Light Up Your Garden

There’s nothing quite like long, sunny days lazing in the garden. But what happens when the sun goes down? Garden lighting can add a whole new dimension to your garden, allowing you to use it for longer, move safely around it in the dark and enjoy looking out onto it from indoors. In this blog, we share some of our tips on how to light up your garden.

Garden lighting can bring your garden to life at night

Garden lighting can bring your garden to life at night (A Sculpture Garden )

1. Landscape Lighting

For us, this is the key part of garden lighting. There are LOTS of styles to choose from and it all comes down to personal taste and what style suits the style of your garden. But what they do is as important as what they look like…

1a. Uplighters

We always recommend adding uplighters into a gardening scheme. They are often used to highlight feature trees and shrubs around the garden. Sometimes they are hidden amongst herbaceous providing a glow within borders. Often they are used to highlight focal points around the garden such as sculptures and water features.

Uplighters beside water features look effective and light up your garden

Uplighters beside a water feature and raised bed looks effective at night (A Garden With A View)

1b. Post or Bollard Lights

Post lights can be a wonderful way to help you navigate around the garden. Think about where you want to locate these – avoid putting them in lawn or they will get damaged when you cut the grass. They can look lovely positioned in borders at the side of a path, nestled amongst planting to add to the soft glow of the garden.

Post lights are a great way to light a path

Post lights are a great way to light a path (A Contemporary Wildlife Garden)

1c Wall/Fence Lights

Downlighters or brick lights on walls and fences are a great way to add interest around the garden in the evening. These can be shining down onto garden art or planting and can create a lovely glow to the perimeter of the garden. They can be used in rendered raised beds to great effect too.

Brick lights set into raised beds looks amazing and light up your garden

Brick lights set into raised beds looks amazing (A Contemporary Day And Night Garden)

1d. Deck lights

Deck lights are popular and easy to fit. Small round recessed lights are a great way to add lighting but there are other options to add wow to your decking such as lights fitted into the steps or large glass blocks with brick lighting underneath for a more dramatic effect.

Add big lights to decking for dramatic effect

Add big lights to decking for dramatic effect (A Contemporary Wildlife Garden)

1e LED strip lights

These are a great way to add a WOW to your garden. They can run along steps, in water features, raised beds or sit at the bottom of rendered walls to add a wonderful effect after dark.

Adding strips of LEDs can look stunning

Adding strips of LEDs can look stunning like this garden we designed and built in Devon Village

2. Festival Lights

The big trend in garden lighting at the moment is festival lighting. These trendy fairy lights add a fizz of excitement to the garden and turn the evening into an event. Also, look at the wide variety of fairy lights on offer – from meteor showers to LED curtains there will be something to suit your style and budget. Think about where they will plug in and how they will be strung for full effect.

Festival lighting can add a real feel of excitement in the evening and light up your garden

Festival lighting can add a real feel of excitement in the evening (A Garden With A View)

3. Solar Lighting

Technology is constantly improving and the quality of solar lighting is better than it has ever been. Resist the urge to buy bargains in budget stores and splash out on better quality solar lights in order for them to give a decent effect and to last longer than one summer!

Good solar lighting can be an effective alternative

Good solar lighting can be an effective alternative (A Contemporary Wildlife Garden)

4. Coloured Lighting

Our favourite colour of lighting is always warm white in gardens as we feel it gives the nicest glow but colour can be used to great effect in gardens. Too many colours in a small garden can look too much though so restrict your choice for the best effect.

Coloured lighting should be considered carefully for the best effect

Coloured lighting should be considered carefully for the best effect (A Wildlife Friendly Garden)

5. Security Lighting

Not to be forgotten, security lighting is important in ensuring your home and garden are kept safe at night. Using a PIR can ensure it comes on at the right time and can be used to guide you safely to the door too.

Uplighting in planting creates a gorgeous glow

Uplighting in planting creates a gorgeous glow (A Contemporary Wildlife Garden)

6. Smart Lights

As with so many parts of our lives these days, your garden lighting can also be controlled by your Alexa or a smartphone. They can also be set to come on at dusk for a certain amount of time, leaving you to just sit back and pour another drink!

At Vialii, we can help you design your garden lighting scheme so that you get the most out of your garden day AND night! Please get in touch for more information on how you can light up your garden.

Vialii

Open Gardens Bridge of Allan 2021

What a beautiful day it was on Sunday 6th June 2021 in Bridge of Allan and not just because the sun was shining. Several talented gardeners kindly agreed to open their gardens to the public as part of Scotland’s Garden Scheme. Spread across Bridge of Allan, there were all sorts of sizes and styles to see, something to suit all tastes. Here are some photos from our visits…

The woodman is a stunning garden sculpture

The woodman is a stunning garden sculpture with great symbolism

 

What a delightful spot for afternoon tea

What a delightful spot for afternoon tea

 

A stunning walkway of climbers

A stunning walkway of climbers

 

Roses clamber over this pretty wall

Roses clamber over this pretty wall

 

A stunning terraced garden

A stunning terraced garden

 

A beautiful cantilevered pergola

A beautiful cantilevered pergola

 

We loved this pizza oven

We loved this pizza oven

 

This garden was full of bloom & slate sculpture

This garden was full of bloom & slate sculpture

 

A relaxing water feature and arbour

A relaxing water feature and arbour

 

Glorious trees ablaze in the June sunshine

Glorious trees ablaze in the June sunshine

 

The scent in this garden was amazing

The scent in this garden was amazing

 

Stunning water feature, sculpture and planting

Stunning water feature, sculpture and planting

 

More amazing scent from this wisteria

More amazing scent from this wisteria

 

A stunning terraced garden

A stunning terraced garden

 

A wonderful surprise of a Japanese Zen garden

A wonderful surprise of a Japanese Zen garden

 

The relaxing Zen garden

The relaxing Zen garden

We had a wonderful afternoon exploring these gardens and we highly recommend visiting when the opportunity arises.

Vialii

A Relaxing Garden in Dunblane

Our clients asked us to redesign their garden and wanted to get rid of their old decking and create a seating area in the sunniest corner of the garden. The rear boundary needed to be unified and made more appealing and new paths and planting was a must. With design tools at the ready, we set about creating a relaxing garden in Dunblane!

 

Before – an unappealing back garden

 

relaxing garden in dunblane

After – the garden has been transformed

The clients were adding a new contemporary extension to the house and wanted a beautiful garden to look out onto and enjoy. Existing trees were kept and new planting added to provide year round interest. The “utility” area was revamped with new veg beds, paving and gravel.

The new extension

The new paths and patio were created using a beautiful golden sandstone edged in setts. Chunky timber sleepers were used as a retaining wall in order to create a flatter lawn area and step down to the new patio.

Beautiful new sandstone paving

Beautiful new sandstone paving

A beautiful array of planting provides year round interest, attracts wildlife, provides scent as you relax in the sunshine and softens the hard landscaping.

Planting surrounds the seating area

Planting surrounds the seating area

 

View up to the stunning new extension

View up to the stunning new extension

Where the old deck was, new lawn and planting was added. A new horizontally slatted fence at the bottom of the garden unifies this are and provides a backdrop to the new planting.

The lawn is surrounded by planting

The lawn is surrounded by planting

If you have a garden that you need help designing please get in touch to arrange our free design consultation.

Vialii

10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Bluebells

We love dog walking in May among the bluebells. We are so fortunate to live where we do and have lots of options of places to walk where they are in full bloom just now. Did you know their “posh” name is Hyacinthoides non-scripta? Read on for some more amazing bluebell facts…

Bluebell fact: Noodle admiring the bluebells

Noodle admiring the bluebells

1. Bluebells are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. You can be heavily fined for picking, uprooting or destroying a wild bluebell.

2. The bluebell has many names: English bluebell, wild hyacinth, wood bell, bell bottle, Cuckoo’s Boots, Wood Hyacinth, Lady’s Nightcap and Witches’ Thimbles, fairy flowers and Hyacinthoides non-scripta.

3. Over half the world’s populations of these iconic wildflowers grow in the UK.

4. If you wish to plant bluebells, please ensure it’s the English bluebell, not the Spanish version. This is a more vigorous plant and could out-compete our delicate native flower.

5. Bees enjoy bluebells pollen and nectar. Sometimes they ‘steal’ it by biting a hole in the top of the flower.

6. Bluebells can take years to recover after footfall damage. If a bluebell’s leaves are crushed, they die back from lack of food as the leaves cannot photosynthesise. So think twice before going skipping through them!

Bluebell fact: Make sure you don't crush the bluebells on walks

Make sure you don’t crush the bluebells on walks

7. Bluebells have been used for a variety of different things throughout history, not just for ornamental purposes. Their sticky sap was once used to bind the pages of books and glue the feathers onto arrows, and during the Elizabethan period, their bulbs were crushed to make starch for the ruffs of collars and sleeves.

8. Due to their toxicity, there has been little use for bluebells in modern medicine. However, their bulbs have diuretic (increases urination) and styptic (helps to stop bleeding) properties, and research on how these flowers could potentially help fight cancer is ongoing.

9. It takes several years for a native bluebell seed to grow into a bulb & subsequently flower.

10. Bluebells have a rich folklore, hinted at by the colloquial name: ‘fairy flowers’. In medieval tales, when forests were perceived as forbidding places, people believed that the bluebells rang out to summon fairies to their gatherings.

Certainly a magical plant worthy of our wonder as we enjoy our Spring walks past them.

Vialii

Mind Your (Water) Butt

Water butts are great additions to any garden. In this blog we look at why you should find a home for one in your garden, where they can go, and what you need. Mind your butt!

Why you should have a water butt?

A water butt is the perfect solution to harvest and store rain water:

  • It stops that precious water going to waste – sometimes it feels like we get a bit too much rain in Scotland but better to use that than use water from the tap. In the event of a hosepipe ban, you will be feeling quite smug!
  • It stops rainwater dropping off shed roofs and causing damage to the garden around it – slabs have algae build up, fences start to rot, plants get too wet and die off.
  • Water butts provide natural water with no added chemicals for use around the garden – it’s actually similar to adding a light dose of fertiliser!
  • If you’re on a water meter it saves you money!
A water butt is a great addition to your garden

A water butt is a great addition to your garden

Where should I put a water butt?

Water butts can be added to any structure in your garden where there is a natural run off of rain water. The main places are on the house, garage, greenhouse, shed and summerhouse. Ideally locate it near where you need to water a lot, ie veg beds. Site the rainwater butt in the shade if you can, as the water will be kept cooler, reducing the growth of bacteria. Keep the guttering clear of debris as the organic material can encourage the growth of bacteria in the collected water.

Add a gutter and downpipe to a shed for the perfect spot for a water butt

Add a gutter and downpipe to a shed for the perfect spot for a water butt

What do I need?

  • Water butt, stand and diverter kit
  • Pencil
  • Spirit level
  • Hacksaw
  • Hole-cutting drill
  • Guttering and down pipe if your structure doesn’t already have this
A water butt will provide nutrient rich water for your garden

A water butt will provide nutrient rich water for your garden

How do I fit it?

You will need some DIY skills as you will need to follow the instructions on the diverter kit which will involve cutting through the downpipe – sounds a bit daunting if you’re not sure what you are doing. It’s quite straight forward but you can always call the experts (us) if you want someone to take care of it for you.

Do keep a lid on the rainwater butt – it will not only mean that creatures can’t fall in and drown, but it will also stop mosquitoes and midges breeding in there.

For a quote to get a water butt fitted in your garden please get in touch.

Vialii

Make Your Own Easy Easter Centrepiece

We may not be able to have a big family get together this Easter (once again, cheers Covid!) but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate Easter in our own way. We decided to brighten up our Easter Sunday dinner by making our own Easter centrepiece. It is so quick and easy and looks great too. And we had all the things we needed just lying about the house and garden so it cost us absolutely nothing! Here’s how to make your own Easter centrepiece…

To make your own Easter centrepiece you will need:

  • Some branches (we snipped some bits from our contorted hazel but you can use anything. Snip branches off a tree, colourful dogwood stems would look lovely, just whatever you have to hand.) 

    Contorted hazel is perfect with its twisty stems

    Contorted hazel is perfect with its twisty stems

  • A pot to stand the branches in (we had an old enamel pot but a tin can would look great too!)
  • Some pebbles/gravel to hold the branches in place.
  • Some Easter eggs to decorate.

To make your Easter Centrepiece:

1. Take your branches and stand them in your pot (we tied ours together to help keep them in place the way we wanted them to sit in the pot.)

2. Add your pebbles/gravel to hold them in place as well as weighing down your pot so your centrepiece doesn’t topple over and land in your Easter dinner!

Add gravel to your pot to weigh it down and look pretty

Add gravel to your pot to weigh it down and look pretty

3. Add your eggs. You could add bunnies or chicks too!

Add your Easter Eggs!

Add your Easter Eggs!

And it is as easy as that! And doesn’t it look beautiful? You could easily adapt this idea for other special times of the year such as Valentine’s, Halloween or Christmas!

Happy Easter!

A beautiful Easter centrepiece! Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from all at Vialii

Spring Into Action

As Spring is showing us more and more signs of being upon us, our minds naturally turn to getting outdoors again. Whilst there is still a risk of frost so there are a lot of things it’s still too early for, there are still plenty of tasks to keep us busy in the garden in early Spring…

Aerate your lawn

Lawns can take a bit of a pounding over winter with little sun, lots of rain and soil getting compacted. Now is the time to aerate your lawn by adding spikes from a fork or for the best results, use an aerator tool which will remove tines from your lawn. For a free quote from Vialii to have your lawn aerated and a Spring fertiliser added please get in touch.

Plan your veg patch

If you haven’t already done it, now is the time to inventory your seed collection, decide what you are growing this year, plan your layout and order whatever seeds and sets you need for this year.

Organise your veg seeds for the season ahead

Organise your veg seeds for the season ahead

Clean out pots and seed trays

You’ll soon be planting your seeds, so make sure you are ready by getting all your pots and seed trays clean and disease free. Buy new seed compost if you require it and get yourself ready to go, go, go!

Clean and sharpen tools

Just like with your pots, it’s important to keep your garden tools in tip top condition. Give them all a good clean, oil and sharpen ready for the season ahead.

Get your tools ready for the new season

Get paints and tools ready

As the temperature starts to rise and the weather improves, it will soon be time to start tackling all your outdoor painting again. Do you remember how crazy it was last year?? Hopefully there won’t be the same rush this year, but work out what you are going to need and get all your materials and tools at the ready so you can take advantage of the good weather when it comes!

Power washing

Now is the perfect time to give your patio and decking a good power wash to remove algae, stains etc and make it slip free and beautiful for outdoor socialising in the coming months.

Gentle Grass Cut

With milder temperatures we are seeing lots of growth already. A gentle first cut to the grass will help neaten your lawn and get it ready for the cutting regime to come. Make sure you raise those blades though and don’t give it a scalp (unlike some of those Lockdown haircuts!)

Give your lawn a gentle first cut

Give your lawn a gentle first cut

General Tidy Up

If you haven’t done it already, it’s time to get your garden ready for the season ahead. Cut down old herbaceous, give decorative grasses a hair cut, prune shrubs, remove any weeds coming through and generally get the garden looking ready for the new growth.

Mulching

Now is the perfect time to mulch your borders and veg patches. Organic matter helps feed your plants and give them the best possible start to the year.

If you are struggling for time or need some expertise for help with any of these jobs in your garden, please get in touch and our Maintenance Team will be happy to help.

Vialii