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Naturally inspired

Innovative landscaping and biophillic design

  • Making the right choices

    By Jemma
    May 6, '20 6:18 AM EST

    Garden installations that are better for the planet, and the pocket


    Everybody is aware of the lure of false economy, and sometimes, a cheap and quick fix can be all that’s needed. But when it comes to garden design, it’s often better to invest in the best quality that you can afford, to save yourself the expense of replacement or maintenance in the long run.

    Equally, ‘buy once’ products are usually much better for the environment. Durable products lessen the burden of manufacturing on the planet (you don’t need to buy twice), and they are often made with sustainability in mind, which lessens their overall environmental impact.

    So, if you can afford to opt for quality over price, here’s where to focus your spend when revamping your outdoor space:

    Furniture


    Budget buys often equal landfill by the end of the year. Plastic fades, cheap pine rots, and other lightweight materials just won’t survive any windy or rainy seasons that they are subjected to.

    If you are planning seating areas, think about whether you can build these structures into your overall design. Stone seating around a firepit, or decking with inbuilt seating, can be better than heading to the budget furniture shop for yet another outdoor dining set. You could also check out your local reclamation yard. Cast iron garden furniture sets are very much in vogue, and it would take a lot more than a British summer storm to destroy them!

    Fencing


    Fencing and fencing fittings can be very expensive, but it’s important to secure your boundaries, so you’ll want to ensure that the job is done right, first time.

    It goes without saying that budget pine systems and Ebay ‘simple-fix’ systems will probably not see you through many winters. And in order to keep them looking and performing well, you’ll need to invest a lot of time in painting and treating the wood. Our advice would be to look for pressure-treated woods or brands that are known for their handcrafted wares, such as Jacksons or Kebur. You might also want to engage a well-recommended carpenter via websites such as trustedtraders, which.com, trustpilot.com, or similar.

    Decking


    Decking is an area that should never be scrimped on, for many reasons, but mainly because cheap decking becomes an extreme health hazard every winter. Cheap softwoods have a tendency to rot, split and host algae, which makes most installations perilous, come November. Hardwoods are not as susceptible to these issues, but they incur a high environmental cost. 150 acres of the Amazon Rainforest (a key supplier of hardwoods used in projects such as decking) are lost every minute of every day, adding up to 78 million acres lost every year!

    If you can afford better options, choose a product like Millboard decking. Not only does the product need minimal maintenance, but the company also became the first premium outdoor flooring product to have its carbon footprint independently verified. An excellent product backed by an ethically minded company — the perfect combination.

    Subframes


    The enemy of enduring garden structures, such as decking, gazebos, seating areas and cladded walls, is poor subframe systems.

    New and innovative products, such as DuoSpan and Duolift, are designed to counter both environmental concerns and maintenance issues. DuoSpan provides the perfect subframe for Millboard decking (see above) and is also a universal support system for other types of outdoor flooring, cladding and more ambitious outdoor constructions.

    The intuitive system is precision engineered for durability and design versatility, and it’s made from 100% recycled plastic and 100% recyclable aluminium for eco peace of mind.

    Trees and plants


    Many landscape designers learn the hard way that big multi-nationals might offer cheap prices and wide ranges, but their plants and trees often arrive in a less-than-healthy state and never fully recover or flourish.

    As a rule of thumb, it’s better to develop relationships with your local, privately-owned garden centres. Not only does this aid the sustainability of your local economy, but it means that you can get full information on any purchasing decisions, and you can see the items before buying. Local garden centres are often staffed by enthusiasts too, and they generally don’t mind giving you any aftercare advice that you might need.

    Designing a garden should be an exciting process, and shouldn’t be hampered by reservations over whether products will stay the course or damage the planet. So, although everybody’s budget is different, it’s a good idea to recognise the benefits of investing in the best quality you can afford. By choosing local, ethical and recycled materials, you’ll choose once, and choose best.

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  • Online CPD: the solution to your #WFH learning challenges

    By Jemma
    Apr 6, '20 5:24 AM EST

    The current climate has made it tricky for any of us to stick to our spring CPD plans. As education centres and workshops close across the country, it’s important that architects find alternative ways to keep their subject knowledge up to speed. Many of the points that you need in order to... View full entry



  • Painted floors - it's officially a trend!

    By Jemma
    Mar 24, '20 10:24 AM EST

    If you’re an avid home décor magazine fiend, or if you spend your evenings checking out #InteriorDesign on Instagram, you will have noticed painted floors exploding in popularity. Painted floors make a lot of sense on a number of levels. You can lift your room in a budget-friendly way, express... View full entry



  • Top three biophilic designs

    By Jemma
    Feb 13, '20 7:53 AM EST

    Biophilic design is now a mainstay of contemporary architecture and, as we learn more about the benefits, we’ll likely see more buildings that embrace the curves and idiosyncrasies of the natural world. It’s now understood that by incorporating natural elements (such as planting, organic... View full entry



  • Spring trend: warm colours

    By Jemma
    Jan 21, '20 7:22 AM EST

    Nobody with an eye on the design world could fail to notice the major shift in favoured colour palettes. 2020 marks the definitive end to all-grey colour schemes. The soothing and clean tones of dove, pewter and the iconic Elephant’s Breath still retain their place, but the most exciting... View full entry



  • The value of landscaping: Britain’s green goldmine

    By Jemma
    Dec 4, '19 7:17 AM EST

    New House Country Hotel in Cardiff strikes the right balance between relaxed and manicuredOxford University’s recent report summarising the value of British landscaping contained some impressive facts and figures. Not only does the sector contribute £24.2 billion to the national GDP annually... View full entry



  • Rethinking eco-design: responding to the plastics crisis

    By Jemma
    Nov 11, '19 7:55 AM EST

    It’s fair to say that plastic use is rapidly falling out of fashion. Thanks to David Attenborough’s Blue Planet documentary series, the Climate Extinction movement, and Greta Thunberg’s individual activism, we’ve all started thinking about how we can individually reduce our reliance on... View full entry



  • MILLBOARD LAUNCHES POWERFUL NEW OUTDOOR DESIGN HUB FOR ARCHITECTS AND LANDSCAPERS

    By Jemma
    Oct 21, '19 5:41 AM EST

    Millboard has launched a brand-new informative resource for professional landscapers, architects, interior designers and master builders. This Hub of educational materials is entirely free and provides a single source for desktop learning, covering a broad range of useful and up-do-date... View full entry



  • Forté Timber Interiors celebrates eighteen months as New Zealand’s exclusive Millboard distributor

    By Jemma
    Sep 16, '19 9:56 AM EST

    forté timber interiors, based in Auckland, is celebrating eighteen months of being the exclusive New Zealand distributor of millboard decking, a premium British outdoor flooring solution. Forté operates in 13 locations across the country. The staff say that they are thrilled to have marked one... View full entry



  • First ‘carbon-positive home-builder’ wins big at the Better Society Awards 2019

    By Jemma
    Aug 12, '19 10:31 AM EST

    The Berkeley Group is celebrating after picking up the much-coveted ‘Carbon Reduction of the Year’ award at the prestigious Better Society Awards. The development giant has worked hard over the past couple of years to ensure that their builds set a new standard for architectural and... View full entry



  • Homeowners bring the tropics to the UK!

    By Jemma
    Jul 23, '19 6:35 AM EST

    The summer is now in full swing as the schools have broken up and a reported heatwave is predicted to smash all records later on in the week. As the mercury tips into the 30s (wow), it’s easy to envy people who’ve managed to achieve impressive feats with their garden spaces – what I’d... View full entry



  • A brief look at 20th century garden design

    By Jemma
    Jun 20, '19 10:53 AM EST

    Garden design is a fascinating area of culture and personal expression. From the Edwardian period to the end of the 20th Century, the British have worked and reworked their outdoor spaces to display wealth, create areas for relaxation or, quite simply, to grow food. Millboard's Brushed Basalt in a... View full entry



  • Review of Millboard decking

    By Jemma
    May 20, '19 5:09 AM EST

    "....A natural look also distinguishes the robust solid floorboards from Millboard . The grain of the surface, modeled on real wood patterns, is hand-colored with bleach- and UV-resistant pigments, so that it preserves its color brilliance for many years. Millboard is dimensionally stable and... View full entry



  • Millboard London Design Hub to open in Clerkenwell @Millboard_UK @CDWfestival

    By Jemma
    May 20, '19 4:50 AM EST

    Premium decking manufacturer Millboard is to open an exciting new design centre on Clerkenwell’s Goswell Road. The luxury outdoor flooring business will be opening its doors on Tuesday 21st May.The Millboard London Design Hub will display the company’s leading-edge range of decking and also... View full entry



  • Outdoor spaces: Basic Spring Maintenance

    By Jemma
    Mar 25, '19 7:49 AM EST

    With the longer evenings and the warming skies, summer will be upon us before we know it. Gardens can look a bit intimidating at this time of year but getting them shipshape doesn’t have to be a chore. Here's my list of essential garden tasks to give your garden an April boost and to provide a... View full entry



  • A breathtaking outdoor urban room!

    By Jemma
    Feb 25, '19 6:58 AM EST

    This stunning Redcliffe residence in Chelsea, London, is a prime example of maximised outdoor space. Ensconced in an exclusive square, the owners have embraced luxe finishes and high spec features to create an enduring and lavish retreat. The terrace includes a firepit, infrared heating, show... View full entry



  • Pro Landscaper Magazine’s Business Award shortlist announced!

    By Jemma
    Feb 5, '19 10:35 AM EST

    Pro Landscaper Magazine, the leading news source for the landscaping community, has released its 2019 shortlist for its prestigious annual award ceremony. The awards celebrate the excellent standards set across the industry in design, manufacture and supply. The ceremony will take place on Friday... View full entry



  • MVRDV announce plans to convert office complex in Amsterdam into stunning nature-inspired neighbourhood

    By Jemma
    Jan 23, '19 10:49 AM EST

    MVRDV’s company approach is to ‘enable cities and landscapes to develop towards a better future’ and their latest Amsterdam-based project fully embraces this ethos. Their plans to convert an isolated office complex into a lively residential neighbourhood containing 750 homes, will breathe... View full entry



  • The most inspiring workplaces that incorporate nature

    By Jemma
    Dec 21, '18 6:19 AM EST

    The phrase ‘the office’ used to be synonymous with broken photocopiers, magnolia walls and neglected spider plants but over the past two decades, architects have re-imagined the potential of these commercial hubs. From Air BnB’s ‘Irish Bar’ layout, to Cisco System’s on-site health... View full entry



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About this Blog

This blog covers the most energising and restorative landscaping, biophillic architecture and perma-culture projects taking place across the world! I'm interested in how we incorporate nature into our environments, particularly urban environments. As we progress into the twenty-first century, we appear to be moving ever-further from the futuristic aesthetic that our predecessors imagined back in the mid-century. This blog looks at the methods and psychology of natural influence.

Authored by:

  • Jemma

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