• Giving gardens a new spin

    Posted on 1st October 2013 by Andy.

    Giving gardens a new spin The empty courtyard below London’s Oxo Tower on the Southbank is getting a Summer makeover in the shape of The Remix Garden Project. It takes the Cloudy Bay Discovery Garden, which appeared at the Chelsea Flower Show, and lets four gardeners ‘remix’ it in their own distinctive style. Jon Sims kicks off the remixing with Anoushka Feiler, Matthew Childs’ and Daniel Lobb following on, with their respective designs being in place for three weeks each. The aim is to create a showcase for new gardening talent and inspire the public to keep coming back to use the space and become more involved in gardening and community gardening projects. The project runs until October and you can find out more here:

    This Post was posted in Home & Garden and was tagged with garden, project, showcase

  • Heatherwick’s oasis of peace in the city

    Posted on 17th June 2013 by Andy.


    The Thomas Heatherwick Studio, famous for the stunning Olympic flame that was the centrepiece of London’s Olympic opening ceremony, has designed a £60m ‘Garden Bridge’ to cross the River Thames. It has come as a response to a tender from Transport for London (TfL) aimed at creating a pedestrian crossing to the river. What makes it unique is that the bridge will be covered in trees, grasses and wild flowers to create an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the heart of the city. You’ll be able to take a direct route across, although meandering paths and places to stop will encourage you to take things at a leisurely pace. So then London Bridge in the rush hour won’t be the slowest way to cross the Thames. The project is still pending key funding and planning applications, but it’s hoped that work will commence in 2014 for completion in 2016.

    This Post was posted in Architects and was tagged with bridge, garden, heatherwick, london, thames

  • The worlds biggest LED TV is ready to launch

    Posted on 1st May 2013 by Chris.

    If you had to dream up the most opulent and ostentatious display of wealth you probably wouldn’t even come close to saying a massive TV in your back garden. But if you have a spare £423,000 knocking around and a garden big enough you could become the envy of your neighbours with this C Seed 201inch LED TV. At the flick of switch this black monolith rises up out of your lawn like a missile preparing to launch. Within 15 seconds it has reached its full height or 4.6 metres. Then its 201inch screen begins to unfold like an emerging butterfly. In 25 seconds the seven panels on the screen have fully extended and you’re ready to start watching. The C Seed has been designed in Austria by the Porsche Design Studio deliberately to look sculptural as well as sleek and imposing. It is the world’s largest outdoor LED TV and employs the latest cutting edge technology to deliver a seamless experience. When not in use it is hidden away in its own underground storage, its fully water replant, features three-way audio, can rotate through 270 degrees to allow you to find the best viewing angle and wirelessly connects to your home’s media hub. It also boasts fantastic picture quality so you’re not compromising anything for the outdoor cinema experience. While a lot of home design brings something of the outside in, this takes a bit of the inside out. Although it’s possibly not best suited to the British climate but the C Seed is one a must have gadget for people that have everything, especially a large bank balance and a garden to match. Visit for more info.

    This Post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with audio visual, av, C Seed, garden, Home Automation, home entertainment, LED TV

  • The Fountain Effect

    Posted on 8th November 2011 by Chris.

    Electric blinds are the smart, stylish way to control the amount of natural light coming into your home. With a multitude of exiting design options in fabrics that will stop light getting through entirely, light filtering fabrics that offer good levels of privacy, and our trend setting Visio-Lux diffusion collection that allows a level of vision whilst still giving protection from the sun. Controliss Blinds have an ever-expanding range of products to suit any of these needs, but if you have a wonderful view from your windows or have put a considerable amount of effort into creating a magnificent garden scene, you may regret installing window blinds that stop you enjoying such a sight when not open. Roller blinds fabrics are available that include hi-tech mesh-like designs, semi-transparent patterns and even screens with a solar-reflecting back layer to help keep your home cooler. Having a pleasing view to look at without the harsh glare of the sun can significantly lift your mood when relaxing at home and there are innumerable products that you can obtain to further improve your garden scene.can add notably to the character of your garden are water features. There are many options and styles for these, from the complex but spectacular, to the simple yet charming. UK Water Features offer a vast range of such products, including the Oase Jumping Jet Rainbow Star and more self-contained models like the Sphere Stainless Steel Water Feature, as well as wire-free solar powered units. They also provide a service in designing and building custom made water features that would be perfect for an utterly unique and enticing garden landscape.

    The Oase Jumping Jack Rainbow Star can release and illuminate jets of water at adjustable levels to produce arc-shaped streams of water. The light, colours and water patterns are combined to create various pre-programmed displays and sets can be added on to assemble a truly unique water show in your own garden. If you would prefer to add a more self-contained focal point to your garden the popular and modern-looking Sphere Stainless Steel Water Feature is available in sizes ranging from 30cm to 100cm in diameter and the water is lit by LEDs as it is pumped from the top of the sphere. Water features could also be introduced as an indoor decorative accessory. The Smart Solar water features have an optional indoor power adaptor, so they can operate wire-free in the garden or on a balcony through solar power or they can be plugged in and then added as a complement to your interior. While water features are a highly favourable inclusion in a garden landscape plan, they are just as effective at creating a peaceful mood for your business or offices. For instance, imagine entering a restaurant where the décor is opulently adorned, as the daylight dims, plush lighting comes on and your Controliss remote control blinds that superbly compliment such décor, lower themselves automatically. Then, as a focal point for all clientèle, one or more water features are situated in the dining area, delivering soothing sound and a visually captivating display through the simple flow of water. Such an atmosphere is sure create a memorable and blissful experience.

    This Post was posted in Home & Garden and was tagged with blinds, electric, feature, garden, home, light, Remote Control, solar, water

  • Summer Dining

    Posted on 6th July 2011 by Andy.

    If you've been working in an office or other indoor enclosure recently and want to try and make the most of the recent spate of glorious weather, make a point to dine alfresco, whether in the city or at home.

    Here at Controliss blinds, we’ve decided to create an alfresco dining area, and make the most of the stunning weather for those well deserved lunch breaks.

    It’s nice to put together a picnic or a continental breakfast that really makes you feel like you’re a million miles away from home, and that well deserved break will make you happy and set you up for the rest of the day, that’s if you can create a relaxing and comfortable environment  in the first place.

    To begin with, you’ll need somewhere to sit and eat, somewhere you can enjoy the view while you are shaded from the midday sun.

    John Lewis and Marks and Spencer have some beautiful garden furniture this season, in wrought iron and wood, and a range of brightly coloured picnic ware.

    If you’re heading out to the park, a traditional hamper is the way to go. These beautiful hampers from Regency Hampers offer you bespoke collections with a range of foods included that will suit any occasion and varied diets, such as vegetarians.

    If it’s just the hamper you’re after because you want to put together your own picnic, John Lewis has a stunning 4 person luxury hamper including crockery, cutlery and cruet set.

    When it comes to the actual food, finger foods tend to be the easiest to deal with, and if you have guests coming over or if you are taking the family out and want minimum fuss, treat yourself without having to put in all the hard work.

    Waitrose provide an amazing array or prepared food for entertaining which can  be delivered straight to your door, including Buffet, Barbecue and cakes, I’ve treated us to a tray of sushi at Controliss blinds, but for some reason, I may be devouring it all myself.

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    This Post was posted in Home & Garden and was tagged with alfresco, dining, furniture, garden, outdoors, picnic, Summer

  • Summer Garden Dining

    Posted on 15th June 2011 by Andy.

    While the weather is like this, it really makes you want to celebrate, it lifts your mood and you want to share this with friends and family. What better way than to throw a garden party. Tea parties are all the rage again, but an evening social or barbecue is a nice way to get together, catch up and chill out with your nearest and dearest. Looking at my garden, we have a large seating area for dining out which is right next to a water feature, and has a great view across the local fields.

    When dusk breaks this area can be transformed into something that resembles a European bar, or an oriental terrace. Those little touches will get people talking and allow you to party into the evening.

    Tea parties are a great ideas for the day, including lunch or if earlier brunch. The great British Tea Party stems back to the 1650’s, when gardens were built specifically for this purpose, so ladies and gentlemen could take their tea outside and be entertained by orchestras. Today you can recreate the Victorian tea party with a stunning array of crockery from and cupcakes, which you could purchase or, to earn addition appreciation for effort, bake yourself.

    Evening parties can be where people really let their hair down, have a drink and if there are children, they can be entertained with games in the garden and playing on the lawns. But of course, you don't want your party guests to go hungry or they may feel inclined to leave early. While good food can be prepared on any standard grill, your choice of grill can also generate an interesting centre of attention.

    Weber have been creating high quality barbecues for over fifty years and have wonderfully designed products that are suitable for numerous occasions. The iconic design of the Webber One-Touch kettle barbecues is a firm favourite of mine with its classic design and traditional charcoal briquettes.

    For added fun and convenience, you might contemplate the purchase of a barbecue table. Despite being much more recently introduced into the barbecue market, Cole Henley Barbecue Tables are attracting an increasing amount of fascination. Combining stylish looks with great functionality, a barbecue table would allow your guests to cook food to their own liking on the built-in gas-fired grill, without leaving their seats.

    For decoration, oriental themed lights are very pretty and add a dash of colour and warmth to the garden, and if it starts to go a little cold, rather than handing out your old coats and jumpers, invest in a fire pit or chimnea.

    Fingers crossed this fine weather stays around, if it does, I might be throwing a little get together for the folks at Controliss Blinds!

    This Post was posted in Home & Garden and was tagged with barbecue, bbq, garden, home, house, party

  • Salvo Fair 2011 - Reclaim Reuse Repeat

    Posted on 11th June 2011 by Andy.

    Friday the 24th to Sunday the 26th of June, see the annual Salvo Fair. This year, Knebworth House is the host to this fantastic fair. Friday is trade day, then Saturday and Sunday are open to the public. The salvage trade has increased dramatically over the past few years, with people investing more effort in their existing homes rather than moving up the property ladder. Home owners have been giving their homes face-lifts, and have been savvy spending on antique and salvage goods, rather than brand new items. Your sure to find some individual home wares whilst giving environment a helping hand by recycling products. You will find some real weird and wonderful items at salvage fairs, and with a little bit of creative flair, you’ll be able to change them into wonderful pieces for the home. Some of the most interesting purchases have been nickel taps, railway sleepers, a stunning marble bath, stained glass windows, life rings and oak barrels. You’ll find a wide variety of exhibitors at the fair from salvage companies, selling everything for the garden and home, including reclaimed building materials, architectural salvage, garden antiques, decorative antiques, bygones, crafts people and green building.It can be a real weekend away for the whole family, another bonus is if you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the fair, you can visit Knebworth House itself. You can pretty much use old items to recreate new, for instance old watering cans can be planted with bedding flowers, railway sleepers can create raised beds in the garden or become a mantel pieces over an open fire. Even old ld meat hooks can, having been made safe for home utilisation, be reused in the kitchen to hang pots, pans and kitchen utensils on, and old glass and tiles can be broken up to create mosaic features in the garden or in the home. If you’re looking for some individual items with authentic character or just fancy spending a day browsing beautiful and interesting vintage pieces, visit the Salvo Fair on the 24th-26th at June, you can purchase your tickets here and get 10% discount when booking in advance for the Saturday and Sunday.

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with fair, garden, home, Knebworth House, Salvo, Salvo Fair 2011

  • In The Auto-Garden

    Posted on 23rd May 2011 by Chris.

    This year has brought us the warmest April in the UK since Met Office records began, over a century ago. On those sunny mornings, drawn to the windows by the streaks of sunlight breaking through the gaps in our curtains or window blinds, we looked out and immediately started to make this year's 'To Do' list that will transform the garden we see before us into our own sun-blessed delight. The usual routine of mowing the lawn, weeding the flower beds and then giving the area it's necessary water can be a back-straining or, at least, time consuming process. There are, however, ways to make this easier on the back and your schedule as gardening is yet another act that can now be automated. As mentioned in the previous Controliss blinds blog, 'Robot Chores', there are a range of robot lawn mowers available to buy, such as the MowBot. The MowBot works by sensing the signals sent from a border wire that is laid down to separate the areas that do need mowing from the areas that do not. It can also detect objects such as trees and then work around them. While there is currently no practical technological device capable of removing weeds from your garden effectively, there are many chemical weed killers that are formulated to target specific types of weeds. An impressive gardening development that is becoming more and more common, is the automated micro irrigation system. This consists of a water computer or water timer, a pressure reducing unit, and any watering components that are required for the garden. The system can be set up and programmed to water the garden at a constant rate or at certain times through a series of water outlets including drippers, that will allow an accurate set amount of water to a particular pot or row of plants, and spray nozzles or sprinklers, that will cover the other areas. Automated micro irrigation systems not only make the task easier for you, they are also more efficient because they use the exact amount of water that is required. Just imagine, next time the sun graces your garden with it's radiance, you could get up in morning, open your blinds, and be presented with a glorious garden that is actually maximising its own magnificence while minimising your labor.

    This Post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with automated, blinds, garden, gardening, Home Automation, Smart Home, window

  • Smell The Flowers

    Posted on 11th May 2011 by Andy.

    We’ve been lucky to have a great spell of weather recently. The plants look fresh and vibrant and the flowers are out in bloom, spring has been fabulous this year, and fingers crossed we’re moving into what could be quite a successful summer, although they say that every year. Let’s embrace it whilst we can and get out in the garden and the great outdoors. If you don’t really have green fingers or stare at the tropical wilderness that was once your back lawn and don’t know where to start, never fear, because at this time of year there are a plethora of events you can attend to get some great ideas for your garden. The Royal Horticultural Society present the world famous Chelsea Flower Show from the 24th to the 28th of May.  There will be 30 gardens on show to inspire you from names such as B&Q, the Times, the Daily Telegraph and other influential organisations.  You can spend hours, yet days wondering around the fantastic array of plants, furniture and design. This year you can use the RHS Experience, an interactive programme which lets you see what your garden could be like with the help of top designers.  You’ll get a huge amount of advice tips and inspiration for small and large gardens and it’s a brilliant and inspirational day out for the whole family. Even before you walk through the gates, you can download the helpful RHS Chelsea Flower Show "Inside Guide" iPhone app from the iTunes store which gives you all the inside information to make your day run smoothly and enables you to visit all the gardens and demonstrations you need to. No doubt at some point you’ll probably bump into a celebrity, or famous gardener, so keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready! If you think you need to hack your way through the overgrown garden and transform it for summer, visit the RHS Chelsea Flower show, for more information visit

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with Chelsea, Chelsea Flower Show, floral, flower, garden, gardens, RHS

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