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Home & Interiors

Preparing Your Family for a Move

Moving house requires a lot of effort and organisation, and it can be a bit more of a challenge when you’ve got kids to deal with on top of everything else. There are many reasons why you might have decided to move your family into a new home like the need for more space, a new job opportunity, or the desire to live in a better area — to name a few. If you have been thinking about moving your family or are currently looking for a new house, here are some tips to help you prepare for the move. 

Finances

Moving house is expensive, whether you’re renting a property or buying. The latter will naturally come with more costs, but owning a property could work out cheaper for you in the long 

coins

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run. You will have to have enough money saved for a deposit and the majority of homeowners rely on a mortgage to buy a house. Make sure you look around for the best deal on your mortgage and speak to an advisor like those at Azembel.com. They will be able to give you further guidance on what kind of mortgage is suitable for your needs. You should also make sure you’ve got some money put aside for additional costs like removal company hire and storage. 

Organise Your Belongings

Moving to a new home is a great opportunity to de-clutter your life and start fresh. An individual can gather a lot of junk over the years, so a family household is likely to have a lot more than that! Make time to rummage through your things and get rid of anything you haven’t used in the last two years or that you no longer want. Organising your stuff into categories might also be helpful when it comes to packing, such as kitchenware, books, clothes, etc. 

Plan a Schedule

Sometimes it can feel as though searching for a new home can go on forever, but once you have settled on a new house, things can start to move quickly. Never underestimate how quickly those weeks/months will fly by! Once you know you have secured a new home for your family, write down a ‘to-do’ list and plan a schedule to have these tasks done by. Setting yourself a time limit on these things will help to keep things moving and reduce the amount of stress when the moving date is only a week or two away. 

Research the Area

Although you will have researched the area before settling on a home, make sure you spend as much time in the surrounding towns/neighborhoods as you can before moving, especially if you’re unfamiliar with it. Checking how close things are like the grocery store, the local school, doctors, dentists, and even how long it takes to get to work from there will help you adapt more quickly to your new surroundings and help your kids become more comfortable with them.

There is a lot to do when you and your family are moving to a new home, but it should be a positive, exciting experience for you all. Use these tips as a guide to help you better prepare for it.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

What Is The Safest Flooring Option For Your Home?

wooden floor

Pic Credit: Pexels

When choosing your flooring, there’s often a factor that gets overlooked – safety. If your house is full of adults, it makes sense that you’d skip this factor or not pay it much attention. After all, you’d like to think that a house full of adults won’t run into any problems!

However, if you have young kids, the flooring suddenly becomes a risk. As such, you have to take the safety of your flooring into account. You need something that doesn’t present slip risks, isn’t going to cause too much pain if fallen on, yet still looks nice. It’s quite the conundrum, but these are probably the safest flooring options you have:

Luxury Vinyl

Luxury vinyl has a fancy name, and it can certainly look just as fancy too. This flooring type almost mimics other styles but is made from a unique vinyl material. You can get flooring that replicates floorboards without any wood or looks like tiles without the stone/porcelain. 

Consequently, it becomes one of the safest options for a family with young kids. It’s a hard flooring style, but not too hard. If someone fell over on it they would not be in as much pain compared to falling on wood or tiles. It also happens to be slip-resistant, so this minimizes the chances of any accidents!

Resin

wooden chair

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Resin flooring can be extremely safe for your home. It’s available in a lot of colors, and the main lure is how slip-resistant it is. This is the type of flooring that’s used in a lot of factories and industrial settings. As a result, it’s usually made by a specialist resin flooring company to ensure the surface is very grippy. The only downside is that it is quite hard, so maybe throw down a rug or two in play areas.

Also, it can be hard to get your hands on resin flooring for your home – but not impossible. 

Carpet

carpet

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For me, this is by far and away the safest flooring option if you have kids at home. It’s almost impossible to slip and fall over on some carpeted flooring. Even if you do, there’s a soft cushiony floor to ease your fall. Carpet burns may be a problem, but your kids have less chance of injuring themselves on carpet than any other flooring option. 

The only drawback is that most other flooring options are a lot better looking and more modern! Still, you can find some lovely contemporary carpet ideas that could look great in your home. Carpet is also the easiest to install and get rid of. So, when your kids grow up, it should be easy to remove the carpet and switch to a more stylish option – if you want to. 

These three options are your safest flooring choices for the home. If safety is the absolute only thing you care about, choose carpet. If you want a blend of style and safety, the other two come into play. Ultimately, the choice is yours, just be careful when choosing flooring for a home with young children in. 

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Home & Interiors

Gas Boilers Vs. Oil Boilers

Whether you are building a new house or need to replace a boiler, you will have to install a new one sometime. When you start shopping around for a new boiler, you will have to choose between oil, gas, or an electric one. Gas and oil boilers are the more cost-effective options among the three, so you might end up choosing between the two. To help you make the better option, here is a comparison of the two.

Costs

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Cost is the first thing to consider because no matter how good the option you decide to go with is, it won’t matter if it is out of your budget. When thinking about the price, you have to think about upfront costs as well as long term costs.

A standard oil boiler usually costs around 2-3 times the price of a standard gas boiler. Remember that if you decide to get a high-efficiency gas boiler, it will cost almost the same as a standard oil boiler.

Next, you have to think about running costs. Gas remains cheaper than oil for now, and it has been this way for the past few decades. So, if you get a gas boiler, you will get significant savings on your fuel costs.

Oil boilers are much more durable than most gas boilers. An oil boiler will last around 13-25 years, while a gas boiler will last about 10-15 years. This means you will have to replace a gas boiler more frequently which increases its long-term cost. The tank is usually not a factor when considering the long-term cost of both of these types of boilers because if you get the right Worcester Bosch boiler fitter to install it for you, it should last forever unless there is an underlying issue such as a leak that goes unnoticed.

Space Considerations

An oil boiler requires a tank to store the oil. A gas boiler does not have this problem because the gas comes in using a supply line. So, if you go with an oil boiler, you might have to find space for your oil storage tank.

Energy Efficiency

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Both oil and gas are very energy-efficient fuels, but gas comes out on top slightly. Oil has the disadvantage of being a pollutant so although it remains a viable option, it should come second to gas.

Safety

Oil wins here as it is much safer than gas. A single gas leak can cause explosions and fire. A gas leak is also extremely harmful and lethal if the gas is inhaled in large enough quantities. An oil spill creates a mess, but it does do not endanger anyone’s life.

Switching from Oil to Gas

Once you have considered the pros and cons of both gas and oil boiler, you might think of switching from oil to gas. This could net you some savings down the line, but it is important to do this only if you plan on living in the house for many years. The upfront initial investment for a gas boiler system is often recouped after about 7-10 years.

Although gas and oil boilers are both excellent heating solutions, you have to consider everything you will be getting before deciding on one or the other. Also, weigh up the fuels they use to see which one is the best one for you.

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Home & Interiors

MATCHING YOUR STYLE TO YOUR FLOORING

How to Give Your Home an Identity from the Ground Up

With Light or dark wood vinyl becoming a highly preferred choice in the home for many families due to its durable and professional look, but how to best capitalise on the rest of your home to suit this new look. 

There are many things that can be done to make your home that little bit extra special, so here we discuss some potentials to finalise your home.

Furniture that Compliments your Floor

It may not necessarily strike you as something to think of, but the color of your flooring can have a stylish effect on your furnishings such as sofa sets or coffee tables.

wooden floor

Pic Credit: Pixabay

A brown wood coffee table on a grey wood vinyl floor would create a clash that would set the tone of the room slightly off. Matching your furniture to your floor not only gives consistency but also shows guests that effort has been made in presenting a proud environment.

For grey or stone flooring, think of matching it with silver or black legged set pieces that give a genuine feel of cool. This is great for those areas like the kitchen and dining spaces.

Decoration for Full Effect

If going for a natural wood feel in your flooring, decorating the room with floral arrangements or even throw pillows with a flowery design can bring a freshness to those daylight hours.

Alternatively, you could have your fireplace or TV unit match the floor to give a feel like your home has grown out of the floor and has a life of its own. Both options give your flooring a central character that is instantly drawing attention and admiration.

Throw a Rug in the Mix

If you have a large space that feels too spacious within the room, buy a rug that compliments or contrasts the room to give it a bit of extra character.

Dark brown or black for woods or a white rug for grey can really give an extra layer of comfort to an otherwise drab space whilst also complimenting the shine from the vinyl. If you have accompanying underfloor heating, those rugs will keep the room nice and warm on cooler or cold evenings.

Keep the Room Bright

Find bright coloured curtains if you have opted for light wood vinyl to bring out a brighter finish. 

Blue and cream colour curtains and blinds offer a natural feel on sunny days and a sense of warmth at night. This also works for grey oak vinyl giving an equal feel for comfort and a lived in quality. Dark wood vinyl would suit those darker or black out curtains which, if you are a photography buff, will also give just the right amount of reflection if you are choosing it for a studio based environment. 

Get an Opinion from Experts

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Pic Credit: Pixabay

To know vinyl flooring is to know the matching qualities that really bring out a person’s home. 

With so many options to choose from it is worth getting the opinion of a supplier as to how people have implemented the flooring to suit specific styles and tastes. Luckily there are suppliers for luxury vinyl flooring that have decades of experience at the top of their field to be able to provide advice and guidance on your flooring matches.

Amtico is a market leading supplier that provides functionality for everyday life with an eye for expert quality and unrivaled craftsmanship. Their collections range from Signature Woods to Spacia Stones to match your feel of any room. Luvanto bring style and elegance to your home with excellent stocks such as Endure Pro and Herringbone and can advise on a perfect fit to your existing lifestyle. Invictus replicates natural materials in any area of your home, with superior levels of durability and a full range of  designs. 

However your style finds itself evolving, vinyl flooring will help it build from the ground up.

 

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Home & Interiors

How to Create the Ultimate Den in Your Home

Your kitchen is where you cook up lots of lovely meals to keep your family full and healthy, but it doesn’t need to be the heart of the home. Your living room can easily become the ultimate nest for the whole family, the place where you spend long winter nights together snuggled up and in absolute comfort. 

Many northern Europeans take the notion of cosiness seriously. You have to, when daylight hours are minimal and dark clouds often make the days feel dreary. 

If you aren’t yet completely satisfied with how cosy your home is, follow this guide to create the ultimate den and finish it just in time for the upcoming winter. 

Use Natural Materials 

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We are connected to the natural world. Simply spending time out in a field or in the woods on a walk can do wonders for our health and mental wellbeing. In winter, of course, you won’t have the ability to just head out for a comfortable walk. In winter, you need to bring all those comforts into your home.

This can be done in two ways. The first is to use natural materials. Woods, natural textiles and earthy tones can all do wonders to make the place visually comfortable. 

The second way is to use houseplants to add that element of the outdoors throughout the year. House plants can really improve the comfort of a space, making them the perfect way to increase the cosiness of your den during winter (and summer alike). 

Upgrade the Fireplace 

Every great den needs a fireplace, but that fireplace also needs to work well with how you and your family live. You don’t need to have a woodburning fireplace when you can have a flueless fireplace, an electric fireplace or a gas fireplace from stonewoods.co.uk, one that has zero clean-up but all the creature comforts. 

Not only will the fire instantly improve the look of your den, but you can also go further and invest in antique features, like fireplace tiles or mantels, to truly make your living room otherworldly with comfort. No matter what kind of fireplace you want, ensure that the design is superb, and you will have invested in a timeless comfort that you will enjoy for the rest of your life in your home.  

Add Multiple Lounging Corners 

child sitting on a rug

Pic Credit: Pixabay

A big comfortable couch is a great feature piece in a living room. If you can, however, try to add multiple lounging corners in your den. This way, you can change the perspective of your living room and keep it interesting and engaging throughout the winter. A window seat, for example, a reading nook in the corner, and a living room set can give your family three ways to enjoy your den. 

Add Comfort 

Pillows, comfortable couches, blankets, rugs – they all do wonders for your comfort levels. Invest in high-quality versions to really improve the comfort of your living room throughout the winter and beyond. You could even add floor comfort, so that your kids can enjoy playing on the floor while you are on the couch. With comfortable décor, the options are limitless and changeable. 

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Home & Interiors

How to Furnish Your Home with Upcycled Furniture

When it comes to furnishing our homes, many of us flock to the nearest furniture showroom and spend a small fortune on new pieces. Now, not only does this cost us far too much money – often more than we can afford – it means that second hand furniture becomes less popular and can end up being dumped into rubbish. 

However, Kwiksweep, want to share their  secrets on how you can furnish your home with upcycled furniture, all for a fraction of the price it would cost you to buy new furniture. 

Should You Upcycle Yourself or Buy Readymade? 

arm chair

Pic Credit: Pixabay

These days, a lot of people are upcycling furniture in their spare time. Which means, if you’re not keen on doing the work yourself, you can easily find pieces for sale online. Just look for pieces on the likes of Gumtree and other local selling sites. Just be prepared to pay more for ready upcycled pieces than you would for second hand furniture in need of some TLC. 

If you choose to upcycle yourself, you can furnish your home very cheaply. Plus, because you are painting or altering the furniture yourself, you can really upcycle it to match your décor and tastes, choosing exactly the colours and accessories that you like. 

Where Can You Find Furniture to Upcycle? 

Of course, in order to furnish your home, you’ll need some second hand furniture to upcycle – so where can you find good pieces? Well, there’s a number of options: 

  • Look on local selling sites for people selling furniture cheaply 
  • Try your local charity shops 
  • Auction houses often have sets of furniture for sale 
  • Look for local second hand furniture shops 
  • Ask friends and family if they have any old furniture they don’t want anymore 

How Do You Get Started with Upcycling? 

Often people feel intimidated by the idea of upcycling, however, in most cases you just need some sanding paper, a primer and your paint of choice. Add to this a little patience and in no time at all you’ll have brand-new looking furniture. 

arm chair

Pic Credit: Pixabay

If you’re feeling braver, look for upcycling groups on Facebook or YouTube, where you’ll find lots of inspiration as well as guides to new techniques – such as decoupage – to really give your furniture a professional finish. 

It’s also possible to turn old furniture into entirely new items for your home. For instance, many people are using old bedframes to make benches or converting cribs into a tepee. There are also hundreds of hacks for altering Ikea furniture into new things. 

When it comes to upcycled furniture, it might seem like more work than simply buying new. However, not only will it save you a lot of money, your home will also look far more unique compared to others who all buy the same types of furniture from similar shops. Indeed, your friends and family will be desperate to copy your style. 

Plus, instead of encouraging more new furniture to be created, you will be helping items destined to end up on landfills to be reused for many years to come.  

 

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Home & Interiors

Home Improvements That The Entire Family Will Enjoy

When thinking about home improvements, the majority of people typically start to think about big projects indoors that need to be done and all the work that will have to happen. But what about a different thought process when it comes to improving residential homes? Home improvement projects in the outdoor space can be a great way to add awesome curb appeal as well as value for the future. One of the easiest ways to transform the outdoor space and tackle a major home improvement project is to put in artificial grass!

What are the benefits of adding artificial grass to your home? 

artificial grass

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There are actually so many benefits that can come from using artificial grass in your yard! Not only is it a great way to ensure that your yard is always going to look amazing and alive but it’s also a great way to ensure that your children will have green grass to run and play on as well. Using artificial grass in your yard means that your yard will look uniform, healthy, and inviting for the pitter-patter of little feet!

While laying it in your front yard can look great for the curb appeal, having it in your back yard and garden space can create quite the tranquil place as well.

Home Improvements That The Entire Family Will Enjoy

When it comes to improving the area and space of your home, don’t forget to turn your attention to the outdoor space. Spending money now on laying artificial grass is a dividend that will continue to pay for itself for many years down the road, take a look at sites selling clearance artificial grass for example.

Home improvements don’t have to be something that requires a ton of work and effort which is why you might find that laying new grass outside is going to be your best bet. And being able to wake up every morning and seeing that beautifully maintained yard is a great reminder of your choice to improve your yard and backyard space.

While the inside of your home is important to update, it’s also just as important to update the outside area of your home as well!

 

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Home & Interiors

Best home improvements to add value to your home

If you’re considering moving house in the near future, you want to make your money back — and home improvements can help you achieve this. After all, data from the Office for National Statistics has predicted that those in the UK collectively spend almost £30 billion on home improvements annually. That works out at £43 million each week.

Installing a new kitchen

kitchen

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One thing I can say from my own renovations and much research in this area is that if you are going to improve one room think about doing the kitchen. It was once thought of as just a functional room but now it really has become the showcase of the home. Especially since the trend of open plan living has really taken off. 

Look at both the price bracket of your entire home as well as the kitchen when it comes to any transformations. There’s not going to be very much value added to a house that’s valued at £170,000 if it’s fitted with a £25,000 kitchen.

If you find the right balance, installing a new kitchen can add an estimated 4.6% to the value of your property. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) echoes this statement, acknowledging that a new kitchen will make a property more appealing and can add up to four per cent to its overall value.

Installing a new bathroom

From a bespoke bathroom to an added en-suite, adding an bathroom or renovating the exisiting one can add value. Its a very oft use room in a house and certainly an important one to give consideration to.  

Although this can add so much to the value of your home, you don’t have to go over the top when it comes to design — I really think when it comes to bathrooms –  keep it simple. For me, I know I had a couple of key requirements, heated towel rail, rainfall shower and generous bath. My husband actually wanted to get rid of ours!! That was one battle I was not prepared to loose. 

Investments for your loft

If your home was built before 1975 or had a headroom of a maximum 2.3 metres — this will be perfect when it comes to converting. The Nationwide Building Society estimates that a loft conversion may be able to add up to 21 per cent onto the overall value of a home, while Nationwide indicates that adding a double bedroom to your property — to which the loft can be transformed into this suitable space — can add over 10 per cent to the property’s value.

With a lot of regulations in place, you must be familiar with the process of loft conversions to ensure that you’re meeting the requirements set out. In addition an additional consideration will be how much this work cost. We did this but unfortunately with limited headroom we converted ours into a games room for the kids. While not an additional bedroom, it is a very welcome space and the kids get a huge amount of play out of the space. 

Altering your garage

By adding a double bedroom to your home, you can add up to 10% to the value of your home according to Nationwide. If a loft conversion doesn’t work for your property, or you are looking for another room to convert, consider transforming a garage.

Research carried out found that 90% of garages in Britain do not have a car in them — and this is a waste of space which could be used for something else. I know ours is and remains an jumble of old kids toys and equipment. Each year I vow to address this and tidy it out and make it maybe a study or a music room for the kids.  Maybe next year!!

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Constructing a conservatory

The house I grew up in had the most amazing light filled conservatory.  I have so many happy memories of sitting having tea and chats with my mother in ours. They were so lucky that their back garden had such a good sun trap making for glorious morning in it. Anecdotally I have read that adding a conservatory can add from 5-10% to the value  of your home.  I do know the cost of a conservatory can vary depending on whether you go for glass or uPVC. Doing it once and doing it right is the only way to go. We love ours and 30 years later so do my parents. I think its the light and the air space but there was no compromise for us when renovating. I know I had to have one, nostalgia or not!

 

Changing your garden

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Before deciding on whether to have a conservatory or not, you must consider how much space of your garden this is going to take up. This is because a property’s outdoor space can also add substantial value. 

When switching up your garden, make sure that it remains accessible and can still be enjoyed by your family. For this, consider fitting glass doors which open out into the garden and install high-quality outdoor lighting throughout the garden.

Decking is also an easy option when it comes to garden alterations and can even add up to 2% to the homes worth.

 

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Home & Interiors

Living Spaces With a Twist: 4 Ways to Add a Touch of Artistic Flair Into Your Home Decor

armchair

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Room decor looks fine when a family is moving into the new house. But over time, rooms get to look worn, cluttered, and outdated. What can we do to make them look more stylish? How can we add a little artistic flair when the budget is limited? There are ways to make a room look updated with a small investment of money and time. Follow these 4 ways to add flair.

  1. Windows

Start with the windows. We can add or remove window treatments. We can update how the windows are dressed and that will improve the look of a room. Decorative Window Vinyl can be used on windows and on glass walls to add privacy while letting in light. These decorative films can add security and privacy to any home or office while allowing the window to function normally. And, when a person is ready for a change, the film is easily removed to be replaced by a different film pattern.

Office glass walls, entry windows, bedroom or bathroom windows, and windows into storage rooms can all be costed with window films. These films can control UV rays to avoid fading furniture and fabrics, they can add a level of security, and they can prevent a window from shattering. They come in multiple patterns, styles, and colors. Window films can also be used in conjunction with other window treatments.

Removing old shades or blinds and heavy drapery treatments can add light to a room. Use new blinds, shades, or vinyl films to control light and retain privacy. Use drapes to add drama where needed in a color contrasting the walls or blending with the walls. Consider hanging drapery panels at the ceiling. Play around with creative drapery rods for interest.

  1. Walls

The walls are the biggest opportunity to update a room on a small budget. Clean and repair the walls, then paint them a new color in soft neutral colors that make a good backdrop for the existing or new furniture. Don’t leave those newly painted walls blank. Take art or mirrors from other rooms in the home to hang on the walls for a new look. Or, purchase a few pieces of art or a new mirror. Add a bookcase or floor to ceiling shelves to act as a display for favorite books, photos, and accessories. Consider painting the bookcase or shelves to match the wall. Hang art in groups to add drama.

  1. Floors

Pic Credit Pixabay

Update the flooring for a new, fresh look. If there is money in the budget, replace old, stained carpet with new carpet, wood flooring, or laminate wood flooring. Worn wood floors can often be sanded and refinished to look like new, if not, they can be painted or covered with wall to wall carpet or carpet squares. If you must keep the old flooring, purchase a few area rugs to hide the worst areas.

  1. Accessories

If the major pieces of furniture such as sofas and chairs are being re-used, make them look new again with fun pillows and throw in contrasting colors and designs. Then add accessories that reflect family interests. Mix art and fantasy with Roman statues, figurines, candle holders, and lamps. Put your creativity to work and create a place that is cozy and functional for the family. One last thing, though.  Keep accessories to a level that adds interest but does not make the room look cluttered.

 

Home & Interiors

Garden make over time

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I have written about our ongoing renovation project which is finally drawing to a close. The focus now is getting the outside space in good shape too. I love chilling in the garden, cup of coffee in one hand and newspaper or book in the other. I find there is something therapeutic about being outside. I have been pouring over garden trends to give an idea of whats hot for 2020.  Delighted to see growing your own veg is gaining in popularity, its something that really interests me. That and the move towards a more sustainable living can only be a good thing.

We are starting with pretty much a very blank canvas so things can only improve 🙂

Having built an extension we don’t have a huge amount of space left  therefore we need to be clever about what we do with the space we have.  Key for us both is a safe outside space for the kids to play too. I would love some new garden furniture, they want a playhouse or climbing frame! Given the space constraint one may have to give. I have totally fallen for the rattan furniture, I think there is something very elegant about it. They have totally fallen for a raised playhouse with a slide and climbing frame!

I have romantic notions of a garden in full bloom with an immaculate lawn! Actually truth be told what I would really love is a dock  right down to the lake at the front of our house. I know we are truly lucky to have such an amenity on our lands.  However my husband wants to pave it all to keep it low maintenance. I fear I may loose that battle. While I have no doubt we will have some planter beds my notions of dramatic  beds of colourful arrays of flowers will have to wait another while.

One thing we both agree on is lights for the garden, solar lights would be ideal as we have the early sun in the back of the house giving them plenty light for the evening.  I love sitting out at dusk with the lights on always makes me feel like im on holidays! If only!! Another item we both agree on is a bbq – while neither of us are at Michelin star quality we love to host and would love noting more the summer party out our newly renovated back garden.

The kids showed little interest (their own bedroom aside) in the interior renovations but they are very keen to get involved in the  planning and designing of the outside space. I think that is crucial for the success of any garden particularly on with as limited space as we have is to keep the needs of all of the users in mind and try to compromise.

Ill be sure to share some before and after pictures here when it is all done. When being the operative word!! Sorry Dada Fairy! If you have any inspiration do send it my way.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post