From conservatories to compost heaps: an Eco-Friendly Garden

You’ve got a shimmering lawn neater than the haircut of a military general, pot plants more colourful than a Flaming Lips album cover and a gazebo that could make the Gardeners’ World team spurt tears of pride – but is your garden eco-friendly?
That’s right – From the lawnmower you use to the patio furniture you sit on, the grass (as well as the air and energy usage) can always be made greener.
So, what can you do? Start with a few of these top ideas.
Get with the glazing
What does every perfect middle-class home have in common? You guessed it – they’ve all invested in a professionally made conservatory.
Giving you the perfect view of your garden as you laze indoors, conservatories also act as an ideal form of insulation for your home. Although the glass won’t actually retain much heat, your extension will essentially act as a shield, keeping the cold at arm’s length and saving you on heating bills.
Let it rot, let it rot, let it rot
Composting is the perfect way to recycle those out-of-date newspapers, old bits of food (though never compost fish and meat items, for reasons of hygiene) and rotting plant life that has little to no other use.
First off, create a compost bin to hold your gunk, then fill it with leaves, water, twigs and anything else that will decompose effectively. Be sure to mix up your compost heap so that different materials come into contact with each other, creating an alchemy that will break them down quicker.
After all this, you’ll have a handy supply of compost to give your soil an extra lease of life.
Praise the sun!
In the recent past, solar panels were viewed as ideal ways to power your home, but ultimately impractical thanks to their cost.
But that’s all changing with the price of solar panels recently dropping by a third (according to national newspaper The Guardian). Place these in your garden and on your roof and, provided there’s sunny weather, you’ll have a wellspring of electricity that doesn’t rely on finite fossil fuels to power your home.
Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain
The average UK rainfall in 2012 was 1331mm, although you’d be forgiven for thinking there was far more. But instead of grumbling and moaning about the UK’s stormy fortunes, put that rain to good use by placing a water butt in your garden.
Allow it to fill and you’ll have a repository of rainwater that you can use to water your plants, saving you on water bills and giving you backup if a hosepipe ban comes into play.

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Ultrawood Eco-Friendly Wall Décor

Rebel of styles is very delighted to introduce its newest eco-friendly wall décor product: ULTRAWOOD.

Ever dreamed of a Aspen or Alps chalet style in your house? Then choose for Ultra Wood 3d wall panel. It creates a warm, relax, harmonic, and authentic look in your house.

Ultra wood is made of highest quality of European beech wood and it’s made of 100% natural materials. The 3d panels have a smooth and sleek surface, so no more splinters.
Furthermore, these amazing panels offer so much more; it adapts to its natural situation and it’s creates pleasant warmth, rich and a cosy atmosphere.
A pleasant detail is, it only weights 4.2 kilos per square meter and the installation of these 3d panels is very user friendly.
Therefor already recommended and used by various international well-known architects, designers and remodelers.

Ultra Wood is suitable for almost every wall surface. It will be an original, extraordinary and authentic focal point.
Beside the various patterns in the panel, it will also create a natural shadow & light effect and blend in with the various interior colours.

So, for an authentic, relaxing and original look at home, or even better summarised: Get the chalet Aspen or Alps style in your house.
Ultra wood is the best and unique option out there. It is everything but ordinary!

 

Skidmore Passivhaus – Energy Efficiency Home by In Situ Architecture

This eco friendly house located in Portland, Oregon design by In Situ Architecture firm.

“Located in an existing neighborhood of post-war houses, Skidmore Passivhaus merges contemporary design with the highest level of energy efficiency. Providing a true live / work condition, two separate buildings address the program requirements while creating a unique indoor / outdoor space between. High levels of insulation, extremely airtight construction (tested at .32ach50), high performing triple glazed european windows, and a super-efficient heat recovery ventilator allow the structure to meet the stringent requirements of the German Passivhaus standard. Generous amounts of south facing glazing (.5 shgc) maximize the solar gains for most of the year, while motorized exterior aluminum shades can be lowered to block unwanted summer heat gain resulting in extremely comfortable temperatures year round. An extensive green roof helps manage all stormwater on site, while a roof mounted 4.32 kW PV array provides enough electricity to result in a near net zero and truly sustainable building”.

Photography by Jeremy Bittermann.

Bioclimatic House – Brittany, France by A.Typique Patrice Bideau Architecte

Literally built from the outside in, Gulf of Morbihan House by A. Typique Patrice Bideau is an eco-chic modern dream home rooted in sustainability. Situated in the south of Brittany, France, the exterior gardens and freshwater pool were first designed, allowing the low-energy structure to be built around it.

The approach to the five-bedroom home features basic wood posts linked together by a metal wire fence. This dwelling is evocative of a rural farm house with its pitched roof, arched zinc cladding and timber siding. Taking a closer look, one notices the schistose roof tiles which unify the other natural stone elements seen in the conservatory terrace, rocky burms and intricate landscape design with meandering pathways. An adjacent pergola frames the other opening which joins the kitchen.

AWeber Communications Headquarters – Chalfont, Pennsylvania by Wulff Architects

When AWeber Communications, an e-mail marketing software company, desired a new modern office space for its headquarters, little did they realize that Philadelphia-based Wulff Architects would not only create an innovative environ, but one that would garner the prestigious LEED Gold certification.

With 71,000 square feet, the offices located in Chalfont, Pennsylvania were especially designed to reflect AWeber’s core values regarding collaboration, innovation, sustainability and, last but certainly not least, fun.

Green Screen House – Saitama, Japan by Hideo Kumaki Architect Office

Green Screen House in Saitama, Japan is a modern dream home designed by Hideo Kumaki Architect Office. The focal point of the structure lies within the draped “living wall” which follows the entire curve of the structure along its rear exterior.

Providing the obvious shading, this lush green blanket is also a passive cooling system for the home itself. In fact, it was noted that the area underneath it registers ten degrees cooler than the outdoor climate. The foliage connects from the home’s roofline, down to the earth which joins the courtyard, previously a prized rose garden of the owner’s mother.

Albizia House – Simbithi Eco-Estate, South Africa by Metropole Architects

Well-appointed, dressed in sophisticated finishes and soaring with sleek cantilevered roofs and angled planes, Albizia House by Metropole Architects is a contemporary dream home presiding over one acre in the Simbithi Eco-Estate along South Africa’s Kwa-Zulu-Natal coastline.

The progressive architecture is stunning, a very subtle take on the renowned American architect, John Lautner’s futuristic and mod “Googie” architecture. The two-story estate captivates with its wide range of materials of wood, stone, steel and concrete. Surfaces and textures run the gorgeous gamut from smooth cladding to rustic stacked stone and undulating steel. Elevations excite with geometric configurations becoming balconies, terraces and living zones. Interiors unify with the environment, portraying a blurred differentiation between indoor living and outdoor relaxation.