How to make a bottle bird feeder

How to make a bottle bird feeder

Looking for something creative to do with the kids this mid-term? 

Why not task them with building a bottle feeder, which is sure to keep not just them happy, but also those colourful garden visitors too.  It's a great way of getting kids outside and getting them involved in nature and it's a fairly inexpensive project for them to do. 
With thanks to Sainsbury's bank blog, we bring you this quick and easy guide on how to do make a bottle bird feeder: 

Bird feeder guide | Papillon garden design

Enjoy mid-term and have fun!

Papillon projects in Aberdeen and Ellon shortlisted in APL Awards 2018

Aberdeen and Ellon gardens shortlisted in national APL Awards 2018

Two Papillon garden design and landscaping projects have been shortlisted in the 2018 Association of Professional Landscapers’ Awards (APL Awards). Recognition has been given in two categories, for garden design and construction work the firm completed on two North-east gardens in Ellon and Aberdeen.

The gardens shortlisted are for Papillon’s outside kitchen project in Ellon, under the category Hard Landscaping and a town garden project in Osborne Place, Aberdeen, which is shortlisted in the category for Projects valued between £35,000 - £65,000.

Outdoor Kitchen, Ellon

Ellon Outdoor Kitchen

Papillon came on board after the client’s already purchased large paving slabs and started laying them out. Despite the square shape of the main patio, the client asked for a curved design with built-in outdoor kitchen.

To achieve this without cutting the existing paving, Papillon used contrasting materials that helped to join the squares into the desired curves.  The two curved walls that wrap up the main patio have the outdoor kitchen built into one, while the other one is raised to a seating height. The contrast in the materials was also used to create undulating paths around the house and circular driveway. Smaller, darker setts helped to fill in the gaps formed by the large, creamy pavers laid in curves. This method resulted in creating a driveway that looks more like an interesting path to the front door, but can also be drive on. 

Osborne Place, Aberdeen

Creating more interest in a town garden.

Papillon extended the house’s modern interior outdoors, spilling out the creamy chocolate colours with contemporary sandstone paving and planting choices into a long and narrow walled garden. The raised stone planters in smooth, sawn finish and with floating benches incorporate a built-in barbeque.

The water feature, a sandstone sphere, sits in the planters surrounded by soft planting and can be lit up in the evenings. A robust, wooden arch opens up the social area to the rest of the garden, where tall Italian cypresses echo the granite spires of Aberdeen’s historical buildings. The mixed modern planting with box spheres also includes the client’s original fruit trees. The garden’s path leads all the way to the garage at the back. This is clad with Scottish larch slats that would grey in time and blend with the surrounding granite walls. 

Osborne Place, Aberdeen

Angelique Robb of Papillon
Angelique Robb, Director at Papillon comments:

“It was great to have the opportunity to design and construct these gardens. They’re both very different, but equally rewarding. The outside kitchen took careful planning, which paid off – it looks really slick, but yet it is practical too and makes for easy for outdoor living.

The project at Osborne Place was fun too: the garden was long and thin, so it needed more interest and features to cosy it up and make it feel wider and continue the modern theme of the home into the garden. There were some super features added for interest, including a sandstone sphere and a water feature, as well as a large social area, where large cypresses echo the granite spires of Aberdeen’s skyline.

I feel very proud of the work our team has done on these projects and I’m delighted that they’ve been recognised by APL.”


The UK-wide awards help celebrate and recognise outstanding landscaping work carried out by the association’s members. Winners of the awards will be announced at The annual Awards Ceremony on Friday 16 March 2018 at The Brewery, London. The event is sponsored by Bradstone.

For more information on the APL Awards 2018, click here


To find out more about Papillon's garden design and construction work, please contact us directly.

How to make the best of garden lighting

Garden lighting blog by Papillon Designs & Landscaping

How to make the best of garden lighting

We may be into the dark winter months, but with good lighting your garden can still be enjoyed. And the best garden lighting will do more than just offer a practical solution; get it right and your garden can look magical as dusk falls. While some outdoor lighting can be harsh and unnatural, here we look at how it can enhance your garden, adding beauty, warmth and atmosphere.

Have fun with your outdoor lighting:

homemade garden lights using jarsThere are so many fun ways to light up your garden, so think creatively! For instance, re-using old glass jars and bottles filled with sand, as candle holders is a simple and inexpensive technique that can look beautiful. Or consider using everyday objects in your garden, such as tin watering cans or pots, as candle holders or lanterns. Or maybe light up an old birdhouse with LED tealights? Also, don’t be afraid to mix-and-match and add variety to your lighting.  So, put your own personal style into it and give your garden lighting some character.

Consider colour and shade:

Pristine white lights are classic and elegant. Garden lighting by PapillonRed and orange hues are warming, and their glow will create a cosy atmosphere. Blue shades, on the other hand, will make outdoor spaces look modern and cool. An eclectic mix of colours will add charm and fun. Whatever colours you choose, it is best to keep the lights soft for a cosy and warming atmosphere. 


Ornaments by day, elegant lighting by night:

Stone globe lightsSome of the best outdoor lighting will also look great in your garden during the day. For instance,  stone globe lights or the Foscarini Gregg Lamps, work as elegant ornaments in your garden, but become beautiful lights come nightfall. Likewise, the Paloma Illuminated bird, is a fun and stylish ornamental piece that looks beautiful day or night.


Paloma light and chair lighting

Add warmth and atmosphere with table fires or Cor-ten fire bowls:  

Nothing creates atmosphere in an outdoor space quite like an open fire.
Muztag’s elegant table fires are a dramatic way to lighten your gardeMuztag table firen, and will provide warmth on chilly winter evenings. Likewise, a Cor-ten fire bowl will become a natural centre-piece wherever they’re used. We particularly love Dutch company, Adezz, who make beautiful fire-pits and bowls. Add some stylish outdoor furniture, such as Serralunga’s Sirchester sofa and chairs, to create a beautiful and cosy outdoor haven.    

Where to position your outdoor lighting?

Lightening on decking and seatingAs well as thinking about the various lighting options available, it’s important to consider where to place outdoor lighting too. For instance, if your house has good views over your garden, then you can enjoy looking out onto it on winter evenings, so position your lighting to show it off well. Not only will it be a nice backdrop to look out upon, but a well-lit garden can make your indoor space feel bigger too.

Consider practical and safety benefits also, such as lighting up driveways (see below), paths and steps. Here, LED lights are particularly effective and attractive.
Remember too, when positioning lights, that we’re looking to add beauty and atmosphere to our gardens. So, think about what you’re lighting up; maybe illuminating a lovely tree, or an attractive planter or just your favourite corner of the garden? Also consider placing lights amongst trees and bushes, as this will soften the light and give a more natural look.


We hope that this has given you some helpful hints on how best to brighten up your garden. The best outdoor garden lighting can really enhance an outdoor space, so get it right and enjoy your garden this winter!

What do you buy a gardener for Christmas?

What to buy a gardener this Christmas

What to buy a gardener this Christmas...

Christmas shopping season has begun! But what do you buy a gardener for Christmas?

To make it easier for friends and family of green-fingered enthusiasts, we’ve put together some ideas to help you find the perfect Christmas gifts for gardeners....from Garden Doggys to Garden Art Sculptures, modern furniture like our Cero Stools and Spun Chairs, and Bird Ornaments that light up in the dark. For a cosy Christmas, you could even go for a Table Fire or Wood Burning Stove and for some stocking fillers, we have some great ideas, such Gardener's Ointments & Creams...


1. Serralunga Doggy Stools

Doggy Stools that double up as ornaments
Serralunga dog garden ornament

Serralunga doggy stools are not just for Christmas, these stylish dogs will add colour and fun to a garden all year round. And yes, they’re handy stools too!

The Italian designed dogs are available in a range of vibrant colours – available from Papillon.

Creative Art Sculputures from Devenick Designs

Orange heron scupturesFamily run, Devenick Designs, creates beautiful garden art and accessories from their Banchory Devenick base in Aberdeenshire.  We love their distinctive animal sculptures, which will add interest to any garden. Our personal favourites are the elegant herons, shown here in orange.
These scultpures are available in many colours, with a variety of animals to choose from too, such as foxes, rabbits and even monkeys.

Check out their website here:


3. Bird Houses and Feeders

Gardeners will love making their garden a welcoming spot for Christmas robins with a cool bird house.

There are plenty of good options available to buy, or you and your family could get creative and make your own.

Classic bird houses look pretty, or you could try something a little different, such as this Teapot bird house:

4. Bee Homes

As well as catering for the birds, gardeners will also welcome the idea of attracting bees to their garden too.

Bee homes help “solitary bees”, such as the Red Mason and Leafcutter bees, by providing them with the tunnels and tubes that are perfect for their nesting. Solitary bees are also important as they pollinate fruit crops. There are plenty bee homes available to buy, but there is also good advice available for making your own, here


5. Magis Spun Chair

Combining award-winning design with art, these unique chairs look great.

Magis spun chair

As well as looking great, they are surprisingly comfortable and they are great fun too.  Any guests won’t be able to resist giving them a spin!

Available from Papillon in various colours.  Click here for more information:  Magis Spun Chair .


6. Cero Chairs

Contemporary outdoor furniture

Cero chairs

Cero Stools: These are lovely pieces of contemporary outdoor furniture.

Beautifully designed, their hollowed-out form and curves give them a lightness and elegance.

Available in a range of cool colours, any design-conscious gardener will love them this Christmas:



7. Illuminated Paloma Bird Stools

Serralunga bird stools

Illuminated Paloma bird stools Fans of contemporary garden design will also love these beautiful pieces from Italy’s Serralunga this Christmas.

Fun pieces of garden furniture by day, the Paloma birds take on an enchanting quality at night when illuminated.

Available from Papillon:

8. Give warmth this Christmas

Chimenea, Wood Burning Stove or Table Fire

Muztag table fireGive warmth this Christmas with a chimenea, wood burning stove or table fire.

For chimeneas, we particularly like Danish company Morso’s beautiful chimeneas, while Adezz makes fantastic wood burning stoves, especially the ones that double up as pizza ovens. Available from Papillon.

For something a little different, these Table Fire's from Muztag offer an ideal focal point for patios or outdoor kitchens, that any gardener would love. They are stylish and provide warmth at the same time.  Available from Papillon.

9. Dutch Oven Cooking Set

For those with a love for food, as well as the outdoors

For friends and relatives who combine a love of gardens with a love of food, this cooking set will be perfect! Great for making hearty stews and casseroles.  

10. Stocking Fillers

Garden gloves and ointments for tired hands

Gardener's hand creams and ointments

And don’t forget the stocking-fillers: Good quality, hard-wearing gardening gloves will always be appreciated, and for the fashion-conscious gardener, look out for stylish designs too.

Also, sure to be enjoyed after a tiring day's work in the garden, check out Crabtree & Evelyn’s Gardener’s kit, which will soothe and repair hard-working hands.

A local supplier of gardeners ointment and creams for tired hands is Paradise Clinic in Kemnay, Aberdeenshire. Paradise Clinic stocks a range of beeswax creams and hand creams for gardeners.

Let’s hope with these ideas our green-fingered friends will have a blast this Christmas.
Happy shopping!

How to make the most of your garden this autumn

How to make the most of your garden this autumn

How to make the most of your garden this autumn

Summer may be ending, but the shorter days and the cooler evenings needn’t stop us from continuing to enjoy time outdoors in the garden. With a little preparation and some creative thinking, we can continue to enjoy our gardens well into autumn and even beyond.

Designing your garden so that you can enjoy outdoor living all year round in Scotland can be a challenge. We have the weather to contend with, which requires practical solutions. But, practical need not be boring! So, here are 5 ideas to inspire you to create a wonderful garden to enjoy all year round.

1. Outdoor lighting to combat the dark

As our days shorten, outdoor lighting will help you to continue to enjoy evenings in your garden.

Paloma illuminated bird lights
Paloma illuminated bird lights

Beyond its obvious practical use, the best outdoor lighting will add beauty and create an atmosphere and ambience to your garden at night. Also, nice lighting will enhance your garden’s appearance from inside your house on winter evenings.

Don’t be afraid to think creatively about your outdoor lighting. For example, festoon style lighting will add warmth and atmosphere around patio areas. We also love Stone Globe lights, which are beautiful additions to a garden that will add interest both day and night. Another favourite at Papillon is the Paloma illuminated bird; a fun and quirky sculpture by day, that takes on an enchanting quality as darkness falls.

Outdoor lighting can at times be harsh and artificial, but positioning lights among plants will soften lighting and provide a more natural look. Bamboos and grasses are particularly effective, creating a dancing effect to light, especially on breezy evenings.

2. Outdoor heaters do more than keep you warm

Alongside attractive lighting, enjoying your garden as the cooler days of autumn arrive will require outdoor heating.

Outdoor heating for gardensThe best outdoor heating solutions will provide not only much needed warmth, but that they enhance the appearance and atmosphere of a garden. Traditional patio heaters will work well on any terraced or patio spaces, but if you want to add a little more pizzazz and drama then there are plenty of alternative options to consider.

Wood burning stoves will create a lovely atmosphere. We particularly like Dutch company Adezz’s wood burning stoves, especially the ones that double up as pizza ovens! Corten fire pits will also create a cozy atmosphere for enjoying cool autumn evenings in your garden.

And to add warmth and atmosphere to your outdoor space Chimineas are also fantastic. We’re big fans of the Danish company Morso, who manufacture beautiful Chimineas, along with many other wonderful outdoor heating products.


3. Weather resistant furniture and accessories

If you enjoy dining and entertaining outdoors, then investing in good quality, weather resistant garden furniture is certainly worthwhile, especially if you want to continue do so into the autumn months.

Weather resistant garden furniture
Weather resistant garden furniture

The best hardwood furniture will withstand autumn weather, but will need treatment with teak oil to preserve its colour. Softwood timber furniture can be left outside in autumn too but it will require annual treatment with a preservative.

Cast-iron furniture and modern synthetic and resin materials are also good low maintenance and weather resistant options which need not be stored away come autumn.

To combat the chilly evenings, outdoor cushions, throws and blankets will provide warmth. Synthetic furniture and wood furniture are good materials for keeping you warm.

4. Biossun Patio Cover

Add protection with a funky and practical Biossun Patio Cover

Biossun patio cover
Biossun patio cover

The bioclimatic Biossun patio cover is perfect for enjoying an outdoor lifestyle in all seasons. It is a cross between an outdoor room and a patio cover and is versatile as well as stylish. The weather-proof aluminium structures are popular across Europe and perfect for our Scottish climate.

The Biossun can either be installed as a striking stand-alone structure or built onto a house or building to optimise outdoor space. Based on the concept of sun shades, the Biossun’s swivelling slats provide perfect flexibility to either enjoy, or seek protection from, the weather.

5. Perennial Plants

Perennial plants add colour and interest well into autumn

Michaelmas Daisy
Michaelmas Daisy

There are many lovely hardy perennials available to add colour come autumn.  A favourite of ours is the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’; a perennial with pinky-red flower heads that look great in all seasons - but especially in late fall/early winter, where they are blooming when many other perennials are setting seed.

Other attractive perennials to consider include: Persicaria bistorta 'Superba', who’s pretty spikes of tiny pink flowers bloom in Spring and can bloom again in autumn; Anemone “Honorine Jobert”, with its elegant white flowers; and the Aster “Little Carlow”, also known as the Michaelmas Daisy, which features a delicate pale blue flower with a yellow centre and is lovely autumn plant.

We hope that these ideas will give you some inspiration to enjoy your garden well after summer has passed. We can’t change the Scottish climate, but we can design our outdoor spaces so that it doesn’t stop us from continuing to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. And, while beautiful balmy summer evenings are a treat, snuggling up around a warming wood-burning stove or chimenea on a crisp autumn night can be magical too. Happy autumn everyone!

Jazz up your garden with these funky garden accessories and furniture


At Papillon, we love seeing colour and fun being added to garden spaces using cool and quirky furniture and accessories. Our favourite pieces combine contemporary style with function, to provide beautiful and practical additions to enhance outdoor space.
This isn’t garden furniture to simply blend into the background, rather it is pieces that are eye-catching, engaging and fun!
Here are our own personal favourites:

The Serralunga Doggy Stools
We love these! Created by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio for Serralunga, a leading manufacturer of outdoor furniture and design based in Biella, Italy, these robust polythene sculptures come in a range of vibrant colours, with our own favourite being the orange one. They are cool and fun pieces that kids especially love. In addition to their undeniable cuteness, they also cleverly double-up as outdoor stools.

Magis Spun Chair
Lorraine Kelly loves this one too! Ingeniously formed from rotational moulded polyethylene, these award-winning outdoor circular and symmetrical chairs were conceived of and designed by Thomas Heatherwick, and made by cutting-edge Italian furniture manufacturer Magis.

Their unique spinning top design is elegant in form, whilst also inherently playful; your guests will find it hard to resist giving them a spin. The Spun chair is not only beautiful to look at, but it has been cleverly designed as an ergonomically sound piece of furniture too. We think they’re fantastic fun!

Cero Stools
Cero stools will add contemporary flair to both outdoor and indoor spaces. These strong roto-moulded polythene stools, designed by Brian Steendyk and made by Serralunga, marry sculptural art with functional product design.

Their hollowed-out design creates a light and elegant form, giving them an ornamental quality. Cero stools can be used as practical stools, footrests or table tops, and younger family members will quickly find that they make great tunnels too!

Paloma Illuminated Bird
This delightful Serralunga piece is another intriguing creation from designer Eero Aarnio.

We think the dove has an eerie and graceful beauty, especially so at night-time, when it takes on an enchanting form, illuminated by a LED RGB light that can be set to one of many different colours.

The fragility of the dove’s appearance is deceptive, as it is robustly crafted from linear low-density polyethylene.

It is therefore able to stand up to all weather conditions, and its strength makes it a functional outdoor stool too.

The Scarlett Vase
This vase by Serralunga, doubles up as a contemporary ornament and adds a modern look to any garden, conservatory or outside room. Here, it is shown in its full glory in one of Papillon’s Biossun pergolas. Made from rotationally moulded poly, it is suitable for the outdoors too! The Scarlett is available directly from Papillon.

So, garden furniture need not be drab and dull and something to hide away when not in use. Instead, these contemporary pieces are to be shown off and will enhance any outdoor space with their playful character and elegant style.

For more information on these pieces and to see more creative ideas for garden furniture and accessories please contact Papillon directly.

Create a wonderful garden for kids

How to create a wonderful garden for kids

With the summer holidays here, now is the time for kids to forget school work for a few weeks, to turn off their computer and TV screens, and to get outside and have fun.

Gardens are wonderful spaces for kids to spend time in; safe and stimulating environments in which to play games, explore and have adventures. Gardens also provide an opportunity for kids to learn about nature and wildlife - all wonderful and valuables experiences for youngsters to have, to cherish memories of.

Any garden space can be a great play area, but what features and considerations should you look at to make your garden wonderful for kids? Here are our TOP 5 suggestions:


1. Stimulate an interest in wildlife

Even in urban settings, gardens provide a fantastic place for kids to experience nature first hand.


Bug hotels
There are lots of ways to make your garden a haven for wildlife.  Making a ‘bug hotel’ can be fun for kids to get involved in and build.  The outcome is a perfect home for all sorts of insects and bugs.  Bug hotels can be dual-purpose, just like the one shown (pic 1), which Papillon built in a garden in Aberdeenshire; this doubles-up as a table for holding magazines.










Other ideas
A bird house will give children a hands-on way of looking after wildlife by providing shelter and essential food for their survival, particularly come winter. 

Kids can also learn about aquatic invertebrates and all sorts of pond life by adding a water feature for them to make home.


2. Create a safe environment

We want our kids to roam and explore, but we also want to know that they’re not in any danger.

Water features
Water features are an obvious potential hazard to be aware of, especially with very young children. But, an easy and unobtrusive solution is to fit a cover. We love the design featured here by Adrian Rayment. Here, he turns this safety feature into something quite beautiful. This was a bespoke pond cover fitted in a garden in Colchester.

Safe areas
Any large drops are probably best avoided if possible. Grass, bark chipping, or bonded rubber surfaces will provide a softer landing than concrete or gravel, so are good options, especially around any climbing frames.

3. Fun play areas

Swings, slides, climbing frames; all will be popular with kids, but be careful not to clutter your garden too much!

Building slides into the design of a garden can be a great way of making better use of space (see Pic ).  This is photo of a garden slide that Papillon built into the design of a garden it constructed at Crathes in Aberdeenshire.  It looks fantastic and the kids will be pleased to know it is fully functional too!


Outdoor chalkboards
These outdoor chalkboards look great and add a different dimension to outdoor play. 


Tree houses
Tree houses are lots of fun to build and will be enjoyed by kids of all ages. We also love living willow tunnels and living willow domes, which make fantastic natural play areas and hideaways.  


4. Add a touch of colour to stimulate imagination

Adding features, furniture and even wall art, can lift a garden, especially on a wet day. 


This pic shows a boardwalk that Papillon constructed at Aberdeen Science Centre’s sensory garden, which opened earlier this year.

This walkboard was used to add colour and made to look like a vibrant stream running across the garden and breaking up the grass and hardcore surface.

5. Get them involved

Kids of all ages can really enjoy getting involved in gardening, so where possible get them involved.

Whether they want to create their own “fairy garden”, or build a little hide-away hut, or grow vegetables; kids will love being given the freedom to use their imagination to create their own little garden space to enjoy.

Simple tasks, like watering plants or raking leaves, can be great fun for kids of all ages. They’re never too young to be introduced to the pleasures of gardening!

Giving youngsters the opportunity to enjoy, explore and learn about nature and wildlife is fantastic for their development, and can lead to a life-long love for gardens and the outdoors in general. We hope that our suggestions have helped give you some inspiration for making your own garden a wonderful place for your children.

Papillon specialises in garden design and can offer suggestions and ideas to make your garden special for those who will be enjoying it, whether that be kids, adults, grandparents or pets.  To see more of what we love for kids, visit our Pinterest Play Board.  To discuss how we can help you design the perfect garden, please contact us here.

Papillon to exhibit at Gardening Scotland

Papillon is proud to be exhibiting at Gardening Scotland this year from 2 – 4 June 2017.

Our experts will be there to offer information and advice on garden design & landscaping.  Coming with us, is one of our Biossun pergolas, which will be displayed in its full glory, showing off some of its unique multi-functional features, that help people enjoy outdoor living for longer.

Each Biossun pergola is built using eco-friendly materials with many options available on LED lighting (white or coloured lighting, LED strips or down-lighters) for evening use.  Features include: adjustable slats, electronic Zipsun blinds and sliding glass doors, which can be used to direct sun, block wind and provide shelter from the rain. They are an ideal addition to a family garden and can also be used commercially in cafes and restaurants.

Gardening Scotland is on for three days in Edinburgh.  It is the biggest plant fair in Scotland and promises to provide everything from an abundance of beautiful plants to tools, equipment, garden furniture and inspiration for garden-lovers.

Papillon will be exhibiting at the Association of Professional Landscapers‘ stand at the exhibition, which will be held at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh EH28 8NB.
We’ll look forward to seeing you there!