Wonderful NGS gardens at Blewbury Oxfordshire

Jun 22, 2018 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

Blewbury gardens open once a year under the National Garden Scheme and what a beautiful group of gardens they are! The Manor House and Hall Barn are the largest in the group, and are full of interesting garden rooms, but the smaller gardens all managed to lead the visitor on...

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Holland Park, 22.5 Hectares of Beautifully Landscaped Gardens!

Mar 23, 2018 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

Holland Park has to be one of the loveliest parks in London.  It is full of surprises, unexpected sculptures, a simply stunning Japanese garden, and hectares of idyllic parkland that is so naturally landscaped you believe you are in the middle of the countryside.  The woodlands especially are abundant with...

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6 Collages of Gardens to Inspire!

Feb 22, 2018 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

Garden photos generally show one view or angle of a garden, and so rarely capture the essence of the whole garden at a glance.  Most of us are pushed for time, and so I thought to capture the essence of a few of the amazing projects we have done over...

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Dahlias - Invaluable Colour from June till the first frost!

Feb 13, 2018 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

Dahlias have a wonderful range of colours and shapes for you to choose from and are very free flowering, often bringing colour to your garden from June till the first frosts. They are tuberous rooted perennials, and a good time to order the tubers is now, from February-April, planting them...

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Beautiful Contemporary Water Features!

Dec 4, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

A Koi Carp pond with a difference! This contemporary water feature is set in a very long, narrow garden, where in order to widen the feel of the garden, I based the whole design on a 45% angle off the house.  The terrace leading out of the house is on...

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Landscapes in Art

Oct 19, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Gardeners Choice

A weekend walk to take in the beauty of the landscaped gardens at Blenheim Palace led me to a surprise hidden gem, The Oxfordshire Museum, which is situated in the heart of Woodstock. After an hour of drinking in the stunning, natural beauty created by Capability Brown at Blenheim Palace,...

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Landscape Design - Stunningly Beautiful Prairie Gardens

Oct 6, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

This 8 acre garden is like a huge Impressionist painting that invites you to walk in and around it.  In fact Home and Garden Magazine described the Sussex Prairie Gardens as “A living tableau of plants – a vast, moving sea of densely planted perennials and grasses on a scale...

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Summer in the Oxford Botanical Gardens!

Aug 1, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

Last month, 396 years ago, the Oxford Botanical Gardens was founded ‘To promote the furtherance of learning and to glorify nature’. It is the oldest Botanic Garden in Britain and it is still fulfilling the mission it set out to do nearly 400 years ago. The setting of the landscape...

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Rousham Garden designed by the Father of the English Art of Landscape Design

Jun 13, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

William Kent (1685-1748) was an artist, with his work encompassing painting, interiors, landscapes, architecture, furniture and book illustrations. He is however best remembered as the ‘father’ of English Landscape Design and without him there might arguably never have been Lancelot ‘Capablility’ Brown. Whilst he was clearly influenced by the ‘Grand...

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The Beauty of Blenheim

May 3, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

We were bathed in sunshine over the weekend and I took the opportunity to visit Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, a beautiful palace set in many acres of parkland, redesigned by Capability Brown between 1763 - 1774.  How did he get the name Capability? Apparently on viewing a prospective client’s estate...

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Spring has Sprung at the NGS Garden Open Day at Trinity College, Oxford!

Mar 31, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

As I have just been honoured to have my own garden accepted by the NGS to be open to the public in May, I searched through which of their gardens to visit on Mother’s Day with my son, and came up with Trinity College in Oxford. The college itself is...

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My Top Picks from London Design Week 2017 at Chelsea Design Centre

Mar 20, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Whats Hot

There were so many wonderfully creative ideas on show at the Chelsea Design Centre last week, it is difficult to choose which ones to highlight here. One of my favourite new finds is the stunning, hand painted, silk wallpaper range produced by Fromenthal www.fromental.co.uk . In Photo 1 you can...

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Water Features that Transform the Garden – Whatever the Size

Feb 14, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

Nature by Design! Man has always sought to tame nature and this beautiful small lake that we created in Old Boar’s Hill, just outside Oxford, is a stunning example how, by mimicking nature, you can create the best of both worlds. Designed Nature. Part of the beauty of water is...

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Flooring Trends for 2017

Feb 13, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Whats Hot

Are you looking to redesign or redecorate your living spaces during 2017?  Well, one of the areas you may not have looked at in too much detail is which flooring to choose.  However, it is of course essential in any room, but keeping on-trend with your flooring can be a...

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Inspirational Companies Exhibiting at The Surface Design Show

Feb 10, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

This year’s Surface Design Show at the Business Design Centre had some wonderful exhibitors. To view the whole list and see for yourself the SDAwards go to www.surfacedesignshow.com . This blog is about the ones that stood out for me, and the stand of Sterling Studios with their exquisite Eglomise...

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A Japanese Oasis in the heart of London

Feb 3, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

The Kyoto Garden is a stunningly beautiful sanctuary in the heart of London’s Holland Park. What with the sound of running water, the stately peacocks and other birds, and the giant Koi Carp swimming in the pond, the Kyoto Garden really does achieve a Zen like harmony in the centre...

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Small and Beautiful Town Garden

Nov 21, 2016 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice , Whats Hot

‘Who needs to go to Giverny?’ That was the comment one visitor made when she first laid eyes on this small and evocative town garden situated in Old Headington, Oxford.  The garden is constantly on view from the house, so it was really important to create an ever changing picture...

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Finally Finished

Oct 12, 2016 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Whats Hot

One of the most rewarding elements of my work is looking at your schemes once they are completed, seeing all of those design ideas in reality. That’s never truer then when it’s your own home. After writing first about our home in Oxford in 2014, we have this year put...

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It’s Autumn and Time to Start Planting!

Sep 21, 2016 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Gardeners Choice

Whilst shrubs and trees form the backbone of a good planting design, it’s the perennials that bring that ‘country garden’ feel to your borders.  Perennials add glorious splashes of colour to your borders at different times of the year and because they die down in the winter, it is possible...

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Exciting New Trends in Lighting For 2016

Apr 4, 2016 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran -

Guest Blog from Lampcommerce Lighting can make or break any design project. Before you begin renovating or redecorating in 2016, think about how you are going to make your project come to life with gorgeous lighting design. We've thought about outdoors and indoors and come up with some great tip...

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Inspirational Before and After Gardens

Aug 3, 2015 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Gardeners Choice

Personally I love a blank canvas!  And although some of these before photos look anything but blank, being choked full of weeds and overgrown shrubbery, they are the perfect starting point to let your imagination go.  Your only restraints are the boundaries, the overall setting and the house itself.  When...

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A Quiet Garden in the City

Apr 20, 2015 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Gardeners Choice , Whats Hot

Gardens evoke thoughts of tranquil, green oases – places to relax in and unwind after a hard day’s work. But if you live in the city centre you are probably surrounded by constant noise and then some of that noise will intrude into your relaxation. I have recently had a...

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Keep Spending Time in Your Garden in Winter with These Great Ideas

Jan 12, 2015 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran -

Guest Blog by Sarah Butler Winter may not be a time of year you associate with sitting on the lawn or having pleasant drinks parties in your outdoor spaces, however you can actually make your garden into a lovely place for you, your family and your friends to hang out...

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Creating an Oasis in the Centre of Oxford

Nov 3, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Gardeners Choice , Whats Hot

Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees, but in this case I nearly couldn’t see the trees for the weeds! This small back garden in the centre of Oxford had been neglected for several years by previous owners, and then had to wait its turn till the house...

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Oxford mess transformed into dream home

Aug 15, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Market Trends , Whats Hot

After buying our dream home only two months ago, turning it from a derelict mess into our dream home hasn’t been easy, but after some pretty frightening hiccups I couldn’t be happier with the result. Living and Dining Room The open plan living and dining room grew by a metre...

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Five Rhododendron AGM Winners

Aug 14, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice , Whats Hot

In Joyce's 'Ulysses', Rhododendrons play a significant role in the early courtship of Leopold and Molly, and amongst the Zomi tribes of India, they are used poetically to signify a lady. They are the state flower of Washington and West Virginia, as well as of several states in India and...

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Plan, plan and plan some more

Jul 24, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Whats Hot

Winston Churchill wisely said ‘let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning’, a concept which I’ve clung to these past few weeks. Every project I try to turn worry and over thinking into planning, in the hope of avoiding any major slip ups. Inevitably each new development teaches me...

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Week two - electrical first fit and plastering

Jun 27, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Whats Hot

The highs and the lows The first few weeks of any property development will give you more highs and lows then a night on the Las Vegas strip, but for us the first week definitely felt like we were on a losing streak. In the first three hours of being...

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Week One - The Rip Out

Jun 18, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Whats Hot

The first on site activity of any property development is the ‘rip out’ stage. You need a mixture of muscle, structural knowledge and guts. Most of the problems of the entire project will come out during this stage, so you have to be prepared to make some difficult calls, change...

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Turning your derelict pit into your dream home - How to Blog Day One

Jun 9, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Whats Hot

Day one of any new project can be daunting, but when that project contains ammunition, worms, rats, broken glass and most likely much worse, day one can make you want to run in the other direction. Luckily for me I love a challenge, so this morning stepping into my newly...

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Grow your own herbs

Jun 4, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice , Whats Hot

Many of the herbs grown in the UK originally come from the Mediterranean and so are happiest in a sunny spot. However I've found most herbs do fine in what's termed semi-shade, where there's about 4 hours sunlight per day, and some more vigorous growers, such as chervil, coriander and...

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Can you help the bees?

Apr 15, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice , Whats Hot

Bees need pollen and nectar for food and we need bees to survive to pollinate the crops that provide our food.  If you have a garden or any outdoor space why not plant a tempting menu for bumblebees? Why bumblebees in particular?  Different bees have varying characteristics and the bumblebee...

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Top tips for navigating your property search

Mar 20, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Market Trends , Property Search

Navigating through the online Platforms We have some of the most successful online property platforms in the world, with rightmove and zoopla both featuring in the top ten recently. With most agencies signed up to their services, browsing available properties to buy should never have been easier.  The main problem...

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Guest Blog - Traditional Home Design Ideas that Work in a Modern Space

Mar 14, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran -

As homeowners, we are constantly trying to find ways to keep up with the latest looks and improvements when it comes to our home interiors. Whilst it is a general rule that we should look forward to new concepts and ideas, it can be quite refreshing to see what has...

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Sow your seeds today and reap the rewards in the summer

Mar 11, 2014 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice , Whats Hot

Thompson and Morgan have their own breeding programme and have introduced a stunning new variety of one of my favourite poppies, Papaver Patty’s Plum. T & M’s new variety is called Papaver Orientale Plum Pudding and it is both long flowering and strong stemmed. It has a beautiful plum colour,...

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Stuck for ideas for your last minute presents?

Dec 20, 2013 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Whats Hot

Stuck for ideas for your last minute presents? Here are some high street steals from £4-£65. Idyll Home After Septembers’ issue of Elle Decoration, I wanted to source some affordable tie die grey cushions. This pair from Idyll home could be used in the bedroom or living room to add...

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How to look at just the structural bones when searching for your perfect london pad

Oct 31, 2013 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Property Search , Whats Hot

Finding the perfect property is rare and so the trick is to find the most amount or potential square footage possible in the desired location, and to view the property as an open space with a few ‘structural‘ bones. It does help to have experience to draw on, but if...

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The rental Yin & Yang

May 2, 2013 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Market Trends , Property Search

Has the disparity between the rental market and sales market made it impossible for buy to let investors to buy in Central London? Recently we were commissioned to search on behalf of a portfolio owner who was looking for a crash pad in Fulham or Pimlico. They had a buy...

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Bathroom Conundrum

Jan 2, 2013 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - How To... , Property Search , Whats Hot

As you can see from the existing floor plans below, the layout meant you had to walk through the second bathroom to gain access to the roof terrace!  Not the most inviting way to usher guests on to your roof terrace for a candlelit dinner on a summer’s eve.   We...

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