How Does Your Garden Grow? - Part 2

Last week we shared with you stylist Joanna Thornhill's innovative garden 'fake-over'. This week we are featuring her ideas for some very stylish and economical planting ideas. 

Pots painted in spray paint, from a selection, Plastikote.

Pots painted in spray paint, from a selection, Plastikote.

An old fruit basket makes for a pretty tiered planter when lined with hanging basket lining and filled with trailing plants.

Found dumped on the side of the road, these tyres make surprisingly good large planters. By creating a ‘bottom’ with some plastic sheeting punched with holes for drainage, it provides a happy home for numerous blooms.

Cut flowers from the garden look sweet displayed in a vintage milk bottle holder.  

Old food tins are given a new lease of life, spray-painted and then used as planters (with drainage holes punched in the bottom) and candle votives (with a star design punched in the side to allow the light to shine through). Both were created by punching a nail through the can with a hammer, to puncture its surface.

This unusual tiered plant stand is great for making the most of small spaces or balconies, and helps stop smaller plants looking too disparate.

Some leftover emulsion paint was used to add streaks of painterly colour to this cheap terracotta pot, with pinks selected to pick up on the Fuchsia plant it houses. The pot was sealed with two coats of PVA glue inside and out, to prevent the paint from running off whilst allowing the terracotta to breathe.

Lined with hanging basket lining, this cute colander was just 50p from a local charity shop and makes for a sweet planter.

Feature and styling: Joanna Thornhill.

Photography: Rita Platts.

This feature originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Heart Home mag. All stockists and prices were correct at time of publication.

Wild & Wolf: V&A Gardening Collection

With the beginning of June feeling more like Autumn than Summer, we're still feeling pretty positive that the rays of sunshine will soon be shining upon us. We wont let the wet weather dampen our spirits, in fact we're getting excited at the prospect at spending more time in the garden.

So lets get ready to make hay while the sun shines with Wild & Wolf's new collaboration with Victoria & Albert museum. The new range of floral home & gardening tools is available in three archive prints - a detail from William Morris' 19th century botanical Bower wallpaper and two patterns based on William Kilburn's delicate century textile designs.

So come on sun, we need to play with these gorgeous new accessories. 

Wild & Wolf V&A gardening collection from £9.95 www.wildandwolf.com 

How Does Your Garden Grow? - Part 1

Owning a garden for the first time can be a daunting prospect, especially for those not naturally equipped with green fingers. Interiors stylist Joanna Thornhill faced such a challenge after purchasing her first property in Walthamstow, north-east London, and she inherited an uninspiring patch of barren concrete. Her response was to tackle the space much like any other interiors makeover: tart it up and style it out!  

This colourful space provides the perfect spot to both entertain and relax during the warmer months.

This colourful space provides the perfect spot to both entertain and relax during the warmer months.

Bay tree standard, £65; wooden planter, £55, both Trees Direct. Green American glass cake stand, £39; folding giant spotty newspaper stars, £7.50; recycled plastic kettle, £8; plastic pouffe, £35; plastic mat, £12, hand-painted religious tin can, £15.50, all REfound Objects. Melamine plates (on wall), similar from Rockett St George. Vegetable oil tin stool, from £35 from a selection at The Chair Man at Wood Street Market, Walthamstow. Orange bunny and paper bunting, from a selection at Tiger Stores. Phoenix pygmy date plant, metal steps and selected other plants and pots, from a selection, Wilkinson.

A bright splash of colour and some cosy textiles makes this seating nook sing.

A bright splash of colour and some cosy textiles makes this seating nook sing.

Bench, from a selection at Argos, painted in Summer Medley 1 paint by Dulux. Bench seat pad covered in Green Mum’s oilcloth, £12 per metre, Viva la Frida. Battersea toile cushion, £60, Snowden Flood.

After sourcing a plastic plant pot to fit inside its opening, this old teapot is put to good use as an alternative plant pot, complete with drainage spout.

After sourcing a plastic plant pot to fit inside its opening, this old teapot is put to good use as an alternative plant pot, complete with drainage spout.

Wire fruit stand, floral cross-stitch cushion, stone dog ornament, yellow tealight holder, metal frame, fruit crate, metal teapot and colander (used as planters) and milk bottle holder, all vintage – try eBay, charity shops or salvage fairs for similar

These Heuchera plants look cute peeking out of a vintage fruit crate, lined with a bin bag to minimise wood rot. Old garden tools make appropriate décor for the space.

These Heuchera plants look cute peeking out of a vintage fruit crate, lined with a bin bag to minimise wood rot. Old garden tools make appropriate décor for the space.

Bamboo slat screen fencing, £29.99 per 4mx2m panel, Homebase.

Reclaimed railway sleepers add a rustic touch to this city garden. If creating a similar look at home, bear in mind that reclaimed sleepers sometimes contain metal inserts – if you wish to cut some to size, it’s best to purchase new ones to ensure you get a clean cut.

Reclaimed railway sleepers add a rustic touch to this city garden. If creating a similar look at home, bear in mind that reclaimed sleepers sometimes contain metal inserts – if you wish to cut some to size, it’s best to purchase new ones to ensure you get a clean cut.

Alicante astro turf, £13.99 per square metre, Touch of Grass. Cotswold stone gravel, (in flower beds) £7.49 per maxi bag, Homebase.

A vintage sign, found at the annual Lille Brocante flea market, adds a touch of industrial interest to the shed.

A vintage sign, found at the annual Lille Brocante flea market, adds a touch of industrial interest to the shed.

Value Traditional overlap 6ft x 6ft shed, £175, Wilkinson, painted in Pale Jasmine from Garden Shades range, £23.49 for 2.5l, Cuprinol and Summer Medley 1 with Weathershield base, £23.99 for 1l, Dulux.

An old plastic chandelier, stripped of its wiring, creates a quirky, mood-setting outdoor light. Spray-painted a vibrant blue and with pillar candles added where light bulb fittings once were, it is hung from a hanging basket bracket screwed into a fence post.

An old plastic chandelier, stripped of its wiring, creates a quirky, mood-setting outdoor light. Spray-painted a vibrant blue and with pillar candles added where light bulb fittings once were, it is hung from a hanging basket bracket screwed into a fence post.

Solar powered LED party lights, £35, Lakeland.

Lots of clever tricks have been used to add height within this garden: here, a discarded table leg, found on the street outside, has been topped with a slate roof tile to create a quirky plant stand.

Lots of clever tricks have been used to add height within this garden: here, a discarded table leg, found on the street outside, has been topped with a slate roof tile to create a quirky plant stand.

Wire bird cage, £75 for two, Rockett St George.

Next week we'll share more of Joanna's innovative ideas for potted plants.

Feature and styling: Joanna Thornhill.

Photography: Rita Platts.

This feature originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Heart Home mag. All stockists and prices were correct at time of publication.

Sophie Allport WINS 5* Award at Prestigious Chelsea Flower Show

With 165,000 visitors descending on London to admire breathtaking displays, beautiful designs and buckets of creativity, it can only mean one thing… the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show is on! For the sixth year in a row, the team at Lincolnshire based Sophie Allport have beavered away behind the scenes in the months leading up to the world renowned event. They have set up a carefully designed exhibitor stand and are delighted to have been presented with a ‘five star’ award! “We’re absolutely thrilled to have won our first five-star award. All those months of designing and planning followed by a big effort to construct the stand last week have paid off,” explained Sophie Allport.

Sophie is showcasing her new Hare collection of homewares plus a limited edition ‘Chelsea Flower Show 2016’ fine bone china mug which has so far proved to be the best seller.

“I’m a very keen gardener,” explained Sophie. “I find Chelsea so inspiring. It gets better every year. We have been so lucky this year to overlook Cleve West’s gold award-winning M&G garden opposite our stand. It’s breathtaking!”

The eagle eyed members of the Sophie Allport team have so far spotted The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Naomie Harris and Mary Berry at the Show. “We’ve been excited to have some famous faces on the stand already including Kirstie Allsopp, Anton du Beke, Dame Judi Dench and some ‘girl power’ from former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell,” said Sophie.

All items in the Sophie Allport collection can be purchased from sophieallport.com or by phoning 01780 560256.  

300,000 Commemorative Poppies to be Unveiled at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Acclaimed landscape designer Phillip Johnson has teamed up with the creators of the 5000 Poppies Project to showcase a vast tribute of almost 300,000 handcrafted poppies at 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show from 24-28 May 2016. The ambitious display will honour all servicemen and women who have fought across all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations over the last 100 years.  This unique event is being made possible through the support of the Victorian Government and Qantas.

5000 Poppies Federation Sqaure

5000 Poppies Federation Sqaure

Phillip Johnson’s ambitious, elegant design for Chelsea will incorporate a stunning selection of poppies from 50,000 contributors from across the globe. The design features a simple central geometric installation, complemented by more than 25,000 stemmed poppies extending into the manicured lawns of the Chelsea Hospital.

5000 Poppies Project Fed Square April 2015

5000 Poppies Project Fed Square April 2015

Overall the design will cover almost 2,000 sqm (21,500 sqft). This will be the first time that the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has connected into the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in such a dramatic way, and RHS Chelsea organisers expect the installation to be a highlight at the Show.

This vast project came from humble beginnings and sparked massive international community interest.  In 2013, Australian creators Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight set out to crochet just 120 crocheted poppies to plant at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne in honour of their fathers who both fought in WWII.  A huge outpouring of community spirit and creative energy took this project to an unprecedented scale.

Margaret Knight

Margaret Knight

By Remembrance Day 2013 more than 5,000 poppies had been collected, and by Anzac Day 2015 the total was well in excess of quarter of a million poppies from contributors around the globe. The result was a spectacular visual tribute in Melbourne’s landmark Federation Square and on Princes Bridge, and led to an invitation to showcase at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The aim to honour all servicemen and women reflects the way that the project has grown to include many contributors from other countries and cultures.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show - 5000 Poppies artist impression (credit Colin Jackson)

RHS Chelsea Flower Show - 5000 Poppies artist impression (credit Colin Jackson)

Say It With Flowers From Bloom

With Mother's day approaching why not celebrate it with a lovely bunch of flowers. And we're not talking about normal flowers but silk flowers! Discover the beauty of truly realistic silk flowers created by Tiffany Davies for Bloom.

Every one of Bloom's petals, buds and leaves is designed and made by hand to uncompromising standards. Praised by journalists, sought after by interior designers and loved by customers, these stunning silk blooms flourish and thrive in any home for years.

Bloom faux flowers can go where real flowers won't survive - Bright sunlight, dim corners, draughty halls. Bloom flowers can be displayed all year round and are particularly good in offices where central heating is a bit of a hazard to real flowers and plants. The beauty of faux flowers is that they will look good anywhere and will stay looking great for years to come. 

Don't forget Mother's day 6th March.

Garden Decking: The New Generation

Choosing garden decking can be a bit of a minefield, particularly when there are so many choices on the market. Just choosing a colour can be difficult enough; deciding on the best type of material for your project can be positively baffling, particularly if you’re not familiar with the various options.

In recent years, there have been many exciting new developments in the decking industry. Manufacturers have been responding to the demands of their customers by producing products that not only look great, but are also capable of withstanding the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

EasyClean Legacy Ashwood decking

EasyClean Legacy Ashwood decking

Before you build your new deck, it’s extremely important to plan the project properly. It’s particularly crucial that you put some thought into your choice of material before getting stuck in; you want a deck that will serve its practical purpose for years to come, whilst also retaining the vivid, detailed appearance that attracted you in the first place.

Capped composite decking is a fairly new development, but it has already become an incredibly popular choice amongst homeowners due to its resilience and durability. Here are the main advantages of capped composite decking:

It Looks Great

Capped composite decking comes in a fantastic selection of colours and styles, making it suitable for those who are looking to capture an authentic wooden look as well as for those who would prefer implement a sleeker, more contemporary design. Some products even blend the best of both styles; for example, capped EasyClean Legacy Ashwood decking from TimberTech combines a stylish, muted grey palette with a natural wood finish:

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  EasyClean Legacy Ashwood decking

EasyClean Legacy Ashwood decking

As well as enabling you to create an attractive design, capped decking also ensures that your carefully assembled deck will cope with the elements, along with the inevitable impact of regular use. Protected by a moisture-resistant polymer sleeve, capped composite decking is great for the changeable and damp conditions we’re accustomed to here in the UK. It’s also great for families and clumsy dinner guests, as the sleeve prevents spills and stains from seeping into the material.

It’s Versatile

Thanks to its durability, shade variety, and low-maintenance properties, capped composite decking is also extremely versatile, making it suitable for all kinds of different projects. 

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  EasyClean Terrain+ Silver Maple decking

EasyClean Terrain+ Silver Maple decking

Take, for example, the deck pictured above (again created using TimberTech composite decking). This deck isn’t simply a platform for garden chairs and plant pots; it is a cosy garden seating area, and it’s assembled entirely out of capped composite decking. Whether used as an adornment for a water feature or as a stylish and functional patio step design, there is virtually no limit to the ways in which you can use this type of decking, and you can always rest assured that your boards will not warp, splinter or tarnish.

It’s Easy to Maintain

Even the keenest gardeners and DIY devotees don’t want to spend unnecessary time on the upkeep of their deck, which is what makes capped decking ideal for both the everyman and the outdoor living enthusiast. Not only does it not require the tedious and time-consuming process of staining and sealing, it is also extremely easy to clean, requiring no more than the occasional wash and sweep.

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  EasyClean Terrain Birch decking with EasyClean Terrain Elm framing

EasyClean Terrain Birch decking with EasyClean Terrain Elm framing

This means that even the lightest-coloured boards (such as those pictured above) are easy to keep clear and grime-free without much effort, allowing the deck to remain an asset as opposed to a hindrance and adding character to your garden without being a drain on your time and money.

Creative Ideas for Using Paving Slabs in the Garden

With a little creativity and a dash of inspiration, paving slabs needn’t be anything close to boring. Quite to the contrary in fact, as to treat your garden as something of a blank canvas with which to work is to open up a world of exciting opportunities for improvements.

From paths to patios to points of interest for the garden, there’s really very little that can’t be done with an order of paving slabs and a serving of elbow-grease.

So for those with the desire to try something a little different though perhaps in need of an inspirational nudge, here’s a quick introduction to just a few beautifully creative ideas for using paving slabs in the garden:

Chessboard Effect

TB_20_3.tif

First up, why not consider interspersing standard stone paving slabs with green grass squares, in order to create a beautifully impressive chessboard effect? In fact, you need not stick with plain stone paving slabs as you could use almost any colour or design to come up with a uniquely attractive finish.

A Circular Centrepiece

Why not get well and truly creative with the curve stones and create yourself a stunning circular centrepiece for the garden? The resulting feature could be used either as a simple aesthetic focus point, or as a beautiful base for a patio set and summer grill. And when it comes to the various colours, styles and finishes on offer, the opportunities are endless!

Easypave has a huge selection of patio paving and slabs to choose from to suit all gardens and if you’re looking for some inspiration then have a look at their circle patio design ideas.

The Prettiest Path

If you’ve been giving thought to improving your garden with the installation of a path, why not get a little creative with its design? Paths can be as vibrant, colourful and genuinely beautiful as you like, perhaps mixing together paving slabs of multiple sizes and colours to create a uniquely pretty effect. 

Marvellous Mosaics 

Another fantastically creative feature for the garden is that of a mosaic, created using beautifully coloured tiles or paving products and framed using high-quality paving slabs. The real beauty of the outdoor mosaic is the way in which you do not have to follow any specific pattern or rules – totally random and 100% unique results are usually the very best results!

Half and Half

Try to remember that when it comes to improving your garden with paving slabs, there’s nothing to say you have to go all-in or not at all. In this example, the slabs have simply been positioned in such a manner as to create an elegant and minimalist pathway to an equally elegant summer seating area. 

A Second Life

Last but not least, it’s worth remembering that with a little creativity and effort, even broken paving slabs of any given specification can be brought back to life as something beautiful. In this instance, a variety of paving slab bits and pieces have been brought together to create a functional and fabulously stunning outdoor living space. 


The House Gardener By Isabelle Palmer

Ideas and inspiration for indoor gardens by Isabelle Palmer.

Hanging Containers

Hanging Vine

How wonderful to wake up to the sight of pretty leaves tumbling over the edges of a suspended glass container.

Hanging baskets can seem staid and fussy, with too many plants crowded into a small, often ugly basket. This beautiful metallic container breaks the rule, however, as it’s both handsome and simple – great for a stylish bedroom or perhaps displayed at the top of a flight of stairs. The delicate, glossy leaves of the plant fall over the edge of the container, making for an easy, uncluttered look. In this display, I used Pellaea rotundifolia, which is commonly known as the button fern. A small, low-growing fern, it is easy to grow and creates a unique look with its small rounded leaflets.

Hanging Containers

Hanging Bottles

You really don’t want need very much – just some ingenuity to create a lovely green picture.  The lush greens and purples of the plants dripping out of the bottles work really well in a kitchen.

For this creative project, I selected a trio of green-glass wine bottles. Recycling and re-using containers is a wonderful way to make the most of budget gardening. You really don’t need very much – just some ingenuity to create a lovely green picture.

The lush greens and purples of the plants dripping out of the bottles work really well in a kitchen. They look great in any window, but particularly against the steel-framed window here, which is a lovely feature of this kitchen’s pantry. The plants used are Begonia foliosa (fern begonia), Hatiora Salicornioides (dancing bones cactus), and Ficus benjamina (weeping fig).

Hanging Treasure

The metallic beauty of this bathroom container allows the variegated ivy to be shown in all its glory.

Bathrooms are ideal spots for indoor plants, as there is sometimes ample space for an attractive display. Unfortunately, people often place dull artificial plants in a bathroom. However, if you think about it, the bathroom can be the most suitable room in the home for growing an indoor plant. In fact, the warm – often humid- conditions in a bright well lit bathroom are perfect for growing plants, even tropical ones.

Here, the lovely copper hanging container, which contains Hedera helix (common ivy) underplanted with moss, creates a striking focal point in a relaxing bathroom. The ivy leaves peeking over the edge of the container are glossy and green, and look particularly bright against the natural hues of the bathroom. If you are keeping plants in your bathroom, it’s important to avoid spraying them with aerosols or dusting them with talcum powder or other bathroom products, as this can stop photosynthesis

Extract taken from THE HOUSE GARDENER by ISABELLE PALMER, published by CICO Books (£25), Photos © HELEN CATHCART.

Easy Ideas for Adding Colour to the Garden

We can't all be green-fingered. And we can't all have spectacular blooms brightening up our outside space. But that doesn't mean the garden shouldn't be full of cheer!  It's very easy (well, a little effort is required of course) to keep the garden looking bright, fresh and on-trend by adding colour to the outdoor furniture and accessories.

Table: Cuprinol Garden Shades in Green Orchid.   Bench: Cuprinol Garden Shades in Winters Night (both £24.99 2.5L)   Decking: Cuprinol Anti Slip Decking Stain (RRP £24.09 for 2.5L) in Boston Teak.

Table: Cuprinol Garden Shades in Green Orchid. Bench: Cuprinol Garden Shades in Winters Night (both £24.99 2.5L) Decking: Cuprinol Anti Slip Decking Stain (RRP £24.09 for 2.5L) in Boston Teak.

We all know that we should regularly paint and protect our garden table and chairs, but why not make a statement with these gorgeous soft shades to make a real focal point of your eating area. Coordinating cushions will finish the look and add an extra layer of comfort for those long lazy weekend breakfasts. 

Decking: Cuprinol Anti Slip Decking Stain (RRP £24.09 for 2.5L)  in Silver Birch.   Benches: Cuprinol Garden Shades (RRP £24.99 for 2.5L) in Black Ash.   Table: Cuprinol Garden Furniture Stain(RRP £12.69 for 750ML) in Mahogany.

Decking: Cuprinol Anti Slip Decking Stain (RRP £24.09 for 2.5L)  in Silver Birch. Benches: Cuprinol Garden Shades (RRP £24.99 for 2.5L) in Black Ash. Table: Cuprinol Garden Furniture Stain(RRP £12.69 for 750ML) in Mahogany.

Even accessories such as lanterns, plant pots, watering cans and herb markers can be given the paint treatment with specialist paint. This is especially effective as brighter, zingy colour accents when furniture and decks are painted a more neutral shade. We love this silver birch decking stain and it provides just the right muted background for some bright orange and green pops.

Decking: Cuprinol Anti Slip Decking Stain (RRP £24.09 for 2.5L)  in Silver Birch.   Benches: Cuprinol Garden Shades (RRP £24.99 for 2.5L) in Black Ash.   Table: Cuprinol Garden Furniture Stain(RRP £12.69 for 750ML) in Mahogany.

Decking: Cuprinol Anti Slip Decking Stain (RRP £24.09 for 2.5L)  in Silver Birch. Benches: Cuprinol Garden Shades (RRP £24.99 for 2.5L) in Black Ash. Table: Cuprinol Garden Furniture Stain(RRP £12.69 for 750ML) in Mahogany.

Decking and seat: Cuprinol Anti Slip Decking Stain(RRP £24.09 for 2.5L) in Silver Birch.   Fence: Cuprinol Garden Shades(RRP £24.99 for 2.5L) in Beach Blue and Coral Splash.

Decking and seat: Cuprinol Anti Slip Decking Stain(RRP £24.09 for 2.5L) in Silver Birch. Fence: Cuprinol Garden Shades(RRP £24.99 for 2.5L) in Beach Blue and Coral Splash.

Fences too, will benefit from a little attention with the brush. Let your imagination run free with some ice-cream shades and create a fun, stylish corner for a little rest and relaxation. The special pigments in the paint will give a rich colour while still allowing the natural texture of the wood grain to show though.

Now sit back and relax!

All paints from Cuprinol. All products from Homebase.

6 Inspiring Balcony Garden Ideas

A report from the Royal Horticulture Society reveals that more than 85% of us Brits reside in towns and cities – and many of us live in properties without traditional gardens. We all know that access to a garden in urban areas is important, as they have a real impact on our wellbeing, so if your garden space is limited, fear not – there’s plenty of scope to create one on a balcony (or even a window ledge).

Here are six ideas to get you excited about setting up a garden on your balcony. 

Pots and Accessories - Homebase

Pots and Accessories - Homebase

1. Three is the Magic Number

If you’re working with a small space, stick to a palette of no more than three colours (and use green as a base colour). It’s easy for a balcony garden to look over-crowded, so limiting yourself to just three complementary colours will help to make your balcony more restful retreat than urban jungle. Check out this guide from Floristry Expert for more information.

2. Artificial Turf

Artificial turf can be a great option for the balcony gardener – it requires minimal upkeep and gives instant impact. Although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, artificial turf is usually the only viable option for the more industrial-type city balconies. Just look at this cool post from Fennel and Fern if you don’t believe us!

Accessories - Sainsbury's Home

Accessories - Sainsbury's Home

3. Implement Top Dressing

When you’re working with such a small space, it’s important to keep everything neat and tidy – even more so than with a traditional garden. Top dressing on your containers, whether it’s with pebbles, slate, or wood chips, is an easy way to tidy them up. It also helps prevent weeds from growing and stops soil prematurely drying out.

4. Minimalist Potato Patch

Growing your own potatoes, carrots, turnips and other root veg doesn’t require a huge field. It’s totally possible to cultivate your own potato patch on your balcony with the help of a potato bag – we particularly like the Botanico Spud Bag, which has a pull-down section for easy access to the vegetables. They require just compost, seeds, water and sunlight – the bags can help you grow a selection of veg for stews, pies and Sunday roasts from your balcony or terrace.

Pots - House of Bath

Pots - House of Bath

5. Plant Vertically and Horizontally

One of the most important lessons for the balcony gardener is to think beyond the floor space when planning out your garden. Plant up walls, alongside balcony rails and hang containers from overhead surfaces; the balcony gardener needs to be creative with space!

London-based garden specialists Capital Gardens explain the benefits: “Vertical gardening can help small areas like balconies really come to life. Almost all surfaces can be used to grow attractive and sweet-smelling plants; just be sure to water them often, as vertical gardens – especially if they’re on a sunny balcony – tend to dry out quickly.”

Accessories - Tesco Direct

Accessories - Tesco Direct

6. Think Practical

Before ordering large trees and ornate flower pots for your balcony, it is important to check the load-bearing capacity of the balcony. Hire a structural engineer to advise you about how much weight your balcony can withstand so your garden doesn’t crash down upon the balcony below.

If you have any more balcony garden advice to share, please let us know in the comments below!

Great Ideas for Small Gardens

There’s nothing nicer at this time of the year than sitting in the garden. Whether it’s just for a quick cup of coffee in the morning, a pre-dinner drink, or a long lazy Sunday afternoon doze it’s great to feel the sun on the skin and to feel closer to nature. So hopefully your own little space outside is somewhere you feel happy and contented and proud to show off to your friends. If not, read on, because we have some simple and do-able ideas to make small gardens feel great.

Mobiliario de Jardines y Exteriores via Homify

Mobiliario de Jardines y Exteriores via Homify

1.       Paint the walls white. If you have a very small garden or patio this can make a huge difference to the feel of the space. White will intensify any available light and bounce it around creating an almost Mediterranean feel.

Cue & Co via Homify

Cue & Co via Homify

2.       Use mirrors. It might sound daft to use a mirror outside but it has the effect of giving the illusion of more space. The wide mirror in the image above literally doubles the size of the garden and blurs the boundaries.

Giardini Giordani via Homify

Giardini Giordani via Homify

3.       Get rid of the lawn. Let’s face it, lawns take a lot of maintenance to keep looking nice and during the wetter months they are completely useless. Replace the lawn with paving and larger flowerbeds and you will have a nice place to sit all year round with the added bonus it will be a magnet for birds and wildlife.

Simbiosi Estudi De Paisatgisme via Homify

Simbiosi Estudi De Paisatgisme via Homify

4.       Create a pleasant seating area. It doesn’t have to be elaborate and you can often use things you already have without buying new expensive garden furniture. Bench seats can be made more comfortable with squashy cushions and an old palette looks great as a coffee table.

Bladihaus via Homify

Bladihaus via Homify

5.       Plant vertically. In some gardens the wall space takes up more surface area than the floor and it makes sense to use this with some hanging pots and climbers trained up a frame. It also looks very pretty!

Phillys Interior Design via Homify

Phillys Interior Design via Homify

6.       Plant a tree. Just because you are short on space it doesn’t mean you can’t have big ideas. There are many trees that can be planted in pots and sheltered spots also mean you can grow species that might not otherwise survive.

This post was written in partnership with Homify, an independent platform for architecture, interior design, interior decorating and construction. Homify connects the end user and professionals across the United Kingdom and is a great source of inspiration.

Come into the Garden with Susie Watson Designs

We're going to stick our necks out here, and say that summer has arrived. It's time to move outside and enjoy the garden, roof terrace, balcony, or whatever space you have to call your own that is under the bright blue sky. And to help us out Susie Watson Designs has some perfect, quintessentially English accessories to put us in the mood.

Moonlit Barbecue

Shetland Throws from £84. Hurricane Glass Vase from £30.

Afternoon Tea

Large Mugs, £18. Wooden Trays from £18.50.

Candlelit Dinner

Tablecloths from £35. Cushions from £38.

Handblown Wine Glasses, £29 (set of 4).

Homegrown Goodness: Making a Healthy Living from Your Backyard Garden

Growing a garden is a source of peace for many, but it’s also a source of added income for the industrious.  Living off of your backyard is a reality for those with foods to offer, and it’s at least another source of family income for hobbyists. Here’s how to grow your bank account after your garden.

Photography  Rita Platts , Styling  Joanna Thornhill .

Photography Rita Platts, Styling Joanna Thornhill.

Partner with Grocers and Local Restaurants

Local grocers depend on receiving quality produce, which sometimes pales in comparison to the tending loving care provided by a local grower. Also, speak with restaurant owners in your area.  Consumers are fussy, and there’s a huge market for specialty and ‘locally grown’ items.  Schedule regular deliveries where you can offer freshly picked tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and other items from your garden, delivered promptly each day, week, etc.

Make Friends with a Chef

Chefs sometimes work private parties and large-scale engagements outside of the restaurant environment.  Contact those who advertise their catering services and ask them about becoming a regular contributor of ingredients.

Photography by  Andrew Boyd , Styling by  Claire Morgan

Photography by Andrew Boyd, Styling by Claire Morgan

Give to the Needy

Government and private associations help those in need providing clothing, shelter, and food.  Contact local organizations who offer payment in exchange for regular deliveries to address group homes, soup kitchens, and shelters.

Speak with an accountant about tax breaks associated with providing money and resources to charity organizations.  In addition to the good feeling that goes along with giving, you’ll benefit your business and bank account.

Photography  Jon Day , Styling  Pippa Jameson

Photography Jon Day, Styling Pippa Jameson

Make Your Home a Store

In urban areas, it’s common for store owners to live upstairs from their groceries, trade stores, and brick-and-mortar business ventures.  Consider transforming your home into a business.  Sleep upstairs while renovating the first floor to accommodate consumers.

Why stop at growing a garden when you can donate more of your home toward your hobby and make money at the same time?  Speak with consultants in your area who can help you change your home into a moneymaking machine.  Or, contact http://www.4patriots.com/, who help families become more independent and self-reliant.

Moreover, if you have something of regional interest, or in season yet hard to find, borrow the stand idea above, and inquire about becoming a vendor at seasonal events and weekend tradeshows.

Allen Baler is a Partner at 4Patriots LLC, a Tennessee based small business that provides products to help people be more self-reliant and more independent. Allen founded the company in 2008 after 14 years as a corporate executive leading profitable business for the Easton Press and the Danbury Mint. He graduated with honors from Harvard University and resides in Nashville with his wife and 3 daughters.


Top 3 Ways to Beautify the Back Garden Without Breaking the Bank

Yes, summer’s sadly drawn to a close, but that doesn’t mean you should stop working on your garden. Keep at it all year round and by the time the sun finally comes out after the long, harsh winter, you’ll be able to wow the guests at your first garden party of the summer with some stunning additions.

123v Veranda.jpg

DIY garden furniture
Buying garden furniture is a nightmare. Half a Saturday wasted spent trudging around your local garden centre, you’ve blown half of your wages on items that you’re not even sure you like, and you need to get your hands on a van to transport it home. A much more creative, affordable and enjoyable way of furnishing your garden is simply by doing it yourself. Use online guides to build garden furniture from old wooden pallets, indoor furniture that you’ve replaced, blankets and pretty much anything else that would otherwise go to waste, and you’ll have some truly unique garden furnishings plus a wad of extra cash in your pocket. Why not spend it on a…

Fire pit
People associate fire pits with the warm, fuzzy memory of midsummer nights spent on holiday, in pub gardens and on the beach, and naturally assume that they’re unable to purchase them for themselves without spending an arm and a leg. Actually, home fire pits are available for as little as £20. Place some of your DIY garden furniture around it and you’ve got yourself a charming, warming outdoor seating area that can be used all year round.

Bespoke veranda
Of course, you can’t show off your new fire pit to your friends at the garden party if it’s raining. Indeed, the garden furniture you spent so long making won’t last long if it’s left to the vagaries of the weather until next summer. This is where a bespoke veranda comes in – providing an affordable, sheltered outdoor space that’s just as useful for moonlight gatherings and dinner parties as it is for storing the new additions to your garden on those grim days when the last thing you want to do is leave the house. Go with an experienced provider of quality verandas such as 123v and you’ll have the choice of some of the most affordable verandas on the market, with optional extras such as iPod docks, speakers, heating and lighting available.

Combine these three affordable, interesting and unusual methods of improving your back garden and your place will be the destination of choice for socialising all year round. Don’t go it alone; use internet guides, shop around for accessories and get the advice of bespoke veranda experts such as 123v, and for a fraction of the price of what next door paid for their seen-it-all-before patio, you’ll have the beautiful back garden that everybody wants.

A Taste Of The Exotic: Why Citrus Trees Are Perfect For An Orangery

Since the orangery was first introduced to British homes in the 17th century, it has been considered the best domestic method of cultivating exotic plant life on British shores, regardless of how harsh the UK climate may get. Of all the plants being grown in British orangeries, citrus tree plants are one of the most popular choices. This is due to the simple yet highly effective process that goes into their cultivation, and of course they can produce delicious ripe fruit regardless of the material the structure is made of.

Here are a few helpful tips to get you started on the road towards rearing your own wonderful fruits.

Auburn Hill Orangery 1

Which citrus plants should I buy?

To get the best results from your citrus farming, it makes sense to purchase the smaller varieties of citrus plants known as ‘dwarf trees’ as these will grow to smaller heights, and in doing so won't be able to reach heights that cause problems inside an orangery, such as damaging the structure's interior.

If you want fast growth from your plants, it’s best to buy citrus trees with an age of at least two years, as they will have developed into a good size already and are therefore ideal for quick results.

Auburn Hill Orangery 2

How do you keep citrus plants healthy?

Here are a few of the best ways to keep citrus plants strong and able to produce high quality fruit.

  • It’s worth remembering that Dwarf trees require moist conditions for their soil as drier conditions will affect the strength of their growth, thereby lessening the quality of the fruit.
  • Citrus plants require daily levels of direct sunlight for their growth, with a warm temperature surrounding them, so if possible make sure you have an orangery with a south-facing window where a condition the experience of outdoor growth will be replicated. Designing your own bespoke orangery can ensure that you make the most of the natural light your home experiences.
  • Be sure to store your plants at 55-68° F with a 30-60 % level of humidity, because temperatures any lower or higher will harm the freshness of the fruit, rendering the taste unsatisfactory.
  • The use of a humidifier can help humidity levels even more, especially during colder winter months. However, this is not the most environmentally means of ensuring a healthy plant growth. It's also not a cost effective option when considering how much money running such technology can cost. Frequently placing several bowls of water around the orangery will gradually result in the water evaporating into the atmosphere to raise the humidity level around the plants.

 

Auburn Hill Orangery 3

If you want to choose from a range of finest orangeries for your home, or submit your own bespoke orangery design for professional building, visit ahorangeries.co.uk, where you'll find many other beautiful home structures available, such as a wide range of luxury verandas and conservatory models.

Images sourced from ahorangeries.co.uk

Revitalise Your Home with a Bespoke Veranda

Summer’s drawing to a close, and with that, it’s time to pack away the outdoor furniture and resign yourself to months indoors, right? Wrong! Having a veranda installed allows you to enjoy the great outdoors all year round, and by choosing an experienced fitter like 123v, your veranda can become more than just a shelter – it can become a fully functioning part of your home, at a fraction of the cost of your extension. With a range of additional extras available, your veranda can become truly personalised and tailored to whatever you plan to use it for. There are many variables you can mix and match to get the perfect veranda for you:

veranda

Structure Choose from a regular veranda, which is held up by two beams at each end, or a cantilever veranda which is anchored only against your property. You may also wish to include drop-down walls and enclosed glass doors at one or both ends for a conservatory effect which protects you from adverse weather conditions.

Decoration A quality veranda isn’t simply a uniform, one-size-fits-all, flatpack addition to your home. Quality suppliers offer their verandas in a range of colours, with customers able to mix and match different beam ends, beam infill styles, trims and more.

glass-veranda-over-patio

Glass You could be forgiven for thinking that the only variation you could get in your veranda’s glass is its thickness. Actually, there are dozens of different kinds of glass you can choose for your veranda, from solar energy-converting glass to UV-protection glass to noise-cancelling glass and so much more. Contact your veranda supplier for information on which types of specialised glass they offer.

veranda-ornate-posts

Extras There are a number of optional extras that can be added to your veranda. Add heaters and lighting and you’ll be able to enjoy a few drinks outdoors on chilly winter evenings, and have an iPod docking station and speakers installed to enjoy some smooth jazz or easy listening whilst enjoying a bite to eat under your veranda.

With such a wealth of options to choose from, no two verandas are ever the same and yours can be truly unique to you. So whether you’re looking for somewhere to seat guests outdoors, to protect outdoor furniture or to simply sit, listen to some music and enjoy a glass of wine, opt for a quality glass veranda supplier like 123v who’ll work closely with you to create your ideal glass veranda.

Building a beautiful garden area

Whether you live in the city or the countryside, having a garden means that you are able to enjoy the outdoor life all year round. Although city living means many people now live in flats, in the UK there are still millions of people who are lucky enough to have their own outdoor area. Whether big or small, a garden is a private space which can be made into a beautiful place that reflects the personality of its owners.

Heart Home magazine photograph by Andrew Boyd

Building a garden involves a number of factors. You might be laying it out from scratch or making the most of a design that you've inherited. Some people like to impose order on their garden, whilst others like to let it take on a more natural appearance. Often the main choices come down to how much effort you want to put into ongoing maintenance.

Decking

Paving and decking has the effect of making an outdoor space easy to maintain and keep clean. Some people choose to cover their entire garden in this way as a result.

Heart Home magazine photograph by Jon Day

This is part of an increasing trend for people to treat their garden as extensions of the living space in their homes, effectively creating 'outdoor rooms'. New materials mean that you can even get all-weather 'outdoor carpets' to bring both colour and functionality to your garden.

Accessories

Garden furniture comes in many different shapes and sizes and can be a great way to both enjoy more time outside but also to make a style statement as well.

Chairs are no longer a plain choice between a classic deck chair or a hard-backed wooden upright option and tables can easily be sleek steel and glass creations as much as they might be sturdy wooden or metal constructions.

Heart Home magazine photograph by Patrick Butler-Maddon

Large parasols can bring both shade and protection from the elements and be easily arranged to make the most of seating areas.

Gazebos, sheds and even purpose-built garden offices are more permanent constructions that can be utilised in even smaller urban gardens with a little bit of clever design work. These will not usually need planning permission or official building work approvals.

Maintenance

Keeping your garden in shape can be hard work, especially if you have flower beds, large collections of potted plants or other showpiece flower arrangements.

Heart Home magazine photograph by Charlotte Murphy

Common tasks such as removing old and dead plants, clearing away debris and bringing a lawn back to life are things that many people enjoy each Spring. For others, these are exactly the kind of things that lead them to choose an easier option in terms of looking after their garden.

All images from Heart Home magazine.

Live Outside More with a Bespoke Veranda

Enjoy the outdoors, whatever the weather. A veranda is the perfect home improvement solution that is versatile in function and stylish in appearance. Designed for comfort, as well as practicality, bespoke glass verandas can also add to the aesthetics of your house, enhancing the property’s elegance. With a well-crafted veranda, you can enjoy all the comforts of indoor living while, at the same time, absorbing outdoor garden scenery. Beneath the scorching summer sun, a luxury glass canopy shields you and your family from powerful rays, creating a shaded area which opens out onto a garden setting. To select the right veranda design to complement your home, make sure you choose experience. Professional installers like 123v Plc design and construct purpose-built, fully-engineered structures which feature quality materials and fittings. Every installation is designed in such a way that the soundness of the structural stability is the foundation on which an ornate veranda will highlight the aesthetic appeal of your home.

tea_under_veranda

 

What are the standout reasons to invest in a domestic veranda structure?

  • If there are any unused spaces in your backyard or garden, a veranda can help you to transform the space and utilise it for outdoor activities.
  • One of the primary benefits of installing a veranda is that they provide shelter, allowing you to spend time outdoors without worrying about the sun, rain or other weather conditions. Due to this level of protection, you can conveniently use your glass veranda for outdoor dining, hosting a summer party for your friends or simply relaxing with a book at any time of year.
  • A major benefit of a veranda installation is that it actually helps to add value to your home. By increasing your outdoor living area, a veranda adds to your property value, boosting your home’s resale value.
  •  Whether you want beautiful timber deck flooring or railings, you have the flexibility to choose the design of your own veranda.
  •  Generate the perfect ambience when hosting al fresco dining parties – forget those weather worries!
  •  During warm summers, a veranda will provide ample shade, eliminating the heat factor.

veranda_aesthetic

 

If you’re wondering how to choose the best veranda design for your home, considering the numerous designs and colours available, here are some specifics to make your job easier. With 123v you can choose between the ornate glass veranda range and cantilever plans. Both these designs are very elegant in appearance and are made of durable materials to shield you from all kinds of weather. 123v will develop a tailored veranda structure, suited to your property, wherever you are based in the UK.

Say it With Faux Flowers

As it’s nearly the time of year to show our Mums just how much we appreciate them we thought we'd take a fresh look at the classic Mother's Day gift - a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a twist: faux flowers. Faux flowers and plants are fast-becoming the must-have accessory for any room, whatever the interior-style or taste. Gone are the days when a faux-flower meant a garish gerbera, as home-fashion brands such as ‘Sia’ are now offering an extensive collection of beautifully made, incredibly realistic flowers that will last and last.

Faux flowers are the perfect Mother’s Day gift - without the need to remember to water, and care for them daily they’re never a chore to maintain, they can just be enjoyed and admired day to day.

Pavilion Broadway, an interior design brand and luxury homeware retailer based in Broadway, the Cotswolds, has a stunning Faux Flower department both online and in-store which showcases a curated selection of luxury artificial flowers and plants from Sia, Peony & Floral Silk.

Pavillion Broadway Faux Flowers Collection 1

Peonies, roses, orchids, anemones, hydrangeas and freesias are some of the many varieties Pavilion sell, along with flower scents to bring artificial flowers to life, greenery bowls and vases.

Pavillion Broadway Faux Flowers Collection 2

Pavilion Broadway’s in-house florist, Jane, is able to advise on and create bespoke flower arrangements to suit any interior from traditional to contemporary, or unleash your creativity and create your own arrangements. A top tip is to take inspiration from nature and alternate seasonal stems as the seasons change.

Pavillion Broadway Faux Flowers Collection 4

They are also offering 10% off all Sia products in the run up to Mother’s Day, including flowers and home accessories to Heart Home readers from 17th to 30th March with the code HHSIA. One use per customer – not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Pavillion Broadway Faux Flowers Collection 3

Visit Pavilion Broadway online at www.pavilionbroadway.co.uk. To speak to Jane, call 01386 711512 or email sales@pavilionbroadway.co.uk.