How to find a good gardener is a question for many busy households. Perhaps you are juggling work and parenting and really don’t have time to commit to keeping your garden in good order. This can be an issue as it stops you enjoying your garden to the full and neighbours may complain it is become overgrown and ugly. Many older people struggle as they age to keep up with a garden that is their pride and joy. Gardening is regular household expense if you choose to take someone on so it is important to choose your gardener carefully.
Finding the right gardener
Ask around to see if any of your family or friends can recommend a good gardener. Be really clear what you want the gardener to do. Some areas of gardening require really good levels of experience and training. Small jobs may just require a gardener who is fit and healthy without any specific expertise. You may feel more reassured for more complex jobs if your gardener can show you paper qualifications. Ask for references or testimonials so you are absolutely certain you have picked a gardener you can rely on. Check whether your gardener has a public liability insurance certificate, which would cover any damage they caused to your property. Safe contractor or CHAS accreditation and evidence of a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check are other good signs of a professional business.
Clarity on what you want to be done
Some gardeners are very enthusiastic and might try to persuade you to take on services that you really do not want or need. Before contacting potential gardeners be very clear on the garden service you want them to do for you. Remember you are the customer so you should be calling the shots. Having said that ask them to use their own tools or you could inadvertently end up in an employer and employee relationship which comes with legal requirements.
Set a firm budget
As with all situations where you take on a tradesperson be very clear on what you can afford. If you over-stretch in any area like this, that leads to stress at best and debt at worst. Get firm quotes having set out specifically what you need and want doing in your garden. Make sure the quote is confirmed in writing so you can refer back to it in case of dispute. Check how your gardener wishes to be paid and how often. Although saving money is good, be realistic and question particularly low quotes which may indicate a lack of expertise or other challenging issues. Quotes may be per hour or per job particularly in the case of larger gardening projects. Check that quotes include waste disposal charges too if you want them to take the garden waste away for you.
What tips do you have for engaging a gardener?
As the weather turns colder, it is good to start to think of ways to keep warm. With the holiday season over, many of us are also turning our minds to home improvement projects that we can get done before our minds to turn to all things Christmas. A friend of mine is looking into double glazing windows so today I thought I would look into the benefits of double glazing.
What is double glazing?
I remember as a child with very old sash windows thinking that double glazing was a luxury for a home. My mum took a while to be persuaded of the benefits and in those days so many people were scared of being scammed by double glazing salespeople.
I digress. Basically double glazing simply means you have two panes of glass instead of one. There is a slight gap commonly 16mm between the panes and inert gas such as Krypton, Xenon or Argon fills the space between.
Double glazing reduces bills
Double glazing is more energy efficient which means your heating bills will be that much more affordable. We are all keen to save money on our bills which seem to increase year on year so this is one very good reason to make the investment in double glazing for your home.
Reduction of noise
I do not handle noise well. Whether it is traffic, playing children or barking dogs, noise can really impact adversely on my mood sometimes. I live in the countryside now but even here I am regularly disturbed by the sound of farm machinery or a neighbour’s loud motorbike. Double glazing helps reduce the noise you hear from outside. That’s a big plus point for me.
So many of us worry about crime. The good thing with double glazing is that it can come with great locking mechanisms with fancy names like Espagnolette and SAC (Security and Compression) shoot bolt systems With reinforced hinges and internal beading, even if you are never attacked, your fear of crime will be that much more reduced when you have double glazing.
I hate the look of condensation and its impact on health and wellbeing. You get less condensation with double glazing so that’s yet another advantage.
Of course, double glazing is a considered investment and you can check out the double glazing cost easily enough online.
A moving house checklist can save so much hassle. Did you know relocating is one of the main stressors people face in life? If it is stressful for you as an adult, imagine the impact on your little ones and your pets too. A checklist can reduce your stress levels which also has a positive impact on those around you. Yes you may have chosen the best of removal companies but there are other matters to consider for a happy family move.
Inject some fun
If moving involves laughter rather than arguing and tantrums, it can become a pleasant memory. Have fun things for the children to do throughout the day. Do a little research about play parks or bowling alleys so you can promise a celebration when you are finally at your new place. Not only can you all let off steam but you might make some new family friends too.
Listen to your kids
It is so easy at busy times to file our children in front of a screen. You need to be there to listen to their concerns. Take those concerns seriously because they are real to your children even if they appear minor to you. I find admitting you have your own worries too helps you bond with your child so long as you don’t over do it. Think about books about moving home which can help children make sense of it all and make it that bit less scary for them.
Decide where the children will be on moving day
Will your children join in with the practical tasks of the move? This will depend on their age and personalities. Would it be better for them to be with family members and for you to reunite when the move is complete? Grandparents can come into their own on such occasions. They also will know what it is like to go through a move and so are a great support to you. If you are lucky, they might even cook for you all at the end of moving day.
Once your children are past the baby and toddler stage, you can explain things very clearly to them which helps. That is not so easy when it comes to your beloved pets. Do not try to move yourselves with pets as part of that process. It just adds to stress levels. Again if you have family or friends who can take your pet until the move is done, so much the better. There are also some great pet sitter services out there these days.
After the move
Don’t start off adding more stress to your lives by spending too much after the move. It’s not just about getting affordable removal quotes before the move, it is about managing money from day one in your new place. Do you need to eat takeaways for the whole week after the move? Do you need brand new furniture just because you have changed houses? Yes it is nice to treat ourselves but it is all vital not to pile up debts.
What tips do you have for moving home with children and pets?
When the nicer weather arrives, you need to make the most out of your decked space — but the last thing you want to find is pests around your area.
As we’ve entered the colder months, pests will begin to look for shelter and your garden is the ideal space. In London, more than 100 rodent complaints are made every day. Although this doesn’t mean that you’re at risk, it’s worth making a few quick and simple preparations to stop potential pests from making your garden their homes.
You need to prevent pest invasion across your compostite decking boards — this includes birds and mice.
Lower the appeal
You need to remove the appeal of your decking. Pests, such as rats and mice, will scout out places before deciding on where to settle down, so try and make your decking as uninhabitable as possible.
If you eat in your garden, make sure that all rubbish is cleared so pests don’t make their way to your space. If you have a get-together on your decking, make sure you thoroughly clear up and clean the decking so that no sauces or dropped food remain which could entice rodents and other critters. Remember; rats, mice and hedgehogs will also eat birdfeed, so make sure to opt for a birdfeeder that isn’t placed on the floor or a table and put it away from your decking.
You should also be regularly trimming your hedges to reduce the number of sheltered locations for pests to live. If your main pest problem is birds, movement is a great deterrent. Try hanging something that moves — like a wind chime or wind spinner — to help prevent birds from making a mess on your decking.
Barricade the space
Have you considered barricading your decking? Pests won’t be able to make a home under your decked areas if they can’t get in to begin with, so investing in extra materials to create a barrier is worth it.
Beneath your decking is the perfect location for pests to protect themselves from harsh weather conditions. To stop this happening, use wood, mesh or chicken wire and run it along the entire edge of your decking between the boards and the ground. If you’re worried that this will ruin your decking’s aesthetic appeal, you can install a wooden trellis and have the mesh running behind it. Then, arrange potted plants or flowerbeds around your decking to mask the mesh further.
Believe it or not, rats and mice can squeeze through some of the smallest spaces (as small as half an inch) so your area must be tightly secured.
Seal your space
Woodworm is a pest you’ll likely encounter. Unless you have composite decking that doesn’t rot, you might want to take steps to prevent this particularly unpopular garden pest.
You may have heard of the three types of common woodworm. The common furniture beetle is usually what people mean when they say ‘woodworm’, but the house longhorn and deathwatch beetles are far more destructive — although thankfully rarer.
The first step is keeping your wooden area dry. This might be difficult for large areas like your decking, but your tables and chairs should be relatively safe under a waterproof cover. Sealing your wood with varnish is a good shout too. This creates a barrier that prevents female wood-boring beetles from laying eggs in the pores of the wood.
Have you encountered a pest invasion already? If you can see small holes across your decking and furnishings — these are usually in a cluster and often about 1mm wide — there might be woodworm present. Although this is treatable, you first need to identify which type of woodworm is doing the damage, so it might be worth seeking professional advice. Common furniture beetle problems can be treated yourself using products that you can buy online. However, if the culprits are house longhorn or deathwatch beetles, you may need to treat by injection.
This should be your final step if necessary. If you already have pests in the garden and need help getting rid of them, you could consider using non-lethal traps or scent repellent. Alternatively, try spices — pests hate the smell. Plant a peppermint tree around the edges of your decking or sprinkle cayenne around potential entry points to deter vermin from nesting. Of course, there are also plenty of commercial rat and mice repellents you can buy that will work to keep pests at bay.
But forget cheese; sweet treats work best to lure mice. Place these around your decking and make sure to release the rodent at least one mile from your home once caught. If you prefer, buy an ultrasonic pest repellent. Compact and discreet, these devices are ideal for placing by your decking and emit high-frequency sound waves that rodents can’t stand — and we can’t hear.
The living room is probably the most important room in your home but what happens when it loses its allure? Maybe the decor is a little tatty or perhaps the furniture is past its sell-by date. Whatever the reason, we have collected some well-proven tips that should have your living room back to its former glory with very little effort.
Get best rugs for floors
If you are already making use of hardwood flooring, the next step should be to add some cool rugs. These can be plain or patterned but you will need to make in the surrounding colours and shades before choosing. The great thing about rugs is that you can shift them to another room if you feel like it or simply remove them until the winter when those hard floors start to feel a little cold on your bare feet. You can pick up some terrific bargains online and in the shops, so get out there and see what beauties you can pick up.
Let’s paint walls
The colour of your walls can have a terrific impact on how your living room is perceived so put a lot of thought into this process before deciding on a final shade. The rule is that lighter colours will give the impression of being in a larger room whilst warmer colours will make the room seem more welcoming. You should always consider the furniture and floor before finalising on the paint you choose and remember to canvass your friends and family for their opinions also.
Decorate with mirrors
Mirrors aren’t only for bathrooms and bedrooms and they really can add a whole new dimension to your living room. Their placement will make all the difference to a smaller room and can even help to distribute the existing light around the area with excellent results. Smaller mirrors are a wise choice for the living room and they can be acquired for a bargain price if you know where to shop for them.
Choose furniture with a lightweight appearance
If you are pushed for space in your living room, choosing furniture with a lightweight appearance goes a long way in creating the impression of more space. You can add table accessories to add style to these items so long as you always bear the overall theme in mind. Look for a sofa on legs as opposed to the traditional shapes and contemporary coffee tables usually work especially well in this type of environment.
Lighting adds so much quality to a smaller living room but can also help to make a larger one more attractive. Wall lights, in particular, can be placed wherever you like and if there is a lack of windows in your living room, use these in corners to banish those unwanted dark spaces.
Nowadays, we tend to be living in smaller spaces and if you follow these tips, your living room will give the impression of being nice and spacious despite the fact that it isn’t. we hope you enjoyed these tips and we wish you the best of luck in your next home improvement project!