Fresh Lemonade Gardens

Landscape + Design + Lifestyle

Published Articles

This is a list of articles I’ve written for the online magazine: LAN, one of the most visited websites about Landscape Architecture.

I’ve been writing for LAN for almost two years and it helps me stay focused on this beautiful carrier that I love. I studied Architecture in Venezuela and Landscaping in Italy, after that I became more conscious about sustainability and urban needs these days.

Here I leave some of my articles and I’ll continue adding once they are published, hope you enjoy them!

SUN TERRACES

An “L” shape terrace could be very becoming when it comes to having a variety of plants, depending on the orientation, it could have areas with full sun, so that you can plant trees or flowering plants, it could give you the pleasure of a very complete and colorful garden.

I was asked to design this terrace with the idea of creating an orchard, a tea area and a place to take sun during the summer. The terrace is placed in a 4th floor with neighbors in both endings; its orientation is half sun in every area during the day.

Terrace

The plan that I came out is the following:

– The tea area (on the right) consist in a place with outdoor sofa and a little tea table, it is placed in the most accessible zone, right after the access door and under an already existing tend. The sun hits until 2 or 3pm. Plant’s selection: Hydrangea macrophylla on each side of the outdoor sofa, Trachelospermum jasminoides that gives intimacy to the terrace and small Edera helix that falls in every vase.

– The orchard area (on the left) is placed on the second end of the terrace, the sun hits there all the afternoon. There’s Salvia, Rosmarinum and Thymus as perennials and other herbs like basil and parsley are placed in different vases, so that in winter they can use the vases for other plants or vegetables.

– The relaxing area is in the same area as the orchard, so that they can use it during the afternoon and it’s not visible from the Tea area. There are 3 round vases that form a “shower area” for a refreshing time after a summer afternoon taking the sun, here the plant’s selection are a mix of perennial plants like Hemerocallis and grasses like Carex.

The angle of the “L” shape terrace needed to be as important as every part of the terrace, it could be a new sitting area in the future, so the plant’s selection was a small tree Acer palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’ and a mix of perennial plants on the ground like a Hosta invincible (a sun resistant variety for intense summers), Heuchera ‘Berry Smoothie’ and Festuca glauca that gives color even during the winter.

This was one of my solutions to this terrace and the selection of plants is just an idea of what it could be, we just have to be clear on what we want and the rest will come.

Simplicity of Culture

It’s been a while that I wanted to write about Japanese Architecture, but it’s not an easy topic, behind the designs of the city and the contemporaneous architecture, there’s a lot of history and culture. This is a short introduction of my vision about this simple but amazing living style and architecture.

The most impressive thing (for me) about Japanese Architecture is the simplicity, the clean lines of every structure, the minimalism and their everyday living that shows in the architecture perfectly, it seems they really live the architecture, they feel it; Nowadays, we don’t get to “feel” the architecture, we practically do not look the way while we are walking, we have so many things in mind that we do not realized what’s going on around us, we have to focus on the simple things of life, like many cultures do.

Living a place is to enjoy what you see around you and what you sense from it, this applies specifically in architecture, we spend most of our time inside an structure, whether you are a writer or a doctor, there are places in the structure you work  on (office, home, hospital, etc.) where you feel different, a lighter place, a relaxing place or even a place where you feel proactive, this is what it means to “live” the architecture, even if we don’t realized, every area has a purpose and it should help you feel/work different. This concept for every space is what makes  Japanese Architecture a great example to “feel” the architecture.

To understand the morphology of Japanese Architecture we should know that Japan has had some big transformations during the centuries, from culture to religion, this transformations affected architecture directly. Japan has a variety of influences in its architecture, like:

– Chinese culture and Buddhism from the VI century with temples and stupas or pagodas, as funerary structures.

– The integration of Tea Ceremonies held in rustic wooden houses to drink tea and enjoy art.

– In a military period (Azuchi Momoyama/Sengoku), Castles where built as a defensive structure of liege people.

– They also tried to simplify architecture because of the attacks some cities suffer; they combined classical architecture with new simple forms so the reconstruction of buildings didn’t take long.

– After the First World War, the Japanese architecture change, a big transformation that came from modernism architects like Frank Lloyd Write (United States) and Bruno Taut (Germany) that arrived to Japan to work, they help with a transition from the architecture that had become “traditional” through the pass of the years, new methods of construction and occidental influences.

The modern architecture brought new techniques of construction, styles, new materials like concrete and new interpretations from the traditional architecture; the concept of space, the relation between interior and exterior and, of course, simplicity are the main concepts that I take when it comes to think/design about Japanese Architecture, especially in the contemporary architecture (but that’s a whole new topic for another post).

– After the Second World War, Japanese architects started to emerge; they brought simple forms to architecture and elements from the everyday living, and managed to ease off the architectonic patterns that characterized their history.

Just how new symbolic elements appear and remained from century to century in their life and construction, simple forms are now taking the step down and becoming the new symbolic way to describe Japanese Architecture and culture.

We can not simply the culture of a country, specially if it has so many changes and diverse influences like Japan’s culture, what we can do, is to understand the basic ideas (in this case) of the design and the everyday habits of a population; like a great architect said: … originality consists in returning to the origin.

Plan for a Sustainable Life

A few years ago, I made an study about a small village in my home-town in Venezuela, a cold mountain zone. The study was about Sustainable Environments, it may sound redundant because it is a rural area with agriculture and cattle raising activities, the common activities in these type of places, but, specifically in that village, agriculture wasn’t the first economic activity for the anymore.

The younger generation does not practice the heavy work in the land, they realized that, because of the beauty of the town, it’s full of tourists and its visiting was increasing very fast; they decided to make some money renting their own houses, this activity continued growing and by 2010, the village was very different, architecturally speaking, they managed to use the money from the renting to enlarge their houses or even to built new ones, let’s say they managed to start a “Bead & Breakfast” kind of activity. The problem was that the typical architecture and the sense of an antique or “folkloric” village was disappearing, it was loosing its identity which was the main reason for the tourists to visit it.

THE PROJECT

This study developed the proposal I handed in for my final thesis, it helps me realized how overrated and undervalue my city was. The idea of this project was giving the village a new perspective, not for the tourist but for the inhabitants; they needed to care more about the land and the culture they lived in.

The project consist on placing a Sustainable Agriculture Village Centre, a few minutes away from the downtown, the project consists in a land area divided in sections, each one with an assigned activity, the architecture style was the fusion of minimalism with the main elements taken from the colonial architecture in the place; It is composed by:

– The access building which was inspired in the main entrances from the old houses in the colonial period.

– Pig, cows and horses’ stables, where all the visitors can interact and be part of the routine activities from the farmers. An inner “private” path designed only for riding a horse and move around the Centre. The roof of the stables should have solar panels.

– Stable for producing humus, compost and lombriculture used for the inner crops and for sale too. The visitors can learn about the process of raise earthworms and how to use the product they form.

Sustainable_Centre

– Different “eatable squares” or sections where visitors can be part of the cultivation and harvest activities. This area implement activities like: changing crops, using organic humus and harvesting. It will be open to schools and private groups that want to learn about the process, teached by people from the zone. The harvest vegetables will be used in a gourmet Restaurant placed in the Centre; people from the town can also buy some of the harvest in the Centre once a week.

– A BioGas zone (only for intern use) powered with cow and horse excrement, it will produce gas and hot water to all the Village Centre. It is placed in the south-east of the village so the smells or any leak of gas does not contaminate the hole Centre or the surroundings (the zoning was made studying the air flows).

– The Restaurant will have a menu with dishes from the local cuisine, using the vegetables harvested from the inner gardens, the structure has local materials like stone walls (the town is placed in a cold zone and the stone helps maintaining warm on the inside when the sun goes down) and wood beams and columns, like all the “colonial” houses are made in the zone.

–  The “living” area, situated in the gorge of the land, so the small duplex apartments have the best view with the benefit of privacy at the end of the day. This are administrated like Bead & Breakfast and people can be included in all the inner activities and town activities as well.

Sustainable_Centre

OBJECTIVES

The main objective of this project was giving the agriculture a new meaning, specially for the inhabitants; resettle this activity as the main economic entry for the town.

Fusion the agriculture with the “new economic activity”: renting small apartments inside of the Centre, so the town still have its visitors, this time, including them and the inhabitants in all the precesses that take place in the zone.

Promote healthy activity, ecological and consciousness of the agricultural products.

This was a very interesting study, it help us realized how fast culture and even architecture can change if people isn’t stimulate, people need to re-learn how to work with its surroundings and improve the old techniques; every individual can do something for its environment, but, let’s be clear, the state must be interested and encourage its inhabitants too, otherwise, our roots will disappear faster than we think.

Architecture is also part of the change, it changes people habits, town activities and even culture, so never underestimate the meaning of architecture around us.

Castle of Legnano

THE PLACE

The Castle of Legnano is located in Milan, Italy, in the south of a town named Legnano as well as the Castle. It is placed on an small “island” formed by the bifurcation of the Olona river.

The Castle is known as “Castrum Sancti Georgi”, wich means Castle of St. George, whose presence has been documented in this place since 1231. The fort was buid on a Regular Augustinian convent.

This areas was given to me and my companions as an individual project to develop in a year of Master, as well as other areas but today let’s talk about this interesting place.

THE CASTLE

Inside the castle we found a small museum of the medieval events that took place in this area, like the “Palio” which is an annual athletic contest between towns in Italy, that involves horse racing, archery, jousting and crossbow shooting; It is still an active event or festival and the one in Legnano is very famous in the Lombard region. In the museum we found the original costumes and armers that were used in the medieval period, it is a very compact place to visit but it was nice, however, the castle surroundings have no maintenance and that’s were we got in.

The idea of creating a project there was to give a new direction to the use and function of the castle and the surrounding areas to attract and increase the number of visitors during the year.

The project started studying the area, pros and cons inside and out the Castle and type of visitors during the day.

The first thing that I notices was the Park called “Parco Castello” (The Castle park) right next to the Castle, it is very good publicity but’s not being used, we saw people going for a walk, jogging and doing what they like, but, all of them seem to avoid the Castle, it has such low maintenance that people don’t even notice it, it’s like they know it’s there but, nobody cares.

The other thing that caught my eye is that at the end of the area, behind the castle, there are the ruins of an old mill, the project doesn’t include that space but, it could be easily be part of or at least it could be considered as a focal point of interest.

In the other side of the Castle, there’s a parking area, a big one, which means that it is a very accessible area and it is well served too. Nowadays the parking is being used by camions and trucks for many hours. It could be easily fixed establishing schedules for the trucks, leaving space for visitants during the day

The access to the Castle is the most visited one, it’s the point of connection between the city and the Castello’s park, it means that the access is the first thing people would notice in the area and it can be well used to amplify the attention to the Castle itself and not that much attention to the park or its surroundings.

THE PROJECT

This was a particularly exiting project, it was one of the few projects were we can worked at first in group and then by ourselves.

– First I divided the castle in areas: Public, Semi-public and Private, I thought it needed to be stablish “who” and “why” people would like to visit the Castle.

– Then, I gave every section a use, for Public space I proposed a plaza and everyone is invited!, it is the first thing people would see, it’ll have seats, trees and a very wide view of the Castle. It’s placed outside the “island”. When passing the island, there’s an open area that embrace the castle with few seats so that people can get comfortable in the green areas and there are groups of rustic plants that takes the castle to an ancient age.

Plaza

– The semi-public area is placed in the inner garden of the Castle, there are some open buildings and a backyard so there can be made some private events like weddings and official dinners. I proposed pergolas with vine, green and stone pavement and a series of part-shade shrubs for the inside edges of the Castle. For the backyard I proposed espalier fruit trees, seats and an elevated zone for future events.

Backyard– Behind the Castle there’s a great empty area, this one is for the young and not so young. There will be a wooden zone with elevated connections inside the trees, so people can have another reason to visit this awesome but ignored place. There’s also an open space with rustic flowers and grasses and the rule is: There are no rules!

Castle_playwood

There is already a new plan for the Castle, however, we realized that when it comes to students brainstorming, there are always a bunch of ideas to consider. We had a great time, we studied the problematic of the area and got to the proper design according to every point of view.

Castle_p

Castle_generalplan+

Plants

For any question please write me down.

Planing a Small Garden

Believe it or not, planning a small garden takes time, it doesn’t mean it is a complicated thing, it means that we have to pay attention to details, we have to make it functional and “alive”  through all the seasons.

Let’s check out the top three things we have to keep in mind to prevent any fungus, diseases or even death of our plants.

  • Orientation: The first thing we have to know when we want to plan a garden or even a small terrace is the sunlight. Take a weekend day to understand where’s sun or shadows in your garden and the time of the day when sun or shadow appear. This will help you with another step when it comes to choose which plants you want. For example: If you have a part-shade area in your garden, means that the sun arrives for 3 or 4 hours per day and then it becomes a shadow space, this indicate us that we can plant some plants that grows well with this amount of sun at day, like Hydrangea, Azalea, Heuchera, etc.
  • Soil: Knowing the kind of soil we’re dealing with, will ease a big part of the work. I mean, if we know the type of soil, we can decided: if we have to use vases or if we can plant directly to the ground and, if we have to deal with rustic plants that grows everywhere of maybe those who grow better in an acid soil (“acidophilic” plants will reduce list of shrubs or trees and this is good news if you don’t know what to buy). If you do not what to deal with it, or maybe you have a terrace instead of a garden, you can always use vases and even trees grow well in vases, so there are no excuses to do it!
  • Type of plants: If you have the time and you really love plants, you can use flowering plants, they will give your garden a very colourful touch through all the seasons. On the other hand, if you don’t care much about gardening or you don’t have the time, it’s ok! all you have to do is to use foliage plants, those who don’t have big or flagrant flowers but instead have a very extravagant foliage, they aren’t as “needy” as flowering plants and provide the colour your garden needs all year, even in winter.

Hope this article help you take the first step and design your own garden.

See you soon!!!

Wedding Decor with Herbs

Yes! You read it right, seems that lately the herbs are not only used in the kitchen but also as a very luscious decorative plants!

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I like to think these perennial plants are just perfect in every space, big or small, combined with flowering plants or alone. They are a very important piece in our garden, terrace or in this case, in a decoration for a wedding (obviously a BIG plus is that they are perfectly edible).

Lets organize the ideas… In this article I’m going to show you a proposal of a very rustic but elegant decoration. First of all we have to make a list of the herbs that you can actually use.

I like to begin explaining why all the herbs are no good for a decoration. For starters, not all the herbs are perennial. For example: basil, coriander, parsley and thyme are very gorgeous plants to have in our garden and even indoors, but they have a “dormancy time” and when this happens, the leafs falls down leaving only branches. The leafs are so tender and small that is not worth it to use them in a big decoration. However, we can use them like a table centerpiece or to decorate a buffet table.

The plants we can use are those with a bush bearing, like Rosemary, Lavender, Sage, Chamomile (because of its daisy-like flowers), Daisies and so on… I mean, every plant you like!

Another important thing is the materials.  You can use wood splint’s baskets, vintage metal buckets and even concrete planters and the arrangement would be just perfect. In this case we use cubes of concrete, to give a similar sensation as the stone in the walls of the church.

This wedding will take place in a small town on the North of Italy. The Saint Miro’s church is a very modest church that’s placed 20 minutes away from the town… Should I add that you can only get there by walking.

Because of the size of the church, most of the arrangements are in the outside. For the inside, the seats decoration will be very simple with a few branches of rosemary or lavender, like the image below I found surfing the web.

Rosemary_branch

The church’s entrance has concrete vases with rosemary and sage on them. The left side of the door has a green arrangement.

If you want a little bit of colour, even white, you can always use hortensias or roses (as long as it’s their flowering season), they match perfectly with herbs.

Front Church - San Miro

San_Miro3

This is a very particular church. It has an outdoor apse and the access is on one side. Since this church doesn’t have a frontal access (like we’re used to), we have to propose some arrangements in this “complement” area to “escort” the entrance to the church.

San_Miro2

Here I leave a few more examples of the way the wedding should look like and different materials to be combine.

Concrete planter (I know I’m talking about herbs but I just wanted to show a nice concrete vase, please ignore the succulents)

C_Planter

Metal bucket

Bucket

Herbs, herbs and more herbs

Herbs_decor

For this wedding example, they’d combined herbs with white roses and hortensias and also added a fruit, the lime. You can add any citrus fruit you want.

As you can see, with herbs there’s no need to find the best way to dispose them, just putting them together is more than enough (big ones on the back and small ones to the front). This plants are so full of character that they will shine on their own.

However, I recommend using the same type of vase, same material and same colour, this way we have an order and a continuity around the different areas.

This is all for now, hope you liked this post.

See you soon!!!

Wedding Decor – Church

This was my first collaboration with a very talented Italian florist named Elena Bregna.

A couple wanted the decorations ideas for their wedding this summer. The wedding will take place in a very important church in the centre of Como (Italy), Saint Fedele’s Church.hydrangea_macrophylla

Because of the date, it’s been decided to use one of the most beautiful plants with an explosive inflorescence like the Hydrangea macrophylla commonly known as Hortensia“.

This gorgeous plant is a deciduous rounded shrub, with glossy dark green leaves and blooms  in the mid summer through fall. As we all know (and for those who don’t), the colour of the Hydrangeas flowers is affected by the Soil pH or acidity of the soil

  • Acidic soil: pH below 6, generates flower colour closer to blue. This type of soil naturally contains agents such as aluminium or iron.
  • Alkaline soil: pH above 6, produces flowers more pink.
  • Neutral soil: pH from 6 to 7, produces White flowers.

So, the couple wanted all the church’s arrangements colours to be white and acid green, which means that the hydrangea is perfect for this decoration.

My partner proposed all the placement of the different arrangements inside and outside the church… Sure she did, she is the Florist!…  I, on the other hand, proposed how the church would look and made the designs, I also made little changes in order to be able to post this article to all of you! I’d added white and acid green roses and some Gypsophila  paniculatato give the finishing touches to every arrangement.

Here’s the idea of the actual church and some ideas of the way it should look

Saint Fedele's Church - Decor

Saint Fedele’s Church – Decor

 

Decoration Ideas

http://www.leoeventi.com/blog/it/tema-colore-per-il-matrimonio-verde-acido/#.UzWMfaiSySo

http://www.leoeventi.com/blog/it/tema-colore-per-il-matrimonio-verde-acido/#.UzWMfaiSySo

http://philosophyflowers.co.uk/philosophyflowersnews/manchester-art-gallery/#!prettyPhoto

http://belle-blanc.blogspot.it/2013/05/fresh-colorful.html

http://belle-blanc.blogspot.it/2013/05/fresh-colorful.html

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/464996730247431515/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/464996730247431515/

Of course the wedding takes place in a closed church, but I wanted to leave this examples to set an idea

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/464996730245946402/

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/464996730245946402/

More white and green hydrangeas

Hope you like them!

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to write!!!

 

 

Landscape & Garden Design

A new vision for this blog!

I recently finished my Master in Landscape & Garden Design and i wanted to share with you all the ideas i have, to make your garden spaces more interesting, sustainable and stylish.

Join me in this journey!

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If you have a doubt about your garden, plants or free spaces, do not hesitate to write your question, i would gladly try to answer it as fast as possible

 

Mc Donald’s by Patrick Norguet – France

Patrick Norguet is a very distinctive french Freelance Product Designer that’s known over a few years for his fourniture and interior design, he has worked with renowned brands like: Renault (Brusels and Tokio), Marithe & Francois Girbaud (Florence, Paris and Peijing), Petit Bateau, among others.

This is the time for the  fast-food grand Mc Donald’s across France, where Norguet was in charge of executing the new Identity Interiors for the restaurant.

The idea was to return to the concept of “Family” which in the passed years was being returned to, leaving behind the “teenage hangout”. We can see how the design has notably changed, in terms of furniture and even colours, we’re not in the playgroud for kids anymore.

 Dinning aera

The designer based on a neutral White pallet with degradations of grey and light brown, but always including the active and bright colours that caracterize Mc Donald’s, like yellow, red and a little orange was also added this time.

 

Norguet created diferent spaces and with those, different moods for the social interactions, open areas for eating standing up as well as more private areas for gathering in family, and digital terminals where you can order and have the food served directly to the table.

The zones are divided with his own “Still” metal chairs from Lapalma, plywood cabinets, shelving and booth, a very organic and also functional furniture wich is a very important topic in the fast-food restaurants.

The colour palette is the important topic in this design, the main idea is to return to the “Family Resaurant”concept and besides the new and formal interior design the colour is one of the most important factores when we want to direct and space to an specific client.

If we look at this design and imagine the old colours like: Yellow and Red we still look at it like a Kid’s restaurant, but the same design with the actual colours, more sober and clear, we inmediately feel in a “Grown up Restaurant”, the fourniture and the diferent aereas make clear that serious doesn’t mean boring. The nwe atmosphere is joyfull and easy to interact in family or even in small groups of friends

So  the great tip  in this design is that the colour can define a space if you direct it correctly, even if you have the simplest room, just think about what you want and who you want to visit your new areas.