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