Several Outdoor Products Decorated with the „Interior Innovation Award 2013“ at the imm Cologne

Big success for several producers of outdoor products: Ten furniture pieces and furnishings for balconies and gardens were granted the „Interior Innovation Award 2013” at the “Internationale Möbelmesse” (international furnishing trade fair – imm) in Cologne. This is one of the most prestigious design-prizes of the furnishing industry worldwide. The award was introduced by the trade fair in 2002 and is organized by the German Design Council.

The awards in the category “outdoor” were given to Cane-line for the lounge-sofa “Conic”, Extremis for their picnic-table “Marina”, Gloster for the chair “Dansk”, Morso for the outdoor-fireplace “Forno”, Müller Möbelwerkstätten for the sunshade-tent “Mikasi” and the sunlounger “Solaris”, Radius for the mailbox “Letterman II”, Roset for the armchair “Fifty”, Scheurich for their cachepot “Stylepot” and Viteo for their lounge-chair “Slim Collection Lounge”.

There were also two garden products that won the „Interior Innovation Award“: The lounge-chair “Source” from Gloster and the cachepot “Wave Globe” from Scheurich. A speaker of Scheurich said: “We are really proud of this award because it stands for innovative achievements!”

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A Gardening Expert’s Critical Views on Gardening Trends

Marie Ianotti is a passionate gardener who has been writing about her profession in newspapers and magazines for years. In 2011 she published her first book The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables – The 100 Easiest-to-Grow, Tastiest Vegetables for Your Garden at Timber Press. She also used to be the owner of Yore Vegetables, a heirloom seedling nursery. Ianotti can be considered an expert on the topics of gardening and growing plants yourself.

In her article “What the Well-Designed Garden Will Be Wearing – Up and Coming Garden Trends” for she reflects critically on trends in gardening as they are presented to us every season by researchers and media.

She specifies nine trends for gardeners  and separates them in three categories:

Social gardening

Gardeners are being encouraged to grow their gardens for the greater good not for themselves and to buy and plant locally. The problem with this is that people who decide to start gardening have their own reasons and these are mainly for their own personal preferences. And there is nothing wrong with that.Buying locally is a positive trend because it is beneficial for the local society and the local markets because it helps the regional economy and therefore the community. 

Ecological gardening

Following Ianotti gardening  should benefit nature, not harming it: ensuring that the bees and birds can prosper   should be self-evident, the same goes for not wasting water and not using chemicals. 

Optical improvements

How you design your own garden should always be your own decision and should not be dictated by so called trendsetters. Trends like “curvaceous gardens are in; square gardens are out” cannot be universal, everybody has his own preferences and not every location for a garden can be made looking like the cover of a garden design magazine. Some ideas are great, like mood lighting for the dark hours but one has to watch out for ecological consequences like the attraction of insects.

The essence of Ianotti is that every single garden and its gardener are individual and trends cannot easily be followed when working in the nature. The message to marketers and producers of gardening equipment is that it is unpromising to try and create artificial trends. It is important for the individual gardener that he finds specific products for his specific needs instead of a range of merchandise that he isn’t actually looking for when visiting a garden center or a home improvement store.

Further Information: What the Well-Designed Garden Will Be Wearing: Up and Coming Garden Trends by

New Products to Protect Garden Ponds from Predators

Koi fish from Japan are becoming increasingly popular in home garden ponds. While such things like building an appropriate living environment and keeping the ideal water temperature are important, many buyers of ornamental fish often forget that there are predators like herons and cats who may harm their animals. Especially herons have very good eyes and can spot the colourful and precious Koi carps easily with fatal consequences.

There are several products which promise to repel the unwanted beastly visitors. Classic repellants are replicas of herons, plastic figures to be placed at the bank of the pond. Herons hunt alone and are disturbed by fellow birds. Outside Living Industries are one of the companies which produce such sculptures under the brand name Ubbink. In Germany they can be found under the name “Reiherschreck”.

The British company Netfloat specialises in netlike mats made from hard plastic to be put over the water surface. The mats are supposed to float rather invisible on the water. With these mats birds and cats cannot get their prey.

There are several other methods of keeping predators away from the fish. The ScareCrow is one example of repelling animals with water. This product is made by the Canadian company Contech Inc. specialised in products for the protection of pets and plants. The ScareCrow is a sprinkler activated by motion controls. If something gets close to the pond a strong water stream shoots over the water surface. This should be especially annoying for cats.  Several ScarCrows can shoot at once – useful for larger ponds.

A new form of repellant is now being presented by the company Velda from the Netherlands. The Heron Stop Reflector is a ball-shaped device that has a reflecting surface and a large eye on it. It can be put on the water surface. Velda claims that the flashing sight of the reflecting eye scares herons and pigeons away. A similar product from the same company is the Heron Stop Spinner. This product looks like an eye as well but it is flat. It is connected to a string and can be hung over the water on the edge of the pool. Both products are announced for this spring.

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Stylish water butts

Gardens like nothing more than rainwater. This natural resource is for free and contains no limescale, which makes it particularly good for plants. Uncovered water butts are becoming less and less common and with good reason.

Light encourages algae growth and annoying insects like to use open containers to raise their young. Today there are many ways of storing rainwater which are both technically and visually superior to the dull water butt. Modern gardeners can use them for watering on the one hand but also for a style statement on the other.

The company Otto Graf GmbH with their brand Garantia offers rainwater butts in 50 shapes, colours and sizes. All reasonably experienced DIY enthusiasts can install and connect a rainwater storage tank with basic tools. A downpipe from the roof is used to connect to the tank. A downpipe filter removes coarse pieces of dirt and automatically prevents the tank from overflowing when full. In wintertime the inlet of the tank is easy to be shut. The tank requires minimum care and maintenance.

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Outdoor furniture made in Italy

Established in Umbria in 1951, by the 80s and 90s Emu had become a leading company in outdoor furnishing as a result of its legacy of local knowledge and skills in metal working.

In 2005, under the leadership of its former Chairman, Riccardo Biscarini, the company was able to begin to target its brand name thanks to the investment fund, L Capital, from the world’s top group for luxury goods LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy). This enabled innovative products to be produced in partnership with some of the successful international designers, without neglecting the company’s core business of classic products.

2011, the year of its 60th anniversary, saw the beginning of a new phase for Emu. The company finalised its move to the financial group Fondo Opera, with the ultimate aim of giving a fresh boost to the already expanding company, and at the same time of strengthening company capital. Contrary to recent trends towards decentralisation, production of Emu’s metal furniture is strongly established at the Marsciano plant, which covers 70,000 sq. m. and employs 150 workers. The quality of the furniture is guaranteed by its “made in Italy” production and by its commitment to continual technological research into materials and production techniques. Emu can already claim merit and is highly esteemed throughout the world, yet it is determined to continuously and steadily improve its know-how in the sector of metal processing.

Presenting Snooze, the re-interpretation of Siesta, a relaxing armchair with a simple and yet brilliant design launched by Emu in 1980. Now, the same mechanism has evolved and focuses upon a wider dimension and a covering in a highly resistant and colourful technical cloth for outdoor use. The Bahama deckchair was launched in the late 1970’s and is still in production. It has become a classic and has furnished all kinds of environments; from mountain chalets to seaside villas and small country gardens. Emu is presenting it in its 2013 collection with the addition of contemporary bright colours. Caprera is a chic & easy-style version of the classic and very popular Pigalle model. The contour of these chairs (launched in 1995) is re-interpreted through a new choice of colour and extreme versatility, making it easy to use. Lastly, the Arc-en-Ciel, in production since the 1970’s and launched in a new version in 2011, is now being offered in three new colours: dark green, lavender and orange that will be added to the other 10 already available. Ideal for those who like to furnish their space in an informal and unconventional way.

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