Decoration, Indoor, Stuart, Water Features

April’s a big month for events, with April Fool’s Day and Easter taking place in quick succession along with all the garden tasks that can be started now the weather’s warming up. With all that going on, it’s no wonder that it’s also Stress Awareness Month, a chance to increase public awareness about the causes and solutions to the stresses of the modern world.

This past year we’ve spent more time inside and cooped up than most of us have in our entire lives, and stress has been on the rise in these unprecedented times. We’re starting to move away from lockdown and being forced to stay indoors, but as life is likely to continue within your four walls, there are still things you can to do improve your indoor space to make sure it’s the most zen and relaxing place it can be.

Look after your plants

Lavender and Chamomile

Soothing Lavender and Chamomile

Taking care of plants can have a calming effect, regardless of the kind of plant you’re looking after. Take a few minutes each day to look them over and forget everything else that’s going in your life, watering and trimming where needed to take a break from the world for a spell. It can give you a chance to arrange your thoughts, as well as ensure that an upsetting wilting is out of the question. If you get yourself some smelly plants like lavender or chamomile you can also de-stress by taking a good sniff whenever you need a moment.

Don’t let it become a chore, just take it easy and keep your plants in easy view so they aren’t forgotten. If you’re going to put a plant on a high-ish shelf, make sure it’s a dangler so it catches your eye and you can enjoy the greenery.

Clear the air

Monstera Adonsii, Philodendron Scandens and Alocasia Zebrina

Monstera Adonsii, Philodendron Scandens and Alocasia Zebrina

We don’t mean getting into arguments with the people you live with about peeves and irritations, but rather improving your air quality indoors. Temporary stress can cause you to breathe more shallowly as you tense up in the moment, slightly lowering the oxygen in your bloodstream which your brain sees as more stress, compounding the problem. When just opening a window isn’t an option, a broad-leafed indoor plant with good access to sunshine can really increase the O2 and help you breathe easier when life gets you down, stopping those temporary moments from getting out of control.

Water feature white noise

Two Indoor Water Features

Two indoor water features

You’ll have heard that silence is golden, but just as good is a bit of constant, hushed sound for focussing the mind. White noise has been proven to help (the second sentence of that article is a belter), and to get some without getting a single-purpose noise box you can hark back to ancient Japanese tradition with a water feature for water-based sound-making. Though admittedly in that tradition they weren’t powered with electricity, and they were for scaring deer first before meditation and zen.

The sound of running water can help you relax, likely speaking to that animal part of our brains that knows you need water to live. Unfounded claims suggest it can also help reduce blood pressure, but we just think it’s nice to sit and listen to.

However you prefer to keep the stresses of the world at bay, April’s the month to take stock of all those things that get you down to see where they can be overcome. The Stress Management Society has lots of tips and advice to help wherever you may be struggling, so check them out if you’d like more information on stress – its causes, effects, and how to help deal with it all.

Decorative Features, Garden Design, How To, Water Features

Using water in your outdoor spaces is a sure-fire way to add something extra to your design. Water features add movement and sound to the environment and come to life in the sun, reflecting light and attracting wildlife. Beyond this, they purify the air and create a relaxing atmosphere that makes these additions to your garden both aesthetically pleasing and practical. Here are our top tips on using water features in your garden design.

Match design to architecture 

When building or installing a water feature, you should try to choose something harmonised with your home’s architecture. Simple rectangular or curved shapes work well, and you should consider surrounding your pool or water feature with bricks, pebbles or decking that match its surroundings. 

River Canyon Watercourse

Handmade Bath Stone Pond

4-Tier Cascade

View all water features

Make use of different levels

we often ignore vertical space in our gardens. Playing with levels in your space adds more interest and lets you play with planters and seating placement. Tall fountains, water walls or raised ponds are an effective way to play with height and give you the option of adding cascades and waterfalls.

3-Tier Classical Stone Fountain

Cascading Metal Water Feature

Create contemporary space with a waterfall

Sleek and modern, modern waterfalls often come in chrome and stainless steel designs that add an impressive CenterPoint to your garden. Surround the base with rocks and large plants for more effect and light with spotlights to create a mesmerising nighttime display.

View all waterfalls

Ponds for wild gardens

Wild gardens can be havens for birds, pollinators and other garden animals, but we often see them as just meadows of wildflowers. However, a pond can be a great addition to these hardens and provide sanctuary for amphibians and other animals. Build with a slight sloping side topped with pebbles and stones to allow easy access to animals. Surround with pollen-rich plants like coneflowers. You can also add marginal pond plants for textures and colours you won’t find anywhere else. 

Find all our pond suitable plants here 

Rills for a timeless look

A rill is a long narrow channel that brings clean lines to your garden but can fit in with any design scheme. Surround with brick or stone for a traditional look or lay decking, bamboo, black gravel or pebbles for a contemporary or eastern design. 

Derek Harper / The Rill Garden, Coleton Fishacre / CC BY-SA 2.0

Integrate pumps and filters into the design

Any water feature needs a pump and if its a part of a pond you will also have filters, heaters and other equipment. All of this equipment can get messy and cluttered so, incorporating it into your design is a great way to keep your water feature running smoothly and keep your garden looking great. 

Lights

The full effect of a water feature will be seen during the day, but if you like to spend time outside during the evenings then placing lights around your water feature you can get just as good an effect.

Scale to your garden’s size

You don’t need a large garden to fit to have a water feature. Everything from a small courtyard to a balcony can benefit if you buy small tabletop or wall-mounted fountain that gives the same effect as bigger displays.

Jug and Bowl Solar Water FeatureThree-Tier Oil Jar Water FeatureOil Jar Cascading Water Feature
Wall-Mounted Cascade Triple Trickle Honey Pots

 Verdigris Wall Fountain

Think solar

A water feature can use a lot of electricity if run for most of the day. A solar water feature will save on your bills and keep your water feature active whilst you’re outside.

View all solar water features

Terracotta Bowls

 Tap and Half Barrel

Easter Island Head

4-Tier Solar 

Buckets and Tap

Ivory 3-Tier Cascade

Decorative Features, Water Features

Indoor water features are a design element that a lot of people overlook. They add movement and sound into a space and can be used as a centrepiece or accent feature. In Feng Shui, indoor fountains are thought to bring peace, tranquillity and well-being into the home and universities have started to research the benefits themselves. So, how can an indoor fountain improve health? Read on to find out. 

They Improve Sleep 

The sounds of running water can be found on most sleep and relaxation soundtracks because they work. Being around nature is a great way to reset your body clock and promote good sleeping patterns, but nothing can beat the real thing. Any indoor water feature will bring the calming repetitive sounds of running water into the home and give you some relaxing background sounds. 

Why it’s important: making sure you get enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for good mental and physical health

They Relieve Stress 

A study by the University of Sussex found that the sounds of nature can drastically lower stress levels. If you live in an urban area or don’t have access to many outdoor spaces during the week, then a water feature in the home is an ideal way to bring the outside in. 

Why it’s important: prolonged levels of stress can cause issues with your mental and physical health and can lead to burnout id not treated. 

They Humidify The Air 

It’s common in winter for the air in your home to begin to dry out when the heating is on all day. As a water feature runs it releases water vapour into the air that improves the humidity and creates a calming atmosphere in the home that is good for health and wellbeing. 

Why it’s important: dry air can cause problems to your throat and nose which makes it easier to catch diseases. Prolonged exposure to a dry atmosphere will also dry out your skin and cause fatigue. 

They Improve Air Quality

When we have our windows and doors closed o most of the day the air inside our homes can become full of dust and other debris. The lighting, paint and amount of electronics in your home will also affect the quality of the air in your home by releasing negative ions into the air. A water feature produces positive ions that cancel these out and also pull any dirt or debris out of your environment. 

Why it’s important: clean air is a natural mood booster, it reduces anxiety, depression and stress. Combine a water feature with some sir-purifying houseplants and you are well on your way to creating a space that promotes good health and wellbeing.

They Block Out Distracting Sounds 

The sound of running water has a white noise effect in enclosed spaces. If you live in a noisy area or struggle to relax then adding a water feature to your home could be a good solution. 

Why it’s important:  loud or distracting noises can lower your concentration when you’re working from home or trying to focus on a task 

An indoor water feature is more than just a pretty feature, it has material benefits to your health and well-being. Find the perfect one now.

Blog Series, Clocks, Decoration, Decorative Features, Garden Design, Gary, How To, Outdoor Living, Planters, Water Features

A well designed outdoor space can be just as satisfying as a new kitchen or cosy living room, but getting a complete look can be difficult when decorating outside. You can easily redesign a space with a few simple changes, without having to hard landscape or make changes to the structure of the garden. We’ve pulled together three classic garden designs to inspire you to recreate your space with minimal effort.

Moroccan Riad 

The Riad has been a feature of Moroccan architecture since the Roman era. Typically a Riad is a small tiled courtyard dotted with large plants with a pool of water or a fountain in the middle. It’s a space to relax and escape the trials of the day, and it’s an easy look to achieve in a few simple steps. 

  • Choose the right colours – the backbone of the Riad is vibrant, but cool colour combinations .White, blue and terracotta should form the backbone of your space, with some splashes of yellow and turquoise to tie the look together
  • Keep it symmetrical – these gardens are a mixture of a personal oasis and formal garden, keep it as symmetrical as you can to achieve an authentic, and impressive look
  • Make use of rugs – this is a space to relax and entertain in comfort. Traditionally, soft furnishings like rugs or cushions are dotted around the space to soften it.
  • Pick the right plants – space-filling plants that give off strong perfumed scents are the key to getting this kind of space right, lavender and rose bushes mixed in with olive trees and ornamental grasses would be a great selection for the authentic feel.
    Shop the look : 

We’ve put together a selection of accessories that we think would be the great jumping-off point to creating your own Riad garden. This combination of planter, water feature, rug, and chiminea all compliment each other well and could be enhanced with Moroccan style stool

 

Italian Riviera 

 

The tightly packed villages, stone facades and well-manicured gardens of the riviera were the inspiration for some of the finest artists of the renaissance and the ideals of the enlightenment still shine through in their design today. These gardens are refined, elegant and relaxing. They’re also deceptively easy to create: 

  • Make the air smell of citrus – Sicily and the Italian coast are known for their lemons and oranges as much as they are for their tranquillity. Plant a few lemon trees in containers to get the look and smell of a summer on the shores of the coast of Genoa 
  • Select tough plants –  this area of Italy is known for the muted green colours of its plants. Rosemary, Cistus, and myrtle are great options to plant in containers alongside olive trees and pink climbing roses to get that refined look 
  • Don’t overlook statues –  evoke Italy’s romantic and classical history by adding some statuary to the garden. A few well-placed statues amongst your plants really create the look of a formal garden on the grounds of a large manor
  • Build the space around a pergola – shaded areas and canopies are a staple of Mediterranean garden design. If you can why not fill the centre of your garden with a pergola wrapped in wisteria that brings that grand touch to your design 

Shop the look : 

Our version of this classic garden design brings together all the classic elements of statuary, large planters, citrus trees and ornate wall decoration together to create that classic cool style. We’ve chosen to shade our garden with a sail shade rather than a pergola to make this design achievable in any space. 

Spanish Garden

Spain is the number one holiday destination for the British, so why not bring that feel and style into your garden.  A Spanish garden is a place to eat, entertain and relax with friends. The look is simple to achieve and can be made to work year-round if done correctly: 

  • Plant to impress – flowering vines and climbing roses are must-haves for the authentic look. Train them to climb a wall, fence or pergola and you’re off to a great start. For added fragrance, plant jasmine, oranges and  scented heirloom roses to complete the effect
  • Create a shaded space – the siesta is an important part of any day, and if you can it should always be done in the garden. Put a small shaded area into your space with a pergola or sail shade, hook up a hammock, and you’re ready for your midday nap. 
  • Combine the old and the new –  Spain has one of the oldest cultures in Europe, and the old country villages that dot its countryside are familiar to anyone who has visited. Capture this traditional look by adding aged or distressed pieces into your garden. 
  • Make use of railings – small window boxes edged in cast-iron railings are a common sight

 

These are just a few ideas on simple ways to improve your outdoor space. If you like these designs and want to see more, check out our website to see the full range of products we have picked out. We’d love to see what you’ve done with your space on Instagram or Facebook

 


Images Courtesy of:

 

Ruth, S | Gill, L | Rosemary, B | Rachel, E | Diane, R | Trisha, S | MR Evans