homegrown garden centre – Nature and Fatherhood with Greig Penny

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Nature and Fatherhood with Greig Penny

With Father’s Day around the corner, we took the opportunity to connect with Greig Penny, an architect from Edinburgh, to share his thoughts on nature, architecture and fatherhood.

In our conversation, he shares ideas on bringing natural elements into his home and garden to create a warm and inviting space for his family. This interview is part of our ‘At Home With’ series, brought to you by homegrown garden centre.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Greig. I’m originally from the North East of Scotland and currently work as a chartered architect based in Edinburgh, where I run my own company, Greig Penny Architecture. Along with architecture, I have a keen interest in architectural visualisation and photography.

I share a home on the coastal east side of Edinburgh with my partner, our 20-month-old daughter, and our dog. We love being by the sea, close to the many beaches and coastal towns East Lothian has to offer, while still having easy access to Edinburgh’s city life.

Greig Penny's Home

What has been your favourite moment of fatherhood so far?

Witnessing our daughter’s growth, both physically and in character, has been a source of great joy. While I believe that individuals shape their unique personalities, it’s rewarding to see how our guidance and support play a part in her development.

She is on the cusp of talking, and the short phrases she has come up with bring pride — but more so, laughter. Our dog, Frankie (pictured), is momentarily christened ‘Gankee!’. Parenting certainly has its challenges, but the good moments far outweigh any of the tougher ones.

What are your favourite family activities that involve nature?

We enjoy taking our daughter and dog to the beach and seeing them run free. I think we’re drawn to the openness of beachescapes. Far-reaching views aside, it’s a practical place for us to keep an eye on our daughter and let her explore independently. We look forward to possibly sea kayaking, rowing or even wild swimming with her at the appropriate ages.

We also enjoy forest walks — places like The Hermitage at Dunkeld, or the more manicured Benmore Gardens at Dunoon come to mind. During the earlier days of parenthood, stays in remote locations provided us with a sense of clarity and focus — we have had brilliant visits to The Lengths at Loch Eil, for example.

We love exploring Scotland; it feels like it instils us with a connection to our homeland. I’m anticipating the chance to introduce our daughter to more of our beautiful country, and perhaps, when the time is right, we’ll tackle some more challenging hikes together.

Greig Penny's Home

How do you pick materials and colours that make a home feel welcoming?

Having spent considerable time in Denmark, I find myself drawn to the principles of Scandinavian design, embracing simplicity, functionality and connection to nature. I prioritise the use of natural materials whenever feasible and within budget constraints, seeking out materials that not only enhance the aesthetic of the building but tell a story about its place.

Natural woods evoke warmth and comfort, but I also enjoy the pragmatism of blocks, bricks, metal and exposed structure. I strive to let raw materials sing — I often opt to leave them untreated or unpainted to showcase their natural textures and characteristics.

When materials need to be covered, I often prefer the timelessness of whites or the softer, warm, natural tones of clay plasters. Natural light and its play on surfaces create an atmosphere and ambience. For colour, I tend to go bold — for example, colour-drench a room in terracotta, green or yellow — or selectively highlight individual elements. This approach creates a calm and welcoming feel to the space.

Greig Penny Architecture: Portobello

How can people bring nature into their homes to create a calming atmosphere?

I focus on the placement of windows to capture natural views that invite a sense of the outside into the home. Whether it’s framing a view of a loch nestled among hills or providing a glimpse of an enclosed overgrown courtyard, each window serves as a portal to the natural world beyond the interior of the home.

Where budget and location allow, I tend to add large panels of opening glazing to connect the interior with the exterior, blurring the boundaries between inside and out. While it may sound clichéd — to me, this approach truly does fill the home with a connection to the elements and stepping out can offer an additional ‘outdoor room’.

Even on days when the weather confines us indoors, there’s a sense of calm in observing the natural world from the comfort of home. Internally, I encourage the inclusion of plants to add life to spaces – not to mention the myriad of health and mental benefits they offer.

Greig Penny Architecture: Glasgow | South Uist

What are your favourite ways to make lasting memories in your home or garden? Do you have any special activities or traditions you enjoy?

Our garden is still a work in progress, so simply working on the garden — from digging, planting and building outdoor furniture, has provided our daughter with an opportunity to help along. These simple activities encourage participation, create memories and leave a lasting mark on the garden for years to come.

We discovered to our surprise that our home has a plum tree and an apple tree, which has sparked a new tradition of attempting to make chutney or jam from those when in season — especially when my parents visit.

Inspired by a visit to New York, I’ve recently fancied myself as a pizza chef, and we’ve had a few garden parties cooking in a portable garden pizza oven. A revitalised decking area and new outdoor furniture have given us the opportunity to invite friends over and gather outside when the Scottish weather permits it.

7. How do you design your home and garden to inspire creativity?

The close connection between home and garden can inspire creativity and serve as a catalyst for exploration and discovery for our daughter in her younger years. With a simple opening of the doors, she is immediately placed in a world of plants, insects, sands and soils — all of which she often brings back inside. Her playfulness, whether chasing birds, squirrels, or with our dog — can be explored within the garden.

The garden gives her the freedom to navigate and explore her physical capabilities while also learning her limitations — like the occasional misstep when attempting a running leap off the decking.

When thinking about the design of a garden, I approach it as a series of connected “outdoor rooms,” each serving a distinct purpose and function. These zones can be delineated by shifts in planting and ground surfaces — from decking to hard paving, gravel to grass — reflecting the practicalities and intended uses of each area.

Whether it’s a designated cooking space, dining area, cosy seating nook, herb garden or untamed overgrowth, each zone can be thoughtfully created to improve both the aesthetics and practicality of your garden.

Follow Greig Penny Architecture on Instagram or visit his website.

Images provided by Greig Penny Architecture Ltd.


As we finish our chat with Greig Penny, we hope his insights inspire you to bring a touch of nature into your home and garden. Whether you’re looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift or simply want to improve your outdoor space, homegrown garden centre has something for everyone.

To help you get started, explore our featured products you can find in-store:

  • Outdoor Fireplace
  • Chess Set
  • Acacia Wood Bench
  • Leather Kindling Holder
  • Apple & Plum Tree