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In countries outside of the UK (think Mediterranean places like Greece, Italy, South France, and Spain) it’s common for families to cook, eat, and drink outside. Since they have the weather for it, it makes sense that these people would dine al fresco almost every night during the summer months. Here in the UK, we’re not as lucky when it comes to sunny weather, but that just makes a summer evening even more special.

If you, like many others, want to take advantage of those warm afternoons and evenings by cooking a delicious meal for your loved ones, then an outdoor kitchen is a great way to go. Since we’ve all found ourselves spending more time at home over the last two years, more and more people are transforming their gardens into multi-purpose spaces. For many homes, the garden is an extension of the house, mirroring the taste level, shapes, lighting, and furniture decoration. So if you need a sign to follow that idea and get the ball rolling on your outdoor kitchen project, this is it!

Read on as we take a look at some reasons an outdoor kitchen could transform your outdoor area entirely.

 

11 Reasons Why You Need an Outdoor Kitchen in Your Garden

Who doesn’t love the idea of having an outdoor kitchen? It’s perfect for almost every homeowner: those who love to craft sumptuous meals with plenty of space, those who love to entertain, and those who simply enjoy the taste of barbecued food. Here are ten great reasons to build an outdoor kitchen in your garden:

 

1. An outdoor cooking area can increase the value of your home. A well-built outdoor kitchen often means that modellers can earn a high rate of return when the time comes to sell. It may seem strange to think about what something so far in the future as selling your home, but it’s always worth considering your plans for the future when considering a big change to your home or garden. A functional outdoor kitchen provides you with something to enjoy now and the security of knowing your investment was worth it in the long run.

outdoor kitchen essex

2. An outdoor kitchen doesn’t take much maintenance these days. Unlike the barbecues of yore, today’s grills and patio appliances are typically stainless steel, which is easy to clean. Stainless steel barbecues also mean you don’t have to worry about them deteriorating as the seasons change. Plus, if you’re cooking in an outdoor kitchen, you’re afforded a more relaxed and laid-back cooking experience. The stakes are lower if you accidentally spill some of your marinade or drop some food on the ground (other than the fact that the dog will have to eat it!). You don’t have to be quite so particular about where the crumbs go or how thoroughly you’ve cleaned the surfaces because, well, you’re outside!

 

3. Building a second kitchen from scratch may sound like a daunting task, but with the right team behind you, it can be a hugely satisfying project. A second kitchen allows for more creativity and individuality. Many people end up with kitchens of a certain design simply because it was that way when they moved in. But if you’re starting from square one, and moving outdoors, you get to be as adventurous as you want. Think double grills, fully stocked cabinets, a weather-proof radio, and an outdoor bar with built-in ice makers. Or a simple and classy patio with a barbecue and picnic set. Whatever you choose, the design is up to you (though professionals will be happy to help if you’re not sure!).

hugely satisfying project

4. It makes healthy eating so much easier. For many of us, the taste of high-salt, high-fat foods are far more delicious than plain boiled vegetables and dry-fried meat. But with an outdoor grill, your food can harness the delicious flavours of BBQ much more often. Grilling foods is one of the easiest ways to impart that quintessentially smokey taste onto your food without complicated cooking techniques or hard-to-source seasonings. Whether you’re a meat-lover and savour the taste of barbecued pork, seared steak, and succulent chicken, or prefer perfectly grilled vegetables, it’s all delicious. Not to mention easy! To keep things healthy and simple, add your favourites to a salad and enjoy!

 

5. It encourages you to stop eating out so much – you can eat out in your garden! Not only does grilling your food make it more delicious, but it also gives you restaurant-quality food without having to leave the comfort of your garden. This is particularly beneficial if you find yourself eating out twice a week, which can add up surprisingly quickly. Even if you only eat at restaurants once a fortnight, you’ll still save huge amounts of money by eating food that’s just as tasty at home. Plus, having more control over your food is great if you have certain dietary requirements that often leave you with limited choices at restaurants.

eat out in your garden

6. Cooking outside keeps smells out of your home. Have you ever been cooking something in the kitchen, thinking it smells delicious, only to leave and re-enter the room to realize that your hair, clothes, and furniture all smell like oil and meat? Certain smells are okay when fresh, but the smell of some cooked foods can linger in the house for days. By grilling and barbecuing outside, you can keep that lovely, clean smell in the home.

 

7. Having two kitchens makes it easier to entertain large groups. If your home has the space for big get-togethers, then why not utilize it to its full potential? If you have lots of friends and family over for a big birthday, the last thing you want is to have one person standing at the hob all afternoon. Having two kitchens means you could have two cooks and double the food at the same speed. This means one of you can pass out burgers and hot dogs to hungry kids while the other can prep, chop, boil, and roast in the indoor kitchen. Alternatively, take everything outside so the person cooking can still be a part of the party!

two kitchens makes it easier

8. An outdoor cookout is a great way to entertain without having to think about running out of space or having too many guests inside. If you love to have the whole family over but can’t bring yourself to leave anyone out of the summer festivities, an outdoor kitchen extends the space you have to offer. With an outdoor kitchen, guests can choose to relax indoors or outdoors, or move between the two! It also means fewer people indoors and less clean-up afterwards!

 

9. Surprisingly, cooking outside is often safer. Even the most experienced, time-efficient chef makes mistakes sometimes. If you’re in a rush to make dinner and make a cooking error, you may end up with rising smoke that travels through the house, setting off the smoke alarm. When you cook outside, this issue is eliminated, leaving you calmer and more able to host your friends and family.

cooking outside is often safer

10. Keep heat out of the house. Unless you’re one of the few with an air-conditioned home in the UK, cooking anything in very hot weather is just no fun – your house is already hot and sticky, and adding the heat from an oven is only going to make that worse. When you have an outdoor kitchen you don’t have to rely on your microwave or ready-to-eat-cold foods, you can sizzle your way to a delicious meal and then sit and enjoy it in the shade.

 

11. With an outdoor kitchen, your home will be set aside from the rest. When your friends and family think about the parties, dinners, and barbecues you host, they’ll remember your food, your perfectly installed equipment; your outdoor kitchen. Your outdoor space will be special, and you’ll have guests begging you to host the next family cookout!

your home will be set aside from the rest

 

What kind of equipment and accessories should I get for my outdoor kitchen?

If you want to go for something extravagant and showy, you could consider things like a pizza oven, a garden-safe blender, outdoor heating, heated chairs or flooring, LED lighting, and a fire pit. However, the basics of an outdoor kitchen should include things like a barbecue or smoker, fridge, wine fridge, prep area or countertops, a sink, and a ceiling fan if it’s undercover. You can choose exactly how fancy or down-to-earth your outdoor kitchen will be.

 

You’ll also want things like outdoor cups, plates, cutlery, tongs, a meat thermometer, skewers, and some cleaning supplies. Remember, this kitchen doesn’t have to be as involved as your indoor kitchen, but there’s no reason you can’t make your life easier by having these things around.

 

As for design accessories, you’ll want to base your choices on the type of atmosphere you’d like to evoke. For example, if you’re going for a stylish and chic outdoor space, think of large glass tables, monochrome throws and pillows, palm trees, and oversized outdoor candles. If you prefer the idea of a cozy and inviting garden, think of wicker side tables, outdoor rugs, cozy outdoor blankets, and soft, plump cushions.

 

Is there anything I should consider before I start on my outdoor kitchen?

Consider things like the size of your grill. If you’re planning to cook for lots of people every other weekend, you’ll need something large, but if you’ll most likely just cook for your family, a smaller grill will do the trick. Size is also important when it comes to choosing a fridge. The same rule as with grills applies: if you’ll be storing large amounts of food, then go for something with a large volume. But if it’s just a couple of friends you’ll usually be cooking for, a mini-fridge will probably do you fine. Consider how far away it is from your kitchen when it comes to fridges – if it’s not far from your kitchen door, popping back in to get something may not be a problem.

 

You may also need some help with the design of your countertops and cabinets. You’ll want to make sure your countertops can withstand the changing weather and function properly without becoming damaged. Stone and wood are generally good options, but make sure you speak to an expert so you don’t make a mistake here.

 

Another big thing to think about is lighting. While the summer evenings are far longer and brighter than those throughout winter, you still want to make sure you can see what you’re doing as you cook.

 

When done properly, an outdoor kitchen can totally transform an entire home. Whether you’re passionate about food and want to take it to the next level or love spending time in your garden, an outdoor kitchen could be your next best idea. Cooking outside gives you the feeling that you’re in an exotic country, enjoying the weather and connecting with nature during the warmer months. Unless you’ve done this before and are extremely confident with home and garden improvement, your best bet might be to call in the professionals.

 

Build an Outdoor Kitchen in Essex

If you live in Essex and are considering making some changes to your garden, patio, or outdoor area, contact SE Landscaping. Our experienced and skilled team takes great pride in regularly transforming dull and unused gardens into beautifully functional outdoor spaces that wow you and all your friends.

 

At SE Landscaping, we specialize in hard landscaping, offering our valued clients a wide range of landscaping services, from artificial lawns and garden design to gravel driveways and decking. So, if you’re ready to have your garden remodelled into something glorious, why not reach out? You can contact us by filling in this form, calling us on 01245­ 697 688, or emailing us today!

 

 

 

While we’re known for having a lot of rain in the UK, we’re also known for our sweet, traditional English gardens, manor houses, and chocolate-box cottages. From the winding, narrow paths and the luscious flower beds to the perfectly trimmed hedges and the fine use of colour, traditional English gardens truly are a wonder to behold.

But they’re no longer reserved for National Trust houses and the homes of those who can afford a gardener! Nowadays, we’re all spending more time at home and more of us are investing the time and money into beautiful gardens.

If you’re looking for ways to create and maintain a traditional garden design, we’re here to help. Read on to learn all about traditional garden design and what to think about when planning your new outdoor space.

 

What is a traditional garden design?

garden design in essex

Back in the day, traditional gardens were all about aesthetics; they often featured water features, mazes, statues, fancy seating areas, and elaborately-shaped plants. All of this sounds great in theory, but gardens like these were difficult to keep up with and often required a whole team of gardeners and groundskeepers to maintain them.

Fortunately these days, you can achieve that same stunning traditional look with a much smaller garden and without spending quite so much money or time on maintenance! Today, our renditions of traditional gardens often involve things like herb and vegetable gardens and built-in fire pits or barbecues. While the pomp and overly-demonstrative elements of traditional gardening have somewhat dissolved for the everyday garden, the aim is still to create an aesthetically pleasing and well-defined outdoor space.

 

Can you have a low-maintenance traditional garden?

Traditional gardens tend to focus on real grass, flowers, and plants, but it’s surprisingly easy to create a low-maintenance garden that mimics the traditional style.

Focus on well-defined spaces with hardscaping to ensure you don’t have to do too much work weeding and pruning. You can use artificial topiary bushes instead of—or in combination with—real ones so you don’t have to learn how to prune your bushes or risk losing their shape if you don’t get around to pruning them for a few weeks in the summer.

Traditional garden lawns are often like a golf green – perfectly smooth and cut at all times. If you’re not planning to spend a few hours a week looking after your lawn for most of the year, consider installing an artificial lawn instead.

Artificial lawns allow you to have that perfectly manicured lawn look year-round and are perfect for the gardens that experience high traffic – that is, children and four-legged friends galloping around on a Sunday afternoon after lunch.

 

What should I consider when I’m planning my traditional garden design?

Planning any renovation can be exciting, but it’s important to make carefully considered choices before you do so. Here are a few important things to think about when you’re planning your traditional garden design:

 

The size of your garden and what you plan to use it for

The size of your garden will dictate your garden design, so get clear about the space you’re working with and what you need to work into your design. Do you need or want to:

Think about how you can fit all your needs into your space. If you have a large garden, you won’t have a problem finding the space, but if you’re working with a smaller garden you’ll need to be smart or make certain areas dual-purpose. (Our Garden Design service can help guide you here.)

Barbecue

 

Decide how much maintenance you’re prepared to do (or pay someone else to do)

Ask yourself how much time you’re willing to spend planting, fertilizing, watering, weeding, and mowing every week. A garden requires upkeep and a traditional garden often more so, so it’s worth asking yourself if you’re happy to do it yourself or outsource.

Some people find gardening relaxing and meditative, while others find it stressful and time-consuming. There’s also a temptation to romanticize it in our heads, getting everything set up beautifully but then failing to keep up maintenance because we don’t really like to spend our time gardening.

Even things like trimming hedges are worth considering if you’re going for a traditional garden design. Box hedges and topiary need regular trimming, so unless you’re confident with a pair of shearers, you’ll want to hire a gardener or opt for something artificial. This will help guide you on your design so you don’t go all-in with elaborate flowerbeds.

Cleaning

 

Choose your hardscape first

This is where you get to flex those creative muscles! Your chosen materials can play a big part in how your garden looks overall. For a sleek and classy look, you could opt for a patio. For something easier to maintain, gravel and stone are great options. If you want to stay true to a traditional garden design avoid decking and stick to stone, but if you have your heart set on a deck, go for it!

The materials you’ll use will also be influenced by your budget, so look into how much each material will cost before you start making decisions. Consider how you want each part of your garden to look, focusing specifically on texture and color.

Traditional gardens typically feature light-colored stones and gravel, either light browns and grey or sand colors.

If you’re unsure about making big design decisions, especially when it comes to landscaping, ask a professional landscaper. They’ll be able to tell you all about the materials you’re considering using, how much they cost on average, how well they’ll age over time, and how easy they are to work with. (Find out more about our garden design service here.)

Lounging Area

 

Set your budget early

We briefly touched on this in the previous two points, but financial planning is so important that it deserves its own point! Budgeting is hardly fun, but neither is realising you’ve spent more than you can afford. While it’s not a huge deal if you go a little over budget, it can be so easy to spend more than this, so plan your approximate budget and then narrow down the finer details as the project progresses.

It goes without saying but hiring a full team to landscape your garden will rack up a higher cost than simply planting some new flowers and tidying up the bushes. Things like paving are fairly easy to estimate and can be a quick task in itself, but the ground preparation costs are trickier and can take some time. Excavating your existing patio, disposing of the waste, adjusting levels and installing a suitable sub-base and drainage tends to be where a large portion of the cost in installing a patio lies. That said, the costs will ensure you get better results than you ever could have achieved on your own.

Don’t forget how quickly the cost of new plants can rack up so make sure you’re aware of how much they cost. A single small rose plant can cost £15-£20, large lavender plants can cost £10-15, and shrubs are often £30-£100. The more established the plants and trees you choose, the more expensive they will be, but, will of course provide immediate impact.

Whether you plan to DIY your garden or leave it to the professionals will have a large impact on your end figure. Trying things out yourself might save some money initially, but in the long run, you may face far more expensive repairs if you can’t do the job properly the first time.

 

Assess your garden furniture

Traditional garden designs are well-known for their seating areas, so think about how your garden furniture will fit into your new space.

If you already own patio furniture, think about how you can work it into your new garden design. For example, rather than getting rid of the current furnishings and buying new ones, you could paint the existing table and chairs. If this isn’t an option, you can add outdoor cushions and tablecloths that match or complement the colours of your garden. For a traditional look, stick to neutrals and pastel colours.

Furniture Design

 

Assess the natural lighting in your garden

The natural sunlight in your garden will affect how you choose to arrange your traditional garden. Traditional English gardens often feature rambling roses, lavender, peonies, wisteria, hydrangeas, and foxgloves. And these stunning flowers need some sunlight to grow!

If you’d like lots of outdoor space but have a north-facing garden, you might want to reconsider having your patio installed right outside your backdoor as you’ll only want to use it when it’s too hot to sit in the sun. To get the most out of your entertaining space, put it where the sun shines, and for a north-facing garden, that’s at the very back of the garden. Similarly, if you have a south-facing garden, think about creating some shade for particularly hot days.

It’s difficult to predict the level of sunlight in your garden throughout the year if you’ve just moved in, but you just need to be a little crafty and think carefully about where your garden is located.

traditional garden design

 

Garden lighting

Now that you’ve mulled over the amount of sunlight your garden receives throughout the year, it’s time to think about a different kind of lighting. Garden lighting is not only practical, but it can also make your garden a more usable and welcoming space throughout the year – even when you’re only looking at the lights outside the window in the depths of winter.

For traditional gardens, think of simple lanterns and floor lights, though you can use fairy lights for a more whimsical look.

 

Focus on balance

Balance, colour, and cohesion are all important, regardless of the type of garden you’re designing, but even more so for a traditional garden design.

You’ll need to balance angular shapes (neat squares and rectangles) with softer shapes, which is usually brought into the garden with soft, natural flowering plants. Symmetry is common in traditional gardens, so you can often lean on that if you aren’t sure how to divide your garden.

Traditional gardens usually stick to natural colours for their flowers and plants, so look to shades of white, purple, pink, red, yellow, and light blues. Avoid anything that looks too manufactured.

traditional garden design essex

 

When it comes to designing a garden from scratch, there’s certainly a lot to think about, but it needn’t be overwhelming or stressful. It can be an extremely enjoyable process, especially if you’ve planned ahead. Of course, it always helps to call on a professional…

 

Need some help with your garden?

If you live in Essex and are having trouble deciding what to do with your garden, SE Landscapes is here to help. We’ll listen to your needs and help you create your ideal garden within your budget and as little time as possible. Whether you’re looking for a patio, decking, a gravel driveway, or an artificial lawn, SE Landscaping can help you out. Click here to learn more about our full range of services.

 

 

 

Your garden should be an extension of your home, but all too often, it’s a sad, drab jungle that causes you to sigh whenever you look out the window. We all love taking a walk around the incredible historic gardens we’re so lucky to have here in the UK, but they’re simply not something we want to maintain at home – even if they’re a tenth of the size!

If you’re ready to transform your garden into something you can’t wait to use but needs little in the way of maintenance, then a contemporary garden design is what you need. Read on to learn all about contemporary garden design and how you can create one at home.

 

What is Contemporary Garden Design?

Contemporary garden design is sleek and modern, leaning into our current love affair with sleek lines and ingenious design. Contemporary garden design doesn’t always mean it’s minimalist, but it does use clearly defined areas and shapes. Contemporary garden design leans into the use of hardscape mixed with carefully chosen greenery, often with raised beds to keep weeds to a minimum. Typically paving takes the centre stage, though a mix of different hardscape elements can elevate a contemporary garden design to the next level.

A lawn isn’t always used, but if it is, it’s neat and bordered by pathing or raised beds. Many choose to opt for artificial grass for their lawn because it’s so much easier to care for, and of course, it adds to the neat-and-tidy look of the contemporary garden.

The main aim of a contemporary garden design is to extend the living space. Think of the big, bi-folding doors that have become so popular in modern builds and extensions, that completely remove the separation between kitchen and garden. Contemporary gardens often incorporate multiple seating areas to give you different options and areas to use. The good news is you don’t need to have an ultra-modern home to gain all the benefits of a contemporary garden.

 

What should I consider when planning a contemporary garden design?

To achieve your dream contemporary garden design you need to consider:

 

1. How much space you’re working with and what you want it to do

First, consider how much space you’re working with and what you want your garden to do. Consider if…

Once you’re realistic about what you need your garden to do and how much room you have to play with, you can start getting into the nitty-gritty of planning your ideal contemporary garden.

The answers to these questions will guide you in how much space you should allocate for lawns, patios, decks, and flower beds or raised vegetable gardens. It may be that you envisage your garden to be primarily a place to entertain your friends and family with space for a wood chip grill or a pizza oven. If you expect lots of youngsters or four-legged friends to use it, then you need to consider making grass a priority.

On the other hand, if flowers and vegetables are your thing, then you’ll need to consider which part of your garden will offer the best growing conditions in terms of sunlight.

Be honest with yourself and this part of the design process should be relatively easy. Don’t have vast flower beds if you are not prepared to employ a gardener or put in hours of work yourself, but don’t put it all down to paving if you want to indulge the Alan Titchmarsh part of your personality from time to time.

How much space

2.    Map the Natural Light

How sunlight naturally lights your garden will have a serious impact on where you place your desired spaces in your contemporary garden design. For example, if you want plenty of space to entertain and relax on sunny days, but have a north-facing garden, then putting that patio directly outside the backdoor will mean you only want to use it when it’s over 28C outside. To get the most out of your entertaining space, put it where the sun shines, and for a north-facing garden, that’s at the very back of the garden.

For south-facing gardens, especially those that are relatively sheltered, think about those hot days. Is there any shade for you to get out of the sun for a while? If not, that’s something you need to consider.

You can’t control whether the sun comes out or stays behind clouds, but what you put in your garden will affect what the natural light does. Trees, pergolas, and outbuildings will all alter the way sunlight falls on your garden. You can work this to your advantage, but not if you don’t pause to think about it.

Natural Light

3.    Artificial Lighting (& Heating)

Most people want to increase the use of their gardens and this is where artificial lighting (and heating!) comes to the fore. Technology, particularly the use of LEDs and solar panels, means that the options available for lighting your garden after dark are enormous. Don’t ignore your neighbours though, they might not be quite so keen on floodlighting as you are!

Artificial Lighting

4.    How Much Maintenance You’re Prepared to Do (or Pay For)

This is a biggie and another area that requires honesty. How much time are you actually prepared to spend weeding, mowing lawns, planting, deadheading, and watering? Some plants need effort and lots of it, and grass needs cutting at least once every week from early Spring through to late Autumn, not to mention treatment with moss and weed control. For some, looking after their garden is a big part of the enjoyment, while others prefer to pay someone else to keep the garden looking at its best.

There are planting schemes you can choose that, together with a weed-suppressing membrane, will minimize the work required to keep your plants in tip-top shape. There are also artificial plants available that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing and require no looking after.

If you must have real grass but don’t want the bother of cutting it then you can buy robot lawn cutters that will do the job for you and are almost silent as well (though they don’t come cheap, leave an uncut edge around objects, and are best for small lawns, so do your research!). Or what about laying an artificial lawn? They look just like the real thing and stay in peak condition all year round with no care required.

Be realistic here – if you know you like the idea of gardening more than you actually like doing it, then just give yourself a few raised beds to play with and use pots and troughs for additional greenery. If you need to, you can always put more raised beds in later, but taking them out is a much bigger and more complicated affair.

Maintenance You Prepared

5.    What Materials Do You Want to Use?

This is one of the fun parts of contemporary garden design but can be bewildering. There are just so many options available to the garden designer: concrete, porcelain, natural stone, gravel, decking, you name it! A quick Google will show you just how many choices are out there. Take your time, what you settle on will have a major impact on the look of your garden.

Look around you, make a Pinterest board, and look at the general costs involved. If you plan to work with professionals to bring your vision to life, have a good idea of how you want each element to look in colour and texture, but be open to suggestions on the actual materials you use. In most cases, they’ll have more experience with the materials, how they are to work with, and most importantly, how they age.

The way you work with plants is also vital. What plants you choose and where you put them can’t be left to chance. Soil, climate, and light all impact your choices but so does the architectural impact of the plants, the colour, and the scent. This is another area of garden design where bringing in the help of an expert may be the best option. A professional will be able to suggest planting not only based on the environment and micro-climate of your garden but more importantly, how much work you’re going to have to do to maintain them.

What Materials Do You Want to Use

6.    How Much of Your Garden Design Are You Prepared to DIY?

Do not underestimate the work required to bring your vision into being. Hard landscaping is exactly that – hard! While some relish the idea of hiring a digger and getting stuck in, most will baulk at the idea of spending days or weeks shovelling soil and rock, and living with a constant building site. If you’ve ever embarked on a big renovation on your own (like replacing the floor or even your kitchen), you’ll know the feeling of the moment you wonder if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

As with any other area of your property, don’t DIY something unless you’re confident you can see the job through to completion.  Like the foundations of a house, ground preparations are key to the perfect patio. Get that wrong and you are looking at a paving disaster.

Outdoor Spa

7.    Your Budget

Depending on how money-minded you are, this may be the first thing you think about when you start planning your contemporary garden design, or you may have a partner who will look at your design and ask, “just how much is this all going to cost?”

Yes, considering the budget is boring! But no one has unlimited amounts of cash to spend on a garden makeover and if you don’t consider budget before starting, you’ll inevitably end up spending more than you’d like. You need to sit down, see what you can afford, and cut your cloth accordingly. (And then stick to your budget!)

Working out the cost of materials is pretty easy but the cost of ground preparation? In garden design, it is often the unseen elements that cost the most and certainly the thing most likely to be underestimated. Don’t make that mistake. Laying a patio is a fairly fast operation but preparing the ground is not. The work required to takes time and skill and that doesn’t come for free. Ground prep will likely cost more than the actual finishing surface.

If you are going to attempt going down the DIY route just make sure you know what is involved and don’t skimp. Be prepared for some pretty hard work and a considerable number of hours.

Don’t underestimate the price of plants either. You might not want to wait years before your planting looks the way you imagined it when going through the design process. This may mean going for larger, more mature specimens but they do of course cost more. You also need to get your plants from reliable and respected suppliers if you don’t want to face disappointment.

The best thing to do is read our article on budgeting here, plan your ideal contemporary garden design (or brainstorm some ideas), and then talk to the experts to get quotes so you can rework your ideas to best suit your budget, if necessary.

Budget Garden Design

 

Need a guiding hand?

Designing and creating your dream contemporary garden is quite a project! There are so many variables involved and so many wrong paths you can go down. This is why it may be better to work with a professional design service that can streamline the whole process and get you the garden you want within the budget you can afford in as short a time scale as possible.

If you’re in Essex, our Garden Design service is your best next step. We’ll work with you to create your ideal contemporary garden. One that will add value to your property and give you a garden you can enjoy year-round, providing you with all the entertaining, gardening, or play spaces you need. To learn more about our Garden Design service, click here.

 

How to Choose the Best Artificial Grass for Your Garden Lawn

 

When choosing the best artificial grass for your garden lawn, the first thing to do is to get hold of some samples.

Of course, aesthetic appeal is important but when choosing the best artificial grass, you need to judge each grass on more than just looks.

There is a wide variety of pile heights, backing types, fibre shapes and materials which play their role and give each grass its strengths and its weaknesses.

artificial grass type 3 artificial grass type 2 artificial grass type 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because of this, not every artificial grass is best suited for every application or purpose.

In this latest article we’re going to be looking at some of the other aspects besides aesthetics, that you should be looking at to choose the best artificial grass to suit your needs.

 

 

Is it for a front or back garden?

 

Artificial-Grass-Installation-in-Essex

Back gardens are likely to receive much heavier use than a front garden.

When choosing the best artificial grass, you’ll need to take this into consideration.

For front garden ornamental lawns, there’s little point in choosing the hardest wearing or densest pile, so you would be best off choosing a product with a shorter, sparser pile.

When choosing for a back garden on the other hand, you’ll want to look for a dense pile that can withstand regular use.

 

 

How much usage will your lawn receive?

 

Some artificial lawns will receive frequent use from the entire family and their pets while others may only be purely for decorative or ornamental purposes.

Clearly, as is the case with front gardens, you won’t need to choose such a hard wearing or dense pile fake turf if your lawn will be rarely used.

If, on the other hand, your lawn will receive regular foot traffic, then we highly recommend choosing a grass manufactured using Nylon fibres. This is because Nylon is the strongest, most resilient artificial fibre used during synthetic grass manufacturing.

It will withstand even the heaviest use and the fibres will recover from foot traffic and garden furniture to return to an upright position – which is key for a natural looking fake lawn.

 

 

How good is the backing?

 

When choosing a long lasting artificial grass, its important to look closely at the backing.

Most artificial grasses are manufactured by combining a primary backing consisting of a woven or non-woven membrane with a secondary backing typically consisting of latex.

The fibres are stitched to the primary backing and then everything is held together by applying a coating of latex to form the secondary layer.

It’s extremely important to choose a turf that has high levels of latex present in its backing material.

latex backing artificial grass essex

Inferior artificial grass tends to have low quantities, which can result in the primary and secondary layers becoming separated and/or excessive fibre loss.

We recommend that you choose a backing that has a minimum of 800grams of latex per square metre.

 

 

Do you have any dogs or pets?

 

If you’re a dog or pet owner, then you’ll want to choose a grass that will withstand the regular use that is likely to be inflicted upon it.

Again, we highly recommend you choose a Nylon artificial grass for dogs and pets.

When choosing a Nylon based artificial turf, the pile height doesn’t really matter so just chosen what you think looks best.

If, however, you opt for a Polyethylene or Polypropylene fibre material, then you may be best off with shorter pile height, something around 25mm as it will be harder wearing.

Rest assured though, if you choose a good quality artificial grass, it will not fade or discolour from urine or excrement.

 

 

Is your chosen artificial turf fire resistant?

fire resistant artificial turf

Its also very important to choose a fake grass that is fire resistant, so that should the worst happen, you can rest assured that your fake grass will not help a fire to spread.

Most artificial grasses are fire resistant, but not all of them. You should check by speaking with the manufacturer of your chosen turf.

 

 

Is your chosen artificial grass free from harmful substances?

 

For the safety of your family and pets, always chose an artificial grass that has been independently tested and certified against harmful substances to ensure there aren’t any dangerous substances present in your chosen artificial turf.

Unfortunately, in the past, some artificial grass manufactured in China, was found to have contained traces of lead.

Again, check with your manufacturer for evidence of this.

 

 

How long is the manufacturer’s warranty?

 

Warranties can range from anything from 3 years up to 10 years. It’s very important to check exactly what is covered by your warranty, as some aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

A good warranty should cover against colour fading and excessive yarn loss as minimum throughout the duration of the warranty.

 

 

Conclusion

 

You should have now realised that there is more to choosing artificial grass than just judging it on looks alone.

As a NeoGrass Approved Installer, the artificial grass we install is fire resistant, free from harmful substances and comes with warranties of up to 10 years.

We install a wide range of differing types of artificial grass that can suit any application from roof gardens to back-garden lawns, school playgrounds to swimming pool surrounds.

If you considering having artificial grass installed at your Essex property, why not give us call?

We cover the majority of the county including Chelmsford, Brentwood, Wickford, Southend, Rayleigh, South Woodham Ferrers, Billericay, Romford and Basildon.

We can visit your property, show you samples of artificial grass and advise you on the best products to suit your needs.

To arrange for your free site and written quotation at a time that suits you, complete our contact form or call us 01245 697 688.

If you have any questions about choosing the best artificial grass, then leave us a comment below as we would love to hear from you.

 

 

How Much Does Artificial Grass Installation in Essex Cost?

 

Artificial-Grass-Installation-in-Essex

We’ve been installing artificial grass in Essex for many years now.

As the quality of fake grass has increased to point now where its very difficult to tell the difference between real and fake, its popularity has gone through the roof.

Although it’s not for everyone, there are a wide range of applications and situations were the numerous benefits of artificial grass, makes having it installed a complete no-brainer.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that one of the most commonly asked questions we get here at SE Landscapes, is how much does it cost to have an artificial lawn installed?

Unfortunately, though, answering this question is almost like trying to answer how long is a piece of string?

The simple answer is: it depends!

But of course, we understand that if you or none of your friends or family have ever had artificial grass installed before then how are you to know how much it is likely to cost?

Unfortunately, the only way we can give you an accurate quote is for us to conduct a free site survey.

However, you might not quite be at that stage of the process just yet which is completely fine.

So, we have written this article to help you get an idea of the costs involved.

As each installation is unique, we face different challenges on each job, therefore meaning that we cannot charge a fixed price per square metre.

But what exactly are these variables and how do they affect cost? Well, let’s find out…

 

 

What Type of Artificial Grass Are We Installing?

 

One of the biggest costs involved with installing artificial grass depends upon which grass you choose.

These days, artificial grass comes in various shades of green (you can also get blue, red, pink, in fact almost any colour you can think of!), various pile heights, pile density’s and the fibres can be manufactured from various differing types of plastic.

artificial grass type 1artificial grass type 2artificial grass type 3artificial grass type 4

Of course, these different characteristics, have a bearing on how much your artificial grass will cost.

As a NeoGrass Approved Installer, we highly recommend that you chose a product from their range of artificial grass.

But of course, we can install artificial grass from any manufacturer as the installation process is the same regardless.

To give you an idea of how much your artificial grass may cost, you can find out prices of the NeoGrass range of products here.

 

 

Will There Be Any Wastage?

 

Artificial grass comes in 2m and 4m widths as standard. Lengths can be anything up to 25m.

artificial grass rolls

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t be paying for any additional wastage.

In reality, I’d estimate that approximately 75% of our artificial grass installations involve a certain amount of wastage. How much wastage really depends upon your own circumstances.

Wherever possible, we always look for ways to reduce the amount of wastage.

For example, if your existing lawn measures 4.2m x 4.2m, the only way to cover this area would be to use 1 roll of 4m x 4.2m and further roll of 2m x 4.2m. But in this example, you’d be looking at over 7.5m2 of left over artificial grass. Far from ideal.

Of course, there are lots of useful things you can do with leftovers though, such as creating door mats, covering shed roofs or even the floor of your shed. But ideally, you’ll want to minimise wastage in order for your installation to be as cost effective as possible.

So, in this situation, the best course of action would be to try to reduce either the length or width of your lawn to 4m. This can be done in a variety of ways and sometimes it’s as simple as increasing an existing plant bed by just 0.2m.

But, depending on the layout of your garden, it’s not always possible to do this.

When pricing an artificial lawn installation, we’ll work out exactly how much artificial grass you’ll need and help you to reduce wastage. How much wastage you’ll end up with of course has a significant impact on the quotation.

 

 

How Good Is Access?

 

When installing your artificial lawn, we’ll need to excavate and dispose of the existing lawn, bring aggregates into your garden to form the sub base and laying course and finally carry in the rolls of fake turf.

Of course, the better we can access your garden, the quicker we can complete the installation, and the less labour cost you’d be faced with.

Best case, access wise, is a front garden or a back garden, that backs onto a road, where we can crane materials in and out of your garden to speed up the process.

Our delivery trucks are equipped with Hiab cranes that will comfortably crane materials over the majority of garden fence and walls, if the vehicle can get close enough.

terrace house

Worse case, would be a terraced house with no side or rear access to the back garden.

If this is the situation you find yourself in, rest assured the installation can still be carried out.

In this instance, we would put down protective sheets and boards to protect your flooring, but of course, it would increase the installation time.

How quickly we can complete the installation as a big impact on the cost.

 

 

What is Your Artificial Grass Replacing?

 

It is sometimes possible to install artificial grass on top of existing surfaces such as concrete, paving or even decking.

If this is the case, these types of installation are generally cheaper to carry out than replacing existing lawns.

That’s because there is minimal ground preparation involved.

Normally under these circumstances, we’d need to install a foam underlay to prevent any undulations from being visible through your artificial grass, such as the grooves of deck boards, but the cost of this is usually outweighed by the labour savings.

Therefore, the surface to which your artificial grass will be installed on, has a significant bearing on cost.

 

 

Will You Be Requiring a Foam Underlay?

 

Whilst on the subject of foam underlays, some of our clients decide that they want their artificial lawn to be soft and springy underfoot.

If this is the case, we highly recommend installing a form underlay.

foam underlay

Walking on a foam underlay will feel like walking on air and its also great for kids too as it will help to prevent injuries from trips or falls, especially if there are climbing frames or slides that your children could potentially fall from.

In some school applications, installing a foam underlay will ensure the artificial grass complies with the Head Impact Criteria.

Installing a foam underlay is certainly not essential in garden applications but of course, should you decide to use one, then it will impact the cost of the installation.

 

 

How Much Will We Need to Excavate from Your Garden?

 

With a typical installation, we excavate a minimum of 75mm below the finished height of your lawn.

In some instances, this may mean simply removing the existing turf and building up 75mm from there, as long as the levels in your garden allow it.

Other installations may require digging out more than 75mm and may even involve the use of a mini excavator to dig out the required earth.

A continually rising cost we face as landscapers, is waste disposal and of course, the more waste we have remove from your garden, the greater the cost in terms of labour and associated waste disposal costs.

 

 

Will There Be Any Joins?

 

Its is quite normal for your lawn to require more than one roll of artificial grass to cover the required area.

Joins aren’t an issue as a properly installed join will not weaken the strength of your lawn, won’t be lifted by dogs and won’t be visible.

Artificial Grass Grays in Essex - After 2

But if you do need joins, of course it also has an impact on price.

There will be additional labour costs, as joins take time to install and of course there’s additional material costs as you’ll need joining tape and adhesive to secure the join.

 

 

What is A Ballpark Figure?

 

Ok so now you know that the cost of having artificial grass installed can vary depending upon your own individual circumstances.

But to give you an idea on costs, lets look at an average artificial grass installation.

Let’s assume that it’s a back-garden lawn measuring 4m x 6m.

Access is via a standard size side gate and we are using the typical installation process and we are excavating 75mm from an existing lawn.

We’re also installing a mid-range, 30mm artificial grass.

For this particular installation, a rough estimate for the entire installation from start to finish may cost somewhere around £2,000, including VAT at 20% and waste disposal.

Of course, this figure is only a very rough estimate and the only way to give you an accurate price would be for us to conduct a site visit.

But it should give you an idea and help those of you considering having a fake lawn installed.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Artificial Turf in Great Leighs

If you are still at the early stages of considering whether or not to have artificial grass installed, then we hope you’ve found this article useful in helping you understand some of the costs involved and given you a rough guide figure to work with.

As we have mentioned several times in this article, the only way to get an accurate quotation is for us to visit your property and conduct a free site visit.

We cover the whole of Essex including Chelmsford, Wickford, Basildon, Brentwood, Romford, Braintree and Billericay.

So, if you live in any of these areas call us today on 01245 697 688 or contact us here and we’ll arrange for your free site visit and written quotation at a time that is convenient for you.

We’ll talk you through the installation process and show you samples and provide you with a no obligation quotation, so why not call us today?

If you have any questions, as always leave them below, we’d be glad to help!

 

 

 

10 Reasons to Install an Artificial Lawn in Essex

 

The popularity of artificial grass has grown a phenomenal rate over the past few years.

We regularly install artificial grass across Essex for various applications such as front and back gardens, school playgrounds, putting greens and sports applications.

There are many benefits of artificial grass that has led to the huge increase in the number of homeowners deciding to have fake grass installed at their properties in Essex.

In todays article we are going to be looking at some of these benefits in greater detail.

 

 

1.No Mud or Mess

 

artificial grass - No mud or mess

This is particularly good benefit if you have children and/or pets.

For a large part of the year, many lawns throughout Essex are boggy and unusable.

This means that kids cannot play outside apart from during the summer months, even if the temperature is high enough to.

If you are a pet owner, you’ll know that dogs need to regularly go out into the garden to do their ‘business’ but this can be frustrating for many homeowners who have to clean the paws of their furry friends several times a day to avoid mud being trodden through the house.

With artificial grass, there is no mud or mess, enabling your whole family and your pets to enjoy your garden all year round.

 

 

2.It’s Low Maintenance

 

Anyone that tells you fake grass requires ‘zero maintenance’ isn’t being entirely honest with you.

Fortunately, however, the little maintenance that artificial grass does require, takes a fraction of the time it takes to maintain a real lawn.

This will save you many hours of garden chores that you might otherwise dread – giving you more opportunities to enjoy doing the things you really want to be doing with the precious little time that you have on your hands.

Artificial grass does require the occasional brushing with a stiff broom to reinvigorate the fibres and you may occasionally find a weed appearing at the edges of your lawn.

When artificial grass is installed, there should be a weed membrane placed underneath to prevent weed growth. However, this will only prevent weeds from growing through your artificial lawn but won’t remove the possibility of weeds growing up the edges of your fake grass, by working their way around the weed membrane.

 

 

3.No More Harmful Substances in Your Garden

 

fake grass - no toxic chemicals

Maintaining a healthy, real grass lawn can require the help of fertilisers, weed killers and pesticides.

However, these substances can be potentially harmful to both your family and your pets.

Another major advantage of artificial grass is that you can bin these harmful toxins, as you won’t need them anymore.

This creates a far safer environment for your family.

 

 

4.It’s Great for Entertaining & Garden Parties

 

artificial lawn - bbq

BBQ’s and garden parties are a very popular undertaking during the summer months up and down the UK.

However, the additional foot traffic can cause your real lawn problems, resulting in patchy, worn out turf.

Artificial grass is designed to withstand foot traffic and garden furniture, so you can have that party without worrying about the damage it could be causing to your lawn.

 

 

5.It’s Perfect for Children

 

Children absolutely love playing on artificial grass because they can run up and down on it all day long and it feels great underfoot.

Parents will love it too as they can relax safe in the knowledge that their artificial lawn will be able to withstand children playing various games and sports without any issues.

For the young footballers, its year-round, lush green nature will have your kids thinking they are playing on the hallowed turf at Wembley!

As we touched on earlier in this article, there’s no chance of them running through the house covered in mud either – a welcome relief for any parent!

 

 

6.It’s Allergen Free

 

artificial grass prevents hay fever

Many adults and children suffer from hay fever during spring and summer.

Streaming eyes, running noses and relentless sneezing are all side effects of hay fever, which can be caused by exposure to grass pollen.

Another advantage of having fake grass installed in your Essex garden is that it can help to reduce the symptoms of the sometimes-debilitating condition.

Swapping your real lawn for an artificial one will remove the grass from your garden, making it a little easier for hay fever sufferers to spend time outside in the garden during the spring and summer months.

 

 

7.It’s Provides a Safe Environment

 

During summer, real grass can bake in the sun, sometimes making the ground very hard.

However, artificial grass has a soft underfoot feel and can help to absorb the impact of falls and trips.

If you have a climbing frame or trampoline in your garden, you may also want to consider installing a foam underlay.

artificial grass foam underlay

Artificial Grass Foam Underlay

Foam shockpads usually come in either 10mm or 20mm thicknesses and comply with Head Impact Criteria, which is the industry standard recognised worldwide.

For a safe environment for the whole family, choose to have a fake lawn installed.

 

 

8.It’s Improves Drainage

 

Many gardens throughout Essex suffer from poor drainage.

This is often due to the heavy clay content found in Essex soil.

This may mean that for large parts of the year your lawn replicates a swamp rather than a perfectly manicured lawn.

However, we install our artificial grass on a permeable sub base that is a minimum of 75mm (3 inches) thick.

This sub base effectively acts as a soakaway, retaining water to allow it to gradually drain away to the earth below without any standing water on your artificial lawn.

 

 

9.Lush Green Appearance

 

Lush green grass will improve the look of any garden; large or small.

With todays advancing technology, its now difficult to tell the difference between real and fake grass.

Our artificial grass is supplied by NeoGrass and their innovative technologies has taken artificial grass to the next level.

Choosing to have artificial grass installed at your Essex home will ensure your lawn will look like a perfectly manicured, prize winning lawn all year round.

 

 

10.It Adds Value to Your Property

 

Having a low maintenance, attractive looking lawn is a huge selling point for many home buyers.

Lush green artificial grass can certainly give your garden the wow factor.

With todays busy lifestyles, many of us lack the time (and sometimes inclination) to maintain our gardens.

Of course, this is entirely understandable as a garden should be a place to relax and enjoy; not just another place of work.

And with the many advantages described in this article, its quite clear that artificial grass will certainly help sell any property.

The increase in your home’s value, makes having artificial grass installed an excellent financial investment.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Artificial grass in Wickford (after)

With a list of benefits this long, its easy to realise why artificial grass has become so popular amongst our customers throughout Essex.

If this has peaked your interest in the possibility of having artificial grass installed, then why not get in touch with us here or by calling our friendly team on 01245 697 688.

We are based in South Woodham Ferrers and cover the vast majority of Essex and our artificial grass installation service covers Chelmsford, Billericay, Brentwood, Wickford, Basildon, Romford, Witham and Colchester.

We can visit your property to show you samples, discuss your project and provide you with a free, no obligation written quotation.

If you have any questions regarding artificial grass, then please leave us a comment below.

 

 

How to Install Artificial Grass In Essex

 

Artificial grass has grown in popularity throughout Essex and the rest of the UK at rapidly increasing rate.

With today’s technology, artificial grass has come along way since the stuff you used to see covering the shelves at your local greengrocers.

Its now very difficult to tell the difference between real and fake grass.

There’s also a long list of benefits that having an artificial lawn brings. Its low maintenance, it looks amazing, there’s no mud or mess and its perfect for garden parties, football matches and your furry friend.

But how exactly is artificial grass installed?

A quick Google search will tell you that there are several different methods that can be used to install artificial grass.

The vast majority of our fake grass installations in Essex tend to be replacing an existing garden lawn.

However, artificial grass can also be installed in other applications such as on top of existing concrete or decking, on balconies and terraces and believe it or not, indoor applications such as in offices and children’s bedrooms.

Clearly there will be different installation methods used for each application.

Many people are surprised to learn just how much ground preparation is involved with installing artificial grass. Unfortunately it is not just a case of rolling it out on top of existing turf or soil.

The key to a long lasting artificial lawn is largely down to the installation. You can have the very best artificial turf that money can buy but if the installation is not carried out properly  – you are wasting your money.

We now have several years experience in installing artificial grass for a wide range of applications and uses.

In this article we’re going to look at the step-by-step process we undertake when installing an artificial lawn to replace an existing, real garden lawn.

This method has been perfected over several years.

Lets begin with a picture of how the existing lawn looked before work commenced.

How to install fake grass

As you can see, it’s certainly nice and green but our client became tired of having to regularly mow the lawn so decided to take the plunge and have her very own synthetic lawn installed.

So lets take a look at the step-by-step process we took to install this artificial lawn from start to finish.

 

 

Step 1 – Site Clearance & Excavation

 

How to Install Artificial Grass In Essex

The first task is to clear the site and excavate the existing grass to approximately 75mm below the finished height. As this lawn was 50m2, approximately 3.75m3 of soil and turf was removed from the site during this phase.

To get this step done as efficiently as possible, we use a turf cutter that cuts the existing sod in to easy to remove rolls.

 

 

 

Step 2 – Edging & Sub Base Installation

 

How to Install Fake Grass In Essex

Once the excavations were complete, the next phase was to install the first layer of weed membrane followed by a 50mm layer comprising of 10-12 granite chippings.

We generally prefer to use granite chippings over MOT Type 1 as it’s a completely permeable sub base preventing any water sitting on the surface of the finished lawn.

At this stage we also install an edging to retain the sub bases. In this instance a treated timber edge restraint was installed, but brick, sleepers, plastic or metal edging can also be used as an edging.

 

 

 

Step 3 – Laying Course Installation

 

How to Install Synthetic Grass In Essex

Next we install a 25mm laying course, consisting of 0-6mm granite dust (Grano). Granite Dust provides a far better laying course than sharp sand does.

This is because sharp sand tends to move around underfoot and will wash away over time.

As granite is much coarser, it holds together much better, ensuring the longevity of the grass and also provides a much better finished, without any lumps or bumps

 

 

 

Step 4 – Additional Weed Membrane

 

How to Install FakeTurf In Essex

The next step is to install a further weed membrane.

Although we installed a weed membrane underneath the sub base, we also install another layer on top of the laying course.

This is for two reasons, firstly as an additional protection from weeds and secondly as it helps to protect the latex backing on the artificial grass from any possible damage over time caused by friction between the granite dust and the latex backing.

 

 

 

Step 5 – Cutting in Artificial Grass

 

Once the groundworks are complete, we can then cut the grass to shape, secure any joints if necessary and secure the lawn perimeter.

In this instance, galvanised nails were fixed into the timber edging.

The grass is then brushed with a mechanical brush and handed over to the customer ready for them to enjoy.

This particular project took us two days to complete.

Hopefully you’ve found this article useful in learning how to install artificial grass and if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below as we would love to hear from you.

 

What you should do now

 

If you are tired of owning a dull, patchy lawn and you would like us to transform your existing grass into a low maintenance, lush green artificial lawn then give us a call on 01245 697 688 or fill out this form and we’ll gladly arrange a free site visit and show you some samples supplied by our preferred supplier NeoGrass.

We install artificial grass throughout Essex, including Chelmsford, Wickford, Basildon, Brentwood, Southend and Rayleigh, so why not get in contact with us today.

 

 

 

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