How to Maximise your Available Garden Space

garden space

No matter how big or small your garden, in order to maximise the use of its space it is essential that careful consideration is taken to ensure it is well planned out in a an aesthetically pleasing and user friendly manner. As such, here are some ideas for various garden structures that will enable you to optimise the space turning it into a relaxing tranquil outdoor area for all the family to enjoy.


A wooden gazebo creates a really impacting design statement to any garden space. Perfect for a wide range of outdoor activities including alfresco dining, they will prove a worthwhile investment to any home no matter how large or small.

Constructed from pressure treated timber to ensure maximum durability, a wooden gazebo can be positioned in any level location around the garden. However, in order to maximise the garden to its full potential, ensure it is sited in a position that will not prevent other aspects of the garden being enjoyed (for example in the centre of a small lawn)


A wooden pergola looks amazing installed over any existing patio area and will form an intimate outdoor space in which to spend time unwinding with family and friends. The additional height of the structure will provide added appeal to the garden and is perfect for growing plants up and over to create a floral canopy that will provide shade from the hot summer sun.

Relative to their size, a wooden pergola takes up very little ground space as only the vertical supports to the ground leaving the rest of the area free for positioning patio furniture under.

Summerhouses and Log Cabins

Available in a vast array of sizes and styles to suit your garden size, a wooden summerhouse creates a whole new room at the fraction of the price of an extension. Where space is limited, many styles are even designed to fit into the corner of the garden to ensure maximum flexibility of the space, meaning this form of garden building offers excellent value for money.

Corner Arbours

Rather than opting for a simple wooden bench, the addition of a stunning corner arbour will ensure any dead space is used to its full potential and will provide a comfortable seating area that is perfect for enjoying the view of the garden or relaxing with a book.

Available in a wide range of sizes and designs, a corner arbour can be stained or painted to match the colour scheme of the garden.  In addition to this, the lattice sides of this form of garden structure enable climbing plants to grown up through it to form a soft floral canopy that can help soften the look of the arbour over time.

In conclusion, any of the above simple garden additions will ensure your garden is used to its full potential by offering a practical, affordable and useable space to homeowners regardless of their size of garden or available budget.

Article written on behalf of Gazebo Direct, a leading supplier of quality garden structures designed to maximise the space available within a garden. Check out this page to view the entire range of garden solutions available.

Why You Need Curtain Linings

When it comes to choosing curtains for your home, there is so much choice and so many different styles that choosing can suddenly become a bewildering experience. What kind of curtains should you choose? Should I go for patterned or plain? Do I add a lining and why would I need to?

Fear not! Here is a short guide to choosing curtains and why curtain linings are a great idea…


Which style of curtain?

There are three main types of curtain and your choice here will depend on the finished look you wish to achieve for your room.

PENCIL PLEAT: Traditional and elegant, pencil pleats have close gathered folds at their heading which resemble a row of pencils.

TAB TOP: Classic and graceful, tab top curtains are used with curtain poles. The length of the tabs needs to be taken in to consideration when measuring for length.

EYELET: Stylish and sophisticated these again, use only a curtain pole and have a row of eyelets which is usually ringed with metal of varying diameter.


How do i measure for my new curtains?

Before you start to measure for your curtains it helps if the curtain pole or rail is already fixed in place. It should sit around 6 inches above the window and extend 6-8 inches beyond either side. Measure the total width of the curtain POLE end to end excluding any finials and not the window.

TIP: The total width of both curtains should be double to two and a half times the width of the curtain pole or track. Add an inch to your final measurement so that your curtains will neatly overlap in the middle when closed.

Track top curtains should be measured from the top of their track and tab top and eyelet curtains measured from the very top of the pole.


Do I need to line my curtains?

Linings have quite a string of benefits but the main one is that they enhance the appearance of the curtains and make them hang better and look fuller. They are also practical for other reasons too such as to block out sunlight which could fade delicate materials or make the home uncomfortably hot. Curtain linings can also help to insulate a home as much heat can be lost through the windows, especially if you do not happen to have double glazing installed.

Curtain linings can be purchased with thermal insulation properties and can also make a difference if you are trying to insulate your home against street noise.


How can I care for my curtains?

When you buy your new curtains, allow them to hang for 24 hours to allow the creases to naturally fall out. Your curtains will come with their own care instructions dependent upon the material from which they are constructed. Follow these carefully to avoid damaging or shrinking the fabric.

If you have any hints or tips on making curtains or creating your own blackout linings then we would love to hear from you. Please leave us your comments in the box below.

Design Diary: Finding an NYC Apartment, From Boston

Design Diary: Finding a NYC Apartment, From Boston

One of the perks of having a doctor for a best friend is free medical advice. One of the perks of being a doctor and having a best friend that’s an interior designer is a lifetime of design help…


As a designer, I believe that people should be paid for their talents. But like most of you, there are a select few people in my life that I would never consider charging for my assistance. My best friend, Eleni, is one of those people. So when the time came for her to move from Boston to Manhattan for her oncology fellowship, I gladly offered to help her find and set up her new home. In these Design Diary posts, I’ll share details about the process.

Not surprisingly, finding an apartment in NYC was challenging. The hospital requires that Eleni live in close proximity for at least the first year of her fellowship, so we were limited to the Upper East Side in our apartment hunting.  This was both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it limited the neighborhoods we could consider and helped focused our search. On the other hand, it meant pursing less expensive fringe areas weren’t an option. Time was also a constraint, as Eleni was deep in the middle of a rotation filled with 30 hour shifts in Boston at the time that the apartment search needed to take place. Like it or not, a broker seemed our best option.

Two days after speaking to a friend-recommended broker, Eleni received a call about a not yet listed apartment that met most of her criteria. The catch? It needed to be seen and decided upon the next day. Due to short notice, we enlisted the help of another friend, to view it on her behalf. It was a one bedroom apartment in a walk-up building, on the third floor.  The rent was high, but low by NYC standards. The location was great, and it was one block from the subway.

Our friend went to see the apartment, and on a lark, the agent showed her another one, in the same building but on the fifth floor.  She reported back — the fifth floor apartment had an almost identical layout, but the third floor apartment was best. Eleni submitted her application. Almost immediately she heard back that someone already living in the building had also submitted an application for the apartment, and they would most likely get it. Was she interested in the fifth floor apartment, they asked? (First reaction? No, it’s a fifth floor walk-up!) Long story short — pros and cons were weighed, bank accounts were emptied, and Eleni is now renting a fifth floor walk-up apartment on the Upper East Side that she’s personally never seen.

Next week, she’ll get keys and we’ll have the chance to see the apartment for the first time. We’ll take pictures and measurements, and I’ll get down to the nitty-gritty details of space planning…