CD Designs Blog
So you’ve spent time and money installing your new pattern-imprinted concrete driveway. You’ve selected an appealing pattern, maybe opted for a grey, beige or even peach colour mixed in with the concrete, and it’s looking smart and fresh at the front of your house. Now how do you complement it with the right garden and border designs?
A well designed border will show off your driveway & provide a beautiful backdrop. A landscaped border can be a good option, to work with the contours of the drive and look co-ordinated. Professionally installed raised stone beds edging up to your driveway will provide a great place to plant trailing blooms, vines, shrubs and tumbling blossoms.
Alternatively, have fun with quirky planters – try old tea chests, wine boxes, tin baths, copper pans or colanders, and plant small violas, pansies, tulips or marigolds in them for a bright backdrop. Place planters along old railway sleepers for a solid raised platform, or use different sized containers to make a border arrangement. Opt for plant pots made from fired clay or colourful glazed finishes, in different sizes to add depth and interest. Mix plants, shrubs and small trees with herbs, tomato and chilli plants, and stacked herb planters for a border that’s both beautiful and functional.
Solar lighting can be great along driveways, to add extra visibility at night. Plant single solar markers along a driveway for an attractive finish – they cast a soft glow from dusk, using an integral solar battery that charges during the day. Plain versions are available, as well as coloured types and designs including sparking mosaics, traditional lantern styles, and other themes.
31st August 2011
Although there was an abstractionist art movement in the thirties called ‘concretism’, sadly this had nothing to do with finding beautiful and innovative to ways to use concrete materials.
However since then, design houses and artists have been experimenting with creative ways to use this most ubiquitous of building materials, often with incredibly beautiful results.
San Francisco based company Transparent House have created some incredible polished concrete floors that are embellished with imprinted floral designs – highly ornate and artistic. The ultimate contemporary floor, they have created a concrete floor that can have any kind of pattern applied – from delicate floral swirls and fronds, to bold indented graphical designs – either after the concrete has set, or during the pouring phase.
The resulting floors are not only gorgeous to look at, they are also easy to maintain in a pristine polished condition.
Other companies are doing similarly creative things with other traditional concrete household items. Absolute ConcreteWorks – another American company – have won awards for their incredible concrete countertops, which are presented in coppers and warm rusty browns, so polished that they resemble organic metals. These are works of art in appearance – but wholly functional for kitchen use and easy to maintain and clean.
However when it comes to the ultimate in concrete-based artistic expression, the Parisian jeweller Patrice Fabre leads the way. The jeweller released a much-talked about collection of Jewellery in the late eighties that combined concrete, diamonds and gold! Using unusual ways of presenting concrete within gold lattices, Fabre used diamonds to highlight the trellising effect, citing architecture, symbolism and modernism as his inspirations.
Certainly for most of us, this may be an artistic step too far. The average home owner is simply seeking an attractive, well priced and hardwearing pattern-imprinted concrete driveway – but what the above examples do remind us is that concrete is a hugely flexible material offering great options for creativity and customisation. Speak to a professional driveway installer about the range of colours and patterns available for your driveway or patio, and install your own piece of art in the garden
Image via Trendir
29th August 2011
A traditional patio garden is a great British garden staple. Perfect for adding interest to a garden and extending your living space, a well designed patio area will be great for relaxing, entertaining, and spending time with the family.
If you’re starting from scratch, think carefully about design. Pick a spot which offers natural light, and is accessible from the house. Choose a durable flooring – pattern imprinted concrete patios are popular for their hardwearing nature and minimal maintenance needs, and are available in a range of colours and patterns. It’s also a good cost-effective option – try a gray, beige or soft peach, with colour mixed into the concrete for an attractive finish. Diagonal scoring can also look very good.
Decking is popular for its looks, but bear in mind it can become slippery in wet weather, and requires proper installing to keep weeds from popping up between the decks! Paving is another popular option, but as with a pattern imprinted concrete patio, it should be installed by professionals for the best finish.
Add plants and flowers around your patio in raised beds or rockeries, and put container plants around the patio – these can also be popped onto section dividers or hung from walls to provide great scent and colour. Get advice from a local nursery or friendly gardener on how to select plants that will work well and provide colour and life all year round.
Choose suitable furniture for your lifestyle. Outdoor sofas are wonderful if you’re guaranteed good weather or have a covering (or nearby emergency indoor space to move them too.) Plastic furniture is hardwearing, durable and can be fun and funky. Wood furniture is classic and lasts for many years if well preserved – just be careful of splinters or unfinished edges with small children. Avoid folding chairs or loungers if there are little ones about or you’re accident prone – they are one of the most common sources of domestic injuries!
Pick furniture of the right size – remember to leave space to move chairs in and out. If you’re likely to have a number of people eating and drinking together on the patio, a large table with an integrated parasol is a great option for summer (and showers!). If you’re just looking to enjoy a coffee and newspaper in a small space, try a cafe-style bistro table and metal chairs. These can be painted in bright enamel finishes to become a centrepiece.
Install a BBQ for cooking and a firepit for Winter and evening warmth. These are lovely social areas for gathering around – but best for older families, or patios where children can safely be kept away.
Finally have fun with traditional decorations. A wheelbarrow, watering can or old fashioned bath tub can make an attractive planter, as can old milk-pails and belfast sinks. Visit reclamation yards or antiques fairs, or buy replicas from DIY stores and garden nurseries. Add lanterns and solar lighting into borders and rockeries for a pretty night-time glow. Water features and ponds are wonderful alongside seating areas, for relaxing and watching nature at its finest.
28th August 2011
Every good patio needs a beautiful border design to complement it. The right border will provide a calming, colourful and beautifully scented backdrop to your pattern-imprinted concrete patio, for you to enjoy when sitting to read outside or enjoy a BBQ with the family. A well laid out border can also be used to section off patio areas, provide privacy and even provide an area for growing patio fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs.
Look for a border that makes use of different levels. A stacked series of raised or built beds can look very attractive, with ferns, creepers and heavy blossoms cascading downwards to create a waterfall effect. It will encourage a feeling of space and depth, allowing the eye to travel up and down, rather than simply across a flat space.
Rockeries are good for courtyard patios, and plants suited to drier soils will be easy to maintain here. Try mixing pansies and violas with alpine strawberries and colourful daisies. Wildflowers are also a beautiful option, and you can buy ready-made seed mixes to scatter onto prepared soil.
Why not make use too of containers on your patio, to grow some fruit and vegetables? Tumbling tomato varieties are great on a high planter. Berry canes can be trained up from large containers, to climb a trellis against a wall. Herbs can be grown in small pots or containers on windowsills or ledges. Try growing peppers in growbags, and potatoes in deep portable potato sacks – these take up surprisingly little space, but will help you attain your Five a Day on the patio alone!
26th August 2011
“CD Designs have just finished a complete transformation of my garden back and front and my driveway and what can I say!!! I cannot recommend them enough. Tim was very helpful and gave excellent advice and suggestions and all the lads were polite and hardworking and nothing was too much trouble. The whole job was completed without any problems and I am totally satisfied with the standard of workmanship from start to finish. If anyone is considering any work on their gardens, drives, etc please get in touch with CD Designs, you will not be disappointed!!!”
Linda Crossley – August 2011
25th August 2011