“Good design should excite and raise our emotions – it should be beautiful, functional and inherently green – I believe aspiration is key to a sustainable future.”
Having set up his own business www.ecocentric.com in 2005, Oliver is living his own passion for Eco lifestyles. “It is all about how people live and the environmentally conscious aspects of their lifestyles,” he explains diligently. “I think it’s important to consider the complete way in which you live in your home, on your patch of land in the same as we live on the Planet as a whole. It’s about communities and connecting. How you live in your house and garden should connect. I advise people how they can incorporate eco ways of living without compromising style. Sustainable design is actually very cutting edge now.”
“Growing your own food is also very important. An allotment or even small veg patch is important, you know where the food that you put on your plate has come from and that it is free from pesticides and toxins. It also shows kids the value of food. The fact that a tomato actually takes 6 months to grow demonstrates longevity.”
Oliver has also applied his desirable design skills to his own garden. “I wanted it to be fun, pleasurable and not to precious,” he explains. “I remember playing a game as a child where you had to get around a room without touching the floor. I wanted to recreate that sense of adventure in my own garden. It lends itself to play; jumping from one platform to another. It’s imaginative.”
“I prefer to call recycling, ‘re-appropriation’, as it’s simply taking one material, chopping it about and using it in another way. I used a lot of materials from the old house in the garden. I edged a circular grass patch with granite setts from the old garden and used salvaged slate tiles to make a circular fire pit, using pebbles for added texture.”
The ingenious designer has also incorporated a few clever space saving ideas. “We have a raised decked area so I designed the bottom two steps so that they can be removed and used as benches with a fold down picnic table that is attached to the house. It totally transforms the space and I don’t have to have furniture permanently on display. I have also incorporated seating around an apple tree at the bottom of the garden so we can sit and enjoy the view back toward the house. It provides us with a completely different aspect of the garden.”
Oliver’s book, Urban Eco Chic, is full of beautiful and practical ideas that are adaptable for all indoor and outdoor spaces. “Whether it’s indoors or outdoors, you have got to create a place that you want to be in. I see the garden as another room and therefore you need to create spaces within that room to enjoy. In the garden, the boundaries have been softened with ferns and bamboos and I have included a fig tree and herb garden. Planning and design are so important to get the most out of a space. It’s only a small garden but I have still been able to incorporate an edible landscape,” he concludes proudly.
Find out more about Oliver’s ethos and tips for eco living at www.oliverheathdesign.com