Homebuilding & Renovating - - EDITOR’S LETTER -

It’s all too of­ten the case that just as the in­te­ri­ors be­gin to take shape on a build, the gar­den presents it­self as yet an­other project to con­tend with. On my own project, while much of the earth dis­turbed dur­ing the works has slowly re­turned to lawn (a task not aided by the neigh­bour­ing hens who thought all their birth­days had come at once when a hefty sum of grass seed went down), the gar­den has been rel­e­gated in a last push to fin­ish the house.

For some, cre­at­ing a new gar­den or tend­ing to an es­tab­lished one after build­ing work is a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. For the less green-fin­gered or time-poor among us, the idea of a great out­door space, with­out the up­keep, holds ap­peal. With this in mind, we asked gar­den de­signer Paul Her­veyBrookes to share his se­crets to cre­at­ing a low-main­te­nance gar­den while taking on a self-build or ren­o­va­tion (page 154).

We also turn our at­ten­tion to listed build­ing con­sent this month (page 199). Ren­o­vat­ing a listed home is a labour of love — and can be a costly ex­er­cise to boot. So, the changes to the VAT rules in 2012 – whereby the 0% rat­ing for re­pairs and ap­proved al­ter­ations to listed homes was scrapped – came as a fi­nan­cial blow. There’s hope, how­ever — a pe­ti­tion, ini­ti­ated by The Listed Prop­erty Own­ers’ Club, seeks to bring the sub­ject in front of gov­ern­ment (with sug­ges­tion for a re­duced rate of 5%). If you’re a listed prop­erty owner, or like me, keen to see th­ese old build­ings re­stored, please do sign it (pe­ti­tion. par­lia­ment.uk/pe­ti­tions/223075). H

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