Page 3 - HC Observer Corby Edition April 2017
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How to be an eco-friendly, green-  ngered, creature-loving, guru
Areyoudoingenoughtohelpyourlittlecornerof the planet? Much of our wildlife is under threat in the UK; over-population, urbanisation, pesticides and pollution are doing nothing to make the problem any smaller. That’s where we come in.
Garden design
First, think about the design of your garden. If you’re living somewhere urban, you probably have a patch of grass (or concrete!) the size of a postage stamp – but not to worry. There’s plenty you can do.
1. Make room for a vegetable patch. Just mark up a little patch of soil that gets around  ve hours of sun every day. Dig the soil to one-and-a-bit spade’s depth, and  ll it up with lots of good quality compost. Plant some lettuce seedlings, leaving 20cm between each, add water daily.
2. Growyourownherbs.Allyouneedtodoisput some pre-bought herbs in pots outside and water them regularly. You can get small plant pots from your garden centre if you don’t have much space.
3. Tryshrubs.Plant veormoretogetherina clump to act as protective thicket for wildlife.
Encourage wildlife into your garden
1. Startbyplantingavarietyofbeautiful owers– particularly those high in nectar. Choose pretty blooms, such as Sweet Williams or plant the
kind that make you think of fancy French  lms
– such as lavender, for instance. Bees rely on these  owers if they’re to do their jobs properly. They’re responsible for producing 75% of the world’s crops and 87% of wild  owering plants.
2. Next,addabirdfeeder.Withspeciesofbirds under threat in the UK at the moment, every little thing you do to help will make a difference. Providing them with a consistent and enjoyable food source is a great way to help them thrive.
3. Cutaholeinyourfenceforhedgehogs.One
of the biggest reasons hedgehog numbers have declined in recent years is because we’re making our fences and boundaries too secure. For their size, hedgehogs have a huge appetite and need access to food. Solve their problem by cutting a hole the size of a CD case in the bottom of your fence, allowing them to come and go from your garden as they please.
Top  ve colour trends for 2017
Your choice of colour palette for your home
is a re ection of your personality so it’s important to choose carefully. Colours have the power to evoke certain feelings and moods, and an injection of colourful paint in a room can quickly turn it from drab and gloomy into a light and striking space.
1. Dulux’scolouroftheyearfor2017isDenim Drift (pictured), a shade of atmospheric
blue that is ideal for a striking feature wall in the family room. It’s an adaptable tone, being equally at home when used in fabrics such as cushions or perhaps as an oversized headboard in the master bedroom. We’re seeing more intense, moody tones come to the fore and overlaying to create ambiance.
2. Grey is a timeless and calming colour that’s
a  rm favourite when dressing the home – greycarpetsandwallscreateaclean,crisp 4. look. Next year expect to see the shade in a
different light, darkened to almost a brown.
Grey can also be paired with blues or blacks to
bring a strong, industrial character or pastels foramoresubtlefeel.
3. Metallics are huge in interiors this year, and will continue to be a key trend into 2017. We’re moving away from the softer, more muted tones to a radiant, stronger gold that brings richness to the home. Inject
these golden tones into your home through carefully placed ornaments and accessories. AtMaisonetObjet,blackwaseverywhereand I see this as a strong in uence on furniture pieces for 2017. Consider introducing shades of dramatic noir into your lounge with items such as a black glass sideboard or table.
5. Bringtheforestintoyourhomewithdeep shades of rich green as a feature wall in your bedroom. Create interest by combining all of next year’s colour trends into one room, contrasting the bold, striking colour trends of green, black and gold.
Shared ownership
and stepping on to
the property ladder
Are you house hunting on a restricted budget and struggling to  nd your dream new home? There are now several options out there now for house hunters – saving for years, accepting loans from parents or purchasing with friends. Another route that is becoming increasingly popular is buyingthroughSharedOwnership.Youmayhave heard this phrase, but may not know what it is.
Lisa Westerman, group head of sales at Plumlife, the affordable homes specialist, explains the process, the costs involved and how to apply.
What’s Shared Ownership all about?
Shared Ownership is a part-buy, part-rent government-backed scheme which usually allows  rst-time buyers to purchase a 35–75% share of
a new home and pay rent on the remainder. This
is great if you’ve found the perfect home but you can’t quite afford to take out a mortgage on the full asking price. You will still need to have saved a small deposit this is usually around 5%.
The process
Imagine the home you want costs £200,000 but you can only borrow a mortgage of £100,000 because of your income and the size of your deposit. In this example Shared Ownership would allow you to buy half of the property and the organisation you’re buying from would own the other half. You would then pay a small monthly rent on the 50% share you don’t own and put forward a deposit from 5%. This leaves a maximum mortgage level of 45% (£90,000). You can then ‘staircase,’ your share in your property and buy more shares or even buy outright as your circumstances change.
Who can apply?
Shared Ownership supports buyers who would struggle to buy a home on the open market. In order to apply you need to be a  rst time buyer, in permanent employment, live or work locally, or have family connections to the area you want to buy in.
To get the ball rolling applicants should  ll out a form on the Help to Buy website and contact a local sales team at an organisation offering properties for sale through Shared Ownership.
Costs involved
As well as a 5% deposit, you’ll need to pay for a reservation fee, mortgage valuation or survey, legal fees and stamp duty. You will also need to factor in the costs of moving home, for example hiring a removal  rm.

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