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73 Tips & Insights From Grand Designs Live 2016

Truedor picked up some tips from Grand Designs Live in Birmingham this week.

Today, Truedor went to Grand Designs Live and collected 73 of the best pieces of advice for building your own home, transforming your garden as well as hearing some interesting thoughts on how Brexit will affect the building industry. 

Transform your garden in a weekend
By Ann-Marie Powell
1. You have to do your planning. Write a list of what you want to get out of your garden.
2. Ask your kids for their ideas so everyone is invested in it and will want to maintain it.
3. Do your research – think about how you want your garden to look
4. Hard landscaping – consider cost, durability, materials as this is the largest part of your garden transformation.
5. Durability – consider materials carefully as you don't want to be replacing this a year from now.
6. Maintenance – you need to be realistic about maintaining it. You'll likely need to pressure wash it.
7. Think about the style and aesthetics and how these will complement your house. If you use stone internally, think about if this can be used externally.
8. Measure your space! Get your tape measure out and know what will be kept and got rid of.
9. Think about your boundaries – where do your fences go as they'll likely be staying.
10. Consider orientation for plants and growing vegetation.
11. Existing trees – will they drop leaves all over your new garden designs.
12. Prevailing wind – this will influence what plants will grow well
13. Test your soil type – if you have clay, you'll know which plants will grow better than in sand.
14. Think about your garden style – do you want a formal or informal garden?
15. Use plants to fill up various gaps in tired paving.
16. Use gravel to cover terrible paving – but make sure you use a weed-proof membrane to cover hard landscaping.
17. According to a recent report by the Royal Horticultural Society nearly 1 in 4 front gardens are completely paved.
18. Try covering paving with deck – you can do large surfaces in short spaces of time. Garden centres can be really helpful in providing the right materials and tools to achieve this.
19. The easiest way to accommodate slope is with decking
20. AstroTurf: you can AstroTurf over hard paving. You will need to ensure you have drainage and use the right base.
21. Flower pots – with pots, you can put your style on your garden and plant what you like
22. Use a pot wheel to wheel large pots around your garden.
23. Bury a plastic water bottle in the plant pot soil, cut the top off so that you can water your plants right at the roots.
24. Get your graffiti on – use plastikots on furniture for a bold, non-chippable covering.
25. Plant a meadow – get rid of the old plants, prepare your soil like you would for a turf meadow and plant a roll of meadow turf with a variety of flowers.
26. Front gardens are a much more manageable space and it's the first thing you see when you come home.
27. Use a few flower pots next to your front door to transform the front garden.


Talk 2: Improve Don't Move
By Charlie Luxton

28. Set the tone from the front door: the first moment of engagement is crucial. Don't scrimp on the entrance transition.
29. If you are going to use rich woods inside, why not use rich woods for your front door?
30. Think about reflecting floor plans into the height proportions of the ceiling plans.
31. If you have low ceilings, make them a feature; timber line them.
32. Create a narrative through a sequence of spaces.
33. Transform the staircase by cutting back the top level to increase "light shafts".
34. Use paint to transform the sequence from the ground floor to going upstairs. Paint the lower half of the wall.
35. Create long views through the building to create more light. Use double height space.
36. Circulation space defines scale: create space in areas you actually walk around in. Not in a spare room.
37. Don't make storage space a priority. Let space breathe.
38. Use both light and dark space. Accept a dark space. Make it a "night time room".
39. Place windows from the inside. Think about where you can frame "the view" and which room you want to experience the view from.
40. Doors don't need to be standard sized. They can become an expressive part of the drama of your home.

Talk 3: Top Tips for Planning your own Grand Designs

Panel Discussion
Matt White

41. Get the relationships between the rooms right – Matt White
42. Expect the brief to arrive between the architect and client – Matt White
43. Give your architect your budget to start off with. Say to professionals that you're not going above this – Mary

Panellists top three tips
44. Preparation, preparation, preparation
45. Don't be in a hurry to start building
46. Importance of a detailed project specification

47. Make sure you enjoy it.
48. Communication is fundamental between lenders, drawers and builders
49. Make decisions

50. Get independent advice to develop brief and build strategy
51. Product management is key: make sure builders know what products they're putting in
52. Stay on track

53. Research: make a scrapbook of what you like
54. Make sure it's what you want
55. Communication is critical

Talk 4: The Grand Brexit Debate

Panel Discussion:
Kevin McCloud
Charlie Luxton
Louisa Fletcher
Fionnuala Earley

This discussion focused on the opportunities and challenges facing the industry post-brexit.

All of the points below are opinions from the panellists.

56. If you're a landlord, the next twelve months will provide an opportunity to you. If you can get past the new mortgage lending regulations you'll do well - Louisa
57. Inflation will increase in terms of opportunities, look at infrastructure and get homes built – Fionnuala
58. Reduction of services in city of London, will fuel "stuff" being made here. Building industry must allow innovation – Charlie
59. We'll be hit in supply chain of materials, we shouldn't shut ourselves off from Europe – Kevin
60. Availability of mortgages are still there. Property listings are increasing. We still need to move home regardless of what happens in politics – Fionnuala
61. Lending has cooled slightly, but (Brexit) hasn't been the Armageddon that was predicted. The market is stable – Louisa
62. Government has given £3 billion to support off site builds. It's a recognition by the treasury that housing market needs to be supported. Opportunities for creative applications of the loan fund – Kevin
63. Use infill areas to get homes where people need them. Not all green belt land is "nice" land. Most is next to railways - Fionnuala
64. We have sufficient space to build six billion homes – Kevin
65. We're in a "phoney Brexit" Apart from the pound dropping, build costs will go up by 20% due to Brexit – Charlie
66. We want as much access to the single market as we can so we're not faced with too much uncertainty which ads to costs – Fionnuala
67. 40% of Eastern Europeans, skilled labour forces, have remained at home instead of coming back to work here.
68. Break the stranglehold of the six big house builders – Charlie
69. Bring back a clear programme of apprenticeships in the U.K. As we can't rely on skilled foreign nationals if we're going to exclude them – Kevin
70. People wanting to do renovations are going to be stretched – Charlie
71. If there is going to be an uncertain future, now is probably going to be the cheapest time to re-mortgage or do a project - Louisa
72. Self-build takes boom/bust out of home building. Government needs to step in and fully support self-build market – Charlie
73. In Austria, 86% of homes are delivered by self-build.

October 21 2016