5 Top Tips For Being A Happier Renter

renting-tips, homes-in-hampshire, homes-to-rent

Nobody dreams of renting a house forever - but if this is the situation you're in, you may as well make the most of it, says Abi Jackson.

Whether you’re a fully-fledged member of Generation Rent, or a family for whom the property ladder is still a step out of reach, renting can sometimes feel frustrating.

It’s your home – except, well, it’s not really, is it? Somebody else is the boss of it, which – while there are some pros to this – means there are plenty of less than ideal cons, too.

But, as somebody who’s been renting for two decades, I’ve learnt (often the hard way) that there are certain things you can do to help make living as a rent-paying tenant the best it can possibly be.

Here are my five top tips…

  1. Be on good terms with your landlord/letting agent

When you’re looking for a place to rent, remember you’re vetting the people you’ll be renting with/from, as much as the property itself. Mutual trust and respect, and an ability to communicate, will count towards a lot.

There might be times when things go wrong and need to be fixed, fast. A broken toilet/tap/boiler, for instance. The good thing is, where a plumbing disaster due to wear-and-tear or technical issues is concerned (or any similar scenario), your landlord will be picking up the bill. The sometimes not so good thing is, you’ll be relying on a third party to sort things out. Now, this doesn’t automatically mean you’ve got a headache on your hands, but it might be a bit of a nuisance – and you’ll be doing yourself a big favour if you get on good communication terms with your landlord/letting agent from day one, rather than waiting until something ‘goes wrong’ to make contact.

  1. Streamline, streamline, streamline

It’s often said that our European cousins are much better at the whole renting game than us, being far more likely to rent their ‘forever home’, while us UK renters might find ourselves moving a lot (I stopped counting at 13), and it sucks. The good thing though? You’ll get so sick of packing and unpacking and losing money to removal vans (and cramming all your worldly belongings into one small bedroom, if you’re sharing a house), you’ll reach a point where you just don’t care for ‘stuff’ any more. Marie Kondo ain’t got nothing on me: I saw the light after move number 11 and waved goodbye to clutter for good. Do yourself a favour and get strict about the ‘stuff’ you let into your life. The next move will be a lot easier and, without even really trying, you’ll be living a less consumerist lifestyle – and will have more money to spend on experiences (tick, tick, tick).

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  1. Give yourself reasons to get out of the house

Live in a shared house? No matter how great your housemates are, there will be times when you desperately wish you could afford your own place. Plus, self-comparison is part of the human condition, and if there are moments of mild (or severe) despair, when you’re wondering how you’ve not managed to bag that mortgage yet, while everyone around you is upgrading their kitchen – you’re not alone. Until that day comes for you, though, you need to make the best of the situation you’re in now – and embracing life outside your four walls can play a big part in this. Make dates with friends, join a club, go for walks, volunteer in your local community (no seriously, try it). Your life will be richer, your mental wellbeing will benefit, and you’ll find yourself seething about coming home to an already-occupied sofa a lot less.

  1. Make your bed king

You might not own the bed frame, or the walls around it – but that does not mean you don’t own the right to a decent night’s sleep. Good sleep is the foundation of so many thing (your health, your work performance, your overall zest for life and all the people in it) – so prioritise it and do your best to make it happen. Renting doesn’t have to mean putting up with a crap, wafer-thin mattress or not-quite-right bedding. If your landlord doesn’t feel the same way, save up and invest in the best mattress you can afford (it’ll be some of the best money you’ve ever spent), and a pillow you look forward to sinking your head into every night. Treat yourself to some fabulous bed linen too; as far as ‘home purchases’ go, you can pick up some great designs at reasonable prices, and you’ll get way more pleasure from it than a TV upgrade.

renting-tips, homes-in-hampshire, homes-to-rent
  1. Find ways to get personal

One of the most frequently-cited phrases among us long-term renters: ‘I just want to be able to hang whatever pictures I want on the walls!’ There’s a general assumption that landlords don’t want tenants to make their house too much of a home (by banging nails into walls, that sort of thing). Have you actually asked your landlord about this though? There’s no harm in asking.

Even if nails are out, there are lots of other ways you can personalise a space without permanently affecting the actual walls or structure. Get creative and remember that little touches can make a big difference. Everybody needs some home comforts, even if it’s just a throw from Matalan, a few coloured utensils in the kitchen that feel more like ‘you’, or a stack of books on the coffee table that light a spark every time your eye catches them. You may not be putting down permanent roots in this property, but right now, it’s home – so don’t underestimate the importance of making it feel that way.

If you want to find our more information about renting through McCarthy Holden, then call the lettings team on 01252 622550 or follow https://www.mccarthyholden.co.uk/letting/ 

Almost the price of a house

btw i8 photo

With the average house price in the UK being around £226,000, the luxury car market appears to be going in a similar upwards direction.

Jack Evans, Press Association motoring correspondent road tests the new BMW i8 Roadster, which is thought to have a guide price around £136,000.

The drop-top version of BMW’s instantly recognisable hybrid sports car is now on sale. Jack Evans heads out to Valencia to see what it’s like.

What is it?

That’s right, it’s finally here. After years of teasers, reveals and promises, we’re finally behind the wheel of the BMW i8 Roadster. A soft-top version of the iconic hybrid sports car, the Roadster is aimed at those who want the wind in their hair when piloting one of the most futuristic looking vehicles available.

It’s also able to offer genuinely low running costs and emits next to nothing, but can that help the i8 Roadster to top the bill when it comes to performance drop-tops? Let’s find out.

What’s new?

The biggest change here is, of course, the lack of a roof. BMW has whipped off the i8’s top and, because of its predominantly carbon-fibre underbody, it hasn’t had to laden the car down with additional strengthening.

That means the Roadster’s weight stays down, and as a result it’s just 60kg heavier than its hard-top brethren. The roof mechanism itself is clever too, taking just 15 seconds to raise or lower at speeds of up to 31mph. The exterior of the car has also been lightly breathed upon to freshen its looks, though we’ll come to those in more depth later.

What’s under the bonnet?

The i8 Roadster makes use of exactly the same powertrain as the regular i8, so you’ll find a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine linked to an electric motor. The combustion engine powers the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, while the electric motor powers the front wheels through a two-speed automatic ‘box.

BMW has also increased the car’s battery cell capacity, so while you still get 369bhp and 570Nm of torque, the Roadster can still travel up to 33 miles on electric power alone. Both units combine to offer the best performance possible, with the electric motor filling in the gaps of the petrol’s power delivery. Thanks to this, 0-60mph takes just 4.4 seconds, and it can a top speed of 155mph too.

What’s it like to drive?

Usually when converting a regular hardtop into a convertible, you’d expect a significant penalty to the way the car drives. Lopping the roof off usually requires additional bracing to stop the car from flexing too much, and this adds weight, therefore blunting the vehicle’s performance. However, as we mentioned, the i8 Roadster hasn’t suffered too much with the conversion, with a negligible amount of weight added. This means that it steers just as keenly as the Coupe, and manages the weight it does have impressively well through the corners.

Push the i8 Roadster a little harder and it does fall into understeer, the front tyres scrubbing wide with little effort. We’d also like the brakes to be sharper; currently they feel underpowered and vague, leaving you guessing as to how much pedal force you need apply at any given moment.

btw i8 photo

How does it look?

The regular i8 still looks like nothing else on the road, despite having been around for some time now. The Roadster, in our eyes at least, looks even better – particularly in the ‘E-Copper’ colour our test car was finished in. The bubbles behind driver and passenger have been accentuated, giving it the look of a 1950’s racer, while the two-tone alloy wheels fitted to our test car stood out too.

The front of the car has benefited from some additional design touches too. There are revised air ducts finished in gloss black, while the headlight’s look has been updated as well. It’s still the i8 motoring fans know and love, just turned up a little bit more.

What’s it like inside?

The i8 Roadster’s interior remains largely unchanged over the Coupes, though it does benefit from the addition of a few new colour and material combinations. It’s still a well-made place to be, albeit one that is starting to feel its age a touch now; the screen, though clear, isn’t quite as pin-sharp as rival systems while the multifunction steering wheel hasn’t got the features you’ll find on other current BMWs.

The Roadster, does however, have practicality on its side. Though soft-tops are usually the less spacious option, this i8 packs more luggage space than its hard-top stablemate. In fact, you’ll find 188 litres of storage space in the Roadster – close to 35 litres more than the Coupe.

What’s the spec like?

Prices for the i8 Roadster start at £124,735, there’s plenty of equipment included as part of that base price. You get 20-inch alloy wheels, for instance, and full leather upholstery too, while a suite of safety assistance systems such as forward collision warning, city collision mitigation and high beam assistant all help to keep the Roadster as safe as possible.

It can be easy to ramp up the car’s price however. Apple CarPlay, for instance, is a £235 optional extra – which seems a little mean given it is standard on the majority of hatchbacks currently on sale today. Our test car weighed in at a hefty £135,075, with options such as LaserLight headlights (£5,100) contributing to its rather chunky price tag.

Verdict

BMW already claims that the Roadster will outsell the Coupe three to one – and we’d we can already see that being the case. There’s little reason why you wouldn’t go for the soft top; it’s quick, great to look at and its roof mechanism is simple and easy to use. The hybrid powertrain keeps running costs to a minimum, yet despite there’s a whole lot of performance accessible under your right foot. It’s an impressive car alright, and one you’d likely never tire of driving.

Facts at a glance

  • Model as tested: BMW i8 Roadster
  • Price: £135,810 (E171,390)
  • Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol linked to electric motor
  • Power: 369bhp
  • Torque (Nm): 570Nm
  • Max speed (mph): 155
  • 0-60mph: 4.4
  • MPG: 141.9
  • Emissions (g/km): 46

Footnote: Alternatively, at McCarthy Holden why not search for a fine property investment.

How To Turn Up The Heat With The Tropical Homes Trend

interior design photo

For a different house interior design, birds, wildlife and foliage all star in the latest decor must-haves. Gabrielle Fagan reveals how to style them up.

Hot weather may make you yearn to escape to a tropical paradise but if that’s beyond the budget, you can easily create your own exotic sanctuary.

Combine vibrant shades and bold palm prints with a sprinkling of tropical touches – it’s one of the easiest ways turn up the style dial in your interior, and add a little sizzle to your space.

So, put away your passport and pick one of these sun-kissed looks…

Wing it with tropical birds

“Exotic birds – parrots, flamingos and toucans – are winging their way into our homes, as they’re the perfect way to introduce the colour we’re craving, to give rooms a punchy personality,” says Nadia McCowan Hill, style advisor for online interiors specialist, Wayfair. “Why not flirt with this feathered trend with bold bed linen, cushions, wall art or some eye-catching glassware?

“Alternatively, give an unloved space (such as your downstairs loo or the inside of a cupboard) a quirky makeover, with a striking splash of flamingo or parrot-decorated wallpaper, ” she suggests.

Walk on the wild side with animal prints

“Opting for safari-themed homeware is another sure-fire way to make your interiors grrrr-eat!” says McCowan Hill.

“As well as walking on the wild side with animal images and faux heads, add some bold contrast with bold zebra stripes for a pouffe or chair, and dress a floor with fur print rugs.”

interior design photo

Pick a leafy pattern

“Lush leafy patterns are another easy way to bring this hot summer look home, because palms are evocative of far-away destinations,” notes McCowan Hill.

“For a fresh take on this summer favourite, choose a classic print with a tropical twist, and accessorise around it. That way, you can ramp up the effect to suit your taste. Metallic touches will add a hint of luxury, which will contrast well with a pared-back setting.”

If you really want to create a sultry atmosphere, wall specialists Pixers has a fab Art Illustration With Palm Tree Doodle mural, £301 (though prices start from £29), which would have real impact on a feature wall in a living area.

interior design photo

By Gabrielle Fagan, Press Association

8 Reasons To Get Solar Panels On Your Home

house with solar panels

Could your property value be enhanced and the house become more saleable be with the benefit of solar panels and reduced energy bills? Putting property values top one side, in this article by Lisa Salmon (Press Association), she examines some good reasons to consider a solar panel installation.

Sunlight is free, so why not harness its energy through solar panels on your home?

Most people would love to save money on their domestic energy bills, and the summer is the ideal time to do it.

And that’s not just because you don’t need the heating on. It’s because all that sunlight is producing huge amounts of energy, which can be harnessed if you have solar panels on your home.

While a decade ago solar energy provided virtually no power, around 840,000 homes in the UK now have solar panels – also known as photovoltaics (PV) – and the renewable energy source regularly generates around a fifth of the country’s electricity for hours on summer days. The spell of hot, dry summer weather has helped break several solar power-generation records, and recently even very briefly eclipsed gas power stations, as the UK’s top source of electricity.

However, the solar energy boom may already have reached it’s peak, as solar panel installations have flatlined recently because financial incentives for householders to get them installed have been slashed dramatically, and will stop completely next year with no sign of a replacement scheme.

But green campaigners desperately want solar power to keep its foothold in the energy market, and point out there are still many reasons to consider installing solar panels on homes.

property roof with solar panel

1 Solar panels can save you money

The Energy Saving Trust (EST), an independent consumer body which helps householders and businesses save energy, says the amount saved depends on several factors – where your home is, what direction your roof faces, how big a system you install, when you install it, and how much of the energy produced you’re able to use yourself. For a typical 4kW system in the south of England, you could make around £275 a year in feed-in tariff generation payments and export payments.

Use the EST’s online Solar Energy Calculator (energysavingtrust.org.uk) to assess what financial benefits you may get from installing a solar PV system.

You’ll also save on electricity bills, says the EST. The amount you save depends on how much energy you use in a day when your solar panels are generating energy. If you’re usually out all day, you’ll only save around £90 a year on your bills. However, if you tend to be at home, you could save around £220 a year. Including the benefits from tariffs, this would give you a total saving of around £365-£495, depending on your lifestyle.

Caitlin Bent, home energy expert for the EST, says: “Solar panels are most suited to people who are at home a lot during the day, who can really take advantage of using free electricity when the sun is shining.”

2 You get paid for energy you produce

As well as saving on electricity bills, you can make money in two other ways with solar panels. Firstly, through the feed-in tariff, you’re paid for every unit of energy you generate. The feed-in tariff will close to new applicants in April 2019, although payments will continue for 20 years from the date of installation for those who invest in solar panels before April.

Secondly, you can make money via the export tariff, through which you’re paid for any energy you don’t use but send back to the grid. However, because export isn’t metered for domestic properties, the government assumes you’ll export 50% of the energy you produce. This means regardless of how much you use, you’ll be paid for 50% of your generation.

3 You’re helping to save the planet

Solar electricity is green renewable energy, meaning it doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save around 1.2 to 1.7 tonnes of carbon per year. The EST says: “By generating clean, green electricity you reduce your home’s carbon emissions. Plus, any solar energy you don’t use will be fed into the grid, so it can be used by someone else.”

4 Costs have fallen

A typical 4kW solar PV system now costs around £5,500 – £6,800 on average, according to government figures. When the feed-in tariffs began in 2010, costs were as high as £12,000-£14,000.

5 You can store solar energy on batteries

Batteries can now be purchased by householders to enable them to consume rather than export their solar electricity, which makes more financial sense.

6 It’s possible to use solar tiles if you prefer

Solar tiles are designed to be used in place of ordinary roof tiles. However, a system of solar tiles will typically cost about twice as much as an equivalent panel system. Therefore, solar tile systems aren’t normally as cost-effective as panel systems, and are usually only considered where panels aren’t appropriate for aesthetic or planning reasons.

7 They’re low maintenance

Solar panels require relatively little maintenance, but you may need to wash the surface occasionally, and make sure trees don’t begin to overshadow them, to make sure they continue working at their most efficient. Debris is more likely to accumulate on ground-mounted panels, and roof panels that are tilted at 15 degrees or more will be cleaned by rainfall. Panels should last 25 years or more, but their inverter is likely to need replacing at some point sooner, at a cost of about £800.

8 They come with a guarantee

“The performance of solar panels will degrade slightly over time,” says Bent, “but most come with a guarantee of at least 25 years.”

If you are a house buyer looking for a home with solar panels, why not undertake a property search from our home page

Country House For Sale In Odiham Preview

Property For Sale In Odiham Hampshire

Our Odiham branch will be showcasing this country house next week, so here is a preview.

This is a substantial house of immense character in grounds of around 6.5 to 7 acres (not yet checked or measured), now available on the open market for the first time in over 40 years.

Originally designed by the renowned architect Herbert Pool for his own occupation in circa 1935 and extended in the 1950s, the generous proportions of this home extend to about 4,600 sq. ft. with the added benefit of the principal rooms enjoying a southerly aspect over the beautiful grounds to the rear.

Within this significant space there is a self-contained wing with a potential family room / staff quarters.

This property is set in beautiful park like grounds, brushing shoulders with lovely Hampshire countryside and less than a mile from the picturesque village of Odiham, rich in period charm with local shops and restaurants.

property photo rear elevation

The impressive oak front doors open lead to a fine reception hall, where the main stairs lead to the first floor. There is an elegant drawing room with wonderful views over the grounds to the rear, a morning room which opens onto the terrace, a substantial dining room, a garden room, and a kitchen/breakfast room with a converted gas-fired four door AGA and electric Neff oven and Neff ceramic hob. There is a seating alcove. Beyond the kitchen there is a secondary staircase to the first floor. A door leads to the former servant’s quarters with a sitting room, bedroom and bathroom.

The master bedroom with triple aspect windows is approached past a dressing room with an extensive range of wardrobes. There are six further bedrooms, one of which is currently fitted as a study.

property for sale hall photo

In location terms this is special, and benefits from ease of access to London, Heathrow and the M3 / M4 motorways, and of course towns such as Farnham, Reading, Guildford and Basingstoke. Odiham Common is nearby as well as some excellent walks into the adjoining countryside and along the Basingstoke Canal providing wonderful towpath walks.

Telephone 01256 704851 for more details or to a arrange a viewing.

Odiham High Street View
Photo by John Joe

Property for sale in Odiham preview

Property for sale in Hampshire.

If your leaving #London or any other city to escape to the country, then do take a look at this property preview of a character home set in rural Hampshire; due to the open market soon with an anticipated guide of £1.1m.

Located on the outskirts of Odiham Village and surrounded by open countryside, this is an attractive converted and extended former stables, which occupies a plot of approximately an acre.

The Stables was converted by the current owners 25 years ago, and the photos and video created by John Joe showcase this beautiful four bedroom detached family home which has an abundance of character throughout, including exposed beams and brickwork as well as wood burning stoves in both the main lounge and family room.

kitchen photo

Upon entering the property you are met by an entrance hall which provides access to the living room and family room, both of which are double aspect. At the back of the property is the spacious country fit open plan kitchen/dining/family room with double doors leading to an outside patio area and the generous grounds. There is also access to the downstairs cloakroom and separate utility/boot room with side access to the garden.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms, with the master bedroom benefitting from an en-suite bathroom, and a family bathroom. All bedrooms have built in wardrobes and there is additional storage on the landing with a linen cupboard and space in the eaves.

The property is accessed via a double five bar gate which takes you through to the gravel driveway providing parking for a number of vehicles. There is also a detached double garage which has the added benefit of an office space on the first floor.

garden view

The private garden is mainly laid to lawn with a number of mature shrubs and trees, as well as an area of orchard. There is a large stone patio area, ideal for alfresco dining, which is the perfect place to take in the adjacent countryside views. Additionally there is a summer house and a shed that is located next to the greenhouse and vegetable patch.

Odiham is ideally located for access to London via Hook mainline station along with M3 access via junction 5. There are a number of shops and restaurants, a thriving cricket club and tennis club with excellent schools also on offer. Nearby towns such as Farnham, Fleet, Basingstoke and Reading are a short drive away and provide further shopping and recreational facilities.

Contact our Odiham branch on 01256 704851

photo property for sale hampshire odiham

The Grow-your-own Perks Of A Heatwave

Fewer Pests, Earlier Crops And Tastier Pickings! As allotment holders struggle to keep their crops watered, expert Mike Thurlow offers 7 plus points about home-growing in a heatwave.

garden-drought-heatwave-tips-property-hampshire

The long, dry summer may have been a struggle for allotment holders battling to keep up with watering – but hot weather is also keeping some garden nuisances at bay.

As National Allotments Week beckons, horticultural expert and allotment holder Mike Thurlow, of the National Allotment Society, says there are some advantages of a hot, sunny summer to ‘grow your own’ gangs nationwide, provided you keep your crops well watered.

1. Fewer aphids

“The heatwave seems to have slowed the insect population down. On the open ground, there haven’t been as many aphids. We had a short burst of greenfly earlier on in the year, which came to nothing, and not much since then,” he observes. “Just be aware that aphids have a second burst of activity towards the end of summer, so be prepared.”

2.Slugs have gone underground

“We haven’t had as many slug and snail problems this year, as they’re likely to have gone underground, but once it cools, there will be more, so you need to be vigilant when the rain arrives.”

slugs-gardening-property-hampshire

3. Less blight

If you water erratically, your tomatoes may still succumb to blossom end rot (where they turn brown at the base and split). But the dryness of the weather will prevent blight, says Thurlow, because blight thrives in humid, damp weather, when the spores become mobile.

Water your crops directly at soil level, taking the rose off the watering can if necessary, and give tomatoes and other plants one good soaking that you know will last a couple of days. When watering potatoes and tomatoes, try to keep the foliage as dry as you can.

4. Earlier crops

Gardeners should be enjoying the fruits of their labour earlier than usual because of the heatwave, he says. Harvest your crops young before they bolt (set seed) and produce flowers, which many of them will be doing early because of the hot weather.

“If it looks good enough to eat, then cut it, because the next day it might run to seed,” Thurlow advises.

5. Cut and come again

If you cut crops early, some may return for a second harvest, he predicts.

“Peas may have gone to seed prematurely, but if you cut them down they will regrow, so it may be worth considering leaving them in the ground – which you should do anyway, as they are a nitrogen source – but once the cooler weather kicks in and you keep the watering going, you may well catch a late crop.

garden-peas-property-hampshire

“With brassicas – such as broccoli and winter cabbage – if you cut them and leave the stump in the ground, you get little florets coming off those. Then come October, you might have four little cabbages coming off that stump.”

6. Tastier crops

Provided watering is kept up, sun lovers (such as peppers) may have a more intense flavour, says Thurlow.

“We may notice that we have more intense flavour in some produce, because they’ll ripen in the heatwave.”

7. Early sowing opportunities

“Start sowing early varieties of carrot, beetroot and lettuce. Water along a drill incorporating seaweed in the water. You never know how long it will be until the autumn weather.

Plants which you sow now – brassicas such as spring cabbage and some kale – may have enough time to become established if the warm weather continues, to see them through winter.

Other plants such as Florence fennel, which would normally be sown later in the season, could be sown now and, although smaller, the bulbs may be ready by late October or November.

gardening-fennel-summer-2018

Prioritise crops which will take you through the winter. Brassicas will have been stressed with this weather – Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and winter cabbage. If you have crops which normally take longer to mature, harvest them while they are young.

“One of the major difficulties now is going to be your overwintering crops,” says Thurlow. “You need to get them into a position where they will survive the winter without running to seed.

“It’s not too late to sow spring cabbage. Just have a go. If the heat continues, we may have enough growing time left into the autumn where we can get plants into a condition where they will survive the winter.”

National Allotments Week runs from August 13-19. For details visit nsalg.org.uk.

Find out if your garden is adding value to your home, with a free no obligation valuation and market insight this summer.

11 Ways To Give Your Garden a Burglar and Thief proof Makeover

curtain-planting-a-garden-property

Designers have teamed up with the police to create the ideal ‘crime prevention garden’. Hannah Stephenson finds out more.

You may have locked your doors and windows, installed a burglar alarm and prompted neighbours to keep a watch over your home while you’re on holiday – but have you considered how the style and design of your garden could help deter thieves too?

At this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (on until July 8), designers Lucy Glover and Jacqueline Poll have a crime prevention garden that is both stunning and secure, a collaboration between crime prevention initiative Secured By Design with Capel Manor College and the Metropolitan Police.

The striking urban garden features green security measures, such as columnar trees and prickly plants, but also a calming atmosphere and soft relaxed planting, including beautiful perennials and grasses.

“Some 75% of all burglaries across the Met are via a rear garden. Those with criminal intention are looking for opportunity,” says PC Leslie Gipps, a Designing Out Crime Officer with the Metropolitan Police.

“What we do in Secured By Design is put in those layers which make it harder for the criminal to spend any real time trying to break in. They will just leave that garden and go for one that’s simpler.”

Want to add some crime-preventing layers to your garden? Here, the garden designers and Met officers recommend 11 ways to help deter criminals from targeting your property…

1 Prickly plants

Create a hedge of prickly plants, such as Osmanthus, pyracantha or berberis, next to boundary fencing, which can act as a layer to deter thieves.

In the crime prevention garden, the designers used Osmanthus heterophyllus, a shrub with sharply toothed leaves (similar to holly) under the windows, Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea, with stems that bear spiky spines, and pyracantha, a dense spiky shrub which is great grown as a hedge. Pyracantha will grow in any soil and is fast-growing.

2 Green screens

Boundary fences can be the first line of defence, and a good bet is a wire mesh which you can adorn with ivy or other ‘green screen’ – these look pretty but also act as a good deterrent. After all, a wire fence is unlikely to take someone’s weight.

Gipps explains: “By attempting the fence, thieves would draw attention to themselves and possibly leave their DNA behind. They know that, and can see it from the other side of the street. So it’s crime prevention through environmental design.”

burgular-proof-property-metal-fence-and-prickly-plant-in-hampshire

3 Dusk-’til-dawn lighting

Install dusk-’til-dawn low-voltage lights to ensure visibility in the garden at night. Stone effect solar lights will provide additional lighting and sculptural interest throughout the garden. “If your garden is lit through the hours of darkness, people with criminal intention don’t want to come into a lit environment,” says Gipps.

Householders often ignore sensor lights, thinking they’ve been set off by a fox or a cat. “Ten-watt LED lights are fine. We prefer white LED lighting, but you can choose a less bright option,” Gipps adds.

Gravel around the house

Gravel is noisy when walked on, so having it around your property means you can hear any uninvited visitors approaching the house. It also alerts dogs.

gravel-is-noisy-when-walked-on-so-a-good-property-burgular-deterrant

5 Curtain planting

“The aim is to have rich colour in the garden but not big solid shrubs that somebody can hide behind, so ideally grasses and other plants you can see through,” says Glover.

Light planting, such as grasses and ‘curtain planting’ with Verbena bonariensis and Sanguisorba canadensis, allows the homeowner to see through the planting.

6 Narrow trees

If you want to include architectural interest, use columnar-shaped trees, which are more difficult for intruders to hide behind and also difficult to climb.

7 Roses

Thorny roses can be used to great effect by training them over pergolas and other supports, which thieves might otherwise climb. The designers used rotating bars on their pergola to prevent thieves climbing. Roses will also give you scent and colour.

roses-burgular-deterrant-in-garedn-design

8 Green roof

Consider a green roof on your shed featuring spiky plants. The designers have planted a swathe of sedum on their shed roof, interplanted with aloe, a sharper specimen. Any intruder putting their hands on the shed roof would get a handful of prickles.

9 Shed security

Don’t leave tools outside, but also make it difficult for thieves to gain access to the shed, where you store them. Gipps explains: “The typical garden shed will come with a cheap padlock. We advocate that you have two locks – one a third up, the other a third down – with robust hinges and secure high-quality padlocks. You need robust hinges, coach-bolted through the fabric of the door.”

10 Secure garden pots

Thieves also use garden pots to break windows to gain entry. The best way to stop this is by using really heavy, large pots which are very difficult to lift. Keeping your plants well watered will help keep them heavy too.

11 Mark your property

Put your own forensic code on your garden items. Gipps recommends SmartWater (www.smartwater.com), a near-invisible, traceable liquid which gives your equipment its own unique forensic code, allowing items to be traced back to you, and the criminals back to the crime.

The code is registered to your home and stored on the SmartWater database. Once applied, it lasts for a minimum of five years, enabling stolen goods, if recovered, to be more easily identified and returned to the owner.

Diarmuid Gavin: 10 do’s and don’ts for designing gardens

diarmuid gavin 10 tips for designing gardens

The TV gardener talks to Hannah Stephenson about his own mistakes over the years, and how others can avoid pitfalls in their plots.

Diarmuid Gavin admits even he’s made some faux pas in his time – especially when he looks back at some of the dramatic changes he made to people’s plots in his early TV make-over shows.

“There were a couple of times when, with the exuberance of getting a chance to create a garden and being given a budget, you put everything in but the kitchen sink,” recalls the Irish Garden designer and TV presenter, 54. “Garden design and gardening is definitely a craft that you learn as you go along.”

So, what are the most common design mistakes people make?

“People are too fussy with line or shape, or it might be with using too many materials. Simplicity is often lost,” says Gavin. “People also tend to use too many plants. Why plant three trees, when one will do? There can be too much colour competing for attention.”

Here, Gavin, who is judging the Young Landscapers Award at this year’s BBC Gardeners’ World Live show, offers some top tips on the dos and don’ts of garden design..

1. Don’t leave plants in your car
“If you leave plants in the boot after a trip to the garden centre, you may find them wilted and light-starved a few days later. This is also true with packets of seeds. A huge percentage of those purchased remain in foil-wrapped comfort and don’t make it into the warming soil. So, prepare the ground before you shop and when you get home from a trip to the garden centre, don’t just reminisce about the tea and apple pie you had in the swish cafe – while your plants sweat in a sauna!”

2. Don’t upset the neighbours
“Check if you need planning permission for projects. I once I created a courtyard garden in Birmingham with an in-built lift. The terrace rose at the flick of a switch to reveal a subterranean room for evening entertainment. A neighbour complained, the council got involved, and the sleek paving was no longer permitted to rise.”

dont go ott on colour

3. Don’t go OTT on colour
“Be careful about the colours you choose when painting walls, fence panels or sheds. Cobalt blue may look good in an exotic garden in Marrakech but on the yard wall of a two-up-two-down with a distinct lack of warming sunshine, it may feel a little forlorn. I’m responsible for many awards of garish candy pink due to an obsession with the work of Mexican architect, Luis Barragan.”

4. Don’t use too many different stones
“If you’re planning on a hard landscaping project, keep in mind that less can be more. There’s so much choice of natural stone and paving products available in DIY stores and patio centres that temptation can lead you to purchase a few different styles of brick or slab. Combining a number of different colours and finishes can be tricky. For greater coherence with a design, stick to one product or theme.”

5. Do find out your soil type
“The most important thing about gardening is understanding your soil and putting plants where they are going to be happy. Most of us don’t do that. Digging and understanding what the soil needs to make it better is vital. There’s no point putting rodgersias or primulas in a dry part of the garden.”

6. Do pair up clashing colours
“I like clashing colours, and when we did that in my mechanical garden (Chelsea, 2016), I tried to go against the norm, so I’d have pastel pinks but then I’d also try a bomb of geums in tangerine, just to explode it. Whatever statement you’re making, make it! I don’t believe in the whole colour wheel thing or any of these rules. We’d all end up with gardens looking exactly the same if we follow them.”

do make use of green

7. Do make use of green
“If you are going for a bling garden in which you want every colour in the sun, you want the Smarties pack, absolutely fantastic, but we undervalue green. I find greenery really cooling and beautiful. Don’t underestimated the effects that you can get from the contrast of shades and the shape of leaves, because that can be beautiful too. Then work some colour in to highlight certain areas.”

do give yourself room on your patio

8. Do give yourself room on your patio
“Lay out a table and six chairs around it before you lay your patio, and understand the amount of circulation you’ll need. We are beginning to live outdoors on patios and decks, whenever the weather’s in our favour.”

9. Do try to hide paths
“You need good pathways, although I was always a devil for not putting in pathways and making people walk across lawns, because pathways always dominated my sight lines. I do have a path issue. In certain areas, where they create very strong lines, I don’t like them, so hide or disguise them if you can.”

10. Do plant next to the house
“Have a little bit of planting right next to the base of the house, taking into account your drainage and that you don’t want water seeping into the brickwork. But planting close to the house will soften the building. You can do it with contemporary architectural plants, using topiary such as buxus in a modernist house. In a suburban house, you can use something quite gentle, like billowing lavender, with climbers shooting up in-between. They soften the landscape and the view looking back to the house from the garden. If you can’t plant next to the house, use pots and containers and install an irrigation system.”

BBC Gardeners’ World Live takes place at the NEC Birmingham from June 14-17. For more information, see bbcgardenersworldlive.com

At Home With L’homme: 3 decor themes for style-conscious chaps

ideal houses for sale for men

Man caves have come a very long way. Gabrielle Fagan reveals the trends to tap into now.

The days of men taking a backseat when it comes to decorating are long gone. In fact, they’re now well and truly in the driving seat when it comes to their own homes, and often still ensuring their taste is reflected in shared spaces.

They’re design-literate, and just as keen to show off their branded homeware as they are the designer contents of their wardrobes, and their desire for relaxing, practical spaces is in step with the whole trend for functional homes, where character and personality shine through.

So call it what you will – man cave, bachelor pad, or boy base – there’s no excuse for that men’s room not looking stylish any more, with an array of cool kit and furnishings now designed with men in mind. Here are three style personality types, and inspiration for getting the look…

houses for sale ideal for males

Mr Cool & Contemporary
Less is more for this man and he demands high design and quality for everything, from the contents of his wardrobe, to his car and his decor.

Measured and analytical, he’ll put endless research into sourcing furnishings and furniture that’s just right, and regard them as investments which will turn his home into a space worth bragging about.

“Masculine-inspired design is all about sleek, subtle sophistication,” says Sivan Metzer, furniture buyer, Heal’s. “To get the look, opt for a careful combination of clean lines and sturdy materials in a neutral colour scheme, for a masculine effect that’s as elegant as it is functional. Strengthen this streamlined aesthetic, created by simple, straight lines, by accentuating the rich pigmented tones of polished oak, with details like bright brass or copper finishes.”

She recommends deep grey for a room’s base colour, to conjure a “an easy-on-the-eye look that will maintain its appeal over time. Statement leather furnishings introduce moody characteristics with strong, masculine undertones into a space,” Metzer adds.

Boy zone
This guy wants his home to be on-trend but fun and functional, so that it’s an easy-to-maintain and airy space, where he can chill out and entertain. He’s a playful lively character, happy to have affordable humorous touches that can be easily changed as fashions change and will sit alongside his collection of boys’ toys and comic book heroes.

Unfussy, uncluttered – he knows good storage can hide a multitude of mess – he’ll love multi-functional furniture (a coffee table that converts to a dining table) so that he can make the best use of every inch of space.

“It’s all about shining a light on a man cave and letting the style in,” says Rebecca Snowden, interior style advisor, Furniture Choice. “Whether you live alone or are sharing your space, there are easy ways to add masculine touches to your home. Start by displaying your interests – a solid, well-made picture frame can do wonders for comic book prints, movie posters, a football team photo, and then group a collection for a personal wall display.

“Colour is another way to express yourself,” Snowden adds. “The colour-shy could opt for easy, interesting neutrals – grey, khaki and sage – which are great alternatives to black and white. For the bold, subtle pops of bright shades, such as navy blue, mustard, and even a flash of vibrant pink will add a fresh twist to your scheme.

“If you’re new to decorating, don’t worry about trends. Stripes, chevrons and other geometric prints never go out of style, and materials like leather and suede are classic choices.” A Newark Teal Fabric 2 Seater Sofa, currently reduced to £399.99 from £599.99, Furniture Choice, would inject a splash of colour into a room.

property for sale suited to men

Retro man
He’s part of the retro-revolution celebrating those iconic items from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, and displaying them in a funky, industrial setting. He’s laid-back like his style, and knows that the coolest homes should feel ‘collected’ as opposed to ‘decorated’.

Warm, weathered and raw elements like dark woods, coupled with renovated machinery and pieces crafted with care, make for a macho-look that oozes character and is constantly evolving. He’ll definitely opt for vinyl over downloads, and vintage over contemporary.

“Men have never been as savvy about design and interiors as they are today. The huge growth of Pinterest and Instagram has brought interior design to the masses and interiors inspiration is everywhere,” says David Harris, design director, Andrew Martin.

“Funky neon artwork, modern art wallpapers, architectural lighting ranges, and great furniture covered in rich velvet and leathers is all helping to attract a more masculine following. Men are now feeling more confident than ever about their interior ideas and want to show off their taste.”

Petal Power: 3 Ways To Make Your Home Blooming Beautiful This Summer

3 Ways To Make Your Home Blooming Beautiful This Summer

No matter how your garden grows, anyone can enjoy an abundance of flowers indoors with this year’s stunning floral designs. Gabrielle Fagan picks the best of the bunch.

Nature’s best and brightest blooms inspire decor designs year after year, and the new-season ranges are blossoming with a fresh, contemporary take on the trend.

“Florals never lose their appeal, but this year, be brave and experiment with bold colours and eye-catching patterns to bring the outside in,” says Claire Hornby, creative stylist at Barker & Stonehouse. “It’s such an easy way to inject colour and pattern into your home. For a pared-back, summer-inspired space, opt for smaller floral accessories such as patterned chairs or cushions, which will pair well with neutral hues,” she adds.

Whether you’re looking to create an attention-grabbing feature wall in an all-over floral print, or add simple botanical-inspired accessories, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to incorporate florals into a living space. Here are three ways to embrace petal-power right now…

Pick a posy of pinks for perennially pretty decor

“Spring’s all about embracing brighter colours and bolder prints, so naturally, florals are an absolute shoo-in for the season,” says Rebecca Snowden, interior style advisor at Furniture Choice.

“Florals or tropical prints, especially in bright pinks from rose to fuschia, are excellent statement-makers. They can be used for pops of colour in a smaller room, or will anchor a scheme if used to create a striking feature wall.

“For a major style boost, opt for larger botanical prints in the form of murals or wall art,” she suggests. “Experiment with light-coloured patterns for a relaxed natural look, or create a bold bohemian space with darker hues and busier motifs.”

Let blues blossom in serene scenes

“The trend for floral designs shows no signs of abating,” says Hannah Thistlethwaite, textiles buyer at Heal’s. “Opting for botanical-inspired homeware is an easy way to introduce invigorating touches of nature to enhance the atmosphere in any room.

For an understated theme, use soft floral prints in washed-out blue and white linens, to create a refreshingly laid-back effect,” she adds. “For an effortless update, look for cushions with a two-tone motif and pair with cool grey or blue fabrics to evoke a clean, Scandi-style aesthetic, which pays a subtle nod to the floral trend. Make a statement in a living room with bright pops of rich teal or blue blooms for fabrics or accessories contrasted with vibrant greenery, which will beautifully reflect nature’s palette.”

It would be hard to find a more eye-catching wallpaper than Giardino Segreto (Scene 1 Delft), £195 a roll, by Designers Guild, a company renowned for its stunning designs.

Bring a room to life with botanicals

“Botanical and floral prints continue to be top of the list for freshening up our decor,” says Yvonne Keal, head of product at curtain and blinds specialists, Hillarys. “They connect us to the outdoors, and if something works well in nature, it’ll work in a room. But just as we wouldn’t have a wilting bouquet in our homes, any floral look we introduce should feel fresh and new, and this season doesn’t disappoint.

“Botanical motifs on fabrics are subtle and hand-drawn – straight out of an artist’s sketchbook. Small-scale florals, watercolour washes and fade-out prints are blooming in gently joyful neutral grown-up shades, while soft greens, pale blues and lavender are replacing the rich jewel tones and clashing patterns of 2017, to help us create the more calm haven we crave this year.

Tiles, Laminate or Luxury Vinyl For Kitchen Flooring?

In need of a new kitchen floor, but unsure what material to opt for? There are lots of options, but a few important things to consider too. “Fitting out a kitchen is very exciting, but often you forget to think about the flooring, which is likely to be one of the largest surfaces in the room, so its selection deserves careful attention,” says Jordan Reuben, from Canadian reality series, The Property Brothers.

First and foremost, there’s your budget to consider, but keep in mind that it’s not necessarily just a question of how much the floor will initially cost to buy and fit – some types of flooring will require more specialist cleaning, for example, or may be prone to damage and wear and tear, meaning further costs down the line to replace or repair. Your choice will need to be a practical fit with your lifestyle too and, of course, you need to like it!

As Sian O’Neill, head of marketing at Topps Tiles (toppstiles.co.uk), notes: “As the hub of the home, kitchen design is of the utmost importance to homeowners, so it’s important to select flooring that is not only beautiful and hard-wearing but will stand the test of time.” Here’s a look at three key options…

1. Tiles

“Tiles are an excellent choice, as they are durable, design-led and able to stand up to the demanding conditions of kitchen spaces, with high traffic, potential spills and food mess,” says O’Neill. “Natural stone tiles provide a cosy and timeless look, especially for those living in an old country-style house. It’s worth keeping in mind that due to their porous surfaces, these types of tiles will need additional care before and after laying, to ensure they are sealed enough to last in humid areas, and to keep their finish in top condition. As long as you’re happy to maintain and look after them correctly, then the final result is luxurious and homely.” Reuben adds: “Stone flooring is available in a wide range of colours, sizes and textures, but you must ensure the stone is sealed to keep it in top condition. Remember, limestone is porous, so it will naturally suffer wear and tear. If you’re looking for a hard-wearing and totally hassle-free option, porcelain tiles are great. It can be made to replicate the look of wood or concrete. The tiles are often highly durable and fit well in a high-traffic environment.”

If you’re lusting over a gorgeous slate or marble floor – but your budget doesn’t stretch to the real thing, there are lots of lookalike tiles out there. “If natural stone isn’t the right fit for your home, there are plenty of additional options that offer the same aesthetic, but without the associated maintenance. Consider stone-effect tiles as these are waterproof, which means they’re easier to maintain and, thanks to modern technology, can now be made to look identical to the real thing,” says O’Neill. Wood-effect tiles can also offer a far cheaper alternative to real wood flooring (easier to lay and clean, too).

2. Laminate

Want the look of real wooden boards, but that’s not a realistic option budget-wise? There’s good reason why laminate flooring is a trend that’s stuck around. “Laminate wood floor is as popular as ever,” says Reuben. “It’s very modern and looks fantastic. As long as the product is factory sealed, those wine stains will just wipe away.” Josh Ashby, of UK Flooring Direct (ukflooringdirect.co.uk), adds: “Good quality laminates make a great floor for the kitchen, allowing for that authentic wood look without the drawbacks. Easy to install and maintain, homeowners can enjoy an affordable, stylish floor that will stand the test of time. More and more are now water resistant, adding to their appeal, and are suitable with underfloor heating.” Reuben notes that long laminate boards “can make any room feel bigger, whether it be dark or light flooring”, plus, “laminate is supplied in planks that are generally easy to fit, even for the novice!”

3. Luxury vinyl

“Modern vinyl is becoming increasingly popular as a cost-effective option to tiles and laminate. It comes in all different patterns, and good-quality vinyl can be very hard-wearing,” says Reuben. Sophie Hautekeete, of Quick-Step (quick-step.co.uk), agrees: “Luxury vinyl is undoubtedly the floor of the moment, offering that perfect blend of good looks, durability and ease of maintenance. Our vinyl planks have an embossed surface, which means the texture on the top surface matches the design, to create fantastic interpretations of the real floor it imitates.” A big part of the appeal is the scope of designs available. “Cushion, or sheet vinyl, has enjoyed a significant rise in popularity over the past five years, as modern methods of construction mean that wood and tile-effect designs look and feel like the real thing, with knots and grouts adding texture and interest,” says Stuart Reeves, Avenue Floors (avenuefloors.co.uk). “Design choice is almost unlimited, which means this type is often the go-to kitchen floor for those looking for performance, style and value.”

Garden Style Can Bloom Indoors and Out

You may not be ready to get out the sun-loungers until that weather’s more settled, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the pleasures of the outdoors, by turning your home into a nature-inspired oasis.

Blurring the boundary between inside and out and playing with botanical effects is a passion for Selina Lake, who reveals her secrets in her new book, Garden Style: Inspirational Styling For Your Outside Space.

“I hope I can inspire people to make the most of any outside space, and create everything from an outdoor living space to a garden room or a hideaway, and bring nature into decor indoors,” she says.

Here, Lake shares three looks from the book…

1. Create a cosy hideaway

“More popular than ever, garden rooms are a useful addition to any space,” says Lake. “They can be used as office spaces, crafting rooms, yoga studios, or places to enjoy a million other activities.

“You can adapt an existing building, such as a large shed, garage or greenhouse, or commission a new pod, cabin or summer house. Perhaps you’d like the garden room to reflect the garden and have a verdant, naturalistic ‘potting shed’ vibe, or you could opt for something strikingly modern that contrasts with the garden that surrounds it.

“If it’s a contemporary structure – like a glass conservatory – a great way to bring the outside in is by using green, the colour of nature, for walls and skirting boards. Green glass-bottle vases and faux plants can bring a quirky botanical feel to a sleek modern space.”

Top Tip: “If you have a surplus of blooms from your garden, cut them and arrange in galvanized metal buckets filled with water. Arrange by a doorway or at the bottom of a staircase. It creates a sense of walking through a flower garden.”

2. Bring the outside in

“Bringing flowers and foliage in from your garden to enhance your home decor is a simple detail that makes a big impact, whether you’re in need of a table centrepiece for a special occasion, a welcoming display for a hallway table, or something just to bring a smile to your face,” Lake enthuses.

“Joyful pops of vibrant colour from flowering spring bulbs are really uplifting,” says Lake. “When it comes to arranging flowers, I don’t have any rules as such. I like loose, natural-looking posies and am drawn to colour palettes that I find uplifting and will sit well with my interior.”

Top Tip: “I make black and white copies of vintage botanical prints and use brass bulldog clips to display them on a line. I also love empty seed packets, which can be grouped and used in a decorative way.”

3. Perfect the patio

“I wanted to create a simple Scandinavian look, so opted for a clean, pared-down palette of black, grey and white, teaming it with natural materials such as wood, rattan and wicker,” explains Lake.

“Lush green wisteria foliage and leafy hydrangea, lavender and tobacco plants in zinc containers and dark grey stone pots add scent and interest to my outdoor living room. I gave our tired wooden decking a face-lift with black wood stain, and like to dress the sofa and chairs with comfy cushions and throws, just as I do inside.” Top Tip: “Be ready for when the sun goes down – an outdoor rug will make a space feel cosier – and hang a cluster of string lights overhead and group candle lanterns on a coffee table.”

Garden Style: Inspirational Styling For Your Outside Space by Selina Lake, photography by Rachel Whiting, is published by Ryland Peters & Small, priced £19.99. Available to readers for special price of £14.99, inc P&P: Call Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 and quote ref NT5.

Alan Titchmarsh Explains How To Create A Plot For Pollinators

Alan Titchmarsh Explains How To Create A Plot For Pollinators

Alan Titchmarsh is calling on gardeners to make a metre for wildlife this summer, by providing a refuge for struggling butterflies, moths and other pollinators.

Launching Butterfly Conservation’s ‘Plots for Pollinators’ campaign, Titchmarsh, the charity’s vice president, says: “The future of our butterflies, moths and other pollinating insects is under threat, as the places where they live are disappearing. The cold start to spring may affect how some butterflies fare this year, as they could experience a delayed emergence, meaning they’ll have less time to feed and breed – but you can help by creating some ‘plots for pollinators’.

“There are so many different flowers that are great nectar sources, like catmint, cosmos or calendula,” he adds. “See if you can find just one square metre and you could attract lots of butterflies this spring and summer, like my favourite – the red admiral. It doesn’t have to be on the lawn either – you could create a vertical garden on a bit of unused wall or fence and this would make a huge difference for pollinators.”

The project encourages people to set aside one square-metre of their garden or outdoor space to plant a nectar-rich flowerbed, or a colourful container garden. Previously widespread species, such as the small tortoiseshell and garden tiger moth, have seen their numbers plummet in recent years.

Here, Titchmarsh offers some top tips on creating plots for pollinators…

1. Select your space

Measure out one square-metre of outdoor space and fill it with open-flowered, nectar-rich plants. Choose a sunny, sheltered position and group pots together on a patio, grow plants up a fence or wall, or commit an area of a flowerbed.

2. Keep watering

Water your plot regularly – ideally from a water butt, as this is more environmentally friendly. Frequent watering prevents plants from drying out during a spell of hot weather, especially when in containers, and helps flowers to produce more nectar. Remember to water the soil not the plant, as larger leaves can act as an umbrella which prevents water getting to the roots. Remove the rose from your watering can to get nearer the plant base if necessary.

3. Lay a mulch

Put a layer of mulch on the surface of the soil around the plants, to help prevent water evaporation and suppress weed growth.

4. Use peat-free compost

Always choose peat-free compost and cut down on your use of plastic. Use recyclable and recycled containers or be creative and turn tins and tubs into plant pots. Remember to drill drainage holes in the bottom to prevent water logging.

5. Dead-head blooms

Dead-heading after flowering keeps plants looking attractive and encourages more blooms.

6. Get neighbours involved

Inspire your neighbours to plant a plot for pollinators to create a flowery ‘super highway’ for the pollinating insects where you live.

7. Avoid chemicals

Avoid using harmful pesticides, by removing slugs and snails by hand instead. Night is the best time to catch these marauding molluscs in action. Once caught, release them at a safe distance from your plot.

The Plots for Pollinators project will run throughout spring and summer. To take part, visit butterfly-conservation.org/PlantPlots