Saturday, 23 June 2018

Water features and ponds

contemporary water feature
Bored with your plain lawn and borders? Why not consider adding some interest to your garden with a water feature?

Water has long played an important part in culture dating from the ancient pools of the Celts, Roman bath houses and fountains or the pools and fonts used for Christian baptism. They can be peaceful places of refuge or an irresistible attraction for local wildlife.

There are all kinds of water feature, big or small. They can be anything – a pond, fountain, stream, cascade or waterfall. There isn’t a limit on what you can do other than the size of your plot and the depth of your pockets.

What feature you have will also depend on what you are hoping to achieve. Are you looking for a peaceful, Zen garden, a minimalist sculpture or something to help wildlife flourish?

Here are a few ideas for your own water feature. You can filter the search returns on Houzz by garden type, size and space location, landscaping and sun exposure.

Once you have chosen your feature and installed it you will need to bear in mind maintenance. Regular maintenance will keep your feature looking its best all year round.

Here are some dos and don’ts:
  • Do maintain your water levels.
  • Do clean the feature itself every four to six months.
  • Do make sure the pump is clean.
  • Don’t be tempted to switch the pump off. Keeping it running will ensure your water doesn’t stagnate and will help to keep the feature clean.
  • Don’t fill up your feature with tap water – especially in a hard water area.
  • Do use distilled water or use additives to prevent the build up of scale and algae.
  • Do drain your feature and prevent it from being filled up with rainwater during the coldest winter months.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Stunning show home in Oakham

new home in Oakham Buttercross Park
We’re really chuffed here at Larkfleet Homes. The team over in Oakham has just opened a stunning show home at Buttercross Park.

The show home features a completely redesigned interior to reflect the latest in design and to show off the options available to customers who buy a new home in Oakham.

We could go on about the stylish living room, the beautifully relaxing bedrooms and the state-of-the-art kitchen. But we think that we should let the pictures speak for themselves.

Check out our gallery.
New home in Oakham
New home in Oakham 

The open plan kitchen and dining area makes modern living easy.
New home in Oakham

Good interior design is at the heart of the new show home.
New home in Oakham

Bedrooms are a good size, comfortable and restful.
New home in Oakham

Buttercross Park is a stunning development of new homes in Oakham within the Oakham Heights housing development on the outskirts of the town.

New home in Oakham

Larkfleet Homes offers a range of traditionally styled eco-friendly and energy efficient 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom properties which will suit home buyers looking for a quality home in rural surroundings.
New home in Oakham

If you are inspired to buy a new home in Oakham, then contact our sales team today. They will be delighted to help.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Midlands house hunters compare energy costs

Canny Midlands buyers compare energy costs when house hunting but Londoners apparently don’t care about house running costs. Or so you might think looking at some recent survey results.

Taking the keys to a new home
Around 57 per cent of East Midlands buyers rate ongoing costs, such as energy bills, as ‘very important’ when they are choosing a new home compared with 51 per cent of buyers across the nation as a whole. In fact, Midlanders are more likely than those anywhere else in the country to consider the running costs of a new home when they are house-hunting.

By contrast, buyers in London are the least concerned about the running costs of their new purchase with just 36 per cent rating these as ‘very important’.

These are among the interim results from our ongoing survey into the views of house-buyers. We are continuing to offer prizes of up to £1,000 to anyone doing the online questionnaire here ( It takes less than ten minutes to complete.

Mike Holland of OlsenMetrix Marketing, which is managing the study on behalf of Larkfleet Homes, said:

“Energy costs for running a home in the East Midlands are pretty much the same as in other parts of the country but house prices are lower. The bills associated with running a house are a larger proportion of total expenditure and therefore get more attention.

“House buyers in London are far more concerned with the initial purchase price of their new home than they are with the running costs. The results do not mean that Londoners are indifferent to energy bills but these perhaps pale into insignificance when compared with mortgage repayments associated with London house prices.”

The full results of the survey are expected to be published in September when more data has been obtained.

Larkfleet Homes CEO Karl Hick said: “We remain very keen to hear from anyone currently searching for a new house or who has purchased a new house in the past twelve months.

“Whether your search and purchase involved a brand-new home or an established property, and whether you looked at a Larkfleet home or not, your views will help to shape the way we meet the needs of home buyers in the future.”

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Mid-summer party ideas

Summer solstice party drinks

This Thursday is the first day of Summer. The Summer solstice or longest day – often mis-described as mid-Summer – is an ancient day of celebration. Why not join in with your own summer solstice party?

There are plenty of beautiful places to go around the country where you can watch the sunrise. You could try Avebury, Stonehenge, Glastonbury Tor or take to the hills in the Lake District.

But we can’t all travel to watch the sunrise, so here are a few ideas to help you to mark the changing season and welcome the start of true summer at home.

  • For the most part you will be outside in the garden, weather permitting. Give your guests flower crowns to wear.
  • Have a Solstice feast – use locally sourced seasonal foods.
  • For drinks, serve refreshing light beers, a glass of chilled white wine or bright cocktails based on sherry, elderflower wine/liqueur and aquavit.
  • Serve a Swedish smorgasbord of sea food and smoked fish with potato salad.
  • Bake a sponge cake and smother it in cream and summer fruit.
  • As the dusk begins to fall light up your garden with some beautiful exterior lighting.
  • If you have space, have a solstice bonfire. Beat drums, dance and sing to welcome the start of summer. But do think of the neighbours!
The longest day of the year is believed by some to be a time when the veil between the real world and the faery world is at its thinnest. It’s a time of strange and mystical happenings. Why not have a fairy-themed party – or if you’re feeling a bit more grown up and cultured, what about a Shakespeare theme based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

Monday, 18 June 2018

More chances to win!

We have extended the closing date for the survey into house-buying that we are running with leading media organisations.
Searching for a new home

You now have until 30 July to let us know what you think about houses and housebuilders – and to put your name into a draw to win £500.

We have created an online questionnaire here ( to capture the thoughts and experiences of people who have bought – or who are trying to buy – a new home.

It takes less than ten minutes to complete and, as an incentive to take part, we are offering a £500 prize to one lucky winner. People who are willing to take part in a brief follow-up telephone survey will be entered into a second draw for an additional £500 prize.

Larkfleet Homes CEO Karl Hick said: “We are keen to hear from anyone currently searching for a new house or who has purchased a new house in the past twelve months.

“Whether your search and purchase involved a brand-new home or an established property, and whether you looked at a Larkfleet home or not, your views will help to shape the way we meet the needs of home buyers in the future.”

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Summer with a swing - go to a festival

festival season Larkfleet Homes
Festival season is on us. From now through to the end of September up and down the UK people are attending festivals of all kinds. There is a festival for just about every interest.

Festivals for the family
Geronimo Festival at Knebworth House 30 June-1 July – is billed as the ‘ultimate family festival in the UK’ according to its organisers.
The line-up includes many children’s TV favourites including Justin Fletcher, Cook and Line, Mr Bloom, Katy Ashworth and Sid & Rebecca. There are all kinds of events to keep everyone entertained. Watch jousting knights, a stunt show and the Rajasthan Superstars among all manner of other attractions. Check out the festival website here for more information and tickets 

Cornbury Music Festival 13-15 July – It’s an open-air party with plenty of free activities for the kids. Its designed with the whole family in mind. In addition to top-notch music from bands like Squeeze and UB40, Si King and Dave Myers – The Hairy Bikers – will be laying on a feast and the Kids Zone includes circus skills, arts and crafts, yoga, den building and various shows. Visit the Cornbury website for more info and tickets

Latitude 12-15 July – is a music and arts festival held near Southwold in Suffolk. Now in its 12th year, the festival is designed for the whole family. There are areas for younger kids and teens as well as an enchanted garden and activities for schools. The festival has won awards for Best Family Festival and Best Family Day Out in the past. For tickets and info visit

Valley Fest 3-5 August – where the kids can run wild. This family friendly festival in the Chew Valley just south of Bristol has lots of great music, good food and entertainment for everyone. Here is more information about what’s on and where to buy tickets. 

For more info and wide range of family friendly festivals visit

Festivals for older people
Some us might prefer festivals where there aren’t lots of young kids running around. Here are a few to consider.

Stour Music 2018 22 June-1 July – a festival of early music for the classical fan. Visit for details.

Burton Agnes Jazz and Blues festival 13-15 July – Visit for the full line-up, tickets and info.

Henley-on-Thames Festival 11-15 July – Plenty of art, music and comedy is on offer. It's a place to soak up the atmosphere and be entertained whilst experiencing a vibrant programme from pop to world music, classical to jazz, blues to ‘street’ musicians, where art, comedy and gastronomy share equal billing with music. There is a dress code. It’s strictly black-tie for the men and evening wear, long or short, for the women. For more details visit

There are lots of festivals on up and down the country, so you’re bound to find something to suit.

There are also many special interest festivals that cover all manner of hobbies and pastimes such as vintage cycling, cars and motorcycles or mountaineering.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Enjoying the perfect picnic

Larkfleet Homes perfect picnic
As the Spring gives way to summer lots of us at Larkfleet like to get out and about in the beautiful countryside to enjoy nature and a lovely picnic.

There’s nothing more enjoyable on a summer’s day than a picnic by a babbling stream, grassy meadow or by a shady wood.

But what makes a great picnic for all the family to enjoy? There’s plenty of food on offer at the supermarket that can make excellent picnic fayre. Most supermarkets have wide ranges of picnic food including sandwiches, quiches and cold pies, deli cooked meats and dips, crisps, snacks, sweets, desserts and drinks.

The choice is bewildering, but it’s all about getting the food combinations right. The classic British picnic would include things like Scotch eggs and sausage rolls with condiments such as mustard.

What about a shredded, slow-cooked ham hock in a jerk sauce served with crusty bread? Take some freshly dressed salad in tightly sealed containers. These will go well with any cold cuts, pies or fish that you feel like serving.

Desserts could include the classic Eton mess. Take along a whole meringue, or buy smaller individual ones, take cream and fruit and smash them up into cups to create individual desserts.

Take some wine or cold beers and something soft for the kids and you have the makings of a perfect afternoon in the great outdoors.

You’re going to need something to carry all your goodies in. Outlets like Go Outdoors and Cotswolds Outdoor have ranges of picnic sets and blankets and the seasonal sections at most of the major supermarkets will have plenty of picnic gear available.

Just get out there in the summer sun and enjoy the weather while it lasts.

And if there is time in your schedule for the day, why not fit in a trip to a show home? Well, we would say that, of course!