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Feature Ponds - The Next Step for Your Perfect Garden

For a lot of people gardens are the perfect places to go and relax and enjoy a great bit of sunshine.  They are a gateway between the urban environment you live in and the countryside.  Full of nature but also immaculately designed, the grass is cut perfectly and the beds are full of beautiful flowers.  What else could your garden offer you? What could you install that would make your neighbours jealous?  Well, how about a feature pond?

 Feature ponds are the perfect focal point for any garden.  The most important thing is to design carefully.  The pond does not need to be too big that the rest of the beds and lawn disappear, but needs to have enough gravitas in the garden to draw the eye.  Building a pond does not take too much effort as long as you follow some simple rules.  These include sensibly locating the pond, purchasing a pond liner and also having an adequate pond pump and filter.  These are all available from most reputable online pond stores such as Swell UK.  Pond pumps and filters clean the water and keep it regularly circulated to prevent the pond from becoming stagnant.

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Once your pond is in place you need to look at the surrounding areas.  The pond needs to fit in as naturally as possible; otherwise it will look like a planted swimming pool!  Creating an irregular shaped pond is probably best to get around this, and then to create steps and varying levels in and around the water.  The steps within the water allow the planting of marginal plants.  This provides a neat divide between the deep water and the shoreline.  Great plants for this include different types of rushes; though you do need to make sure that the larger ones are at the back and the smaller ones at the front - you still want to be able to see any deep water plants such as water lilies which are typically low growing.

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On the shoreline you can choose a variety of methods to integrate with the rest of your garden.  For a more formal layout in the rest of the garden, some nice stones and flags around the edge can provide a distinct edge.  You can then place pots onto the flags to add a burst of colour.  The alternative is to plant up to the water to create the most natural feel for your pond.  Some perfect plants that enjoy the damp soil around a pond are hostas and hemerocallis.  Hostas are perfect leafy plants that come in a variety of sizes from mini to giant.  Some decent size ones will look great next to the pond.  Ferns can also be a great addition, though they will need regular digging up to prevent too much spread to the rest of the garden.  For the sunnier side of the pond grasses and irises are perfect.  With the many varieties available you can find most sizes, and most will bush out enough to not look like there are any gaps.

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It is important to keep the pond pump and filter out of sight, and also any wires.  Wires can be buried in the soil or under grass between your power source and the pond pump and filter.  The filter and pump cannot be buried but you can place flags around them and over the top, or you can plant next to them. You need to make sure they are still accessible for maintenance or if there is a fault, and you need to ensure that any plants do not hinder the air and water circulation with their foliage.

 

Feature ponds make the perfect addition to your garden and you can theme them in any way you choose.  Some popular themes are Japanese or English country garden.  With the right planting a water feature can be the crowning glory in your garden and the envy of your neighbours.




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August 19, 2014

JardinChic.Net : the one stop shop for outdoor designs

Enjoying the outdoors

Jardin Chic is becoming the Net-à-Porter of outdoor design. The site offers the best in class for outdoor designs, from furniture to gifts.

Recent additions to their curated selection, include the new collection of outdoor pots, Alba by Serralunga.
These pots start at 516 euros and can be found at:
http://www.jardinchic.net/nouveaux

The site describes the design as follows:

The Pot Alba 393 in Serralunga, is a signed Massimiliano Adami.Alba pots are manufactured by rotomolding and their edge is carved by hand. It is during this artisanal finish each pot draws all its originality with unique shades of colors and shape. These resistant ultra Alba pots are suitable for indoor as outdoor use. Combining a surprising design and exceptional quality, Alba has all the qualities required for a stylish and reliable use. Alba is available in two-tone or tricolor, you then have the choice between 3 color variations. Create you a natural, colourful and innovative mood with this pot with a capacity of 170L Alba. You can also find the unique design of the Alba collection with the Alba 130 Lamppost Alba pot and the Suspension Alba.

#design #Alba #Serralunga

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August 18, 2014

Healthy garden, happy garden

Gardens have become a very important part of the design and style of any home. For many homebuyers, the exterior grounds of a house are a pivotal characteristic determining whether or not they would like to make the purchase.  Outdoor areas are used for gardening and grilling, recreation and relaxation, and the range of designs for these outdoor spaces are nearly limitless.

Half of the enjoyment of having an outdoor garden space for the family is cultivating and maintaining it, but for those without a green thumb or handyman's instincts, maintaining these outdoor spaces can be a hurdle and, in some cases, gardens can quickly fall into disrepair. Making the effort to do some research and brushing up on some outdoor maintenance basics will give a homeowner the tools they need to keep their outdoor space healthy and safe.

Common garden maintenance issues

The first area of a home's garden that will be noticed and appreciated is the lawn. This area may be small and intimate or quite expansive, depending on the size of the home. Regardless of the size, a beautiful lawn rarely comes naturally; it has to be cultivated and fertilized to keep it free from weeds and disease as well as being trimmed and groomed to keep it looking good. Though professional landscapers may be hired to maintain a lawn, most people can take the necessary steps to take care of their lawn and keep it healthy and attractive. Serious weed issues may be addressed with specialized herbicides, or a weed-and-feed mixture may be used to accomplish two steps at once.

Weeds are a major problem for any gardener, especially in cultivated beds, and whether these beds are planted with flowers or herbs, keeping them clear of weeds and other plant debris will help them grow to their full potential. Making sure cultivated beds are weed free will not only keep them looking fresh but it will also allow the plants to get the water and air to their roots that they need to stay strong and grow successfully. This will also help to keep burrowing pests away that could damage root systems and kill plants.

Speaking of pests, keeping mosquitoes, beetles, snails, slugs and other types of garden pests away begins with proper maintenance. In addition to cleaning up plant debris, weeding and using pest repellants as needed, another important deterrent to pests is proper drainage. Standing water creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes, as well as molds and fungus. Standing water may also lead to dangerous conditions such as wood rot if the water is in contact with the house or other exterior structures.

Large elements in the outdoor garden area, including trees, hedges and bushes, as well as fences and trellises, all need to be properly maintained and sturdily anchored. Trees, hedges and bushes should be pruned seasonally and kept properly trimmed for safety. Ensure that all fences and trellises are well secured and safely positioned.

Finally, the outdoor space of any home includes the exterior of the home itself. Properly maintaining the exterior of the home - keeping gutters and downspouts clean, ensuring proper drainage away from the home, cleaning and maintaining the painted, stucco or brick exterior, etc. - will make the entire property healthier and the garden area a happier place for the entire family.

Maintaining your own garden

Maintaining a home garden area is a great opportunity to get the kids involved by teaching them practical skills about gardening and construction, as well as getting them outdoors in the fresh air and keeping them active. Spending even one hour a day outdoors working in the garden can make a huge difference in the health and wellbeing of a child. In addition, the act of creating and perfecting a family's outdoor space is a great bonding occasion for all.

Most of the gardening and construction that is required to maintain a family garden can be easily done by even the inexperienced; with so much material available through books and online reference sites, homeowners can quickly find the answers they need to fix whatever problems they encounter.

For some problems, however, professional help may need to be called in. Large infestations of pests, such as termites or stinging insects, may require extermination in order to destroy the colony and eliminate the threat or further damage. Also, some cleaning and maintenance issues, such as gutter cleaning, may be best done by professionals with the necessary equipment and skill.

Cultivating a happy garden

Spending time in the garden or outdoor space is one of the great advantages of owning one's own home. Enjoying those happy times in the garden begin with cultivating and maintaining a healthy environment, one free of pests and safety hazards, one that brings out the best in the plants and structures that are part of the design and, in the process, brings out the best in the family that enjoys it.

August 17, 2014

End of summer must haves: plaids and throws

Enjoying the outdoors

The 15 th of August is very much a pivotal point in summer.
The good news is that chillier evenings provide a great excuse to indulge in some shopping to stay warm and romantic: candles, scents, storm lights, plaids and throws.


Plaids and throws ideas:

At the high-end, you could go for a Hermès wrap, but let us put that on a wish list as they cost over 2000 GBP.


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Slightly more affordable selections include designs by Missoni Home.
Prices range from 200 to the 700 GBP mark.

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Really affordable tempations include the 85 GBP Kissing stags - also at Amara.


August 16, 2014

Design Discount

We are now less than 20 Fridays away from Christmas. 
(Full disclosure: feeling a little bad breaking this news to you! You are almost certainly surprised to realize the gift season will be upon us so soon.)

For outdoor gifts such as shawls, trays, poufs, chairs and more... check out Yoox.

The online store is well known for fashion but it is also a very well curated selection of home decor designs and books.

Yoox is really worth a visit for designer options at very desirable prices:

August 14, 2014

Maison et objet Paris - September 5- 9, 2014

A quick reminder that Maison et Objet 2014 is just around the corner.
If you want to check who is exhibiting, please click here: 

To get a idea of the themes and discussions organised this year at the fair: 

A key theme will be about SHARING
You can catch a glimpse of what this means at.http://www.maison-objet.com/en/paris/program/inspirations
 

August 12, 2014

Add some bling : glamourous hoses

Yes they are expensive. 
Glamourous hoses are however a good way to add a little oumpf with just a little budget.
The 'Gold digger' version clearly can give a creative personality to the dullest back yard.

Check out the brand's collection of quirky, bling! 

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August 12, 2014

Revenue gardens: create a sleep capsule to let

Adding value to property

The spectacular rise of Airbnb is proof enough of home owners wish to monetise their asset.

The success of Sleepboxes opens up more avenues to make a little money from occasional lettings and even more so if you are located close to:
    *Airports
    * Hospitals
    * Offices
    * Arenas
    * Universities
    * Conference halls
    * Railways  

If you are not familiar with sleep capsules, check out Sleepbox,  the global award winning capsule sleeping brand  at: http://sleepbox.co.uk/page.aspx?pid=2#sthash.lPCTAxhK.dpuf

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Why not consider investing in an outdoor room, or an upscale shed as a Sleepbox?

August 11, 2014

INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM A STONE PLANTER

Adding value to property

We stumbled upon this brand and loved the designs and concepts. 
The new Tutch© looks like a real stone heavy duty planter but is lightweight.

That means that if you want to let out a property but retrieve plants, it is possible as moving them becomes easy. You can save by doing this with no hired help.


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They say ;'Tutch© is a completely newly developed product from Capi Europe. But with a remarkable shift in the production technology and materials used. The Tutch© collection is fully recyclable. For Capi Europe this means a historic shift from conventional to sustainable. The Tutch© collection has a natural finish. It looks like a stone planter, but is much lighter and unbreakable. However, this is not visible until you touch or move the planter. And last but not least; you will receive a 10 year warranty!'

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August 9, 2014

Amir Schlezinger, a garden designer to love

Adding value to property.

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It is almost certain people walking down this street in London have no idea that behind the railings sits an amazingly well-designed outdoor space.

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Hats off to http://www.mylandscapes.co.uk/ for their clever use of details and perspective to transform a dull space into an urban oasis one would imagine in a high-end boutique hotel.

The declared budget for this projects is 35 000 USD. 

How much does it add to the property? 
We can only guess but it seems obvious it was a well-chosen investment that massively paid for itself.

Check out the designer's site for more:



About the designer in his own words:

Amir Schlezinger > garden designer

I design and build contemporary gardens, landscapes and roof terraces throughout London. Projects include City, Courtyard, Patio and larger Family gardens with a major speciality in Roof garden design and roof terrace design. In town, I have always been asked for low maintenance and this has evolved into an important element of all my gardens. I offer a complete design and build service, with a particular emphasis on project management. 

Alongside domestic projects, I also work with corporate clients to develop their outdoor spaces. With all clients, my key role is to translate their wishes into a workable design - creating beautiful yet highly liveable, social spaces.

Amir Schlezinger studied Garden Design at Middlesex University and Capel Manor College in London and graduated with a BA (Hons) in 2000. He has designed and realised over 200 projects since, cultivating a particular interest in roof gardens and terraces.

Amir Schlezinger has contributed to numerous magazines and books on garden design worldwide. Having grown in the Mediterranean region his knowledge and understanding of both European and Tropical flora has contributed to a style of planting which combines sculptural and architectural plants with northern European traditions.

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