they are cooking, chill before cooking and remember to toast the bun for a better end product.

Top your homemade burgers with:

• burger relish
• mustard
• a fried egg
• mozzarella
• sautéed mushrooms
• caramelised onions
• hummus
• feta cheese
• slices of pickled beetroot
• melted cheddar
• slices of ripe avocado
• brie and grated apple
• pesto
• roasted peppers

Here are my absolute favourite home made burgers. They are quick to make and my family and friends love them.

Cajun Spiced Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers

Ingredients

• 200g (1 medium) sweet potato, baked
• 400g tin black beans
• 100g spinach
• ½ cup / 45g porridge oats
• 2 tsp Cajun spice
• 2 tsp flaxseeds (optional)
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• a good grinding of black pepper

Instructions

1. Rinse the beans and add them to a mixing bowl. Mash, but leave half of the beans whole for a bit of texture.

2. Scoop the flesh out of the baked potato with a spoon and add to the bowl.

3. Rinse your spinach in a colander then pour a kettleful of boiling water over it to wilt it. Rinse with cold water to refresh, then squeeze as much water out as you can. Chop and add to the bowl.

4. Next add the seeds, oats, spices, garlic and black pepper and mix until well combined.

5. Shape your mixture into 4 hearty balls, then flatten out into burger shapes.

6. Pop the burgers on a plate until you are ready to use them. You can bake or fry them in a little oil. I fried my burger in a little cold pressed rapeseed oil, for a few minutes on each side until brown and crisp.

7. These burgers will also freeze well. Layer them between sheets of greaseproof paper in a tupperware tub and pop in the freezer.

8. Enjoy!

Makes 4 burgers

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Enjoy a pergola this summer
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Enjoy a pergola this summer

Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner and the long days and warm evenings are just a few months away. If you want to get your garden in top shape, and fancy creating a relaxing area to enjoy the summer heat, then a pergola is a great option. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a DIY expert, then you can even create the area yourself and save on unnecessary cost.

Why do I need a pergola?

We don’t tend to get a whole lot of nice British weather, but when we do, it’s great to have a secluded area where we can head for a bit of quiet relaxation with a wine or beer in hand. A pergola is an aesthetically pleasing addition to your garden, giving a feel of class to the area whilst also serving a practical use of being relatively easy to maintain. You can make it as large as suits your garden, and means you can custom buy a table that fits in with the area perfectly. Ideal for inviting guests over for a barbecue, you’ll soon be showing off your new pergola to anyone that visits.

Location

Location is vital and you need to consider the flow of your garden. Many people don’t put enough consideration into where garden items need to be placed, so it’s vital you don’t fall into that trap. With a pergola, the chances are that you’ll want to spend lazy Saturday evenings relaxing after cooking up a barbecue, so you’ll need to consider what areas of your garden are positioned to get the greatest amount of sunlight. Also, you don’t want to build anything too close to your house; a pergola should give you a sanctuary of quiet away from the rest of your property, so a far garden corner which makes the most of evening sunlight is definitely your best option.

Flooring

Generally when it comes to erecting your pergola, the first question you need to answer is regarding the style of flooring you want. As it’s generally best to seclude a pergola away from your house, you’ll need to establish strong foundations – as is the case when building any structure. Once your concrete foundations are in place, you can opt for either a paved floor or a wooden decking.

Support beams

The number of structural beams, or legs that your pergola has is mainly dependent on how large your structure is. The beautiful thing with a pergola however, is that no two are the same, so you can incorporate your personal design and flair into your building plans. If you’re building your structure near a fence, or garden boundary, incorporate that into your design. Utilising fencing in that manner means you’ll reduce the number of supports you require, and your pergola will give off a much more open feel.

Roof

Whilst some pergolas are roofed, some give off a more open feel when they have simple beamed tops. Think carefully when making this decision and consider when you’ll be using the area. If you want to bask in evening sunlight, then having a beamed roof that allows light through means you’ll catch those last few flickers of light as the sun sets.

Accessories

Once all of your structural decisions have been made, it’s time to get to the fun part of accessorising your pergola. Obviously, you’ll want an area for seating, and a table is a must if you’re wanting to dine and drink in the open air. Wooden outdoor furniture sets are always a popular option, however glass topped tables and more cushioned seating also gives off a great modern feel. If you don’t want the open at all sides feel, then build side fencing into your design. If you want to keep your party running past sunset and into the night, then give your guests the added warmth created from  a chimenea – it’s an ideal accessory to incorporate to keep your guests warm.

For information on the technical building aspects of creating your pergola, check out this handy guide.

Photo Credit: energyproductsanddesign via Compfight cc

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Not Every Plumber is an Honest John

Not Every Plumber is an Honest John

When you need to hire a plumber for your home, there are things you need to consider. In this article I will let you in on a couple of tips that will help you avoid those who are into shady practices.

License

If the plumber you have in mind isn’t licensed, then it implies the person probably doesn’t have what it takes to get the job done – it’s that simple. Being licensed means that the plumber most likely has the necessary educational background and competence. It also means having insurance, which is the one of the prerequisites for having a license. In the off chance a licensed plumber gets hurt on the job, you won’t be liable for their medical expenses. Additionally, plumbers who are professional are most commonly those you can easily connect with, particularly during their business hours, and they will almost never be late and won’t leave a mess after them. If there is even a hint of unprofessionalism when you communicate with them, you better go for someone else.

Quotes

With regard to home repairs, the price is another thing to consider. Naturally, you should think of it when you are choosing a plumber, but you have to be cautious. If a contractor offers you a low price quote, ask them for a written quote. Plumbers have diverse pricing policies, and sadly there are a minority that will try to deceive you. What happens if a plumber isn’t able to complete repairs, or if additional services are needed in case something unpredictable takes place? You should find that out. A good plumber will always consult you before they commence something which demands additional expenses. And if a contractor is offering plumbing services which are dirt cheap, make sure that everything is included in the price.

Recommendations and Reviews

You should ask around people you know as to whether they know a good plumber, but don’t limit yourself to only asking your friends – people who run businesses, manage properties, or work as real estate agents can often be more than helpful. This will likely facilitate your task of finding the right person for the job. In addition to this, a myriad of good, trustworthy reviews can be found on the internet, so you can find out what other people say about the plumber you’re considering. However, certain reviews may be less objective, since practically anyone can access the internet nowadays, however generally speaking reviews will aid you yo find the right plumber. Professional affiliations can also make your task easier, so if your plumber belongs to a group which has excellent reputation this can often be compared to good reviews.

Photo Credit: David Blackwell. via Compfight cc

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