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    CD Designs Blog

    Bury’s ‘Most Loved’ Driveways and Patios

    Ian and Ben receiving the award

    Ian and Ben receiving the award

    During February we were delighted to find out that we were the ‘Most Loved’ driveway and patio business in Bury on thebestofbury website. They were running a promotion called ‘14 Days Of Love’, a Valentine’s Day tie-in finding the best businesses in the area based on the number of recommendations that they got, and we came top. Not only were we the most recommended driveway and patio company in Bury, we were the third most in the entire country!

    We’re thankful that so many of you are finding the time to give a review of our work, and delighted that you are so pleased with it. We will continue to give you the best driveways and patios possible, and in doing so hope to get many more reviews, so that by this time next year we will be number one in the country.

    Industry Wide Price Increases

    Concrete Price Rise

    Last month we were informed by one of our concrete suppliers Cemex that they are going to be increasing their prices at the start of 2013. The reasons given were that the combination of increased input costs such as rising fuel prices and investment in new equipment, along with the additonal costs of new EU legislation when Phase 3 of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme comes into effect, has left their business model unsubstainable for the future. Therefore they will have to pass the cost on to their customers.

    Along with the new EU laws are existing laws like the Carbon Reduction Commitment and the Carbon Floor Price, which will also contribute to the increased costs. These costs will be the same for any company, and although we have not heard from our other suppliers, they may also have to raise their prices.

    Here at CD Designs, we will try our best to not pass on any increased costs for our pattern imprinted concrete driveways and patios to our customers, but at the end of the day as with any business, if this is not sustainable we may have to regretably increase our base costs.

    Do You Need Planning Permission?

    planning permission

    Many of our customers often ask whether they will need planning permission for work carried out on their home. Here is a quick guide to whether you will need planning permission when improving your home.

    For front gardens, planning permission is not generally needed if your driveway is less than 5 square metres, or you are using a permeable material like gavel, block paving or porous asphalt. For our pattern imprinted concrete installations, which are non-permeable, we will design a drainage system specifically for your needs, so that any rainwater is allowed to drain properly.

    For any patios or side of house parking areas and paths, no planning permission is required as long as there is no significant embanking or terracing built to support a hard surface. When it comes to decking, planning permission is again not required provided it is not raised more than 30cm, and the decking and other external structures don’t cover more than 50% of the total garden area.

    Any walls, fences or gates will not normally need planning permission unless they are over 2 metres high, or over 1 metre tall and next to a highway used for vehicles. Alternatively permission may be needed if you are changing the boundary of a neighbouring listed building. If you live in a listed building yourself, planning permission is usually needed for any indoor or outdoor work on the property.

    If planning permission is necessary, we will provide all the assistance needed to get it. If you would like some no-obligation advice, please contact us here. For more in-depth information, you can look at a handy 3D government guide here.

    The ultimate patio bench on a budget

    Create a simple patio bench on a budget with breeze blocks

    Create a simple patio bench on a budget with breeze blocks

    With summer rapidly approaching, and most of us dreaming of weekend BBQs, sunbathing and entertaining friends with evening cocktails and garden parties, it’s time to take a serious look at the garden.

    One of the biggest problems with entertaining in your garden, is seating space. Dining room chairs don’t always cut it outdoors and can look a little odd in the informal al fresco environment. They also risk getting scratched – or causing damage to your pattern imprinted concrete patio. But at the same time, you may be reluctant to splash the cash on an expensive garden seating set for occasional entertaining – so what’s the solution?

    Well, how about the ultimate budget patio bench – made from concrete breeze blocks! It’s a DIY enthusiast’s dream and looks really chic when finished. Simply put together the base and sides with concrete breeze blocks, and then fix a wooden plank on top. Once the structure’s in place, add a cut-to-size foam padded cushion, covered with a suitably bright outdoor fabric.

    Your smart new bench will be strong, durable and cost you next to nothing. Concrete breeze blocks can be bought from a variety of builder’s supplies stores, or even DIY stores. The base will be rain proof and winter proof – simply store the fabric covered seating inside when the balmy long evenings of summer draw to an end.

    Certainly for outdoor entertaining at a rock-bottom price, this is a fantastic solution to seating your guests. When it comes to your event, add plenty of brightly coloured cushions, tealight holders in the trees, outdoor solar lamps or a Moroccan lantern or two, and you’ll be fighting your guests for a seat!

    Photo and idea via A Minneapolis Homestead.

    DIY Concrete planters

    Simple yet beautiful home made concrete planters

    Simple yet beautiful home made concrete planters

    People are often surprised by the incredible versatility of concrete. It’s not only vital in construction and building, but also provides an excellent material for craft, design and other varied artistic applications. A great example of this, are home-made concrete planters – which are surprisingly easy to make, and a great project for a warm summer weekend.

    Instead of throwing away your ice-cream tubs or fruit juice containers, gather up some good sized plasticware to make moulds for your own concrete garden planters. Get a bag of concrete from your local DYI store, some sand and some perlite, which will help lighten the concrete once it sets. Use containers of different sizes – one inside the other, then pour the concrete mix in and allow it to set. Release the mould, send your containers to recycling and use a screwdriver to gently work in some base drainage holes.

    These planters will cost a fraction of the price of what you might buy in a garden centre, and you can have fun customising them to suit. Try chiseling in patterns, applying glazes or adding decorative features with adhesive – anything that takes your fancy. Sometimes the best artistic results with concrete are left slightly raw, unfinished and rough around the edges – so avoid the temptation to overly perfect your results. Experimentation will give you a good set of planters to work with and allow you to plant a large array of gorgeous flowers, herbs, fruits or vegetables. With a little artistic flair and creative freedom, your pattern imprinted concrete driveway will be personalised to your taste and absolutely gorgeous to behold. Just don’t be surprised if you’re asked to share your planters’ secrets of origin!

    For the a complete how to guide and to see more images, visit Rad Megans blog.

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    E:info@northwest-driveways.co.uk
    T: 01706 827180

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