Five checks to get your home and garden sunshine-ready
1. Outdoor lighting – Clean outside light fittings and check all bulbs are in working order. If any need replacing, opt for energy efficient alternatives to reduce your electricity bill.
2. Exterior appearance – Give your home a little TLC. Clean or touch up paintwork, wipe down uPVC windowsills and doors, re-stain woodwork and replace door furniture to give your home’s exterior a fresh new look.
3. Paths and patios – Invest in, or borrow, a pressure washer to bring paths and patios back to life. You could use this opportunity to repair or replace broken flagstones or paving.
4. Plants and gardens – Plant hanging baskets or tubs to the front of your house. This will brighten up your outside space and can hide ugly features, like drain pipes or bins. Pruning overgrown shrubs can also spruce up a garden in an instant.
5. Guttering and drains – Clearing out any leaves and winter debris that could cause a blockage, ensures that April showers will be able to flow freely away from your home. If you have to climb a ladder, make sure there’s someone to hold it steady for you.
If you are unsure about carrying out any of these checks then please consult an appropriate and trusted tradesperson.
Five tips for a safer home while you're away
1. Make your home look lived in – Set timer switches so lights, music and the television come on intermittently throughout the day and evening. Remember to cancel deliveries so papers and milk don’t stack up.
2. Call on a friend or neighbour – Ask someone to keep an eye on your home. They could park on your drive, pick up mail, use your bins or open and shut your curtains for you. If asking a neighbour isn’t an option, Royal Mail’s Keepsafe™ service holds your mail for up to 66 days.
3. Upgrade locks and alarms – Ensure windows and doors are fitted with locks. Exterior doors should have a minimum of two locks, one of which should be a secure mortice with five or more levers. Alarms are also worth considering – from a dummy alarm box that may act as a deterrent to a more expensive system.
4. Keep it to yourself – Encourage younger members of the family to keep holiday plans quiet on social media, avoid disclosing details with your taxi driver en route to the airport and don’t change your answer machine message to tell callers that you’re away. Simple steps but wise moves.
5. Know who to contact in case of an emergency – Having all your useful numbers together in one place means you won’t have to go looking for them in an emergency.