Tag Archives: hints and tips

Gardening jobs in May

Oh the joy of Spring. It makes my heart leap when I hear the song thrush singing in our walnut tree and wake up to a bright sunny day. Unfortunately it is still punishingly cold but if it’s bright I can almost live with it.

garden design Oakham

We have been out  in the garden doing a really thorough Spring clean. It’s so important to get on top of things now as it will save lots of work later in the season so here are my thoughts on jobs to complete this month.

 

Borders

  • Do a final tidy through of borders cutting back all the herbaceous plants you left with foliage on last winter. Weed where soil is light and crumbly.
  • Support taller herbaceous plants especially delphiniums and paeonie’s.
  • Prune flowering shrubs which have finished flowering. Walled trained shrubs and climbers like Jasmin, Akebia, Garrya and Lonicera which have got a bit out of hand can also be pruned now.

garden design Uppingham

Maintenance

  • Mulch, mulch and add more mulch – add well rotted horse manure together with the contents of my compost bin if you have it. Add a sprinkling of bone meal to established hedges – rake up any leaves and sprinkle on the soil at the base.
  • Hedges are hungry feeders so fertilising is really important to keep them healthy.
  • Keep turning the compost heap and adding fresh material. If you have access to manure (chicken or horse) add this in layers and it will help to get the composting process going.

DSCN7078 garden design stamford

Lawns

  • Your lawn should have had its first few cuts so you can start to set the blades a little lower – but go easy.
  • Renovate grass as neededDSCN4714 garden design rutland

Ponds

  • Clear ponds and begin to plant marginal pond plants. Leave cleared plants on the waters edge overnight to allow any creatures lurking in them to find their way back to the water.
  • No is a good time to plant up your pond including establishing water hyacinths and Pistia stratoites (water lettuce)

garden design Lincs DSCN7645

Think ahead

  • Plant up containers for summer and keep under cover until all frosts have gone
  • Sow annual flower and herb seeds.
  • Plant scented leaf pelargoniums (you will find some of my favourites at The Herb Nursery at Tistleton)
  • Plant out pot grown pumpkins, courgettes and cucumbers once frosts have passed. You can also sow Sun flowers now.

garden design Oakham

Don’t beat yourself up if the garden isn’t perfect – you have time yet.  I believe that every space can be comfortable, relaxed and beautiful without you feeling pressured to be perfect.  I would love to help you achieve your beautiful home and garden. If I can help with a home or garden project please give me a call. Alison: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland, Leicester, Nottingham and Northampton as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

Gardening jobs for April

No one can really believe it can they? The weather feels like it has changed for the better, but has it really. I’m ever the optimist so here are a few of the jobs I’ll be tackling in the garden this month.garden design Rutland

Potatoes

  • I should have done this last month but I’m only just getting around to chitting my potatoes! Put them into egg boxes in a cool bright place ready to plant later this month.

Borders

  • I’ll be doing a final tidy through the borders cutting back all the herbaceous plants I left last winter and weeding where soil is light and crumbly.

    The rose border in a garden I designed in Lincolnshire

    The rose border in a garden I designed in Lincolnshire

  • Support taller herbaceous plants especially delphiniums and paeonie’s

Maintenance

  • Mulch, mulch and add more mulch – I’ll be adding well rotted horse manure together with the contents of my compost bin. I’m also just in time to add a sprinkling of bone meal to established hedges – rake up any leaves and sprinkle the bone meal on the soil at the base. Hedges are hungry feeders so fertilising is really important to keep them healthy.
  • Turn the compost heap and begin to add fresh material. If you have access to manure (chicken or horse) add this in layers and it will help to get the composting process going.

Lawns

  • Your lawn should have had its first cut but remember to continue to set the blades quite high as you begin to get back on top of the lawn.
  • Renovate grass as needed – if like my lawn it is filled with moss you can use this to your advantage and rake it up to make decorations for the house. Wire bunches of moss and flowers (blossom, primroses, and newly emerging leaves) around a wire ring or heart. Keep them watered or spray every day and they will last for up to a week.
  • East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk

    Get your lawn ready for its first cut

Ponds

  • Clear ponds and begin to plant marginal pond plants. Leave cleared plants on the waters edge overnight to allow any creatures lurking in them to find their way back to the water.
  • Designing garden ponds can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your garden

    Designing garden ponds can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your garden

Think ahead

  • Plant up containers for summer and keep under cover until all frosts have gone
  • Sow annual flower and herb seeds.

Don’t beat yourself up if the garden isn’t perfect – you have time yet.  I believe that every space can be comfortable, relaxed and beautiful without you feeling pressured to be perfect.  I would love to help you achieve your beautiful home and garden. If I can help with a home or garden project please give me a call. Alison: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

 I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

How to add the finishing touches to a room

Adding the finishing touches to a room makes all the difference as I’m about to explain.

If the devil really is in the detail then interior and garden design are devil’s work! I’m a demon when it comes to getting things just right. I don’t go around re fluffing cushions every hour, I have a life and it’s just impractical, but I do like the details to be right. And it’s when it comes to finishing a room that I think details matter.

So often you run out of steam before you have added those finishing touches. Try to stay focussed and remember that a tiny bit of effort late on can really make your room sing. If you can tie the colour theme for your room to your accessories as well as your curtains or window dressing then the whole room works better.

Add a vase in a colour which picks up on the main colour of the curtain or chair fabric and it will draw the eye and pull the whole look together. This is true in the garden too, where repeat planting of the same species within a border draws the eye and makes the whole look more settled. I call these things the full stops. They’re the areas that your eye is drawn to and then stops at before moving on to take in the rest of the room or garden.

One of the easiest ways to finish a room is with a collection of contrasting cushions. Try to pick out one of the main colours within the room, from the carpet, walls, wallpaper or curtains. Contrast this with another colour which works equally well within the room and is present in smaller touches.

You might simply opt for a plain square cushion, but if you want to do something special think about a contrasting piped edge or a braid. An oblong cushion works well against the side of a sofa rather than at the back and box cushions are very popular at the moment as they give you the opportunity to use a contrasting fabric on the edges too.

Whatever you decide, be bold and enjoy the moment.

If you’re thinking of developing your home or garden this year and need a little help or guidance then please give me a call – I’m happy to come out to your home and offer advice and support from a single pair of curtains to the whole house and garden. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973 843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

Garden jobs for November

Now that the clocks have gone back it gets harder and harder to think about doing jobs in the garden. Take advantage of bright sunny mornings and do just a few key tasks to keep on top of jobs.

General tidy up

While the soil is still warm and damp, move and plant shrubs and herbaceous plants

Pull out sweet peas and beans remembering to leave roots in the soil to add nitrogen

Make sure you sweep up leaves from the lawn and borders or they’ll provide perfect places for slugs and snails to overwinter. This has been a bumper year  for slugs keeping on top of garden hygiene is all important.

Prepare the greenhouse for winter, clean the glass, bubble wrap if necessary, ensure your heater is in good working order.

Prepare for next Spring

 

Plant bulbs now to give you an impressive display next spring.  If you want a natural look, throw handfuls of bulbs directly onto the lawn or soil and plant them where they fall. In borders opt for large clumps of bulbs – you’ll get a much better display. I always plant tulip bulbs in groups of 5 or more – you’ll find that if you plant them in clumps of 12 – 15 tulip bulbs then it will allow enough for you to pick a few for a vase in the house next Spring without it being obvious.

Think about planting a new ornamental tree – now is the time to pick what you want to come bare root  once the season has started, usually towards the end of November. I still have my eye on a Liquid amber to add interest next Autumn but as I’ve been concentrating on the house this year I still need to find a space for it.

 

Now is the ideal time to plant Japanese yellow onion sets and garlic. My favourite garlic supplier is The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight. www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk

 

I‘ve also added some glass cloches over herbs which I’d like to pick through the winter, grown in this way herbs like parsley will provide you with fresh stems throughout the winter.

If you have a garden project in mind and need some garden design advice or help with planting then please get in touch. I work on garden design projects across Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northampton. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

 

 

Lacanche Range Cooker Demonstration

We are pleased to announce the first of our cookery demonstrations in our new show kitchenin Rutland. We will be hosting a Lacanche Cooker Demonstration in conjunction with C’est
Cheese the mistresses of cheese.

This is an exciting opportunity
for potential and existing Lacanche customers to sample first-hand the
versatility and performance of the range and the amazing things you can do with
cheese (hot and cold)

8.00 pm start in the Alison Hutchinson Design show kitchen for a relaxed and informal introduction to the
cookers and the creativity of cheese. Please ring to book a place, Tel: 01572 747318. We look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday 29th November 2012

Address: Alison Hutchinson Design, 12 Willoughby Road, Morcott,
Oakham, Rutland LE15 9DY

Garden Jobs to do in September

September

Monday definitely felt like a day of mists and mellow fruitfulness while today has been bright and sunny and unbelievably warm. The brood of House Martins next door has all left the nest and were flitting and diving across the sky yesterday catching bugs and trying out their wings. We had quite a collection on the telephone wires and some on the roof which kept tumbling and almost falling off before spreading their wings and remembering that they could fly.

 

It has been so nice you can spend the whole day in the garden if you have time (and your back is up to it)  so now is the time to catch up on jobs and get ahead for the Autumn.

Herbaceous borders

If you spotted some gaps in your borders and took photos to remind you of when and where the gaps appeared you are a step ahead. If not, plant pot grown asters, phlox and rudbeckia in the gaps now and they will have filled out for next summer.

Or sow hardy annuals directly into the borders in some freshly drilled soil. They will provide an early display next summer.

Begin to dry off large pots of tender plants such as agapanthus and fuchsias. We lost a lot of agapanthus last winter so ensure you dry pots well and set aside – it can be sitting with their toes in water rather than the cold that kills them.

Prune climbing roses cutting out the oldest stems at ground level. Tie in new growth as near horizontal as possible to encourage flower buds next year.

Buy Spring flowering bulbs – you can never have enough bulbs they brighten even the dullest day. I have stocks of tulips and alliums. Call or email for more information on my current favourite planting combinations. This is one of my client’s combinations from this year.

Plant new climbers, shrubs and evergreens while the soil is still warm.

Ponds

Now is the time to net your pond – not to stop the heron but to catch the leaves before they fall.

Vegetable garden

Keep harvesting courgettes or they will turn into marrows!

If you haven’t already done so lift your main crop potatoes

 Plant garlic bulbs, The Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight are one of the best around. Visit www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk

Add a fleece tunnel to keep the ground warm and sow winter salads. It’s amazing how easy it is and so delicious to pick a handful of fresh leaves for a sandwich in the depths of winter.

Plant new strawberries. A strawberry plant has about 3 years productive life so continually replanting the runners is the way to keep your patch productive year after year.

I like to clear the greenhouse and give it a thorough clean in September. I know I can leave plants outside for a night or two without them coming to harm so I empty everything, give it a thorough scrub and light a sulphur candle over night to disinfect the whole greenhouse.

If your garden is in need of some TLC then why not give me a call and let me come and advise on solutions. Or if you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland, Oundle and Northamptonshire as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

How do I choose Carpet?

It has been a few weeks since we completed work on our design build and renovation project in Rutland but due to the woodworm treatment we had to apply to the floor boards upstairs the carpets have not been able to be fitted… until now! Our post Olympic blues have been set aside as we are so thrilled to have carpets on the stairs and in the bedrooms! Just like the new caret smell (which I love but I know some clients don’t) which will wear off, so will the novelty so roll on the Paralympics.

I chose two different types of carpet. The bedroom carpet is a traditional woolen weave which will be fitted over an underlay. This is a classic look.

The stair carpet is made using a flat-weaving method which gives a distinctive texture. It too is an all wool carpet but the flat weave gives a look similar to natural floor coverings (sisal etc), but offering the warmth and practicality of a wool carpet. This carpet, as with all natural floor coverings, needs to be delivered to the place it is to be fitted a week prior to fitting to allow it to acclimatize to the conditions.

 

The staircase before the carpet is fitted

A roll of carpet ready for fitting

Fitting the underlay

 

 

The stair carpet being fitted

Choosing a carpet

Nothing compares to the soft, luxurious feeling of carpet under your feet. Carpeting provides a safe, comfortable spot for kids to play and may even reduce the risk of injury during a fall. Carpet requires a bit of extra maintenance compared to vinyl or tiles, but there’s simply no substitute in terms of sound absorption, warmth and overall comfort.

Wear and tear

There’s a lot to think about before you choose a carpet. Bear in mind how much wear it will get and how long it should last – a few months to sell your house, or years of teenagers tramping up and down the hallway?

Get the look

Before paying out for the latest fashionable colour or pattern, think about future decorating plans. Always take a sample home to see how the carpet might look with your décor, both in the day and at night with your lighting. You’ll also need to think about whether the width and pattern of the carpet will fit your room, including alcoves or bay windows. Carpet usually comes in 4 or 5 m widths. If you want to run the same carpet through multiple rooms think about the best way to lay it, whilst getting the most use of the relevant width, so that it runs the same way in each room

Decide on a budget

Deciding how much to spend is difficult, but you need to think about how well it will wear and how often you intend to replace it. And to get the best job it’s important to invest in good quality underlay and professional fitting.

If you have a interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

How to create a beautiful bathroom

Bathrooms can be dream spaces or terrible nightmares. They are usually amongt the smallest rooms in the house but are used more than any other. You often have a lot to squeeze into a very small space and they must work perfectly day in and day out. There is nothing more off-putting to buyers or guests than a grotty bathroom. Here are a few things to think about before starting a bathroom project.

The great thing about contemporary bathroom design is that you can mix and match your favourite pieces from a variety of suppliers’ ranges. Simply make sure you opt for a white suite with whites to match within the manufacturing ranges you choose. There is so much with which you can personalize a bathroom from the range you choose to the style of taps, the surfaces you opt for, exotic woods to marbles and metals, and the tiles you use.

Things to think about before you start….

Mood and budget – It’s important that you think about the style you want before you begin.  Visit showrooms to see what style you like and how they look ‘in the flesh’. Decide on the mood you want to create – cool and contemporary, warm and cosy, slick and masculine, opulent, retro Victorian or 20’s Art Deco? – and the budget you want to allocate to this re-design.

Who will use the bathroom? Will the whole family use this space or is it a chill out room for adults only? Does it need co-coordinating with a bedroom as in an en suite bathroom? For the family bathroom a degree of practicality is required in the design – storage will be a must as will durability, safety and ease of cleaning.

Layout – make sure you have the room dimensions with lots of detail. Draw up a scale plan so you can plot the size of the room, position of doors and windows, height of windowsills and radiators, toilet and pipe-work as well as current position of the sink and shower or bath. This is important as to move soil pipes is an expensive business so if you are going to move them you need to factor this into the budget.

Lighting – Lighting is all important and needs to play a dual role. For a relaxed atmosphere use dimmers for general lighting. Task lighting is more direct, brighter and placed where activities take place – i.e. shaving or putting on make-up. Plan what goes where and chose your fixtures accordingly. UK requirements stipulate that light fittings within 600mm of a bath or shower must have an IP rating of 65 whilst other lights at more than 600mm away must have an IP rating of 45. Lights must be operated by a pull cord or an outside switch rather than a light switch inside the bathroom. This is important to note as it will affect your entrance and how you access lighting when in the bathroom.

Storage – If you want to maintain an uncluttered look then storage is essential. A bathroom is a very private area and there are some things that are best stored away. A cupboard behind the main mirror takes little room and is extremely useful. Under sink cabinets are now very popular and are best raised slightly off the floor to keep them damp free.  

Heating and ventilation – A cold bathroom is no fun at all. Check whether your existing heating up to scratch, or do you need additional warmth? A heated towel rail is cost effective to run and can help to top up the heat but if you keep towels on it all the time this will limit the amount of heat it puts into the room. You might want to consider installing under floor heating in small spaces. I always recommend it in wet rooms where you want the floor to dry as quickly after use. You can make a design statement with contemporary radiators – they give you that wow factor as well as being useful. If you are going to use a large mirror you may want to consider installing heated pads on the reverse. These are wired in with the light switch and prevent the mirror misting up after a shower, many off the shelf mirrors and mirror cabinets now come with integrated lighting too. Remember that it is a local authority regulation to have external ventilation and I think installing an extractor fan is a must.

Fixtures and fittings – When you are planning a bathroom it is unlikely that you will be choosing fixtures and fittings all from the same manufacturer. There are no fast and hard rules about this, but do keep to the same style to keep the overall look elegant and coherent.

Always buy the best fixtures you can afford. Cheap taps are a false economy; they will soon start to drip. Good quality fixtures and fittings always add that “wow” factor, they also feel good to the touch.

Bath or shower? A bath is great for relaxing in, but a shower is invigorating. Think about the design of your shower: do you want exposed i.e. surface mounted or concealed mixer valves in your shower? Concealed mixer valves lend themselves to slick and contemporary rooms, whilst exposed bathroom furniture can become part of the “look” especially if it is modern or if you want to enhance the period feel of the bathroom to be in keeping with architectural detailing.

Fixed shower heads or wall mounted? You can have both with a diverter valve – this allows you to switch the water between the two. I’d always recommend this otherwise a fixed head shower is impossible to clean! Washing small children or washing your hair is easier with hand held shower heads. Fixed shower heads can also be enhanced with luxurious body jets if you have good water pressure!

So before you buy anything check your water pressure – a plumber can do this for you. Pressure is measured in bars and most homes will have a water pressure of 1-1.5 bars whilst hotels are nearer 3-4 bars. You may want to fit a pump as some of the new fixtures and fittings may only work with a higher pressure. Many come from mainland Europe where water pressure is higher so you need to check that it can be adapted to the UK standards and pipe sizes. Huge shower heads look fun but require an immense flow of water to operate properly, so bear this in mind before committing.

Finally think about the textures within the room and ensure the space isn’t all the same – add texture with tile finishes, taps, counter tops and accessories. And most of all have fun – this will probably be the first room you use every day so you want it to leave you feeling awake and ready for the day.

If you have a garden, interior or landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

Interior inspiration from Decorex

It’s amazing how a small amount of progress on the ground can spur you to thinking about all the finer points of interior decorating. I was inspired after my visit to Decorex on Monday.  Decorex is the UK’s show for architects and interior professionals where we all go to get inspiration, to see the latest interior trends and talk to new and existing suppliers.

The grounds of Chelsea Hospital are transformed with the installation of a large marquee and trade stands. We had a great day and met with many existing suppliers who were launching new editions to their already stunning interior selections. And found new suppliers with amazing things to offer.

Here are some of my favourites:

who could resist this London bus rug

 

 Getting lighting right can transform a room

Interior Lighting

I love this

wall treatments can be amazing

An alternative to a boring stair carpet

Add colour to your stairs with a runner

I went a bit dotty over these carpets and runners

A dotty runner

Choose paint colours with care to make the best use of your interior space

Paint colours of the world

 
For more of my inspiration,  or to dicsuss a project call Alison 01572 747318 or 07973843020.

what jobs should I do in the garden this month ? September

This is a glorious time in the garden but the work can’t stop – tidy up now and prepare for the year ahead and you’ll reap the benfits next year.  Gardeners seem to embrace the routine of garden work, after all it is the pattern which runs through the year and without which inspiration would falter and imagination stall.

Sculpture at Burghley House, in Stamford, provides inspiration

If you spotted some gaps in your borders and took photos to remind you of when and where the gaps appeared you are a step ahead. If not, plant pot grown asters, phlox and rudbeckia in the gaps now and they will have filled out for next summer.

Or sow hardy annuals directly into the borders in some freshly drilled soil. They will provide an early display next summer.

Begin to dry off large pots of tender plants such as agapanthus and fuchsias. We lost a lot of agapanthus last winter so ensure you dry pots well and set aside – it can be sitting with their toes in water rather than the cold that kills them.

Prune climbing roses cutting out the oldest stems at ground level. Tie in new growth as near horizontal as possible to encourage flower buds next year.

prune climbing roses now

Buy Spring flowering bulbs – you can never have enough bulbs they brighten even the dullest day. I have stocks of tulips and alliums. Call or email for more information on my current favourite planting combinations.

Add to your borders now to fill gaps next year

Plant new climbers, shrubs and evergreens while the soil is still warm.

Ponds

Now is the time to net your pond – not to stop the heron but to catch the leaves before they fall.

Vegetable garden

Keep harvesting courgettes. I made a fantastic courgette and lemon dish with dill and capers for vegetarians visiting us last night. I’m sorry to say the rest of our guests devoured a lot of meat (all local though!)

If you haven’t already done so lift your main crop potatoes

Add a fleece tunnel to keep the ground warm and sow winter salads. It’s amazing how easy it is and so delicious to pick a handful of fresh leaves for a sandwich in the depths of winter.

Plant new strawberries now to keep your patch productive

Plant new strawberries. A strawberry plant has about 3 years productive life so continually replanting is the way to keep your patch productive year after year.

I like to clear the greenhouse and give it a thorough clean in September. I know I can leave plants outside for a night or two without them coming to harm so I empty everything, give it a thorough scrub and light a sulphur candle over night to disinfect the whole greenhouse.