Tag: advice

 

When summer begins, it can unfortunately bring with it a rise in crime. Opportunistic burglars take advantage of opens doors and windows, and properties left unattended when families go on holiday. However, there are a number of steps you can take to help keep your home safe from crime in the coming months.

 

 

Install a security system

 

One of the most comprehensive ways to look after your property is to install a full security system. These can range from simple cameras, which you can monitor via an app on your phone, to fully integrated systems involving camera, sensors and alarms, monitored by a security firm. If you’re interested in upgrading your security, chatting to a security system installer can help establish which system is best for you.

 

Upgrade your locks

 

If you’re concerned about the locks on your doors and windows, upgrading them to meet modern standards can be a relatively simple and cost-effective job. Prevention is better than cure, so hiring a lock fitter to make an assessment and get things up to scratch is better than waiting until it’s too late.

 

Inspect your doors and windows

 

Even the strongest locks can be ineffective if they’re fitted to doors and windows with weak, rotted frames or fragile glass. Replacing doors and windows is a more pricey job, but can pay off in the long run, with extra benefits such as better insulation and soundproofing, as well as increased security.

 

 

Add more lights

 

Burglars typically try to get in through places where they can’t be easily seen, such as at the sides and backs of properties, away from neighbours and passers by. A motion-activated light can help deter potential intruders by helping alert others to their presence.

 

Fix your fences

 

Even small things are all it takes to make your home a more likely target than any other house on the street. If you have broken fence panels or gaps that mean a burglar can be in or out quickly, it might be an invitation you don’t want to give. A fencer can ensure you have no weak spots.

 

Make your garden work for you

 

Simple changes to the landscape around your home can help protect it. A popular choice is using gravel instead of lawn paving, which means you can better hear people approaching your home.

 

 

When the weather outside is wild and unpredictable, heading inside and enjoying the calm and comfort of your own home is a simple pleasure. While storms are raging and the rain is coming down, there’s nothing better than unwinding in a relaxing space you’ve helped create yourself. If your interiors are feeling drab or dated, we’ve come up with some ideas to help bring your rooms back to life, and turn them into the perfect shelter from any storm.

 

 

Time to Redecorate

 

If the skies outside are grey and overcast, sometimes our rooms can feel the same way. If yours are in need of some rejuvenation, a lick of paint can be all they need to make them come alive again. While painting is something you can tackle yourself, an experienced decorator can ensure the job gets done properly and is finished to a high standard.

 

Add New floors

 

Floors take a beating when bad weather hits, as we run home with soaking shoes and muddy boots. Even the most hard-wearing carpets can begin to show signs of age in heavily-trafficked areas such as hallways, and wooden floors can be similarly damaged by damp and stains. A flooring fitter or carpet fitter can help advise you on how to update your flooring and keep it pristine.

 

 

Refresh Your Bathroom

 

If you’re caught in an unexpected downpour, taking a nice soothing shower can be just the thing to help you relax. However, if your bathroom has seen better days, you might want to upgrade your showering experience, with a new shower, bath, or entire bathroom suite – perhaps with a new colour scheme and accessories to go with it. A bathroom fitter will be able to complete the project and give you a whole new room to enjoy.

 

Update Your Kitchen

 

Summer storms may be dramatic and exciting, but they’re certainly not ideal for barbecues. If you’re stuck cooking inside your kitchen instead of grilling out in the garden, then you’d better make sure your kitchen is the kind of place you want to spend time. It’s one of the most-used and well-loved rooms in the house, so make sure yours is up to scratch – speak to a kitchen fitter about creating a room that is right for you and your family.

 

 

When a spot of good weather is on the cards, everyone wants to get outside. But when we’re out in our gardens, we start to notice all the the little issues we have around our homes. From unruly trees to peeling paint, here are some problems you can tackle while the sun in shining.

 

 

Sort out Your Garden

 

Whether it’s mowing your lawn, or embarking on a full landscaping project, taming your garden is one of the biggest things you can do to alter your outdoor space. If you have dreams of enjoying a jazzed-up garden over summer, a landscape gardener could help make your dream a reality.

 

Fix your Fences

 

Fences and gates can take a battering over winter, so if yours are looking worse for wear, now is the perfect time to replace damaged panels and fix broken poles. An experienced fencer can get the work done quickly and make sure it lasts.

 

Add a New Coat of Paint

 

If the outside of your home is painted, when was the last time it was done? If it’s starting to show the impact of years of sun, wind and rain, then make sure you get it repainted before any long-term damage occurs.

 

 

Repair Your Pipes and Guttering

 

Most of us tend not to notice gutters and drainpipes – they’re never the most attractive part of a house, they just go on doing their job. However, if they’re not doing their job – if they’re leaking, blocked, or coming loose from the wall, then it’s important to get them sorted before they cause problems such as damp down the line.

 

Update Your Driveway

 

If your brick driveway is missing a few bricks, or your flagstone driveway is cracked with weeds poking through, it’s worth having an experienced driveway specialist take a look before the problem becomes more expensive down the line.

 

Check out Your Roof

 

It’s an old saying, but it’s true – fix the roof while the sun is shining. There’s no sense in waiting until bad weather takes advantage of gaps in the tiles or damaged flashing – hire a roofer who can take a look and advise you on any work that needs to be carried out.

 

Trim Your Trees

 

At this time of year, many trees are nearly in full leaf and often heavy with blossom, and could be causing issues, blocking light to your windows, interfering with power lines, satellite dishes and guttering. If you’re concerned about any trees, it’s always best to speak to an experienced tree surgeon, rather than tackle it yourself.

 

 

May is a popular month for people selling their homes, but you don’t have to be looking to sell to think about adding value to your property. There are big and small ways to boost how much your home is worth, and also make it a nicer place to be.

 

 

Fix structural problems

 

If you are looking to sell, then taking care of major structural issues such as a sagging roofline or persistent damp issues is a necessary step to making it sale-worthy – but they’re not issues that you’ll want to live with for any length of time either. There are a variety of tradespeople available depending on the issue, from specialist roofers to structural engineers, bricklayers, and damp proofers.

 

Create a loft conversion

 

Building up is generally regarded as the single biggest boost you can give to your home’s value. It’s a major investment, but one that pays off with new living space that can completely change the feel of your home. Whether it’s a dormer, hip to gable, or mansard roof conversion, you will need to have plans drawn up and may need planning permission, before hiring an experienced loft conversion specialist to take on the project.

 

 

Build an extension

 

Similarly to loft conversions, adding more space to your home will add value and give you new ways to enjoy your property. Whether it’s creating a kitchen-diner or a dedicated space for an office or studio, there are firms that specialise in extensions and conversions and can help you realise your vision.

 

Update your kitchen

 

Many families value having a modern, usable kitchen, that can be used not just for cooking, but for eating, relaxing and entertaining. If you have the space and budget, updating your kitchen with all mod-cons can be a real boost for your home.

 

Refresh your bathroom

 

It’s difficult for anyone to feel like they can get clean in a tired and broken-down bathroom, with cracked tiles, mouldy grouting, and damaged units. While a bathroom fitter can completely revamp the room, you could refresh it with smaller changes – a tiler can add new tiles for cleaner look, while a plumber can swap in new taps and hardware.

 

 

Add a parking space

 

If you live in a town or city where parking is at a premium and neighbours are battling over spaces on the street, then can it can be a worthwhile investment to replace your front garden with a driveway, giving you peace of mind that you’ll always have a safe place to keep your car. A driveway needs to be built to last, so only hire an expert with a good track record.

 

Boost your kerb appeal

 

No one wants to live in the most run-down home on the street, and for buyers as well, first impressions count. There is plenty you can do to smarten up your kerb appeal, from adding a porch, replacing your front door, upgrading your windows or repainting the exterior.

 

Take care of the little things

 

Sometimes the little things don’t feel that small when you have to deal with them everyday, so why not make them better? Give new life to a room with a lick of paint or roll of wallpaper; add new lighting to your hallway; finally sort out the toilet with the dodgy flush – if it adds value to you, sometimes that’s all the value you need to add.

 

 

May is a fabulous month in the garden. Trees and shrubs burst into leaf and flower, cottage garden plants fill borders with their exuberant growth and containers bloom with vibrant summer colours ready for longer days enjoyed outdoors.

Here, Louise Golden, senior plant buyer at Dobbies Garden Centre, gives her top tips to make the most of your garden as the summer months roll in:

 

Terrace Gardens

 

With the warmer temperatures, this is a great time to plant your patio containers, hanging baskets and window boxes with summer bedding plants that are sure to put on a fabulous display of flower colour throughout the summer.

For an all-round, show-stopping display, include both upright and trailing varieties in your containers. Zonal Geraniums, Fuchsias, Marguerites and Osteospermum are all great summer performers. Combine with trailing Petunias, Verbena, Bacopa and much-loved Lobelia to cascade over the sides. Larger containers benefit from a bold central feature planting to add height and structure, such as Cordylines in their striking colour-ways, adding an exotic element to your scheme.

For best results add slow release fertiliser and water retaining granules to the compost when planting your containers and hanging baskets. Water regularly and remember to feed fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser.

Dobbies garden centres are bursting with an extensive range of colourful, British grown bedding plants just perfect for patio containers. They also offer a free container planting service in store – simply bring along your favourite container, pick your plants and they’ll do the rest, leaving you with a gorgeous container ready to go straight in the garden.

 

Beds and Borders

 

Wallflowers and early spring bedding will have faded now. Remove tired plantings, adding to the compost heap, to make way for fresh summer displays.

Prune early spring flowering shrubs such as Chaenomeles, Forsythia and Ribes after flowering if required to keep them in check. If not done so already, more tender late summer flowering shrubs such as Caryopteris, Perovskia and hardy Fuchsias can also be trimmed now too if needed.

Top dress alpines with grit or gravel to show off their dainty spring flowers. Grit helps to prevent soil splashing onto their delicate blooms whilst also improving drainage.

If hedges start to look a little shaggy, May is a good month to give them a light trim, but do check for nesting birds and if necessary wait until fledglings have flown.

 

Cottage Gardens

 

In May the Cottage garden is growing madly and borders filling with their exuberant growth. Put plant supports in place around taller herbaceous plants or those that carry prized heavy blooms such as paeonies. Do this early before plants get too big and your supports will soon be disguised by fresh growth. In store we have an extensive range of quality British grown herbaceous plants perfect for adding colour to existing or new borders.

Early season herbaceous plants, such as Pulmonarias or hardy Geraniums can be cut back after flowering to encourage re-growth of tidy fresh new foliage and often a second flower display.

Later this month the renowned ‘Chelsea Chop’ is also a great way to stagger height and flowering times of some late summer herbaceous plants. Sedums and Phlox, which can sometimes grow over-tall and floppy benefit from being cut back by one third. The resulting new growth is compact and bushy, bearing numerous slightly smaller flowers later in the season for a prolonged season of colour.

 

Kitchen Garden

 

Plant rows of your favourite herbs, such as parsley and coriander for a plentiful supply for summer salads and alfresco BBQs. If short on space, grow in containers on your patio for quick picking just when you need them. Mint in particular is perfect for container growing, keeping its vigorous growth in check. Once all risk of frost is passed, take the opportunity to grow pots of sweet basil for Italian recipes and home-made pesto.

Most vegetable crops can be sown now. With quick growing crops such as salads and spinach, repeat sow every 10 days to ensure a consistent supply of fresh leaves. Visit your local Dobbies to choose from our wide range available in-store. Or if you prefer, they have a wide range of young vegetable plants available for quicker results.

 

A long weekend gives you the freedom to do lots of things, whether it’s getting away for an exciting trip, meeting up with friends and family, or just relaxing at home. For many people, it’s a great chance to get done all the little things that need doing around the house that need addressing, but you’ve been putting off. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together a checklist of things to look at to make sure you’re on top of your home maintenance.

 

 

Alarms

 

Have you tested your fire alarms or carbon monoxide alarm recently? If you’re not sure when you last swapped out the batteries, now is a good time to make sure they’re fresh and in fully working order.

 

Boiler

 

When was your boiler last inspected? If it’s been more than a year, it might be worth having it checked over by a Gas Safe Registered engineer to make sure there are no issues.

 

Taps and pipes

 

Is everything leak free? Small drips from a badly connected pipe can lead to larger problems if not addressed. It might be an easy fix you can do yourself, but speak to a plumber if you want peace of mind.

 

 

Windows

 

Do you have draughts coming in, or condensation appearing within the panes of your double glazing? It might be a sign that the seal is faulty and the glass needs replacing. Get in touch with a window fitter to see what needs to be done.

 

Locks

 

If you have a back door lock that is loose or you’ve lost a set of keys recently, you might have been thinking about the need for an upgrade. An experienced locksmith can advise on the best products to use and install them for you.

 

Gutters

 

After a wet winter the gutters on our home can be a bit worse for wear, so it’s worth checking them out to make sure they’re still working as they should. A specialist can inspect them for damage and blockages and make any replacements that are needed.

 

 

Brickwork

 

Now is a great time to check out the brickwork on your home and see how it’s looking. Though the weather is always unpredictable, spring and summer are the best time for taking on work such as repointing. A bricklayer can show you what might need work.

 

Trees

 

If you have trees on your property, while they’re coming into leaf is a good chance to check if they present any issues, such as interfering with any electrical cables. If so, a tree surgeon will be able to cut them back without damaging the tree.

 


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