Category Archives: Home Improvement

How to Design a Patio

Designing a patio is an important part of any home, because the place you put your outdoor furniture will determine your enjoyment of it. If you have a large family and a lot of guests, a large patio would be a good idea, because it’s a perfect place for outdoor dining and entertaining. For smaller families, a small patio is fine; you just need to ensure that there are some facilities available for cooking and socialising in your backyard.

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With the right design and planning, you can transform an otherwise boring backyard into a relaxing oasis complete with comfortable seating and a warm fire. It’s a good idea to do a little research before you begin planning your patio, so that you can get the most from the space and the resources that are at your disposal. You may also want to consider hiring a contractor or designer if you are planning on redesigning the entire patio. For Patios Gloucester, visit a site like Garden solutions

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Once you have decided on what type of patio you want, next comes the process of deciding where you want to put it. If you have a large backyard, it’s possible to build a porch or patio right next to the house, with plenty of space to spread out and enjoy your food and drinks while talking. However, if your house is too small, a deck or porch is probably your best option. Take measurements of your house to see how much space you have available; a professional will be able to help you calculate this.

The Many Benefits of Choosing ‘Bespoke’

Buying items that are hand made to your specific needs is probably not something many of us consider very often. We have become so accustomed to buying what we need off the shelf at the store or online. However, there are several benefits of using skilled craftsmen to create a unique item just for you.

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Perfectly tailored to your needs

Working one-to-one with a craftsperson is a much purer experience. Gone are the intermediaries and influencing buyers and tastemakers. You can work with skilled professionals to bring your imagination to life. The items produced will be the embodiment of the vision and skill of the artist.

High end quality

Making something by hand is a completely different experience and mindset compared to items made by a computerized conveyor belt of mass-produced goods. There will be a level of care and attention that is unmatched by anything produced in a factory. Every part of this process is a work of art, an opportunity to showcase skills and provide a unique experience. Love for their craft resonates through the detailed quality of the final piece. Find out more about Bespoke Glass Balustrades at a site like

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When an object has been born of your creative vision, it will generate a lot more of a connection and sentimentality.  A relationship appears – you learn about the artisan and they learn about you in order to create the piece. You understand more about the material selected and the reasons why certain techniques are used, which provides you with a much deeper connection to the object. Bespoke items have an interesting story, to be passed from generation to generation of your family.

Should I Plant Trees in My Garden?

The advantages are many. For instance, it can help regulate temperature and humidity, increasing the growth rate and making the area healthier. However, there are disadvantages as well. Here is a look at both sides of the argument:

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One disadvantage is that it takes a lot of time to do it. If you do not do it yourself, you will have to spend on someone to do it for you. You also need to think about how big the area is, because in some cases, planting trees can be complicated. Then you must think about what type of trees you are going to plant, so that they would grow in the right place, without affecting other plants. In some cases, trees might not be suitable for the right location, or you may need to alter the soil to get them to grow properly. If you are not good with the details, then it might be better to hire a professional to do it for you. For a Tree Surgeon Essex, visit a site like

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One advantage is that during the summer, you will be saving money by keeping the house cooler from the shade the trees bring, but there is a chance that you will be paying a lot more money when the winter comes. It is a good idea to consider both the pros and cons before deciding to put in trees in your garden.


Do you know why concrete curing is so important?

Concrete is quite a complex substance! Have you ever pondered why concrete needs to be ‘cured’? Curing is an essential stage of laying concrete which helps to make a tough, durable material, but why is it so essential?

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As water is mixed with cement, a chemical process starts to occur known as hydration. As time progresses, the hydration process transforms the cement and water into a calcium silicate hydrate compound. This is a fancy name for the glue that makes the cement stick together. It becomes a binding agent, holds the aggregate together and forms a hard, solid substance which we depend for our roads, pavements and buildings. Other compounds are also formed during this hydration process, but they do not increase the strength like calcium silicate compounds do. For Ready Mix Concrete Derby, visit a site like

The curing process is necessary to continue the vital process of hydration. It helps to keep moisture levels up deep inside the concrete. You might be surprised that so much continues to occur even after the laying of concrete! In a nutshell, curing is a method of keeping the cast concrete moist, so that the hydration process can proceed.

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Concrete continues to hydrate and become less porous as it gets stronger. The reason this is important is that the newly laid concrete is much more porous than the older concrete, which has had longer to hydrate. The new concrete’s high porosity means more moisture evaporates from the surface.

Winter comfort tips for your home

Winter is the time of year you probably spend the most time at home, so you want your home to feel as warm and snug as possible.

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While insulating your home and getting more efficient boilers is the obvious solution, this is not in everyone’s budget. Fortunately, there are some quick and easy measures you can take to keep things cosy.

Foiled again

If radiators are on outside walls, some heat will be lost through the wall. You can retain this by lining the wall behind the radiator with reflective foil. This can be bought from DIY stores or you can use kitchen foil; just place the shiny side toward the radiator.

Curtains for you

A lot of heat is lost through windows. Fitting thick curtains and making sure you close them at night is a great way of keeping heat in. If you don’t want to buy new curtains, get some cheap fleece material and make your own linings. A curtain over outside doors can help cut draughts and retain heat.

Glazed over

If you don’t have efficient double-glazed windows, there are companies that can help you and this will have a real impact on the warmth within your home. It will also add value to your property and give it a fresh new look.

In a flap

Letterboxes and cat flaps can let in draughts. Line letterboxes with a brush and use an old blanket or sheep’s wool insulation to line pet flaps and keep heat in.

Let the sunshine in

You may have opted for thick curtains, but remember to open them during the day to benefit from the free heat of the sun. Close them at dusk to keep in the heat you’ve gained.

Chimney solutions

If you have an older house, it probably has a fireplace, but few people actually light fires any more. An open chimney can let heat escape and allow cold air in. Blocking it with a special chimney balloon solves the problem, but remember to remove it if you do want to light a fire.

On draught

Flooring, whether it is engineered wood flooring or carpet, can make a room feel warm, but not if there’s a draught howling across it. Old-fashioned draught excluders work well, and you can make your own from off-cuts of fabric. One of the best ways to have toasty warm feet and warmth radiating is to utilise the services of an Underfloor Heating Gloucestershire company who will be able to fit new flooring for you in no time.

Laminate v engineered flooring: Which should you choose?

Real wood flooring always looks great, but it is not always the most economical option; fortunately, it is possible to recreate the look of wood by using laminate and engineered wood flooring. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options, so read on to find out which you should choose.

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Laminate flooring

Laminate does not contain real wood; instead, all the parts of the floor are synthetic. Although not real wood, laminate of modern times looks very realistic and it is highly durable. Moisture is prevented from seeping through the material due to a waterproof backing seal.

More people than ever are replacing their carpets with laminate as they try to copy TV home improvement shows.

One of the disadvantages of laminate is than it does not give sound insulation when compared with carpet. Laminate from specialists such as contains an image on the surface that makes it resemble other materials, such as wood or marble.

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Engineered wood

You will get a more realistic-looking surface with engineered wood, as the top layer is made of real wood. The layers beneath the top layer are synthetic, which cuts down cost. Engineered wood can be more stable than solid wood and can withstand moisture.

Similar to laminate, you will find less sound insulation from engineered wood than from carpet. A solution would be to use rugs, which will provide sound insulation while still allowing the beauty of the floor to show.

Five great reasons to build your next home

There are some amazing self-built homes out there, with beachfront builds and waterfront properties really showing off the standards you can reach in fantastic locations. Here are some great reasons to build your next home.

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Cost efficiency

Buying a home on the market carries a big price tag. The average self-built home costs approximately 25 per cent less than an existing home, meaning that extra space could now be affordable. You can build a bigger and better home that might otherwise be out of reach.

With homes hitting records asking prices, now could be the perfect time to build your next home.

If prudent with buying, planning and building, you could save a large amount of money. If you would like the assistance of architects in West London, speak to companies such as

Feel-good factor

If money is not so much of a factor, what is holding you back? It takes time to plan and build, which can be inconvenient, but all self-builders achieve satisfaction from building their own home. You can become an architect of your own living space and provide something truly special for your family. What could be better than creating your own unique home?

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The building process

You can live in a home for years and never quite understand how it all works. Learning rudimentary plumbing or about the electric circuits along the way is useful, but you will never know how the home was constructed or what really makes it tick. To get to grips with the building process and learn everything you want to know, build it yourself.

You will develop an understanding of your home’s inner workings and how they connect, while gaining an appreciation for construction.


Building a house affects the local community. While some may not agree with your taste, you are creating something for your family, and more families afterwards, to enjoy. Building a home is a great way to make your mark, creating a monument that will last.


With assistance from a great architect, there is plenty of inspiration and help on hand. Some research on the internet will give you some great ideas, from planning the project to completion.

Begin building and gathering ideas for your dream living space and start embracing the self-build philosophy.

How to Clean Windows without Leaving Smears

One of the biggest challenges that arises when cleaning windows is the fact that is incredibly easy to leave smears on the surface of the glass. Learning how to get sparkling clean windows ensures that the lightest as possible shines into your home. Clean windows can immediately lift the overall appearance of a house.

How to Clean Windows without Leaving Smears

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Here are some of the most effective window cleaning tips available:

  1. Remove Blinds and Curtains First

Before you begin to clean the windows, it is advised to remove the built up dust by taking down the blinds and curtains. You may even want to wash your blinds separately since they tend to collect quite a bit of dust over time.

  1. Try a Sponge

Most window smears arise from using too much soap in the solution. Instead of dunking the sponge into too much washing up liquid, dip it in warm soapy water with as little suds as possible. Excess water can be wiped off with a squeegee blade for ultimate efficiency.

  1. Wash on A Cloudy Day

It may sound strange, but washing your windows on a cloudy day is more effective because a sunny day dries the glass really fast. This, in turn, results in large streaks forming on the glass surface.

  1. Twice a Year

According to House to Home, you should really be cleaning all of the windows in your house at least twice a year. Clean windows can have an immediate impact on the room. It allows more light to get in, making the room seem brighter and spacious.

  1. Quality Windows

If you are wondering why some windows let more light in and keep the heat in more than others, it is because of the varying glass qualities. Keane Windows offer a range of different kinds of windows, including double glazing Dublin options that are corrosion resistant and come fitted with a special anti-theft technology. This is referred to as Multi Shootbolt locking mechanism which guarantees no forced entries.

  1. Vinegar Solution

Vinegar has been a tried and tested method to clean a lot of different kinds of stains. One particularly effective use for vinegar is for cleaning windows. Fetch a small bucket of warm water and add two tablespoons of vinegar to provide the glass with extra shine.

  1. Newspapers

An old favourite amongst cleaning enthusiasts is the crumpled newspaper technique. You can use this to buff the glass. The sparkle is provided thanks to the printing ink on the newspaper.

Do I need to hire a London architect for my renovation project?

It’s a common query when planning a small home or office renovation or remodelling job. When do you need to hire an architect and when is it easier and cheaper to do it yourself? There are a few obvious examples: If you’re thinking of removing a wall that you didn’t construct yourself, then yes. If you’re changing the paint scheme, no. But there is plenty in between. Continue reading Do I need to hire a London architect for my renovation project?

Mixed reactions to architectural recipient of Turner Prize

The question of whether architecture is art haunts architecture universities around the world. At one end of the spectrum, architects consider themselves the very embodiment of the artist; at the other, architects will embrace their creative and problem-solving attributes, emphasising their more practical, engineering purpose. Continue reading Mixed reactions to architectural recipient of Turner Prize