The number of garden birds like sparrows, robins and blackbirds is declining each year in most countries because of habitat loss. In the UK, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and other environmental organisations are encouraging home owners to make their gardens ‘bird-friendly’ to help increase the bird population. We have 10 ways to make your garden bird-friendly this summer and to help stop the decline in the number of birds in your area?

Even if you do not have a garden, you can still create a small area for wild birds on your balcony or terrace and there are special bird feeders on the market that can be fixed on windows and windowsills that are particularly ideal for elderly people.

It is fun to create a haven for wild birds and it is a great project if you have children and are wondering how to fill their school holidays! Making your garden bird-friendly will teach them a valuable lesson about caring for the environment and nature and will definitely give them a great new interest as they spot the different species of birds enjoying time in your garden. (https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/gardening-for-wildlife/creating-a-wildlife-friendly-garden/)

Here are 10 of the many things you can do in your garden:-

 

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A natural area provides valuable nutrition

Create a natural corner at the bottom of your garden. Let the grass and weeds grow naturally there and plant some wild plant seeds. Although this area will contrast sharply with the rest of your tidy garden, it will be perfect for the birds! It is best to choose a part of the garden that is well away from where your children play or where you enjoy al fresco meals as these activities could disturb the birds.

Packets containing a mixtures of wild plant seeds can be bought in most garden centres and these are ideal as the variety of plants that will grow are particularly rich in berries, nectar and seeds and these are all really nutritious for the birds. As well as attracting wild birds to your garden they will attract butterflies, bees and dragonflies too – what a bonus!

 

Plant thick climbing plants as the birds will like to be able to hide among the foliage. Don’t be tempted to have any trees cut down as they are valuable for wildlife and will attract woodpeckers and owls. Fruit trees are ideal for wild birds too as they will enjoy pecking the fruit – so make sure you pick what you need first!  Shrubs with berries are a valuable source of food for wild birds too.

 

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Sunflowers not only add colour to a dull corner, they are good for wild birds too

Plant some bright yellow sunflowers as these usually attract bees, caterpillars and other insects. Sunflower seeds are important for birds to eat. Asters and cornflowers are not only pretty in the garden, they also provide a good supply of seeds for wild birds too. Honeysuckle not only looks and smells gorgeous in the garden, the birds will enjoy the nectar too.

 

Don’t ‘dead head’ all your flowers as soon as they have finished blooming, as these seed pods are much appreciated by the wild birds and are very nutritious for them.

 

Don’t get rid of all your garden rubbish! Dead leaves can be swept up, but put them in a pile in the natural corner of your garden along with any decaying wood as these will soon become rich in insects and will provide food for the birds.

 

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This must be the top way to make your garden bird-friendly!        

Install a bird table, but make sure it is well away from where you sit in the garden as the birds could be put off by your presence. If you have cats, make sure the bird table is high enough for them not to reach. Effective deterrents to use for cats include planting prickly plants like holly around the base of the bird table stand or encasing the bottom part of the stand in plastic to make it slippery – large plastic water bottles can be easily adapted for this and are perfect.                                                                                                                            (https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/feeding-birds/all-about-bird-tables/making-a-bird-table/) 

 

 

Wild birds need food, water and shelter in your garden to find it attractive. Pick up a bird bath in the summer sales, eBay, Gumtree or similar. Ensure that it is always full of fresh water as birds love to clean they wings as well as drink. Ideally, place the bird bath in a place where it will catch rainwater. It will need a regular clean and the best way to do this is to wash it in nine parts cool water, one part white vinegar as this will get rid of limescale. You may need to give the bowl a gently scrub and then rinse it in clean water, before replacing it in the garden.

 

Install a small fountain in your garden. It isn’t only people that enjoy the sound of running water, birds are really attracted by the sound too – especially migratory species.

 

Make or buy a nesting box and fix it somewhere cats cannot reach. It is a good idea to do this well before springtime so that your local birds will know where it is located.  (https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-build-nesting-box-birds)

 

Don’t use any pesticides in your garden as insects are an important source of food for the birds as well as frogs, bats and even dragonflies. You will enjoy a garden much richer in wildlife, but interestingly, the insects will still be kept well under control – the natural way!

 

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Enjoy wild birds in your garden all year round

Within a short time you will soon enjoy seeing more wild birds in your garden and may well spot Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Goldfinches and even Wrens.

If you do decide to build a bird table to feed the birds, it is important to keep it well supplied all year round, as the birds will view it as a safe refuge, where they can always find food. Seeing many more wild birds in your garden is definitely a win-win situation as the birds will enjoy visiting your garden and you will feel as though you are definitely doing your part for the local environment…. .

 

 

 

If you live in a flat and the only outdoor space you have is a balcony – no problem! Following the Covid pandemic and the need for private space, balconies are now being given plenty of attention – and rightly so! Balconies can be easily transformed into lovely outdoor spaces for relaxing and entertaining and with some clever thinking, you will be able to display indoor plants too that will help create the right relaxing ambiance- and without taking up too much space.

Why not use some great balcony garden ideas to give you a gorgeous new outdoor space- one that you would never know is right in the middle of town!

Choose your colour scheme

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colourful balconies are appealing

A colour scheme for your balcony will make it look very chic and this can be developed with chairs and cushions, rugs, flowerpots and even your choice of flowers! Grey is a really popular colour this year and can look particularly smart for your balcony- especially if you opt for plants with green and grey foliage or ones with only white flowers.

Soft natural shades look really good with plenty of wood and rattan for chairs and even plant pot covers. Blue is another popular colour this year and work very well on balconies with a nautical theme.

Floor first!

You may be happy with the tiled floor your balcony has as it is quick and easy to sweep and mop, but why not soften the look by adding a colourful striped rug or practical rattan runner? Wooden decking works well on balconies, especially decking tiles, as these are easier to fit. Wooden flooring, either hardwood or a laminate, will transform the space and can be in natural wood colour or painted blue or grey.

Some people cover their balcony floor with astro turf grass to develop the idea of a ‘mini garden paradise’.

Add some furniture & decorations

 

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Transform your balcony into a restful oasis

The choice is yours! Would you like a chic iron café table and chairs for impromptu coffee with a friend and al fresco meals, or a soft sofa for relaxing moments with a small table for placing glasses of wine or your favourite book? If you are still working from home, you can opt for a stylish wooden table and office style chair for work plus a comfy armchair for restful times!

If space is limited, a traditional wooden bench looks good – and very inviting when decorated with scatter cushions and a throw. Several large floor cushions or wicker stools are other fun ideas and if your balcony is really small, folding chairs and a table give you extra versatility. You will also find other great ideas on on https://www.digsdigs.com/45-cool-small-balcony-design-ideas/ 

A wall clock is always a useful addition and a barometer or wind chimes are fun to hang on the balcony. A small bird table fastened to the railing is another option. Ornaments can be used to emphasise the theme of your balcony such as a rustic country style or smart nautical. If you have a larger balcony, a stone garden statue can look good, surrounded by plants.

Clever ways to decorate with plants

Indoor plants are the ideal way to create your own leafy oasis! Choose your plants carefully- depending on the amount of sunlight you get on your balcony. It is also worth remembering that many of the plants will need to live indoors during the winter months. If your balcony is not going to be ideal for indoor plants, a collection of artificial plants will look equally good – especially if they are mixed with some good tempered flowers such as geraniums! Another fun choice for really sunny balconies is to grow a citrus tree such as a lemon or miniature orange tree. If you would prefer to add some shade to your balcony, a clever way is by using artificial bamboo plants.

Colourful annuals such as petunias can be purchased cheaply from garden centres and supermarkets and will certainly help transform your balcony. If you would like to grow some vegetables, you can grow them successfully in grow bags, long narrow plant troughs or a couple of large flowerpots.

If your balcony is large enough, you can build a raised flowerbed along the length of the balcony at the front – this definitely makes gardening easy! You can used recycled wood from old crates to make the container and then the wood can be stained or painted in your chosen colour.. To save money on soil- as it will take a large quantity to fill It-, carefully fill the bottom third with plastic boxes or empty bottles and top with soil before planting with flowers or herbs.

Be creative with your plant display!

Because there is limited floor space on a balcony and priority must be given to furniture, here are some clever ways to enjoy plants and flowers in a limited space:

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Tiered shelving is a great space saver and perfect for plants and vegetable growing

Several conical woven planters grouped on a bare wall can look dramatic when filled with leafy ferns and spider plants. Alternatively, a few colourful pots on ropes, hung at the same height just in front of a bare wall completely transforms it! Metal plant pot covers are trending this year and can look really smart – especially if they are filled with flowering plants or those with colourful foliage.

A really eye-catching design is to attach a long piece of driftwood high on a bare wall – high enough that you can suspend a line of matching macramé hanging baskets at regular intervals. Alternatively, three or four, matching planks of wood, that have been stained or painted, will give a completely new look to a bare wall and an interesting collection of planters can be attached to the wood at different heights. This is a great way to grow your own herbs and you can tie a large luggage label with a description of the herb to each planter. Another option is to fix a piece of trellis fencing to the wall and hang assorted planters at different heights.

To add vibrant colour to a small piece of wall, suspend two flower-filled hanging baskets at different heights.

If you have a window sill on your balcony, this is another ideal spot for growing an assortment of herbs in small matching pots. If you have really limited space, look out for tiered shelving that you can fill with plants. If you only have a spare corner, look out for a corner tiered unit as this works really well.

Add colourful plants to the balcony railings…

Invest in some plastic railing planters that will sit on the railing or some window boxes with large hooks that will fit snugly over the railing. The ideal flowering plants for these are colourful trailing petunias and scarlet geraniums.

If you would like to add privacy to your outdoor space, consider hanging lightweight rattan blinds from the ceiling above the railing or a series of hanging pots at the same height – with each filled with a leafy fern or training plant.

… And some lights

 

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Pretty lights are perfect for lazy evenings

If you are planning to relax on your balcony in the evening, you will need some soft lighting. Tea lights placed on every flowerpot or several candle lanterns will create a golden cosy ambiance. A string of fairy lights look pretty too or a large table lamp.

No matter how small your balcony is, you can transform it into an attractive outdoor room which you will love for quiet moments and your friends will enjoy visiting too! If you are fearful that you will not be able to enjoy your new retreat because of winged insects, we have a clever idea to solve this problem too! Hang very fine netting for the entire width of your balcony from the ceiling above the railing, down to the railing and secure it tightly. Not only will you not be bothered by any insects, no birds can mess your balcony or leaves get blown onto it – leaving you just to relax and enjoy your new oasis with a long cool summery drink and a good book….

 

After the long months of winter and lockdown, everyone is wanting to get out in the garden once again! Gardens have never been so important as they are now and an attractive garden can add real value to your property. Your garden can be like an outdoor living room, giving your family extra space. There are some major garden projects to consider, such as installing a decked area or a garden office. Home working is likely to be an option for many months to come! Having your garden professionally landscaped is not as expensive as you think and is a great way to achieve the garden of your dreams!  Here are some great ways to improve your garden yourself – without denting your wallet!

 

Cut the grass and prune all the trees & bushes

 

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Be as creative as you like!

The first step in creating a lovely garden for the summer is to get it in shape!  Cut the lawn and trim the edges. If the lawn is looking in poor condition, plenty of lawn nutrients will make a real difference.

Prune all your hedges, bushes and trees – you will be surprised how much they have grown since last autumn and they will be much more manageable! 

Paint all the fencing

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Painting fences is a great way to improve your garden

Painting all the fencing definitely makes the biggest single improvement to your garden because the fencing will suddenly look like new again and add act as a natural backdrop, emphasising the colours and textures of the various plants and bushes. 

If you use a wood staining preservative, it will definitely prolong the life of the fencing. Repair the garden gate and oil the hinges and then apply a couple of coats of wood stain to make it look smart! If you have a wooden bench or garden chairs, they will benefit from similar treatment!

Create an al fresco dining area

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summer means barbie weather!

Eating outdoors make an ordinary meal taste like a banquet! Is there somewhere you can easily transform into an outdoor sitting area? You will find that it will quickly become a popular place to relax with a good book. If you have an area of concrete next to the garage wall, this can be quickly adapted by painting the garage wall, adding some wall planters and decorating the area with fairy lights for the evenings.

Alternatively you can  create a sitting area. First, clear the area of weeds,  before covering it with the special plastic matting you can buy. Stack the matting down before covering it with shingle. Large terracotta pots filled with colourful flowers will give the area a real Mediterranean feel – even if the weather doesn’t! Solar lanterns around the edge of the area look lovely too and create a lovely ambiance in the evening.

 

Bring color to your garden.

 

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Terracotta pots add interest

It is fashionable to choose a colour scheme for your garden which can be highlighted by flowers as well as your garden furniture. The garden centres are full of colourful annuals right now and these are a quick and cheap way to bring instant colour to your garden. Different shades of lilac and white look very pretty and can be accentuated with a hanging basket suspended from a tree branch.

Creating a focal point with an array of terracotta pots in different sizes and shapes works well too. You can fill the pots with a variety of flowers in your chosen colour scheme or else an interesting collection of plants with leaves in different  shades of green and with textured foliage. The terracotta pots are perfect for a collection of herbs too.

 

Create a vegetable patch.

Home grown veggie taste good!

Vegetable growing increased in popularity during lockdown and

!will continue to do so as more and more people have found that it is a fun way to get a supply of organic vegetables. Once again, having a vegetable patch can add real value to your home. If you have a large empty flowerbed, why not consider converting it into a veggie patch? It is amazing how many vegetables you can grow in a relatively small area. To save space, butternut squash and courgettes both grown really well in a large terracotta pot and happily will trail over the lawn or concrete.

If you just have a small area, why not change it into a herb garden? There is something special about picking your own fresh herbs for your cooking.

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/hgen/plant-herb-garden.htm

Build a rockery

This is the perfect solution if your soil is not good quality or you want to add interest to your garden. You can build a rockery in just a few straight forward stages and incorporate some interesting chunks of stone. Adding peat in the crevices between the stones will give nourishment to your new Alpine plants.

https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-build-rock-gardens-2132674

 

At each stage of your renovation plan, it is a good idea to assess how much maintenance work will be required and wherever possible, opt for easy-care plants and vegetables. If you really do not have too much time at all, an increasing number of people are choosing to have just grass with a variety of large terracotta planters and those who are not ‘green fingered’ at all, will never admit it, but they are planting artificial plants in the planters – and the effect is simply stunning!

 

 

 

You have made a stunning display of indoor plants for your reception area or restaurant and it is important that as they are always on display, that they always look good. How to keep indoor plants healthy isn’t as difficult as it sounds!

Get the light right!

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How to keep indoor plants healthy- give them the light they need

  Different types of indoor plants need varying amounts of light. Those plants that like plenty of light     still do not want to be in direct sunlight. South facing windows are brighter than north facing ones     and east and west facing windows can vary. Some types of indoor plants are very easy going,          whereas for others, the amount of light can be crucial.

* Quick tip: Plants always grow towards natural light, so once a week, turn the pot 90º     if you can so that the plant grows in a good, well- rounded shape- this is a great easy     tip for how to keep indoor plants healthy!

 

Use good quality potting soil – and plenty of it!

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How to keep indoor plants healthy- always use good potting soil

Your plants will thrive if you pot them in quality potting soil which is rich in nutrients and is specially designed to retain water. As the plant grows, re-pot it carefully in a larger pot. When you are buying potting soil, check that it is the correct type for your chosen plants.

* Quick tip: You may find that after time, the level of soil in the plant pot has dropped, add some fresh potting soil to keep your plant happy!

How to keep indoor plants healthy- water them properly

How to keep indoor plants healthy- water them regularly with soft water

Unfortunately, indoor plants in offices, receptions and restaurants can get forgotten! Plants need frequent and thorough watering. It is essential that the water reaches their roots. The water should be able to drain quickly, otherwise roots can start to rot, In warm,dry environments, most indoor plants benefit from a regular misting. Always check on the plant’s instructions or online how frequently they need to be watered.

It is also important to use the correct type of water for your plants. They thrive on soft water so either collected rain water or filtered water is best.

* Quick tip: If it is possible, water your plants really well once a month. Place them in a sink or outside and pour warm water on them every ten minutes, three or four times, before popping them back in their pot cover.

 

Feed you indoor plants regularly

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How to keep indoor plants healthy- Ferns benefit from the occasional cuppa!

All plants thrive on regular food which can be easily bought in a garden centre. Check that you are buying the correct type of food

* Quick tip: If you have ferns and other acid loving plants like Azaleas, Gardenia and African violets , they will enjoy the odd cuppa! Cool some black tea down completely and water the plant with it. Alternatively, mix some wet tea leaves into the top of their soil.

 

Clean leaves, healthy leaves

Dust soon gathers on plant leaves and not only doesn’t look good, the plant cannot breathe so easily. Regularly wipe the leaves with a damp kitchen cloth to remove the dust. If you prefer, you can stand the plants outside and gently hose them or pop them in the shower! This is a surprisingly easy way how to keep your indoor plants healthy.

* Quick tip: A time-honoured hack, used by our grandparents, is to wipe the leaves in a 50-50 mixture of warm water and milk as this really makes the leaves shine.

 

Watch out for bugs

how to keep indoor plants healthy- regularly spray with slightly soapy water

Unfortunately, indoor plants can get bugs, so it is very important that you check a new plant carefully before introducing it to your space. Check all your plants every week and if you do find any bugs – act fast! Move the plant away from all other plants. Wipe the leaves with warm soapy water (made with liquid soap) as all bugs hate soap and then use a natural pesticide – your local garden centre will advise. Regularly misting with soapy water can help keep bugs at bay. https://getbusygardening.com/control-houseplant-pests/

* Quick tip: Another popular way to deal with an infestation is to wipe all the leaves and stem of your plant with alcohol. Your may need to do this several times to totally get rid of the bugs.

 

 

Indoor plants definitely respond to a little TLC but this is not always possible in a busy work environment. If you like the idea of some dramatic indoor plants to add character and interest to your space, why not consider buying some top quality faux plants for your display? They are so realistic looking that you may well find yourself reaching for the watering can!

How to keep indoor plants healthy- These eye-catching plants look fantastic and are faux!

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Beautiful red cyclamen add an Impressive splash of colour

St Valentine’s Day brings a welcome splash of colour to a winter’s day and it is amazing how a room can be equally transformed by the addition of a stunning red indoor plant. Indoor plants featuring either red foliage or flowers can really make a visual impact and can effortlessly brighten your office, reception area or restaurant.

Red indoor plants are a great choice

Just as the red-leaved poinsettia is associated with Christmas every year, red indoor plants can bring warmth and interest to a room and are a great way to brighten a dull corner. Red leaved plants look stylish when teamed with one of this season’s trending flower pots, either in plain dark ceramic, or better still, a metallic or natural wood finish.

In Feng Shui, red is considered a very important colour for businesses. It is a fire colour that represents energy and creativity, but importantly, it also attracts money. In Chinese businesses, you will often see a red lantern hanging in the ‘wealth corner’ of the room. The colour red is also known to stimulate the appetite so is often used in restaurants. With so much good fortune promised, why not add a splash of red to your work space with a red indoor plant?

Choose a plant with red foliage!

Not only do these red indoor plants look dramatic, they are surprisingly good tempered. This is a huge bonus if there is the chance that they might not get regularly watered! There are more than a dozen different types of red-leaved to choose from. https://gardenerspath.com/plants/houseplants/colorful-winter/ gives you some colourful inspiration and any of these colourful  plants could well help energise your work space.

Aglaonema

Looking for a good-tempered foliage plant? Aglaonema can easily grow a metre high and almost as wide and really looks good as its numerous leaves have green uppers, but underneath are red and each leaf is also edged in red. This plant definitely looks great, but a word of caution, its leaves can cause itchy skin- so water with care!

Coleus (Solenostemon)

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Drama in a plant pot! Coleus is a great red indoor plant

There are various members of the coleus family to choose and they all have red, magenta or pink leaves. Watch out for the variety ‘chocolate covered cherry’ as it its leaves are pinky red and dark burgundy with bright green edges. Coleus grow to an impressive size quite quickly and are the perfect choice if you have a sunny spot to fill. The only point to remember is this plant likes moist soil- so it’s important not to let the soil dry out.

 

Caladium ‘Red Flash’

This red indoor plant really is really eye-catching and easily grows to more than a metre in height – and almost as wide! It has vibrant heart-shaped leaves that have earned it the nickname – ‘Angel Wings’. The leaves are edged in green with large red veins and spots. It too is a plant that does not like its soil to dry out.

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The eye-catching Flamingo Lily red indoor plant

Flamingo Lily (Anthurium andraenum)

The distinctive Flamingo Lily has unusual bracts that are red or white in colour with a large golden stamen. The bracts contrast perfectly with the plant’s shiny heart-shaped leaves. In a recent NASA Clean Air Study, this indoor plant was found to be effective at removing pollutants from the air.

Ti Plant (Cordyline fruticosa)

This attractive leafy plant has leaves that are dark red and green, with a lighter red underside. What adds to its good looks is that new leaves are pink in colour and darken much later

Or opt for a flowering red indoor plant

When asked to name a red flowering indoor plant, many will think of the winter favourites such as the Christmas Cactus or Amaryllis with its lofty stem and huge trumpet flowers. There are many others available and these can be fun to watch as they develop. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/ hpgen/what-houseplants-have-red-flowers.htm

Red African Violets (Saintopaulia ionanthea)

Everyone knows the African Violet with its violet flowers. Did you know that this popular indoor plant can be found with red flowers too?  African Violets are attractive and compact in size and shape, so are ideal for a work desk or grouped along a windowsill in matching ceramic pots .

Brazilian Fireworks. (Porphyrocoma pohliana)

If you want a dramatic plant, this one is like a never-ending firework display! It has green leaves with silver markings. In late spring it produces deep red flower bracts and these develop lavender flowers. As these fade, the plant produces numerous black seeds which are easy to propagate.

Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum)

At this time of year, cyclamens are always popular. With their silver patterned foliage, they look really good and as their pretty flowers unfurl, they look spectacular. Available in a variety of colours, cyclamen are a stunning red indoor plant and their compact shape makes them ideal for desks, reception counters and even as the perfect splash of colour on the counter in a ladies’ toilet. The big tip is to keep the soil moist and to water the plant by standing it in a dish of water to avoid getting any on its leaves or stem.

Crown of Thorns

If you look after this indoor succulent well, you will be rewarded with hundreds of small red flowers all year through! This plant has sharp spines. An old legend tells it was used for the ‘crown of thorns’ at Christ’s Crucifixion. This plant has long leathery leaves and loves plenty of direct light – but not sunlight.

Hibiscus – the elegant red indoor plant

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A showstopping red indoor plant

These dramatic plants are available with red or white bract. The bracts contrast perfectly with the shiny heart-shaped leaves. In a recent NASA Clean Air Study, this plant starred as an effective cleaner of pollutants in the air. The lily thrives in a spot with bright light but with no direct sunlight.

 

 

 

Guzmania

What an intriguing red indoor plant

You may not know the name, but you will definitely recognise this dramatic plant with its long narrow green leaves and large central scarlet flower. This plant is from South America so loves to be in a bright position – away from direct sunlight. It is fun to water as you pour the water into the funnel in the centre of the flower. Be warned though, this is a fussy plant and prefers filtered water!

….And a clever ‘trick of the trade’

Look closely at the stunning plant arrangements in some offices, reception areas and restaurants and you will find they are comprised of beautiful faux plants. A very clever trick is to leave a spot at the front of the arrangement where a live seasonal plant can be added. For example, a red cyclamen would look perfect in the arrangement right now, but could be easily replaced by some indoor daffodils for Easter, miniature roses in the summer etc. How clever is that!

 

 

 

 

 

The global COVID pandemic has driven us inside. But one positive has been a surge of interest in interior design.

During this time, we’ve had the opportunity to decide what home improvements need to be made. For interior designers, a chance to look at new concept ideas to accommodate our new normal.

New trends include clever home offices and ‘flex space’  which ensure homes grow with families. With the housing market at a standstill, this new use of space means less need to move.

As England experiences lockdown mark 2  and restaurants and bars, close we are all missing the ambience of our friendly locals.

So what can be done about this?

Creating a home bar

Well, home bars are also trending and with Christmas on the horizon, they’re likely to be very popular this winter!

Home bars can the ideal way to relax at home after a long day and to offer an intimate social atmosphere for others to share. There’s something very appealing about being able to whizz up a couple of snazzy cocktails in the evening!

There’re many great ideas for home bars and some of them are enjoying a renaissance. The 1920s bar cart and globe drinks holder are proving popular once again. They are relatively small and versatile. You can even find designs online for making a DIY version! Home bars are being created in spare cupboards and on the top of sideboards.

Do your research

For interior designers, you’ll be able to show your clients how a home bar can be cleverly incorporated in dining rooms and kitchens as finding space in many homes can be a challenge.

Remember to question your client about their favourite bar. What kept them going back? What did they like about the ambience? Why did it feel comfortable and like home?

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Design ideas

Once again, the curved corner bar is proving popular. If your client does have space, you can design a flamboyantly themed area with a wet bar (a bar with a small sink).  Finish the design off with stylish bar stools and consider a wine chiller as an extra feature.

For those working with a smaller area, the bar will need to be incorporated into another room. Proportions will be an important factor, so bear this in mind.

The home bar must be in balance with the rest of the room and compliment the décor, style and colours, as this will ensure a feeling of spaciousness. Using cleverly placed mirrors and lighting can also help.

When designing a home bar they should be well organised and look inviting. Some smart-looking glasses and somewhere handy to keep all the necessary bar equipment are essential. For making cocktails, there’ll need to be somewhere to store mixers and garnishes too. 

The winter of 2020/ 2021 is certainly going to be a long one. If the second lockdown continues beyond 1 December, the option of having a home bar is a very appealing one.

The most famous cocktail book of them all, the iconic – Bartender’s Guide by Jerry Thomas (1862) is certainly going to be on lots of people’s Christmas lists this year!

The distinctive interior style known as ‘Nordic Design’ has been around since the 1950s, flourishing in the five Nordic countries – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. 

This style embraces three keywords:

  • Minimalism 
  • Simplicity
  • Functionality. 

Nordic design is currently proving extremely popular in private homes, restaurants and in the corporate environment because it is a look that is fresh, very functional whilst also welcoming. To execute this look, always create with an eco-friendly and sustainable approach in mind.

Having said that, there is no single Nordic Design.  Rather it is more of a state of mind and lifestyle choice that oozes understated elegance. It is best described by the Danish word Hygge; feeling of warmth, cosiness and well-being.

The nordic design definitely preceded minimalism and in fact championed it! The ethos of this style is that the space should look light and airy and that the focus should be on the simple lines of the furniture. Both light and air should be able to flow freely through the room.

Materials

Natural elements such as wood, stone and plants are really important. Wood is very popular and is used for cladding walls and ceilings to add warmth and texture. Instead of carpets, natural or painted wooden floors are much preferred. 

Colour 

The colour palette focuses on soft hues and plenty of natural shades such as white, creams, coffee shades and cool greys. Other colours used include the softest shades of pink and blue.

Furnishing

Furniture designs are very important as the piece must be stylish with clean lines and made with great craftsmanship. Shape is vital and each item of furniture should have a beautiful silhouette. In Nordic-style rooms, ‘a little is definitely more’ with few ornaments and absolutely no clutter. 

Soft furnishings are also in mellow tones, but texture is really important for cushions, rugs and throws. Introduce colourful accents with these items too – rich gold or strong turquoise being popular choices. 

Nordic Lighting

Light is an essential consideration as the room must be light and bright to achieve a livable finish. Windows are large and bare with no dressings to maximise the amount of daylight coming in. 

Artificial Nature 

One of the easiest ways to introduce a natural splash of colour – and one that is regularly used by Nordic designers – is to introduce indoor plants. Some types of indoor plants are perfect to use to complement this style as they soften the lines in a lovely natural way. Strategically place one or two plants, including a large dramatic plant with lush green foliage. 

Amongst the popular varieties to use for Nordic designs are:

  • Large orchids
  • Philodendrons 
  • Rubber Plants (Ficus Robusta).
  • Pots of Sansevieria Trifasciata – more commonly known as ‘snake plants’ or ‘mother-in-law’s tongue’.

These can help mirror the clean clear-cut lines of a Nordic style room perfectly. To create some interest in a corner or on top of a wall unit, Golden Pottos (Scindapsus Aureus) is a lovely leafy trailing plant that will do the job perfectly! 

You can accommodate these with the perfect planters.  Choose those in natural materials such as terracotta or wicker.

To complete the look in true Nordic style, add a couple of pieces of high-quality ceramics and some candles. After that, relax in this perfectly curated Nordic style room and enjoy the Hygge…

First impressions matter when it comes to Corporate events; delegates could be in attendance from a day to several days, even longer.

Some of the latest reports value the event industry at a staggering £39.1bn with 50% of companies allocating over 20% of their spending on marketing to organising events – therefore, the look is key!

Do you remember the floral arrangements at a recent event you attended?

Did they fit their purpose? Were you impressed? Did they add to your overall experience?

Sadly, floral displays, regardless of the function or event, often miss the mark and overall event design can leave some clients disappointed and not wishing to re-engage with a brand or company.

Understanding What a Corporate Event Entails.

A corporate event is any form of event, hospitality or social activity which is organised or funded by a business entity.

Due to its somewhat broad definition, it is accurate to say that the target audience for corporate events can be as equally comprehensive as they can include:

  • Employees
  • Board members
  • Stakeholders
  • Customers / clients
  • Potential clients

All sorts of companies organise events for a variety of occasions. They may be looking to celebrate, reward, motivate, team build or encourage potential collaboration. Whatever the occasion, there is always an event solution, and this may require some interior or exterior design.

Let’s look at some examples of corporate events:

The Trade Show

 Organisations often attend trade shows as a lead collation exercise. Companies may also choose to host or sponsor a trade show to reinforce their image as an industry leader among those who may be attending. With today’s ferociously competitive market it’s important to create a show-stopping stand and a memorable experience for any potential guess.

Floresy

Areca Palm DeLuxe

Awards and Gala Dinners

These traditional event experiences can be used in multiple ways. If organised by a business they can reward and motivate employees, suppliers, resellers and potential customers by providing awards across several categories to recognise achievements. Businesses will also regularly sponsor and enter industry awards to promote their business, improve their standing in the industry and increase brand awareness. That being said, it’s important to make guests feel welcome and valued.

Floresy

Calla Lily and Orchid Vase Display

 

Experiential Marketing

This marketing is becoming increasingly more popular as businesses look to create a closer bond with their customers. The idea is to immerse attendees within the brand experience and stay on message through a fun and memorable event. By aligning positive emotions with your brand or business, customers are more likely to want to invest in your products or services, which is why it is important to make the experience as interactive as possible. This way delegates will feel emotionally invested in what your company is selling.

Indoor green wall module vertical garden

Wall Mounted Indoor Green Wall

The Product Launch

It’s an exciting time for any company. All the hard work has finally paid off and it’s time to launch the all-important product. After all this work, you need to capitalise on any potential interest. Interest equals leads and leads equal sales.

If managed well, the event will generate media coverage and an industry buzz prior to the actual product release. These days they need to hit the zeitgeist and have a flashy feeling more than just having a large dinner party where guests only get to interact with people near them. If it’s within your budget, you should consider the value of the celebrity or “influencer” appearance as this can also maximise any potential impact with our social media channels. Just be sure to make it on-brand to the product.

Amaryllis corporate events

Modern Eclectic – Amaryllis

Whatever the occasion there will hopefully be important people and potential clients enjoying the bespoke event that you and your team have created. Opportunities to impress don’t present themselves often so this is your moment to impress them!

Winter is most definitely on its way, but if you are a hotelier the show must go on. So how can you prepare your hotel for winter? 

According to Eurostat: Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy and Austria were the most popular EU destinations for EU tourists travelling outside their own country in the 2018-2019 winter season. 

So if you haven’t already, it’s time to prepare your hotel for the winter months to ensure your business is running smoothly during this season.

Extra Exterior/ Interior Effort

Cold weather generally keeps travellers indoors for longer periods of the time, so make sure your business is a visual delight for the festive season. Play around with wreaths, dry scented fruit and even pine cones. You can even explore outside of seasonal foliage on hand by garnishing your rooms with artificial plants

No watering …no problem!

Yes,  it may be cold, but there are plenty of ways to bring the cosy to your outdoor space.  Consider adding external heating, you can even explore a cosy fire pit. Couple this with super warm blankets, ambient lighting and voile!  A perfect space to drink your mulled wine underneath the stars.

Stockpile 

Floresy prepare hotel for winter toiletries

Bad weather can ultimately lead to issues on the road. And that can lead to delayed or cancelled deliveries to your hotel. You don’t want to be caught out, so it’s time to put your forward-thinking, preparational hat on. 

Over the weeks start to stockpile:

  • Toiletries 
  • Linens 
  • Stationary
  • Food 
  • Shovels 
  • Rock salt 

And in case of a power outage:

  • Torches 
  • Batteries

Keeping a stash of inexpensive umbrellas for the guests can also be a nice touch. 

Safety First

Flooring should be one of your top considerations for many reasons. The carpeting inside public spaces are a heavy expense and need to be maintained as customers trudge snow and mud inside and out.  A non-carpeted or tiled floor can be a slippering accident waiting to happen. Lay down heavy-duty rubber mats with large grooves in them at the entrance to catch the moisture and salt before it’s brought into the hotel. In addition, place longer walk-off mats at some of the entrances to ensure guests can wipe off slush, snow and salt.

Utility Check 

Floresy prepare hotel for winter - utility check

If your utility providers have not contacted you to carry out their checks – then it’s time to contact them. Especially in terms of heating facilities like boilers and thermostats. It’s especially great to take advantage of these visits if your utility contract includes a free maintenance check and if it doesn’t, it may be time to revisit your utility contract. 

On top of this, consider the preventative measures you can take to ensure guests have a delightful mid-winter stay free from disruption. For example gutter cleaning, checking for drafty windows. As the for the exterior, do your lightbulbs need replacing and it might be time for car parking and pavement repairs. 

Change to the Food and Beverage Menu 

It’s the moment you have all been waiting for… Your team have been busy developing an exciting menu with tastes and colours to comfort and brighten the darker days of winter.  Time to release your new hearty winter menu!

Winter can be magical as long as you are prepared. 

It is imperative that you are operationally running during this season as it’s a competitive market out there. So make sure you don’t lose your customers to another hotel around the corner because you weren’t prepared.

Planning now will help ensure that you and your guests experience a great cold-weather travel season without a hitch.

As we move away from those glorious summer days with their light airy breeze, we then shift into the crisp and warm tones of autumn.

This reflective season is known for its earthy rich colours and is an exciting time to identify what emerging trends designers want us to see. These new ideas are hopefully reflected in the inspirations of Interior Designers and Architects everywhere.

Here are some top tips to revamp your space in a bid to re-energize and rejuvenate the ambience of any potential project.

Natural Fibres

cain

Credit @abbeylanghome and @bakerfurniture

The timeless material of cane has been resurrected in the last few years. It is a strong and intricate natural fibre that has been derived from the rattan vine. Woven together, this durable item can create anything from sumptuous seating, headboards and outdoor furniture that can weather the seasons. Remember! Longevity is key with the use of materials these days and cane certainly meets the demand.

Power of the Curve

Credit: Covethouse

There is something alluring about a curved sofa. With the right material and colour combination, it can change the dynamics of any space or potential project. With the ability to remove harsh angles with its seamless contour, this seating design has the dexterity to welcome anyone with open arms. Think calm, think zen.

Statement Paper

Credit: Murals Wallpaper 

Who doesn’t love florals on a large scale? This is a great trend, but to fully cultivate the style the florals must be sizable and must pop. Mix strong contrasting colours to bring out the beauty in your blooms, compliment with bespoke pieces or individual reclaimed items. Look out for big patterns that have a Pre-Raphaelite style – you’ll find them on cushions, bedding, murals etc. Make the rest of the look simple so the florals themselves become the star and focal point. 

Fringe

Credit: BeauVamp

Lighting is the perfect way to update a room all in one go. It’s a great way to give vintage chic a chance to impress and like many trends that have made their way back to the fore, this one has found its way back from the victorian era, but with a modern twist.

Metallics

Those who wish to do a makeover of their space will find copper the ideal material this autumn. Its warm orange hue is capable of giving a sophisticated and elegant air to any environment. This is a sure bet, especially with Nordic themes or rooms with an industrial style finish.

Interior design, like any other art, is subject to change and allows us all to embrace new styles and trends that emerge throughout the seasons. This autumn isn’t any different and we’re looking forward to seeing your imagination run riot!