Posts made in November, 2016

All the World’s a Stage: Theatrical Design as Garden Inspiration

Stage set designers have an interesting job: they need to create a flexible, life-size diorama in a very limited space, and figure out ways to make it as changeable as possible while still conveying a strong message. This is no easy task, and the best set designers study for years or even decades before they’re able to take charge of a production of their own.

When you think about it, though, a garden is a little like a stage set. It’s a fixed amount of workable space that’s limited but usually quite open; there’s a lot you can do with it, but you also need it to be flexible enough to fit several different purposes and hardy enough to deal with a variety of weather conditions.

There are four basic principles of stage set design—and each of them are applicable to garden design in different ways.

COLOUR: temperature, variation and frequency

Theatre designers work with the lighting techs to use colour to convey meaning, emotion and tone. Humans interpret colour in a wide variety of ways–and the colours you choose for your garden will make a huge difference to the way that garden feels as a space to spend time in. You have two main options when deciding on colours for your garden: you can stick with a few main ones as a ‘theme’, or you can turn the space into a giant mish-mash of every hue imaginable–which is a statement in and of itself!

It’s a good idea for most gardens to pick a general colour temperature–warm colours or cool colours–and to stick to hues largely inside that range. Work in colour wherever you can; there’s less to worry about from clashing outside than there is inside, and unlike with an indoor room the more you’ve got going on the more coherent your space will generally feel.

COMPOSITION: how your garden’s elements are arranged

Most gardens are made up of three basic elements: the patio or deck, the lawn and some flowerbeds. Your task is to arrange those three elements in an interesting and unexpected way. You can layer and interleave them into each other (a lawn that leads back up onto a second deck can be very effective, for example), or you can block them out entirely separately but look to make them into interesting shapes. Curved lines at the borders of different areas is a great idea, as it really adds a feeling of thoughtfulness to the way everything is laid out.

A good set designer can create the entire world (and beyond) out of nothing but flats, cutouts, platforms, wagons, turntables and drops–all theatrical terms describing things that are mostly essentially differently-shaped bits of plywood. Your garden’s elements are a little more complex than that, and they have to convey a lot less–all you need to do is figure out where they’re all going to go.

LINE: the direction in which the eye is drawn

Imagine that you were standing and looking at your garden out of each of your windows in turn. What do you see? Where are you first compelled to look? Switch your point of view to your back door, your decking, the far end of the lawn; what can you see now?

Good design relies on your remembering that the space will look different when viewed from different angles. Theatre designers mostly only have one angle to worry about–but they still need to ensure that the people looking from there have their attention captured and drawn to the correct place.

SHAPE: positive and negative space creating gardens within gardens

Using varying shapes is vital if you want to create any sense of space and variety within a single stage set–or within a single garden. Essentially, you create shape by using line and composition; a curved line of potted plants around a table delineate a little breakfasting area that feels somehow separate from the painted patch of decking squared off by an outdoor toybox and ready for the kids. A curved flowerbed splits lawn from decking and allows you to feel as though you’re stepping down into nature. Working with shape can help you create a sense of variety in even the smallest of gardens!

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Why You Should Hire a Professional For Your Drilling Project

If you are in need of drilling on your property, such as for new wiring or piping, it is highly recommended that you hire a professional to handle this for you. While you might be able to get instructions on doing the drilling yourself, this can be risky and cause even more costly issues. Here are some reasons to hire a professional for your drilling needs.

They Know How to Find Current Utilities

Unless you are building a house from the ground up, it probably already has some utilities underground. You need to be very careful not to hit any wires or pipes currently installed when you are drilling. Even if you have a general idea of where they are, one hit to a sewer pipe could mean a massive plumbing problem not just for you, but for your neighbours as well. Professionals have tools that help them find utilities and avoid them successfully.

Professional Contractors Are Insured

While you might have health insurance coverage that will cover any physical injuries you get while drilling, do you have enough property coverage if you hit a utility or cause other damage to your property or home’s structure? Chances are, your homeowner’s insurance isn’t going to cover something you did during a DIY drilling project. However, if you hire a professional contractor, they will have insurance to cover any incidents that might occur.

They Can Get it Done More Quickly

Not only will hiring a contractor allow you to enjoy time with your family or get work done while they work, but they can usually get it done faster. They don’t have to triple-check the instructions to make sure it is being done right or spend time renting tools and equipment. The job will be done quickly and efficiently, which is well worth the money spent.

You Might Save Money in the Long Run

If you are considering doing the drilling yourself just to save money, you should take a moment to really calculate all of the costs involved with this type of DIY project. Not only do you need the necessary tools and equipment, but you also need to factor in the time it takes and whether that takes away from your job, what it would cost if you made a mistake, and the risk of injury and how much those injuries would cost you. There is a lot more involved in drilling than you might imagine, and it is usually not cost-effective to turn into a DIY project.

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How to make your driveway look more presentable

Most property owners put a lot of effort into maintaining their home interiors; however, very few invest as much time and money into caring for the outside of their houses. The driveway, in particular, tends to be overlooked by many people. However, a thoughtfully-decorated and well-cared for driveway can enhance your property’s appearance and potentially even increase its value by boosting its kerb appeal. Read on for some tips on how to make yours look more presentable.

Install lighting

Installing lighting on and around your driveway is a great way to not only make this area of your home look more appealing, but also to make it safer to use; on dark evenings it’s far easier for car owners to safely navigate a driveway if it is well-lit, without accidentally bumping into walls, garden ornaments or fences.

There are several different types of lighting that can be used in this part of a property. Ground lights are one of the most budget-friendly options and are ideal for those who want to subtly illuminate their driveway. This form of lighting doesn’t produce any glare, but simply adds a soft glow to the ground. Whilst they are usually quite inexpensive, ground lights may need to be installed by a professional contractor.  

If you want a more visibly striking form of driveway lighting, you may want to purchase some post lights; they produce a diffused glow which will brighten up even the dreariest-looking driveway.  

They’re a great choice if you wish to inject some personality into your property exterior. Post lights are available in several different sizes, shapes and colours, which means that it should be quite easy to find ones that blend in with the style of your home. Traditional wrought iron models are a fantastic choice for anyone who own a character property or those who simply want to add some old-world charm to their driveway. If you choose to invest in these lights, you will need to hire a qualified electrician to install them.

Have the driveway repaired or resurfaced

Most driveways are made from either asphalt or concrete, with the latter being a particularly popular choice. Whilst both of these materials are quite durable, they will eventually start to show signs of wear and tear.  Fluctuations in temperature and the passage of time can cause several different types of problems, including cracks, holes and scaling.

This type of damage can be very unsightly, and may detract from the general appearance of your property exterior. Asphalt and concrete driveways with minor cracks can usually be patched up using mortar or epoxy resins. However, if the driveway has been left unrepaired for some time and the damage is extensive, it may be worth having it resurfaced. This is not as costly as you might think and can completely transform the look of your property’s exterior. 

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