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Product review: Clean Green Dog Loo

May 26th, 2015

Here at Fresh Design, we sometimes get asked to give our opinion on products that fit in with our philosophy of a contemporary, modern home. We also like anything that’s a new take on a traditional idea, or that contributes to a home that’s clean and efficient to run. Recently, we embarked on what may be one of our quirkiest product reviews ever  - the Clean Green Dog Loo.

Yes, that’s right – a dog loo! It’s from Armitage Pet Care, and offers a safe and environmentally friendly way to get rid of pet waste. The Clean Green Dog Loo can be positioned in the ground in your garden and naturally flushes away waste instead of contributing to landfill.

The Clean Green Dog Loo has an RRP of £24.99 and is available from a wide range of high-street grocery outlets and pet retailers, such as Tesco, Amazon and Vet UK. The loo comes with everything you need, including five bio-activator capsules. You can buy additional bio-activator capsules in packs of 15, RRP£4.99.

The Clean Green Dog Loo from Armitage Pet Care

If you’re a pet owner, there’s nothing worse than having areas of the garden where you have to take care putting your feet, so the idea of this disposal unit appealed.

The package contains the unit itself, which consists of a bucket with a drainage unit that sits on top, a ‘poop scoop’ and a pack of bio-activator liquid capsules. The idea is that you bury the bucket in the ground and fill it with water. The drainage unit, also buried, sits on top of the bucket to stop debris falling in.

You add the dog waste to the bucket, and pour in a regular supply of the bio-activator, which breaks down the waste. When the bucket is full, you flush the whole thing out with water and the diluted waste is washed away through the drainage holes into the ground.

Then you add more liquid, and start again. According to the manufacturers, there’s no smell and the waste is safely disposed of.

What’s in the Clean Green Dog Loo package

We started by digging a hole of the requisite size – 24″ across by 27″ deep. We’re lucky enough to have an area of the garden against a back wall which is completely hidden, so we chose this for a site. The unit won’t work well on heavy, clay soil as it won’t drain properly, but fortunately this wasn’t a problem for us.

Fresh Design dog Monty Spaniel checks it out

After digging the hole, the next instruction was to fill the bottom of the hole with rubble, stones and half bricks to provide good drainage.

Ah. Well, that’s not the sort of thing we have lying around the garden, so we grabbed a bucket and set off to beg some rubble from next door’s builders, who were rebuilding a wall.

After filling the bucket, they kindly offered to carry it back for us. “Erm,no, that’s OK, thank you,” we said.

“What do you want it for, anyway?” they asked.

“Gonnastalldogloothanks!” we muttered, grabbing the bucket and scuttling off amongst the bemused stares.

Once safely back in the garden, we completed the installation easily by tipping in the rubble, adding in the bucket and drainage unit and pouring in the water and the bio-activator liquid.

“Really? I have to learn to flush this?”

The Fresh Design dog loo verdict

So, what did we think of it?

The bad bits

The scoop that came with the package was a bit flimsy and we ended up sticking with our own trowel, and the bio-activator liquid is an ongoing  expense as you have to add one capsule a week.

It can’t be used on heavy clay soil, and wouldn’t be suitable if you had several dogs as the bucket is fairly small, and would probably fill up before the waste had a chance to decompose.

The good bits

After it had been in use for several days, the unit didn’t smell at all and showed no signs of filling up.

It was discreet, as the top sits only two inches above the ground and there was no way of telling what it was if you didn’t know.

It was great to have a ‘proper’ place to dispose of waste where it wouldn’t do any harm, and it’s much more eco-friendly than bagging waste and sending it to landfill.

Overall, it gets a big woof from us – it’s a great idea, at an accessible price.

The finished loo sits only 2 inches proud of the ground

 Reviewed by Sara Walker, with special assistance from Monty the dog

 

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015: 5 more inspiring show gardens

May 20th, 2015

The trouble with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is that there are so many gorgeous gardens and ideas. Here are five more that have caught our eye this year.

 1. Royal Bank of Canada garden

We couldn’t help but be blown away by the use of curves in this garden design, as they feature heavily. It looks like a design that could easily be translated into a back garden (or elements of it at least) and we love the mix of planting, mixing edible plants alongside flowers and bushes. The decked area is particularly appealing and we’d happily go and try out those seats.

Matthew Wilson designed this garden for the Royal Bank of Canada and it was built by Clifton Nurseries. It won a silver-gilt medal.

(Image credit: RHS / Neil Hepworth)

2. The Cloudy Bay garden in association with Vital Earth

 

A garden inspired by wine! Harry and David Rich have taken the tasting notes and characteristics of two of Cloudy Bay’s popular wines – a Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc – as inspiration for this garden.

We’re attracted by the design and construction of the boundaries and walls – mixing modern with old skills – and the fact that the planting is very natural.

There’s even a rather fun moveable shack!

This is definitely a garden we’d like to spend time in (and perhaps drinking wine in too!). It was built by Rich Landscapes and Big Fish Landscapes and sponsored by Cloudy Bay and Bord na Mona. It won a gold medal.

(Image credits:  RHS / Tim Sandall)

3. The Beauty of Islam garden with Al Barari Firm Management LLC

This garden is beautifully designed and we love both the concept, design and architecture. It was designed by Kamelia Bin Zaal and built by The Outdoor Room.

It’s a garden that acts as a sanctuary, somewhere to relax and unwind, and includes poetry, calligraphy and textures reflecting Arabic and Islamic cultures. The white stonework contrasts perfectly with the lush green planting. It’s won a silver gilt medal.

(Image credit: RHS / Neil Hepworth)

4. The Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities garden

Designed by Chris Beardshaw and built by Keith Chapman Landscapes, this garden is designed to represent Morgan Stanley’s global Healthy Cities initiative.

The paths, hedges and walls represent the infrastructure of a community. whilst the wide array of plants and colours symbolise the social elements of a community. We love the planting – what a lovely selection of blues and purples!

At the end of the show, this garden is being transferred to a new community project in East London – lucky them! It’s won a gold medal.

(Image credits:  RHS / Sarah Cuttle)

5. A Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse by L’Occitane

Oh my, we just want to head off down that garden path and explore!

This one is designed by James Basson, built by Peter Dowle and sponsored by L’Occitane. It’s quaint and traditional, reflecting the historic nature of the perfume industry in Grasse, where many traditional plantations had become overgrown.

We bet it smells divine! It’s won a gold medal.

(Image credits: RHS / Neil Hepworth)

RHS Chelsea 2015: The Homebase Urban Retreat show garden

May 19th, 2015

So it’s that time of year again – the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 – where we’re obsessing over amazing garden designs and wishing we could replicate the ideas back home in our gardens. As ever, we’re stunned and impressed at the garden design and planting ability demonstrated in the creation and development of the many show gardens, so will be featuring some favourites this week.

First up is the Homebase Urban Retreat garden, which was designed by Adam Frost, built by Bespoke Outdoor Spaces and sponsored by Homebase. This was the original vision for the garden, which clearly shows how the space is divided and planted:

The design was inspired by the work of modernist architect Marcel Breuer and focuses on the balance of nature with the man-made environment. It uses urban materials such as concrete, steel and cedar to great effect and the planting produces a riot of colour.

We love the modern structure, which provides shade and seating, and the calm and contemplative nature of the water feature running through the garden.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal urban garden

The planting is luscious and fresh, and the rounded shapes of the bushes help offset the straight lines of the building. It works incredibly well, and there are plenty of planting and design ideas to take away and apply to your own garden.

**All images copyright RHS / Neil Hepworth

Get creative with Liebherr’s Design your Fridge competition

May 16th, 2015

Fresh design presents Liebherr's fridge design contest

What would your perfect fridge design be?

Whether you’re a fan of simple and minimal, smart and sophisticated, or bold and bright, now’s the time to unleash your creative talents and take part in a fridge design contest.

It’s being run by Liebherr over at www.designyourfridge.com. You can either create your design using their 3D configurator or a Photoshop design template.

Once uploaded, your design will be put to a vote and at the end of the promotion, prizes will be awarded to the top three fridges with the most votes. The ultimate prize, of course, is that the winning fridge designs will be transformed into actual fridges.

It looks like a fun competition, especially for budding designers, so pop over and give it a go! We’d love to see your fridge design ideas too, so leave us a link to your creations in the comments below.

 

Fresh Design ideas: Colour block living room by Owl Design

May 12th, 2015

Owl Design London at Grand Designs Live 2015

Sometimes you spot an interior design scheme that stops you in your tracks, and that’s the case with this room set by London-based company, Owl Design.

The theme of the design is ‘colour block’ – which is definitely evident – and the room was created for Grand Designs Live 2015.

We’re drawn to the bold use of colour and pattern, the contemporary style products, geometric flooring, plus the edition of funky products like the ‘normal is boring’ light box.

Contemporary living room design by Owl Design London

Here’s a close up of the sofa and side table, with lovely geometric themed china cups.

Contemporary living room by Owl Design

This looks like a cosy corner. Don’t those pom-pom edges on the cushions look great and help finish them off in style?

Simone Gordon and Sophie van Winden, from Owl Design, sourced the products used from a range of retailers, focusing on pieces that are easily available and affordable.

The design includes products from:

Alexander and Pearl, Astella Hrela, Bluebellgray, Carpenter and Carpenter, Easy Art (now known as King & McGaw), Fired Earth, Hend Kitchen, Murafloor, Naken Interiors, Out There Interiors, Plantation Rug Company, Print Wagon, Sofa.com, Swoon Editions and T & Shop.

Mid-century monochrome living room: Parker Knoll Montana sofa

May 9th, 2015

Mid century style Montana contemporary sofa

Mid-century modern charm meets contemporary styling in Parker Knoll’s Montana sofa.

The hand-crafted sofa, shown here in Euphoria charcoal, provides perfect comfort and style in one. Charcoal is a good, hard-wearing colour choice to opt for in a family home, but it’s also ideal for using as a backdrop for a monochrome colour scheme.

Accessorize it in your living room with pieces in black, white or grey, such as a lamp, rug or coffee table. Use natural woods or brushed chrome finishes to lighten the monochrome effect.

And for the perfect cosy finish, choose scatter cushions in some of these coordinating Parker Knoll fabrics:

How to create a monochrome living room

The Montana sofa is available in two sizes – a standard two-seater and large two-seater – plus a matching chair and footstool are available too.

 
 
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