As the teen years near their end and we look forward to the roaring 20s, it’s the perfect time to look at the year just passed and remember the highlights (and some sadder times too.) Here’s the Vialii Review of 2019…
Asking us to choose our favourite garden is almost like choosing a favourite child! We love them all! But this year we loved creating the Modern Hot Tub Garden! As the name suggests, the hot tub is the central feature of this garden. But it’s so much more too – from pergolas to patios, garden room to in-built seating this is the perfect space for the whole family to relax in and enjoy.
Our favourite plant this year has been Amelanchier canadensis. This shrub (or small tree) is a great addition to any garden and provides interest throughout the year. The spring blossom is really pretty and is followed with dark fruits, great for the birds. In autumn the leaves turn glorious reds and oranges.
This was a hard choice with the teams taking lots of great photos this year but we have chosen our photo of the garden sculpture of the great Mr Vialii as our favourite of this year!
We are all kids at heart and that’s clear by how popular this post was back in February this year! It’s a great way to deal with a sloping garden in a family friendly garden.
The contemporary take on a pergola has been a popular choice this year. With more geometric lines, often with extra timbers to provide screening and finished in a modern white paint, these pergolas give a modern touch to gardens.
We couldn’t review 2019 without paying our respects to Ann Barnes, the much loved mum, mother-in-law and grandma of Vialii. You are missed every single day and our love for you continues to bloom all year round. Starting a new year without you breaks our hearts and you will never be forgotten.
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It’s the countdown to the Big Day so it’s time to get some thoughtful gifts for your loved ones. As always, we have pulled together a few of our favourites to suit the different budgets and loved ones in your lives. Here’s the Vialii guide to Chritmas gardening gifts 2019…
Garden rocking chair
Perhaps we are getting old but this rocking chair sure appeals! Find a sunny spot, a good book and a chilled drink and we wouldn’t be shifting for hours! Made.com have added their own cool stamp with a contemporary twist on a rocking chair and a trendy chartreuse finish. £79
Personalised garden keyring
How adorable is this keyring, perfect for the gardener in your life. Select what initial and birthstone you would like to go with the cute watering can, flower and trowel. Lovely as a handbag charm too. £9
Oh, these garden parasols from East London Parasol are sooooo up our street! So many parasols come in boring old green or ecru – but why?! These wonderful splashes of opulent colours are the perfect addition to the garden. The hard part is choosing which design! From £315
Grandpa’s Garden by Barefoot Books
We love this beautifully illustrated book which tells the tales of Billy and his grandpa tending to their vegetable patch. Perfect for those little gardeners in the family. £6.99
Frida Kahlo planter
We are big fans of Frida Kahlo and her image is very on trend at the moment. This gorgeous Frida planter will brighten up any room, perfect with a low maintenance succulent planted in it. £15
Geometric climbing frame
If you have the space and the budget, this geometric climbing frame is a very cool addition to any kid’s garden. Children will have hours of fun scaling this frame, inside and out. Trail with fairy lights in winter to create your own amazing grotto! £152.96
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As garden designers, it’s important for us to consider all potential features in gardens and which work best with a client’s brief. From pergolas and water features to garden sculpture and lighting, there are many elements to consider and every brief and garden is unique. One of the features we love adding to gardens to add height, interest, different planting considerations and colour is garden planters. The good old garden pot. In this blog we have pulled together some of our favourite pots we have used over the years to showcase why they can be a great addition to the garden and why they are “Top of the Pots”…
Garden pots can make a real statement when they frame a door way. Two matching planters, particularly if they have height and stature can make a wonderful first impression of your home. We love these tall, tapered zinc planters in a contemporary teal finish, the perfect finishing touch to this front garden design we completed in Bridge of Allan.
These tall copper planters have been planted with ilex topiary, making a real statement. The Christmas wreath complements them perfectly…
More copper planters, this time in a rectangular shape to complement this front garden design in Stirling…
Tall planters are a great way of creating height and interest in a garden. We particularly like to group them to make a strong statement. In this front garden in Stirling we grouped three together in front of the client’s window and planted them with grasses so she could enjoy them all year round.
In this back garden in Stirling we repeated the same planter in different parts of the garden to create repetition and a modern finish to the garden design…
A garden can have a mix of different types of pots if they are selected carefully. In this large garden design we completed in Perth they had the space to carry off several pots including ceramic style filled with topiary, urn styles planted with phormium repeated around the garden and a beautiful art deco style pot to reflect the style of the house…
Pots are a great way to add colour to the garden and there are some amazing plastic pots at great prices available. These pink pots provide an immediate splash of colour as well as making a statement by adding several into an area. Pots are also a great way to plant something you might not be able to plant in the ground. These pots have blueberries in them which require ericaceous soil as well as protection in winter – no problem when they are in a pot!…
If you want some advice on how to add some new planters into your garden and what to plant in them then please get in touch.
On our recent holiday to Nairn in Morayshire we couldn’t help but notice the wide and wonderful array of garden gates there. A lot of thought has been put into their garden gates, reflecting their styles and passions. As garden designers, we love it when people think about the details in their gardens making it unique to them. They are often the first thing that greet you when you arrive home or they make the all important entrance to your back garden – they deserve a bit of thought. Here are some of our favourite garden gates of Nairn and why…
If you want to discuss any aspect of garden design including your garden gates please get in touch.
The clocks have changed, the frosts have arrived and Strictly is well under way. It can only mean one thing – winter is creeping ever closer! And whilst we can snuggle indoors with our central heating and cosy PJs, life’s not quite as comfortable for some of our garden friends. So we have created a blog with 3 ways to help wildlife this winter in your own back garden…
If you’re anything like us you will be singing Mary Poppins as you read this! But feeding the birds is an incredibly simple way to help our feathered friends. Pop up a range of bird feeders and you can quickly be feeding them fat balls and various seeds and nuts. You will be rewarded with a display of lots of lovely birds in your garden who will also help keep garden pests at bay. Remember to leave some water out for drinking and bathing too.
Hedgehogs are brilliant for the garden, munching away on your slugs and snails. Encourage them to stay in your garden by creating a home in a quiet, untouched corner of the garden. You can buy a hedgehog house in your local garden centre or if you are feeling creative you couild build your own with some pieces of wood. Remember to clear out your hedgehog house each year to keep it free from pests (make sure there are no hedgehogs resident at the time of cleaning!) Keeping a corner of your garden a little bit untidy with piles of leaves will encourage hedgehogs into your garden too. ALWAYS check bonfires before lighting them at this time of year too to make sure no hedgehogs have made a home there.
Another wonderful wildlife creature you should encourage are bats. They eat squillions of midges every night so they have got to be a firm friend! We love watching our local bats swooping around at dusk giving us an amazing display! Buy or make a bat box but make sure you locate it in a suitable place. It should be a minimum of 10 foot off the ground, higher if possible. It should be in a sunny location, getting at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day. Try and shelter the boxes from the wind and ideally locate them close to where they will be feeding, close to hedges and trees.
If you can do at least one, if not all of these three simple jobs this winter your wildlife garden will thrive and these wee creatures will be very thankful.
We had the absolute pleasure of staying in Nairn last week for the school’s October break. Nearby lies Brodie Castle, so with membership cards in hand, we scooted along the road to see what we would discover in our latest NTS adventure…
As you would expect, our focus is always on the outside space which is not lacking at Brodie. Being late in the season, there was no-one in the ticket hut but we managed to find a member of staff who pointed us to walks around the grounds where we could tire Noodle out. We headed for the aptly named Swan Pond. There is a gorgeous dog-friendly walk around the pond and through the woodland which the whole family loved.
There are lovely bird hides along the way and we stopped and enjoyed the views and the wildlife as we walked around.
By this point the kids were ready to explore the Adventure play park. Dogs aren’t allowed so Noodle and I continued our stroll while the kids burnt off some energy.
After a quick lunch we were ready to explore the main event – the Playful Garden. And my goodness, we were NOT disappointed. The relatively small area is packed to the gunnels with fun things to explore. The kids enjoyed twirling themselves around on the spinning tops.
The tall mirrored posts make an impressive feature as soon as you enter the garden and lots of fun was had running around them and peering around.
Spinning the drums to make the pictures inside come to life was great fun for the kids and would suit children of all images.
A miniature model of Brodie Castle is the coolest playhouse for the kids to explore and make them feel like giants!
(Almost) everything is interactive in Brodie Castle and these metal horses and unicorns were great for climbing on.
Music is a huge part of the sensory experience in the Playful Garden and can be heard throughout. There were lots of tubular bells, xylophones and timpani drums to explore and kept the girls entertained for a long time.
Playful mounds with in-built tunnels were just amazing to watch the kids play and hide in. A worthy addition to any large outdoor space for kids if budget allows.
An island had been created in the garden with water around all sides and large stepping stones allowing the only access. Only the brave can make it across – but will they make it back??
The signature piece in the Playful Garden is the giant bunny which you see as soon as you come in. Children are encouraged not to slide and climb on Brodie Bunny but it’s an amazing sight to experience.
The gardens are wheelchair friendly and the majority of things in the garden are accessible to everyone with lots of sensory experiences. The only down side is that dogs are not allowed in the Playful Garden. Perhaps if they could be allowed on lead to the tables outside the cafe that could be an option to improve the customer experience. We didn’t pop into the castle as dogs aren’t allowed and it’s by guided tour only which takes an hour and we didn’t want to leave Noodle for any longer. For us it’s all about the outdoor spaces anyway! We highly recommend a visit to Brodie, especially to the Playful Garden.
Most of the potential clients who contact us have never had a garden designed before and have no idea how it all works. We appreciate what a daunting thought it can be so we thought we would explain how our garden design process works…
When you contact us we will book you in for our initial FREE design consultation. We normally have a waiting list for these consultations so you may have to wait a wee while for us to come out. We always recommend clients think around 9 months ahead if possible to give us time to schedule that initial meeting, do a design and then book in our busy landscaping team. At the initial consultation, which normally last 1-2 hours, we will discuss all elements of your garden. Have a think before we come out about things like:
Once we have collated lots of information and shown you our own portfolio of gardens, we will take lots of photographs of your garden and survey it. We can then send you our quote for designing your garden.
Once you have given us the go ahead for your design, we start to make the magic happen. We CAD up your garden on the computer so we can see the layout, aspect etc and then we start doing some pencil sketches. We will normally do two different concepts to show you different ways your garden can work. More than that just creates confusion. We will then meet with you again to discuss these concepts and get your feedback. Sometimes one concept is exactly what a client wants. Commonly elements from both concepts go into the final design. At the interim meeting we will also have some rough costs for how much it will be for us to build your design for you. At this interim stage there is loads of flexibility so you can amend the design to suit your taste and budget as much as you like and we can discuss phasing your garden build if required. Once we have your feedback we can then do your final design pack.
Your garden design pack will include:
Once you have perused your garden design pack, we very much hope you will use the Vialii Gardens landscaping team to bring your design to life. By using our in-house garden landscaping team we can ensure the design we have worked hard to perfect is created exactly as per the plan. We won’t change shapes, materials or planting style and we will work to the highest standards to create the perfect garden for you. Once complete we will provide you with your own bespoke plant care sheets so you can learn to look after your own garden. Unless you want our garden maintenance team to do that for you too!
If you have any other queries about garden design please get in touch and we will answer them for you.
We recently spent a week on the lovely Ayrshire Coast and decided to visit Culzean Castle & Country Park, especially as it is both dog and child friendly, a must for us these days. We have been to Culzean before but not for quite some time so we were looking forward to exploring the grounds and gardens. Here’s our review and why you should visit…
Family entrance to both the Castle and the country park is £42.25 so we decided to upgrade to annual National Trust for Scotland membership for £108, allowing us access and free parking at their many attractions across Scotland. As 1 adult membership is £60 getting a full family membership for £108 seemed good value to us.
Our first stop, being gardeners, was the Walled Garden. Filled with heavenly herbaceous and gorgeous veg it’s a sight for the eyes. From there is was only a short walk to the Adventure Playground, top of the girls’ wish list! The play area is full of dens, climbing frames and zip lines and is great fun for kids of all ages. Dogs aren’t allowed into this area so Jill and Noodle went off for a walk around Swan Pond and the woodlands. Dogs are allowed off lead in the woodland so Noodle had a wonderful time exploring the grounds.
We then popped into the Robert Adam designed Castle which had a Lego treasure hunt for the kids to do. Luckily we had binoculars to hand so we managed to find all the cheeky wee Lego people, hid in every room!
We then popped down to the formal gardens which are stunning and feature a beautiful water feature.
We had a fun packed day and we love that we now have membership so can pop back in next time we are in the area. Go visit, we recommend it!
Northumberland has been a regular retreat for us in recent years – the beautiful beaches have won over our hearts and Noodle the Cockapoo became an immediate fan on her visit this summer. This year we decided to revisit a garden we first went to 6 years ago, and we were so glad that we did! Here’s why you should add a garden visit to Cragside to your wish list.
Cragside is located close to Morpeth and is owned by the National Trust and comprises of a historic Victorian house, gardens and woodland. The house was the first in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity and there are over 1000 acres of land to explore. As we had Noodle with us we didn’t visit the house and focused on the gardens and the woodlands.
First stop, as requested by Lulu and Tilda was the adventure play park. We had parked in the main car park and it was quite a long walk up a steep path (there are closer car parks!) Kudos to the National Trust though as they came up with a brilliant way of encouraging kids (and adults!) to make the walk. Posts with emojis on them are placed every 100m, starting with grumpy faces and getting happier and more excited the closer you get to the play park. The kids loved this and ran to each post to see what the next face would be.
The adventure play park is a great place to explore with zip line, slide, climbing frame and lots more. To the side is a den building area where our kids spent ages perfecting their own den. On the opposite side is the Barefoot Walk which is a brilliant sensory experience. With pebbles, rocks, logs and LOTS of oozy mud, big and little kids had a great time here. There is a tap at the end so just bring a towel to dry off. The kids and adults also loved exploring the Labyrinth – there is something magical about walking through huge rhododendrons – and you really don’t know where you are going as it’s so huge! Will you get to the middle?!
We had a lovely walk (using the emojis again!) back down, past the lovely Rock Garden and over the Iron Bridge and across to the Formal Gardens. There were old fashioned toys here for the kids to play with and deckchairs where we enjoyed a lovely relaxing picnic. The formal gardens comprise of the Orchard House (full of beautiful fruits), the Italian Terrace (packed with gorgeous herbaceous) as well as a carpet of bedding plants. There is also the Pinetum nearby, full of towering conifers.
As with all National Trust properties there are the usual lovely cafes and shops to visit too. If you are in Northumberland, Cragside is definitely worth a visit.
Our lovely friends The Robertsons recently visited Arran and kindly gave us a review of Brodick Castle and Gardens which we have been wanting to visit for a while. Here’s what they thought of it…
“We recently spent a few days on the beautiful island of Arran as part of our summer holiday. We stayed at the fantastic Auchrannie resort and as it was such a nice day, decided to walk along to Brodick Castle for the morning.
As part of the National Trust for Scotland, Brodick Castle is set among a beautiful woodland, in the shadow of Goatfell. After the short 39 step walk, visitors can sit in a squirrel hide to watch for red squirrels, after which you continue up to the castle.
Our girls were drawn to play in a brilliant park (with toddler area and area for over 6s with zip wires, swings, slides etc) which has a great cafe and seating area. Following a play there, we ventured up the the castle itself. As it was such a lovely day, we didn’t visit inside the castle and opted to wander round the beautiful gardens which were well worth the visit.
It could be a pricey one off visit as you need to pay to use the park and visit the castle, but we ended up joining the National Trust to start encouraging us to visit more places in Scotland.”
Sounds lovely, we will definitely make the effort to visit Arran soon and spend a day at Brodick Castle and Gardens. Thanks Robertsons!
If you know anything about us then you will know we love a wee makeover project and saving things from landfill and giving them a new lease of life. Let’s face it we’ll all get a bit old and rusty one day but we’re not ready for the rubbish heap yet! So when we came across this sad, rusty old bistro set we thought, “Hey, we can turn you into something beautiful and functional again”. And so we did. Here’s our guide to a simple wee garden furniture makeover…
You will need:
What to do:
1. As with all these types of upcycling projects, the “prep” stage is always the most boring, ahem I mean important! We spent a lot of time rubbing down the tables and chairs and removing rust and making the furniture as smooth as possible.
2. Next came the coats of primer. You will need to give at least two coats – the more the better really and the less chance of the rust coming back through.
3. And finally, the exciting part, the top coats! We chose a mustard yellow spray paint. You could equally used a brush on paint if you prefer. Again, you will need a minimum of two coats for a good coverage.
And now it’s time to sit down and enjoy your hard work and pat yourself on the back for saving more rubbish ending up in landfill.
I wonder what we can upcycle next…
Our play house bunting was start to look a little sad and faded so we needed something new and colourful to add some pizzazz to the play house. We had been given some plastic wallets recently which we have no use for in the office but we knew they would come in handy for a crafty project sometime. So we decided to turn them into some upcycled garden bunting and create a fun and free addition to the garden. Here’s how…
You will need:
2. Draw round your template onto your plastic wallet. We used the bottom of the folder that is joined together as the top of our bunting so that we had double thickness and stronger colour
3. Cut out your triangle – we used a scalpel but you could just use scissors. Don’t cut your joined end.
4. Repeat until you had all your bunting made
5. Add your bias binding or string through the middle of each triangle and either sew or staple them down.
6. Add to your garden.
Aren’t they a pretty addition. We have lots of folders left, I wonder what we will make with them next!
Happy New Year everyone! We hope you have had a lovely time over Christmas and are well rested and looking forward to 2019. It’s the perfect time to make plans for the year ahead and have good intentions and to help you, we have collated our top 5 new year garden resolutions to help raise the standards in your garden in 2019…
Reducing and recycling have been buzz words for the last few years and we are always trying to reduce the amount of waste we generate. A great way to help with this is to have a compost heap in the garden. Throw all your fruit and veg peelings on there, egg shells, garden waste, grass clippings and by this time next year you will have a lovely compost to use in your garden.
Our lawns put up with a lot throughout the year so it’s worth giving them a little TLC so they have the best chance of flourishing. There are a few things you can do which will really help:
Why not just choose one of them to tackle this year and we can help with some of the other ones and you can be happy that you helped make a big difference to your lawn this year.
Do just one thing (or more if you wish!) to encourage wildlife into your garden -if we all do that then it will make a HUGE difference. It could be something simple like add a wildlife friendly plant to your garden or a bird feeder. Or you could do something bigger like sow a wildflower meadow or build a bug hotel.
There’s an old saying, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago”. The second best time is now. If you have small children like me and Tilda, we definitely recommend doing it now – you can see the tree grow alongside them. Make sure you plant a tree appropriate for the size of your garden. If you want help with that please get in touch.
There are always LOTS to do in the garden but make a resolution to spend more time relaxing outdoors this year. It will be good for your health and for those around you.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2019 in the garden.
Lulu & Tilda
Gardening used to have a reputation for being boring and something people do when they retire. These days it is trendy to spend more time outdoors and use your garden as an extra room. So we have our (green) fingers on the pulse and have brought you the big garden trends for 2019 which you don’t want to miss!
As Bruno Mars would say, you need to funk up your garden! There are all sorts of ways you can do this from adding a rendered wall painted bright colours; add funky mirrors to the garden; do unusual stepping stones made from tyres and artificial turf. Let your imagination go wild and add things which are personal and mean something to you. You will love your garden all the more and will want to spend more time out there.
Create a climate change garden by thinking of its sustainability and its impact on the climate. There are lots of small changes you can make such as:
The Pantone colour of the year for 2019 is PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral. We LOVE this colour and it’s the perfect way to keep your garden on trend. Plants such as phormium, heuchera, kniphofia, iris, dahlia and peonia are just a few that come in gorgeous coral shades to add some warmth to your flower beds.
You will want to spend more time outdoors if you make it as comfortable as being indoors. There are lots to try such as:
It’s time to be bold in the garden and push the boundaries a bit. Introduce bold colours into your garden – this could be as simple as painting your shed a bright colour or adding in some oversized planters. Bold planting is on trend, either go for strong colours or go for large jungle style planting such as phormium, bamboo, fatsia japonica and dicksonia antarctica, all of which look exotic but will survive well in your garden.
If you need some advice with what to do with your garden in 2019 then please get in touch.
All at Vialii