Monday, 16 February 2015
The recent cold weather has given us plenty time to stay nice and warm inside and think over what a year 2014 was (aided by a cuppa or two!) Here is our Vialii Review of 2014 and what 2014 was the year of to us…
You know us, we’re always on the look-out for ways to utilise items that would otherwise make their way into landfill. In the past we’ve even been known to create an outside lounge for a client, just to utilise a Victorian cast iron fireplace that was found in the house renovations! Back in April we blogged about some other up-cycling ideas we’d tried out at Vialii Towers. We used our old trailer wheels and tyres to make unusual planters. We made a quirky container to display potted plants and encouraged wildlife into the garden by making a bird table from left over timber. We also thought we’d give you step-by-step instructions on how to make your own planters out of pallets. The herbs we planted in ours were a great success last year.
Our 3 year old blogging daughter writes for our sister gardening company Vialii Garden Services on fun and informative aspects of growing your own veg and wildlife gardening. There were lots of outdoor activities and fun crafts featured in “Lulu’s Garden” in 2014 with the wonderful perk of getting a great array of tasty food to try and colourful decorations around the house and garden. Not to mention lovely Mother’s and Father’s day gifts! With our latest Vialii team member newly arrived (more on that later), Lulu has some help at present from her guest-blogging BFF Euan. As a growing 3 year old boy his focus is always switched on to food so you can be sure there are always children’s cooking and baking ideas to use up home grown produce.
Weather conditions made working in gardens last year challenging to say the least. 2014 had the hottest summer but was also the 4th wettest year on record. The hot weather didn’t affect us too much, we just had to take extra care ensuring new plants and lawns were well-watered (and of course use lots of sun cream and wear a hat!) The wet November however saw an already challenging sloped garden turn into a precarious working environment. Not sure the team really saw the free mud baths as a perk of the job though!
Gardens of course never stay static. They are constantly evolving, be that naturally or with a little help. We gave our own garden a simple but effective revamp last year. When we first designed our garden we built troughs around the deck and painted them white. Last year we felt Michael wasn’t being exposed to enough girliness with just a wife and one daughter so we decided to add a bright splash of pink to the troughs in a quick and easy makeover. We also added new pink pots to the patio area and a bright teal coat of paint to our bird table. New upcycled planters added more colour around the garden. Reports that it has helped Michael get more in touch with his feminine side are yet to be confirmed!
The opening of Provost Park in Bridge of Allan by our daughter Lulu was the culmination of almost 4 years of discussion and planning. The design remit was to transform an underused space in the town centre that is situated immediately beside the public toilet into an inviting park that could be used by all. The space needed to be accessed by families, couples and the elderly so path widths and surfaces were important. It also needed to fit in with the Victorian spa town and be easy to maintain. We created a focal point with a cast iron gazebo in the centre of the formal gardens. This was surrounded by symmetrical planting and topiary- both favourites of Victorians. Metal laser-cut screens displaying iconic Bridge of Allan features such as the Allanwater Bridge, the local celebrity heron, the Paterson Clock and a church window help camouflage the toilet block as well as creating a great back drop to the garden.
Whilst it was a relatively small project, the build of one garden in Stirling was challenging and memorable due to the only access being through their kitchen. I think it’s a first for Vialli that the team were carting through materials whilst the client made macaroni cheese for her family. It did seem to make them work even faster so they could get to their lunch though!
It was a particularly satisfying build because prior to finding Vialii the client had been told by another uninterested landscaper that “if you ever get anybody to do your garden for you then they will be cowboys”. This was a red rag to the proverbial bull and we were chuffed to deliver the family a beautiful garden of which they are delighted with. And not a cowboy in sight! Yee-ha!
We were lucky enough to have 2 family holidays in 2014. We headed to Northumberland and to Kingussie in the Scottish Highlands. That gave us great opportunity to visit some lovely gardens in the UK. Up in the Highlands we visited Blair Castle Gardens. The extensive grounds contain a wooded grove, a walled garden, a babbling burn (Banvie Burn), a ruined kirk, a sculpture trail and a red deer park.
With the summers of 2013 and 2014 being particularly good, a lot of our clients have been looking to make their gardens into an extension of their houses. They’ve been especially keen to ensure they had outdoor spaces where they could play, relax, entertain, dine and have fun. Summerhouses, offices, pergolas and large dining patios have all been created. All members of the family have been catered for with new lawns (both real and artificial) created for kids and pets to enjoy.
Our biggest highlight in our Review of 2014 has to be the arrival of baby daughter Tilda at Vialii Towers in November. Lulu’s proving to be a wonderful big sister and is looking forward to Tilda being able to get outside and start gardening. Keep your eyes peeled for a cute pic of all the family in their Vialii t-shirts coming to your screens soon 🙂
We can’t wait to see what this year is going to bring…
Here’s to a wonderful 2015 everyone.
All at Vialii