Monday 27 July 2020


Whether your outdoor area consists of a small balcony, a courtyard, a side passageway or no outdoor area whatsoever, you can beautify your world and fill your air with oxygen by creating a garden that’s right for you and your lifestyle. Start with potential spots to place plants and work out whether you require containers. Is the spot sunny or shady, is it outdoors or inside. Don’t overlook windowsills. These make wonderful mini gardens which can serve to enhance an otherwise bland outlook.

For a balcony, you’ll need pots or planter boxes. You may already know you favourite plants and what suits sunny or shady spots, but you may be a gardening novice in which case you need help from the experts if you want to be sure that what you buy actually lives and, even better, thrives. Your local gardening centre will have a great assortment so it can be quite overwhelming. Approach the hopefully friendly staff and let them know your requirements and they will be (almost) sure to point you in the right direction. From there you can choose what appeals to you aesthetically but don’t forget to use your olfactory capabilities and have a good sniff. Beautiful scents can enhance your environment substantially.

Don’t overlook unattractive walls that can be beautified with creepers. Bougainvillea grows brilliantly in direct sunlight and is gorgeous to behold. Chinese Wisteria, White Potato Creeper, Clematis and Madagascar and Star Jasmine are also gorgeous and grow profusely. If you want substantial growth, buy a planter box and insert trellis behind it and with a little care, you will have a verdant vertical garden in no time.

Edible gardens are very motivating. If you can look forward to adding fresh, home-grown produce to your meals, you will be likely to want to care for them to reap the rewards. Generally speaking, a sunny spot is required. If you have a courtyard or exposed ground area in your apartment, you can go to town with this. Balconies and window sills also yield great results. Herbs are so easy to grow and tend to just keep on keeping on. My favourites are parsley, mint, rosemary, basil, coriander, dill and chives. Certain fruits and vegetables are also hardy and grow pretty easily – tomatoes and peas (again have a bit of trellis for these), lettuce, strawberries, raspberries, spring onions and garlic.

Purely indoor gardens are possible no matter how much sun you get. They add colour, scent and oxygen and make you and your home healthier. Potted plants can be placed on floors, window sills, shelves or pot plant stands, or suspended from a ceiling hook in pot plant holders. Always make sure you have a ceramic pot plant saucers or sandstone with a cork bottom under the pot to avoid staining surfaces. Cyclamens, African violets, polyanthus and orchids are gorgeous things and bloom beautifully. If you prefer to stick to green, Madonna lilies love the indoors and bless you with the occasional white flower, then Devil’s ivy, Philodendrum, succulents and rubber plant also grow fantastically well indoors. So get out your gardening gloves and head to your closest nursery and let the fun begin!

Images sourced on Pinterest

Monday 13 July 2020


Technology is affecting almost every aspect of life, and your interiors are no exception. Our aesthetic is becoming increasingly design-oriented, and the days where a clean floor, a nice bunch of flowers and a feature wall cut it in terms of your open house are long gone. With Instagram and TV lifestyle programs showcasing designer furniture, homewares and renovations, we are exposed to so much interior beautification that we need to apply at least some of this to our own property if we are to make it seem attractive and get our best price. The good news is you do not need to hire a stylist and have a fortune. With all the resources at your fingertips, and even budget brands producing designer-looking products, you can create your own Changing Room.

Ideally the best way to go is to have quite a blank or at least neutral canvas. You just can’t go past white walls. Rooms look larger, lighter and airier when they’re white. And this universal tone is universally liked. Then rather than going out and buying things, unless you have a mind like an interior designer and can see the way everything will integrate, start up a Pinterest page and experiment with different products. Accessories can change the vibe in your home, especially when set off by a white background. Trending at the moment are green botanicals, in greenhouse prints, indoor plants and exotically boxed candles and soaps. But always remember to go with your own tastes. You have to live there, and no matter how fashionable green botanicals may be, if you don’t like the colour green, you won’t feel at home in your trendily styled house.

So you have your mood board ready and brimming with great design ideas, now you need to source the products. Firstly, always let your fingers do the walking and shop on-line. Don’t be restricted by budget either and don’t turn your nose up at Kmart, Target and Ikea. If you look through their on-line catalogues, they actually have a lot of great homewares. For those with healthier and perhaps heftier budgets, check out Matt Blatt, Shack, Country Road, Orson and Blake, Totem,  Coco Republic, Papaya, Chee Soon & Fitzgerald, West Elm, Great Dane and Macleay on Manning. For Vintage items try David Met Nicole, Dust, Elements I Love and Mitchell Road Emporium. On second thoughts, you really need to go into the Vintage shops to get the vibe of the homewares as the on-line presence is generally a bit austere.

Whichever way you choose to shop and style your home, make sure you take on this task with an open mind but keep to your own general style and make sure you have lots of fun whilst doing it!