A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

Trends: How to make a green wall, or living wall

How to create a living wall

Are you stuck for space to garden or hold houseplants but feeling ambitious and hungry for green? A living or green wall might be what you need.

When we went to Amsterdam earlier this year we stayed in this amazing eco hotel with the living wall you see above. I was amazed by it each morning and would stand there with my tea pondering it’s construction, the textures and colours were amazing and it really did make a difference having a green wall indoors – everyone seemed to want to stop and stay for longer in this hotel reception.

I’m not the only one who has been pondering, for my friends living in London it was the first thing they suggested when we were chatting about interior and garden trends. With less space than other areas of the country and more and more living walls popping up in communal spaces to bring a much need breath of fresh oxygen and a carbon dioxide, living walls are taking cities by storm.


How to make a Living Wall

Here’s a quick guide to getting started, from easy kits you simply buy plant and hang, to creating your own green wall from a palette.

What does a living wall do?

A living wall acts as a natural air filter, purifying the polluted air whilst releasing clean oxygen. There are health benefits galore from having clean air, it can also boost concentration.

Why have a living wall?

Green walls are healthy, make us closer to nature and make great homes for insects. They also look great and make spaces immediately more appealing and inviting. Green walls balance humidity levels and can also act as insulation in winter and keep homes cooler in summer. They also absorb noise. I had no idea there were so many different benefits.

A Quick and Easy Green Wall

For a simple start Veg Truck have a wall mounted planter system which comes in lots of fab colours.  Start with one or hang a few together to cover a larger area. This is a really quick and hassle free way to start your green wall. The pockets make it easy to move plants around. There are more elaborate systems you can buy, or professionals can design one for you, but this is a great place to start.


How to DIY a Living Wall


Another DIY method is to construct a large frame, attach a plastic sheet to the frame to protect the wall from leaks. Next attach a felt landscape membrane to the frame. Larger frames will need a hose above to water them.

How to make a Palette Living Wall


There are lot of useful tutorials out there to upcycle a palette into a living wall, this one really caught my eye.

Which plants work well in living walls?

The Royal Horticultural Society list the tops five plants for green walls: Heuchera, Thyme, Sedum, Carex and Ajuga. There are lots more ideas on their site. Introducing plants as plugs is likely to be most successful.

Would you or have you considered a green wall? Have you seen a cool living wall on your travels that has inspired you? 

Images Shutterstock: Grass and Flower Wall, Green Wall Exterior, Green Wall Tree Wall, Green Wall with Flora

7 Easy BBQ Salads, Plus A BBQ Giveaway

Watermelon, feta and tomato salad

It’s great to get some veggies into a BBQ, but the last thing I want with a burger is the traditional BBQ fare of a heavy pasta or potato salad, neither do I want to just empty a token bag of salad into a bowl, that no one eats. BBQ salads can be really easy as well as complimenting, and even over shadowing the food on the BBQ, here are some ideas to get your mouth watering.

Continue reading

Garden Inspiration: Celebrating 300 years of Capability Brown at Highclere Castle

Garden Inspiration: Celebrating 300 years of Capability Brown at Highclere Castle

You can always rely on a taxi driver to set the scene when you arrive in a new place. On route to a press day at Highclere Castle I discovered Hugh Bonneville, of Downton Abbey fame had also sat in my cab, a rescue mission by my driver, after he refused to be driven a mile further by the reckless driver who had picked him up in London. As well as Hugh, hoards of Australian, Japanese and American tourists had also sat in the back of the same cab. One woman from New York flew in and out in a day, just to see Highclere, after managing to purchase a ticket for the castle online; pre booked tickets sell out fast, but there are also limited tickets available on the door.

As we left the main road, the vast swathes of land the castle inhabits came into view and my taxi driver told me about the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb. As we rounded the bend and the castle appeared, my driver told me that one car load of young girls actually screamed at this point. I felt like a disappointing passenger, the view was incredible, but I wasn’t sure when to admit that I have never watched Downton Abbey, which was filmed here. It slipped out later, when I was chatting to the 8th Earl of Carnarvon about Egyptian relics over scones and tea. Continue reading

Giveaway: Garden Games Giant Dominos

Garden games - giant dominoes

Lazy weekends in the garden are becoming a more regular thing, the summer holidays are not too far off on the horizon now, time to get ready for a summer of family fun. But it can be hard to find something all the family wants to do together.

Dominoes is such an easy game to play for all ages, it is one of our favourite quick to play games that doesn’t end in arguments or require lots of setting up. I always remember playing it at my grandparents when my brother and I went to stay for the weekend, and it brings back such happy memories.

Wayfair have lots of lovely outdoor play equipment, including garden games. How about a giant wooden tower of bricks – my two love to build with these as well as playing jenga, or how about croquet, quoits, play parachutes or tin can alley? I have vivid memories of playing croquet as a kid, on the modest front lawn of a very normal housing estate, it may seem unlikely, but seeing up new croquet courses kept my brother and I entertained on many sunny days.

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Giveaway: Achieve Garden Lighting Nirvana

I have been having a little rummage at Wayfair for lights for my garden and stumbled across these beauties. Wayfair actually have masses of garden lighting options, but I love these because they are solar powered and don’t require any complex DIY to install.

Garden lighting giveaway

To celebrate I have either a set of these Nirvana Decorative Lights worth £49.99 or £50 to spend on garden lighting of your choice from Wayfair.co.uk. Do check out my other garden giveaway too! Continue reading

Get Inspired: Using Garden Mirrors

Using Garden Mirrors - tips and inspirations

We talk a lot about bringing the outdoors in, but now it is meant to be getting warmer – although the wind is howling outside and I am typing in my biggest jumper with the heating back on – I want to talk about bringing the indoors out. Wandering past a flower shop in Madrid last weekend I was really taken with the gorgeous display of flowers along mirror lined shelves and it got me thinking about how to use garden mirrors.

I love these shutter style mirrors (above); the display is so playful and tells a story. I really love the idea that my garden could have some little story corners. Mirrors are such a fun way to create a garden drama.

This picture of an outdoor bathroom really made me smile, I might not go as far as installing the sink, but how gorgeous does the mirror look in this setting? Seeing something unexpected like this in an outdoor setting never fails to make me smile and look again, and that’s a great feeling to bring to a garden I think. Continue reading

7 ways to use a mini greenhouse, plus a giveaway

ways to use a mini greenhouse

We may dream of a potting bench and a full size greenhouse, but even the smallest greenhouse can be a garden powerhouse, a brilliant way to extend your gardening seasons and save money growing your own plants from seed. It’s something kids will enjoy and a great way to ensure plants get a great start in life. if you have ever planted out only to have your seeds come to nothing in unseasonal weather conditions, a greenhouse could help keep your spirits and your plants up. It is hard knowing where to start, so here are a few ways to use a mini greenhouse in your garden: Continue reading

The A Residence Christmas Gift Guide

This week, having committed to doing all my own gift buying and organising this month (read more about simplifying Christmas in this post) I thought it only fair to share a Christmas gift guide. Shopping at Wayfair is often surprising, I am forever stumbling on new product lines and items I didn’t know they sold.

From those tricky people you will only know what to buy when you see it, to presents for kids, gardeners and foodies, there’s something in this Christmas Gift Guide for all. Plus find the best bargains, by following the links to the relevant Wayfair Daily Sales, some of the items featured came from current sales.

A Residence Blog Gift guide - from I know it when I see it, to foodies, gardeners, kids, friends and families, there is something for everyone at Wayfair.co.uk

I’ll know just the thing when I see it…

With some people it’s a case of browsing until something totally unique or completely them jumps out at you, (that’s why I love flicking through a Christmas gift guide or two with a cup of tea and some peace and quiet).

Moroccan Lantern, Pentagon MirrorMap wall ClockCow HeadFloral Suitcase TidysPsycho Wall ArtBeetle mugretro camera tin

View the full range of gifts for him and gifts for her.

A Residence Blog Gift guide - from I know it when I see it, to foodies, gardeners, kids, friends and families, there is something for everyone at Wayfair.co.uk

Gifts for Kids

Wayfair is especially great for play tents and kitchens, but don’t overlook the little bits and pieces too.

Photo Wash bagChildren’s Swim Bag, Little Prince Stars Mug SetNativity StatuetteChildren’s Cooking SetPintoy KitchenWild West Play Tent

View the full range of gifts for kids.

A Residence Blog Gift guide - from I know it when I see it, to foodies, gardeners, kids, friends and families, there is something for everyone at Wayfair.co.uk

Gifts for foodies

Wayfair has everything from practical sets to stylish modern gadgets and vintage and retro style classics. For family friendly foodie gifts I love the pancake pan and the retro waffle maker. Check out the newly launched Prestige Vintage Kitchenware collection, I love the Blue Striped casserole, there is a competition to win the full set here.

Cook Book StandPasta Factory Gift SetKitchen blow torch setEclectic Liqueur glass setUlster Weavers ApronCheese SlicerMorphy Richards Blender

View all gifts for foodies.

A Residence Blog Gift guide - from I know it when I see it, to foodies, gardeners, kids, friends and families, there is something for everyone at Wayfair.co.uk

Gifts for Gardeners

Wayfair has a huge garden department with everything you need for a stylish garden.

Landhaus Birdfeeder, Sophia Laurhen garden hen sculptureFallen Fruits Deer hookFallen Fruits boot stand, Garden tool apron, Ceramic Planter Set, Pinecone Bird Feeder

View the full range of gifts for gardeners.

Have you spotted anything I missed? Any great present ideas this year? I’m looking forward to making some too, I will be sharing some crafts and recipes.

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