Your garden isn’t just an area outside your home; used right, it’s an extension of your home. Your garden should be an area for relaxation and entertaining, that adds comfort and value to your home. If you decide your garden needs a makeover, you can relax knowing that it will be money well spent, but how do you figure out how much it’s going to cost you, and how much you should spend?
If you have ever bought carpeting you will know that the cost of the Wilton or Axminster is not the whole story, far from it. Good carpeting needs good quality underlay, gripper track and careful fitting by skilled fitters. None of that is cheap. It is the same with gardens.
What lies beneath your paving, decking, and other areas and the preparation required is where a large portion of your budget will go. If you want your grass to grow or your artificial lawn, patio, driveway, or decking to drain well and look as good as when it is first laid for years to come, then you need to ensure the groundworks are correctly undertaken.
Whatever you spend on the surface is usually about a third of the overall cost. Think about what is involved in building the perfect patio.
The first step in any new patio project is to install an adequate sub-base. This will involve excavating the existing surface. The excavations will then need to be disposed of in an appropriate manner. Often vai skip or grab lorry.
Then a new sub-base typically consisting of 100-150m of MOT Type 1, on top of a layer of weed membrane will need to be installed. The sub-base is a crucial part of the longevity of any patio or paved surface.
Without this preparation, your project is likely doomed to fail. You can’t build castles on sand and you can’t build a patio without putting in the time and effort.
So don’t underestimate the cost of groundworks and installation and remember to factor in things like earth removal. You may be surprised how much earth needs to be disposed of from even the average-sized garden if a serious remodelling takes place.
Groundworks are the literal foundation of your garden providing a suitable platform for the gloss of hard and soft landscaping. It might not be visible when the garden is finished, but this foundation is vital for the long-lasting success of the project and well worth spending the money on to get it right.
It might not be fun to think about, but you’ll be glad you spent the money when your neighbour’s garden turns into a puddle after heavy rain, and yours doesn’t!
The surface is the easy part to budget for, though there are lots of alternatives to consider. Take your time before you get quotes to browse online, think about what you want your garden to look like, and the approximate cost of each option. Ideally, have a few different looks or finishes in mind so you can be open to the expert advice of your landscaping company. We also highly recommend visiting local landscaping and builders merchants to actually view the vast array of materials available in the flesh. Pictures are all well and good but they don’t always give a true reflection of the materials appearance. We’re also able to supply samples of most materials that you can actually take home to help you visualise how they might look in your garden setting.
Unless you’re incredibly green-fingered and know that your garden makeover will largely be focused on flower beds and shrubs, make sure you prioritise a low maintenance garden as you budget. If you want to include flower beds, consider raised flowerbeds made with railway sleepers, and consider using an artificial lawn instead of turf. This will make your life far easier in the long run, and low maintenance gardens are what the majority of homebuyers are looking for so you’ll also increase the value of your home if you decide to sell.
An estimate on the back of an envelope after a cursory look around your garden is not good enough for a final quote. The one thing you can guarantee about an estimate like that is that it is likely to be under the final cost, so make sure you have a buffer in the bank to allow for this. That said, an experienced company will be able to give you an accurate and honest quote and keep you in the loop as the project progresses. Use your quotes as a guide and then finalise your quote when you settle on a design with your chosen landscaping company.
At SE Landscapes, we always use fixed price quotations, so there are no hidden surprises!
The saying “you get what you pay for” is often true. The best companies are rarely the cheapest, but they have garnered a good reputation for a reason. They will have the resources to take the project from design to completion and leave you 100% satisfied with the high standard of workmanship and the quality of materials used.
SE Landscapes are the leading landscaping contractor in Essex providing expertise in all areas of garden remodelling, from patios to artificial grass, decking to brickwork. We pride ourselves on our customer service and know that the best form of advertising is personal referral.
Your new garden should be a lasting pleasure, somewhere you can entertain and relax whenever the weather takes you for decades to come. With the right preparation, budgeting, and professionals, your dream garden can soon become a reality.
Request your free consultation today.
The idea of maintaining a garden can feel overwhelming – many of us live busy lives even without an added list of outdoor chores. But with a few clever tricks, you can achieve a beautifully low-maintenance garden without sacrificing class and style. Whether you’re retired and spend all your time with friends and your grandkids or have a busy work life, your outdoor space can still look amazing without all the hassle.
Read on to learn our top tips on how to design your low-maintenance garden.
1.Use a variety of materials for your lounging areas.
Add a variety of different seating areas or “outdoor rooms”. You could have a patterned parasol, umbrella, or gazebo beside a sofa made with reclaimed wood and decorated with soft cushions on a deck in a southern corner, and a timeless bench and statue on a paved area in another.
2. Invest in some hardy furniture.
This doesn’t mean you have to buy ugly, industrial-looking furniture. Garden furniture made from metal, teak, or is low maintenance as you can leave it outside year-round. With outdoor furniture, you can echo the style you’ve chosen for your living and dining room. You can also use the furniture as an opportunity to flex those design muscles and create something entirely different to the interior of your home! Just make sure your furniture is from a reputable company that specializes in long-lasting outdoor furniture.
3. If you want to use your garden extensively, install a patio
You can choose from natural stone, cobbles, porcelain, Indian sandstone, block or brick paving, and slate among several others. A patio provides a sleek and clean look, bridging the gap between the great outdoors and your cozy home. When you trust SE Landscapes with your patio, you can also trust that you’ll have something truly unique. Every paved garden and patio we install is designed to match each client’s requirements and the space they have at their disposal.
4. Install a deck so that you no longer have to worry about keeping the grass tidy!
Decking is one of the best ways to keep a garden low maintenance. You can still add large potted plants for a verdant garden look, but your foliage will be as controlled and intentional as you want it to be. Decking also adds a sense of class and comfort. When done right, decking can add value to a home and can be a great way to make use of sloped or uneven terrain, while making the most of any view you have from the back of your home. With steps and stilts, we can create levels within your garden, giving a uniform feel. We also offer various design extras such as pergolas, balustrades, and privacy screens if you want to take your deck to the next level.
5. Soften hard landscaping with plants and flowers.
Paving, fencing, and decking generally all stay clean without looking dull, but if you’re worried about it looking uninteresting, you can create a contrast with luscious flowers and plants. Few things go better together than a hard and sleek surface and a luscious bush of stunning perennials. Ferns, hibiscus, and geraniums are some of the best low-maintenance flowers if you’re happy to have a relatively soft scent. If you want something that smells a little more herbaceous, you could also go with some rosemary or lavender for a year-round splash of color and a beautiful botanical scent!
6. Install artificial grass
With artificial grass, you can maintain the look of a luscious garden without the effort! Our artificial grass is pet-friendly, child-friendly, allergy-free, and UV-stabilized. It’s soft and springy yet hard-wearing. It won’t turn yellow or wear out over the years, plus it’s water-resistant, flood-proof, and self-draining. And on the few days when England sees the sun, your artificial grass won’t scorch or burn. Artificial grass promises longevity without the mud and mess!
7. Transform the outside of your home with brickwork to complement your garden.
The walls that surround a garden are almost as important as what’s inside, and a brick exterior lends a classic feel to any home. It’s a perfect long-lasting solution as a boundary fence and will give you a stronger sense of privacy.
8. If you have a large outdoor space, build walls, fences or screens to create distinct sections.
Walls, fences or screens can be used to divide your garden into an eating area, a storage area or even a flower bed with somewhere cozy to sit at the end of a summer evening. Retaining walls constructed from sleepers or brickwork can also be effective in a sloping garden where you can create levels and even add height to your garden.
9. Revamp your driveway so it matches the beauty of your front garden.
A home’s driveway is often overlooked even though it’s the first thing we see when we enter someone’s home. Whether you’re worried about weeds taking over your garden or want something easy to maintain, block paving is ideal for your driveway. Block paving is durable, cost-effective, and attractive, not to mention the variety of driveway paving you can choose from. Every block paving driveway we create is custom designed and tailored to upgrade our clients’ homes and property value.
10. Keep your garden private with a classy fence.
You can choose any color, style, and height you’d like. The main thing is that you’re keeping your beautiful garden to yourself!
At SE Landscapes, we install various fencing options including:
11. Go all in and have your garden redesigned.
A well designed and built garden can add up to 15% to your home’s overall value. There are limitless options when it comes to design and the materials to choose from, it just depends on how extensive you want the garden redesign to be. We take care of everything, from concept to completion. We conduct a site survey to identify topography, sun and wind patterns, and existing site conditions. Our design team can then develop a suitable 2D or even 3D design, taking into account hard landscaping elements like fencing, paving, decking, patios, and soft landscaping elements. We then begin transforming your garden, promising to leave it clean and tidy so you can enjoy it straight away!
If you love entertaining and feel like your garden needs a fresh start, reach out to SE Landscape Construction Ltd in Chelmsford. We are a multi-award-winning, Essex-based landscaping and paving contractors. Our experienced landscaping team transforms dull gardens and outdoor spaces into beautiful spaces, ideal for barbecues, family gatherings, and relaxing.
We specialise in hard landscaping and are proud to offer various landscaping and professional design services. We can work to develop your dream garden, from the first idea to the finished product. We work with paving and driveways, proudly serving our clients throughout Essex. For more information or to contact us about your project, click here.
If you’re currently considering landscaping your garden then you may be weighing up the pros and cons of hiring an Essex landscaper or taking on the project yourself.
There are several reasons why you may wish to carry out a DIY project. The first and probably most appealing reason is to save on labour costs. Plus, of course, you can’t beat the satisfaction of having completed your own DIY project – it’s something that you can take pride in for many years to come.
But there are many advantages to choosing a professional landscaping contractor to carry out your garden project, and today, we take an in-depth look at the reasons why you should hire a professional landscaper.
A professional landscaper with many years of experience will know the best installation techniques and methods when it comes to building your new garden.
Laying paving on a full mortar bed, bricklaying, screeding, haunching, tamping, and levelling are just some of the installation techniques and methods a professional installer will make use of.
If you don’t know how to do these things, or worse, don’t even know what they are, then you’ll certainly be best off using a professional landscaper for your garden project.
Most landscaping projects we carry out across Essex require a wide range of tools and plant.
Smaller hand tools, such as shovels, levels, trowels, wheelbarrows, club hammers, saws, pointing irons, set squares, screeding bars, and tape measures, are all important components of the landscaper’s toolkit.
Then you have larger power tools, such as laser levels, grinders, impact drills, hammer drills, skill saws, and chop saws, to name but a few.
These, of course, are all very important pieces of equipment that we use on a daily basis as professional landscapers.
On top of this you have other items of plant, such as vibrating plate compactors, heavy duty breakers, excavators, rollers, and dumpers.
As a DIYer you may find that you have to spend a small fortune in acquiring the tools and equipment needed to carry out your garden refurbishment.
Not only will a professional landscaper have the required tools and equipment to carry out your garden project but, perhaps more importantly, they will know how to use them.
Honing your skills and learning to use a wide range of tools obviously doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of practice, particularly when landscaping involves such a wide-ranging skill set.
One day may involve you operating a mini-excavator and laser level to clear the site and lay the foundations of your garden. The next may involve using a shovel and trowel to lay bricks to create a retaining wall, or a chop saw and impact driver to build a deck.
Why spend many frustrating hours attempting to learn how to use specialist equipment when you can hire a professional who already knows how to safely and efficiently operate the tools and plant that will be needed to build your garden project?
Opting for the DIY route means that you are going to have to sacrifice the majority of your free time for as long as is needed to complete your project. And it’s always a safe bet to assume that things will take far longer than you predict.
If you’ve never done something before you can often be shocked at just how long it can take you to fumble your way through things.
Bad weather is a continuous bane of a professional landscaper’s life, too, and if you’ve set aside an entire weekend to dedicate to your project that is then spoiled by bad weather, you’ll find it an incredibly frustrating experience.
Delays with suppliers and getting the right materials on site at the right times can be tricky, even for professional landscapers with excellent local supplier links.
If you’re trying to carry out your normal day job at the same time as landscaping your garden, and so only have evenings and weekends available to work on the project, you’ll find that arranging for materials to arrive during these times will be extremely problematic, especially during peak times in spring and summer. And if your materials don’t arrive or the wrong materials are delivered, you may have to wait until the following weekend to get the materials you need.
It’s also important that, in order to avoid working yourself to exhaustion, you take time off to relax or spend with your family; however, when you start your garden project, you may find that these opportunities are few and far between.
An experienced local landscaper will have excellent links to local suppliers. This will enable them to source not only the best products, but to get the best prices, too.
Finding the right supplier can often be a case of trial and error and you often don’t know whether the quality of the materials or the service provided by your supplier will be up to scratch until it’s too late.
As a professional landscaper will have lots of local suppliers that they use on a regular basis, they will be eligible for trade prices. These savings can be passed on to the customer and help to offset the labour charge.
Suppliers are often likely to favour regular customers when it comes to preferential delivery slots, meaning fewer delays to your project, too.
If you’re carrying out a garden project for the first time, you may find it very difficult to visualise the end result. We know that many of our customers do.
However, by using a professional landscaper, you’ll find that that they will be able to help you visualise how your project will look and ensure that the finished result looks just they way you want it to.
That’s because it’s a job they do day in, day out, and they will have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of garden transformations throughout their career.
Okay, so, right at the beginning of this article, we mentioned that opting to carry out a DIY installation may save you money – but that’s not always the case.
Mistakes can be costly. So costly that any potential savings are wiped out.
For instance, say your lack of experience leads you to excavate more earth from your garden than is necessary. The end result is additional waste disposal costs, followed by the cost of additional materials, on top of what you originally needed, to raise the level back up to the required height.
Or say you struggle to cut those last few paving slabs accurately and you find yourself having to buy more material to make up for wastage. Worst case, this can sometimes mean that you need to buy far more than you need as, for example, some suppliers only sell full crates of paving. So, even if you just need a couple of square metres to finish the job, you may need to buy a whole crate that could cover 15 square metres or more.
Of course, as we’ve already discussed, a professional landscaper will also be able to source materials at a much cheaper price than an ordinary member of the public can. These savings can be offset against any labour costs.
If you don’t have any experience in landscaping, then you’ll probably find that a professional landscaper will save you money, and with it, stress.
Carrying out a garden project can be hard work and time-consuming.
If you’d rather hire a professional landscaper in Essex that has the skills and equipment to carry out your garden or driveway transformation, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’re an award-winning landscaping company based in Chelmsford. We offer a wide range of landscaping services and have been operating since 2011.
To get the garden of your dreams, please call us today on 01245 697 688 or fill out the contact form here to arrange for your free consultation.
There is no doubt about it, our busiest months for enquiries are during the springtime in April and May.
When gardens start waking up and the weather starts to warm up after what can sometimes in the UK feel like a never-ending winter, many of our clients across Essex start to think about getting their gardens into shape.
But, often, contacting a reputable landscape contractor or garden designer during springtime may mean that you have missed the boat in terms of getting your garden summer-ready.
Lead times can often mean that you don’t get to enjoy your garden much during the summer months. Our lead times can sometimes be as long as six months during peak times – not that this is always a problem, as spending time in your garden during autumn and even winter can be great fun and something we should all maybe do more of. However, many of us find that we get the most out of our gardens during the summer, when the weather is warmer and the days are longer.
Speaking as a landscape contractor, we firmly believe that the best time to landscape your garden is during the winter months. We know this goes against popular belief, but there are several good reasons we think this. Let’s take a look at five reasons why.
As we’ve already mentioned, during busy periods our lead times can sometimes be up to six months. So, booking an appointment in April may mean that your garden isn’t ready until October, or even later, depending upon the complexity of the job.
Sometimes Indian summers occur but it’s rarely warm enough in October to be able to sit comfortably out in your garden without several layers on, or even a patio heater. Again, this may not be a problem for many people, but if you want to be able to enjoy your garden during the warmer months, you may have left it a bit late to do so in the current year.
Landscaping your garden during the winter months means that as soon as we get the first warm weekend of the year, you can be outside making the most of your brand-new garden.
There is no doubt about it, when we come in to transform your garden it always gets worse before it gets better! As the saying goes, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette and after the first couple of days on site, you may think that a bomb has hit your garden.
That’s only because the first stage of any job is to clear the site and excavate and remove any earth, as necessary.
Of course, this will mean that your garden is out of action until works are completed.
During the summer, this can be a problem if the sun is shining at the weekend and you want to be out in your garden.
During the winter, on the other hand, you are far less likely to want to go out in your garden, making the works less of an inconvenience.
You are also very unlikely to have any BBQs or garden parties planned during the winter months.
Virtually every type of garden transformation involves some form of excavation work. Whether it’s a new patio, lawn, decking, fencing or artificial lawn, all of these features involve excavation of some sort.
As we tend to get more rain during autumn and winter, this helps to soften the ground, making it easier to dig.
This makes the job quicker and easier, especially if we are having to excavate anything by hand. During the height of summer we often find that the ground can be like concrete, making it extremely difficult to dig.
You may think this a downside, but landscaping can be hard physical work. Although we spend our days outside, you can work up a sweat quite quickly, even in the winter months. We all feel the cold, but that’s only a problem if you haven’t prepared properly. During the winter it’s important to wear plenty of layers. Proper preparation will keep you warm during even the coldest of winter days and we always find that we start removing layers as the day goes on.
However, during the summer there is no escaping the heat. When you’re working hard outside, anything above 30 degrees can quickly drain your energy. Anything towards the high thirties and we normally have to down tools for health and safety reasons.
During the spring and summer months, we find that we have to book materials well in advance to ensure our suppliers have them in stock and are able to deliver them when we need them. During the spring and summer, demand for landscaping materials is at its highest. This can, of course, sometimes make getting hold of materials more difficult.
In landscaping, you don’t only need the right materials but, importantly, you need them delivered at the right time. It is not usually possible to know exactly when we will be needing certain materials when a job first starts. As suppliers are quieter during the winter, they have more flexibility as to when they are able to deliver their goods.
The majority of our jobs mean we need materials delivered using specialist HIAB crane vehicles, due to weight, so often we are very much in the hands of our suppliers to get goods on site.
Winter landscaping means less delays from suppliers.
Okay, so admittedly there are some drawbacks to landscaping during the winter months. Here are some of the downsides to winter landscaping.
Of course it is more likely to rain, which earlier we mentioned can be a benefit. That said, it can also be a curse, although it may surprise you to hear that we do not lose as much time to rain as you might think. We can often continue working through light rain without being affected, and it rarely rains hard persistently throughout an entire day (not down in Essex, anyway!). Often it’s little more than a passing shower, which we can sit out, then continue works once it’s stopped.
This can sometimes make the job a bit trickier and sometimes a bit messier, too. But if there is too much water in your garden, we can combat this by using a water pump to remove the excess from your property.
Another problem with winter weather is frost. This can be a problem when you’re working with mortar or concrete. Again, we rarely get persistent frost across several days so we just avoid doing any mortar work on the days when there is a frost. Often, there are other aspects of a project that we can continue working on instead, meaning it doesn’t cause any delays to the project.
From everything the British weather can throw at us, snow is admittedly our biggest problem. If your garden is covered in a blanket of snow, then unfortunately that would put a stop to the day’s play. Again, though, in the South-East we don’t often get a huge amount of snow and if we do it’s often gone within a couple of days, so doesn’t affect our line of work too much.
Well, there you have it: five reasons why winter is the best time to landscape your Essex garden. We know it goes against popular belief, but we firmly believe the winter is the ideal time to get your garden in order.
If you would like a free consultation to discuss how we can help you transform your garden, or even your driveway, then contact us here, or call us on 01245 697 688 and speak to our friendly team today.
There are many reasons to have a new garden patio installed.
By combining attractive paving and a creative design with top quality professional installation, you can transform any garden large or small and create an additional outdoor room to your home.
It will add enormous value to your property.
But with such a wide range of paving available these days, how do you possibly decide on which is the best for your garden?
Indian Sandstone, Porcelain, Granite, Slate, Limestone, Concrete, York stone, where do you start?
It can sometimes feel like a daunting task deciding on the best paving, but it needn’t be.
In our latest article we’re going to be offering up some advice on choose the right paving to suit your garden and your budget.
The best place to start is by researching online. You can use google image search to get ideas or you could visit the websites of paving manufacturers such as Marshalls, Natural Paving and London Stone.
You could also look at the portfolios of local landscaping contractors too.
Always pay particular attention to any captions that may accompany the pictures.
That’s because many of the pictures you may see online are when the paving is wet. Many contractors take pictures of the paving when it’s in this condition if they believe the paving looks better.
Often it does as the dampness usually enhances the colours, particularly of Indian Sandstone.
Don’t despair if you only like the look of a particular paving when it is wet though, you can always seal your paving with a ‘wet-look’ sealant to achieve the look semi-permanently.
If you prefer looking at pictures in print rather than online, again many manufacturers are more than happy to send you copies of their brochures.
This is especially useful if you are intending on creating a mood board as you can cut out the pictures and attach them for ideas and inspiration.
Sometimes brochures also have pictures and information that you might have otherwise missed on websites.
Pictures are all well and good but there’s nothing quite like viewing paving in the flesh.
Many manufacturers, including Marshalls, offer a free sample service. This means that they will send you a small sample of your paving directly to your door.
It’s always best to view your samples outside, where they will be laid. As of course, different lighting conditions will make the paving appear different.
We also recommend that you soak the paving with water to give you an idea of how it may look when wet. In the British climate, its probably how your paving will look most of the time!
Requesting samples will also give you a better idea of the texture that the paving might have and how non-slip it may be.
It’s extremely important to remember – if you are requesting samples of natural stone, then don’t expect every slab to look the same, as they won’t. Samples of natural stone really only give you a rough idea of how the paving may look.
Part of the beauty of natural stone is that each slab is unique and there is nobody else in the world who will have exactly the same slab as you!
It’s also a great idea to take a visit to your local builder’s merchants.
Many of them have display centres where you can often see different types of paving laid to create small patio areas.
Not only will you get to see different types of paving in the flesh, but you should also get a good idea of how your chosen paving may weather over time.
Always ask the staff how long the display has been laid for to give you an idea of how well the slabs have weathered.
When it comes to choosing the colour of your paving, you basically have two choices.
You can either try to match the colouring of your property or contrast it.
You’ll need to consider how much direct sunlight your patio will receive too. If it’s a dark area, then choosing a light-coloured paving is recommend, as it will brighten up the space.
Whether you contrast or match your property really is down to personal preference, there is no right or wrong.
Generally, it’s advisable to pick the colour you like the most, and as long as it doesn’t clash with its surroundings, there is no reason why your colour choice wouldn’t work.
You can always tie in your paving with your property by choosing a colour edging that complements the property.
You’ll also need to consider the surroundings and style of your property.
Older properties tend to look better with more antique or riven styles paving, as it will give your patio a more cottage garden or stately home feel, such as Indian Sandstone or Yorkstone.
For more modern looking properties, you’ll want to choose a paving with a modern feel.
Granite, Porcelain and Slate tends to work best in this instance.
In recent years, it has become very popular to choose outdoor paving that matches the tiles that you have inside your home.
Choosing a matching paving slab or tile can help to blur boundaries and provide a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors.
This is especially true if you have bi-folding doors, which have increased considerably in popularity in recent times.
By installing your paving up to the threshold, during the summer months you’ll have extended your indoor space and it will feel like you’ve created an extension to your home.
Natural stone can be anything from Indian Sandstone to York Stone or Granite to Slate.
Part of the beauty of natural stone is that every slab is unique. You’ll get various shades of colour throughout your patio for a more natural look.
To save on costs, you can often achieve the look of natural stone by considering a man-made alternative. Slabs such as the Marshalls Argent, Heritage or Coach House paving make for excellent choices.
However, for a more uniform look, why not consider some of the vast array of concrete paving slabs available such as Marshalls Saxon?
In recent times, Porcelain has become a more and more popular choice. It comes in a vast array of colours and textures whilst being extremely hard wearing and stain-resistant. It offers the best of both worlds.
Edging your patio isn’t always essential, but it can add interest and detail and enhance the aesthetic appeal.
More often than not, most of our customers like to use a contrasting coloured edging, but choosing to edge your patio using the same material and colours often works too.
You can use either bricks, blocks or setts in various sizes and colours to compliment your patio.
It’s always best to choose the main paving first and then obtain samples of the potential edges and match them up to a sample of your chosen paving.
If you follow the advice set out in this article, choosing the perfect paving for your garden needn’t be difficult.
Its worth taking some time to consider the options and get it right first time.
If you do, you’ll completely transform your garden, creating an additional outdoor room perfect for relaxing and entertaining as well as adding serious value to your property.
If you are looking for professional, you’ve come to the right place.
Our custom designed and installed patios throughout Essex have won us several awards in recognition of our high level of creative workmanship.
We serve Chelmsford, Brentwood, Southend, Wickford, Billericay, Braintree and surrounding areas.
Why not give us a call today and we’ll arrange for your free consultation?
We’ll talk you through the different options available to you, help you choose the perfect paving and design a patio that perfectly compliments and enhances your garden environment.
Call us on 01245 697 688 or contact us here.
If you have any questions or would like some help on choosing patio paving, why not leave your comments and questions below, we’d love to hear from you!
One looking to plan the picture-perfect garden is going to want to take a look at a number of different key “phases” in the design and development process to ensure certain aspects and features don’t get left out of the finished design.
A common mistake budding gardeners make is to dive head first into the design phase without any proper planning – and although they are able to get some results out of their garden, the results are nothing like they could have been if they had taken even just a few days (or a few weeks, if they have the time) to create a real action plan to work off of.
Luckily, you’re never going to have to worry about that. Following along with the “inside information” provided below, you’ll be able to design the very best garden you could have ever imagined – and possibly even one you couldn’t have!
Let’s dive right in!
I know it sounds at least a little bit crazy for you to begin with the ending in mind, but that’s the only way that you’re going to be able to establish the kind of garden design plan that will suit your needs right down to the ground.
When you envision exactly how you want your garden to end up (right down to the smallest detail), you’re able to work backwards to make sure that your end garden design has all of the key elements that you were hoping for.
So make sure that you outline exactly what elements you must have in your garden, exactly which elements are your “dream” elements, and then begin the visualisation process of mentally laying them all out in the space you have available to you.
Even though it might not be the best idea for those that want to remain as self-sufficient as possible (or those who want to retain complete and total control over their garden design), bringing in professionals for a consultation might help you spot trouble areas or issues that you wouldn’t have been able to spot otherwise.
I’m not recommending that you bring in a team of garden design experts to create at their ideal garden while leaving your ideas over by the compost pile, but it’s not a bad idea to have these experts come in to assist in helping you realise your dream garden.
Most of these professionals can be hired on a consulting basis, and they’ll be able to provide you with their decades and decades of skills, experience, and expertise to help you better understand the lay of the land you have in front of you – maximizing your space to create the best garden you can, the garden of your dreams.
This is another thing that you’re really going to want to focus on in the early stages of your planning, and is something that seems rather obvious on the surface but isn’t used as often as it could be.
Obviously, you want to look at all of the different garden design magazines, books, and other resources that you can find – but don’t be afraid of peeking over your neighbour’s fence (provided that it doesn’t go right into someone’s bedroom window) and seeing what they’ve done with theirs. The chances are they have a similar sized garden with the same problems and/or aspects of the landscape that can be utilised to enhance certain features of your garden.
Taking full advantage of all the resources at your disposal is going to make or break your design, and you may just stumble upon something that you wouldn’t have included otherwise in your search.
Last but not least, you need to make sure that you are incorporating entertainment elements, exciting elements, and visual focus pieces into your garden. Though most people believe that the garden is a rather functional plot of land, the truth the matter is you can transform it into something else entirely – a living entertainment space that immediately increases the design aesthetic of your home – with just a few choice elements.
This is a little bit easier said than done, for sure, but with just a bit of effort you should be able to create the kind of garden you’ve always dreamt of. Take full advantage of the information provided above, leverage any and all resources you can, and don’t be surprised when you have the garden that is the envy of your neighbours.
Even the smallest of spaces can include a self-contained feature to bring water into the garden and extend the range of plants grown. However, water features can sometimes be difficult to maintain. When planning a garden water feature, the following factors should be considered:
Site a pond in a sheltered, sunny spot well away from deciduous tress whose fallen leaves will pollute the water in autumn. Usually informal ponds are best located in depressions or low points, never on top of a mound. Formal ponds can be located at high or low points. Streams obviously start at higher ground and run to a lower point. The start and finish of a stream should normally be hidden from view, usually with heavy plantings. Water features create a focal point in your garden and will be better appreciated where they can be seen.
The bigger the pond, the easier it will be to keep the water clear. Pools under 2x3m are most likely to be susceptible to green water. If a pond is too shallow, it will be difficult to develop a balanced ecology that will keep the water, animal and plant life in a healthy, self-sustaining condition. Ponds should be at least 35 centimetres (or 14 inches) deep.
Moving water can be used as either a fountain, waterfall or stream. Moving water will require a pump, and while that is an added expense, moving water is much easier to keep clean. It is also easier to grow fish and plants in.
• Wildlife ponds
• Pebble pools
• Wall water features
• Dry stream features
• Tub pools
• Brick or stone
• Fabric pool liner
• Waterproofing the ground
Water can be cleaned either by using chemicals, filters or by improving the biology of the pond or stream. Where persistent water quality problems exist, filtration may be the only solution. This can be achieved using two different types of filter; physical or biological. With physical filters, water is pumped through a physical barrier which filters out waste products, algae build ups and helps oxygenate the water. With biological filters, water passes through a bed containing materials such as gravel, scoria and sand. The microorganisms present in these materials break down impurities and remove them from the water.
Pond Plantation must be carefully chosen as different plants prefer different environments. For example, some prefer to have their feet wet, some to remain on the margin of a pond or some prefer to have their stems fully submerged with just the flower of the plant on the surface of the water.
There are many different garden styles to choose from and some will suit the size and shape of your garden better than others. Here are some of most common styles of garden that we design and build for our clients, along with their main characteristics.
A symmetrical in design that features angular shapes and formal structures, such as pergolas. Straight paths are often framed in arches which lead to a distant focal point such as a sundial. This particular type of garden often requires a reasonable level of maintenance as lawns and hedges need to remain trim to conform with the formal look.
Cottage gardens tend to be more informal and are packed with traditional native flowers reached from almost invisible winding paths. With a heavy emphasise on flowers rather than lawns and paving, some of the more common cottage garden plants include primroses, violets, calendula and various herbs. Walls and fences are typically concealed with roses or clematis.
Contemporary gardens have grown massively in popularity over the past 10 years or so. This is because of modern homes typically having small gardens and due to changes in taste towards more modern designs. The use of hard landscaping materials play a key role in contemporary design with lighting affects used to create another dimension to the garden at night time. Planting is minimalistic, typically with just a couple of types of plant used and more often than not, require little maintenance.
Features typical of a Japanese garden typically include rock gardens, raked gravel, boulders, ponds with a bridge, Japanese stoneware, shrubs and bonsai. The design is based upon small-scale idealised landscapes which are stylised and abstract in appearance.
A Mediterranean garden is a mix of hard surfaces that complement a range of Mediterranean plantation that flowers at different stages throughout the year. Herbs are a typical feature of this particular type of garden as scent is an important aspect to consider when choosing types of plant. Classical pots and urns are used to contain plants against walls and on patios.
Typically, town gardens consist of a rectangle of grass surrounded by straight flowerbeds and raw-looking fences. However, this can be vastly improved out of all recognition by redesigning its basic shape. A professionally designed garden will not only look visually stunning but will be easier to maintain and can be perfectly attuned to your specific needs. Here are a few tips and ideas to improve small gardens:
• Make the most of a typical long narrow plot by using features that run across the garden such as tall plants and shrubs, internal hedges or trellis.
• To create the illusion of width, lawns can be set at an angle of 45 degrees to the house
• A small, square garden looks best with interest in the centre. This can be achieved by using a round lawn or tree. The squareness can be reduced by curving the flower beds in the corners
• Try to resist the temptation to overlook dramatic features or large plants. Bold statements are often most effective in small spaces and a lot of small plants can draw attention to limited space.
• Arches, pergolas and trellises are useful for adding height to your garden. Walls and fences can be covered with climbers and wall shrubs.
• Avoid using a straight path from a door to a gate, use a curved or angled path instead
Pergolas make a great feature in virtually any garden. If you have a long, narrow path or paved area this is an ideal place to have a pergola constructed. They can also be built against unsightly buildings, such as garages and sheds to help hide them. Once constructed, climbers can be trained up the timber uprights to further enhance the feature.
We have built many pergolas for our clients, which have proved to be very popular as they provide an attractive, natural covered outdoor room and serve as a transition area between inside and out. They can also be used as a shady outdoor eating area, ideal for barbecues and garden parties and offer extra privacy from overlooking neighbours. This means that pergolas are a great way of adding value to your property as not only do they looking visually appealing but they provide another room to your house that can be enjoyed during the summer months.
Design Principles to consider when using Pergolas
• Avoid central arches in narrow gardens
• Pergolas of simple design and strong construction are best
• Arbours and arches make good focal points but one is enough in smaller gardens
• Use overhead beams to help create privacy
• Ensure the scale of the structure is in keeping with its surroundings
• Use fast growing climbers to soften the features of the structure
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