Arisaig Centre

Conservatory + Greenhouse Blog

Monthly Archive: January 2017

Concerning greenhouses

Agriculture has been humanity’s first great invention. It’s no wonder that most of us feel better if we have plants growing around. What’s even better is nurturing those plants yourself. Gardening is the type of hobby that can help you grow as a person, while you’re learning how to take care of plants. A greenhouse is a perfect way to engage in this wonderful activity. If you’ve got the yard space, improving it with a greenhouse is a great idea. It is a commitment which can have a great impact on your everyday life.
As opposed to conservatories, greenhouses are used just for the purpose of growing something. That’s not to say that such an addition shouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing – on the contrary, greenhouses come in a plethora of styles and looks. However, when you consider building one, the way it looks should be of a much lower priority than in the case of a conservatory. Instead you shall be focusing on things such as soil, humidity in different seasons, and of course –what should you grow?
A difficult question to answer, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with gardening. Owning a greenhouse is a way to ensure that you can grow plants all year round, but it is also a way through which you can have access to ones that aren’t normally cultivated where you live. Depending on the type you go with, it can provide the environment necessary to grow exotic fruits and vegetables! So, when answering the question of what to start planting, don’t forget that you will be able to choose from a large variety of plants. It is one of the many joys of owning a greenhouse.
Vegetables can be a good place to start, since a great deal of them only require the most basic of maintenance and effort. The categories of vegetables are defined by the time of the year they thrive in. Cool season crops are used to lower temperatures, so installing heating in your greenhouse is less of a concern. A few examples of cool season crops are cabbages, peas, spinach, or carrots. Another thing you won’t have to worry too much about with them is the fact that they don’t need as much light. On the other hand, warm season vegetables require a bit more effort to maintain. Tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, aubergines, and many others are considered warm season crops because they thrive in an environment with a much more stable temperature. No matter where you decide to start (if you want to grow veggies), you must do thorough research regarding the particular plants you will grow.
If having year-round access to fresh-grown crops isn’t all that appealing to you, you might consider growing ornamental plants and flowers. As with anything else you could grow in a greenhouse, consider again the fact that you have a lot to pick from. There is a virtually infinite amount of possible choices you can make when it comes to nurturing ornamental plants. It is a different kind of pleasure, as opposed to growing edible plants.
Taking care of a greenhouse means therapy for the soul. The patience it will bring out of you can help take some stress off daily routine, and it makes you be more attentive to details. You will learn to appreciate the beauty of nature by taking care of your garden, as you see your plants grow into magnificent flowers and juicy vegetables.

Conservatories, part III

As we’ve mentioned before, it’s a big decision when it comes to picking the right conservatory for your home. Size, style and purpose are all extremely important factors. They all translate into a potentially large investment on your part. There comes a time when you come to the following dilemma: is your conservatory a home for plants or a comfort you leave for yourself? That’s not to say you can’t have both – this is why conservatories are amazing and are usually a good choice if you don’t want to fully dedicate yourself to growing (greenhouses are better suited for this purpose), yet you still wish to keep some green friends around. The answer to this questions has some implications.
First of all, the materials used will be the first consequence. Whether or not you’ll want your conservatory to be suitable for plants will affect the construction decisions – some to greater extent than others. Taking a look at flooring, you’ll have to know that carpets and wooden floors aren’t exactly the best idea if you want to have a lot of plants inside your conservatory, unless you have only a few of them. Tiles and stone plates are very good choices if you decide to have a lot of potted plants, or ones that require a good amount of management. The aspects to take into consideration when thinking about flooring are first and foremost practical (will your plants be better off if you use a certain type of material?), but also a design decision (will the colours and materials complement the plants and vice versa?). Some plants thrive in different types of environment, while others are somewhat unaffected by something like flooring. If you grow cacti, for example, you’ll be less constrained, as they are not as pretentious as other plants. If you want to go for a more exotic look, you can even check out ways of implementing sand in the design of your conservatory – and this is only an example, there are virtually unlimited variations when it comes to making such choices. Of course, glass types and wall materials are also of great importance to your plants. Thickness, potential to keep the room at beneficial temperatures, as well as the possibility of filtering sunlight and other things are to look out for when considering these. Orientation of your conservatory is pretty important too. If you opt for a south view to get the most sunlight possible, you’ll want to also take into account the fact that this will heat up the room much more. There are types of glass that are made specifically for this, so you will want to look into that as well. It’s essential to note that all these variations are dependant on what kind of plants you plan on growing, as with the rest of the materials.
Another thing to consider is how you plan to have your plants interact with other people who might come into contact with them. This is to say, if you decide to have the conservatory as a social room as well, the abundance (or lack thereof) of plants will affect how you arrange them, for example. If you want your plants to be admired and looked at by your friends and guests, it’s good to have an idea of how it will all look and how you plan to showcase your gardening achievements.
Some design choices will leave a lasting impression on people and at the same time will benefit the plants. You want to aim towards a balance between having a good habitat for your little garden, while also maintaining a nice view of what you grow. Of course, it’s your decision how much you want to lean towards practicality, versus showing off your collection of plants.

Conservatories, part II

Taking the big step of adding a conservatory to your house will require a respectable amount of responsibility – but with the satisfaction of having a special place in your home. Your days will be sunnier and warmer once you’re done with it all. However, it’s not a small investment, so it mustn’t be taken lightly. Take a good look at your house, from all angles possible. Think about how it will become transformed with such an addition and why it will make it better. There are a few main aspects that will make the decision-taking process much easier.
Understanding the ‘why’ of it is of utmost importance. Think about it: what first gave you the idea of building a conservatory? Do you just want a smooth transition from your indoor living space to your outdoor garden? Or perhaps you want to lounge about and gaze at the sky from the warmth of your home? Maybe it’s something else entirely. Whatever the case, answering this question will make it much easier to decide what type of conservatory is right for your house and your lifestyle. There are many options available, depending on how you plan on using this special place.
The geographical orientation of the conservatory will be very important as well. Look at how to get the most sunlight, depending on how your house is built and how much space there’s available for you to commit to this addition. You will want to take into consideration all the seasons. How you plan to use the conservatory is going to impact the decision of where exactly to build it. If you decide that only the summer sun can rise to your expectations, for example, add the space in such a way that will take advantage of the sun’s trajectory during summer.
Once you know, more or less how your new house will look, the more detailed aspects must be noted, such as: what exact type of conservatory will best suit your lifestyle, what type of glass you should use, and of course, what architecture fits with your house.
When you feel certain on why you will add a conservatory to your home, as well as how you’re going to use this space, you can move on to the actual shopping around and browsing. It’s important to remember your motives, as there are many opinions out there about how conservatories should be used/built. Be one hundred percent sure to give these details when buying, as each of the aspects of your future lifestyle will impact one way or another which of the various options available you’ll go for – and as such, it also impacts the price.
The classic Victorian styles are the most popular, because they’re the most likely to be suitable with any home. Lean-to conservatories are also a popular option, since they usually are smaller than other types. It will be worth it to take your time and think how you’d like the conservatory to look. Consider how it will best complement your home, both from a practical point of view, as well as an aesthetic one. Some conservatories, like the Victorian or Georgian styles, will suit your house no matter if it’s an old building or a new one. Other styles are more suitable for more specific situations. A lantern roof conservatory, for example, will be a good choice if you want to have more space, as it is one of the larger designs – best suited for a room that will be used year-round by the whole family. Speaking of roofs, the material you choose to build yours out of will be pretty important. If you feel like you’re in an area where the sun is plentiful, you might want to consider having a normal roof, and not a glass one. The glass walls will still give you enough natural light, without fearing it will get too hot. Temperature will obviously be managed differently in such a house extension. Adding it to the rest of your heating system or not will depend on how you wish to use the space – or you might find it best if your conservatory has its own heating, separate from the rest.
In any case, there are many other aspects to having a conservatory added to your home, and we will go into further detail with them in the next part.