Essential Outside Winter DIY Jobs You Have to Do

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Winter is here and Christmas is nearly upon us. But while most people are thinking about how much they need to buy their friends’ and family’s presents, many people are forgetting to look after their homes.

The winter weather can take its toll on your home, and if you’re not careful, you might find that once winter has been and gone, you’ll have to spend some serious money repairing the damage. That is, of course, unless you complete these simple winter DIY tasks that will help prevent any serious problems from arising. Of course, you can never be 100% winter-proof, but with this guide, you’ll at least be safe in the knowledge that you’ve done everything you can. So without further ado, here’s our list of essential outdoor winter DIY jobs you have to do.

1 – A Slip-free Zone

Firstly, you don’t want you or any visitors to trip over on the way to your front door, so make sure that you get out into the snow and clear your driveway and any paths that are in regular use up to your door. The best way to do this is with a heavy metal spade that can cut through any thick ice. 

Make your work last by laying down some sand, salt or gravel (or a mix of all three!) to keep the ground from re-freezing. If you don’t ice can get into your surface and create cracks and holes.

2 – Look up

Next – and this is particularly relevant if your roof is made of slate tiles – get onto your roof and see if any of the tiles are coming – or have come – loose. If they have, they could cause a serious problem if they fall off the roof and land on somebody or something. Tiles are relatively heavy, and this means they could cause a serious injury to a passerby, so it’s always better to make sure your roof tiles are secure before the worst of the weather hits.

3 – Cut Backs

We’re not talking about austerity measures here, we’re talking about cutting back any large tree branches and anything else that could get in your way on a long dark winter evening as you try to get into the house. This could take some time so if you’re going to get the work done in a single day, you might need a wireless light to help you workwhen the sun goes down.

Ultimately, these three tips only get you so far to protecting your home from the winter, and there are numerous other guides out there to helpyou insulate your home against the cold. So prepare your home for the worst of the winter weather now, and you’ll be able to thank yourself later.

Winter Gardening | How to Care for Your Pond in Autumn/Winter

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Autumn/Winter can be a wonderful time in your garden. But the bitter cold weather doesn’t come without its risks and downfalls; if not maintained properly, the beautiful pond in your garden could become problematic. If you are new to pond care across the seasons, here are some steps to prepare your pond for the cold weather ahead.

  1. Learn to Feed Your Fish Properly
Feeding your fish with right type/amount of food is essential to their health. During the winter it’s important to understand that dropping temperatures will cause metabolism to slow down so you should be feeding less or mixing fish food with a wheat germ base which is lower in protein. Always use a thermometer to measure the temperature of your pond accurately before you start altering your feeds. Once temperatures drop below 15°C, a diet of only wheat germ base should be sufficient for the winter.

  1. Install Leaf Netting Over Your Pond
Falling leaves in autumn and winter can cause decay in your water. This will disturb the ecological balance of your pond so it’s important to get rid of any leaves or organic debris falling into your pond. You can skim the leaves daily or use a netting to cover your pond.

  1. Use Your Pumps and Filters in the Right Temperatures
The way you use your pumps and filters during the colder seasons could depend on your climate. If temperatures are usually above freezing during the winter, it could be advantageous to keep your pump running through the season as although the bacteria won’t be active, it will remain alive as long as you keep it supplied with oxygen. But if temperatures are below freezing, pumps and filters can be turned off until spring.

Also be sure to clean your filter properly in the winter and consider moving it closer to the surface (if you are keeping it on) so that the air bubbles can prevent your pond from freezing over completely.

  1. Try to Keep Your Pond Clean
To avoid disturbing the ecological balance of your pond, keep your pond clean throughout the winter. This can be done with daily skimming to get rid of debris and falling leaves. You can also purchase pond treatments to ensure optimum pond health for your fish and plant life; whenever buying pond treatments besure to use trusted brands from a reputable retailer and always ask for advice if you are unsure.  

  1. Keep Your Plant Roots from Freezing Over
When the weather drops, you should stop feeding your plants and be ready to check the pond for any dying plants and leaves. But always keep the roots of your plants buried in deep to protect them from freezing over in the winter. Some plants will still survive even if their roots freeze over but to be extra careful, plant all roots below the freezing zone.

Is the Real Estate Market Worthy of Investment?

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Is the Real Estate Market Worthy of Investment?

As anyone who keeps their fingers on the pulse of the British economy can testify, the real estate market is currently facing an extremely challenging time. Dominated by the nations’ capital London, it has faced an entire quarter of sluggish growth after nearly a year of expansion and considerable success. This is now set to reach a peak, with London’s so-called ‘super prime’ property market set to crash.

This is according to Market Oracle, which claims that an ongoing slumpin oil prices has been the primary trigger for falling real estate value in the capital. This has impacted on the level of high-end foreign investment, with the result that there is less money entering the market and driving growth. With this trend set to continue into 2015, the market may be primed to crash.

Is the Real Estate Market a Worthy Investment Opportunity?

With this in mind, it would be reasonable to assume that the real estate market should be avoided by investors at all costs. This is a false perception, however, as there are different aspects of the market and alternative grades of investment that offer various opportunities. Take the distinct commercial and residential markets, for example, as while the latter has prospered in the city the former has suffered in the wake of an external economic downturn. In addition to this, there are also differentiators that make a significant difference in terms of viability and returns.

Take the ‘buy-to-let’ market, for example, which is continuing to evolve in the wake of a continually evolving demand for rental properties. After the value of London real estate soared to unsustainable heights, many aspiring buyers were priced out of the market and forced to consider alternative options. More specifically, they enter the rental market and look to bide their time until property values become more obtainable. This has created an opportunity for private landlords to invest in properties and rent them out on long-term contracts, generating a recurring, monthly income in the process.

The Last Word

On a similar note, many landlords are now taking the proactive step of investing in affordable, larger properties and maximising the space to create multiple units. Essentially, you could purchase a five bedroom home in a less affluent part of the capital and remodel this slightly into single studio apartments. Ideal for the young professional and student markets, this will drive a high level of demand and interest for your properties.

For further information, click here to unlock the London real estate market and compare pricing in specific regions. This will give you an idea of the capital needed to enter the marketplace, while also providing you with the opportunity to calculate pricing and forecast your potential profit. 

Eco Home Improvements to Think About in 2015

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2015 is just around the corner and with the new Green Deal funding being spent on eco home improvements in just one day, we’re set for an eco-conscious new year. The uptake on greener energy solutions via the government funded scheme has been hugely popular across the country. With promise of more funding available in February 2015 and the ever growing need for households and businesses to come together to help the UK hit our carbon emissions target, it’s time to start thinking about greener ways to heat up our households.

Here are 5 eco home improvements that could help you save money and save energy. Reduce your carbon footprint today.

  1. Solar Hot Water
A renewable solar power system could help to generate up to 70% of the hot water needed in your home, saving you a large amount of money in the long run. This sustainable source of energy will also help to reduce your carbon footprint and is a part of the Government’s Green Deal Scheme.

  1. Solar PV System
Solar PV (Solar Photovoltaics) are solar panel electricity systems which capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells. These cells harness the sun’s energy without needing to be in direct sunlight, therefore they only require daylight (no matter the weather) to work. This is one of the most popular and effective ways of generating electricity in your home and can help you save money on your utility bills.

  1. Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are the perfect alternative to boilers for providing your household with both heating and hot water. It’s a cheaper heating solution and because it is classified is micro generation (generating your own electricity), it could be available under the Green Deal. Many providers also offer payment plans which spread your cost over 5-10 years.

  1. Loft Insulation
If you are looking for ways of preventing heat loss to improve efficiency in your home, loft insulation could be a good idea in 2015. 25% of your property’s heat can escape through the roof but loft insulation will help to trap the heat using fibreglass. This installation is permanent so once done, you can benefit from the insulation indefinitely.

  1. Cavity Wall Insulation
Around 35% of heat can be lost through the walls of your home if your property is a modern building. Built with air gaps, modern homes can struggle to trap in heat but cavity wall insulation can help to tackle this problem, helping you save money on your bills through more efficient and effective heating.

News reports have revealed that although the latest Green Deal fund has already been exhausted by enthusiastic homeowners, there will be more coming soon in February 2015. If you’re interested in getting eco home improvements through the Green Deal, read more about how you can pay for your installations over on the information website

Sensational Interior Design Ideas For Your Living Room

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Sensational Interior Design Ideas For Your Living Room.jpg

Is your living room looking a little tired and worn out at the moment? Do you think it could benefit from an easy renovation? Then we have some fantastic ideas that could help you to get started. No matter how big or small your room might be, the suggestions in this post should help you to make it far more appealing. If you regularly have guests over, you want to make sure the spaces they use appear well-kept and modern. While you don’t have to make all the changes we’re about to suggest, we guarantee they will work well in your lounge. Best of all? None of them are going to break the bank.

Painting in neutral colours

Don’t worry if you haven’t been following the latest interior design trends because we’re going to make things easy for you. For the best results when painting your walls, you should select passive neutral colours. Not only will that make your room appear larger, but it will also give the impression it is fresh, clean and modern. You can, of course, create a feature wall using slightly bolder shades, and that often works well.

Laying wood flooring

Depending on how much money you have to spend, you might like to select either laminate or hardwood flooring. The former option is a lot cheaper, and it looks almost as good. The only real difference is that hardwood is going to last for a much longer time. You’ll need to employ the services of a specialist if you don’t want to lay the solution yourself. Don’t worry though, they don’t tend to charge that much. Whether you’re looking for carpets and flooring in Poole or anywhere else in the country, all you have to do is search online.

Cover your suite

Unless you have a lot of spare money in the bank, buying a new suite for your lounge probably isn’t viable. There is no need to panic through. You could make your old one look brand new if you simply re-covered it in some new material. That will mean you have to get a sewing machine out and spend some time working on your textile skills. However, anyone can do this job in only a few hours, and it’s guaranteed to make your room look brand new.

Add interesting lighting solutions

If you’re happy with the current lighting solutions in your room, you could just add a dimmer switch. However, if you’re looking for something new, don’t overlook the possibility of cool and unusual lamps. Lava lamps were incredibly popular during the 1990s, but most people have packed them away since the dawn of the millennium. Why not bring them back? Alternatively, there are also lots of other awesome lighting solutions that produce the same effect. Just visit your local specialist or look in any mainstream catalogue to see which appeal to you.

Now you’ve had time to read through our suggestions, we hope you feel inspired to go out and make changes today. It might be close to Christmas, but that just means prices are about to drop. Good luck with the renovations, and have a fantastic holiday!