The therapeutic benefits of garden water features

Water has always played a huge role in our lives. Water is considered the elixir and source of life. It covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, makes up nearly 70% of our bodies, and constitutes over 70% of our heart and brains. Research has shown that when we are near water, this deep biological connection triggers an immediate response in our brains. In fact, the sight and sound of water can induce a flood of positive neurochemicals that promote wellness by increasing blood flow to the brain and heart, inducing relaxation.

Researchers, city planners, and governments want to put this knowledge to practical use, turning water into a tool to promote community health.  The European Union in 2016 initiated Blue Health.  The four-year cross-disciplinary research project examines the effects of aquatic environments on body and mind, with the goal of exploring the best ways to use water to improve the well-being of people in busy cities.

Mood board 5.png

Historically, elaborate water features were often associated with stately homes or public spaces, created as statements features. But they are not just for grand spaces , they can be a way of expressing your personality and choosing something special, personalising your garden space providing you with years of pleasure.

 Water adds a touch of magic to gardens, a presence and sound that has the power to calm and soothe. Nothing beats relaxing beside a pool of glistening water at the end of a working day – with glass in hand. Whatever type of water feature you choose to install they can be easily adapted to suit the space, style of garden and its surroundings.

 Many people only think about choosing a garden sculpture or water feature when they redesign their garden, but there is no reason why you cannot create an area in your existing garden or patio.

Tips for installing a successful water feature in a small garden

The key is in the planning. Site and situation are important factors to consider:

Where will the feature be sited?
Full sun and eddying winds can have a dramatically negative effect on maintaining regular water levels in a pond or water feature. A site not too hot and one where the wind doesn't billow are ideal.

Mood board 6.png

Is it possible to get electricity and water to that point easily?
Always employ a skilled tradesperson to undertake the installation for you or opt for a solar powered feature.

Will the feature be a stand-alone creation?
A bold keystone of the garden as a whole, or will it gently enhance the scheme in a more naturalistic manner?

What will the material be?
Can you take any reference for this from the immediate surroundings? Metal, slate, stone or simply just water?

How much maintenance is involved?
Unfortunately water is not maintenance-free and often not even low maintenance, but an automated top-up that regulates the water level over the pump means that manual topping up of water levels isn't required quite so often. A small recirculating feature in a warm city garden could need topping up every day in summer.

Is the water feature child-proof or can it be made so?
Recirculating features where there is no access to open water are safer. Open areas of water can be protected with a metal grid immediately below the surface.

Are you feeling inspired to try this in your home? Whether you are planning a new garden design or are thinking about your current outdoor space, these tips can help you add your own little oasis of calm.

Sizzling summer – hot trends from this year’s House and Garden Festival 2019

The 2019 London House and Garden Festival brought together three key home and lifestyle events, House Fair and Grow London, Spirit of Summer Fair and The Art and Antiques Fair, Olympia (19 - 28 June). Each event offered an eclectic range of products from antiques to contemporary art, with a focus on craftsmanship, quality, design, interior and garden trends as well as luxury lifestyle.

 If you didn’t have time to visit you can still find armchair inspiration from our stunning selected pieces which we have put together for you below. Whatever your budget from high street chic to bespoke furniture or collectable art there is something for everyone.

Be inspired, and create your own personalised room set however large or small your space. From outdoor garden ideas to colourful interior trends, add a personalised lifestyle touch to your home and celebrate summer living.

House Fair & Grow London

 If the interior or exterior of your home is in need of a refresh, then HOUSE & GROW was the place to head to. With an unmissable line up of interior design brands, and a varied array of lighting solutions, together with high-end design products, including luxury textiles, furniture, flooring and ceramics, as well as numerous kitchen and bathroom ideas.

 Spirit of Summer Fair

 Spirit of Summer brought together a vast array of independent boutiques and designer brands selling everything from jewellery and children’s clothing, to hand-crafted products and one-off pieces not found on the high street.

 The Art & Antiques Fair

One of London’s longest running art and antiques fair, where all content is vetted to guarantee quality and originality. You could buy with confidence from 160 leading British and international art galleries and antique dealers. Discovering an inspirational array of furniture, art, sculpture, decorative pieces and jewellery from a wide range of periods and styles – there is a piece for every room.

 

From the archives…. 

This spring we visited three important design shows in London; Mary Quant, Chelsea Flower Show and Clerkenwell Design. Each show has its own unique look, but with a contemporary throwback to bygone eras. Inspirations from the swinging 60’s and groovy 70’s reflect the popular adage that good design never goes out of fashion, which is ever-more evident from the latest interior and garden design trends.

Sweeping bell bottoms, hippies with flowers in their hair and groovy disco moves take us back to a time when the internet didn’t yet exist and people had to stand up and leave their seats in order to change the TV channel.

The 60s and 70s were a time of experimentation, and the younger generation paved the way for a new design freedom. This revolution spread throughout the arts from fashion and interiors to architecture and music.

One of the hallmarks of the 60s and 70s interior design was the explosion of bold warm colours, including striking red and orange. These colours were often fused together to create a very strong atmosphere, one that inspired conversation and activity. Warm colours were often paired with neutral earthy shades such as beige or off-white, especially on the walls and furniture.

Much like fashion, interior design, colours, furniture, patterns, and gardens change to reflect the styles of the time. And just like the ‘little black dress’, there are some great time pieces worth investing in which will always hold their value and look as good tomorrow as they do today.

Furniture design in the 60s and 70s was a mixture of Bauhaus influenced rectilinear shapes and softer rounded, curved furniture, including sofas, chairs, coffee tables and beds. Timeless furnishings include pieces by well-known designers such as Ray and Charles Eames, Le Corbusier and Verner Panton, the influential Danish designer who all still have their work in production today.  Current contemporary designers such Tom Dixon, Sacha Lakic for Roche Bobois, Santorus and Porto Romano, bring a modern take to furniture and lighting design.

Geometric lines

Geometric patterns were often introduced to balance the rounded elements of a room and these can be incorporated into any part of the design, including occasional side tables, shelving, screens and bookcases. There is a strong revival of bold prints and geometric patterns in fabrics, furnishings and wallcoverings. A design with true staying power, geometrics are an ever-popular choice for the home, regularly featured in high street brand’s and couture collections year on year. From the fabulously contemporary to classically traditional, these patterns traverse the ages and you’re just as likely to find a geometric print inspired by ancient Greek patterns as you are the sharp futuristic lines of the 21stcentury.

Artwork

Artwork also reflects fashion and trends. Photography in particular is a good investment and doesn’t have to break the bank. Look out for limited editions and classic images, by collectable names such as Slim Aarons or dig out pieces that tell a story, from a cherished  photograph of your childhood to a family momento. Artwork makes experimenting with room design simple as it is easy to move around.

 Space travel

This was the era when the first men landed on the moon and space travel captured the imagination of the general public. Science fiction concepts popularised interior design ideas, such as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey, James Bond and other sci-fi films which in turn influenced how people decorated their homes.

You can bring the unmistakable style of that era into your home today with contemporary retro ideas. Incorporating old and new can give your home a unique look that’s still contemporary but with a nod to the past, making it look original and creative. 

NATURE REVISITED

Bringing the outside in. Connecting with nature in the home 

It is well documented that being around nature can improve happiness and well-being, and incorporating nature related themes within the home can provide enjoyment all year-round. No matter where we live, the list of innovative and attainable ways to invite the outdoors in, is expansive: From living walls and natural materials to hammock beds, feature windows and structural glass walls.

Refresh and restore

In addition to its aesthetic qualities, researchers have revealed that exposure to nature can benefit our mental health, including decreasing stress and relieving anxiety and depression.

Natural environments have restorative properties that are especially beneficial in today’s information-overloaded world. When we engage with nature, whether by walking in it, tending to it, or simply gazing at it, our biological system gets to rest and restore itself.

An extension of nature

Some innovative architectural approaches include building designs around existing natural elements such as trees and streams.

Other more practical approaches can include incorporating a full wall of folding glass doors, or simply replacing an existing door or window with a larger one. This is an effective way to invite the outdoors in, not only because it floods the inside space with natural light, but it also provides a seamless transition between the two spaces.