Tuesday 2 July 2019

Garden Design Buckinghamshire - Gabion Retaining Walls

Gabions are really useful when you can't dig footings but need to retain soil or create raised beds.  They can be built on compacted ground, or a small bed of compacted MOT Type 1 hard core (scalpings).

 Garden Design - Denham - Buckinghamshire - under construction 
I have designed gardens around four new houses for a property developer on this sloping site in Denham, Buckinghamshire.  The site is surrounded by woodland and the tree roots cannot be disturbed.

  Garden Design - Denham - Buckinghamshire - under construction

 The boundaries of the gardens have been defined using gabion baskets filled with stone to retain the new terraced levels and create separation from the adjoining woodland.  The gabion retaining walls blend well into their surroundings and do not interfere with the tree roots.  This is an aesthetically pleasing way to deal with a practical problem.

Garden Design - Denham - Buckinghamshire - under construction

Gabions are also quick to build and therefore much cheaper than brick or blockwork.  However, they must be built carefully so that they lean back into the slope they are retaining - this is called a batter.  They also need quite a substantial - usually 1m wide - bottom course.  The front of the gabion basket should also be wired into a supporting post behind the gabion at intervals to stop the baskets bowing outwards when filled.

Garden Design - Denham - Buckinghamshire - under construction

You can keep costs to a minimum by using a gabion stone like this one from Miles Stone which is simply tipped into the gabion baskets.  A more polished look can be achieved, like these curved gabion walls with a stacked stone facing in my St Albans, Hertfordshire garden design.  However, these will take longer to construct, require a larger quantity of more expensive fill material and therefore cost more - sometimes almost as much as a brick or blockwork wall.

Garden Design - St Albans - Hertfordshire

If you'd like me to design your perfect garden please get in touch.  You will find all contact details as well as other examples of my work on my Web site.  You can see more of my work on my Facebook page. 

Thursday 11 October 2018

Garden Design Tips - 7 Things to do in your garden right now

There are plenty of things to get on with in your garden in the Autumn.  Some people don't like to tidy up too much, preferring to leave piles of leaves and hollow stems on plants for insects to shelter in over winter.

However, there are some things that you can do that won't discourage insects and will give your garden a head start on next year.

1.  Plant new shrubs and hedging – autumn is the best time to put in plants.  They are not quite yet dormant so will start to establish whilst there is a little warmth in the soil.  Then in spring they have a headstart and will grow on more quickly than spring plantings.

2.       Plant spring bulbs – late winter and early spring are dull times in the garden.  Plant Snowdrops, Anemone blanda, Crocus, Narcissus, Tulips and Alliums for a show that will start in December and go on into the early summer.

3.       Tidy the lawn – scarify and aerate the lawn. Give it an autumn feed – there are different types of feed for spring and autumn, make sure you choose the right one.  Apply moss killer and lawn weedkiller then fill any resulting bald patches by sprinkling on a bit of topsoil and some new grass seed.

4.       Prune shrubs apart from those that flower on the current year’s growth such as Forsythia. Remove dead branches and any that are crossing.  Reduce the size of the plants to keep them in their allotted position and make sure they don’t encroach on paths or neighbour’s gardens.

5.       Prune Wisteria. Remove all long, whippy shoots as these will weaken the plant.  Prune all side shoots off the main framework of the plant back to about 4 buds.  Remove all dead growth and, if necessary, reduce the overall size of the plant to keep it in its allotted space.  You will get many more flowers if you prune the plant quite hard, but do not remove all the flower buds – the fat growths you can see in the leaf junctions with the stem.

6.       Turn your compost over and add some cardboard.  Too much green waste, especially grass, will make the compost slimy and smelly, adding shredded cardboard will prevent this.  You can also enrich the compost by adding some stable manure from any local yard - the best compost comes from well=rotted stable manure when the horses are bedded on shavings. 

7.       Take some hardwood cuttings.  Especially useful for plants that might not make it through a hard winter.  Cut off a stem at the base of the plant.  Remove the soft growth tip and cut the stem into sections with a diagonal cut just above a bud.  Dig over a strip of garden and insert the diagonal cut ends of each cutting into the trench and firm the soil around each one.  Or, you can put them around the edge of a plastic pot filled with multi-purpose compost. Throw a piece of garden fleece over the cuttings when the temperature drops.

If you'd like me to design your perfect garden please get in touch.  You will find all contact details as well as other examples of my work on my Web site.  You can see more of my work on my Facebook page.

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Garden Design Buckinghamshire

Although not quite finished and despite the scorching weather this garden design in Denham, Buckinghamshire is looking gorgeous.

A new timber-framed house was constructed and the garden was designed with two distinct areas.  To the side of the house is a wooded area with lots of mature trees.  This was cleared of scrub and some of the smaller trees and gravel paths were laid to give a circuitous route around the area.  There is a small clearing with a fire-pit for contemplation and enjoying a quiet moment.

The back of the house has a large swimming pool with a hot tub and a timber-framed pool house.  There is a sweeping herbaceous border as well as other mixed planting with shrubs and perennials around the pool area.  The swimming pool terrace is reached by a set of curved steps that lead up from the dining terrace near the house.  There is also a large, fully-equipped outdoor kitchen with a built-in gas barbeque, a pizza oven, a fridge and a sink, and plenty of cupboards with stainless steel doors.

At the front a formal parterre of clipped Box and Lavender with feature Olive trees creates a beautiful entrance to the property.

The garden is enclosed by flint and brick walls to echo the original materials used for building all around Buckinghamshire.  An original gate was re-made for a side entrance and the design echoed in the main pedestrian entrance gate and driveway gates.

The driveway was paved with resin-bound gravel.

If you'd like me to design your perfect garden please get in touch.  You will find all contact details as well as other examples of my work on my Web site.  You can see more of my work on my Facebook page.

Thursday 28 June 2018

Garden Design - Caterham, Surrey

I've just finished designing this contemporary family garden in Caterham, Surrey for a young couple with two children.

 Garden Design, Surrey - Before

Although the garden has to be family and dog friendly the brief was to create a contemporary garden to match the recently refurbished house with its modern extension.  The garden is large and rather bland, but the clients love the space, and privacy.  They gave me a brief that included keeping the vegetable garden, sheds, compost area and greenhouse at the rear of the garden, but integrating them into a more interesting garden.

 Garden Design, Surrey - Visual of water feature

 I divided the garden into distinct zones, without cutting off the clients view down the garden.  I created a new focal point in the vegetable garden through the existing arch.  A piece of sculpture will be chosen to create drama and interest and lead the eye down the garden.

Garden Design, Surrey - Visual of garden towards house

The first zone is a large entertaining terrace that gives a seamless transition from the inside to the outside making it an extension of the house and useable for most of the year.  This area has an outdoor kitchen and a water feature with steel grille and inset glass stepping stones with water cascades down the perimeter walls.  There is plenty of space for a large dining table and outdoor sofas.

Garden Design, Surrey - Visual of new terrace

In the centre of the garden there is a sunken seating area with a sculptural water feature and built-in benches.  This area is surrounded by perennial planting and has pathways leading in from the sides of the gardens with metal arches to match the existing arch into the vegetable area.

Garden Design, Surrey - Visual of sunken seating area through arches

Down the side of the garden there are raised planting areas and others in more shade areas that lead into the lawned area of the garden from a shady perimeter walkway that children can run around to access the existing play area at the bottom of the garden.

Garden Design, Surrey - Visual of sunken seating area

An existing, raised area to one side of the garden has been maintained, but tweaked to fit in with the overall symmetry of the new garden scheme.

If you'd like me to design your perfect garden please get in touch.  You will find all contact details as well as other examples of my work on my Web site.  You can see more of my work on my Facebook page.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Garden Design - New Projects in Surrey and Berkshire

I'm working hard at the moment and have a number of new projects just coming off my virtual drawing board.  Here is a small sample of some of the more exciting ones.

Garden Design Guildford, Surrey

A small family garden in Guildford, Surrey with a built-in seating area and pergola, a new space for an existing hot tub, a kid friendly play space and a new patio.

Garden Design Swindon, Wiltshire

A very large, sloping garden design in Swindon, Wiltshire with an outdoor kitchen, a large terrace wrapping round the house, a grand front driveway and entrance and smaller, more intimate seating areas adjoining the new house.

Garden Design Hindhead, Surrey 

A fabulous contemporary garden design in Hindhead, Surrey for a modern new build house on a very steep slope.  The garden has a full outdoor kitchen, a steel pergola, a gorgeous moon-gate seat, a hot tub terrace with a water cascade.  The garden incorporates a large garden room with a kitchen and bathroom.

Garden Design Esher, Surrey

A contemporary sloping family garden design in Esher, Surrey with a bespoke water feature, a large new terrace that curves around the house, new terraced planting levels and a large, family friendly lawn.

All my work is presented in 3-D so that clients can see exactly what the finished garden design will look like.

If you would like help creating your new garden please get in touch by visiting my Web site, and don't forget to check out my work on Facebook and Google+ and Houzz - all links from the Home page on my Web site.

Sunday 6 August 2017

Contemporary Sloping Garden Design, Crowthorne, Berkshire

This awkward shaped garden in Crowthorne, Berkshire was in great need of a makeover. The plot slopes from back to front as well as across its width and wrapped around the house in an 'L' shape.
The clients wanted a contemporary style, low maintenance garden where they could spend time entertaining friends and family.

The brief was to create more useable space, a large seating and dining terrace by the back of the house, an area of lawn and a place to enjoy the evening sun.  The rear garden needed to be secure and private and a new driveway was required at the front of the house with easy access and parking for two large cars. 

 Front garden Crowthorne, Berkshire - Before


 Front garden Crowthorne, Berkshire - After

The new front driveway was paved with stabilised gravel and has a raised planter as well as planting along the boundary to soften the space.  Two cars can get in and out and park easily on the new driveway which also includes an area for bin storage and a new front step.  The front driveway is secured from the rear garden with a single-rail pergola with baton screens and a lockable gate that matches the baton screens.

  Rear garden Crowthorne, Berkshire - Before


 Rear garden Crowthorne, Berkshire - After - Upper Terrace

The rear garden comprises three outdoor rooms at different levels.  There is a raised terrace immediately accessible from the kitchen with built-in benches, rendered blockwork walls, black Limestone paving and a Bio ethanol fireplace table with a black Limestone top.  The terrace is enclosed by a single rail pergola and baton screens which also help to disguise the old concrete garage. The wood is painted black to give a contrast to the white painted walls and provide a dramatic backdrop to the planting.

Rear garden Crowthorne, Berkshire - Before

  Rear garden Crowthorne, Berkshire - After - Lawn Area

From the terrace there is an archway between baton screens with cut out windows lined with brushed steel frames.  There is a step down through the archway onto a lawned area with herbaceous borders full of pretty summer flowering perennials and grasses.

Rear garden Crowthorne, Berkshire - Before

Rear garden Crowthorne, Berkshire - After - Lower Courtyard Area

From the lawn there is a step down into a small courtyard area with outdoor sofas and raised beds sheltered by a pergola.  This area is perfect for enjoying an evening drink catching the last rays of the sun.  It is a peaceful, intimate space that feels private and relaxing.

Rear garden Crowthorne, Berkshire - Before

Rear garden Crowthorne, Berkshire - After - Lower Courtyard Area

If you'd like me to design something that is perfect for your lifestyle and requirements please get in touch.  You will find all contact details as well as other examples of my work on my Web site.  You can see more of my work on my Facebook page.

Sunday 25 June 2017

Garden Design - A Contemporary Front Courtyard Garden in Surrey

This front garden at a rental property in Windlesham, Surrey was neglected and the letting agents suggested a makeover would help maintain its value on the rental market.  The rear garden is smaller and shadier than the front garden, so it made sense to make the front garden into a low-maintenance courtyard garden.  The challenge was to create a garden that gave the house more kerb appeal as well as giving tenants more outdoor space within a tight budget.

 Front Garden Design Windlesham, Surrey - Before

 The Silver Birch was removed as it was too large, created shade and was too close to the house.  The lawn was excavated down to the paving level around the house.  Blockwork walls were used to retain the upper terrace.  The walls were rendered with K-Rend – a self-coloured render – in a mid-gey colour.  

 Front Garden Design Windlesham, Surrey - After

The upper terrace has a self-binding gravel pathway with low-maintenance planting on either side.  Steps lead up from the lower level at either end of the path giving a journey around the garden.  The level changes and pathway make the space more interesting without adding to the maintenance. 

 Front Garden Design Windlesham, Surrey - After
The lower terrace has a built in bench with a wooden seat top.  The paving is silver grey granite which in smooth and gives a flat surface perfect for a table and chairs.  

 Front Garden Design Windlesham, Surrey - Before 

The driveway is retained with an Oak railway sleeper wall that curves around to enclose the lower terrace and create a raised planter.  This helps to give the terrace a greater sense of privacy and defines it as a garden space rather than as part of the front driveway.

 Front Garden Design Windlesham, Surrey - After
The driveway was repaired and new sand brushed into the joints of the block paviours.  The fence was repaired and painted dark grey.

 Front Garden Design Windlesham, Surrey - After

The garden is no longer dank and neglected. It is an inviting sunny space, enclosed and private where people will feel happy to spend time outside.  It also makes a smart entrance to the house and gives a good first impression when potential tenants visit. 

   Front Garden Design Windlesham, Surrey - After

 If you'd like me to design something that is perfect for your lifestyle and requirements please get in touch.  You will find all contact details as well as other examples of my work on my Web site.  You can see more of my work on my Facebook page.