Mar 1, 2016

Getting Back to Nature


Everyone is hugging trees these days.

It used to be the reserve of age old Hawkwind aficionados with a permanent chemical imbalance. Where most people saw a trunk, branches and leaves, they saw a kindred spirit, a companion from the ages, a convenient place to tarry a while over the odd spliff or three.

But now even the Hipsters are getting back to nature. Propped up against the nearest oak tree by day, laptops and Cappuccinos by their side, trendy Camden pad by night.

With each and everyone of these little pied-à-terre’s a twenty first century shrine to all things green.

Because even nature has its price. And if you want to bring elements of the elemental into your home, to feel at one with Mother Earth in the safety of your own home, then there are ways and means of doing it.

If you can’t get to Grantchester Meadows then let Grantchester Meadows come to you.

One of the easiest ways of bringing a little bit of Mother Nature into your home is to festoon it with plants.

Easy to do. But maybe not so easy to do well.

Your Great Grandma, for example, might have been content with an aspidistra in the corner of the front room.

Those days are long, long gone.

But if you want to carry on the tradition of sharing your home with plenty of foliage then one place you could go for a few ideas is Ikea.

Yep, they’re not all about incomprehensibly difficult to construct bedside cabinets or meatballs. They also provide a wide range of greenery for the home with a choice of plants that will see you spoilt for choice. There are even plants that won’t take it personally if you’re out and about for weeks on end. Cacti are very low maintenance plants that will pretty much get on with it for years on end, even if the only attention you pay them is dusting around them, the Pincushion cactus (stop sniggering at the back) being a particular favourite.

Cacti are members of the plant group known as succulents, that is, plants that have parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, the prior purpose of this being to retain water in arid climates or dry/poor soil conditions.

In other words, you won’t be able to kill them off by deliberately not watering them.

Another popular succulent plant is the Mother in Law's Tongue, so called because of its fiery appearance and sharp edges.

Cheap gag or not, its sculptural looks enhanced many an atrium and they certainly add depth and shape to any room, from the smallest one upwards. It even won an award last Summer.

Just imagine all those delicate orchids and blood red roses standing in the corner of the greenhouse and all muttering bitch in unison as the lucky winner was announced...

You can find out more about succulents here. And if you end up succumbing to them, send us a photo or two of them in their new home. We’d love to share them with all the other readers of this blog.

Now, what about a water feature?

No, not a contemporary garden pond. In anycase, we’re going to be dealing with them later in the Spring.

We’re talking indoor water features here.

It doesn’t have to be as spectacular as this one either.

A simple indoor water fountain like this can be bought from any specialist online company like, for example, Waterfeatures2Go or UK Waterfeatures.

And they aren’t just for show either. Well go on, they are a little bit. But there’s more.

Indoor water features can bring several benefits to your home. It goes without saying, for example, that one will add a soothing, natural and comfortable atmosphere to the home. Running water will attract negative ions, these attract dirt particles in the air, the water feature succeeding in pulling them right out of the air (as if by science, rather than magic-but hey, who’s bitchin’?) and into the fountain where they can be purified.

Just think, that’s dirt that’s been snatched right out of the air and away that might, otherwise, have ended up inside your lungs.

I can tell you're impressed. But hold on.

The sound and appearance of running water relaxes the mind. Come on, that’s not rocket science. Look at how we are all attracted, lulled by still and calm waters, beguiled by the sea.

It’s where we came from for goodness sake. And if we can’t go back there, then let’s have some of it in our homes.

That relaxes state of mind that the sound and appearance of running water brings us can even lower tensions in our joints and muscles. Imagine, if you will, the installation of your home water feature being the first of your health dominos. Watch them topple, one by one.

The sound and vision of running water can lead to a relaxed and eased state of mind. Which can mean more restful sleep cycles, something we all need but rarely get enough of.

So yes, there are those that will claim installing a water feature inside your home is over the top, a pose, an unnecessary frippery.

But you’ll be too calm and chilled to notice.

We’ve ticked the indoor plants and water feature boxes. Now, how about having some natural light, the best way to show everything off?

Light is life. We can’t live without it. So shouldn’t we bathe ourselves in it as much as we can?

We think so.

There are, of course, very obvious ways of adding more natural light to the home.

Adding windows is, of course, one of them. But hold on their Tiger, don’t go knocking down the first wall you see. Think about it. Yes, kitchens and living rooms are obvious places to do so, but what about those that hardly get any light at all, what about stairwells and landings?

Would you prefer this? Or this?

See, you’re getting the idea now. There will more than likely be a range of builders near to you who can advise you how best to utlise natural light in your home in the best possible way by adding some new windows. So give some of them a call and see what they think.

Another solution is to have glass doors.

I know, it’s so simple, it’s stupid. But look. The average two bedroom semi will have, not counting those at the front or back, around eight internal doors in it. And, if they all look something like this, well, that’s a lot of light that isn’t getting into your home.

But hold on, what if they all looked like THIS? A (so you know what to ask for)  Contemporary African wenge interior single door lined with frosted glass.

Frosted glass, of course, has two benefits in addition to letting natural light stream through them.

Firstly, it looks more attractive than plain glass.

And, secondly, it gives an element of privacy. So there is, for example, no reason not to have it on a bedroom or bathroom door. And in anycase, you can always put a blind on the inside of the door if you insist on some privacy.

But then again, if you’re wanting to let the light into your life, then why on earth would you have any reason to then block it out again?

Our homes have never been so modern or state of the art.

The digital age has brought speed and convenience to our fingertips. Yet we can all too often forget those things which helped put us all here in the first place.

Plants, water, sunshine. Three fundamentals of living-and where living really does mean living.

Lets share our homes with them. We owe them that at the very least.