Garden Playhouses, The Vialii Way!
If you are an avid follower of our blogs (and why wouldn’t you be?!) then you will be aware that we love a wee upcycling project at Vialii. And these projects are my VERY favourites that we have ever tackled. Welcome to the Vialii Garden Playhouse Makeover!
I LOVE my new playhouse!
M&D are designing a garden for friends at the moment and tucked away in a corner of their garden, no longer used, was a playhouse which these (very lovely!) friends said we could have. As this saved Daddy the job of making our own playhouse, he now had the time and energy to help me and Mummy give it a bit of a makeover.
Before: the playhouse needed a bit of Lulufication (yes, that IS a word!)
After a bit of a jet wash and sanding down, the old playhouse was ready for some painting. I chose some lovely green paint called Willow for the outside and off-white for the inside to make it nice and bright.
Here I am busy painting my playhouse
We tucked the playhouse in one of our borders so that it doesn’t take up too much space. We just needed to move a few plants.
The new playhouse is tucked in the border between two apple trees
The view from inside is lovely, across the garden the fields and up to the Ochil Hills.
The view from inside my playhouse
My clever mummy made curtains for the windows and door and some bunting for inside and out. I hung a beautiful painting I made at nursery inside and Daddy laid some artificial grass inside which looks like a green furry rug!
The inside all painted, my furry rug, artwork and curtains!
Daddy also made a lovely flower box for the front which we planted some alpines in. The final touch was a sign for the outside saying “Lulu & Tilda’s House, No Boys Allowed” (although I will make allowances for my BFF Euan!) onto which we stuck some shells I had collected.
My new sign: Lulu & Tilda’s House, No Boys Allowed!
While we have been very busy at Vialii Towers, my BFF Euan has also been flying the flag for upcycled Vialii playhouses. His clever Daddy has made his from upcycled pallets. Here he is loving his wee house:
Euan in his wonderful, upcycled playhouse
I’d love to see pics of your playhouses so feel free to share…
Hugs & kisses,
It’s Only A Phase!
Clients commonly ask us if it is OK if they can phase their garden build. We ensure there is complete flexibility with all our designs and how they are built. If it’s something you are considering read our blog about the benefits and downsides to this approach.
A garden in Perth which was built over two phases
Sometimes it’s not possible to build your newly designed dream garden at the one time. Maybe budget doesn’t allow it or perhaps other building work going on in the house might impact on the garden. By building the design in phases, though, it is still possible to eventually get the dream garden over a longer timescale.
The most important thing is to be organised and draw up a masterplan of everything the final garden will contain. This masterplan will ensure that the phases marry together neatly and produce a cohesive overall feel once all stages are complete. The master design also becomes roadmap for every cable and pipe to be laid above or below ground and the identity and position of every tree and plant. For example if you’re laying a patio in an early phase it will be important to know if you’re installing a lighting feature at a later stage so that electrics can be properly located and the patio doesn’t need to be lifted temporarily.
It is useful to also have a mood board of the different soft and hard landscaping to be used in each phase to give a greater appreciation of how those will work together too.
A mood board shows all the areas of the garden which will come together
In order to get as much instant gratification as possible the larger surfacing work should be done in phase one. This includes laying patios and lawns further away from access points. Not only will you be able to enjoy these spaces but getting the soil covered will help keep your house clean! Another priority should be getting shelter from wind or sun and some privacy/security. This could be boundaries such as fences and walls or trees. If you’re including any “grow your own” areas you might wish this to be done earlier in the build too so you can start to re-coup money savings on shop bought produce.
A design for a phased garden in Stirling
If you’re redesigning front and back gardens it can be tempting to start with the front garden to get best kerbside effect. But all the hard work can easily be damaged if there are subsequent access issues getting materials into the rear garden and waste out. It’s best not to “paint yourself into a corner”!
The last thing you do is seed the lawn or lay turf. Newly planted lawns need time to germinate or root and that’s hard to do if they’re being trampled all over by gardeners lugging other plants around! It’s also best to plant up the ornamental flowers and trees in the latter phases as they’ll need maintenance and pruning so you may as well put that off until the end.
Phase 2: This back garden was phased to tie in with the new house extension
The main benefit is that work can be done as and when budget allows (it can be done over however many months or years as suits you.) You can perhaps spend a little bit more getting the best quality plants and some bigger specimens. This can be offset by buying smaller trees in the first phase which tend to cope better with the shock of being moved. Spreading your budget means no corners will need to be cut and you won’t have to settle for something you are not 100% sure about.
- You will miss out on the immediate wow factor of having your whole garden transformed at the same.
- The overall cost is likely to be a bit greater. A project broken into phases normally costs more than a whole project built at once. This is because elements of the overall garden build normally overlap so you can save on manual labour costs as the team can be getting on with another aspects they wait for patios to set or paint to dry etc.
- Some areas of the garden may need to be re-done if there is a lot of traffic going over them during Phase 2 (however, we would normally recommend a certain way of work being done to minimise this and we always protect existing work which is to be kept.)
It’s important to think how the phasing will work so no damage is done to areas already completed
Before Your Design
Once your design is complete, whilst there is flexibility in when to do the build, it’s better to stick to your design plan. Small tweaks are fine but it’s better to make sure you 100% happy with your design before doing any work on it. To make this happen there are a few things to consider before you ask us to design your garden:
If you’ve not long moved into the property, spend time to work out just how your existing garden works for you.
- What existing plants do you like/not like?
- What other features would you like to keep or introduce?
- Who will we using the garden?
- What do you use your garden for and at what time of day?
- How much growing space do you want for fruit and veg?
- How much time do you have to maintain the design?
So if you are considering a new look to your garden please get in touch and we will be round to help you plan a master design so you can get everything on your “essential”,”nice to have” and “dream” lists.
All at Vialii
Waste Not Want Not, Compost Style
The nights are getting darker earlier (not that I would know as I’m already asleep way before it gets dark) so it must be getting towards the end of the growing season. So, what do you do with your compost in containers and grow bags once your plants have stopped producing? Read on for my top tips…
We always have around 100 tomato plants in containers, so have heaps of old compost
The most obvious thing is to just dig the remainder into your borders and raised beds. It seems strange that you can add more compost each year and your beds don’t overflow. It’s the same with farmers spreading muck each year, the fields don’t become skyscrapers either! But if your old compost has been healthy, without any pest or disease problems, there are loads of more interesting and helpful ways you can use it in the garden:
- You can add it to your compost bin in layers with other garden and kitchen waste. This will give your compost a wonderful structure for retaining water and can add some nutrients.
- If you have large containers to fill each year you can fill the bottom with old compost. Weeds won’t be able to grow if they are well buried.
Fill the bottom your tubs with old compost and top up with new
- Sieve your old compost to make a fine seed compost. Seeds don’t need any food from the soil to germinate so the low nutrient levels aren’t a problem. The lighter structure makes it easy for seedlings to push through. This means it is also good for covering outside sown seeds in clay soil where a fine tilth is hard to get. Use it to help level a sloping garden or border.
A dumper truck helps cover the seeds with old compost
- Carrots don’t like too many nutrients either or they don’t set good roots. You would end up with lots of small carrots with bushy foliage if you give them too many nutrients. Mix your old compost with some horticultural sand and a bit of fertiliser for happy carrots.You can even reuse the compost to grow a whole new crop of produce. Compost used to grow tomatoes can still be used to grow leafy veg like salad leaves or kale. Just make sure not to try to grow the same crop again as it can lead to pests and diseases building up. It’s crop rotation for your containers. Just add bit of general fertiliser.
Mix your old compost with sand
and some fertiliser for perfect carrots
- Scatter it over your lawns and rake it in (or let the worms do the work for you as we learnt on my recent blog). This helps add nutrients to the soil below your lawn.Pick out any clumps of roots and scatter it around your borders as a mulch.
Those are my ideas for reusing your old compost, can you think of any others?