Sunday, 30 September 2012

Bicycle Chandeliers

I'm completely in love with these chandeliers made from old bicycle parts by artist Carolina Fontoura Alzaga.  Not only are they stunning but they have a really interesting philosophy behind them about recycling and riches versus junk.  From Colossal, one of my favourite blogs.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Mood Boards

I've always enjoyed sticking pictures all over my wall and I'm building up quite a collection of postcards from art galleries and pages from magazines.  It's more interesting having lots of different images to look at and especially helps if you're stuck for ideas.  I'm a massive fan of interior designer Abigail Ahern and below are some pictures of mood boards from her blog.  She posted recently (see here) about how they can help focus your mind and get a feel of what you're wanting to create by collecting images you love.  No reason this can't apply to landscape too.

This image is also from her blog from a while back.  I kept it because I love how the green theme is carried through from the pictures to the sofa and house plants.

This one is of my own wall in front of my desk at uni (complete with melting DalĂ­ clock)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The National Trust Natural Childhood Report

I've just been reading this article about how children are loosing touch with nature, something called 'Nature Deficit Disorder.'  A lack of safe green spaces and a 'cotton-wool culture' means British parents aren't letting their kids play outside like they used to.  In the National Trust's Natural Childhood Report it has been found that parents are so worried by stranger danger and traffic that their children are stuck indoors (probably in front of tellies and computer screens), and that this lack of outdoor play can stunt a child's social, mental and physical development which can then lead to problems in later life.

I think this is a very important issue for landscape architects to think about.

I was very lucky in that I had an amazing childhood.  Living in the country meant that nature was always all around.  In fact now I live in Manchester I find I barely notice the changing seasons like I do at home.  We have a garden at home; not that big but big enough when you're small.  It's always been a bit overgrown and has far too many trees to fit in the space.  There was one area we called 'the jungle' because it used to be full of tall shrubs that you could hide in, and at the weekends we used to go for long walks in the fens.  I'm sure my childhood would have been very different if I'd grown up in a terraced house with a tiny concrete back yard like the one I'm living in now.  There's a park nearby but it wouldn't have been practical for my parents to watch over me all the time to make sure I was safe.

Anyway so I've done a little brain storm about how landscape architects (and architects, and communities) can encourage nature back in to childhood:

I really do think that this is a very important thing to consider when designing and building our cities and green spaces.  Childhood is probably the most important and influential stage of our lives so if we get this right we can encourage healthier, happier futures for generations to come.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


Now that I'm living in a typical Manchester terraced house we have a typically dull terraced house back yard.  So my house mates and I brightened it up a little this evening with some chalk pastels!  They'll wash off but we're planning a painted mural.

My sunflowers :)

Snail detail

And a horse, just because I love drawing them

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Preliminary Perspectives

For the Cambridge Green System project.  This project has made me really appreciate where I live.  It's a stunning city.  I'm hoping to fill out these outlines when I've got a bit more time and do a bit of painting to really bring them to life.

Jesus Green

Parker's Piece

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Really Long Book Titles

Don't you miss the old days when books had really long fancy titles?  Like this:

I do, so I made my own:


Sunday, 9 September 2012

White Poplar is the new Silver Birch

Well it's not but it should be.  Silver birch is way too overused in modern landscape design.  Yes silver birch trees are beautiful with their white trunks and twinkling leaves but there are just too many of them!

This summer I came across a BEAUTIFUL white poplar (Populus alba):

How can you not love this tree? Like a silver birch it has the white bark for winter interest plus lovely furry white buds which unfold into dark green/white leaves.  So like a silver birch but bigger (and more beautiful) and longer lived!

Friday, 7 September 2012


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