Real Estate



  • Kerb appeal
    Home,  Real Estate

    English Homes through the ages.

    Kerb appeal
    Creating kerb appeal

    The 1970’s

    This short historical article is a work in progress.

    As time and material becomes available, I will update the information

    When I started in real estate way back in 1971 at Messrs Nicholas, Land & Estate Agents in the market town of Reading, England,

    There were five offices, with a senior partner and five other partners all the partners were members of the RICS (Chartered Surveyors). 

    In addition there were three assistants, a book keeper, a lithographer, an archivist, a typing pool of four typists, a tea lady, amd me the junior assistant.

    The company sold homes, had an active commercial department ( I worked for the commercial partner) , a  monthly high quality furniture auction and a valuation department.


    Houses prices in the 1970’s were a fraction of what they are today.

    • Semi- detached homes sold for around $2500
    • Detached modern homes for around $3500 +
    • Detached older homes for around $5000
    • Small country estates – with horse barns, stables, tennis courts on 5 acres plus around $12000
    • Large estates with 25+ acres up to $18000
    • Rental properties with a sitting tenant paying $1 a week sold for $300


    Most homeowners were older, in their 30’s working in established jobs.

    They had variable mortgages from Building Societies.

    It was required that they carried full life insurance.

    If you took out a with profits policy during the 70’s you were very likely to make a substantial profit this quickly changed in the 80’s.


    1950’s New Homes.

    The market was just adjusting to the baby boom.

    With developers offering “semi-detached” and detached  homes in cul-de-sacs.


    Very few flats/apartments were being built apart from in cities.

    External areas of homes were functional.

    With shrub gardens, vegetable gardens, annual flower gardens and gravel drives and paths.

    Inside homes, kitchens were adding refrigerators, washer driers, cookers and hot water heaters.

    Most homes had a television and telephone.

    Not everyone had cars. Microwaves were very rare.

    Living rooms still had open coal fired fireplaces.

    Although central heating was just beginning to be a standard feature. 

    Construction was almost standard – concrete strip foundation ( depth dependent on excavation and soil type) . 

    No basements.

    Internal walls were breeze block ( pulverised fuel ash) with an air gap and externally a lighter sand faced fletton brick.

    Window frames were generally wooden, or galvanised steel with lead flashings. (but not double glazed).

    Wiring was 240v with 13amp fused plugs on every appliance.

    Plumbing was galvanised steel.

    Roofs were either clay or concrete tile with lead flashings, gutters were cast iron, floors were wooden.

    Older Homes

    Previously owned homes (before the 1950’s)  were of a mixed quality.

    Pre-War – 1920 – 1939

    The very best built were between the war years 1920- 1936. 

    They were large properties, sitting on good sized plots, usually over 1/2 acre.

    Very high construction quality with superb lasting wooden features, wooden panels, floors and window frames.

    Superb wooden front doors. 

    There were also large high quality apartment blocks in cities built of brick and quality materials.



    The 1950’s homes were well built brick homes.

    Often built in small ‘cul-de-sacs’ now needing modernisation – rewiring, heating and modern equipment.



    The 1960’s were not as well constructed, often ‘boxy’ many were semi- detached or row homes the materials used were not long lasting.

    Around the 1970’s homes started to rise in price




    Individually architecturally designed and built.

    a growing trend was to extend older homes as here.


      Views: 38

    • All those events that I can remember,  Real Estate

      How we redesigned our old home.

      In the beginning.

      The condition of the house when we bought it, was tired !

      It didn’t have A/C. 

      The roof was old.

      The heating needed replacing.

      The bathrooms were ancient.

      The lovely wood floors were covered in plywood for some reason.

      It’s been around 20 years since we purchased this older home in Weston. (Built around 1906) on a corner lot. 

      We spent the first few years working on the inside, we still have a few things to do. You find more as you uncover areas long forgotten.

      It’s a good idea to keep a little of your budget back for the unexpected – 10% is a good figure.

      What we have done Inside.

      We rebuilt the bathroom, by opening up the old dining room, then closing the doorway to the kitchen.


      Next, we split the family room in two forming a new dining room and a bedroom.


      The kitchen became larger by closing off the old entrance to the old dining room.


      The new dining room received a much more robust flooring. We laid terracotta tiles on a durarock sheet bed.


      The downstairs bedroom was recarpeted. 

      The Office had an extra room added for a half bathroom. We formed an office with a rest room from the old bedroom.

      We began collecting old pieces of furniture for each room.

      The Office

      The living room.

      The Dining Room

      The Dining Room

      We spent some time collecting antique furniture.


      We laid a terracotta floor over over a durarock sheet base for the dining room.

      Next, we installed French windows and had a rear entrance way to the new garden deck.

      The work took around three days, and wasn’t that disruptive

      Reinstalling insulation was something to remember to do, as was resetting heating and cooling vents, and power outlets.


      Once completed we redocarated the inside and added a deck outside, which we stained green

      We started with white but quickly changed to a cheerful yellow. Which blended nicely with the green wooden ground level deck, which we kept 2 inches away from the house.


      Then we started on the garden.

      The plan was to create seven individual small intense gardens that you walked through.


      Planting a mixed Hornbeam and Beech hedge provided privacy, reduced a/c and heating bills 


      Hedges need annual pruning


      I’ve found that staining decks  green, works really well.

      I’ve found that benjamin moores wood stain works great, recoat every three years




      The work is never really finished but we are slowly making progress – well that was until we returned to our passion of sailing.

      So now we sail during the summer and ‘tinker’ with the house, in the colder months of the year.


      Roofing replaced around 5 years ago

      We replaced the three layers of shingles with a ply base then membrane and finally new shingles. It was all completed in three days.

      Windows – replaced around 5 years ago

      We replaced all the main sash windows with georgian style double glazed windows, they took around two hours each to replace and made an enormous difference to the appearance of the house and significantly reduced our heating bills.



      The aluminium siding was cleaned and repainted using an epoxy based white paint. This took rather longer than planned.

      Electrical – renewed around 20 years ago

      We upgraded the master fuse box to two hundred amps. Relacing 95% of the wiring in all areas where we replaced the plaster with sheetrock, using at least 65 sheets of sheet rock.

      Bathroom – replaced around 20 years ago

      We removed the old bathroom, took down the walls and built a much larger bathroom, with double walk in shower and jacuzzi, walk in wardrobe and laundry room.



      Deck – Constructed around 10 years ago

      We wanted a wooden deck,  not raised. So we used concrete base blocks and ran rafters across to form a grid to screw treated wooden planks on. By slightly moving the center joint we were able to create a broken joint that visually looks better than a straight line.

      Once completed we stained the wood with an outside Benjamin Moore  green wood stain – its time to recoat the stain.

      Hedge  approximately 20 years old. – needs a yearly pruning.

      Probably the most effective  addition outside is the hedge.

      The hedge reduces significantly how hot the inside becomes – around 20 degrees cooler during the summer,. So much so that we have only used the A/C for a few days over the past few years. 

      During the winter months the leaves of the hornbeam hedge remain , reducing the effects of the cold winter wind.



      Painting the aluminium siding white, using a a two part epoxy base system from Sherwin Williams took a little extra time. However I think the overall effect was beneficial.


      Tankless water heater. recently replaced original 20 year old one,

      The first one a Bosch lasted twenty years, it reduced our hot water creating gas use to less than $12 on average per month over that period.

      Then one morning the water feed to it exploded – they think the pressure exceeded 750lbs. It sure was lucky to be in a small town, the city engineer had the water off inside 15 mins, the oak floor got wet, but there was no other damage.

      The replacement

      We bought a Rinnai replacement (cost exactly double the first one) it is just as efficient. There is a way to had an additional radiator, which we may do in future for keeping the bathroom warm when having a Jacuzzi.

      Wood burning Fire upgraded to a 2021 sealed unit complete with stainless flue.

      We recently changed our home insert as it clearly wasn’t up to code.

      Our new one has its own stainless steel flue, meets the 2021 code.

      Only a 65000 btu heater

      Its not quite as hot burning as the previous one, but it produces sufficient heat to reduce our furnace heating to particularly cold days. It doesn’t burn as much wood as the earlier model.

      The wood has to be dry and no longer than 18 inches.

      Changing out the humongous old one took some ingenuity as it must have weight at least 350lbs maybe more.

      Range number two.

      The first one lasted twenty years, when a mouse chomped on something electrical inside, the resultant ‘bang’ persuaded us to replace the unit, well and the small issue of the oven no longer working.

      Living in a small town, which used to suffer power outages often, it seemed wise to select a gas range.

      Today the more efficient conductive electrical ranges are more environmentally friendly, but we would still choose gas as it gives an alternative should the power be cut.

      Fridge Freezer number two

      The first one died after about 18 years along with the dryer.

      (we will continue to update this article) 

      Tree work

      Trees are an attractive addition to any landscape, they provide shade and balance to a garden.

      They do have a few requirements :   

                                                        Leaves need to be attended to, they are great for composting shrub beds, chop them up with a rotary mower and they are easy to move and place

                                                                       They also need trimming – best to use an expert

                                                                        Sometimes they drop limbs.

      and then some hedge trimming – usually a hand job twice a year, this time a little more intense work.




        Views: 47

      • Lake Sailing,  Landscape Design & Build,  Real Estate

        Are you thinking of moving?


        Are you looking to Buy or Sell a home in the Greater Kansas City Metro Area ?     

        I’m a licensed Realtor in Kansas & Missouri with



                                       Wingman Real Estate Associates

                                       KW Partners Inc

                                       6850 College Blvd

                                       Overland Park, KS

                                       Each office is Independently owned & Operated

        Hello, I’m Chris,

        A little about me,                                                                     

        I’ve always strived to be just a little different.

        Over the years this approach has enabled me to embrace a varied and really fulfilling work environment.

        Exploring many areas and seeing a huge variety of places. At the same time meeting many fascinating people from all walks of life. 

        I’ve enjoyed every moment, gaining much insight into the ways of clients and the world.

        Providing me with a huge amount of experience. Working with thousands of homeowners over almost 50 years.

        More Importantly, I’ve found that patience, attention to detail with regular contact helps the process of buying and selling homes.

        Please reach out call or text me at 816 813 0729 

        or just take a look at properties that are available now , visit  – My website


        My early days:

        On leaving school my first job was as a junior sales assistant to the assistant of the Commercial Partner in a large local Real Estate firm with five offices. In my then, home town of Reading, England.

        It was a busy fun place to work, with a great team of around 30 or so professionals specialising in Country Homes, Rural Estates, Shops & Offices, Rural Land and Antique sales.

        It didn’t take long to learn a huge amount, showing homes, offices, shops and industrial complexes – I recall spending a few days chain surveying a now extremely famous rock stars new estate.

        On another occasion we valued an entire aerodrome – now a large business park.

        The company used to manage estates for the rich and famous, one of my jobs was to keep the ‘Gun Book’ for Sir Charles Clores, Stype Estate. The pheasants were then sent on to Selfridges his London department store – It seemed earning how to write in Italics had its benefits!

        Amenity Horticulture

        After a year or so, I was introduced to the newly developing industry of Commercial Amenity Horticulture – a cross between Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Construction Management,  Surveying and Horticulture.

        I decided to spend the next four years learning more. It was a great decision at the time.

        Four years training for a degree. Then working for a large parks department in London. After a few years forming our own company in London.

        External Design & Build

        A cross between Landscape Architecture & Construction Management was just making an impact on cities it was an exciting time. My three partners and I soon discovered that our knowledge and training gave us a huge advantage over our competitors.

        We won many awards, as I recall around 18, were given fabulous projects to carry out, learned an incredible amount about design, engineering, construction and project management.

        Here are just a few examples of our work.

        The drive surface above is a combination of fiberglass mixed with dried p-shingle, the edging is a triple brick gulley

        A more traditional dry-lay brick drive.

        Working in London

        I trained and employed truly superb craftsmen. Designed and built both of these executive residences landscapes.


        These pictures show how the properties have matured after 25 years. 

        A natural brick & stone terrace

        Landscape features.

        We had fun designing and building features for each garden landscape.

        Here, a simple pergola.

        Here a Mediterranean dry landscape – no grass


        Here’s a small selection of projects over the years, with many thanks to all the wonderful staff that were part of the team that enabled us to carry out such lovely work for our clients.

        I’ve added some of my work and hobbies, to give a more fuller idea about me, such as writing children’s books, conducting Interviews around the world for our Growing Trends podcast.

        A whole host of landscape ideas ( some might be of interest to you) that we employed or invented for homes, roof gardens, children’s playgrounds, hospitals, parks and streets – collecting both awards and industrial patents along the way.



        My relaxing passion is sailing – that’s not me hanging over the rails, its the sailboat in front trying to keep us behind them in a race ! 

        I’ve been sailing since the age of 8. I learned on an English lake in a 10ft 6 inch Cadet like the one below. We actually made one in plywood as a woodworking project at school when I was 11.

        Example of Cadet sailing

        Today my wife Cindi and I have a Catalina Capri 25 and a Catalina 28

        Capri 25
        Stiletto our Racing Capri 25
        “Quinley” our relaxing Catalina 28
        Tuning the new sails
        Trying out the new sails

        Sailing is one of the most relaxing, thought provoking, physically exhausting and challenging pastimes one could have. It teaches you to focus 100% on the task at hand.

        Which conveniently leads me to how I approach Real Estate. 


        Hopefully you will allow me to help you discover your dream home or assist you selling a property, or just give you an idea or two.

        I would very much like to help you with your home sale or search for a new home.


        I’m here to help you. 

        If you are looking for a Real Estate Agent licensed in the Kansas City Metro and Surrounding Area and most importantly not already signed with another agent.

        Please consider contacting me. A simple text  to 816 813 0729 will get us started.

        Are you looking for someone that has the time to provide you with a professional service?


        I am someone who is willing to spend the time helping you sell your home or buying your next dream home?


        If you prefer to email :

        Let’s begin the journey to find your dream home or sell your property today!   




        Contents of the website.

        The additional sections within this website, of which there are many, include a series of fascinating interviews, from some very special experts across the world.

        I’m happy to answer any questions on any of the articles on landscaping, just drop me a line to get started. –

        Thank you for stopping by, 


        Realtor® with Wingman Real Estate Associates.  KW Partners Inc  –  Each office is Independently owned & Operated

        If you would like to sign up, I will periodically send you articles relating to homes.



          © Chris Coope LLC.


          Views: 75

        • Real Estate,  Real Estate in Kansas

          Finding or Selling your Home in Kansas with Wingman Real Estate Associates, KW Partners Inc.


          If you are considering buying or selling a home in the Kansas City Metro or Surrounding area – call or text me at 816 813 0729     

          I will be happy to help.  




            Views: 60

          • Modern home
            Real Estate,  Real Estate in Kansas,  Real Estate in Missouri

            Finding or Selling your Home in Missouri with Wingman Real Estate Associates, KW Partners Inc


            Looking to buy or sell a home in the Kansas City Metro and Surrounding areas in Missouri ?


            If you are considering buying or selling a home call or text me at 816 813 0729   I will be happy to help.


            Views: 30

          • A new home
            Real Estate in Kansas,  Real Estate in Missouri

            The Steps to Buying a Home

            The Buying Process.


            • Start looking for a Home 

             Often this begins on line looking through sites like :




             Or A local Real Estate company website like ours at :

             ( click on the red wording)  Wingman Real Estate Associates KW Partners Inc

             Shortly after you start this process your phone is likely to start ringing with offers from agents wanting to act for you.

            • It’s now time to Engage a Licensed Realtor to represent your interests.

             Currently it is a very wise decision to select your own licensed agent to represent you with your home purchase. 

             The Selected Agent will want to have a Signed Buyers Agency Agreement with you, this doesn’t usually involve you in any costs at this stage.

            • Establish financing method

             Your new agent will begin by discussing finances with you. They will help you understand the many and  varied options available to you.

              Then they will suggest you contact a mortgage specialist who will work with you to select the best option for you.

            • Selecting a Property

             Your agent will then start looking at the properties that interested you on the various web based sites – it is possible that some of these properties are no longer available.

             The agent through his MLS site will be able to check.

             They will also be able to complete a thorough search for properties that meet your criteria.

            • Visiting Properties

             Now comes the fun, visiting and comparing properties, some people know immediately what they are looking for.

             Others want to visit a number of properties and yet more have a hard time making up their minds.

             Keep looking until you find what you are really looking for.

             I’ve found a helpful aid is a check sheet for each property.

             I find having a sheet for each property we visit. It has a few items listed:


            • Style of Home
            • Location, area of city, school district etc
            • Aspect – often overlooked – is the home North/South/East/West facing..
            • Number of Bedrooms
            • Number of Living Rooms  
            • Condition of Surroundings is the property nicely landscaped
            • Bathrooms
            • Toilets
            • Basement is the basement dry and finished
            • Garages for how many cars
            • Off street parking

                    Closeness to

            • Schools  
            • Shops
            • Airport
            • Transport         
            • Libraries
            • Hospitals    
            • An area to write notes on each room etc.,
            • Number of power outlets
            • Is painting required
            • Condition of floor or carpets
            • Window types and styles etc.,

            The idea is to enable you to remember what you saw and compare as you evaluate the most appropriate property for your needs.

            It helps with the pictures you may take with your phone.

            They will also help with your own gut feeling for value.

            The next part can become stressful.

                Making an Offer.

            This is where your agent really starts to become important. 

            Remember if you have signed an exclusive buyers agency agreement your agent has a fiduciary duty to represent you.

            The seller by virtue of having an agent listing his property has someone representing him.

            By now the number of forms has been steadily building.

            Once you make an offer you will see a regular deluge of paper – well perhaps not if you use ‘Dotloop’ to process your forms.

            It is important though to spend sometime reading each document.

            I will go over each in detail with you as well. -do  ask for clarification if you are not sure why you are being asked to sign something.

            • Accepting an Offer.

            • Once an offer has been accepted in writing ( often through dotloop or a similar electronic system) you will have set time limits on a number of important activities.
            • Inspections these are important activities to help protect you.
            • The first is a Property inspection often added is a Termite inspection
            • Next comes optional inspections or surveys for Radon, Septic if needed, Structural,
            • There is a strict time limit to completing these, reviewing them with your agent, then requesting repairs from the seller.
            • Earnest money deposit – usually required at the sellers title company within a few business days – I like to personally deliver the deposit to the sellers title company.


            The Selling Process 

            Styles of Homes


            Establish Property Value

            This is helped by looking at local recently sold, similar properties – Comps – which assist in deciding a listing figure to ask for.

            Decide on Selling Method

            Start Selling Property

            Usually there is a need to declutter a home, make a few minor repairs, tidy the garden. Then perform a deep clean of the whole house.

            Finding a Buyer

            Today finding a buyer is much easier, although recent interest rate changes have started to slow the process.

            List of things to do before you move.

            I have a moving list of to do’s that I share with my clients.

              Views: 59

            • The Lindley Victorian Mansion
              Real Estate in Missouri,  Victorian Mansions

              Homes of Distinction- The Lindley Mansion 1886

              A beautiful Victorian Mansion in the heart of Missouri

              Just sold…March 2020.

              A friend asked me to help them sell their beautiful 133 year old mansion.

              It had me thinking about how many other beautiful and often substantially built homes were waiting to be found by new caring owners.

              This house has been lovingly maintained and tastefully improved over the past few years. 







              504 South Adams St, Nevada, Missouri

              The Lindley Mansion was built in 1886 by E.P. Lindley.

              This is a rare opportunity to purchase a substantial Victorian residence that has been well maintained and lovingly cared for by the present owner. 

              This beautiful 1886 mansion benefits from many original quality features. –  wooden floors, pocket doors, detailed wood trim,

              two attractive stairways,  eight fireplaces,  12 ft high ceilings on the ground floor,

              two substantial porches, with even a full herringbone brick floor basement!

              From the impressive entrance

              The imposing front door

              with its intricate glasswork

              To the finer brick detailing

              or the woodworking detail of the porches

              or upper balcony

              504 South Adams is a  magnificent home

              Reputedly one of the first homes in Nevada built with bathrooms and gas lights ( which were changed once electricity was available).

              Originally the family entertained on the third floor where guests danced the night away.

              Later when the staircase was blocked off to accommodate an extra bathroom with closet a secret room was created which still exists to this day.

              Come and visit see if you can find it!

              Construction Details

              The Property is constructed of Brick with Stone lintels and foundations. Approximately floor area totaling 4938 sq ft, the house sits on over half an acre of land.

              Today the property is Move-in ready, with many additional modern features added by the present owner:-

              Two-year-old roof.

              Solar power.

              The roof panels are cleverly hidden on the roof at the back of the house. Access to them has been created at the top of the back staircase, allowing views of the night sky.

              with solar the electric utility bills are significantly reduced.

               Air Conditioning

              One unit has been placed on the roof and the other at ground level.

                       Forced air heating

              Eight fireplaces

              Four of the fireplaces have been changed to natural gas, the other four are original and have not been used for a number of years.

               Upgraded modernized large kitchen.

              Five large bedrooms

              Two and half bathrooms, plus a dressing room

              Huge dining room

              The formal dining room, has been tastefully redecorated, will comfortably seat 12 people.

              The current dining table ten chairs is available to purchase. The huge mirror above the gas fireplace will stay.

              Large living room

              Library & Pool Room 

              The Pool table will stay with the property. There is a half bathroom adjoining this room.

                       Family sitting room

              Large foyer

              Front and Back Staircases

              Delightful porches –

              The first with a wrap around front porch.


              The second Side Porch – fronting Maple street

              The third porch at the rear of the house, is now filled in and a convenient boot room.

              Raised Deck

               A newer raised wooden deck with covered Pergola, has been created, ideal for entertaining on a hot summers evening.

               The substantial brick double garage with driveway from the road, was built by an earlier owner 

               Features of this beautiful historical home  ……….


              A huge cellar with herringbone brick floor  – once used as a ‘speakeasy in the roaring twenties by the owner’s daughters.’

              Ground floor has almost 12 ft high ceilings.

              There are beautiful wooden pocket doors to most of the ground floor main rooms.

              Eight fireplaces – The house was originally heated by the fireplaces, requiring a full-time maid to tend to them.

              Wooden floors throughout the house.

              Large usable main attic room  

              There is even a secret room waiting to be found !

              External Construction Details. 

              The substantial construction can be seen in these pictures

              A truly beautiful home to enjoy.


              Views: 387

            • Amusing events over the years,  Award winning landscape Design & Build,  Landscape Design & Build

              Some unusual moments – while designing & constructing landscape projects

              Unusual moments from the past 50 years.

              I’ve been really fortunate during much of my working years.

              Meeting famous people,

              Visiting simply amazing homes.

              Helping Buy & Sell some truly amazing homes  

              Designing & building some fabulous landscape projects all over the world.


              A big thank you.

              First though, a really big thank you.

              To all my incredible staff during all this time. I could not have done any of it without their help and encouragement.

              I was indeed fortunate to employ some highly skilled, extremely talented, great folks.

              During these, many years.

              The team was rewarded with a huge number of awards for our work. – 17 National Awards, and 3 Chelsea Flower Show Awards.


              Here are a few of the prestigious ones that came with extremely unusual moments:

              Now in no particular order, more, just how I recollected them are some of those events.

              The Tower of London

              Here a straightforward design and install for an irrigation system, we were the first Toro residential dealer in London.  

              The irrigation systems were for the Moat & the Queen’s terrace. (that’s just outside where you queue to go in to see the Crown Jewels). 

              We were not allowed to cut into any of the building’s fabric, or into the stonework. In addition, we had to find a place to hide an 800-gallon water tank with a pump along with all the switching gear. This had to be accessible for future maintenance.

              Once the design was completed. There followed the setting out of the irrigation lines.

              These were completed and trenching begun.

              A Collection of Bones

              We had just started to trench the main lines when suddenly we exposed a collection of bones – human bones.

              When this happens it’s extremely wise to contact a few people you might not otherwise know.

              In no particular order, they were the facility manager (they have a wonderful name at the Tower for this person – The Keeper of the Keys), the coroner is next, and then the local constabulary.

              Although it was very doubtful that this was indeed nefarious unless the bones were very old!

              They turned out to be the remains of a priest. Who had been a chaplain and was buried there in the mid 20th century.

              Then everyone sort of forgot where he had been laid to rest.

              As the area was close to the infamous ‘Block’ we had to wait until everyone had left.

              We rather gingerly, and carefully gathered what remains we could together.

              There followed a quiet re-consecration service.



              A New Power Station by the River Thames.

              A tad more mundane. Having just completed a large ‘cut & fill’ project, covering many acres.

              The area was the setting out ground for the entire power station project.

              All the metalwork for the project was stored on this area during construction for the new power station.

              Just as we prepared one area, about 30 acres for seeding.

              A military land rover pulled up, out jumped an officer and team from the bomb squad. I kid you not !

              They had been alerted by an old lady across the way (about 1/4mile).

              She had just recalled (after almost 35 years), that a flight of German bombers, had dropped their loads of bombs.

              Just where we were working during the War.

              Some of which had failed to explode…!Image

              So the ‘sappers’, were obliged to dig around for a few days, messing up our seedbed as you can see. T

              hey failed to find anything and left.

              Some ten years later, whilst preparing for the new Queen Elizabeth Dartford bridge, 15 or so unexploded bombs were indeed found in the hedgerow not 70ft from where the bomb squad had poked around and we had adjusted the levels by 3ft !!!

              Only in the USA… well maybe not!

              I was called over to the USA to visit a huge private estate.

              Moving truly huge trees 

              It was to see if we would like to be involved in a project involving large rocks and trees.

              A very wealthy gentleman was in a hurry to complete a fully mature landscape – he’d been working on the project for about 10 years, so it probably wasn’t that much of a hurry.

              When I arrived he was indeed pushing the landscape construction boundaries.


              This tree was about 600 tons in weight. Perched at least 15ft in the air. The “hardwood stacked columns” were due to stay in place.

              Then then the ground would be backfilled with soil. Irrigation would extend into the tree to a height of 40ft for a number of years, to assist with establishment.

              As we approached, the site manager, who I was traveling with, was asked by the foreman.

              If the position of this tree was ‘OK’. He was asked how far off the angle was – you can see the tilting in the hessian covering the rootball.

              The reply –  “about 6 inches”  The site manager then said, “no it had to be closer.”

              This one comment made me think that this project was due to be ongoing for a long time, one to avoid.

              Here’s a picture of an even bigger tree moving down the road on the same site……

              It took about 2 years to prepare each tree for lifting. We actually drove underneath this monster in a Ford F250.


              I know what fun……..


              Lambeth, South London

              Back in the days when unrest descended on London. (A polite euphemism for Riots in about 1980).

              We had an unusual project in Lambeth. – An area that had been called ‘The Peoples Democratic Republic of Lambeth – by it’s then ultra left-leaning leader ‘Red Ted’ Knight)

              It was to be a children’s play area with a huge wooden stockade,(long gone I suspect).

              As you can see from the picture the logs were huge some 16ft tall and at least 10-inch diameter.

              All pressure treated so they would last a long time.

              A small scuffle

              They had just been delivered to the site when there was a particularly vigorous riot.

              Cars were turned over and set alight, windows smashed, the police station attacked, that sort of thing.

              I was comfortably at home watching it all on television when my insurance broker called me in a panic at 7 am to ask how things were. 

              Then he told me he forgot to put my logs (those 16ft monsters) on ‘All risk” as I had requested the day before. 

              It’s funny how you get to hear about these sort of events if you engage the locals.

              Later that day I did go and visit the site.

              All was perfectly fine, apart from 4 or five burned-out cars in the surrounding streets.

              There was the little matter of 15 rapid deployment police vehicles with full riot shields carrying about 10 fully protected policemen surrounding my site.

              Speaking to a local he explained that “they would never harm something intended for their children !!”

              It could have been a right proper panic as we say!



              The Project

              The hardest part of the project was to figure out how to pick up and place these huge poles.

              We had to keep the tops level. A bobcat with a then newly added 4 in 1 bucket worked out just fine.

              Mind you, tracking over the soft ground in wet conditions makes a terrible mess.

              Destroys the soil structure, slows the progress down and makes a site look pretty dirty – best to try and avoid if possible.

              Log wall

              A project requiring some real ingenuity.

              Another prestigious project – A large roof garden on top of the Museum of London.

              It was tracing the history of London’s plants and gardens from the middle ages to the present day.

              As is always the case working in odd places there are a few obstacles to overcome.

              Restricted access

              In this instance it was access… the access was a smoke vent set halfway up a wall in an underground car park.

              The tunnel extended some 27ft, before the main vent went to the garden area.

              Our challenge to move over 400 tons of materials through and up to the roof without damaging all the cars around.


              Here’s a picture of the roof before… over the years it had become overgrown and very untidy.

              We have cleared all the old planting, set out the new layout.

              Then we laid the paving, lined the planting beds with a hardwood framing.

              In this picture, the soil ameliorate is being added to the flower beds.

              Our access is from the scaffold bridge we built from the basement fire access.


              I’m the guy with the bald head in the suit in the middle of the folks on the left.

              Yup had to wear a suit in the City of London. I drew the line at bowler hats!

              The Completed London’s Pride Exhibition

              Below is the finished result.

              Which was open to the public for 6 months. My company supplying the staff that took folks around the exhibit.

              This project covered close to 27,000 sq ft.

              ( well ok the ladders were removed and the gate swung back into place..)


              It was projects like these that honed our problem-solving skills.

              Do drop us a line if you would like to ask a question or have a request.. or take a more in depth look at my adventures in landscaping over the years




                Views: 431

              • Downloadable Help Sheets,  Real Estate

                Forms for the buying process

                Forms to help evaluate a property you are viewing.

                It’s very easy, when viewing a selection of homes in one day. To mix up what you are seeing at each property.

                To help you remember each property individually. We have produced some additional questionnaires which are designed for you to add your observations as you walk around each property.

                They are not overly detailed, they should help you get started with your personal evaluation.

                There is plenty of space to write your own comments and questions that you would like answered.

                I would also suggest perhaps, taking a few photographs. This might help for when you sit down at home and complete your evaluation.

                To obtain the various forms send with Message line : ‘Viewing Properties’.

                I will then send you a set in ‘pdf’ format.


                  Views: 190

                • Downloadable Help Sheets,  Landscaping,  Real Estate

                  Outside Home Check List

                  Outside Home Check List

                  After starting my Real Estate career in England in 1971.

                  I left for 25 years to development a multi award winning External Works Design & Build Company in London.

                  Residential Properties

                  Part of this was spent designing & building high end landscapes on residential properties in Southern England.

                  We developed an initial review list of what to look for when considering the potential for properties, along with expected on going aftercare.

                  Our construction teams focused on detailed hard & soft landscaping.

                  Developing new ‘Designer Drives’ using a  ‘drylay’ system with block, brick and granite materials as early as 1982.

                  Natural brick & granite
                  Natural Engineering Brick Dive, in herring bone pattern
                  Recessed manhole access covers cut into drylay brick paving

                  Can you see the second manhole cover  ?

                  Canted block edge that leads the eye around the design.
                  Practically to let a driver know they were nearly off the driveway.

                  Some larger homes benefitted from a less expensive softer appearance as below when we used a bonded ( with fibreglass resin) gravel drive with brick gulley detail.

                  Triple brick drainage channel set around a bonded gravel drive
                  Bonded gravel with brick gulley edge
                  Bonded gravel with brick edge


                  Whilst the list is by no means complete, I am planning on creating a section within this website to show the various techniques and ideas for homeowners.

                  Porphery setts laid in a radius
                  Granite paving to create a Mediterranean Style dry landscape

                  I haven’t made any suggestion as to cost simply because each site is different.

                  There are many factors impacting costs, not least access, planning and zoning, time of year, scope of works, current material & labor costs.

                  I do hope though that this provides help in your overall assessment of the property you are reviewing.

                  I will add sections each week with picture examples.




                  Just send me an email or complete the form below with the Subject : “ Outside Forms”  adding what you are thinking about doing, I will be happy to make suggestions. 



                    Views: 278

                  • Real Estate,  Real Estate in Kansas,  Real Estate in Missouri

                    Looking to own your first home?

                    Buying your first home is one of those life changing moments.  

                     .. Just want to know what properties are currently available ?   

                     Call or text me at 816 813 0729 I’m here to help you.

                    My own experience of buying our first home was probably no different to many.

                    I left school, at the age of 18, worked for an Estate Agency in Reading. It was quite a large firm with six locations and five partners (owners). There was no way I could afford to buy anything on my starting salary, which was 1 guinea a week !

                    It wasn’t until after I went to college for four years, obtained my second job that I could afford to buy. My girlfriend (later my first wife) and I rented a two bedroom apartment in Croydon, Surrey. Our rent was a whopping $200 a month in 1975.

                    About six months after renting we happened to walk past an Wates estate agents in Crystal Palace. In the window was a superb luxury one bedroom flat in a block of twelve, complete with parking, a garage and an outside storage room, inside each apartment there was a drying cupboard, and even a bidet in the bathroom. It was for sale at $18000.

                    We went in and spoke to the agent, who explained these luxury flats were few and far between. We soon discovered we could purchase it with our joint incomes, and a 10% deposit. In fact our monthly expenses went down by $30, and we collected tax relief on the payments another $30 saving. We also were able to purchase a with profits life insurance policy that would pay out at the end of our mortgage ( it did very well ). Today such policies have not been so good.

                    The other thing we were able to do was to create a fully transferable mortgage, which meant that as we moved so the mortgage moved with us and all we needed to do was take out an additional top up one to cover any price difference.  This saved quite a lot of money.

                    We decided to purchase the apartment, it was on a 125 year lease, with a $50 ground rent and a very low maintenance upkeep fee.

                    We moved after two years, the very first person to view bought, and we made $24000 profit.  So after agents fees, solicitor fees, moving expenses our two-year stay resulted in a substantial profit. Our next house had a mortgage that was much lower percentage wise than this our first purchase.

                    We learned a very valuable lesson, thanks to the agent the first rule of buying is :-

                    Location, Location, Location.

                    He did add that we should develop a wish list. It’s something I have always recommended the thousands of clients I have worked for over the years.

                    • if you would like a wish list template just send me an email seems there is no right way to create a list, although I might suggest that each couple produce their own ‘first list’.

                    Another helpful aid is to develop a box to store newspaper clippings, magazines pictures, computer print outs of all the things you would like to include in your home. It’s surprising how many things will be saved, some may be color schemes, others more practical like bedroom sizes. Of course your final list will usually be a compromise gleaned from both of your final lists.

                    • if you would like me to see what’s currently available in Missouri or Kansas and you haven’t signed  a contract with another licensed agent give me a call on 816 813 0729
                    • I work in the Wingman Real Estate team at
                    • KW Partners Inc  6850 College Blvd, Overland Park, Ks 913 906 5400


                      Views: 212