April 16, 2015

Facts about organic waste

When people think about recycling, they envision piles of old newspapers and an assortment of discarded plastic containers. Surprisingly, however, these commonly recycled materials do not actually make up the bulk of household waste. In fact, organic waste claims a whopping 67% share of all waste in this country. Organic waste includes food waste like table scraps and uneaten or spoiled food, in addition to yard waste and unrecyclable paper. Food waste alone accounts for tons of waste that is hauled to landfills. An estimated 240 pounds of food per person, or 20 pounds per day, ends up in landfills every year.

What is the effect of all this organic waste on landfills? Because it is buried under layers of nonorganic materials, there is no oxygen available to aid the natural composting process. Instead, the organic materials break down without oxygen, creating a greenhouse gas called methane. Landfills are a major producer of methane gas in the world. Some landfills, but not all, have begun capturing this methane gas to reduce the negative impacts on the environment.

By reducing food waste and beginning a compost pile, you can divert hundreds of pounds of organic waste away from the landfill and into your garden. Learn more about the impact of organic waste by reading this infographic.



April 10, 2015

Creating an eco friendly garden: a luxury or a necessity?

If you've caught the green bug and are thinking about creating a home garden, why not take steps to make it eco friendly, or sustainable, so that it is kind to the existing wildlife in the area, as well as living things further afield? There are so many benefits to creating an eco friendly garden that when you weigh them up, you really can't afford not to adopt these kinds of practices. After all, gardening is good for emotional and physical health, and can also help you save on grocery costs. Your garden can be a great asset to your home and lifestyle, and with some simple eco friendly practices, it can benefit the environment as well.

Water the garden less

Recycling rainwater is one of the most simple, environmentally friendly things that can be done. A water butt collects rainwater, which you can then empty into your watering can. If you don't want to buy a water butt, you can make your own from an old barrel or something similar. Spread mulch around your plants to help stop water evaporating from the soil's surface, reducing the amount of watering required. Leaves make leaf mold, which is great to use as mulch. As well as helping to retain moisture, mulch can suppress the growth of weeds; meaning less weed killer is needed. Take steps to avoid watering the garden with tap water, as this has an impact on resources.

The depletion of natural resources and shale gas

The depletion of natural resources is a concern, and anything we can do to help reduce our impact or become more energy independent is a positive. The oil and gas supply situation is constantly changing; for example, the technology now exists for commercially viable extraction of shale gas from hard shale rock. Some authorities and experts such as Daniel Yergin estimate that shale gas development could be responsible for more than half of the total US natural gas supply by 2020. Yergin is a respected authority on energy, and his writing on global oil led to a Pulitzer Prize.

The uncertain future of fossil fuels could have an effect on energy independence in the West and will take a significant portion of the market share in electric power generation away from coal. It is also having an effect on renewable energy such as wind and solar because of its low cost.

No more pesticides

Using weed killer and pesticides is not eco friendly, and there are other ways to keep damaging bugs, insects and aphids at bay. Plant flowers such as sunflowers, marigolds and candytuft to encourage ladybirds and lacewing butterflies, as they will eat the aphids that can destroy your flowers and vegetables. A log pile could encourage a hedgehog to settle, and in return, he will eat your slugs and snails. How about a small pond? Frogs and toads eat harmful insects. A wooden box with holes and a lid will make a worm compost bin, and the compost can be collected and spread on your garden every two to three months.

Companion planting means growing plants alongside one another to help each other out. Grow onions next to carrots to deter pests from one another. French Marigolds deter whitefly, leeks repel carrot flies, while tall crops and okra will shield smaller crops and provide shade for lettuce and spinach.

Make your own compost

All successful gardeners know the benefits of a compost heap or compost bin. Add grass cuttings, vegetable peelings, eggshells, leaves, fallen fruit, and newspaper, and keep everything damp. Mix the compost with garden soil or spread it around plants when all the material is well rotted. Making your own compost means not buying peat based compost, which in turn helps to save peat bogs and the nature that exists within them.

Other things you can do:

• Look after trees - not only do trees slow down storm water, which saves on water pumping and treatment, but they also remove pollution from the atmosphere.
• Install solar panels on the roof to generate electricity.
• Recycle everyday packaging such as plastic bottles and yoghurt cups for gardening use.
• Solar powered lights eliminate the need for battery powered or electric lights.
• Nurture hedges instead of installing fences.

Creating an eco friendly garden simply makes sense. We need to adapt to the rapidly changing energy landscape, and sustainable gardening is convenient and natural. Besides the pure enjoyment you'll get from a great looking garden, there are also the health benefits associated with fresh air and exercise, as well as the satisfaction of sourcing your own homegrown fruit and vegetables. The garden can be a fabulous place to educate children and entertain guests, or spend time relaxing and enjoying the simpler

March 29, 2015

The rise and rise of the second kitchen

As summer approaches, why not be inspired by our articles on entertaining outdoors? Just go to http://www.myurbangardendecoguide.com/entertaining_outdoors/ image.jpg

March 25, 2015

How to design the perfect pond eco system

A pond can be many things and there are many different options depending on what you actually want. Perhaps you simply want a nice water feature with a fountain and not a lot else. Or maybe your want your pond to be a wild paradise for every form of life you can think of...

Well personally I am in the latter camp. I like my ponds to be bursting with life, full of friendly faces and beautiful plants and flowers. But designing a wild pond isn't as easy as you might expect.

When you are starting out you will need to carefully plan its ecosystem, so that it has everything it needs to become self-sufficient. But trust me, it's worth it in the end.

Here's how to get started:

Understand the Ecosystem

Your pond will essentially have a 6-tier food chain at the base of its eco-system and to create a successful pond you need to ensure that each tier compliments the next.

  • Tier 1: Bacteria, protozoa and plants
  • Tier 2: Zooplankton
  • Tier 3: Worms, snails and insects
  • Tier 4: Amphibians
  • Tier 5: Fish
  • Tier 6: Birds

As you can see, each tier will feed on the one below it, and in a healthy pond the higher tiers will reinvest vital nutrients back into the pond to support the bottom tier. This is a big topic and this post explains it in more detail if you are interested. Additionally, a good bio filter will act as a medium to allow bacteria to grow.

The Nitrogen Cycle

The next thing to understand is nitrogen, as the presence of nitrogen is what creates nitrates and nitrites and in turn serve as nutrition for algae and plants.


  • 1: Addition of food and nutrients
  • 2: Production of Urea and Ammonia by Fish
  • 3: Ammonia is converted to Nitrites by bacteria
  • 4: Less toxic Nitrates are removed by plants
  • 5: Evaporation
  • 6: Light
  • 7: Oxygen Cycle
  • 8: O2 produced by plants
  • 9: CO2 produced by Fish

(image credit: wiki commons)

The fish will eat the algae (which is important because too much algae reduces light levels in the pond) and in turn the fish' waste will decompose at the bottom of the pond and release ammonia.

This is the important bit:

  • Too much algae reduces light levels, bad for plants
  • Too much ammonia is bad for everything in the pond
  • Algae processes the ammonia and turns it back into fish food
  • So as you can see, it's all a careful balancing act.

Of course insects will also attract brids, which are pretty, and birds will help to control the insect population, keeping it in check. And of course the way to attract insects is to have some plants in the pond. But here is a more detailed post about the nitrogen cycle and pond maintenance.

Putting It All Together

So with all of that information in mind, how do you actually create a balanced habitat? Here are some actionable tips:

  • Ensure that your pond has several levels. Shallow areas are good for insects and larvae, while deeper areas are essential for your fish.
  • Keep plants under control. A few plants are critical, but ensure that they do not overwhelm the pond, light must be able to get in.
  • Get a bio filter like this one, in order to ensure a healthy population of friendly bacteria and hence keep down the ammonia levels.
  • Get a bucket of water from a local pond - this is a great way to quickly fill your pond with hundreds of micro-organisms and get your ecosystem kick started.
  • Fit a pond pump. It is possible to create a sustainable pond without one, but adding one keeps the water oxygenated and prevents stagnation, so it's worth it.
  • Alternatively, install a fountain or a waterfall, this will prevent mosquito larvae from hatching, will attract birds and will look and sound nice too!


Ultimately, keeping a healthy pond shouldn't be too difficult once it is established. You simply need to ensure that all of the food chain is accounted for. When the pond is young, be sure to check chemical levels regularly, as these provide clues as to which aspects of your ecosystem need help.

Hopefully before long you will have regular visitors and an established community, and of course a stable ecosystem!

March 7, 2015

A shop to watch : Jardin Chic.com

We have been comparing online stores showcasing the best selection of designs. We were looking for those offering a clever combination ofedgy and realistic options. We love www.jardinchic.com Which store tops your list of favorites? pot-tetris-herbe-450x350.jpg
Continue reading A shop to watch : Jardin Chic.com.

March 5, 2015

Must read on landscape design and ageing.

Asla have published an inspiring article you can read here: http://thefield.asla.org/2015/02/27/the-future-of-aging/ It starts like this: "The young and even the middle-aged can't truly appreciate what it is to be old." (-) "The sheer aloneness and inescapability of it. A different shore. You have gone somewhere and you aren't coming back." Why do we run away from aging in our current society? Aging is an unavoidable reality. Regardless of what we do to our bodies and minds, we age. But can racing against aging become embracing our golden years? In this admittedly non-academic post, I share hopes and fears and also my research on the topic of aging. A few years ago, I wrote a questionnaire targeting the elderly population. Aging should concern us all, and we urgently need new attitudes and answers. I want to challenge that vision of running away from aging. I'll brainstorm some answers and propose new ideas partially based on the questionnaire I addressed to seniors. We are tomorrow's elderly; there is always hope.

March 2, 2015

Terraced gardens. Modern designs

Adding value to property.

Landarchs has published a great round-up of creative terraced gardens.

We hope these modern garden designs inspire you for your own outdoor spaces - however small they seem at first.

http://landarchs.com/designer-achieves-outstanding-results-terraced-garden/Terraced gardensterraced garden designs

February 18, 2015

Outdoor showers - time to prepare the summer

Adding value to property.

Outdoor bathing is one thing that really makes a day special and vacation-like.
Check out this article with 25 great options, some are great indoor outdoor designs that top current trends.


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February 17, 2015

Feature Ponds

A pond in the back garden creates a tranquil space in your very own outdoor space. However depending upon your housing situation this is not always a viable option. Space, time to build and of course if you rent, you may not be permitted to start excavating the land!

A modern compromise can be a temporary feature pond. Swell UK have a range of temporary ponds that can be installed easily, quickly and of course moved again should you wish. Some are suitable for fish and some just for plants, but all can help you create your very own oasis in your back yard.

The most simple and affordable option is the pop up pond. Often available in a variety of colours, these simple ponds are ideal for a small space, such as a balcony or terrace. It's not advisable to keep fish in this type of pond but plants look great and create a beautiful talking point.

If you're feeling creative and have time to spare, visit a scrap yard for inspiration. Old tin baths, sinks and many other receptacles are ideal to transform into a feature pond. They look great too and can add some interest to an otherwise ordinary small garden. A huge planter also looks great as a feature pond, and can create an attractive, rustic look.

If you have the space there are many flat packed ponds that can be used indoors (such as a conservatory) or outside. More advanced versions contain a filter, UV lighting and more to make them suitable for fish, so you can have an advanced pond without the need for spades and pond liners.

Of course whichever pond you decide upon, it will need some maintenance:

  • When filling with tap water, use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other elements, making the water safe for wildlife and plant growth.
  • Keeping plants in good condition with regular pruning keeps the water in good condition and plants looking good.
  • Scrub away algae blooms to keep it at bay - regular water changes and maintenance will help.
  • If you have fish you must have a pump and filter to keep the water clean and fish in good health


There are many ways to add interest to a feature pond. Plants look great, even in a small pond. Floating varieties such as Lilies add oxygen to the water and look beautiful.

Lights look good too. Floating solar lights make a real feature on a summer's evening and can add an elegant touch to a summer's evening.

To make life even easier, opt for artificial décor. No pruning or tending needed, simply add plastic plants or flowers to the water for a splash of colour.

February 16, 2015

Quick Garden Fixes

Well groomed gardens are a fantastic asset for any home, offering a space for relaxing and entertaining and adding value to your home, and whether your garden is big or little, ensuring it is looking its best is imperative. Mistakenly, we often believe that enhancing our garden means having to spend a large amount of money on doing so, but there are plenty of quick fixes that can be made which won't cost you the earth. From furniture to flowers, here are just a few small changes you can make in order to help keep your outdoor space looking its best.

Adding or updating the furniture in your garden can automatically improve the look of your garden. Shabby should only ever be cherished in terms of shabby chic, which means if your furniture is looking a little worse for wear it's time to refresh the paintwork yourself or replace it completely. Before you spend any of your hard earned cash, consider what style you wish your garden to adhere to. Do a little research on websites such as Pinterest and you'll find and abundance of inspiration and easy DIY tutorials to help you.

Flowers can automatically brighten the look of your garden, and planting a colourful mix of flowers could not be simple. Unfortunately, not everyone has an abundance of garden space to utilise in the way. If you want to introduce blooms to your garden without taking up too much precious space, then hanging flower baskets is the perfect solution. Ensuring you've got the correct tools and fixtures to do so is essential, shops such as Anglia Tool Centre are a great place to stock up on these necessities.

If you have chosen to use plant pots in your outdoor space, then why not paint them to add a splash of colour, even throughout the colder months. Terracotta planters offer the perfect canvas for your creativity. There are plenty of super weatherproof paints available and it's worth investing to ensure the colours you choose will stay looking vibrant, even when the weather is at its harshest.

Getting the lighting just right in your garden can prove to be a trickier task than you might have first thought, but luckily, there is plenty of wonderful lighting choices for you to choose from. Sensor activated lighting is perfect in terms of providing security lighting but can prove to be a little harsh when it comes to lighting your room when entertaining. Hanging outdoor LED lighting or lanterns can create an enchanting mood for evening soirees and BBQ, and can easily be strung over the dining area or zigzagged across the garden.

For the eco-conscious among you, why not transform some of your garden space into a small allotment area. An allotment will enable you to grow a family sized crop of seasonal fruit and vegetables at home, from potatoes to tomatoes to pumpkins, there are plenty of delicious natural treats to nurture and grow throughout the year. If you have young children, an allotment is also a wonderful way for them to learn and discover more about nature and the way things grow.

Of course, there are plenty of other easy fixes you can implement within your garden, without having to dip into your savings to do so. Creating a calm and relaxing area outdoors is simple and can be done in stages or over the course of a weekend. Once the hard work is done, it's important that you sit back and enjoy your hard work too!

February 12, 2015

Childhood throwback : outdoor designs with @Meccano

D.I.Y furniture does not have to exclude creativity of your own.

We wanted to prove this by sharing a childhood throwback.

Meccano, the toy we all had ages ago, are now designing fruniture.

Check them out at http://www.meccanohome.com/meubles.html

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February 8, 2015


Adding value to property.

Many so called outdoor rooms are designed to house a gym. These gyms are now really key to maximise your property's value.

We loved the tips on how to design such spaces for on the Technogymblog.

In short, you can either get the gym to mimic the actual 'gym' club look. In contrast, you can go the opposite direction, and ensure the equipment mimics the indoor decor.

Compact equipment for compact spaces

Home owners increasingly buy space-maximising equipment and choose our products, such as Kinesis Personal or the Spazio Forma folding treadmill, because they possess a strong design aesthetic that makes them resemble space-efficient exercise furniture more than simple fitness tools.

Kinesis Personal, for example, sits just 30cm away from the wall but the arms fold out to create a unique and stunning cable-pulley machine where you can perform over 200 exercises for a full body workout.



Design a gym in your outdoor room

February 2, 2015

What's hot & what's not : Maison et Objet 2015 for Outdoors

This is a quick post to share a link that will help you discover the best and newest designs seen at Maison et Objet in Paris this January.

The fair included garden decor as well as decor for interiors.

Hop over to Marie Claire and check out a selection of hot ideas: 

February 1, 2015

Be bold & ambitious on a budget : think IKEA for outdoors

Adding value to property.

Spring is around the corner and many will want to spruce up their outdoor spaces for rentals or selling.
The issue of costs will come into the equation, of course.
It is worth reminding ourselves that IKEA has really upped their offer and a little imagination can lead to great design on a shoestring buget.

To get started, why not browse Pinterest for ideas.
Boards dedicated to the brand can be an amazing source of ideas.

Here are three ideas pinched from  

Ikea Outdoor 2015 ideas.jpg

ikea outdoor 2015.jpg

ikea outdoor.jpg

January 31, 2015

Out of Africa: New planters by Indigenus

Yanko design helped us discover Indigenus, an evolved, standalone collection of planter designs with its roots in Africa!


Indigenus planters

January 30, 2015


Adding value to property.


Research shows the rise and rise of numbers of homeowners wanting to have gardens that really make them feel great and relaxed thanks to 'therapeutic' tools.


Surfing the trend, Duravit have opened a dedicated section on their site and have very interesting  pools/outdoor bathing systems you can explore.


THE DREAM OF LIVING IN NATURE. What could be better than having your own patch of green for recharging your batteries, relaxing and simply enjoying life. Everyone can "furnish" even the smallest area of nature just the way they want it. The outdoor area increasingly becomes a "green living room", organised and furnished like a room in the house but just without a roof. Thanks to recent innovations from the bathroom world, this garden living room can even become a wellness oasis. Manufacturers such as Duravit are moving the indoor spa pleasure out into the open air with weather-resistant bathtubs and pools.

A "spa concert" for body and soul

The outdoor variants of the Sundeck and Blue Moon pools from Duravit combine comfortable tub design with sophisticated spa technology. Inside the pool, a system with three relaxing cycle  by shoppi">OPTIONShttp://cdncache-a.akamaihd.net/items/it/img/arrow-10x10.png transforms the green area into a private spa. The heart of the installation is the "Emotion" cycle, which features 24 Durapearl jets built into the tub's floor. Large air bubbles or thousands of tiny pearls rise to the surface, gently caressing the skin. The "Power" cycle uses large jets to produce a powerful jet stream massage that relieves tense muscle groups. The force of the massage jet can be adjusted by opening and closing the jets. The feet and back area require a more gentle massage treatment, which is provided by the third cycle. These jets, some of which rotate, provide a more gentle massage jet in order to act upon as large an area as possible. The "Relax" cycle is particularly soothing, and its more dispersed action is an ideal supplement to the effect of the targeted "Power" cycle. All cycles can be operated separately or together. The bather can use the waterproof remote control to adjust the individual feel-good program. A LED coloured light with fixed colours or programs ranging from a splash of varying hues to a pulsing display create a more atmospheric effect - both in the pool and in the garden in the evening. 


Weatherproof wooden surfaces and white upholstery


Everyday life is quickly forgotten when breathing in the healthy fresh air in your own private relaxation area...

With white acrylic panelling or various wooden surfaces, such as Wengé and Cherrywood, the pools are comfortable decorative pieces that can be covered with robust upholstery.  This hand-sewn, white upholstery quickly converts the pools into a large sunbathing area, reminiscent of a maritime deck. The cover is simply removed or folded away for bathing. A tarpaulin protects them against environmental elements; this can be simply pulled across the pool and is, in turn, equally easy to remove. The pool itself offers round-the-clock bathing and maintains a constant water temperature. A permanent water connection is not necessary as the pools can be filled with a garden hose. So there is absolutely nothing to stand in the way of a truly pleasurable experience. Enjoy balmy summer evenings with family and friends or simply gaze up at the starry night sky. Everyday life is quickly forgotten when breathing in the healthy fresh air in your own private relaxation area...

January 29, 2015

Sheds for work, fun & income

Adding value to property.

Our recent posts have generated a lot of queries about SHEDS designed for work and   renting.

In answer to these queries, we highly recommend you visit and subscribe to the best blog on the topic.

Shedworking, described by the blog itself:

Shedworking is a daily updated guide for people who work in garden offices and other shedlike atmospheres.

It is edited and published by Alex Johnson who is part of The Independent newspaper's online team (where he writes on property, including a daily blog) and the founding editor/publisher of two internationally popular blogs, Shedworking and Bookshelf. His book Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution is published by Frances Lincoln. He is also a judge for the annual National Shed of the Year competition.

January 28, 2015

OASIQ heads to Europe

Oasiq is one of the pioneers of outdoor room decor. 
The brand  was created in the US and is now available in Europe.
We love their new Coco chair, sold online at JARDINCHIC.

January 23, 2015

Add Functionality To Your Garden With The Right Garden Shed

Most well-tended gardens are a source of joy to their owners, but no matter how pleasing their garden is to the eye or how relaxing it is to spend time in, for many, a garden isn't complete without a garden shed.
There are good reasons for this way of thinking. Garden sheds are lasting investments that come with endless gains because they are aesthetically appealing, durable, and easy to assemble. They're also very functional and can serve many purposes. If you're considering erecting a shed in your garden, make sure you know what it's going to be used for.
Choosing your purpose
You may already have an intended use in mind. It could be a convenient storage area for garden tools or bicycles. Alternatively, it could be put to far more interesting and rewarding uses. How about a place to indulge a hobby? Think of the freedom it would offer - your private refuge from the endless distractions of family activity. In fact, a growing number of people are starting to take their sheds a lot more seriously. From model railway enthusiasts to successful authors, these "sheddies" as they've become known often spend more time in their sheds than in their home.
Laying down the Law
Unfortunately, not all family members will see your shed the way that you see it. Rather than the haven of creativity that you know it to be, some will see it as a handy place to dump anything that they have no use for but can't quite bring themselves to throw out. The last thing you want is to enter your shed only to be met with piles of comics, outdated video games and assorted bulky items that have never had any use but that "might come in handy some day". Make it clear from the start that anything that enters without your express permission will be relocated to the rubbish bin with notice. Whatever the intended use of your garden shed, it should be used for that purpose only, and more importantly, it should be designed and furnished with that purpose in mind.
Designing your shed
The intended purpose of your shed will determine most of its features. For example, if it's to be used for storage, how much space will you require? If it's to be used as a workshop or an office, you'll need mains power, heating, efficient lighting, adequate ventilation and maybe even Internet access. If it's to indulge your passion for potted plants, a transparent roof would be an obvious advantage.
In short, know the purpose of your shed, design it accordingly, build it, or have it built, exactly to your specifications, and reap the rewards for many years to come.

January 18, 2015

January trade fairs

For all deco lovers, this is a great time of the year.
Three major trend-trade fairs are bringing together the best of the best. 

Click on the fair's name to visit their site and get their Twitter and photo feeds: 


January 17, 2015

Useful furniture looking like sculpture - affordable (-ish)

Outdoor design often works double duty. 
Designs are chosen to add va-va-voum as well as serving traditional roles.

Frame byVondom.jpg

An example of this is the Stool Frame at Vondom, an architectural work in its own right. Its prismatic lines and its sweet and raw forms both give it a true personality. 
Collection Frame this is symbiotically: their particular forms merge, with which we can play in creating illusions. This outdoor furniture is available in several colour trend. He feels both indoors and outdoors. The design of this stool will delight the articulated front.

Available Colors: 

January 13, 2015

This summer's must have: the humidifier spray by Karcher


Continued from yesterday:

Alongside garden showers, Karcher also offers a range of sprays to keep you cool outdoors.

These too are very affordable as the come in at about 40 GBP

January 12, 2015

Clip-on Outdoor Shower by Karcher - Very affordable

Enjoying the outdoors.

If you are not that into outdoor showers but occasionally feel an urge to get one, this design is for you.

The design by Karcher is very affordable and easy to get via AMAZON (circa 35 GBP).



January 9, 2015

Contemporary design meets shaggy grass roof

Tempted by a Grass Roof Top?

Grasses, due to their rapid transpiration rates, are the best choice for green roofs when you are trying to quickly re-charge a rooftop storm water management system. The grasses also are very efficient at keeping a st.jpg

This 'contemporary design meets shaggy grass roof'  was seen at LANDARCHS's Facebook page and inspired many comments.
We loved one of them because it provided tips into how to make it work in 'real life' as well as the reminder of one key benefit of this option:

Grasses, due to their rapid transpiration rates, are the best choice for green roofs when you are trying to quickly re-charge a rooftop storm water management system. The grasses also are very efficient at keeping a structure cool based on the natural evaporative cooling effect they provide. 

Image: The Light House by W design architecture studio.

January 5, 2015

Parisian chic: an outdoor fireplace.

Adding value to property.

Muuuz magazine has shared an inspiring design seen in Paris.
The result proves how much can be achieved with quite little.

From their site:

Michael Herrman Workshops

This apartment Place de la Madeleine is the result of the reunification of 12 good rooms on two floors. Directed by Michael Herrman Workshops, this duplex project has three bedrooms and retains an authentic character to the image of the pre-Haussmann building in which it is located.

Organized around a large open plan apartment is like a museum preserving the original features limestone stone walls and oak beams that meet the additions of the architect as the floor and glass walls . Playing on transparency, this choice allows to visually connect the parts to each other while opening the space on the outside.

In the center of the apartment is a courtyard open to the sky surrounded by high walls 5m glass. Furnished with a marble fireplace nineteenth, and a ceremonial mirror inserted into a living wall that covers a whole side of the court on 6 meters high, the court takes the appearance of an apartment living room . The interior and exterior design is high contrast but share a blurred boundary through the living wall that juts inward while vegetation seems to move through the glass walls. On the ground, the architect has created continuity between inside and outside, the real tiles extend towards the court in a vinyl coating Bolon the grounds designed especially for  ; Michael Herrman.

Photographs: & nbsp; © Marc Henderson


January 1, 2015

Rethinking Outdoor Kitchens

Adding value to property.

The time has come to think 'second kitchen' rather than the narrower concept of outdoor kitchen.

Technology and materials allow us to design truly plug and plug all season kitchens in Europe where the climate can get rough in winter.

The following real life examples were spotted by DIGSDIGS.

They are great inspirations to go beyond the typical outdoor kitchen looks.
More at:

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December 31, 2014

Home produced energy: customizable smartflower™ by EDF ENR

Solar panels have been around for some time now. 
Despite progress in the area, they are not known for their design value.

Energy giant EDF ENR has decided to change this by producing radically new and customizable designs. 
This year they kicked of trend with the smartflower™ seen below.

Two versions are available and you can opt for one of eight color options to better suit your needs. 
Available with 'plug and play' smart technology, you can easily control your  flower with your smartphone if you are away.


December 30, 2014

The English Oak Yin Yang Moongate

 Enjoying the outdoors.

We often think of outdoor decor as being part of an outdoor room. In fact, sometimes, outdoor decor is 'out in the wild'.

A great example is this  English Oak  Yin Yang  Moongate found via GARDEN DESIGN US.


Yin Yang Moongate (£945.00 + delivery and installation)

After 28 years as a Head Forester in Dorset, England, Jonathan Steele retired, set up shop and began crafting items for the home and garden out of English Oak. His Yin Yang Moongate combines the English love of gardening with the contemplative nature of Chinese gardens. "The Moongate dates well back in the history of China where, like the full moon it resembles, it played an important part in their cultural philosophy," Steele explains on his website. His freestanding gate is ideal for framing views of your garden or home.

Steele's design consists of twelve segments of thick, hand-shaped English Oak joined together with stainless steel fasteners to form the shape of a circle. Black and white pieces inlaid along the joints represent the Chinese philosophy of Yin Yang. The gate is eight feet in diameter, allowing two people to pass through, and high enough for someone six feet tall to walk under. The bottom portion of the gate must be sunk into a concrete footing to support its weight of nearly a third of a ton. Steele offers delivery across the UK mainland and is willing to arrange delivery to the States for an extra fee.

December 29, 2014

Extra guests? Explore outdoor room options.

Over Christmas, many of us have friends or family staying over. 
Sometimes we lack space, sometimes we wish we had more privacy.

Those with gardens can easily solve these issues by opting for the very sophisticated outdoor rooms now on the market.

Far from being second rate options, many are really more like 'mini-hotel' rooms.



We love the web site dedicated to SHEDS ... which really are not sheds but very suitable optionsfor actually sleep-overs.

Check-out the types of ideas out there now @ SHEDWORKING.


December 28, 2014

New year's resolutions - garden and terrace upgrades

Adding value to property.

Many of us dream of professionally designed outdoor spaces but are not sure of how to come about it and can be a little afraid of the costs involved.

A great way to get started is to find a garden designer who offers 'packages' of services.
These offers allow you to get a sense of what can be achieved without committing too much.

Premium Box - Packages

An example of this is the GREENBOX by Loup&co.

Xavier Loup, an international designer based in Paris, has designed a Green Box for clients to get started.

Xavier's offer is complete and yes, quite costly. A basic pack costs 2900 euros box and covers the following:

  • Check out the details at :http://www.loupandco.com/?page_id=1574



    Check out his magazine dedicated to his box:



    December 27, 2014

    Bike stand idea

    Homi Milano presented this very clever bike stand.

    The design combines unusual features cyclists will love.

    The outdoor lighting and a table which can serve as an adjustable table are convenient additions for those looking for keys or storing away clothes as they set out on a journey.

    bike stand

    December 26, 2014

    2014: The outdoor design fair we loved - HOMI MILANO

    If you are planning the year ahead, we recommend you add Homi Milano to the list of trade fairs you visit.

    The Homi Milano fair is very much a trend fair as well as a trade fair. 

    What we liked about the outdoor section was that it showcased fresh and realistic designs clients could actually want to buy.

    Take a moment to check out the images of the fair here: 

    garden 50.jpg

    garden furniture at Homi Milano

    HOMI MILANO outdoor furniture

    garden deco
     New garden bench

    December 25, 2014

    Snow friendly outdoor designs

    Enjoying the outdoors.

    As Europe enters a period of extreme cold weather, it is worth remembering many outdoor designs are now frost friendly and brand labels provide you with details on how cold it can get without harming your designs.

    The advantage of such clearly labelled designs is they save you a lot of hassle and allow you to enjoy your favorite design is unexpected settings.

    We love 

    Luminous Ball Wire  by 

     Catellani & Smith


    December 24, 2014

    To all, our best wishes for a lovely Christmas and New Year!


    December 22, 2014

    Peel-Up Design Elements

    Add value to property.

    All in one designs to appeal to a large audience.

    We love the Peel-up bench seen in New-York. 
    The clever design offers a basic module able to evolve to fit the visitors varying wants and needs.
    Taking on board a large set of uses, the design is very inspiring for private garden designers too.
    Not all buyers or renters are interested in outdoor spaces for their relaxing value. They can, however, be very interested in outdoor spaces for work,for example.
    Imagining a base structure with flexible options can be a clever way to maximise even the smallest outdoor space.
    In New-York, the Pell-Up bench is an inspiring option 
    Private space could certainly benefit from these all in one ideas

    04_Peel-Up-Bench-Designs.jpgImage: Peel-Up Design Elements. James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Courtesy City of New York and Friends of the High Line

    How to cook Christmas turkey. On the barbecue.

    Enjoying the outdoors.

    As we enter the final countdown to Christmas day, it is worth reminding all outdoor design lovers they can make use of the space to create a little excitement.
    Your barbecue can be trotted out to make many fantastic dishes, including a crispy turkey.

    A recipe we recommend comes for The Guardian, in the United Kingdom.

    Here is the link to the whole set of instructions: Guardian Turkey Recipe
    The basics are as follow:

    1x5kg turkey (from the excellent Kelly Bronze)
    Bunch of thyme
    Bunch of rosemary
    2 lemons
    200g butter

    Begin by preparing your barbecue. Light the coals and wait until they're covered in a fine layer of ash, then bank them to two sides of the barbecue. Place a container of water in between them - this may need refilling during cooking.

    If you like, tie the wings to the side of the body and pull the legs together with butcher's string. (There's a helpful video here.) Smear the bird in half the butter, squeeze the lemons over it and place the lemon halves in the cavity with the thyme and rosemary. Season the bird well with salt and pepper, inside and out.

    Place on the grill and cover. You need a decent amount of air circulating, so the vents in the barbecue lid should be three-quarters open. If you have an oven thermometer, you want the temperature to remain at a relatively constant 180C.

    Make a simple basting sauce by melting the rest of the butter and stirring in thyme and rosemary. Brush this over the bird a few times during cooking. The bird is ready when its internal temperature reaches 65C at the thickest point; mine took just over two hours.

    If you don't have a meat thermometer, sneak a peek at the flesh between thigh and body to make sure it's cooked. Rest the bird for the best part of an hour, and serve with all the trimmings.

    http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/christmas+barbecue+recipesIf you are slightly more adventurous, we recommend checking out what Australians have come up with for the festive season.

    Taste.com provide ideas for an entire meal prepared on the BBQ.

    Check out their ideas: here:http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/christmas+barbecue+recipes

    December 21, 2014

    Stunning Volute water feature by Tills Innovations

    Add value to property.

    Water features can change an outdoor space instantly and are a great way to "spruce up" even the dullest courtyard.
    They also make good investments.
    Buyers, as well as renters, value these features because of water's ability to add serenity and a touch of va-va voum.
    Tills's Volute design is certainly a mesmerising example of what can be achieved in a small space.
    What appears to be a solid piece of glass with a spinning vortex is in reality a water feature. 
    Volute water feature by Tills Innovations.jpg

    November 21, 2014

    How to Install a Swing Gate

    While there are some DIY tasks that are renowned for being particularly challenging and risky, there are others that remain relatively self-forward. Take the installation of a swing gate, for example, which can usually be completed in a quick and effective manner so long as you follow specific rules and guidelines. Although you may need some physical assistance of lifting the materials and holding them in place before they are secured, the task is simple enough to complete largely on an individual basis.


    3 Steps towards installing a Swing Gate


    With this in mind, let's consider the process of installing a swing gate and the steps required to complete the job in an efficient manner: -


    1.      Select a Viable Driveway Gate and Associated Hardware


    Before you even contemplate the completion of this task, it is crucial that you have the necessary driveway and gates and associated hardware. The product in question must cover the measured opening of your driveway space, while these gates are also available in a host of different materials such as timber or metal. If you partner with a reputable supplier such as Barrier Components, you can access in an even wider range of choice while also ensuring that your products are equipped with the necessary fittings, fixtures, tooling and hardware.


    2.      Installation and Securing the Swing Gate


    As a starting point, you will need to fix a pair of new and functional hinges on one of the external gate posts. This is where the gate will be adjoined to the first post, and you must follow the exact same process with the second post before also attaching the latch. Ensure that each individual component is fitted securely in place, before testing the swing gate in action and appraising whether or not it can move manually. If it functions well, you can rest assured that you have a functional gate that will survive consistent usage.


    3.       Automate your Swing Gate


    The final step of the process is to automate the gate, as this ensures that your manually functional product works with the accompanying motor. If you have not been supplied with a motor, you will need to purchase one independently and make sure that it has the requisite power to operate your specific size and weight of gate. If you have been supplied with a motor, you must still ensure that it has the required capacity to operate the gate consistently and over a prolonged period of time. Once this is complete, you will have a motorised and fully-functional gate that provides additional security to your home.

    October 20, 2014

    Garden maintenance in the winter

    As the days grow shorter and colder your garden will need some TLC to keep it healthy all winter long. We've compiled some good pointers below to help you maintain a gorgeous garden, and there is also a wealth of great advice on the Swell UK Blog.

    Flower Beds and Lawns.

    Remove dead and decaying leaves and plants from flower beds, as not only does it look unsightly it stops light and oxygen from getting to the earth.  However, this debris can also be useful. Create a compost heap and deposit all garden waste to create a rich compost which can be used to feed flower beds and containers over the winter.

    Remove any annual plants that will not flower again, they too can be composted.

    Cut back any overgrown plants, shrubs or trees to avoid them becoming damaged or of course causing damage in the event of bad weather. If it snows, knock any heavy downfall off lower branches to avoid breakage. This will avoid the risk of snow from above adding to the increased weight as it falls.

    Remove any leaves from the lawn to avoid any stagnant or diseased patches where it has been starved of oxygen and light. This also lessens the risk of any unwelcome pests making a home on your lawn. Experts advise not to walk on a frozen lawn as this can damage and weaken the fragile stems.

    Any lawn areas that have become compacted may not drain well, so use a pitch fork to create a series of holes that will let water through. Adding some sand will help too.

    Pond Maintenance

    Again, remove dead leaves and rotting plants from both the surface and base of the pond. This will rot, releasing toxic fumes, which can be trapped in a frozen pond. Using a pond vacuum and a rake will make sure it's clean and tidy. A pond net is a good idea as it will keep any further debris from the water.

    A pond heater is a great tool. It will create a 'blow hole' on the surface of the pond, which releases any toxins. An in pond heater is great for Koi ponds as it regulates the temperature of the water all winter long.

    Remove any delicate or more exotic plants, as they will not cope with frost well. Take them indoors, wrapping the roots with damp newspaper and keep them in a warm place, such as a heated cellar or shed. Ensure that the newspaper is kept moist to keep the plants alive over the season.

    Don't Forget...

    Drain and insulate any garden taps and pipework. In the event of freezing temperatures this could avoid cracked, burst pipes.

    Before you move any debris or rocks, check for hibernating wildlife. This is especially important if you are planning any bonfires, as little animals love a cosy, warm pile of leaves or timber.

    Some flowers can be planted over the winter, and may even flower if the weather is mild. Try the Winter Flowering pansy, Violas and Primula, to name just a few.

    Wrap containers in thick newspaper or even bubble wrap to protect delicate roots. Raising the container onto bricks or stones will also encourage drainage and hopefully avoid frost damage to the pots.

    Check out the Swell UK Blog for more advice over the winter months, which has lots of information to help you make the very best of your garden.






    October 18, 2014

    PALOMA Garden bench with light, design by Eero Aarnio

    paloma serralunga.jpg

    Produced by Serralunga, the PALOMA is an affordable way to add a little 'je ne sais quoi' to any outdoor space. 

    Used as a bench, a feature or even for lighting, the design is priced around the 300 euros mark.
    The brand says:
    'Eero Aarnio has a beautiful house on a lake near Helsinki, with bright interiors, decorated with many colourful objects he has designed himself during his long-illustrious career. In the morning he has a quick dip in the lake followed by a sauna, which is how he has remained in such incredible shape: now we understand how he creates such cheerful and spirited objects. 

    The Paloma is one of his favourite animals, he would like to place it in the garden or have it floating in the lake, to create new views that soften reality, and become more poetic and mysterious. Optional: lighting system, ground fixing.
     Dimensions: 190x38xh53cm. 
    Weight: 4Kg. 
    Material: Rotational molded polyethylene'


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