Love Local Mag

We were asked to contribute an article to Love Local Mag giving all the great reasons “why we should get outdoors…”

Love Local Mag March 2016

Take A Seat, Vialii Style

At Vialii, when we design your garden we think about EVERY last detail. From the garden structure, where the sunny parts are, what plants will work best, what time you have to maintain the garden, what style you like, we think about it all. And one of the most important elements is the garden seat. We don’t just chuck in a garden bench and hope for the best. Here are some of the ways we have incorporated a seat or two into the gardens we have designed…

Tree seat

Our bespoke seat under our cherry tree was a perfect spot for a drink on our wedding day

Whilst a nice garden bench or a well designed table and chairs can be a real asset to a garden, sometimes that just isn’t enough. Whether it’s clever solutions where additional seating is required or a strong design statement within the garden we have some great ideas to share.

1. This bespoke seating was a combination of rendered blockwork topped with hard wood. Planting has been incorporated to soften the look and provide a lovely aroma as you relax there.

Rendered seat with hardwood finish

A bespoke rendered seat with hardwood finish

2. Timber seating has been built between these colourful troughs to provide additional seating to the decked area when entertaining. The benches are long enough to lounge on so throw down some comfy cushions on a sunny day for a perfect spot to lie or have a seat in the sun.

In-built seating in a colourful deck

In-built seating in a colourful deck


3. A curving bench around an old tree is a perfect to maximise space and make a feature of nature’s finest offering. This meandering bench is both a wonderful focal point on the edge of the patio as well as a practical additional seat. 

Curving bench under a tree

Curving bench under a tree

4. Another example of bespoke timber seat being a great way to maximise space on a decked area. Perfect for entertaining.

Perfect place to relax

Perfect place to relax

5. If you prefer a more traditional look you can’t get much better than this dry-stane wall which incorporates seating. Perfect for a sunny corner of the garden. A wonderful use of natural materials and keeping some amazing skills alive.

Dry stone seating area

Dry stone seating area

6. Here we added some timber seating between some natural stone troughs, again adding some valuable additional seating to the dining patio. A simple but very effective solution.

Benches between natural stone troughs

Benches between natural stone troughs

7. Our last seat to show you is not one that we built but we did include it in one of our designs. In the design for Provost’s Park in Bridge of Allan, we included an ecclesiastical garden as a reminder that the site used to be the location of the old United Presbyterian Church. These pews were salvaged from one of the other churches in Bridge of Allan and are a wonderful memento of times gone by.

Old church pews given a new lease of life

Old church pews given a new lease of life

So if you want to rethink how you relax in your garden this summer, why not get in touch to discuss what would work best in your own garden.

Thanks for reading,

All at Vialii

Don’t Sit On The Fence

You may think fences are boring and not an important element of your garden. However, you would be wrong! There are lots of benefits of a good fence from creating a boundary and keeping your garden secure to creating a beautiful backdrop and being a design feature in itself. Here are just a few of the styles we can design and build to transform your boundaries…

Vertically slatted fence

Fences are important backdrops in garden transformations

Vertically slatted fence

Probably the most common of fences, and most often the fence of choice in new developments. The vertical slatted fence can give a good, neutral back drop to your garden. If you are looking for additional security and privacy, we recommend considering double slatting your fence. Or, if you want something just a little different, try varying the widths of the slats you use – have a section of normal widths with a section of narrower slats in between to create a “designer” look very simply.

Vertically slatted fence

Vertically slatted fence

Horizontally slatted fence

Horizontal fences immediately give a more modern, designer feel to a garden. Whether you splash out on beautiful cedar wood or simply use soft wood in a horizontal pattern rather than the usual verticals, you will create a fantastic modern background. To finish off the “designer look” leave gaps between each slats. As with verticals, these can be single or double slatted.

Horizontally slatted fence

Horizontally slatted fence

Raised fence

In some instances it can be a good idea to create a raised fence. This is normally when you already have an attractive boundary such as an old wall but you would like more privacy above this feature. By putting the fence on “stilts” we can raise the height of your boundary without losing an important feature within your garden.

 

Raised fence

Raised fence

Ranch style fencing

Another common choice, the ranch style fence can provide a rustic charm to a garden. A good choice in more rural settings  where it is built with gaps in a “post and rail style” and is suitable where privacy is less of an issue and you can avoid the feeling of being hemmed in. They are commonly used in urban environments with no gaps between the slats giving more privacy. However, the ranch fence is an easy one to scale so not great from a security perspective.

 

Ranch style fence

Ranch style fence

Screen fencing

Using fencing to create a screen can hide a multitude of sins. Whether its the back of an old garage, your utility area or just an ugly view, a screen can immediately turn the ugly into the beautiful and create a look more expected in the Côte d’Azur. You can choose your materials and colour but whatever you choose you can be assured of an immediate solution to your problem.

A screen fence

A screen fence

Trellis fence

Trellis is a great way to add height and interest to a fence or create a boundary. It can be added to an existing boundary to give additional privacy without being too imposing. Or use trellis panels to screen off certain areas of the garden or to create “rooms”. Growing climbers up the trellis makes it look even prettier and adds to your privacy.

A trellis fence

A trellis fence

Log fence

Log fences are fantastic if you don’t need to create too much of a screen between you and your neighbours. Or they can be a feature within the garden. They are perfect if you are fortunate enough to live somewhere with no neighbours beyond as the log fence creates a boundary which blends perfectly with the views beyond.  Consider short versions of this as a boundary to a kids’ play area.

A log fence

A log fence

Bespoke fence

Particularly in front gardens, you may want to create a real statement which will wow the neighbours – and that is where a bespoke option may be just the answer. It may be different types of timbers, different shapes of timber,  curving, different paint colour – there are a whole host of options out there and you can be sure to stand out from the rest.

A bespoke fence

A bespoke fence

Picket fence

For many, the picket fence is the epitomy of middle-class suburban life and has a colonial feel to it. Traditionally painted white, the picket fence remains a popular choice in the UK as well as in the States.

 

A picket fence

A picket fence

Willow or bamboo panels

Willow and bamboo fences have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their easy construction and affordability and can add a rustic feel to your garden. They can be bought in panels and attached to uprights to create a natural backdrop to your garden. They can be used as a boundary or as a screen within the garden. The bamboo panels can be quite lightweight so may not be as long lasting as other options. As they are lightweight they need to be secured to a rigid framework.  You can get lots of other timber fence panels too, to suit taste and budget. They won’t last as long as a hand made fence though so bear that in mind.

A willow fence

A willow fence

Perspex sheets

If you are looking to create a very contemporary garden and you want something a bit different, why not consider introducing some coloured perspex sheets into your garden. They will certainly create a wow-factor and look particularly impressive at night when lit up. These are most effective used as features within the garden. You can also use clear perspex effectively on balconies.

Perspex panels

Perspex panels

There are, of course, many more fences you can consider and they can easily be adapted to create a designer look or to suit your lifestyle. From fences with climbing walls and inset blackboards to inbuilt designer shelving or green walls there are countless ways to make your fence unique. We are happy to meet with you to discuss your needs and agree a fence which will suit the style of your garden and meet your requirements – just don’t sit on the fence!

Best wishes,

All at Vialii

Stirling News

It’s not just gardens that we are talented at designing, we can design new ice-creams too!

 

Stirling News May 2015

Bridge of Allan Times

An article on the official opening of Provost’s Park which Vialii designed and which was opened by our very own Lulu.

 

Bofa Times Winter 2014

Stirling News

The official opening of Vialii’s Provost Park in Bridge of Allan by our very own Lulu Burt.

stirling-news-oct-2014 stirling-news-oct-2014-2 stirling-news-oct-2014-3

Stirling News

An update on the Provost’s Park revamp as the initial landscaping works start to take shape and bring Vialii’s design to life.

stirling-news-november-2013stirling-news-nov-2013-2 stirling-news-nov-2013-3

Bridge of Allan Times

Our article on the re-design of Provost’s Park in Bridge of Allan.

BofA Times Winter 2013

Stirling News

Work on Provost’s Park which Vialii designed finally gets underway after several years of designing, consulting and fund raising for the make-over.

stirling-news-august-2013

The Benefits of Using A Garden Designer

Despite what the weather may be telling us, Spring officially starts this week which for many of us means that our thoughts move to our outdoor spaces. Gardens are an important additional space to our homes and, with some clever garden design, can bring years of joy. Here are some of the benefits of using a garden designer…

A relaxing, family garden we designed and built in Bridge of Allan. One of the benefits of using a garden designer

A relaxing, family garden we designed and built in Bridge of Allan

But why me?

Our lives are constantly changing and with that the ways in which we use our gardens have to adapt:

Whatever your requirements, a garden designer can create a unique space which meets your needs.

A timber feature in a garden we designed and built in Stirling

A timber feature in a garden we designed and built in Stirling

Unusual Ideas

A garden designer will look at unique ways to meet your needs without ruining the aesthetic. A low maintenance garden doesn’t need to be just gravel and a few concrete slabs. And a child friendly garden shouldn’t just be a piece of lawn and a plastic chute. There are much more engaging, innovative ideas which can be employed in your garden and they need not cost the earth either, either financially or environmentally. We have lost count of how many clients have said “we would never have thought of that” when discussing concepts for their garden.

The full colour design for a garden which we designed in Bridge of Allan

The full colour design for a garden which we designed in Bridge of Allan

Comprehensive Advice

All good garden designers will be able to talk knowledgeably about all areas of a garden including planting that suits your climate, aspect and soil, hard landscaping to suit your requirements and budget and technical requirements such as drainage, lighting, retaining walls etc. Ensuring materials are local and environmentally friendly wherever possible should be second nature to a garden designer.

A terraced garden using sleepers for a softer, more natural look. Designed and built by Vialii

A terraced garden using sleepers for a softer, more natural look. Designed and built by Vialii

Other benefits include:

A contemporary boardwalk and bespoke deck with in-built seating in a garden in Bridge of Allan. Designed and built by Vialii

A contemporary boardwalk and bespoke deck with in-built seating in a garden in Bridge of Allan. Designed and built by Vialii

But why Vialii?

Vialii Garden Design (VGD) is a young and innovative design and landscaping company, based in Bridge of Allan, near Stirling, with lots of fresh ideas to make your garden look stunning without costing the earth. We love visiting the big flower shows such as Chelsea and finding ways of incorporating the latest trends into gardens at affordable prices.

We are fully qualified – Jill has a Diploma in Garden Design and is a Friend of the Society of Garden Designers – and fully insured.  Michael is a qualified structural engineer, a great help in both the design and build of our gardens.

Unusually for garden designers, at Vialii Garden Design we can offer an in-house landscaping service so that we can ensure that the design, which we have so carefully crafted in close collaboration with yourselves, is not compromised in any way when it is built. There are no external contractors who may suggest a change here or a different material there to suit their own skill sets and no other contractors you need to liaise with.

Where other designers may charge for initial consultations, we offer this service for FREE. As a small company, we pride ourselves in excellent customer service and we will endeavour to ensure you are comfortable and happy throughout the whole experience.

VGD’s sister company, Vialii Garden Services, offer a full maintenance package should that be required too, ensuring your garden continues to look exactly as it did when it was brand new. Basically, we love gardens so much there isn’t a job in them that we aren’t prepared to do for you!

Jill, Michael and Lulu relaxing in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Jill, Michael and Lulu relaxing in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Spring is the perfect time to get in touch and start the design process as it means we can have your garden designed and built for the height of the summer in most instances. The only thing we can’t guarantee you in your lovely new garden is the weather!

Hope to hear from you,

Jill, Michael, Lulu and all the Vialii team

The Garden Design Process Explained

At Vialii Garden Design, we understand what a daunting prospect it can be embarking on getting your garden designed and landscaped. We will endeavour to make you comfortable through every stage of the process and keep you well informed of what is happening and what to expect. We will discuss the process in greater detail at the initial meeting but here is our ten step guide to having your garden transformed…

A new deck which we designed and built, part of the garden design process

A new deck which we designed and built

1. Contact us

Contact us to arrange the initial, FREE, no obligation meeting at a time that suits you, including evenings and weekends. It is most helpful if you can give some thought to your garden before we come. Talk to everyone in your household and ask what they want and will be using the garden for. Consider how much time you want to give to the maintenance of your garden, What do you like or dislike, what styles do you like. Collate images from magazine or the internet and look at the Styles section of our website for ideas of the types of things you like. Don’t worry if you really don’t know as we will have lots of ideas to discuss with you.

One of our garden designs

One of our garden designs

2. Free Initial consultation

At the initial meeting we will discuss your requirements and what you want to use the garden for. We will also assess the site (test the soil, look at the aspect, drainage etc.) and take measurements as well as present our portfolio of designs. We will also discuss your budget as well as talk you through the process in more detail and discuss timescales.

3. Quote for Design

Following on from the initial meeting, we will send you a quotation for doing your design.

4. Appointment Agreement

You sign our “Design” Appointment Agreement form and we proceed with your design.

5. Interim Design Meeting

There will be a second meeting to present our initial ideas and rough sketches. Once we get feedback from you we can then carry on with the full design.

6. Final Design Package

The full design, drawn to scale, is completed along with a mood board showing our inspiration as well as a feel for both the soft and hard landscaping to be used in the design. Costs for the works to be completed by Vialii Garden Design are included.

7. Payment for Design

You finalise payment for the design and ask Vialii Garden Design to build your design and sign the “Build” Appointment Agreement (should that be your requirement).

Our moodboards help you visualise your design

Our moodboards help you visualise your design

8. Garden Build

Vialii Garden Design build the design, ensuring the concept is fully carried out through the build, bringing your design to life. Some payment is required up front to cover materials with the balance due on completion.

9. Plant Care Sheet

A care sheet for all your new plants is provided to make it easy for you to identify everything and care for your new garden properly.

10. Payment for Build

You finalise payment for the build and ask our sister company,Vialii Garden Services, to maintain your garden ensuring it remains beautiful and true to the design (should that be your requirement).

One of the many gardens which we have lovingly designed and built

One of the many gardens which we have lovingly designed and built

As you can see, we can offer you the full service from start to finish, leaving you to simply relax and enjoy your stunning newly designed garden. You can choose whatever elements suit your lifestyle and budget best. Please get in touch to start your garden transformation.

All at Vialii

Allanwater Herald

Bridge of Allan Community Council apply for funding to turn Vialii’s design for Provost’s Park into reality.

Allanwater Herald August 2012

How We Got To Where We Are – Part 2

In February 2011 I wrote a blog post detailing how we got to where we are here at Vialii Garden Design. The post was getting a bit lengthy so I opted to round the post off and promised to follow up with Part 2. A mere 10 months later Part 2 is finally here. Apologies for the delay.

How we got to where we are: We are lucky to have a job where we can transform gardens

We are lucky to have a job where we can transform gardens

In a similar vein to the beginning of an episode of the compelling, if somewhat confusing, TV series ‘Lost’, we shall start by saying in a deep and gravelly voice “Previously on Vialii Garden Design”. Then we run through an abridge version of what went before.

Motivation

A good friend’s mum sadly passed away last summer. She was a lovely woman who was taken too young and is sorely missed. It brought to mind however something that I’d neglected to elaborate on in the first part of this tale. It was the untimely passing of my own mum(1) that caused me to assess my life choices and ultimately spurred me on to quit my engineering job. My mum’s death caused me to think long and hard about what I wanted from my life and how I wanted to go about it. I asked myself if I was happy in what I was doing. The answer was no.

In retrospect I now question whether or not I was thinking 100% rationally though. It’s not a stretch to think that I was perhaps suffering from some level of depression which would naturally cause me to question my happiness at work. Whatever the reasons though, the decision I made was the decision I made and thankfully my chosen path has been more successful than I could ever have imagined, and in so many more ways than just financial.

Teetering steps into garden design

I had started offering garden designs to clients as freebies towards the end of 2006. I loved the planning of gardens, studying the practicalities of space and solving the client’s garden issues. I enjoyed sketching the proposals and then pulling together the final CAD drawings and deemed it as more of a hobby than a paying business.

In May 2007 I met my now wife, Jill. Obviously, we share many interests and passions (otherwise the wedding would have been a big mistake) but foremost amongst these is a love of gardens and gardening. Prior to us getting together Jill already enjoyed gardening. So much so, in fact, she had undertaken a Diploma in Garden Design.

Jill and I on our wedding day, in our garden of course!

Jill and I on our wedding day, in our garden of course!

We started considering the design of gardens together and it soon became apparent that we worked really well as a team and that there was potential in pursuing garden design more formally. We planned things carefully, created a dedicated website and launched Vialii Garden Design as a separate service from the garden maintenance business. More importantly, we agreed a pricing structure for the garden design work. As opposed to offering free designs with the hope that this would lead to the garden build we opted to offer designs for an agreed fee with the client having no obligation to use Vialii Garden Design for the build (although we obviously hoped they would). As it transpires, the process of getting to know clients and their gardens and, more importantly, having the clients get to know us has resulted in the majority of our gardens leading to builds too.

One of our garden designs

One of our garden designs

[[image:blog/blog-review2012-2.jpg=One of our garden designs]]

Why we work

Jill and I have found a delightful balance with our approaches to garden design. As I also build gardens, I tend to plan a garden with a practical mind (sometimes too practical). Jill, however, approaches a garden with a more conceptual, creative take on things. What tends to happen is that we meet somewhere in the middle putting together designs that are both well-planned but have a real style and character.  Jill encourages me to learn new skills and to have confidence in my own abilities.

Some four and a half years on now, we have formally separated the design and landscaping business from the maintenance business(2). We have designed and built some thirty gardens and have gotten to know some lovely families along the way. We still love the challenge and process of garden designing and still take immense satisfaction upon completion of a build. We’re constantly looking for ways to stretch ourselves, in both design and landscaping. We still get nervous when we present initial concepts to clients and are delighted that our proposals really hit the mark.

One of the many gardens we have designed and built

One of the many gardens we have designed and built

The future

In the immediate future, our lives are going to be turned upside down with the arrival of our first child (and Vialii’s latest apprentice!) sometime in January. It’s another challenge that we’re both relishing and cannot wait for the adventure to begin. If that wasn’t going to make us busy enough we hope to continue the steady growth of all facets of the business. We’re hoping to recruit new team members for both the maintenance and landscaping side of things, a new van needs to be purchased and we’re setting targets to continue to grow the businesses steadily. It’s all very exciting. I’ll try to keep you posted on how we get on.

Thanks for reading.

Michael & all at Vialii

 

(1)     Elizabeth Ann Maxwell Burt was 54 when she succumbed to the ravages of kidney cancer. I still miss her terribly…

(2)     On paper, garden maintenance and garden landscaping are fairly similar but in practise they are distinctly different business models which necessitated the separation of the businesses.

Allanwater Herald

Our design for Provost’s Park has been revealed by Bridge of Allan Community Council and the local community have an opportunity to provide their feedback on the design.

Allanwater Herald Dec 2011

Sunday Mail

In an article on humanist’s weddings, the Sunday Mail featured Jill & Michael from Vialii’s wedding, aptly in their own back garden…

Sunday Mail humanist's weddings

Bridge of Allan Times

We showcase some of the latest aspirational products available to buy for your garden this year.

Bridge of Allan Times Spring 2011

Bridge of Allan Times

We share our top tips on how to create your own wildlife friendly garden…

Bridge of Allan Times Summer 2010

Bridge of Allan Times

We give your insider’s tips on what will be the big gardening trends of 2010…

Bridge of Allan Times Spring 2010

Allanwater News

We discuss some of our favourite garden trends for 2010.

allanwater-news-april-2010

Bridge of Allan Times

We share some insider’s secrets on how to create a beautifully designed garden…

Bridge of Allan Times Winter 2009