Save on Improvement Costs

Often when you’re planning a home improvement project cost becomes an issue. The small things add up, and before you know it you feel like the hardware store is your home away from home. While there’s no sure way to make your projects cheaper and easier, there are some simple tactics you can use to make the plan go smoother and lower the costs while you’re at it.

First of all, make detailed lists of what you’ll need for the job at hand. For example, if you’re just painting and refreshing your kitchen do a few online searches for materials you might need. Make a list and do a cost estimate to see if it’s feasible to drive to a store further away to save on prices. Often the lower price is a misnomer because of the fuel and time spent on the trip.

Check for savings on the things you need and want for your project. Use a site such as Groupon to find discounts and coupons from every type of store and service you can imagine. Groupon represents merchants who carry everything from vitamins to hammers and all in between, and often there are savings to be found right in your neighborhood.

Double check your supplies before you start the job. Make sure you’re not going to run out of paint or tape and that you have rollers and scrapers on hand. Cutting down on trips equals cutting down on time, and that means money saved.

Look for ways to cut the project into two. For example, you can paint the walls one month and paint the trim the next, then order new handles for the cabinets and your matching towels the third month. Just because you want to renew a room doesn’t mean it has to be completed all at once on one paycheck!

The main point to remember is when you think it can’t be done, take a break and think outside the box. Often you just need to step back and see the situation from a different angle in order to find a simple solution. With a bit of planning you’ll find the job goes faster and won’t cost as much as you projected in the beginning!

Garden trends to look out for this summer


With the warmer weather coming, focus shifts from inside to outside as people start to look at their gardens and how to maximise the space for their needs. Whether the garden is used for entertaining, family activities or just unwinding and relaxing, having a mixture of different areas is key to creating a space the whole family can enjoy.

Garden Lights

Here, garden specialists Oeco Garden Rooms  predicts some of the trends to look out for this summer and how to utilise them in your outdoor space.

garden furniture

Garden Layout

The layout of the garden is key to creating a multiple use space that family and friends can enjoy all year round. Raised flower beds and hedge rows are popular ways of adding structure to the garden, while creating selected areas for different activities; these areas can be adapted at different times of the year depending on your needs.

Incorporating natural elements such rocks, boulders and bushes are also a great way to create structure while retaining a more natural look in the garden.

Bright and bold colours

Neutral colours may be trending in the home interior scene, but in the garden it’s bright and bold colours. Some great summer flowers to provide that wow factor are Gloriosa Daisy and Peonies. With its bright yellow and orange petals with a deep brown centre, Gloriosa Daisy can grow up to 3.5ft high and is perfect for the British climate. Gloriosa Daisy attracts all kinds of wildlife into the garden including butterflies, bees and even hummingbirds.

Flowering between mid-spring and early summer, the fragrant Peony is available in a range of shades from white to pink and deep purple. They require very little maintenance and can live for over 100 years; the secret to having a long blossoming peony is careful planting, but once established are happy to grow undisturbed for many years.

Decorating the garden

Colour is not just used in the flowers of the garden, in fact one of the biggest trends this year will be colourful garden furniture and garden structures. Using pops of colour with your garden furniture will create an interesting space that will fit in with the character of the garden.

Painting or staining garden sheds and garden rooms creates a focal point in which the whole garden can be built around. While adding bright colours to garden structures help them to stand out, staining garden fences a dark colour allows the foliage to become centre stage, enhancing the natural colours of plants and flowers creating contrast throughout the space.

Garden lighting

LED lighting has changed the way we light our gardens forever; not only are they more efficient and last longer than traditional lighting, LED lights are now available in a range of different configurations, meaning that there is a lighting scheme for every garden.

Café lighting and extendable light chains are on trend this year, especially when lighting a patio area to create that Mediterranean feel. Solar lights are also an efficient way to light up walkways and specific areas of the garden.

LED lights are now available in a range of colours and can even be controlled using a smartphone, great for adding ambience to the area when entertaining.