CD Designs Blog
When you are working hard on perfecting the look of your house, either in preparation for selling it or just because you want everything to look exactly right, there is so much to do! And not just inside – yes, your colour scheme, fixtures, fittings and layout are important, but it’s the outside that makes the first impression! Outside, you have so many options – lawns, flower beds, bushes and trees, gravel, rockeries, and of course pattern imprinted concrete driveways!
There is a lesser-thought about aesthetic problem to consider too. The considerations mentioned above take a long time, and a lot of effort, planning and decision making, but at least you have direct control over them. The problem I’m referring to is wear and tear on the roads, paths and pavements around your area. The most aesthetically radiant property can be robbed of kerb appeal by dangerous uneven footpaths and large pot holes in the surrounding area, and there is nothing you can do about this directly.
But you can complain to someone who can!
The roads, pavements and footpaths in your area are usually the property of your local council/government, and it is their responsibility to make sure these public areas are kept in a condition where they don’t become dangerous, or an eye sore. It is therefore perfectly reasonable for you to contact your local council and ask them to make repairs where needed. Most councils have a dedicated page on the Web detailing how to do this. To find this, go to your favourite search engine and search for “Report Problems on Highways and Footpaths [NAME OF YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL]“. In the event that your council doesn’t have such a page, find a general contact phone number or e-mail address for your council, and ask them what to do to report the problem.
Photo by Alan Stanton
28th April 2011
There are many reasons why you might want to widen an existing driveway: Perhaps it just needs an aesthetic facelift? Or more likely, you might want to widen it to fit more vehicles.
There are a few things to keep in mind when attempting this:
First of all you need to make sure that you choose suitable materials for the widened path and resulting altered fences/walls. Try to make sure they fit in with what is already there as well as possible. You should make sure that the supporting form material is packed solid, and taken up to just below the existing driveway level. Also, cut joints in the new area every 30 inches or so, to reduce the risk of cracking due to shrinkage.
A final big consideration is the dropped kerb going down to the road outside your house. The odds are you’ll want to widen or move an existing dropped kerb, or put in a new one, and to sort this out you need to speak to your council planning department. To find their contact details do a search on your favourite search engine for “[YOUR AREA NAME] council planning”. You’ll need to talk to them to get the relevant application form to fill in. Once this is submitted, they need to approve and give planning permission, and then you need to pay to get the dropped kerb work done, either by the council or by an independent building company.
Image – This photo is from one of our case studies.
26th April 2011
At CD Designs, we are always throwing around original, innovative ideas for your home, proving that have more tricks up our sleeves than just pattern imprinted concrete driveways. Indeed, concrete is a very versatile material that can work in a surprising variety of situations!
Take the polished concrete desk. It is perhaps strange to think of a building material being used to create a classy piece of office furniture, but this is perfectly possible! A polished concrete work surface can give a similar look to marble, but at a fraction of the cost.
To start with, you should draw up a plan of the desk you want to make. Concrete can be very heavy, so it is a good idea to create the concrete element in multiple segments, so that you can actually lift it to where you want it to go, and to reduce the risk of breakage.
To create your concrete work top, build a mould out of something solid like melamine sheets, using silicone caulking or similar to build any intricate shapes into it.
In terms of the concrete mix, you don’t need any kind of special solution – about one part cement to three parts water is fine, which enough water added to give it the texture of thick porridge. Pour in the mould, vibrate it a lot to get rid of air bubbles and leave it to set for two to three days. Before the concrete has set, you can choose to decorate the surface by embedding crushed glass, and strengthen it with wire mesh.
You will also need to grind the surface down, fill in holes, then polish with a set of polishing pads down to a fine shine. The final step is to coat the surface with a nice clear sealant. Beautiful!
Refer to the Instructables guide to How to Build a Polished Concrete Desk for a more complete guide.
Image via Instructables
24th April 2011
When designing pattern imprinted concrete driveways and patios for our customers, it has always amazed us what a huge variety of options are available and achievable. Even the same material AND pattern can yield vastly different results if you simply vary the base colour used and the finish.
In this article we’ll be talking about colour, and focusing on Ashlar slate, a material that we’ve done a lot of work with. Ashlar slate is a nice hard wearing material, great for a neat fairly formal look, but also versatile, suiting a variety of situations and shapes, whether you want a professional looking driveway for major kerb appeal, or a nice gentle secluded patio out back. It can also be effectively cut into a variety of shapes, eg rectangular or circular.
If you look at some of our case studies you’ll witness the variety we are talking about. Brandleshome features a classic pattern imprinted concrete driveway and matching path in a fairly neutral colour that fits in well with the surrounding brick walls, lawns and foliage. Benbecular Way on the other hand has a driveway in a bright tan colour for a much bolder effect. Finally, the driveway at Eden Park is using a platinum silver colour with a shiny finish, which again gives a distinct feel and character, even though the material is identical and the pattern is the same throughout most of it.
22nd April 2011
When implementing a pattern imprinted concrete patio, don’t just slap it anywhere on your property: you need to give it some serious thought, and this goes way beyond just choosing the material and pattern! Below we present to you our top 5 tips for a perfect patio!
1. Think about how much space you need: Sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at the number of times we’ve seen a patio design that doesn’t allow for all the items the owner might want to rest on top of the patio. Think about tables and chairs, BBQ, outside heater, etc. Before designing your patio do a “dry run” on your lawn or driveway, laying out everything you need and looking at the amount of space that requires.
2. Consider the BBQ: Pretty much every self-respecting patio needs a BBQ, so you can take full advantage of those four days of UK summer sun! But you need to think about where to place this to maximise usefulness and safety. Also, do you just want an empty space for a separate BBQ, or a built in brick structure?
3. Where will it be placed: You should look at whether you’re going to place your patio so it directly adjoins your house, or not. If not, you should build in an attractive path to provide a route to the patio. What works best? You should consider having it easily accessible from a door.
4. My friend the sun: Are you a sun worshipper, or a vampire, or somewhere in between? How much you like the sun should influence your patio position – where in the garden gets the most sun?
5. What is going to go immediately around the patio? To really make the visuals shine, consider bordering the patio with attractive brick work, or flower beds, or look at trestles to grow plants, or sculptures and other artwork. It really is up to you!
19th April 2011