Transformers – Gardens in Disguise! Part 3

You loved Part 1 of our Before & Afters feature. And you adored Part 2 of our garden make-overs. So we are back with the third installment in our ever popular feature on our garden transformations. Below are some of our recent projects with our clients’ favourite feature – the before and after photographs!

A city retreat, Edinburgh

Before: with the old garage removed, the garden needed to be restored

Before: with the removal of the garage, the garden badly needed tackling

Before: with the removal of the garage, the garden badly needed tackling

 

After: two new patios, two water features, a dry-stane seat and new planting all combined to transform this garden into a peaceful haven in the city.

After: garden transformations for the clients and the wildlife to enjoy

After: a garden for the clients and the wildlife to enjoy

A low maintenance garden in Stirling

Before: A waterlogged garden with no focal points

Before: a waterlogged garden with no focal points

Before: a waterlogged garden with no focal points

After: A dining patio, evening patio with pergola, new veg area, standing stone water feature, wildlife friendly planting and artificial grass all transformed this garden.

After: all parts of the garden were now usable

After: all parts of the garden were now usable

A front garden makeover, Stirling

Before: This front garden was really difficult to access and maintain

Before: poor access and difficult to maintain

Before: poor access and difficult to maintain

After: The garden was given a make-over with a sandstone cobble path combining with a curving gravel path and lush green planting.

After: even in a small garden journeys can be created and interest added

After: even in a small garden journeys can be created and interest added

A contemporary courtyard garden, Larbert

Before: This back garden had terrible drainage problems and was overlooked.

a waterlogged and overlooked garden

a waterlogged and overlooked garden

After: A new drain along with fencing, patios, a bespoke water feature and feature shrubs transformed the space.

contemporary fencing encloses this garden whilst still exposing the historic wall

contemporary fencing encloses this garden whilst still exposing the historic wall

If you are interested in having your own garden designed, click here to contact us for a free design consultation.

Thanks for reading.

All at Vialii

Winter Wonderland

There’s no denying it, winter is just round the corner. The frosty mornings, the winter woollies and the sound of Wizzard emanating from every shopping centre and radio station heralds the winter season. But for us gardeners it needn’t mean bare earth and a dull garden. Here are some of our top tips to make sure your garden is still beautiful to look at throughout the winter season, is packed full of winter interest and is truly a Winter Wonderland (even if it does mean looking at it from indoors with a nice mug of tea a lot of the time!)

A fennel seed head in a Winter Wonderland

A fennel seed head provides winter interest

Evergreen plants

There are a whole host of evergreen plants which can provide structure and winter interest in your garden. Some favourites include buxus sempervirens, viburnum, camellia, skimmia, hebe, phormium and rhododendron. Also, grasses are a must for us in gardens. They look great all the year round but we particularly love them when they are frost covered. Our favourites include molinia, stipa tenuissima, deschampsia, libertia and carex buchananii.

Grasses look wonderful covered in frost

Grasses look wonderful covered in frost

Seed heads

Just because your summer flowering perennials have lost their colour, it doesn’t mean all is lost. Many of the plants in a herbaceous border provide wonderful winter interest through their seed heads. Stars in the winter border include foeniculum (fennel), verbena bonariensis, angelica, echinops, allium, eryngium, sedum and hydrangea to name but a few.

Echinops, still looking wonderful in winter

Echinops, still looking wonderful in winter

Interesting branches

Some shrubs come into their own in winter. A plant such as corylus contorta (the contorted hazel) is a nice shrub to add form and texture to the garden in summer and the catkins are attractive in spring. But for us this shrub comes into its own in winter when you can see its wonderful contorted branches. Other shrubs which look wonderful in winter include prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ and who could ignore cornus stolonifera – the wonderful bright red branches of the dogwood.

Trees

All trees provide a wonderful structure and height in the garden and will add interest in the winter. Some have wonderful bark which will provide additional interest – ones to consider are prunus serrula, acer griseum and betula utilis jacquemontii. All suitable for small gardens and will provide interest all year round.

Trees provide structure in winter as well as somewhere to hang fairy lights!

Trees provide structure in winter as well as somewhere to hang fairy lights!

Berries

Berries are like beautiful gems glowing in a winter garden. While flowers often take a back seat it is time for berries to take centre stage. From skimmia and pyrancathus to ilex (holly) and viburnum there are a plenty of lovely shrubs to choose from. And your feathered friends will be happy too. Remember to plant both male and female holly plants and most skimmias to ensure you get berries.

Winter flowering plants

Some plants flower over winter and are great additions to the garden. These include helleborus, hamamelis, mahonia, cornus ‘Golden Glory’ and viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’.

The contorted hazel provides a magical feel to a winter garden

The contorted hazel provides a magical feel to a winter garden

Other interest

Of course gardens aren’t just about plants. A well designed garden will have structure and form which will make it still look beautiful even when your summer perennials have passed their best. Interesting hard landscaping, seating areas, focal points, water features, lighting, outdoor rooms and many more features can be incorporated into your garden to ensure it is interesting all the year round. To read about some of the many focal points you can include in your garden read some of our previous blogs on focal points:

Focal points – Part 1

Focal points – Part 2

Feature fences and sculpture can provide important focal points in winter

Feature fences and sculpture can provide important focal points in winter

If you need some help or advice on creating your own Winter Wonderland in your garden please get in touch. Or if you want to utilise the winter to get in touch to discuss a design for next year it is the perfect time to get in touch and start the ball rolling.

In the meantime, wrap up warm and have a wonderful festive season.

All at Vialii

Stirling News

An update on the Provost’s Park revamp as the initial landscaping works start to take shape and bring Vialii’s design to life.

stirling-news-november-2013stirling-news-nov-2013-2 stirling-news-nov-2013-3

Christmas Gifts for Gardeners 2013

It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn to Christmas and what to buy our loved ones. Is it just us or does it get harder every year to think up innovative and interesting gifts to buy? Well, to make life a little easier for you we have pulled together a list of interesting Christmas gifts for gardeners 2013 so that you can give the gardener in your life something they will truly love…

Christmas gifts for gardeners 2013

Merry Christmas from all at Vialii

Gardening Voucher

At Vialii we can offer gardening vouchers to suit your budget. They are available for both our Maintenance and Design and Landscaping businesses and to whatever value you wish. So if you want to surprise your parents by getting them a voucher to have their garden tidied or their grass cut for the year or give a loved-one a voucher for a garden design please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

The perfect gift for the person who has everything. Gardening vouchers from any value

The perfect gift for the person who has everything. Gardening vouchers from any value

Bird feeder

Do you know someone who loves wildlife but their garden and style isn’t suited to a traditional bird table? Well how about treating them to this wonderful bird feeder by Eva Solo.

Bird feeder. From around £40

Bird feeder. From around £40

Teeny Tiny Gardening

The aptly named Teeny Tiny Gardening book is filled with lots of wonderful, inventive ideas how to garden in teeny tiny spaces. We are going to find some teeny tiny spaces just to try out some of these projects. A brilliant book for a quirky friend with a love for gardening, no matter where they live.

The teeny tiny book filled with big ideas. From around £10

The teeny tiny book filled with big ideas. From around £10

Wheely good design

The clever people at Water & Oil have come up with brilliant design for a wheelbarrow. It is heavy duty with non corrosive stainless steel fixings along with handy rugged grips. There are also no bolt/rivet stress points securing the barrow like in other wheelbarrows. It comes in six colours so there will be one to suit your loved one.

We choose the pink colourway! From around £70

We choose the pink colourway! From around £70

Water good idea

Another design-led product, this time by Alessi for All Modern. Available in three colours, this “diva” watering can is aptly named with it’s dramatic pose.

The "Diva" watering can. From around £28

The “Diva” watering can. From around £28

Having a ball

Garden furniture can be so much more than a wooden table and chairs and these Boom Ball Chairs by Finn Stone add a splash of colour and fun to the garden without the need to worry about the weather. They are made from recycled plastic and are durable in all weathers (even Scottish weather!) and are available in 18 colours, even a spotty version! They are also available in a smaller size for children. Yes please!

The Boom Ball Chairs. From around £135

The Boom Ball Chairs. From around £135

No butts, this is lovely

Even something as utilitarian as a water butt is getting the design treatment these days. There’s no need to hide your water butt round the back of your garden shed if you have one of these beauties from the Pure collection by Elho. Although it isn’t big it would be a good choice for someone with a small, contemporary garden.

The Pure Raindrop waterbutt. From around £200.

The Pure Raindrop waterbutt. From around £200.

So, there you go, some wonderful, design-led Christmas gifts for gardeners 2013. Hope we have helped with your lists. We have certainly added a few things to our own Wish Lists! If you see other gardening products that you think are worthy of a mention, send us the link and we will have a look.

Merry Christmas from all at Vialii

(All prices and suppliers correct at the time of the blog being posted. Apologies if any of these change but it’s outwith our control.)

Fir Trade!

I am soooo excited. You may have noticed Santa is busy getting ready for Christmas and is making lots of appearances at garden centres, shopping centres and even on trains! There is only five weeks to go so you better get your letters written and brush up on your good behaviour. One of my favourite things about Christmas is the tree, especially trying to climb it! There are lots of questions about whether a real or artificial tree is better for the environment, which variety of real Christmas tree to get, how to stop the needles falling off etc. So as usual, I’m at hand to answer all your questions as well as give you a little Christmas Tree decoration project to do…

 

Daddy and I with a real Christmas tree

Daddy and I with a real Christmas tree

Real or Artificial?

Now whilst some may claim that an artificial tree is better for the environment as you re-use it every year, there is still a huge impact on the environment by making it in the first place. Most are made from PVC which, from an environmental perspective, is a pretty horrible material. When you are fed up with your artificial tree and you throw it out, it will likely linger in land-fill for CENTURIES – not a great legacy to leave behind! Also, there is the carbon footprint to consider as most of the trees are made in the Far East and have to be shipped over here.

At Vialii, we believe that a real Christmas tree is much more environmentally friendly as long as you buy it local to where it was grown and that there is a re-planting commitment for all trees that are felled. Plus they smell lovely! A good quality, freshly cut tree can last up to 6 weeks if well looked after so don’t worry that you can’t put your tree up as early as the fakers! If I’m not convincing enough, consider this…A study in 2009 (Ellipsos) concluded that a 7-foot cut tree’s impact on climate is 60 percent less than a 7-foot artificial tree used for six years.

Living Christmas Tree

You can buy a live tree (with roots) but you can only have it indoors for a very short time and you will need to keep it in a cool place as it will come out of its dormant phase (in other words wake up!) and may not survive when you plant it back outdoors in the cold. If you are putting a live tree back outside you will need to acclimatise it back into the cold. If you find a supplier of cut trees who will plant lots more trees for every one they sell we think that’s the best compromise.

fir tree

What is the best type of real Christmas tree to buy?

OK, now that we have convinced you to get real, which variety should you opt for? Here are a few of the most common Christmas trees you will find for sale and some of their key features:

Nordmann Fir – the King of the Christmas Tree accounting for a huge 80% of UK sales. It has lovely deep green foliage on the top and blue underneath. It has lovely symmetry and shape and is less likely to drop its needles.

Norway Spruce – another popular choice and one which has a lovely smell. This one can be more likely to drop its needles so watch out and don’t buy it too early.

If you can find it, the Noble Fir is a great choice for needle loss, branch firmness, scent and the softness of the needles.

Fraser Fir – this one has a pyramid shape and soft needles which can be more family friendly. It has flat green needles and can be narrow making it a good choice to smaller spaces.

Top tips for looking after your real Christmas tree:

Now that I have helped you choose your Christmas tree, here is a fun project to make your own Christmas tree decoration…

Hand Print Santa Decoration

You will need:

To make:

1. Ask your grown up to help you draw round your hand on some white card then cut it out. This will be the beard.

 

Draw round your hand on a piece of white card

Draw round your hand
on a piece of white card

2. Cut out an oval shaped face from the pink card (or use more of the white card and paint it pink or glue on some pink paper).

 Here I am gluing some pink paper to my Santa's head


Here I am gluing some pink
paper to my Santa’s head

3. Cut a hat shape from the red card (or use white card and glue on your red fabric/paper). Glue some cotton wool along the bottom of the hat and a cotton wool pom pom to the top.

 Make your santa hat. I added some red tissue paper to mine and cotton wool.


Make your santa hat. I added some red
tissue paper to mine and cotton wool.

4. Glue your cut-out hand (the beard) to the bottom of the face and glue the hat to the top of the face. Glue the googly eyes onto the face and attach the ribbon so that you can hang it on your tree.

I love a googly eye!

I love a googly eye!

5. Hang your beautiful hand-made decoration on your tree. Lovely for Christmas and a wonderful keep-sake.

Our Santa Hand Christmas tree decoratio

Our Santa Hand Christmas tree decoratio

Remember, don’t be naughty…I’d love to see pictures of your Christmas trees and your own hand made decorations so please send them to me.

Hugs & kisses,

Lulu xx

Thank you to Parents.com for the inspiration behind this decoration

Bridge of Allan Times

Our article on the re-design of Provost’s Park in Bridge of Allan.

BofA Times Winter 2013

Stirling News

Work on Provost’s Park which Vialii designed finally gets underway after several years of designing, consulting and fund raising for the make-over.

stirling-news-august-2013

Transformers – Gardens in Disguise! Part 2

Earlier this year we blogged some “Before & After” pictures of a few of the gardens we have designed and built. Here are some more of our recent garden transformations…

A Room with a View, Brightons

Before: the garden had become overgrown and was on an awkward slope.

An overgrown, sloped garden

An overgrown, sloped garden

After: this garden was completely transformed with new lawn, planting and the addition of the fabulous garden “pod”, allowing the garden to be enjoyed in all weathers.

One of our garden transformations

The tranformed garden with the amazing “pod”

A Plantsman’s Garden, Larbert

Before: the garden was water logged and lacked inspiration.

The garden had no seating areas and lacked focal points]

The garden had no seating areas and lacked focal points]

After: Additional slats to the fence, new paths and patio, reshaped lawn and some beautiful planting perfected this makeover.

The new garden is packed with interest

The new garden is packed with interest

A Low Maintenance Family Garden, Bridge of Allan

Before: there was little to be kept in the existing garden except an apple tree and rhododendron.

The apple tree was one of the few things to keep

The apple tree was one of the few things to keep

After: The existing apple tree was given a good “hair-cut” & became the key feature of the new patio in this garden. New lawn, gravel borders and structural planting all completed this transformation.

Curving lawn, a new patio and structural planting transforms this garden

Curving lawn, a new patio and structural planting transforms this garden

A Contemporary Wildlife Garden, Bridge of Allan

Before: The wonderful view beyond was hidden in this garden by overgrown hedgerow. There was nothing to keep in the garden at all.

There was nothing to keep in the garden

There was nothing to keep in the garden

A new log fence, morning patio, raised deck, lawn and veg beds were all carefully designed to complete this garden with a view.

The new deck provides a contemporary space to enjoy the lovely views

The new deck provides a contemporary space to enjoy the lovely views

If you are interested in having your own garden designed, click here to contact us for a free design consultation.

Thanks for reading.

All at Vialii

Provost Park Set To Blossom

For almost three years, local business Vialii Garden Design have been working closely with Bridge of Allan Community Council to create a new design for the village’s Provost Park. Having secured funding for the build, the design is about to be finally brought to life. Being based in the village, Vialii are delighted to have been involved in the project from its initial concept and to be able to give something back to the community for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Vialii's design for the new Provost Park

Vialii’s design for the new Provost Park

Since the controversial new toilet block was finally completed in Bridge of Allan, the space around it, known as Provost Park, had largely been left untouched and was a sad space in an otherwise beautiful and prosperous village. The Provost Lamp had been renovated and given a new life but its surroundings had yet to be brought up to the same standard.

The beautiful, renovated Provost Lamp

The beautiful, renovated Provost Lamp

Vialii Garden Design were approached in late 2010 to discuss the possibility of being involved in the renovation of Provost Park. As a local company based in Bridge of Allan, Vialii were delighted to be able to provide advice and designs for the benefit of the community.

Initially, company directors Michael and Jill Burt met with some of the Community Council to discuss the project. Jill recalls:

“It was in the middle of a cold snap in the winter of 2010 when we first met up Gavin Drummond and Liz Rankin from the Community Council. They were putting up the village Christmas tree in the park to try and add some sparkle to what was otherwise an uninspiring space. At least the thick covering of snow hid the lack of interest underneath! At the meeting Liz and Gavin discussed some of the ideas that had been considered for the space and asked if we were able to pull together some thoughts.”

The current park is uninspiring

The current park is uninspiring

Jill explains the inspiration for the design:

“There were three main requirements which jumped out at us from the outset. Firstly, the community required a practical area where they can relax and enjoy the world going by. The space needed to be usable by everyone in the community whether that’s families, couples or elderly so path widths and surfaces were important. Plentiful seating was clearly important too. Secondly, the area had to look good. The Friends of Bridge of Allan, who look after many of Bridge of Allan’s public gardens, carry out fantastic work in the community and Provost Park has been a contentious issue for some time. We were keen to design a space that the community could all be proud of and be happy to use. It’s a great space, right in the middle of the village so it needed to have the “wow factor” and be fitting of its focal point in such an attractive village. Lastly, we were keen to reflect the Victorian inspiration which surrounds the park and the spa village and design a garden which would be appropriate for the space.

The mood-board shows the inspiration behind Vialii's new design for Provost Park

The mood-board shows the inspiration behind Vialii’s new design for Provost Park

“The main focal point for the design is a stunning, cast iron gazebo, situated in the centre of formal gardens. Victorians loved symmetry and topiary so we made sure these were key features of the space. Vintage style bricks edge wide pathways suitable for all members of the community. Decorative metal screens will surround the toilet block providing a nicer backdrop to the gardens and will include details inspired by the village itself. In the corner closest to the toilets, an ecclesiastical garden is to be created, reflecting the park once being the site of a church. Liz has managed to obtain beautiful pew benches from one of the village churches which will sit in this area looking onto a centre bed of perfumed plants. The central focal point of this area will be the existing stone fountain.

Originally the UCP church was on this site

Originally the UCP church was on this site

The wall which runs the length of Provost Park will boast new interpretation boards highlighting some of the key features and historical information about Bridge of Allan. To the front of the park, a grassy area has been included, allowing space to sit out and relax and watch the world passing by.

The planting is a mixture of formal topiary as well as smaller shrubs, bedding plants and bulbs. The aim is to keep the gardens fairly low maintenance to reduce pressure on the Friends of Bridge of Allan, who will take over responsibility for the garden once it is complete.

 

The gazebo is a central feature of the design

The gazebo is a central feature of the design

It’s been a delight to work with Gavin, Liz and the team as well as working with the local community and taking their views on board. We are honoured to have been asked to be involved in such an important project and to be able to give something back to the community. We look forward to seeing the actual gardens being constructed very soon but the real icing on the cake will be seeing local residents and visitors using and enjoying the space.”

Thanks for reading

All at Vialii

Pallet Perfection

The landscaping side of our business gets a LOT of materials delivered on pallets. Lately we have been giving some thought to what we could use the leftover pallets for. Here are some of the items we have made from upcycled pallets so far:

Some old pallets ready to become upcycled pallets

Some old pallets being stripped ready for a new life

Planters

These pretty planters can be made to whatever size or shape suits your garden. We have made a few herb planters so far but we have a tray of alpines waiting to be re-homed into a brand new pallet planter at our front door. These can easily be personalised by spraying whatever words you want onto the front. To read how to make your own pallet planter click here. Or contact us to order your own bespoke planter.

Pallet planters

Pallet planters

Gate

We have been meaning to add a gate to our back garden for a while now, to help keep our little one from escaping. We decided to make a unique gate out of pallets and used a vintage garden tool as a handle. We will be adding some suitable wording to the horizontal slat soon.

Pallet gate

Pallet gate

Sand pit

Essentially, a large planter, the sand pit is proving to be a very popular addition to the range. Just make sure you sand down the pales well and you use a robust liner inside. Oh and add a lid so that local cats don’t use it as their very own outdoor litter tray! Again, this can be personalised and we have added a hole in one corner for a windmill 🙂

Pallet sand-pit

Pallet sand-pit

Shed

The main structure of our bespoke garden shed is made with some heavy duty pallets.

Pallets used to create the shed frame

Pallets used to create the shed frame

These were then covered in slats on the outside and a living roof added on. It wouldn’t be us without the quirky handle, alternative down pipe and loveheart hole in the door!

The completed shed

The completed shed

Next we are thinking about trying out a children’s bench. If you have ideas of other items that could be made from upcycled pallets we would love to hear them. Or if you want more information on ordering any of these items please get in touch.

Thanks for reading,

All at Vialii

Get To The (Focal) Point – Part 2

In our recent blog on garden focal points we told you why they are such an important feature in the gardens we design. Here are a few more examples of some of the focal points we have used in our gardens…

Oil Lantern

This oil lantern is made from corten steel which is designed to give this beautiful rusted finish. It is wonderful focal point in this garden, guiding you round the path up to the seating area in the top corner.

An oil lantern made from rusted metal is softened by planting and is perfect garden focal points

An oil lantern made from rusted metal is softened by planting

Classical statue

This garden has a formal layout of raised beds and lends itself to having a focal point down the central aisle. A classical white statue looks great against the clipped hedge.

A formal layout is complemented with this classical statue focal point

A formal layout is complemented with this classical statue focal point

Dry-stone seat

This wonderful seat is a lovely feature in this city centre garden. Hand crafted from stone without the need for any mortar it is a true work of art and a lovely focal point in the garden.

A dry-stane seat creates a wonderful focal points as well as a place to rest on your journey round the garden

A dry-stane seat creates a wonderful focal points as well as a place to rest on your journey round the garden

Garden pod

There is no missing the main focal point in this garden – the garden “pod”. The bespoke pod was crafted from timber and has a living roof. Great to look at as well as a place to shelter from the Scottish weather!

The garden "pod" is a strong feature of this garden

The garden “pod” is a strong feature of this garden

Feature tree

This wonderful old apple tree was the only thing to be saved from the old garden that we transformed here. It had grown a bit wild but with a careful “hair-cut” it was restored to its true glory and became a wonderful feature in the new patio.

The gnarly old apple tree was sculpted and made the focal point within the new patio in this garden

The gnarly old apple tree was sculpted and made the focal point within the new patio in this garden

Water feature

Water features can be a wonderful addition to the garden, providing a wonderful focal point to look and listen to (and feel if you are a child having lots of fun in the garden!) This lovely water feature sits in a bespoke vintage brick patio.

A beautiful water feature set into a patio creates a wonderful focal point at the end of the curving path

A beautiful water feature set into a patio creates a wonderful focal point at the end of the curving path

Garden Globe & Canal

The “canal” is a lovely feature in this garden, providing a contemporary pond for adults and wildlife to enjoy. It leads on to the metal globe focal point which leads your eye up and to the stunning view beyond.

Here, the water feature and metal globe draw the eye up to the beautiful views beyond

Here, the water feature and metal globe draw the eye up to the beautiful views beyond

If you are would like some focal points introduced into your garden please get in touch to discuss what would work well in your space and to your budget.

Thank you for reading.

All at Vialii

Get To The (Focal) Point – Part 1

One of the many tricks a garden designer has up their sleeve is the use of garden focal points. Focal points can:

A water feature is a great focal point

A water feature is a great focal point

What is a focal point?

So what constitutes a focal point? Well pretty much anything! It’s a feature which draws the eye and could be anything from feature pots to sculptures, water features to arbours, birdbaths to feature trees. Anything goes. Just think about the location, the shape, the size and the journey to get there. Here are a few of the features we have used in some of the gardens we have designed or ones we have introduced into our own:

Feature gate

This Japanese inspired gate was designed especially for our clients and sets the mood for the garden beyond.

A Japanese-style bespoke gate creates a mood and the bespoke sculpture at the end of the path provides a focal point and encourages the journey into the garden

A Japanese-style bespoke gate creates a mood and the bespoke sculpture at the end of the path provides a focal point and encourages the journey into the garden

Feature plants

Choosing plants and locating them carefully can make them focal points in a garden. Here we used standard photinias to create an entrance to the new patio.

Standard photinias frame the entrance to the patio and form a focal point at the end of the path

Standard photinias frame the entrance to the patio and form a focal point at the end of the path

Feature tree and stone

In this garden we used a feature tree to create height and add interest. A stone which was unearthed during excavations was kept in the garden and used as a free focal point!

Here, both the feature tree, Euonymus europaeus, and the unearthed standing stone are focal points in the garden

Here, both the feature tree, Euonymus europaeus, and the unearthed standing stone are focal points in the garden

Arbour

Here we created an arbour and bespoke bench to provide clients with a lovely spot to sit in the shade on a sunny day.

A bespoke arbour can be a lovely central feature of a garden]

A bespoke arbour can be a lovely central feature of a garden]

Themed focal points

In this Japanese garden we used traditional Japanese focal points including a lantern, water feature and koi bridge.

A Japanese lantern, water feature and koi bridge set the mood in this garden

A Japanese lantern, water feature and koi bridge set the mood in this garden

Sculpture

We found this rusty rose made from corten steel in a local shop and we think it makes a wonderful focal point in the border, popping up between the herbaceous perennials.

Herbaceous planting will envelop this rusty rose so that it pops out of the border

Herbaceous planting will envelop this rusty rose so that it pops out of the border

Willow balls

These hand-made willow balls make a wonderful garden focal point. They can have lights installed inside them too to make a wonderful effect in the evening.

A willow ball with lighting set inside creates a wonderful focal point at night time

A willow ball with lighting set inside creates a wonderful focal point at night time

If you would like some advice on focal points in your garden, please get in touch.

Thank you for reading.

All at Vialii

Transformers – Gardens in Disguise! Part 1

We love pretty much all aspects of running our own gardening business. Even doing the admin is enjoyable as it can give us an excuse to hide indoors with a cuppa and a cat on our knee on a rainy day! But one of our favourite things about being both garden designers and landscapers is that we get to see the transformations through from beginning to end and we LOVE seeing the end result and how much the garden has changed from the sad space we first visited. So here is the first in our series of blogs on some of our favourite garden transformations…

A Garden for Entertaining, Bridge of Allan

Before: an ugly garage wall needed to be disguised as well as the rest of the garden being overhauled.

Before: an ugly garage wall and monoblocked patio

Before: an ugly garage wall and monoblocked patio

After: we used square-profile timbers to clad the back of this garage and instantly create a modern, stylish screen. A new patio as well as a deck with bespoke seating created different areas for entertaining.

After: a stylish screen provides a lovely backdrop to the new patio

After: a stylish screen provides a lovely backdrop to the new patio

A Japanese Garden, Bannockburn

Before: the garden had poor access and few redeemable features.

Before: the garden desperately needed a makeover

Before: the garden desperately needed a makeover

After: we transformed the garden into an oriental paradise complete with water feature and bespoke pergola.

After: a tranquil Japanese garden packed with interest

After: a tranquil Japanese garden packed with interest

A Low Maintenance Garden, Stirling

Before: a waterlogged lawn and no seating areas meant this garden was rarely used.

Before: the garden was boggy and lacked interest

Before: the garden was boggy and lacked interest

After: beautiful sandstone was used in both the patio and the troughs which incorporate extra seating and soft planting. The lawn was raised and a gravel finish keeps the garden low maintenance.

After: a large sandstone patio for entertaining is a key part of the new garden

After: a large sandstone patio for entertaining is a key part of the new garden

A Contemporary Terraced Garden, Stirling

Before: this inaccessible sloping garden was unmanageable for our clients.

Before: the garden was inaccessible and overgrown

Before: the garden was inaccessible and overgrown

After: we used chunky sleepers to create terraces at interesting angles and shapes with wildlife planting to soften.

Before: the garden was inaccessible and overgrown

Before: the garden was inaccessible and overgrown

If you are interested in discussing how we could transform your own garden, please get in touch for a free design consultation. To see more of our garden transformations click below:

Garden Transformations, Part 2

Garden Transformations, Part 3

All at Vialii

The Benefits of Using A Garden Designer

Despite what the weather may be telling us, Spring officially starts this week which for many of us means that our thoughts move to our outdoor spaces. Gardens are an important additional space to our homes and, with some clever garden design, can bring years of joy. Here are some of the benefits of using a garden designer…

A relaxing, family garden we designed and built in Bridge of Allan. One of the benefits of using a garden designer

A relaxing, family garden we designed and built in Bridge of Allan

But why me?

Our lives are constantly changing and with that the ways in which we use our gardens have to adapt:

Whatever your requirements, a garden designer can create a unique space which meets your needs.

A timber feature in a garden we designed and built in Stirling

A timber feature in a garden we designed and built in Stirling

Unusual Ideas

A garden designer will look at unique ways to meet your needs without ruining the aesthetic. A low maintenance garden doesn’t need to be just gravel and a few concrete slabs. And a child friendly garden shouldn’t just be a piece of lawn and a plastic chute. There are much more engaging, innovative ideas which can be employed in your garden and they need not cost the earth either, either financially or environmentally. We have lost count of how many clients have said “we would never have thought of that” when discussing concepts for their garden.

The full colour design for a garden which we designed in Bridge of Allan

The full colour design for a garden which we designed in Bridge of Allan

Comprehensive Advice

All good garden designers will be able to talk knowledgeably about all areas of a garden including planting that suits your climate, aspect and soil, hard landscaping to suit your requirements and budget and technical requirements such as drainage, lighting, retaining walls etc. Ensuring materials are local and environmentally friendly wherever possible should be second nature to a garden designer.

A terraced garden using sleepers for a softer, more natural look. Designed and built by Vialii

A terraced garden using sleepers for a softer, more natural look. Designed and built by Vialii

Other benefits include:

A contemporary boardwalk and bespoke deck with in-built seating in a garden in Bridge of Allan. Designed and built by Vialii

A contemporary boardwalk and bespoke deck with in-built seating in a garden in Bridge of Allan. Designed and built by Vialii

But why Vialii?

Vialii Garden Design (VGD) is a young and innovative design and landscaping company, based in Bridge of Allan, near Stirling, with lots of fresh ideas to make your garden look stunning without costing the earth. We love visiting the big flower shows such as Chelsea and finding ways of incorporating the latest trends into gardens at affordable prices.

We are fully qualified – Jill has a Diploma in Garden Design and is a Friend of the Society of Garden Designers – and fully insured.  Michael is a qualified structural engineer, a great help in both the design and build of our gardens.

Unusually for garden designers, at Vialii Garden Design we can offer an in-house landscaping service so that we can ensure that the design, which we have so carefully crafted in close collaboration with yourselves, is not compromised in any way when it is built. There are no external contractors who may suggest a change here or a different material there to suit their own skill sets and no other contractors you need to liaise with.

Where other designers may charge for initial consultations, we offer this service for FREE. As a small company, we pride ourselves in excellent customer service and we will endeavour to ensure you are comfortable and happy throughout the whole experience.

VGD’s sister company, Vialii Garden Services, offer a full maintenance package should that be required too, ensuring your garden continues to look exactly as it did when it was brand new. Basically, we love gardens so much there isn’t a job in them that we aren’t prepared to do for you!

Jill, Michael and Lulu relaxing in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Jill, Michael and Lulu relaxing in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Spring is the perfect time to get in touch and start the design process as it means we can have your garden designed and built for the height of the summer in most instances. The only thing we can’t guarantee you in your lovely new garden is the weather!

Hope to hear from you,

Jill, Michael, Lulu and all the Vialii team

Vialii Review of 2012

As we venture into 2013 it’s time for a step back and a review of 2012. 2012 was an enormous year for Vialii Garden Design. On February 2nd the business was given an injection of youth and vitality when we welcomed aboard our newest ‘recruit’, our baby daughter Lulu Ann Burt.

A Japanese garden we designed and built in 2012

A Japanese garden we designed and built in 2012

Life with Lulu

Lulu’s certainly livened up the business side of things although it has got us wondering what we did with our time before Lulu came on the scene. There have been adjustments to the way we operate but, to be honest, these have been for the better. Prior to Baby Burt we would utilise a lot of spare time doing business stuff. Now we prioritise our family time but ensure that we work cleverly with what other time we have in order to keep the business thriving.

Designing Gardens

Designing gardens allows us to meet some lovely people and this year has been no exception. Everybody is different as is every garden we have been asked to design, but the common theme has been an enjoyment of gardens and a desire to enjoy them more.

It’s been an incredibly busy year too with some twelve garden designs commissioned and nine garden builds undertaken which has been a challenging but rewarding. The weather hasn’t been particularly kind (1) and has hindered some of our projects but most of our challenges have been set by ourselves.

Review of 2012: Our design for an Arts & Crafts garden in Perth

Our design for an Arts & Crafts garden in Perth

 

We have been commissioned to design gardens that have presented their share of difficulties in their own right whether they be sloping ground, incredibly boggy or out-and-out jungles (or all three in the case of one garden!). We have also endeavoured to stretch ourselves by included elements into our gardens that aren’t necessarily the most straightforward to build but represent a great solution to a particular problem.

The details at Glenwhan are superb...

The details at Glenwhan are superb…

Visiting Gardens

It hasn’t all been work though. We’ve visited our fair share of gardens too with our favourite probably being closely contested by An Cala on Seil Island near Oban and Glenwhan Gardens in Galloway.

Lovely wire sheep keeping the grass down at An Cala

Lovely wire sheep keeping the grass down at An Cala

All in all it has been a bumper year and we hope it continues. We’d like to thank all our clients for entrusting us with their gardens and we hope they enjoy using them as much as we enjoyed designing and building them.

Looking Forward To 2013

Looking forward to 2013 our plan is to build on the successes of previous years and grow the business further and we’re looking forward to the challenges that come with that. We’re keen to bring motivated and skilled individuals on board in order that we can reduce the turnaround times on garden builds. Plus we’re honing our processes in the design office too.

We’re both excited about this year’s 100th anniversary Chelsea Flower Show and are confident it will be one of the best yet. Having missed it in 2012 due to Lulu arriving in town we are super keen to get there this year. It has it’s detractors and we can understand some of the criticisms it receives but it’s an amazing garden spectacle and is truly inspirational. We love it!

The Vialii Garden Design team!

The Vialii Garden Design team!

Most of all we’re looking forward to spending more time in our own garden with our little Lulu. She spent a great deal of last year just watching us garden but this year we’re going to get her mucking in. It’ll be a blast!

May this coming year be a prosperous one for you all.

Speak soon,

Michael, Jill & Lulu

1. This may be regarded as the understatement of the year but we endeavour not to bemoan what our climate throws at us too much. We live in Scotland after all and with that comes weather. As they say “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”.

The Garden Design Process Explained

At Vialii Garden Design, we understand what a daunting prospect it can be embarking on getting your garden designed and landscaped. We will endeavour to make you comfortable through every stage of the process and keep you well informed of what is happening and what to expect. We will discuss the process in greater detail at the initial meeting but here is our ten step guide to having your garden transformed…

A new deck which we designed and built, part of the garden design process

A new deck which we designed and built

1. Contact us

Contact us to arrange the initial, FREE, no obligation meeting at a time that suits you, including evenings and weekends. It is most helpful if you can give some thought to your garden before we come. Talk to everyone in your household and ask what they want and will be using the garden for. Consider how much time you want to give to the maintenance of your garden, What do you like or dislike, what styles do you like. Collate images from magazine or the internet and look at the Styles section of our website for ideas of the types of things you like. Don’t worry if you really don’t know as we will have lots of ideas to discuss with you.

One of our garden designs

One of our garden designs

2. Free Initial consultation

At the initial meeting we will discuss your requirements and what you want to use the garden for. We will also assess the site (test the soil, look at the aspect, drainage etc.) and take measurements as well as present our portfolio of designs. We will also discuss your budget as well as talk you through the process in more detail and discuss timescales.

3. Quote for Design

Following on from the initial meeting, we will send you a quotation for doing your design.

4. Appointment Agreement

You sign our “Design” Appointment Agreement form and we proceed with your design.

5. Interim Design Meeting

There will be a second meeting to present our initial ideas and rough sketches. Once we get feedback from you we can then carry on with the full design.

6. Final Design Package

The full design, drawn to scale, is completed along with a mood board showing our inspiration as well as a feel for both the soft and hard landscaping to be used in the design. Costs for the works to be completed by Vialii Garden Design are included.

7. Payment for Design

You finalise payment for the design and ask Vialii Garden Design to build your design and sign the “Build” Appointment Agreement (should that be your requirement).

Our moodboards help you visualise your design

Our moodboards help you visualise your design

8. Garden Build

Vialii Garden Design build the design, ensuring the concept is fully carried out through the build, bringing your design to life. Some payment is required up front to cover materials with the balance due on completion.

9. Plant Care Sheet

A care sheet for all your new plants is provided to make it easy for you to identify everything and care for your new garden properly.

10. Payment for Build

You finalise payment for the build and ask our sister company,Vialii Garden Services, to maintain your garden ensuring it remains beautiful and true to the design (should that be your requirement).

One of the many gardens which we have lovingly designed and built

One of the many gardens which we have lovingly designed and built

As you can see, we can offer you the full service from start to finish, leaving you to simply relax and enjoy your stunning newly designed garden. You can choose whatever elements suit your lifestyle and budget best. Please get in touch to start your garden transformation.

All at Vialii