Thursday, 28 June 2018

Backing sporting stars of the future

We have been delighted recently to be able to help young sports people through the Larkfleet Homes Community Fund.

Youngsters from across the East Midlands enjoyed a two-day feast of football backed by a cash donation from the community fund.

Larkfleet Homes Community Fund sponsored football tournament
A record number of 125 teams took part in Bourne Town Juniors annual six-a-side tournament which helps to raise much-needed funds for junior football in Bourne.

Lee Clark, fundraiser and tournament coordinator for the Bourne Town Juniors FC event, said: “The event was a great success thanks to all the teams that took part and the visitors who came to enjoy the football over the two days.

“We would like to thank Larkfleet Homes for helping with sponsorship of the event. The tournament is a big fundraiser for our club. It allows us to maintain grass roots football for children of all ages and backgrounds by enabling us to keep our player subscriptions the lowest in the area.”

We also recently handed £250 to the Stamford Rugby Club’s under-7s to help meet the costs of developing the talents of the next generation (and beyond) of rugby players.

Richard Olsen of Stamford under-7s RUFC said: “Support such as that we have received from Larkfleet helps to ensure we can provide our youngsters with the right equipment coupled with quality coaching in a safe environment. We aim to help them to develop their skills and interest in the game so that they progress through the year groups and on to the senior game.”

Karl Hick, CEO of The Larkfleet Group of Companies and a keen sportsman himself, said: “It’s really important to us that when we build new homes for people, we actually develop communities.

“Sport is a great way to bring communities together and give young people a constructive outlet for their enthusiasm and energy. We are delighted to support initiatives such as these through our community fund.”

The Larkfleet Homes Community Fund supports groups which focus on activities that enhance or develop local communities. It makes grants to charities or voluntary organisations within ten miles of any housing development by Larkfleet Homes or Allison Homes, both part of The Larkfleet Group of Companies.

Any community or voluntary group wishing to find out more about the fund can visit, telephone 01223 410535 or email

Our photo shows some of the players enjoying the atmosphere at the Bourne Town Juniors six-a-side football tournament.

Institute of Directors honours Karl Hick

Larkfleet Homes Karl Hick
Our CEO Karl Hick has been highly commended in the Social Responsibility category in this year’s East Midlands Institute of Directors Awards.

The IoD East Midlands Director of the Year 2018 awards were hosted by the BBC’s Dominic Heale at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Nottingham.

The judges were impressed by the way in which Karl has set sustainability – environmental, social and economic – at the heart of the management agenda for the Larkfleet Group of Companies.

Karl said: “We aim not only to develop an economically sustainable business but also to support local communities, invest in education both inside and outside our business, and build the highest standards of environmental protection into our products and our business practices.”

In particular, we were praised for our investment in developing new and sustainable methods of construction, our approach to training and education and the establishment of the Larkfleet Homes Community Fund.

The Larkfleet Homes Community Fund supports projects that enhance or develop local communities. Grants of up to £5,000 are available to any charitable cause or community project that operates within ten miles of any Larkfleet Homes or Allison Homes development.

Since its inception the fund has given away more than £50,000. For more information on the fund visit

In addition, The Larkfleet Group of Companies is pledged to work with suppliers, subcontractors, local colleges and others to help to plug the ‘construction industry skills gap’ by signing the Home Building Skills Pledge developed by the Home Builders Federation.

We are one of just six employer sponsors of the recently opened Greater Peterborough University Technical College (GPUTC) and have been involved in the project since its inception. Karl sits on the board of governors and several Larkfleet colleagues serve on various committees and provide practical support in a variety of teaching activities.

Karl added: “On a day-to-day basis, the outputs of all our community initiatives are reported to me and colleagues on the board of directors. We are still a small enough organisation (just over 100 staff) to permit me to take a personal interest in these issues without ‘micro managing’.

“Since starting Larkfleet in 1998 I have actively pursued environmental gains for the industry and society at large through investment in a range of exciting and forward-looking R&D projects. I wish to invest in the future of the construction industry and renewable technologies to the benefit of future generations.”

Congratulations Karl!

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Summer days out with the kids

Summer holidays kids acitvitiies
Not many are lucky enough to have a whole summer to ourselves to spend with the family and kids. Apart from a couple of weeks’ annual leave we’re only likely to get the odd day off here and there and weekends throughout the summer.

With that in mind at Larkfleet we thought it would be great idea to pull together some ideas for summer days out – some around the local area and some a bit further afield.

Get in touch with nature
Rail World Wildlife Haven, Peterborough – tucked away in Peterborough at the end of the Nene Valley Railway this attraction can give you the best of both transport history and nature.

Exotic Pet Refuge, Deeping St James – the family-run charity organisation has a monthly open day. Check out the website for details.

Lattersey Local Nature Reserve – managed by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trusts, this local gem in Whittlesey near Peterborough is a great way for kids and families to get close to nature without travelling too far.

Ferry Meadows Country Park – based around two man-made lakes there is an impressive range of facilities here and the nature reserve is tucked away in a quiet corner where you can watch birds and perhaps see an otter or two.

Sacrewell Farm, Thornhaugh, Peterborough – get back in tune with the land and the change of the seasons. There is plenty to keep your kids occupied this summer.

Get your adrenaline pumping
Santa Pod Raceway – enjoy the thrill of drag racing in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Yarwell Mill Country Park – plan a day of adventurous activity for the kids including orienteering, archery and water sports.

Wicksteed Park, Kettering – enjoy the ride at Wicksteed Park.

Soak up some history and culture 
Peterborough Museum – learn about Peterborough’s past and modern heritage and enjoy some hands-on experiences.

John Clare Cottage – enjoy the work of rural romantic poet John Clare and learn about life in the Northamptonshire countryside in pre-industrial England.

Imperial War Museum and American Air Museum, Duxford – find out all about the history of aviation and WWII at Duxford.

Fossils Galore, March, Cambridgeshire – enjoy fossil hunting and metal detecting trips and learn about dinosaurs.

Paddle in the sea
There is some wonderful coastal scenery on the North Norfolk coast. Enjoy a traditional seaside day out at Hunstanton, Cromer or Wells-next-the-Sea.

There are also beaches and resorts on the Lincolnshire coast at Skegness, Mablethorpe and Ingoldmels for example.

Sea Life Centre – get close to coastal wildlife at the Sea Life Centre, Hunstanton.

Castle Rising, Kings Lynn – has enough of the seaside and fancy finding out about the Normans?

These are just a few of the things available in and around where we have developments. Keep an eye on the blog. We will post some more ideas throughout the summer.

And, of course, you could always visit a showhome - with or without the kids!

Monday, 25 June 2018

Football fever – we prescribe a party

Larkfleet Homes World Cup party
It looks like World Cup fever is setting in at Larkfleet. We dare to dream that football could be coming home – especially following the England football team’s emphatic win over Panama on the weekend.

We’ll spare you all the clichés and leave commentary to the pundits. But it was eerily quiet up and down the country on Sunday afternoon as we all settled in in front of our tellies to watch the match.

And it looks like there may a few more opportunities to do that as the tournament progresses. With that in mind we thought it might be timely to have a look at some ideas for hosting a football-themed evening or BBQ so that you can enjoy the World Cup in the company of your friends and family.

Regional food and drink
Make signature dishes from your favourite participating nations. You could make a paella from Spain, salt cod from Portugal, hot tamales from Mexico – the possibilities are almost endless.

The same is true for drinks – try to find typical beers, wines and soft drinks, say Brahma beer from Brazil, wines from Australia or soft drinks like Orangina from France or Sinalco from Germany.

You could add in football-themed treats as well. Pinterest has loads of ideas including flag foods. Have a look here.

Don’t forget, there is the great British BBQ as a faithful standby.

To keep up interest in the games that don’t feature England how about running a small-stakes betting pot. There are plenty of things you can do to keep your guests entertained between matches.

The weather looks like it’s set fair for a while so why not have some party games in the garden if you have space. Hang up a piñata for the kids – they’ll love it.

Don’t worry about being ‘late to the party’. According to research only around 13 per cent of those following the tournament will switch off if England don’t progress to the final so it’s a fairly safe bet to have a party at any time during the tournament.

If you’re stuck for decoration ideas there are loads of party stores on the internet selling decorations and World Cup party packs.

Enjoy the feast of football and come on, England!

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!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Why not treat Dad this Father's Day

Fathers Day Larkfleet HomesFathers’ Day is just around the corner. While it’s less well observed than Mothers’ Day, even us chaps deserve a bit of a pamper once in a while.

Fathers’ Day has its origins in the good old US of A. There are two versions of the first Fathers’ Day.

According to some accounts, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Washington state on June 19, 1910 after a lady called Sonora Smart Dodd came up with the idea of honouring and celebrating her Civil War veteran widowed father while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at church in 1909. He brought up six children by himself on their small farm in Washington. Sonora initially suggested June 5th, the anniversary of her father’s death to be the designated day to celebrate Father’s Day, but the celebration in Spokane, Washington was deferred to the third Sunday in June.

The other has it that the first Fathers’ Day was celebrated in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908 when Grace Golden Clayton suggested to the Methodist minister that services be held to celebrate fathers after a deadly mine explosion killed 361 men.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day become a national holiday. But it wasn’t until 1966 that Lyndon B. Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as the official day to celebrate Father’s Day. It took another six years until Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday in the US.

More recently other countries have followed suit and the third Sunday in June has been designated as Fathers' Day in the UK and many other countries around the world.

Now you know a little of the origins of Fathers' Day, here are a few ideas to help you give the dad in your life a bit of treat this coming Sunday.

Not on the High Street has plenty of ideas including loads of things for those on a budget.

The Daily Express online has various ideas for Fathers’ Day gifts including a sky dive experience, driving days and home brewing kits.

And for the father who is relocating, why not have a look at one of our show homes and then take him out for a pub lunch?

Whatever you do have a great day! Happy Fathers' Day from the team at Larkfleet Homes.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

A few ideas for summer entertaining al fresco

Larkfleet Homes outdoor entertaining summer
There’s something primal about a real fire. Watching the flames dance or gazing into glowing embers seem to satisfy some ancient instinct.

 Get yourself a firepit or a chimenea – entertain and enjoy the light of a real fire late into a summer evening.

If you don’t fancy sitting around a fire singing and telling stories – what about hosting a movie night? Get a big screen and show your favourite movie. Make sure the screen is under cover, just in case.

Keep everything simple – create yourself a self-service station for cutlery, plates, napkins, cups, straws and condiments.

Exterior lighting around a gazebo can create a magical atmosphere. Use fairy lights, a string of traditional lightbulbs or paper lanterns. There are some great exterior lighting ideas to be found on Pinterest.

Got kids coming? Have a selection of garden toys and game at the ready. You could also set up a special area for the young people to use to get crafting, painting, making slime or just generally getting messy.

As the sun goes down, the bugs come out. Protect food against insects. Forget about sugary canned drinks. You might also get some citronella candles. They smell great and keep the bugs at bay.

Make sure your food is suitable for outdoor eating. Fire up the BBQ for sausages, steaks and kebabs. Lots of finger foods are great.

There are lots of ideas on the internet. Just have a quick Google and you’ll not be stuck for ideas.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Gardening jobs for June

Larkfleet Homes June Gardening low maintenance
As summertime starts to bloom its time to get on top of the garden. The growing season is a very busy time for the green fingered among us.

But not everyone is that keen on gardening. That’s when some low maintenance options come in handy.

Here are the top 10 tasks for the garden this month according to the Royal Horticultural Society:

  1. Hoe your borders regularly to keep on top of the weeds
  2. Take care with water usage, especially during dry spells
  3. Pinch out side shoots on tomato plants
  4. Harvest salad plants like lettuce, radish and early potatoes
  5. Put out your hanging baskets and patio containers
  6. Mow lawns at least once a week
  7. Plant out summer bedding
  8. Stake all tall, floppy plants
  9. Prune Spring flowering shrubs
  10. Add shading to greenhouses to avoid scorching plants and to keep them cool during hot weather
There is plenty of extra advice for summer growing on the RHS website.

If gardening is not your thing but you still want to enjoy your outdoor space, there are some low maintenance options:
  • Plenty of patio paving
  • Take a minimal approach and use unfussy sturdy plants
  • Section off a wild area of the garden where you let the grass and weeds grow to provide a wildlife habitat
  • Consider adding a water feature
  • Use shrubs on borders instead of seasonal bedding plants
  • Spread mulch or wood chips on beds to supress weeds and keep moisture in the soil
  • Plant some hardy perennials such as lavender - it’s good to look at, requires less work and is great for bees, butterflies and moths
  • Hardy evergreen shrubs are a great choice because they require little care once established
  • If the lawn is getting too much, be more relaxed about weeds and don’t worry about collecting clippings - maybe even consider laying artificial turf!
Again, the RHS has some good advice on how to develop and care for a low maintenance garden.

Whatever you choose, we hope you enjoy your summer.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Get your shed organised for summer

Larkfleet Homes organise shed tools declutter
Most of us will have a garden shed of some kind. If you are anything like us in the team here at Larkfleet we think it’s fair to say that it will mostly be full of gardening equipment and old junk that we don’t want in the house but can’t bring ourselves to part with.

As summer comes on, now is a good time to think about reorganising our sheds to make the most of the space.

First things first. Sort through your stuff and work out what is essential and what isn’t. Make a list and then separate your things into piles – what you will use, what you can throw away and what you can sell or give away. After all, do you really need two strimmers?

Then, sort your stuff into tools that you use regularly and equipment that you only use occasionally. Create shelving and hangers so that you can store the tools you use most often at eye level where they are easy to find. Long-handled tools like forks, hoes, rakes and spades can hang on the walls.

You could make hooks or magnetic strips to fix to the wall where you can store smaller tools like screwdrivers and pliers.

Use door hanging baskets to place smaller items, bottle and sprays to keep them safe and all together.

Have look at the space over your head. Consider creating overhead storage where you can put the things you use less often. Also, if you have bulky items to store in the shed, such as bikes, think about hanging these from the ceiling or on wall brackets.

To keep hand tools tidy, create a classic tool wall with hangers and outlines of your tools so you know that there is a place for everything and it’s easy to put everything back in its place. Peg boards are also a cheap way of doing this and will be more flexible as your collection of tools grows over time.

Repurpose any old furniture that you have in the home. You may have an old dresser or chest of drawers that would make a fine storage unit for all manner of odds and ends.

Keep your shed as clean as possible and make sure your floor space is tidy and free of obstructions.

Remember to label jars and containers that you use. Don’t put chemicals and dangerous liquids in bottles that appear attractive to kids and always leave this kind of stuff out of reach.

Houzz has some more tips and inspiration on getting you shed into tip top condition this summer.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Make the most of outdoor living this summer

Larkfleet Homes outdoor living BBQ
We enjoyed two fantastic Bank Holiday weekends last month when the weather was fabulous.

Many of us have been able to get outside and enjoy some sunshine, which, let’s face it, can be something of a rarity in this country.

The weekend has gone but there’s still plenty of summer left to get out and enjoy outdoor living in your garden.

Make the most of your garden space, whether you’re entertaining, dining al fresco or simply kicking back with a good read and a drink!

Create a cooking and dining space with a pergola that’s wired for lighting and heating. There are all sorts of outdoor ovens, chimeneas and firepits on the market. Here are some examples.

Outdoor entertaining is perfect if you lack space inside. Create the perfect dedicated area with mood lighting and comfortable furniture. Add a sunken fire pit, BBQ or pizza oven and you’re away.

Create a space that’s not just for eating and entertainment but also a place for relaxation and lounging around with furniture which combines both with a sense of style, flexibility and outstanding design.
Chill out and eat supper in the same place. Roomy sofas and chairs are perfect for relaxing with your guests after dinner, to while away the evening and watch the setting sun.

Resin weave furniture is trending now, but don’t forget solid all-weather aluminium sofas and chairs.

Add some finishing touches with lanterns and other accessories and you’re there!

Have a look at this website for more outdoor living ideas

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Making hay while the sun shines

Sun in the sky - free solar energy for Larkfleet homes
We like to talk of ‘greener’ lifestyles – recycling, electric vehicles and solar panels to name a few ideas. But, the sad reality is that very few people fully embrace this environmentally friendly way of life.

There’s no doubt, making the shift to a greener way of living requires a change in mindset. And often, it requires a financial investment too. Cleaner vehicles and less reliance on standard utilities for heat, light and water are the easiest ways to make a change in the right direction. But they come with an associated, premium price tag.

Despite this, retrospective fitting of solar panels has become more and more popular in recent years. Households are benefitting from lower energy bills – while their peers battle price hikes – thanks to the energy generated from their own rooftops.

However, while car manufacturers are being (forcefully) encouraged to build greener and more economic vehicles, the majority of house builders aren’t doing their bit by fitting eco-friendly features, such as PV solar panels, as standard.

As one of the simplest ways to make a small, but important environmental contribution, the addition of PV solar panels to new build properties could help the much-needed wave-of-change.

Granted, not all properties are well suited to solar panels; thatched rooves for example are not the ideal base. And, not all properties will generate as much energy from their panels as others – direction of the roof in relation to the sun, overhanging trees and available daylight hours all contribute to the natural variations. But – as they say – every little helps. 

Of course, the energy-saving opportunities don’t need to stop there either. Simple changes to standard fittings, like energy saving lighting and energy saving appliances all add up. Make sure you have ample insulation too, and you’re starting to make an impact on all sides. You can save energy on one hand, while generating it (and preserving it) on the other. The combined effect is good news for the environment … and our wallets!

So, while some house builders see solar panels as an expensive addition, at Larkfleet Homes we have decided to take a definitive step and offer PV solar panels as standard, completely free of charge on all suitable new properties.

Understanding that a fundamental change in mindset requires an investment of either time, money, education – or all of the above – helping new build house buyers to become eco-friendlier is a no-brainer for Larkfleet. And it’s a commitment we continue to stand by as we look for new ways to continually improve the 'green rating' of our properties.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Helping to bridge the skills gap one step at a time

Larkfleet Homes Skills Pledge
Last year we pledged to work with our subcontractors to recruit and train more people to the highest standards. The idea is to tackle ‘head on’ the pressing building industry skills gap in the East Midlands and East of England.

The Home Building Skills Pledge is a set of five key actions developed by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) through its Home Building Skills Partnership to solve a nationwide skills shortage. It also recognises the importance of ‘future-proofing’ workforce skills by developing new ways for people to enter the building industry as well as developing existing talent with the industry.

The Skills Pledge covers five key areas: Collaborate and share; Train to a standard; Engage and support; Champion diversity and inclusion; and Promote careers. By signing up to the Pledge, companies will also be supporting the HBF’s Home Building Skills Partnership and working to its shared goals.

We are delighted to be supporting the Home Building Skills Pledge and being part of the growing momentum for really tackling this crucial agenda. It is vital to nurture the future of the construction industry if we are to build the homes that the country needs.

By signing up to the pledge we are committing Larkfleet Homes to recruit the best possible talent and to train people to the highest standards. By being proactive in terms of engaging staff, and by being inclusive and diverse in our recruitment, we will be able to future-proof our workforce to continue to deliver high quality new homes.

We are already a major investor in training and skills development. We are one of the sponsors of the newly-opened Greater Peterborough University Technical College which aims to give young people ‘hands on’ as well as theoretical training for careers in the engineering and construction sectors.

The Home Building Skills Partnership is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and was set up to tackle the industry’s skills shortage. It is already attracting and training the people the industry needs to deliver more, high quality homes in the future.

The key is promoting awareness of careers available in housebuilding. Visit the HBF website to check out your career options in housebuilding.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Cheers for the beers

Larkfleet Homes Spalding Beer and Music Festival 2018
Last weekend we got to indulge in three things close to our hearts – holiday, beer and music. To help the end of May Bank Holiday weekend go with a swing the Larkfleet team sponsored a barrel of ale at the Spalding Beer and Music Festival.

To celebrate, we held a competition on our Facebook page. Three lucky winners were treated to a pair of free tickets to the event and cash to spend behind the bar.

The event was organised by the Spalding and District Round Table. Everyone who attended supported loads of very worthy causes. Around £15,000 was raised and will be donated to local good youth causes over the next few months.

It’s not just about the money though. More than 150 beer festival volunteers – or volunbeers as they are known - served well over 12,000 pints to more than 4,500 happy patrons who went along to the Castle Sports Complex in Spalding to join in the fun.

There were 70 different real ales from 29 different breweries on offer to suit most tastes. A range of real ciders also proved popular.

To keep everyone entertained there was plenty of live music throughout the weekend. The line-up included local singer-songwriter Meg McPartlin, comedy skiffle outfit The Ouse Valley Singles Club, Another Girl Another Planet, The Chris King Robinson Band and The Hound Dogs.

Festival organisers received some amazing feedback. They have created a very special event for the community of Spalding which will hopefully become a permanent fixture in people's diaries from now on.