How will the new bottle deposit scheme work?

If you were born any time before the mid-1980s, you probably remember when you could take glass bottles back to the shop and get a few pence back in return – the bottles would then be washed and used again, just like doorstep delivery milk bottles.

As long ago as 2010, the author Bill Bryson proposed a return of bottle deposits to encourage recycling and reduce littering, but this is only just becoming a reality in 2018, as government plans now seem set to go ahead.

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What to think about when planning a conservatory

The UK can thank the North Atlantic Drift, an extension of the Gulf Stream, for its temperate climate, with winters significantly warmer than you’d expect in a country this far north.

Unfortunately for sun-lovers, the summers are temperate too, and if you want to enjoy the warmth of the British summertime sun at its best, you’ll need a summer house, garden room or conservatory.

In this article we take a look at some of the things you might want to keep in mind when building a conservatory in particular, as these are typically attached to your house and serve as an extension as well as a garden room.

Brick or plastic?

You might think a brick conservatory is just a side extension on a house, but there are good reasons to consider building a partial brick wall, with the frame of the conservatory on top.

A so-called ‘dwarf wall’ gives a firm foundation and you can use the same style of brick as your house, so the conservatory looks like a permanent fixture and not just an add-on.

This also means you don’t continually need to clean the glass and uPVC down at ground level every time it rains, as there’s enough clearance to avoid mud and dirt splashing up onto it so easily.

Under foot

Give some thought to your floor, including the sub-layer base, as you may need to excavate down 150-200 mm and hire a skip to get rid of the soil and any plant matter you dig out.

A concrete base is nice and solid but can sap heat out of the floor, so consider insulation or even under floor heating to keep your conservatory cosy and usable even throughout the winter months.

Light and access

Remember your conservatory, if it is built on the back or side of your house, will effectively turn the exterior wall into an interior wall, so think about whether that will reduce the natural light in your dining room (or any other downstairs interior room adjacent to your conservatory).

Careful planning can make sure light is still allowed in through what were formerly exterior windows, or reflected in via light wells and clever use of mirrors and other bright or reflective surface finishes.

Think about access to your property – will it be inconvenient if you have to pass through your conservatory every time you go in or out? Can you make sure your home is still as secure if the conservatory is your main point of entry?

Planning permission

Finally, make sure you have planning permission, or check that you don’t need it, as is the case with some garden structures – the size of your conservatory and its size in comparison to the overall size of your garden will all have an impact on this too.

With a bit of forethought, there’s no reason why building a conservatory should be too hard, even if you decide to go down the DIY route, so you can look forward to some warm and sunny days this coming summer and beyond.

Top tips for renovating a basement

Loft conversions are one of the best known ways to add habitable space to your home, and we’ve all seen master bedrooms with en suite bathrooms that turn that attic space into a cosy place to get a good night’s sleep, right up at the top of the house.

But while most of us might think of converting the loft, many houses have a cellar too – and it’s equally likely to be missing out on its full potential if you currently only use it for storage.

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Perfect spring cleaning tips for 2018

It’s that time of year when many households’ thoughts turn to spring cleaning, and if you’re planning to give your house the onceover from top to bottom, a bit of simple preparation can help make it less of a mammoth task.

Here are just a few ways to get the best results from your spring cleaning in 2018 by combining the latest innovations in cleaning products and microfibre cloths with good old-fashioned remedies and elbow grease.

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What you need to know about renovating a loft

If you have a decent amount of loft space that has only ever been used for storing the Christmas tree and gathering dust, a loft conversion might be worth considering as a way to add living space and value to your home.

Back in the summer of 2015, Sainsbury’s Bank commissioned some research and found that 31% of estate agents consider loft conversions as one of the best value-adding home improvements, on a par with a new bathroom or even a single-storey extension.

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