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, How To, Indoor

If you’re working from home it’s essential that you keep your working space as lovely to work in as you can. The work environment has a significant effect on motivation and productivity. Here are our top tips on making your home workspace work better for you. 

Add Houseplants

 

Adding a natural touch is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your working life. Houseplants purify the air, remove toxins from the space and create a more pleasant space to work in. They also don’t take up much space, and some even thrive in low light or humid areas – great if you are working from your kitchen or conservatory. 

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Use Mirrors to add light. 

Mirrors are a great way to lighten up your space and make it feel bigger. Outdoor mirrors can look really nice when brought indoors, and they tend to be more decorative and strong. Put your mirror opposite a window or where it will reflect natural light and your office will feel lighter and roomier. 

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Be creative with screening.

If you have the time and are looking to get that ultra-modern office look it might be worth looking at garden screening. Artificial foliage screening creates a no-maintenance living wall in your space that adds a touch of the outdoors that you’d only find in the most high-end London offices. Want a slightly more textured or feature background for your video calls? Then consider some bamboo or willow screening – it really gives a great look. 

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Think about water features

An indoor water feature has a lot of health benefits: purifying and humidifying the air and fills your space with the relaxing sounds of running water. Their use in the home is often overlooked, but they will only benefit your workday and they come in so many styles that you will definitely find something to suit your style. 

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For more on how to improve your home working experience why not take a look at our guide here. 

We would love to see what you have been doing with your home office, why not show us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Animals, Gardening & Landscaping, Gardening Year, Indoor, Wildlife

Winter gardening; think all activity is halted? Think again! Now is the time to prep your landscape and watch it thrive. Tending to the foundation as you build your place of solace, will bring you so much joy in 2021. From city-dwellers to countryside lovers, green areas vary in size up and down the country, but we have curated the latest trends for 2021 to help you create a garden to get lost in. 

Tiny Gardens 

“It’s all about making the space look bigger.” 

You can update any compact space and turn it into a sanctuary of goodness. Whether you are sprucing up a balcony garden, a petite patio, or tiny terraces, we can help with small plants and Tall planters to compact furniture, helping you invest in greenery and lush items to help you enjoy your petite place of zen, and watch it bloom in full when Spring finally arrives. 

White & Grey Gardens

Over the last few months, white gardens have been growing in popularity, and there is no sign of them slowing down. The key to this trend is choosing a dark background, varying foliage and changing sizes and shapes, and finally adding some eye-catching white flowers to make your garden pop. 

Want to try something a little different and a bit more subtle? Why not opt for a grey garden? It’s an easy transition, with grey paving, fence paint or gravel and paths, this trend provides a  neutral backdrop which helps colours such as scarlet and purple pop.

House Gardens 

“Gardening provides a tranquil challenge with tangible results.”

You might not have a sprawling space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow fresh plants and flowers in your home. With so many of us now working from home, it’s been proven that plants can improve air quality and bring energy into your environment. A windowsill garden is ideal for growing plants that will add a little extra to your cooking — especially if you don’t have a garden. Think herbs, chilli, kale, baby beetroot, pea shoots, onion and spinach. Adding your very own home ingredients to your meals never tasted better! 

 

Wild Gardens 

Don’t be fooled, it may seem like an easy win, but wild gardens also need hands-on attention to get that mysterious, yet enchanting, unkempt look. However, It’ll be time well spent, creating the perfect ‘imperfect’ outdoor space. Invest in pieces to keep the wildlife happy and content within the beauty of your wild garden.

And a final trend that became none of us can ignore moving into 2021 is the online garden centre. Yes, it’s a different experience from venturing to a physical store, but it also comes with many advantages; comfort, doorstep delivery and variety. Why not try it out for yourself as you invest in one of our chosen trends and tag us in your garden of 2021.

Current Issues, How To, Indoor, Indoor Plants

 

 With 40% of office workers expecting to remain working from home in 2021 the need to make our homes more suitable for this new way of working is important for our wellbeing and productivity. Creating an effective working environment in the home that doesn’t get in the way of the rest of your life can be a challenge, but it’s one that can be overcome in any home in a few simple steps. Here are our top tips for setting up a successful home office. 

Pick a Place With Natural Light 

 

Your space needs to be bright enough to see what you’re doing, but not too bright that it’s distracting. Setting up your workspace near a source of natural light is a great option, it increases productivity and is an effective way of boosting your mood. 

But don’t forget lamps –  towards the end of the year your working hours will likely be longer than the time the sun is out in full, and if you work in the evening or early morning your contact with natural light will be smaller. A great way to overcome this is to put a lamp near your workspace. A floor-standing lamp that is placed a bit away from your works station is the best option, but if you are on a budget or don’t have space, a table lamp or your room’s main light will work well enough. If you can, choose a cool-white bulb as they keep you more alert for longer whilst warmer lights can make you feel more sleepy. 

Separate The Space 

Creating a distinction between home and work is important for your mental health and well being. Your leisure and family time needs to be just that, and it is far too easy to want to check emails and take calls when your computer is on your sofa or in the bedroom. For those of us with a spare room, a dedicated home office is the best option, but for those with a busy family home or a small flat, this can be a bit more difficult. The number one rule should be to keep your home office as far away from the busiest part of the home as possible. If you have a busy, kitchen set up in the living room or vice versa. Try to find somewhere where you can physically separate, but a quiet corner will do just as well.

But I like background noise – a lot of people have grown used to the bustle of a busy office and need it to focus. The temptation can be to turn on the TV and have it running in the background, but this can be fatal to your productivity. We are more easily distracted by visual things, so if you need background noise consider a radio instead. 

Add Houseplants

Houseplants, especially air-purifying ones are an important addition to your home working space. They bring all the benefits of a garden indoors and with climbing and tall plants available they are a viable option for all sized spaces. Houseplants also:

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Increase productivity
  3. Make the place more attractive 
  4. Clean the air and reduce noise

Even one or two plants can improve your space. Find a houseplant that works for you and enjoy a better environment.

Get a Good Chair

Back pain and bad posture will affect concentration, blood pressure and general health. The chair you sit on for 40 hours a week is very important to your life overall. A good office chair should offer back support, be comfortable and be high enough to put your feet flat on the floor whilst sitting

Take Breaks 

47% of employees have reported a decrease in breaks taken during the workday. When you’re home already it can feel unnecessary to take time out to recharge and relax, but a whole day of uninterrupted work will most likely lead to less productivity and an increase to stress. Take the time out to make a hot drink and relax.      

We’d love to see how your working from home. Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!