Get the Look with Hartman and David Domoney

Garden furniture should feel like part of your garden, and one of most popular garden styles is the traditional British garden. Think classic woody trees, leafy hedges, and rich, full borders.

Classic Metal

For something very classic, try the Amalfi cast aluminium range. It suits a sprawling suburban garden with brimming borders that still retains that neat look of paved patios and pathways.

Give your furniture the best base with a great patio. I love these huge slabs with strong edges. To avoid a concrete garden look, leave small gaps between slabs or lift odd ones out and fill the space with plants. Succulents and grasses are great hardy choices, or flowering plants like geraniums and sedums will add a welcome burst of colour.

Complement the natural stone look with a sandy-coloured textiles. The neutral parasol colour will filter the sun’s rays to a soft light. Now you can add colour with fun patchwork cushions and accessories like candles. And don’t forget the garden plants!

The main place to add flower colour is in the deep borders. Grow a selection of traditional bushy plants like roses, fuchsias, peonies and rhododendrons. You can add to this with smaller summer bedding plants like petunias and pelargoniums.

Give your borders a green backdrop with trees and laurel hedges. If you have fences or walls, cover them with trellis and train climbing plants along them.

And don’t underestimate the importance of foliage! Leafy texture is the lush stage that allows the flowers to shine. If you don’t want green, complement your colour scheme with tinted leaves. I love the overriding pink and red feel to this garden, and you can boost that with rich red foliage like heuchera and a smoke bush.

With all those wild, bushy plants, you need a sharper shape to bring order and focus to the borders. Give a nod to the formal country estate look even in a small garden by lining your pathway with a low box hedge. It’s less maintenance than most people think – you don’t have to be a topiary artist. If you prune it too much in one spot, it will grow back!

With all these amazing plants, it makes sense to choose a furniture set with an open design that directs the eye through and towards the nature behind. Complement this with candles in laser-cut metal holders. When they are lit in the evening, the light flickers through the cut-out metal structures and furniture.

Modern Weave

If you want something a little looser and more modern, try tucking a two-seat set from the Bentley weave range into a shady corner. The woody appearance of the furniture blends into the garden design for a seamless natural look.

Set it against a traditional rustic backdrop like a moss-covered stone wall. I love how the moss theme is continued on the little hen statues! Nestle furniture into the base of a leafy apple tree for a countryside orchard feel – plus you’ll get loads of fresh fruit in the autumn!

To get this look at home, keep everything very relaxed. Let beds and borders encroach on the patio and leave things to grow freely. As with any shade garden, foliage is key. Aim for a mixture of sizes, shapes and textures.

Plant low-growing varieties at the front of beds and around the patio edge to give great cover and fill the bare soil around the base of trees. Hostas are a great choice as they come in a huge range of styles, and ferns give a magic woodland feel.

Use the cushions to complement the greenery. When you buy good quality furniture that lasts, you can afford to spend time updating the look each year with accessories. Choose bright, fun cushions that make it look cosy so people will want to sit on them.

You can also add brighter colour with the plants. The rule of thumb for year-round interest in shady beds is to use spring bulbs, shade-loving flowers for summer, fruit for autumn and evergreens like grasses and ivy for winter.

Frame the setting by putting tall plants at the back. Here we have crocosmia with its bright orange flowers and strong, sharp leaves that counteracts the soft, curved shape of the furniture.

The wood-textured weave also fits in perfectly with a wilder look, although it’s actually made of resin so it’s weather-resistant and won’t rot. The range also has metal feet, so you don’t have to worry about the rain or faff around with ugly plastic covers.

Complement the woody theme and recycle old tools like spades by using them as garden accessories in the flower beds. It’s also the perfect perch for garden birds!

Terracotta pots are also a great way to bring plants onto the patio and around the furniture. Container gardens are perfect for indecisive gardeners, because you can regularly change the contents and layout to reflect your mood.

With a little careful planting and some fun accessories, you can make your garden feel like an extension of your house. Make it welcoming and harmonious and you’ll want to live outdoors!

New Research: How we love our gardens

Did you know the average homeowner spends a staggering £1150 a year on their garden? This figure includes the cost of plants as well as soil, tools and other garden related items, and the research found that more than two thirds of us are more than a little proud of our outdoor space. 

Jeyes, who commissioned the study found that a person’s pride extended further than the four walls of the home and many people are very passionate about their gardens. 

The appearance of our garden is something that we feel judged by and there is often a degree of neighbourly competition over the look of the garden.  A certain amount of pride and staying on top of maintenance of our gardens is important,  and the study also found that about one in five homeowner admits to being jealous of their neighbours garden.  Six out of ten homeowners said they were happy to admire their neighbours garden and one in three have taken inspiration from the garden over the fence.  

The most coveted part of of the garden are a nice patio, hanging baskets and a neat lawn and of course garden furniture.  

Top ten of what we spend on our gardens

1. Stylish garden furniture - Hartman of course! 

2. Hanging baskets

3. Nice patio

4. New flowers and plants

5. Maintaining the lawn

6. Keeping the borders tidy

7. Decking

8. Garden ornaments

9. A conservatory

10. Barbecue 

New Year, New Hartman Chef - Ildi McIndoe

This year we have some fantastic brand new recipes on our site created for Hartman by the very lovely Ildi Mcindoe, who is not only a fabulous lady but also a wonderful cook. 

Ildi is one of those people who loves to cook. Everything tastes delicious and she always adds that extra special ingredient of love into her food which shines through with each and every mouthful. 

"Cooking Hungarian food has been an experience that I only shared with family.  Not even my close friends have sampled much from my Hungarian menu. I don’t know why that is but after a recent visit to Hungary I felt that the time was right and I should share my love of traditional Hungarian cuisine with the good folk of North Devon.  I am thrilled to say that my diners think so too, judging by the empty plates returned.

Food has developed over the past few years and you can’t switch the television on without a cookery programme showing you how to prepare another delicious dish.  This is the same of Hungarian food and so it was that the Hungarian Supper Club, was born, a pop up restaurant in North Devon.  The good diners of North Devon have sampled delights such as Rakott Krumpli, Potatoes layered with Caramelised Onion and bathed in a Cream sauce and Pӧrkӧlt, deliciously soft nuggets of pork oozing with flavour from the tomato and paprika sauce.  Lovingly made Csirkeleves or Chicken Soup, now proven to be good for you.  All I can say is I hope you enjoy you are in for a treat!” 

If you are visiting Coombe Martin in North Devon pop in to Nana’s Kitchen the name of Ildi’s new eatery and sample her delicious cuisine. You will definitely go back for seconds. 

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013

2013 is a special year for The RHS Chelsea Flower Show it is their centenary celebration, who can believe 99 flower shows have gone before, time flies when you’re having fun.

Hartman were once again proud to be exhibiting for the fifth year at the world’s most prestigious flower show. 

The show has become an important venue for emerging trends in gardening and a significant date in the Hartman diary to showcase new collections.   This year is no exception and we were really excited to be presenting our brand new furniture collection in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.

Influenced by the intricate metal work of the Temperate House the furniture designs reflect the structural form of the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse, and to further enhance the theme the Hartman staff dressed up in Victorian period costume to celebrate Chelsea’s 100th birthday. 

To evoke the spirit of the Victorian era the stand was laid with weathered paving culminating in a paving circle beneath the pavilion to enhance its palatial design.  A living wall adorned the rear of the stand with a gently curving lawn to envelope the pavilion with planting to the rear that evoked the flora and fauna of the Temperate House. 

The stand was dressed with the entire Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew furniture collection comprising a four and six seat dining set, a deep seated sofa bench, a comfortable lounger, lanterns and to really embrace the spirit of the Temperate House a free standing pavilion.

We had, as usual, the most fantastic time our trade stand once again received a certificate of commendation for the high quality of presentation which will now take pride of place with our other two awards from previous shows. 

The most memorable moments from the show was seeing her majesty up close and personal, she is lovely! Being told by Ringo Starr that we looked lovely in our Victorian costumes, to which we replied “you’re not so bad yourself” Having our picture taken with Jamie Oliver who popped on to our stand to say a quick “Hello” and check out his Fire Pit Set and winning our third certificate of commendation. 

 

Can’t wait for next year!

Kew Gardens and Status Quo?

The garden furniture industry is a great one to work in.  It is all about the sunshine and how we can help you relax when the sun shines.  Although the weather at the moment is not conducive to sitting outside it does give us a nudge, thinking ahead to warmer days and balmy nights.  Well I am, and with the thought of lighter nights I like to play a little game called “what shall I have in my garden” this involves me looking at all our wonderful furniture and selecting my favourite items to pop onto my patio. 

This year I have got to say my favourite is our new Kew range of furniture. It is officially fabulous.  Sweeping curves on the arms of the chairs, with tiny details that unless you look closely you would miss, like the little square feet at the bottom of the chair legs, the small flower in the centre of the chair back and minute rivets on the seats.  The table design is influenced by the intricate metal work in the Temperate House and I just love the pattern, it looks beautiful and my favourite bit of the whole set is the table centre which has the Kew stamp on it. Gorgeous. 

The range comprises two dining sets, a deep seated lounger and bench, a large and medium lantern and the “piece de resistance” the pavilion. A generously proportioned cast aluminium free standing structure that if I could get on to my patio I would.   It is just stunning and rather palatial.  It will be our centrepiece at the Chelsea Flower Show this year and the whole stand has been designed around it. 
The whole range is coated in riven black set off by very luxurious wheatgrass cushions. 

We had a great time photographing this range for the brochure and website, Kew Gardens very kindly let us use the gardens after hours as a backdrop for our photography so the 6th September 2012 saw Anthony, Mark, Chris and myself all heading south towards Richmond for two days of photography in the sunshine.

We arrived at Oxen House Gate and were escorted through the park by Dee Wade, Kew Enterprises Administrator, who was to be our chaperone for the next two days.  She cycled ahead and we followed her to the Temperate House. Cycling is the best way for the staff to get around Kew, as the park is around 300 acres in size so stilettoes would not be great work attire for Kew!  

We arrived at the Temperate House to find that we were sharing it for the afternoon and evening with Status Quo who were filming part of a video there.  Never ones to be deterred and to the strains of “Living on an Island” we took some fantastic pictures of the Kew furniture in and around the Temperate and the Palm House.  We really hope you like them as much as we enjoyed taking them.

Take a look at our website www.hartmanuk.com/partner_kew_gardens.html

Second time around for Hartman and Birmingham City University

Don’t let it be said that working for Hartman isn’t varied, from one week to the next, you never know what you will be up to or where you will be.

 

This week for instance Phil and myself were at Birmingham University briefing 80 students on the requirements for the Hartman Prize 2013.

Unlike Phil, who is so cool and laid back when faced with an audience, I hate public speaking but I muddled through and no one threw anything at me so I couldn’t have been that bad!

 

Why were we putting ourselves through this? well, for the second year running we are working in collaboration with Birmingham University product design and textile students offering a cash prize for the students to design a set of dining furniture and a fabric to complement, for our 2015 furniture collection.

 

Last year was a huge success and two of the products designed by Amit Fox and Justine Woolley made it into our 2013 collection which can be seen on our website in the new year www.hartmanuk.com

 

The competition was so successful and produced such a fantastic array of designs that one of our customers, the Garden Centre Group have asked to get involved with the competition this time around requesting a fabric design for their furniture range which will hit stores in 2015.

 

So it’s over to the students now who will be working on the designs for us to choose two winners and three runners up in the new year.  We cant wait to see what they come up with, watch this space…