Archive for the ‘Outdoor Room’ Category


The Outside Room…

May 25, 2012

gardenblog782.jpgUnfortunately I wasn’t able to report from there this year due to work commitements. however I was able to catch it on tv and pick up so many hints and tips.

So, on with this week’s blog 🙂

Although many people would like an ‘outdoor room’ to be able to enjoy and perhaps entertain in around this time of the year, not everyone is a keen gardener.

Also, many people are just too busy and simply haven’t got the time or even perhaps the knowledge of how to design their gardens and grow plants so that they look their best and give the best decoration to the “outside room”.

Impatient gardeners want an instant garden and don’t necessarily want to spend hours working in it.

Luckily, a mature looking garden can be achieved by buying large mature plants from a specialist nursery or buying plants that grow fast and putting it all together in a creative way – in other words – garden styling.

A shabby boundary can really let down a garden and generally make it look unattractive, so spruce up a wooden fence with a coat of wood preserving stain or if you want to hide the fence then you could cover it with bamboo, reed or willow screening. This type of screening comes in rolls and you can simply attach it with wire or nails to an existing fence.

If mowing the lawn is too much hassle, or your grass is unkempt and overgrown then change the garden floor. A quick DIY option is to dig up the lawn, lay down a permeable membrane and cover with gravel or decorative stone. You could then place stepping stones for easy access. In addition to this, you could plant some easy-growing evergreen shrubs, just to give some green interest. The gravelled area could also be dressed with decorative pots or some nice chunky rocks or cobbles. So you could go from overgrown tatty lawn to stylish garden in relatively short time with some effort.

Nowadays there are so many attractive hard landscaping materials that can be used to pave the garden with and to make the garden floor more interesting. There is even decking and sleepers available which are actually made of stone and make a longer lasting patio.

The use of ornaments and sculptures are a good way to artistically stylise the garden and add interest. They can be placed to liven up dull emptygardenblog782.jpg spots, used as focal points or even to give a theme to the garden, such as an oriental, Mediterranean or romantic style.

Garden structures, such as arches, pergolas, gazebos and obelisks are very useful to use as they’ll provide height interest and create attractive and distinctive focal points. Finally, a simple water feature will more or less transform any garden instantly and give that finishing touch.

Go for a low maintenance water feature such as a wall fountain or bubble fountain kit and always ensure that you get a qualified electrician to check out the electrical side of things.



Eclipse Poolside Seating

March 6, 2012

eclipse-1.jpgHave you ever been on one of those holidays where some of the inconsiderate guests at your hotel get up early, claim their stake by putting their towels on the most sought after sun beds around the pool and then don’t bother using their sun beds until the later afternoon, if at all?

While other guests have to make do with the sun beds in the most unshaded parts of poolside, the “sun bed hijackers” nonchalantly turn up poolside after their excursion well after the hottest part of the day and claim their “territory”.

Well, if you’re staying in a hotel with poolside sun beds like pictured here,eclipse-3.jpg then I doubt if “sun bed” hijackers are the type of guests who’ll be staying at your hotel.

On the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to own your own pool big enough to accommodate these wonderfully designed poolside seats from UK Mark Gabbertas‘ design studio, then you probably don’t need to go away on holiday when you can simply chill out around your own poolside…

… I know I wouldn’t!

For more details about Eclipse poolside seating and other seating designs from the studio of Mark Gabbertas, a visit his website at

Outdoor ‘relaxer’ in woven fibre, with canopy, footstool and side table.
Designed for Gloster Furniture.


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Don’t Just Look Back…

February 27, 2012

Some of our front gardens don’t receive as much tender loving care as they could do. One reason could be because a front garden is often just considered to be a small transitional area that we pass through from the roadside to our front doors. Also many of our front gardens now have to accommodate off-street parking and are often paved or covered over with concrete.

Although our front gardens don’t often get as much attention as they deserve, with a little bit of imagination even the tiniest, shadiest or paved front garden can be transformed with some planting to make the setting and entrance to our homes more inviting and pleasant.

Even just by having two planters on either side of the front door you can enhance the entrance immediately. Take into account the style of your house and choose pots that will suit your type of property. Larger pots preferable to smaller ones as the scale and proportion works better, andfront2.jpg besides, they also require less maintenance than small pots.

For security, I fill my pots one third full of stones, not only to add drainage, but also to make them very heavy to be picked up. If possible concrete in or secure the pots with some form of anti-theft anchor.

For easy care and stylish plants I’d go for topiary Buxus ball, cone or lollipop shapes as they look smart and elegant. Plant around the topiary Buxus with some trailing Ivy and seasonal colourful bedding plants to make a super display.

Hanging baskets also look petty and colourful around a front door but they will need constant feeding and watering. If you only have a small wall area by your front door then you could always put up an attractive wall planter with seasonal planting.

The smallest of front gardens can be given an instant stylish makeover by using gravel, some rocks, planting pots and a few small hardy shrubs. For vertical colour interest plant a manageable flowering climber or wall shrub around your front door.

Remember to plant the base of these plants more than twelve inches away from the wall of the property so their root get access to rainwater, while at the same time keeping the roots away from foundations.

If you must pave over your front garden for car parking, then how about incorporating raised planting beds somewhere?

If your car is going to be parked on a diagonal in front of your house, then how about having a fan or triangular shaped flowerbed in the corner of your front garden to create an attractive focal point?

So, if your front garden is looking a bit drab, give it a spring clean and get imaginative and creative… and give your front garden some kerb appeal.



Planning The Year Ahead!

January 25, 2012

flora4.jpgIt’s during this time of year that many of us plan our next summer holidays and possibly reminisce about our last summer’s break.

When I’m on my summer holidays in my favourite parts of the world, I often think how nice it must be to live in the part of the world where the sun shines most of the time, and then I realise how much I would miss what we have here…

… seasons.

It’s with the seasons that we’re lucky enough to have such a wide variety of plants.

I know that most of us hate the dreary winter months, but natural beauty can still be found in our winter gardens. A winter garden shifts its emphasis from the focus and details of leaves, flowers and colour to more of the outlines of solid and definite geometric shapes.

There’s nothing like a cold frosty morning with the garden sparkling and glistening as the sunlight shines on the plants creating a vivid winter wonderland. I think our gardens take on a completely new dimension in the winter, particularly when it snows and it all looks neat, clean, crisp and uncluttered.

If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor lighting, don’t just use it in theflora4.jpg summer nights when you’re outside with friends, turn it on in the winter evenings and enjoy your stunning night-time winter garden. The forms and structures of a garden such as deciduous trees and pergolas become striking canopies covered with frost or snow, and the winter’s low sun angle will create artistic silhouettes and shadows.

Clipped hedging and topiary create prefect shapes and I think they’re the backbone to a winter garden. A well placed statue or an decorative bench will create a focal point and add interest to dull corner and in a winter garden and will come into its own when most of the surrounding plants will have lost their softening foliage.

Certain plants look so lovely when touched by the frost such as the fine foliage or feathery plume seed heads of ornamental grasses or the frozen long pendent catkins that look like hanging Christmas tree decorations of the evergreen shrub Garrya elliptica.

It’s always interesting going abroad and seeing the native plants and even the weeds; some of which we here regard as tropical plants, however it’s always good to come home to my own garden… and of course, the British seasons.

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