Home & Garden

The initial steering groups comprised two to five residents and two staff members. Residents of Victoria House and Ballantine Court – two nursing homes in Lanarkshire – have a variety of health issues and conditions, such as the consequences of stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Gardening was seen as a way of increasing their levels of physical activity in a fun and creative way that would also benefit the wider community. In 2016, the World Health Organization launched a strategy for its European region aimed at improving physical activity levels in people of all ages to reduce the burden of disease caused by sedentary lifestyles . One of the priorities was to get older people to be more active, as it is recognised that physical activity in that age group helps slow down physical and mental health deterioration. For those of you looking to get stuck into a big project there’s plenty of free garden design software available online, so try one of these tools to get started.

Making your own furniture is always going to prove more budget-friendly, plus you get exactly what your heart desires. Visit your local DIY retailer and buy some basic sheets of MDF to construct a seat for your corner sofa, fashioning a back with scatter cushions for comfort. Ensuring the base is securely fastened to the walls and well-supported beneath to take the weight when garden gatherings ensue. Never confuse your chives with your chervil again by creating handy labels to pop in your herb pots. Use a white marker pen or piece of chalk to write the plant names on mini slate tiles.


Why not just bring some plants into your home and let them hang out without worrying about them too much? Know that if it all goes terribly wrong, you can always order another one. You’re not beholden to try and keep them alive forever—you’re meant to enjoy them, appreciate what they do and learn from the process of growing them. The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.

  • The colour and style of your paving and the way it is laid can provide a strong design direction for the entire garden.
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  • Just like with outdoor planting, the trend indoors is for vibrancy and colour.

People with sight problems can find it difficult to handle too much light reflection or too many dark areas, as degenerative eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy or cataracts can cause problems with visual perception . People who have difficulty walking, poor mobility and/or balance problems are at risk of falls. Alec and Jane, a couple living together at one of the homes, were also excited by the project, as they used to have a garden that they looked after together. Another resident, Ken, was enthusiastic but concerned that he would not be able to take part because he had had an arm amputated. Shoot’s My Garden Planner offers a time-limited free trial – just 48 hours after registration – to create a garden design.

How Lowther Castle became the most ambitious garden restoration project in Europe

Alternatively, using your garden walls for planting – whether it’s with a trellis or containers – is a great way to create an instant living wall. Using climbing plants and wall shrubs such as clematis, roses, honeysuckle or wisteria, will add a vertical element to your outside space. If you don’t like the idea of incorporating stone steps, you can achieve a seamless look with your existing lawn, for example, by enabling the flow from one space to the next. As seen in the below photo, garden designer Helen Elks-Smith used grass treads, integrating them into the existing lawn to connect the lower patio to the small sun terrace above. The best garden designs start with structural plants infilled with pretty, flowering plants.

Our award winner Nicola Harding on her supremely comfortable hotel designs

In a small garden, boundary walls, fences or hedges may be the biggest element in view, so it’s really important for them to look good. They don’t have to all be the same but try to provide visual links between them. You could have the same type of fence, for instance, and grow climbers up them in coordinating colours. If bensonfarmersmarket.org you aren’t able to change the fences, whitewash them or clad them with battens or trellis. Check with your neighbours first to establish whose fence it is and ask permission before doing any work. If, for example, you can’t move your three-piece set indoors over winter, buy furniture covers to protect and extend its life.