Vialii Review of 2014…

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…

Provost's Park

It’s great to see the community utilising the re-designed Provost’s Park

The year of even more up-cycling

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 bird table was made from left over wood

Our bird table was made from left over wood

The year “Lulu’s Garden” grew it’s readership

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.

Blogger Lulu getting inspiration

Blogger Lulu getting inspiration

The year of weather extremes

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!

Lulu's site inspection to check for muddy puddles

Lulu’s site inspection to check for muddy puddles

 

The completed patio and summerhouse

The completed patio and summerhouse

The year of a new look at Vialii Towers

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!

Added colour transforms our deck area

Added colour transforms our deck area

The year that the refurbished Provost’s Park opened

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.

The completed Provost's Park

The completed Provost’s Park was officially opened

The year we went through a kitchen

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!

This was the only access to the garden

This was the only access to the garden

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!

The finished garden

The finished garden

The year of the staycation

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.

The Banvie Burn is a gorgeous water feature!

The Banvie Burn is a gorgeous water feature!

The year of the “green extension” trend

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.

The pergola gives added privacy in this family garden

The pergola gives added privacy in this family garden

The year that Tilda joined Team Vialii

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 🙂

The youngest Vialii team members

The youngest Vialii team members

We can’t wait to see what this year is going to bring…

Here’s to a wonderful 2015 everyone.

All at Vialii

Provost’s Park Blossoms

For almost four years, we at Vialii Garden Design have been working closely with Bridge of Allan Community Council to transform Provost’s Park in the heart of Bridge of Allan. The build of the new garden is now complete with the official opening on Sunday 28th September 2014…
Provost's Park, Bridge of Allan

The completed park

Being based in the village, we have been delighted to have been involved in the project from its initial concept right through the funding process and throughout the build and are thrilled to be able to give something back to the community for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Since the controversial new toilet block was finally completed in Bridge of Allan, the space around it, known as Provost’s Park, had largely been left untouched and was a sad space in an otherwise beautiful and prosperous village. The Provost’s Lamp had been renovated and given a new life but its surroundings had yet to be brought up to the same standard.

Before: the park was not befitting of beautiful Bridge of Allan

Before: the park was not befitting of beautiful Bridge of Allan

We were approached in late 2010 to discuss the possibility of being involved in the renovation of Provost Park. As a local company based in Bridge of Allan, we were delighted to be able to provide advice and designs for the benefit of the community.

Initially, Michael and Jill Burt met with some of the Community Council to discuss the project. Jill recalls:

“It was in the middle of a cold snap in the winter of 2010 when we first met up Gavin Drummond and Liz Rankin from the Community Council. They were putting up the village Christmas tree in the park to try and add some sparkle to what was otherwise an uninspiring space. At least the thick covering of snow hid the lack of interest underneath! At the meeting Liz and Gavin discussed some of the ideas that had been considered for the space and asked if we were able to pull together some thoughts.”

The design for the new Provost's Park

The design for the new Provost’s Park

Jill explains the inspiration for the design:

“There were three main requirements which jumped out at us from the outset. Firstly, the community required a practical area where they can relax and enjoy the world going by. The space needed to be usable by everyone in the community whether that’s families, couples or elderly so path widths and surfaces were important. Plentiful seating was clearly important too. Secondly, the area had to look good. The Friends of Bridge of Allan, who look after many of Bridge of Allan’s public gardens, carry out fantastic work in the community and Provost’s Park has been a contentious issue for some time. We were keen to design a space that the community could all be proud of and be happy to use. It’s a great space, right in the middle of the village so it needed to have the “wow factor” and be fitting of its focal point in such an attractive village. Lastly, we were keen to reflect the Victorian inspiration which surrounds the park and the spa village and design a garden which would be appropriate for the space.

Gazebo in Provost's Park, Bridge of Allan

The gazebo makes a wonderful focal point

“The main focal point for the design is a stunning, cast iron gazebo, situated in the centre of the formal gardens. Victorians loved symmetry and topiary so we made sure these were key features of the space. Vintage style bricks edge wide pathways suitable for all members of the community. Decorative metal screens surround the toilet block providing a nicer backdrop to the gardens and include details inspired by the village itself. In the corner closest to the toilets, an ecclesiastical garden has been created, reflecting the park once being the site of a church. Liz managed to obtain beautiful pew benches from one of the village churches which sit in this area looking onto a centre bed of perfumed plants. The central focal point of this area is the existing stone fountain.

The wall which runs the length of Provost Park will boast new interpretation boards highlighting some of the key features and historical information about Bridge of Allan. To the front of the park, a grassy area has been included, allowing space to sit out and relax and watch the world passing by.

Provost's Park, Bridge of Allan

The ecclesiastical garden and the new screens

The planting is a mixture of formal topiary as well as smaller shrubs, bedding plants and bulbs. The gardens have been kept fairly low maintenance to reduce pressure on the Friends of Bridge of Allan, who have taken over responsibility for the upkeep of the garden.It’s been a delight to work with Gavin, Liz and the team and we are honoured to have been asked to be involved in such an important project and to be able to give something back to the community. We have already, like other local residents and visitors been using and enjoying the space and it’s lovely to have this area in the heart of the village.”

View down onto the new Provost's Park, Bridge of Allan

View down onto the new Provost’s Park

The official opening will take place on Sunday 28th September 2014 from 3pm. The official opening will be undertaken by Gavin Drummond and our very own Lulu Burt. There will be music from Beaconhurst School and dancers from Dance Connections. Malcolm Allan will be giving a short talk on the Park and there will be refreshments, a slideshow and a performance by Dance Connections in the Parish Church afterwards. All are very welcome and we hope you can join us to celebrate this wonderful project.

Lulu preparing to open the new Provost's Park, Bridge of Allan

Lulu preparing to open the new Provost’s Park

You can read more about Provost’s Park and our other garden transformations on our website.

Best wishes,

All at Vialii

Provost Park Set To Blossom

For almost three years, local business Vialii Garden Design have been working closely with Bridge of Allan Community Council to create a new design for the village’s Provost Park. Having secured funding for the build, the design is about to be finally brought to life. Being based in the village, Vialii are delighted to have been involved in the project from its initial concept and to be able to give something back to the community for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Vialii's design for the new Provost Park

Vialii’s design for the new Provost Park

Since the controversial new toilet block was finally completed in Bridge of Allan, the space around it, known as Provost Park, had largely been left untouched and was a sad space in an otherwise beautiful and prosperous village. The Provost Lamp had been renovated and given a new life but its surroundings had yet to be brought up to the same standard.

The beautiful, renovated Provost Lamp

The beautiful, renovated Provost Lamp

Vialii Garden Design were approached in late 2010 to discuss the possibility of being involved in the renovation of Provost Park. As a local company based in Bridge of Allan, Vialii were delighted to be able to provide advice and designs for the benefit of the community.

Initially, company directors Michael and Jill Burt met with some of the Community Council to discuss the project. Jill recalls:

“It was in the middle of a cold snap in the winter of 2010 when we first met up Gavin Drummond and Liz Rankin from the Community Council. They were putting up the village Christmas tree in the park to try and add some sparkle to what was otherwise an uninspiring space. At least the thick covering of snow hid the lack of interest underneath! At the meeting Liz and Gavin discussed some of the ideas that had been considered for the space and asked if we were able to pull together some thoughts.”

The current park is uninspiring

The current park is uninspiring

Jill explains the inspiration for the design:

“There were three main requirements which jumped out at us from the outset. Firstly, the community required a practical area where they can relax and enjoy the world going by. The space needed to be usable by everyone in the community whether that’s families, couples or elderly so path widths and surfaces were important. Plentiful seating was clearly important too. Secondly, the area had to look good. The Friends of Bridge of Allan, who look after many of Bridge of Allan’s public gardens, carry out fantastic work in the community and Provost Park has been a contentious issue for some time. We were keen to design a space that the community could all be proud of and be happy to use. It’s a great space, right in the middle of the village so it needed to have the “wow factor” and be fitting of its focal point in such an attractive village. Lastly, we were keen to reflect the Victorian inspiration which surrounds the park and the spa village and design a garden which would be appropriate for the space.

The mood-board shows the inspiration behind Vialii's new design for Provost Park

The mood-board shows the inspiration behind Vialii’s new design for Provost Park

“The main focal point for the design is a stunning, cast iron gazebo, situated in the centre of formal gardens. Victorians loved symmetry and topiary so we made sure these were key features of the space. Vintage style bricks edge wide pathways suitable for all members of the community. Decorative metal screens will surround the toilet block providing a nicer backdrop to the gardens and will include details inspired by the village itself. In the corner closest to the toilets, an ecclesiastical garden is to be created, reflecting the park once being the site of a church. Liz has managed to obtain beautiful pew benches from one of the village churches which will sit in this area looking onto a centre bed of perfumed plants. The central focal point of this area will be the existing stone fountain.

Originally the UCP church was on this site

Originally the UCP church was on this site

The wall which runs the length of Provost Park will boast new interpretation boards highlighting some of the key features and historical information about Bridge of Allan. To the front of the park, a grassy area has been included, allowing space to sit out and relax and watch the world passing by.

The planting is a mixture of formal topiary as well as smaller shrubs, bedding plants and bulbs. The aim is to keep the gardens fairly low maintenance to reduce pressure on the Friends of Bridge of Allan, who will take over responsibility for the garden once it is complete.

 

The gazebo is a central feature of the design

The gazebo is a central feature of the design

It’s been a delight to work with Gavin, Liz and the team as well as working with the local community and taking their views on board. We are honoured to have been asked to be involved in such an important project and to be able to give something back to the community. We look forward to seeing the actual gardens being constructed very soon but the real icing on the cake will be seeing local residents and visitors using and enjoying the space.”

Thanks for reading

All at Vialii

Provost Park Design Approved

The Bridge of Allan Community Council have unanimously approved Vialii’s design for Provost Park in the heart of the village. After over a year of discussions and meetings the plans are now ready for Stirling Council and the daunting task of fund raising. But how did we get involved and get to where we are today with the project?…
The new design for Provost Park

The new design for Provost Park

Since the controversial new toilet block was finally completed in Bridge of Allan, the space around it, known as Provost Park, has largely been left untouched and is a sad space in an otherwise beautiful and prosperous village. The Provost Lamp has been renovated and given a new life but its surroundings have yet to be brought up to the same standard.

The park in its current state

The park in its current state

Vialii Garden Design were approached in late 2010 to discuss the possibility of being involved in the renovation of Provost Park. As a local company based in Bridge of Allan, we were delighted to be able to provide advice and designs to help the community.

It was in the middle of the cold snap last winter when we first met up with Gavin Drummond and Liz Rankin from the Community Council. They were putting up the village Christmas tree in the park to try and add some sparkle to what was otherwise an uninspiring space. At least the thick covering of snow hid the lack of interest underneath! At the meeting Liz and Gavin discussed some of the ideas that had been considered for the space and asked if we were able to pull together some thoughts.

From that meeting, we were able to go away and develop some concept drawings. This initial stage of the design process gives clients a couple of choices of what can be done with the space, and often clients choose bits from each and ask for these to be brought together. These were presented in February 2011. The concepts were discussed in detail and good feedback was provided. Vialii left copies of the drawings with Gavin and Liz so that further feedback could be gained from other community council members who were interested in the project. All this information was fed back to Vialii in June 2011, allowing them to move onto the final design pack.

Henderson Street 1899 Bridge of Allan

Henderson Street 1899 Bridge of Allan

In terms of inspiration and our choice of design style, there were three main requirements which jumped out at us from the outset. Firstly, the community required a practical area where they can relax and enjoy the world going by. The space needed to be usable by everyone in the community whether that’s families, couples or elderly so path widths and surfaces were important. Plentiful seating was clearly important too. Secondly, the area had to look good. Provost Park has been a contentious issue for some time and we need to address this and create a space to be proud of. It needed to be a space that would be easy to maintain too. Bridge of Allan is incredibly fortunate to have the Friends of Bridge of Allan, a local voluntary organisation who look after many of Bridge of Allan’s public gardens and carry out fantastic work in the community. We wanted to design a space that the Friends felt comfortable taking over once it was complete. It’s a great space, right in the middle of the village so it needed to have the “wow factor” and be fitting of its focal point in such an attractive village. Lastly, we were keen to reflect the Victorian inspiration which surrounds the park and the spa village and design a garden which would be appropriate for the space.

The type of Gazebo proposed for the new park

The type of Gazebo proposed for the new park

The main focal point for the design, along with the Provost Lamp, is a stunning, cast iron gazebo, situated in the centre of formal gardens. Victorians loved symmetry and topiary so we made sure these were key features of the space. Vintage style bricks edge wide pathways suitable for all members of the community. Wrought iron screens will surround the toilet block providing a nicer backdrop to the gardens and reflect the design of the gazebo as well as some details inspired by the village itself. In the corner closest to the toilets, an ecclesiastical garden is to be created, reflecting the park once being the site of a church. Liz has managed to obtain beautiful pew benches from one of the village churches which will sit in this area looking onto a centre bed of perfumed plants. The central focal point of this area will be the existing stone fountain which may be possible to be recommissioned as a working water feature. Behind, the embankment will be cleared and planted with a mix of feature trees and ground cover plants.

The wall which runs the length of Provost Park will boast new interpretation boards highlighting some of the key features and historical information about Bridge of Allan. To the front of the park, a grassy area has been included incorporating the popular annual flower bed and seats looking out to the street.

The mood board for the new design

The mood board for the new design

The planting is a mixture of formal topiary as well as smaller shrubs, bedding plants and bulbs. The aim is to keep the gardens fairly low maintenance to reduce pressure on the Friends of Bridge of Allan, who will take over responsibility for the garden once it is complete.

It’s been a delight to work with Gavin, Liz and the team and we are honoured to have been asked to be involved in such an important project and to be able to give something back to the community. We love the final design and were delighted to hear such positive feedback from the community during the recent consultation. We look forward to seeing the actual gardens being constructed in due course but the real icing on the cake will be seeing local residents and visitors using and enjoying the space.

All at Vialii