THE LANDSCAPING SOLUTIONS BLOG


Welcome to our Blog. Inspiration, updates and industry trends from the team at Landscaping Solutions.

THE FOREST WILL SEE YOU NOW - GROWING INTEREST AT RHS HAMPTON COURT 2019

The importance of integrating Nature into our everyday lives is something that is really close to our hearts at Landscaping Solutions so we were delighted to be involved with a garden with such an important message at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival this year.

Self Binding Gravel Forest Path

The CEDEC self-binding gravel was mixed with local mud to create the forest path. Photo: Helen Gazeley.

Michelle Brandon, designer of the Forest Will See You Now, one of the gardens in the Global Impact category, also works as a horticultural therapist at Springfield University Hospital, Tooting, so she knows first-hand what huge benefits working with Nature and being in Nature can bring.

The Forest Will See You Now adds another dimension. Contained within a “wrapping” of a packet of pills, it sends the message that Nature herself provides medicine. “In my research,” says Michelle, “I stumbled across phytoncides and started looking into them.” These volatile substances are produced by plants to prevent rotting and attack from pests; it turns out that they’re also good for humans.

Stuart Dainton, Head of Innovation at The Woodland Trust, explains, “They’re helpful for the immune system and reduce stress. It’s now been proven by science.”

Garden Designer Michelle Brandon's The Forest Will See You Now by Landscaping Solutions

Garden designer Michelle Brandon wrapped The Forest Will See You Now in a pill packet to emphasise the message. Photo: Helen Gazeley.

For Landscaping Solutions, the garden was one of the simpler show gardens we’ve been involved with. Michelle had an army of friends, family and RHS volunteers to help and we came in for the elements that needed more landscaping knowledge. As ever it’s the attention to detail that creates the difference between a believable scene and one that doesn’t work its magic.

“I wanted to make a woodland that recognisable to all,” says Michelle, who created a shady forest path between, among other trees, silver birch bordered by natural planting, including shade-loving meadow grass. “I hope it will encourage people to want to go to woodland in their own locality and take ownership and protect it.”

“If we understand the benefits of woodland,” said Stuart, “then we will protect it.”

The Forest Will See You Now, Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

The Forest Will See You Now makes an inviting space where Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival visitors can escape from the sun. Photo: Helen Gazeley.

Playing an important part in the realistic scene is the path which, as visitors to Hampton Court are encouraged to walk through the gardens, has to be up to heavy footfall while prepared for any weather. It’s a careful combination of CEDEC self-binding gravel and local mud, mixed with a few stones to create just the right impression.

The garden towers above its surroundings, and there were nine taller trees that had to be firmly fixed in place. “The initial dig out was very strenuous,” says James, who led the Landscaping Solutions team working on the garden. “Once you’re down thirty centimetres, the ground is very stony, like ballast. When you stick in the shovel you’re not hitting, nice soft soil.”

Landscaping Solutions, RHS Hampton Court Flower Show

A fallen, decaying tree displays its roots, and invites contemplation of the beauty of Nature in The Forest Will See You Now. Photo: Helen Gazeley.

The solution was a digger. We also employed the Platipus Deadman Fixing System, which requires digging down below the depth of the rootball. “We didn’t see other people using it,” says James, “but it’s a professional approach.” The Platipus Deadman is useful for anchoring tall trees, making them safe in windy sites and ensuring they stay upright and creating an aesthetically pleasing finish without the need for staking. In all, nine trees were installed with the anchor system.

This is a garden very different from our previous Hampton Court builds, but no less enjoyable for it. “It’s good fun,” says James. “Tough, with a lot of planning prior, but good fun. And it’s just nice to have your work on display.”

2019 RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival

The Forest Will See You Now at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival is designer Michelle Brandon’s first show garden. Photo: Helen Gazeley.

Designers often say that after a show they declare “never again”, even though they’re lured into the process again the following year. This was Michelle’s first ever show garden, and she’s made of sterner stuff. “It’s hard core,” she says. “A very, very intense experience, but when in the first year you’ve learned so much, with all that knowledge you’re already signed up for the next one.”

We couldn’t agree more. If you’d like the garden that’s perfect for you or, as a designer, would like to discuss how we can work with you on an entry in next year’s shows, contact Ben West to discuss your requirements.

​GETTING THE DETAILS RIGHT IN AN AWARD-WINNING GARDEN DESIGN

There’s what you want from a garden and there’s what it and life impose on you. That’s where garden design and skilful landscaping step in - to marry the two into a something that meets your vision, services your needs and deals with its problems in a satisfactory manner. Oh, and looks good too.

Dining area garden design, Barnes, London.

Timber slatted fencing increased the privacy of the garden while the limited palette of colour, requested by the client, added to the calm elegance.

This garden in Barnes, south-west London, designed by Justin Greer, was built by us in 2012 and, we’re proud to say, garnered a BALI award for Domestic Garden Construction (costing between £30,000 and £60,000).

What were the problems? Well, it shared issues that we see frequently in London gardens. The plot is pretty much triangular, 10 metres wide at the house, narrowing to 2 metres along its 20-metre length. For tools and toys, it needed storage space that didn’t detract from the look of the garden, and it needed a greater sense of privacy from the houses close by.

In addition, drainage of rainwater from the rear extension had to be dealt with and, as happens so often with major garden projects, enormous changes were taking place in the house at the same time, the most major being the digging of a new cellar.

Barnes garden before work on the design commenced.

The triangular shape of the plot was very clear in the garden before its makeover.

These are merely obstacles that we meet frequently in the course of our work, however. Certainly they were nothing to interfere with our mission to remove the dilapidated decking patio and completely replace the existing unstructured and obviously awkwardly shaped garden with an enticing, more formally laid-out space that would indulge the clients’ desire to be outdoors, relaxing, dining and barbecuing with the family.

Creating the garden’s calm, relaxing atmosphere is garden designer Justin Greer’s strongly geometrical layout, with space for entertaining next to the house, a gas barbecue, a play area screened from the main garden and house. The whole has an elegant, timeless feel.

Sawn Yorkstone and reclaimed bricks garden design.

Sawn Yorkstone was used as a traditional paving and, here, benchtop, to complement the reclaimed bricks and old boundary wall.

Part of achieving this feel lies in the materials used. As anyone who’s been in an old London garden knows, the boundaries are usually tall walls, made of weathered London bricks. This was no different, but one of the boundary walls had reached demolition point, so it was replaced before we began work. This provided the ideal opportunity to create coherence in materials by matching design elements to the remaining boundary wall and we recycled the bricks into the raised beds and water feature. This required a fair amount of work in cleaning up the bricks - we also had to bring in some top-ups from the London Reclaim Brick Merchants - but it was worth it for the sense of age and history they add to the design.

Landscaping Solutions precise planting for formal garden design.

Precise planting is absolutely necessary to make a formal garden design work.

Of course, a formal feel is more easily imposed on a regular-shaped plot - think Roman piazzas or Hampton Court’s Privy Garden.

Here, the hardwood screen not only hides the play area and storage shed but squares off the space in a backdrop to the pleached hornbeams, which in combination with box hedging, standard bay trees and Quercus Ilex add the backbone of formal planting. This needs to be placed precisely for the effect to work as planned, otherwise the eye is drawn to the one trunk that’s not quite in line.

Finally, underpinning the design are the foundations that make it work - the sump for the water feature, hidden beneath the polished pebbles, is reinforced to avoid it being damaged when people walk over it; the hard-landscaped areas drain into plant border and through the polished pebbles.

Barnes, London garden design by Landscaping Solutions.

Polished pebbles create contrast with the sawn paving, as well as areas for rain to drain away.

And what about that rainwater draining off the extension? Hidden pipework takes the run-off along the east boundary and into a soak-away beneath the children’s trampoline, which was placed on artificial turf. This was to ensure the soak-away was away from the footings of the old wall, where it could have eventually made it unstable. It took careful planning and installation.

Also demanding a lot of planning, discussion, collaboration and co-operation was the fact that we had to build the deck before the light well was put down into the new cellar. As we explained in The Secret to a BALI Award-Winning Garden Design, communication is key to making sure a project runs smoothly, especially when you’re sharing the space with other contractors.

Landscaping Solutions, Barnes, London garden design.

Strong horizontals slow the eye as you look down the garden, drawing attention away from the narrowing shape.

Thanks to preparation, communication and our team of skilled landscapers, the build was not only completed within the course of two months - August to September 2012 - but also gave us a BALI National Landscape Award Winner in 2013.

If you’re a garden designer and would like to discuss how we can help you with your next project, or if you have a garden would like more information on how we at Landscaping Solutions can help you with its design and landscaping, contact us on 0208 2412402 or email us at info@landscapingsolutionsltd.co.uk.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD GARDEN DESIGN AND LANDSCAPING

Whether you’re planning a complex landscaping project or a simple revamp of your current planting scheme, the careful design and construction of a garden will quickly turn an underused space in to one you can be proud of, resulting in years of enjoyment, enhancing the overall appearance of your property and often adding to its market value.

With this in mind using an experienced and professional Garden Designer is the most effective way of getting the most out of your garden, ensuring you achieve its full potential and create something that will look good for years to come.

At the earliest stage possible, careful consideration should be given to what it is you want to achieve with your garden and the general theme you would like it to follow. Your Designer will then interpret these ideas and create a design that suits your lifestyle and requirements, often exceeding your expectations.

Over the years Landscaping Solutions has provided services for Garden Designers on countless projects, working directly with a number of professional Garden Designers, bringing garden designs to life and forming strong working relationships along the way.

We are strong believers that word of mouth is the best advertisement and as a team, continually strive to provide high quality, competitively priced solutions for both designers and clients. We are quick to turn around clear, detailed costs and specifications and exacting in our execution.

We approach all of our projects with a clear understanding of the pressures associated with restricted access, lack of space, and client relations.

We can help out with site surveys, building details and associated technical difficulties, source and specify bespoke products and services and offer quality maintenance and aftercare services. Our aim is to provide peace of mind to both designer and client that all our work will be completed on time and on budget, resulting in a finished product and service we can all be proud of.

PRO LANDSCAPER: MAY EDITION

Picking up this months edition of Pro Landscaper Magazine, we were delighted to see Landscaping Solutions had made the front cover, with a featured article regarding one of our landscaping projects from April 2014.

Designed by London based Garden Designer Pamela Johnson, the garden itself was at the rear of a recently renovated terraced property in Wandsworth South-West London.

For the installation to begin our team cleared existing paving and planting as well as removing around 25t of banked soil by hand, a challenge but nothing we could not handle.

The brief then required the installation of a pool and dry stream bed, bespoke “tea house” and dining area as well as a new lawn and paved pathways providing access to all the major features.

As always the team worked tirelessly throughout to transform the garden in to a clean and clear functional space that could be used to entertain guests or for some quiet relaxation.

For further information regarding Pro Landscaper Magazine or to read the full article, please visit the link below. www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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