Don’t Underestimate Your Conservatory


Your conservatory is not just the place Miss Scarlet killed Professor Plum with the candlestick!

It is the best addition to your home that you never had. Or it is the best overlooked room in your home with so much more potential? So if you are wondering about branching up or out, or down the garden a bit, make the most these conservatory tips.


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You don’t want this type of conservatory.

Let’s face it. The word conservatory can cover a range of additions. We went to view a property recently that boasted a conservatory. It was nothing more than a few sheets of wobbly corrugated plastic clinging to the back of the building. Freezing in the winter, and no doubt asphyxiating in the summer. Stay well away. And if you have inherited one, well you have a major incentive to upgrade.

A conservatory is a year-round paradise.

There is something about a well done conservatory that lends an exotic air to any property. This conservatory is professionally fitted and makes a smooth transition from the house. You could opt for a separate space that is linked with double doors. Or you could incorporate your conservatory into your current living arrangements. Floors can be easily laid with tiles and even heated.

A conservatory is not just for the lounge.

It may suit you to extend your kitchen area. A conservatory is a brilliant solution. You could keep the kitchen itself within the shell of the house, or bring it further out into the garden. By their nature conservatories are filled with natural light, which will allow you to really enjoy a feeling of al fresco cooking. That abundance of light will need regulating. It’s so easy to install subtle blinds to guard from excessive sunlight. Alternatively you could take your whole dining experience into the conservatory. Enjoy the garden’s full delights all year round.

The Orangerie



The Victorians knew a thing or two about gardening and the hothouse enabled them to grow all sorts of exotic palms and fruits all year round. Today’s conservatory can be an eden style rainforest packed with plants for that go green feel good look. You could be on holiday forever.

Appropriate furnishings

Conservatories have a certain style which is best highlighted through the type of conservatory furniture that you choose. There are some pretty fabulous options out there and today’s popularity shows no sign of diminishing the choice and range you have. Bamboo and cane are always a staple, adding a “Colonial” touch.

Make sure that you are up to date with any planning restrictions and regulations. There are a vast range of designs and options for you to choose from. It really is worth considering heating options for the winter and also using double glazing. The fact is even a simple structure can lend an air of charm to a house. You shouldn’t have to lose too much garden, and in fact you may gain an entire extra room which can be used to pretty much anything you like. Even Cluedo!


Put The Fire Back In Your Hearth

It’s funny how attitudes change. Fifty years ago nobody wanted anything to do with fireplaces. They were associated with dirt, smoke and lot of hard work. Plus they were inefficient. Anyone who sat in a draughty house being warmed by a log fire, while 90% of the heat went up the chimney can tell you, central heating was the way to go. Today we love our efficient heating systems, but even the sleekest heat pump, has no soul. The lure of the flame seems to be genetically wired into us. You can’t beat a real fire, especially in the cooler months. The good news is that it is easy to re-install a fire into our homes.


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The Chimney

The chimney is not just the way Santa gets in and out of your house at Christmas. It is, of course, the flue that takes the gases from your fire, up and away. Most older houses still have their chimneys. Click here to find a professional who can check your chimney flashings. You may need to get your chimney lined. It should be a fairly straightforward job to open up a sealed fireplace. Doing this will give you a good idea of the options available to you.

An open fire

The oldest and some would say best form of real fire, open fires can be messy and hard work. You will need to consider what type of fuel if any you can burn in your area. You may well need a fireguard to protect fixtures, furnishing and people! A fire will need a basket and a grate. You might decide to recreate a period fireplace. You will need to seek out authentic looking mantles and fire surrounds. Doing this properly can add a great visual aesthetic into a room. You’ll be warming yourself by the hearth in no time


These days technology has created an amazing range of eco efficient wood burners. You could even go so far as to link a wetback up to a heating system. Today’s woodburners are amazingly efficient as well as looking sleek and unobtrusive. Depending on the space available to you, it may be possible to have a flue that does not need an existing chimney. A wood burner could be recessed into a wall space such as an inglenook or it could sit out on it’s own base. Wood suitable for burning must be used. That is wood that is dry, and not treated. Other eco-friendly options include pellet burners

Gas, Electric and Biofuel

Gas effect fires have some contemporary options for providing the visuals of a real flame, in a surprising range of styles. The great advantage is that you get the benefits of a real fire without the mess. You can also switch on and off at will. A gas fire will still a flue, but they are relatively simple to install. Electric, effect fires have come a long way since glowing coal imitators of the sixties and seventies. Biofuel fires that emit no gases are another option, but you may face limitations for their use in rooms that are less than a certain size.

One thing’s for sure, there is very likely to be a real fire option that may well bring a glow to your cheeks and your heart this winter.


Awesome Ideas For Making The Most Out Of Your Garage

What is the most underused room in the modern home? We’ll give you a clue. You probably avoid going in there as much as possible. No not the attic, the other one. Yes, it’s the garage and most of the time we don’t even think of the garage as a room. We think of it as a place to put junk rather than bothering to head to the tip. Due to this, the garage is usually an absolute mess of parts or bits and bobs. You don’t want to walk in there with bare feet, that’s for sure. But, your garage is something else entirely. It’s wasted potential. It could be anything you want or need.

Car Heaven

When winter rolls around and the snow starts to fall how many cars end up in garages? Hardly any because the garage is too much of a mess to fit the car inside. But, if you live in a place with harsh winter weather you should keep your car indoors overnight. An icy front can do a lot of damage to a car left out in the cold. If you have enough room, you can also use your garage for a place to make car improvements. Imagine being able to head into your garage at the weekend and find your very own mechanics. You can buy all the tools you need and set to work making your car a dream come true.

DIY Dream

Speaking of a dream come true, you could take a different route entirely. There’s no written rule that says a garage must be used for a car. As we already, mentioned it can be used for whatever you want. Perhaps what you want is a place where you can complete crafts and DIY jobs. A space where you won’t get scolded for making a mess and you can feel like a man. At the end of a couple of hours you could have built something brand new. All you need to do is buy the right pieces of equipment. However, do remember that the garage is a closed off space without windows. So if you are completing big DIY jobs you might need a smoke collector for toxic fumes. You must always think about safety.

My Man Cave

Of course, you could always opt to add a little luxury to your garage. If you want it to be a place for relaxation rather than for work, you do have a few jobs to do. For instance, garages often aren’t properly insulated, so that’s a good place to start. You might also want to buy an electric heater for the room and clear up the mess. But after that you can add some furniture, a television and anything else you want. It could be the perfect place to relax in peace after a long day of work.

We hope we’ve shown you a garage can be so much more than a place to store junk. In fact with some imagination if can be anything you like.


Thanks Flickr

4 Simple Improvements For A More Energy Efficient Home

It’s no secret that many of us have less money than we used to. Thanks to rises in prices of food, fuel and bills, money just won’t stretch as far as it used to. To make our paychecks go that bit further when it comes to our spending, we have to be smart about it.

One area that many of us still need to cut down on is our energy usage. It’s no secret that energy is expensive, so when it comes to how much we are using, we need to be careful. Otherwise, we could end up being left with an expensive bill that we just can’t afford to pay.

Believe it or not, making your home more energy efficient isn’t as difficult as you would think. All you need to do is take note of these four simple improvements and you can start saving on your energy bills.

  1. Replace blinds with curtains

While blinds can look fantastic, when it comes to preventing a draught from entering your home, they aren’t effective. If you want to reduce your energy usage by not wasting heat, consider switching your blinds for curtains.

You’ll find that by swapping your blinds, that the heat in your home will last for longer, and so you won’t need your radiators on for such long periods. It might only be a small change but this can make a big difference to how much energy you are using. As well as the size of the bill that you are paying each month.

  1. Swap your light bulbs


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We’ve all heard of energy efficient light bulbs, and yet, many of us fail to use them. This is partly because they are a little more expensive than regular bulbs. However, this shouldn’t put you off, as they last for much longer, and use a much lower amount of energy.

The good news is that there are various types of energy saving light bulbs to choose from, so you can pick whichever ones you prefer. However, there are two main types of bulbs, these are Compact Fluorescent Lamps and LED bulbs. You can buy these energy saving bulbs online from sites like Any Lamp – LED Lights, or from your local home store.

  1. Turn electronics off standby

While many of us make the mistake of thinking that leaving electronics on standby doesn’t waste electricity, the truth is it does. Admittedly, each device that’s left on standby only uses a small amount of power.

However, if you have a few devices around your home, all left on standby, the energy being used soon adds up. To keep your energy bills as low as possible, it’s important that all devices are turned off when not in use. Instead of being left on standby mode.

  1. Turn down your thermostat


Image from Flickr

Yes, we all like to have toasty homes, but the chances are that you’ve got your thermostat set too high. Most of us can turn down our boilers by around three degrees and not notice a difference to our heating or water temperature.

It might be a small change to make but believe it or not, by turning down your thermostat you can save money. It may not be a massive amount each month – something like £2, but over time, it’ll soon add up.

Want a home that’s more energy efficient without having to make big changes? Yes – then take on board these simple tips.


Great Ways To Make Your Garden More Manageable

People who are lucky enough to have a large garden often have to work very hard. Keeping on top of essential maintenance can take a long time. That means you might never enjoy a relaxing weekend because you have to mow the lawn. Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to make your garden more manageable this year. Now is the best time to get started because most retailers drop their prices at this time of the year. They know that sales levels will decrease because the weather is poor and most people are thinking about Christmas.


Judy Dean

Slab your entire lawn

You might think the idea of slabbing your lawn would remove the beauty from your outdoor space. You might also think it makes you appear lazy. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. You only have to search online to find photographs of amazing garden designs of that nature. Click here to learn more about the benefits of swapping your lawn for slabs. It’s possible to get some fantastic deals if you search for the materials online. There are hundreds of different companies that specialise in that area, and so you just need to get in touch. Buying everything you need from the same seller will usually create the best discounts.

Plant evergreen trees

Most folks would agree their gardens begin to look terrible during the autumn and winter seasons. That is because leaves fall from the trees, and the area is left looking bare. You can stop that from happening by planting evergreen trees today. You can also find plants that flower for more than one season. That way, you won’t have to dig them up and replace them every twelve months. With a bit of luck, those simple changes will make your garden far more manageable. In some instances, evergreen trees like conifers can last for more than twenty years.

Install a fish pond

Adding a fish pond to your garden will give it a new lease of life. However, it will also use up some of that spare floor space. Just make sure you think carefully about any pets you might have at home. Cats will try to steal the fish and eat them in most instances. For that reason, you might have to purchase some additional netting. So long as you get a decent pump and filtration system, there should be no need to clean your pond. That means your garden will look vibrant and full of life with no effort from you. It’s even possible to get other people to dig the hole and install the pond for a small fee.

Your garden should be more manageable once you’ve implemented those suggestions. The basic rule of thumb is that you need to remove anything that needs maintenance. Starting with the lawn, you can now transform your outdoor space into something extra special. Of course, slabbing the entire area will mean your garden becomes more suitable for parties. So, feel free to send us an invite to your next barbecue once the weather picks up.