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Open Plan Living – the Dominant Design Trend Rendering Walls Redundant

open plan living

Some say it's had its peak, but open plan designs are still staggeringly popular. Luke Rix-Standing ponders the appeal of blurring room boundaries.

There are exceptions to every rule, but we’d guess the phrase ‘open plan’ mostly conjures images of a modern, minimalist apartment in whitewashed monochrome, dotted with oddly-shaped furniture from the darkest corners of IKEA. Or, depending on your profession, a vast integrated office space filled with shoulder-high plastic partitioning.

In reality, ‘open plan’ can be a slightly trickier concept to pin down.

“In the simplest terms, it’s a connection between the living room, dining room and kitchen,” says Charles Bettes, managing director of London architecture firm gpad (gpadlondonltd.com), “linking together those three primary functions.”

In pictures and catalogues, you’ll sometimes see open plan bedrooms thrown into the mix, but Bettes says this is usually more aesthetic than practical.

open plan living

“They’re cool spaces and they look really great, but open plan bedrooms are rare,” he observes. “They don’t provide even that basic level of privacy.”

At the extreme end of the open plan scale lies the studio apartment – an NYC staple with just one main room plus a (probably tiny) bathroom. Rarely a stylistic choice, it’s often not a brilliant ambassador for the possibilities of open plan design though.

open plan living

Why would you choose open plan?

Open plan is not for everyone – the lack of privacy might start to grate when the in-laws come to stay, your son takes up weightlifting, or your daughter starts playing the drums. But there’s a reason it’s cantered to the cutting edge of interior design.

First and foremost, open plan arrangements almost always maximise natural light. One glass-panelled wall or set of glass doors can do the job of several rooms worth of windows if unhindered by walls or doors.

Secondly, it encourages social living. An open plan home doesn’t split people into separate spaces, and you can often at least see your loved ones, even if you’re all doing different things.

open plan living

Thirdly, though open plan is often associated with cavernous apartment buildings and sprawling office floors, town and city-dwellers are increasingly using open plan designs to maximise efficiency in smaller spaces.

“In the city, space is at such a premium that the houses and flats we’re designing are getting smaller all the time, and tiny pockets of space can feel quite claustrophobic,” says Bettes. “By opening those spaces up, the whole thing feels larger.”

On one level it’s common sense – if your kitchen and dining table are in the same space, that’s two rooms taken care of in one.

Finally – and you may think this doesn’t affect you but it probably does – open plan living is thoroughly in vogue. Open any magazine, glance at an appropriate billboard, and you’ll frequently see homes that are airy, fluid, high on light and low on masonry.

“A lot of it comes down to fashion,” says Bettes, “and I think a lot of people desire open plan because it gets talked about a lot.”

open plan living

How do you make open plan work?

Open plan design can look sleek, spacious and ultra-modern – or it can seem cluttered, invasive and incoherent. The key, says Bettes, is to strike the perfect balance between fluidity and separation.

“There doesn’t have to be one big rectangular space,” he says. “You could have large doors that fold back, or sliding doors that you can have open during the day or when you have people round. You can use glazed partitions – providing a visual link to other rooms – or curtains that you can pull across to create more intimate spaces.”

You’re looking to create three distinct spaces which are separate without being disconnected – retaining a sense of fluid flexibility without messily merging them into one. Consider the potential of waist or shoulder-high partitions, or doorway-like arches that clearly demarcate your space.

open plan living

Link rooms together with design aspects like colour and material. “Different colours can look nicely contemporary, but can also look quite stark,” says Bettes. “You can’t have one red room, one blue room.”

Sharing wall colour avoids any undesired clashes, while laying down universal flooring links rooms together with one foundational surface.

For most people, open plan is a choice – new builds, redevelopments, moving homes etc – but be aware that it may not be so simple if you live in, for example, a Victorian town house. You can start knocking down the walls, but, even with the right planning permissions, it gets very pricey, very fast.

open plan living

The new normal or a passing trend?

Some architects have argued that open plan living might have already peaked, and that in the coming years more conventional floor plans will once again prevail.

“Five years ago, everyone wanted to be open plan,” says Bettes, “but there’s just a feeling it might go back the other way.

“A key driver is iPads and other devices – traditionally families gather around TV screens, but now people are finding smaller pockets of space to watch things individually.”

Whether or not these predictions pan out, the open plan revolution has changed the new generation – at least in urban areas. A recent survey on home preferences by L&Q development The Gateway, found that only 14% of London’s millennials would consider a separate dining room a priority.

We may yet head back to separate rooms, but who’s to say they’ll be the same ones.

open plan living

What is Horticultural Therapy and Who can Benefit from it?

garden therapy

Studies have found that gardening and garden environments can offer a host of physical and mental health benefits. Hannah Stephenson finds out more.

garden therapy

Getting outside among plants and nature can work wonders for the body and soul – and garden designer Michelle Brandon is a firm believer in the benefits of a good gardening fix.

Brandon has helped people affected by stroke, ADHD and mental illness, having worked with organisations including the national horticultural therapy charity, Thrive (thrive.org.uk).

She’s preparing a show garden – The Forest Will See You Now – for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Festival, depicting how nature and forest environments can help alleviate many of the 21st century illnesses so many of us face.

Ahead of the show, here, Brandon tells us more about horticultural therapy and its benefits…

garden therapy

What is horticultural therapy?

According to Thrive, social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) uses plants and gardens to help support both physical and mental health. It can help people to mix socially, improve their communication and thinking skills, learn practical skills and give them the confidence to become more independent.

Therapists use gardening tasks and projects, or just the garden environment itself to build skills according to people’s individual need, working to goals. “There needs to be an aim, whether it be growing or just sitting and taking in the view,” says Brandon.

garden therapy

Who can it help?

Everyone from children to pensioners. It can be great for children and adults with learning disabilities, people with mental health issues or who’ve been affected by conditions like stroke and dementia, as well as children with ADHD.

It can be used for therapy or rehabilitation programs for cognitive, physical, social, emotional and recreational benefits, thus improving the person’s body, mind and spirit. It is also used to reduce feelings of isolation through the chance to connect with others, and a feeling of wellbeing through simply being outside and in touch with nature.

“The outcome you are looking for is a positive emotional change,” Brandon says. “And nurturing – whether it be growing something, sowing seeds, or just sitting enjoying the space – creates those positive emotions.”

garden therapy

How does it work?

It may be through a garden project, where the patient is referred and funded by their doctor, social worker or care professional. Alternatively, it could be done through gardening at home, perhaps starting with something simple such as sowing seeds or planting bulbs in pots.

“Nurture is a strong positive action, the process of the person taking responsibility for something, which in their life has been taken away from them. It’s about creating positive emotion.”

garden therapy

Can you get horticultural therapy on the NHS?

Schemes may be available in some areas of the UK, although it’s not nationwide. Some clinical commissioning groups include horticultural therapy as part of a social prescribing policy in their areas. Some NHS settings offer STH as part of treatments for patients, for example in mental health and stroke recovery. It has existed within NHS settings throughout its history however, often within occupational therapy.

“At the moment, we are at the beginning of seeing many more people accessing Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) and other green care projects, such as care farms,” says Damien Newman, Thrive training, education and consultancy manager.

GPs have for some time been adopting various forms of “social prescribing” – referring patients to non-clinical activities in a bid to help improve their physical or mental health. “A doctor might recommend an introduction to a garden project. Green prescriptions are being increasingly used,” says Brandon.

Who can be a horticultural therapist?

Many horticultural therapists working at garden projects in the UK have completed specialist training programmes in social and therapeutic horticulture at Thrive. They may also hold other professional qualifications in areas such as horticulture, health and social care, teaching, occupational therapy or nursing.

garden therapy

Is it regulated?

Horticultural therapy is not regulated in the UK (iStock/PA)

No. Most horticultural therapy is carried out in groups in organisational settings, and these organisations will have their own internal regulatory systems in place.

“There’s no national body of registered horticultural therapist professionals,” says Brandon. “But a lot of occupational therapists are involved in horticultural therapy, and they have their own governing body. Horticultural therapists often work for established charities such as Thrive, which would require training and monitoring.”

Thrive holds a database of projects that use horticulture with people accessing health and social care and other STH projects.

Social Farms & Gardens (farmgarden.org.uk) holds a database of more community-focused projects, although many will also be being accessed by people experiencing the challenge of ill health or disability. Often this helps people find good local projects and, through them, understand what is accessible more locally.

Could horticultural therapy help people with are simply stressed too?

Yes. Many STH projects are open to anyone and community gardens are just that, focused on community and the way gardens bring us together.

Community gardens as a whole are very welcoming settings, and near enough all will have members who are experiencing loneliness, bereavement, job loss, stress and other experiences related to mental health.

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Festival runs from July 2-7. For details, visit rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-hampton-court-palace-garden-festival.

Tv’s Lorraine Kelly and George Clarke Reveal 2 Key Ways to Create Extra Space at Home

Lorraine Kelly transformed an unused conservatory, while George Clarke created a garden office. Gabrielle Fagan takes a look.

Who hasn’t felt at times that their home is shrinking? Growing kids, shifting towards working from home, or just having too much stuff can all make it seem like the walls are closing in.

Don’t despair though – there are ways to reclaim some much-needed space. TV’s Lorraine Kelly and architect and presenter George Clarke have done exactly that in their own homes.

Kelly has transformed a conservatory, while George has opted for a purpose-built home office at the end of his garden – both increasingly popular choices, as more and more people prefer to ‘improve rather than move’ to gain extra living space.

Take a look at their newly created retreats, which might just inspire some changes of your own…

Lorraine Kelly’s chic conservatory

“I’m so lucky to have a conservatory,” declares Kelly. She and her husband, cameraman Steve Smith, moved a year ago – downsizing from their Dundee mansion to a smaller house in Buckinghamshire – after their daughter Rosie, 23, left home.

Kelly, 59, wanted to create a comfortable area in her new home for ‘me time’, where she could gaze out on her garden and riverside view and be surrounded by her favourite possessions.

“I absolutely love Scandi interiors but I’m not too strict when it comes to sticking to one style,” she says.

“My personal style’s all about comfort; I’m not into minimalism. I personally love an eclectic home, I’m much more into interesting objects and having a lot of cushions and textiles. To me, home means somewhere you can just breathe out, cosy up and feel safe and happy.”

With help from online interiors brand, Wayfair, her conservatory – formerly an “underused area” which opens off from the kitchen – has been transformed.

“The conservatory’s so light and airy with gorgeous views, and now it’s a complete haven – a room full of light and happiness,” enthuses the presenter, clearly delighted to have somewhere to relax during time off from her busy career as host of her ITV morning show, Lorraine.

“It’s the perfect place to read the Sunday papers, have a cuppa, or just sit and have a chat with friends and family,” she adds.

Little details personalise the space. “I love the weathered penguin ornaments – it’s no secret they’re my favourite animal – and the pretty trays and faux plants scattered around,” says Kelly.

“We opted for a base palette of soft greys and neutrals to create a calming environment for Lorraine,” explains Nadia McCowan Hill, resident style advisor for Wayfair.

“This was off-set with inky blues, emerald green detailing and hints of glittering silver, reflecting the stunning river-side location and panoramic views.”

The results are a hit with Kelly, who enthuses: “My favourite items are the sofa, as it’s a beautiful colour and so stylish, and I adore the plump scatter cushions and cosy rugs. Angus, our pet dog, will just curl up at our feet and snooze – he just loves this room.”

Make the most of your conservatory

Here are McCowan Hill’s top tips for making a conservatory a year-round multi-functional space…

1. Work the space: “A conservatory can be so much more than just a sun room. Why not create a small home office in one corner? A simple corner desk won’t take up too much space, and sitting beside light flooded windows could make work a pleasure.”

2. Style it up: Classic shapes for furniture in Kelly’s conservatory were given a modern twist with jute and linen upholstery, and pouffes double as footstools or extra seating and give the space an informal feel. Textiles – think throws and cushions – can add a layer of texture and warmth.

3. Grow your greens: “For a plant-filled haven, use window boxes to grow light-loving herbs, a tiered vertical garden unit or open shelving potting benches to store garden necessities. Choose natural wood and metal finishes to complement the greenery,” she says.

4. Hang it up: Since conservatories lack wall space for hanging art, she advises opting instead for a selection of hanging baskets hung at different heights across one wall of windows as an eye-catching display. “For a more ‘boho’ look, put up a hanging chair and conjure a reading/daydreaming zone,” she says.

George Clarke’s home office

When you’ve run out of space and can’t extend up, down or sideways, consider building outdoors, suggests George Clarke – best-known for his Channel Four shows, The Restoration Man and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.

“Garden rooms are on the rise because they’re an adaptable space that can be used as a retreat, a place to entertain, to work, to get creative or even to sleep,” he says.

“My open-plan house doesn’t lend itself to having an office space so, like a growing number of people, I built a studio at the bottom of the garden. It’s where I come to leave behind all the chaos and noise in the house, do some work, read and focus.”

He credits Tetbury Charcoal Wave Header Curtains (from £163 including measuring and fitting, Hillarys) with transforming the space. “They soften the look of the room, create a cosy feel, improve the acoustics, and I can draw them to stop glare from the sun on the computer,” he enthuses.

3 Ways to make a Splash with Seaside Style this Summer

sumer style

Ride decor's most enduring wave and conjure a cool coastal sanctuary. Gabrielle Fagan channels her inner beachcomber to source beautiful beachy buys.

sumer style

The decor tide has come in, and brought with it one of our favourite ever looks – seaside style.

Evoking a serene landscape of sandy beaches and blue water in your home will transport you to a shoreside idyll in no time, no matter where you live.

“Coastal style’s a hugely popular theme that comes in year after year with the predictability of the tide,” says Susan White, design director, Hillarys.

“Small wonder, because living by the sea or hearing the splash of waves against rocks can instantly refresh body and soul,” she adds. “It continues to have an enduring influence on interiors, albeit with a different twist each season, which helps it to stay fresh.

sumer style

“You can go full-on with seagulls, anchors and statement motifs, or just bring an understated coastal feel to your home. You can simply surf the style, or plunge in with a full-on nautical approach.”

“Pick up on blues by all means but do incorporate natural materials, such as wood and stone. It’s all about reflecting the influence of nature and creating a setting that’s uncluttered, relaxing and somewhere you can escape stress,” says White.

“For a finishing touch, add decorative objects into the mix, such as a dried grasses, chunky throws for texture, and a collection of pebbles or a basket of shells.”

sumer style

Dive into deep blues

Shades reflecting blue skies and seas are a winning combination, and are on trend this year.

“Choosing the right colour palette is essential in nailing the modern coastal look,” says Becky Snowden, interior style advisor, Furniture Choice.

“It’s all about recreating the zen and relaxation of being by the sea, but while light blue and white are the usual go-to colours, experiment with darker hues like indigo and navy for a 2019 update,” she suggests. “If you prefer neutral white and cream, use that as a base and contrast with rich blue tones to create a calming, ocean-themed vibe.”

TIP: Pick up on deck chair stripes – a traditional choice for a coastal setting. Feature striped cushions in a living area, a rug in a dining room, a simple throw on the bed, or some nautical’ n nice accessories.

sumer style

Take in sea breezes

“When creating a coastal inspired room, it’s crucial to keep the overall mood light and airy,” says Vanessa Hurley-Perera, chief product officer, Sofa.com.

“Natural finishes like linen and cotton are a great choice for a coastal look, as these textures have a lovely breezy feel about them. Keep things simple by opting for light toned fabrics, and create interest by layering an accent chair or some scatter cushions in a subtle stripe.”

Her colour palette choice is blues muted with a soft grey undertone, complemented by whites and ash grey. “Stripped and varnished or painted floorboards are characteristic of a beach-side sanctuary, but soften the effect with scatter rugs,” she suggests.

TIP: Accessorise with beachcomber style elements and you’ll almost be able to smell the sea. Grasses, weathered woods, pebbles and shells add subtle colour and texture, says Hurley-Perera.

“Replicate seashore finds – a fragment of coral for a paperweight, glass bottle vases, netting for hanging plants. This unexpected highlights will bring your look to life,” says Hurley-Perera, who suggests scenting the air with an ocean-inspired fragrance.

sumer style

Talk to the sand

For a cool, coastal vibe, pick up on mellow, golden sand shades for a shoreline-inspired setting.

“Colours inspired by sandy, sun-drenched beaches are the newest way to interpret shoreside style,” says Sue Kim, senior colour designer, Valspar.

“These golden hues are the perfect neutrals to transform a home into a relaxing summer escape. As they’re on the warmer end of the colour spectrum their mellow glow will work well even when the sun’s gone down and the light is colder.

“Warm, pink sandy shades are a stylish alternative to creams or yellow,” she adds. “And accents of green, blue or aqua can be all that’s need for a shot of enlivening colour.”

TIP: Rich, deep gold shades will work well on a feature wall, whereas lighter sandy hues won’t overwhelm if used throughout on walls and ceilings. For a more contemporary take, experiment with an ombre effect by blending two colours on a wall. With a level and pencil, draw a line where you want the colours to fade into each other, then brush back and forth or use a sponge to blur the boundary.

sumer style

Rose Wines are Blossoming -8 of the Prettiest Pinks for Summer Soirees

perfect summer rose wines

The rose revolution is gathering pace - and pink is the new prosecco, says Sam Wylie-Harris. Nothing signals summer like a gleaming glass of rose. And chances are, if you're a serious rose lover, you'll be dipping into a pretty pink palette come rain or shine.

Far from frivolous, Provencal pinks, with their pale assets, have been basking in the spotlight for some years now. But with a wealth of styles joining the glitzy line-up, quality at all price points, and supermarkets proffering a shimmering array of roses, there’s never been a better time to think pink.

There couldn’t be a more exciting time to quench our thirst for ‘barely there blush’, with a string of new releases blossoming onto the wine scene.

Sainsbury’s have a growing range of premium rose wines and Louise Lynch, product developer for beers, wines and spirits, notes it’s the style of choice for many customers over the summer months, with sales increasing by 30- 40% in hot weather.

Ready to paint the town pink? Here are six more refreshingly dry styles to embrace…

perfect summer rose wines

1. Exquisite Selection Sud de France Rose 2018, IGP Pays d’Oc, France (£5.99, Aldi)

It’s not new on the shelves, but in the hands of talented winemaker Jean-Claude Mas, this juicy, fruity, vibrant rose always tastes youthful and fun, with its pretty strawberry aromas and a flush of bright berry and cherry flavours offering an appealing, mouth-watering finish.

perfect summer rose wines

2. Rose Mediterranee 2018, France (reduced to £6 from £7 until July 3, SPAR stores from June 13)

At the softer end of the pink spectrum, SPAR’S new rose is a delicate style and offers faint florals with savoury, summer fruit flavours and a thread of fresh acidity. It’s not hugely concentrated but has a lovely, stony freshness if you want to drink in a Riviera lifestyle – and goes down a treat with a well garnished salad nicoise.

perfect summer rose wines

3. Cavit Terrazze della Luna Pinot Grigio Rosato 2018, Italy (currently reduced to £8.99 from £9.99, North and South Wines)

Here we have a pale, baby pink that’s fresh and fruity with a lovely roundness to the soft yellow apple and pear notes, with a smooth, silky palate and a ripe, crisp, finish. Very appealing and delicious as an aperitif, with shellfish, or shavings of Parmesan cheese as the winemaker suggests.

perfect summer rose wines

4. Cotes de Provence Saint Victoire Rose 2018, France (£12, Marks & Spencer stores, or by the case online)

A beautiful ballerina pink that’s suave and elegant with a bouquet of dried berries, floral accents and candied citrus fruits, plus cherry, plum and ripe citrus supported by moderate acidity. There’s an alluring silkiness that lets the flavours shine through.

perfect summer rose wines

5. Domaine Du Grand Cros, Le Grand Cros Rose 2018, AOP Cotes de Provence, France (£14.50, Berry Bros & Rudd)

Fragrant with aromas of freshly crushed berries and exotic fruits, a hint of mango lends a touch of richness to the fresh, round palate, with some herbal notes in the mix and a creamy note adding extra elegance with plenty of freshness on the finish. Brilliant with Provencal staples such as bouillabaisse (fish stew).

perfect summer rose wines

6. Fleur de Mer, Cotes de Provence Rose 2018, France (£16.50, The Bottle Club)

The nose has dainty floral aromas, leading to a textured, silky palate with white peach, cherry and the merest hint of watermelon, fresh herbal notes and a delicate mineral core followed by crisp acidity. Refreshingly delicious, Fleur de Mer looks good, tastes good, and makes you want to run to the lavender fields of Provence.

Preview New Detached House For Sale In Hampshire

Preview new house for sale McCarthy Holden Estate Agents Hampshire

This is a preview of plot 11 at Winchfield View by Sunningdale House Developments, one of the most exciting high quality individual new homes collections to reach the market in 2019.

There are 11 new build home and 8 distinctive house designs, all built to a high specification. today were going to take a closer look at plot 11 which is expected to be available on the open market on June 14th with an anticipated guide of £695,000.

Plot 11 is a show house, so take a look at the video tour above and be impressed!

kitchen family dining room McCarthy Holden Estate Agents Hampshire
new homes McCarthy Holden Estate Agents Hampshire

The interior at plot 11 is extremely well designed, with the awe-inspiring kitchen / dining and orangery room on the ground floor creating an outstanding space that will take your breath away.

The stunning kitchen, is fitted with Siemens appliances including a single oven, combi oven/microwave, a four-burner gas hob, integrated Stainless Steel cooker hood, integrated fridge/freezer and integrated dishwasher.

Also on the ground floor there is a fine living room, a cloakroom, entrance hall and stairs to the first floor.

luxury new home bedroom McCarthy Holden Estate Agents Hampshire
new home bedroom McCarthy Holden Estate Agents Hampshire

On the first floor there is an impressive master bedroom with a luxury en-suite.

Bedroom two included a built in glass fronted cupboards and bedroom three is well positioned overlooking the orangery and rear garden.

The luxurious family bathroom is also on the first floor.

New Homes bathroom McCarthy Holden Estate Agents Hampshire

Location wise, this Sunndingdale House Development will take some beating, with the village of Hartley Wintney less than two miles away with its high street full of individual shops, a renowned cricket green, a golf club and a lovely village pond.

Hartley Wintney McCarthy Holden Estate Agents Hampshire

And for buyers who need to commute to London, what better than having Winchfield Railway station about half a mile away.

guards London McCarthy Holden Estate Agents Hampshire

To arrange a viewing when plot 11 is released to the market, contact the selling agents on 01252 842100.

And if you need a market valuation and appraisal of your current home simply call your nearest McCarthy Holden branch or go to our home page and click on the valuation tab.

7 Decor Updates to Make your Home Sizzle with Style this Summer

summer style trends 2019

Want to transform your rooms into super sunny spots? Gabrielle Fagan reveals some mini decor projects and best buys.

summer style trends 2019

Your home’s interior can be as sunny as you like, no matter the weather – all it takes is a few simple, budget-friendly updates and best buys.

Indulge in the sweetness of the season with sugary shades and accessories; transform your outlook with exotic prints and a mural; change your view with blue-sky window shutters reminiscent of Mediterranean scenes; turn up the heat with tropical foliage (real, faux or palm print will do the job), and last but not least, create your very own ‘hot spot’ for essential chilling on sunny days.

Be inspired and put your own spin on the suggestions – and your space will brim with personalised style all summer long…

summer style trends 2019

1. Scoop up style with ice-cream shades

“We’re all naturally drawn to certain colours and tastes. Why not choose a paint colour that reminds you of your favourite flavour ice cream?” says Sue Kim, senior colour designer, Valspar. “If you’re really brave, go for them all, in a perfect palette of ice cream colours. Choose sugary shades like Strawberry Parfait, Blueberry Mash, Pineapple Crush, Pistachio Cookie and Peach Syrup.”

If you really want to transform your home landscape, splash out on an exotic beach scene mural. Wallsauce’s Acapulco Wall Mural, from £32 per square metre, could have you reaching for the sunglasses and swimsuit.

TIP: If a medley of sweet shades is just too rich for your taste, add one or two as ‘pops’ of colour set against an overall dominant neutral, such as Coconut Juice (Premium Blend v700 Walls & Ceilings, £28 for 2.5L), suggests Kim. Alternatively, choose one shade for a furniture up-cycle project, or for doors and skirting boards for a smart update (use Valspar’s Premium Blend v700 Wood & Metal).

summer style trends 2019

2. Sweet tooth decor

Follow that ‘sweet’ theme with fun stools from Andrew Martin, that look as though you’ve bagged a handful of pick ‘n’ mix. As a ‘healthier’ choice, add a couple of apple ornaments – a five-a-day decor delight.

summer style trends 2019

3. Create a ‘hot destination’ wall

“Bring instant sunshine to a room, no matter what the weather outside, with summer- themed prints,” suggests Omar Obaid, co-founder of art print specialists, Abstract House.

“Photos of dreamy beaches you’ve enjoyed can transport you back to happy times and conjure nostalgic memories, while images of those tropical destinations on your bucket list could inspire you with hopes for the future. Research has also shown that just looking at pleasing art can lift mood and reduce stress.”

TIP: The best way to unify a frame set for a gallery wall is to choose a quality wooden frame in a single colour, advises Obaid. Co-ordinate artwork by colour, tone and subject, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different layouts. A simple trick to help you visualise the artwork display is to lay all the frames on the floor, and swap the pictures around until you find the perfect fit or your favourite shape.

summer style trends 2019

4. Change your view

“If your home could use a seasonal pick-up, windows are a great place to start,” says Susan White, design director at Hillarys. “Whether the light in the room is natural, artificial, reflected, muted or diffused, it can have a major influence on our mood and feelings. Shutters are widely regarded as the ultimate window dressing both from a style and security point of view, allowing plenty of light and air to filter in, and they have a perfect summer feel.

“They can be a boon for allergy sufferers, because as long as they’re wiped down regularly they’re less likely than swathes of fabric to attract dust mites,” she adds. “Tier-on-tier styles, where the top half operates separately from the bottom, offers privacy while still allowing light to flood in from the top.”

TIP: Summer brings longer days and shorter nights, so fitting a blind with a dim-out or black-out fabric is a good solution for restful sleep, especially in children’s rooms. Many Hillarys fabric blinds, roller, pleated, vertical and Roman, have special sun-reflecting features (Blackout Roller Blind from £108).

summer style trends 2019

5. Turn it tropical

“We’re great fans of the sultry colonial aesthetic – tropical birds, hibiscus flowers, fresh palms and bright ferns are key elements in creating this look,” says Georgia Metcalfe, founder and creative director, The French Bedroom Company.

“This on-trend look combines perfectly with furniture of all styles from classic to contemporary, for a style that is reminiscent of holidays, summer, jungle-freshness and nature – all things that make our hearts sing!”

summer style trends 2019

6. Let it grow

“Fresh green foliage and plants are the ideal way to bring an outdoor, summery feel to a room, and living wall planters have to be one of our favourite finds in recent years,” enthuses Claire Bishop, from garden centre specialists, Dobbies.

“They were incredibly popular at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the finished look is hugely Pinterest-worthy. A ‘vertical garden’ gives you a statement focal point – you could have a kitchen herb garden or a leafy living room jungle feature – and because they come in sets of three ‘pockets’, they can be tailored to suit your space.”

TIP: “These are quick and easy to fit and simple to use, even if you’re not very green-fingered, and as they’re vertical they take up little space,” promises Bishop. “Simply water the top row of the living wall and this will cascade down to water every pot.”

summer style trends 2019

7. Conjure a summer spot

Rearrange furniture for summer and position it to take advantage of any sunlight coming into a room, so you have your very own corner where you can stretch out and bask on hot days.

“We all like a special place at home where we can kick back, put our feet up and enjoy lazing on summer days,” says Charlie Marshall, founder of furniture company, Loaf.

“Colour choices play a big part in the atmosphere of a room. While light, pastel tones always work well, recently there’s been a big move towards zingier, bright statement shades – yellow, orange and pink – as people become more adventurous about decor. Demand for yellow upholstery is up 64% this year, and this colour’s brilliant way to give a room a visual lift and can’t fail to cheer a space on a dull day.”

TIP: Turn an awkward space – a corner or under a window – into a mini-retreat by building a simple wooden bench. Make it comfortable with foam seat cushions covered in your favourite fabric.

Carol Klein Spills the Secrets of the Top British Gardens – So You can Copy their Success

Carol Klein garden secrets

As her new Channel 5 series Great British Gardens begins, TV garden expert Carol Klein offers tips from the head gardeners who tend them.

Carol Klein garden secrets

TV plantswoman Carol Klein has spoken to head gardeners and owners of four of Britain’s most glorious gardens to find out how they achieve such amazing results – and is now sharing the secrets of their success with the public in her new Channel 5 series Great British Gardens.

Here, she offers top tips from her visits to the gardens – which all open their doors to the public at different times of the year – to help amateur horticulturists achieve stunning results in their own plots this summer.

Carol Klein garden secrets

Great Dixter, East Sussex (greatdixter.co.uk)

Great Dixter is a gardening masterpiece and quintessential English country garden incorporating an historic house, a garden and an education centre.

It is now under the stewardship of Fergus Garrett, who became head gardener in 1992, working closely with Christopher Lloyd until he died in 2006, and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust.

Garrett’s biggest emphasis currently is upon increasing plant and animal biodiversity.

Two top tips Klein gleaned here are:

1. If some of your plants are in pots, rather than space them out, make maximum impact by grouping them together in an attractive arrangement. Incorporate houseplants out for their summer holiday to add extra interest. Go for harmony by putting together plants with similarly coloured flowers or make dramatic contrasts with leaf shapes and zingy colours.

2. Try adding height by incorporating climbing plants into your beds and borders (it’s not too late to sow nasturtiums and sweet peas). Exploiting the vertical space will add an extra dimension. You don’t need a costly obelisk, a few tall bamboo canes entwined with string will be just as effective.

Carol Klein garden secrets

Gravetye Manor, East Sussex (gravetyemanor.co.uk/the-gardens/)

Once the home and living laboratory of one of British gardening’s greatest innovators, Edwardian and Irishman William Robinson, the manor has now become a stunning country house hotel and beautiful garden.

Head gardener Tom Coward and his team have balanced the garden’s historically important heritage with the demands of a modern productive kitchen garden.

Two top tips Klein gleaned here are:

1. Recognise the beauty of so many vegetables by incorporating a few with your flowers. If you haven’t got any, invest in a packet of Rainbow Chard, sow one seed per module and in a few weeks, you’ll have plants big enough to put out and later on you can eat some of them too.

2. Even in a small border, use several of one plant at intervals throughout the border. At Gravetye Manor dahlia Magenta Star is used like this. It brings cohesion to your planting and at the same time leads your eye through it.

Carol Klein garden secrets

Gresgarth Hall, near Morecambe, North Lancashire (arabellalennoxboyd.com/gresgarth/)

This is the country house retreat of Lady Arabella Lennox-Boyd and her husband Sir Mark. Lady Arabella is one of Britain’s most renowned garden designers, with a 45-year career designing for the great and the good, and has six gold medals from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show under her belt.

Two top tips Klein gleaned here are:

1. The way you train your climbing rose is just as important as how you prune it. For an abundance of flowers, tie in some of the vertical, upward growing shoots to the horizontal. That will help all the smaller shoots along its length make buds and flowers.

2. Instead of providing a trellis for your clematis to grow up, why not train one through an early flowering shrub so that the clematis can continue the show through till the autumn? Many clematis viticella varieties will rise to the challenge, such as Clematis ‘Polish Spirit’ in deep purple or Clematis ‘Huldine’, pearly white.

Carol Klein garden secrets

John’s Garden, Ashwood Nurseries, South Staffordshire (ashwoodnurseries.com/visit-us/johns-garden/)

Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, this three acre private garden is the brainchild of award-winning plant obsessive John Massey.

It features huge informal borders, island beds, a stunning pool and rock garden, woodland dells and the charming Ruin Garden.

Two top tips Klein gleaned here are:

1. A bit of ‘transparency’ pruning makes all the difference. If shrubs or trees have turned into blobs and their branches are congested, cut some of the wood away to reveal the true nature of the shrub. Shrubs which flower early such as forsythia benefit from having branches cut back after flowering to encourage new growth and improve flowering next spring.

2. ‘Tweaking’ is an important job at John’s Garden. They keep a constant eye out to make sure that each plant can give of its best by cutting back or staking other plants that might spoil the show and ensuring that every plant can shine.

The four-part series of Great British Gardens: Season by Season with Carol Klein starts on June 4 at 9pm on Channel 5.

Father’s Day: 10 Great Gifts for the Green Fingered Types

fathers day gift garden

From new gloves and accessories to the latest high-tech tools, Hannah Stephenson rounds up her top picks for plant-loving dads.

Chelsea garden product of the year

Want to treat your dad to a gardening gift he’ll enjoy on Father’s Day and beyond? Whether it’s a plant, a patio pick-me-up or a shiny new power tool, here are 10 of the best…

fathers day gift garden

1. Tea Plant Fresh-T (£14.90, Lubera.co.uk)

Your tea-loving dad could make his own cuppa from scratch with a tea plant, Camellia sinensis, a shrub which should grow well in British gardens in either a large container or in the border. For best results, plant it in acid soil in semi-shade (use ericaceous compost if you’re putting it in a pot). It grows to around 1m in diameter and the leaves are great for green teas and fragrant tea infusions.

fathers day gift garden

2. EGO Powerload 38cm Loop Handled Line Trimmer (£279 inc battery and standard charger, Egopowerplus.co.uk)

Does your dad huff and puff when he has to replace the line on his grass trimmer? Well, this new tool from EGO can end all those frustrations of fiddly threading, looping and getting it wrong. This new gizmo, using Powerload technology, automatically winds your line trimmer. Just thread the line, press the button and the tool will do the rest. It’s got a lot of power – a 56V Arc Lithium battery gives the trimmer the oomph it needs to tackle the toughest jobs and there’s also a soft start function and constant speed control so your trimming remains consistent. Yes, it’s more expensive than other line trimmers but think of the hours of frustration you’ll be saving your dad.

fathers day gift garden

3. EasyHedgeCut 18-45 (£119.99, Bosch-garden.com)

This new cordless hedge trimmer from Bosch is great if your old man has small hedges and limited space. It’s powered by an 18-volt battery, so there’s no faffing with cables, it’s lightweight, and will cut around 160 square metres per battery charge. Each charge will last around 40 minutes and it takes 105 minutes to recharge. The battery is also interchangeable with many other Bosch DIY and garden tools.

fathers day gift garden

4. Garden Chair (From £570, Theposhshedcompany.co.uk)

A comfortable place to sit is an asset in every garden – and now your dad can have a personalised chair to relax in. Thanks to the treated wood and weatherproof design, it can be left out all year round, removing the hassle of storing it away. Available with the engravings ‘Head Gardener’, ‘The Boss’, ‘Dad’s Chair’ or ‘Grandad’s Chair’, the Posh Garden Chair adds a lovely personal touch to the garden. Additional words can be engraved for an extra cost.

fathers day gift garden

5. Master Gardener Gloves (£5.99, Townandco.com)

It’s not only Father’s Day coming up. If your dad wants to join in National Weed Your Garden Day on June 13, you could get him a new pair of gardening gloves just in time. The Master Gardener gloves will enable him to tackle weeding, pruning and a host of other tasks in comfort. They offer protection against thorns and other sharp objects and have excellent grip in wet and dry conditions.

fathers day gift garden

6. Father’s Day Gift Coffee Mug (£14, normadorothy.com)

Make him his morning coffee in his own personalised contemporary, botanical inspired enamel mug, which he can use when he’s outside too – whether taking a break from gardening or venturing further afield on a camping holiday or fishing trip. White with a black curled lip, you can choose your own personalisation and the reverse side can also have wording of your choosing on it.

fathers day gift garden

7. Super Slice Weeder (£29.99, Burgonandball.com and good garden centres nationwide)

Any dad who feels overfaced by the amount of weeding he has to do should welcome the new Super Slice, which has an extra wide head for rapid weeding. It tackles weeds on a range of surfaces, from contemporary garden aggregates to allotments, beds and borders. Hand-forged in Sheffield, the high carbon steel arrow-shaped head is 23.5cm wide, skims just below the surface and slices through weeds with minimum soil disturbance, cutting on the push and pull stroke.

fathers day gift garden

8. Folding Kneeler and Seat (£32.95, Harrodhorticultural.com)

Double up with a luxury kneeler and seat for your dad, which will also fold up flat so should be able to fit in his shed. The seat is sturdy and ideal for perching on at a comfortable height, while the padded foam kneeling pad will provide the support he needs when weeding or working at ground level. It has arm supports for help with getting up too.

fathers day gift garden

9. GoodHome Grill Set (£30, B&Q stores and Diy.com)

If your dad is a dab hand on the barbecue, make the job even easier and more enjoyable by treating him to a hot accessories kit, which includes everything he’ll need for forking, flipping, skewering and cleaning. All the accessories are uniquely designed and made from long-lasting stainless steel with soft grip handles. They come in a handy case for easy storage too.

fathers day gift garden

10. National Garden Scheme open garden visit (Prices vary, Ngs.org.uk)

Whether your dad is an allotment ace, a horticultural hero or simply a cake connoisseur, why not treat him to a garden visit over the Father’s Day weekend?

The National Garden Scheme, which raises money for nursing and health charities through admissions, tea and cakes, has 218 exceptional gardens opening on June 15 and 16. For details, visit ngs.org.uk/fathers-day-gardens/.

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