5 Apps that help me run a gardening business (2013)

I’m a bit of an early adopter when it comes to techstuff. Not everything I try is useful or even enjoyable but there are a few apps that now serve me well and I now regard as indispensable. Here’s my top 5 list of apps that help me run two gardening businesses.


Evernote is proving to be invaluable. It was a bit of a slow burner to start with but I now use it with impunity.
From the website – Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.
How I use it:

Google Drive

Google Drive helps support the business

Google Drive helps support the business

Google Drive is Google’s cloud storage system.
From the website – Google Drive is everywhere you are—on the web, in your home, at the office and on the go. So wherever you are, your stuff is just…there.
How I use it:


Dropbox is a useful program

Dropbox is a useful program

Dropbox is another cloud application that we use extensively.
From the website – Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again!
How we use it:

Google Calendar

From the website – Organizing your schedule shouldn’t be a burden. With Google Calendar, it’s easy to keep track of life’s important events all in one place

How we use it:

Google Reader

From the website – Google Reader, where keeping up with your favorite websites is as easy as checking your email.
How I use it:
I subscribe to a lot of gardening blogs and Google reader curates all my reading in one place and allows me to catch up on the latest gardening news and opinion when I’m out and about. It has great share features which allow me to share links with Evernote & Drive for future reference and use.
So that’s my top 5 Apps for running a gardening business. Whilst I appreciate that they are not gardening specific I hope I have highlighted the specific ways I use them to suit my business needs.
Other honourable mentions:

Blogger – The Android app is useful for drafting blog posts. Functionality is not great so I only use it for drafts and then carry out the finishing touches back at the office.

Camscanner – A great app for scanning in documents to your phone using your camera. Photos are converted into PDF files and can then be shared to the cloud.

Google+ – Not an app as such but Google+ is quickly becoming an increasingly important place to be, particularly with your business. Posts on Google+ can increase your ranking in Google search as can blog posts that you have compiled. I don’t know the technical ins and outs but I take it as read that a business needs to have a presence there.
I’m always on the look out for new indispensable apps or productivity tools so if you know of anything I’m missing I’d love to hear from you.
Michael & All at Vialii

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