Environment

  • Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature,  Path

    A winding garden path

    A Winding Garden Path

    A winding garden pathPergola and Well features

    We added these lovely features to an executive’s garden that was designed and built a number of years ago.

    They were part of a ‘Wish List’ we established with the client as we developed the masterplan.

    Planning really is the secret to a successful outcome for your project too. So here are a few pointers to help you.

    The Wish List.

    The secret to a beautiful landscape project is the wish list – here is a typical one we have developed over the years.

    Brief description of what you are looking for :
    ………………………………………………………………………
    ………………………………………………………………………
    ……………………………………………………………………….
    ………………………………………………………………………
    ………………………………………………………..

    How you use your garden :

    Do you have animals ? : Yes / No.

    Do children play in the garden ? : Yes / No.

    Do you like gardening ? : Yes / No.

    Do you like cutting grass ? : Yes / No

    Do you entertain in the garden ? : Yes / No.

    Do you like relaxing in the garden ?Yes/ No.

    What sort of Budget you would like us to Design
    to : ……………………………………………………
    (It helps enormously if we can have a figure to
    work to, we should be able to produce a Design
    within 10 percent )

    Some items to consider :
    Lawns. Yes / No

    Shrubberies Yes / No.

    Rockeries Yes / No

    Ponds Yes / No.

    Streams Yes / No

    Fish / Koi Ponds Yes / No.

    Paths Yes / No

    Patios Yes / No.

    Terraces Yes / No.

    Walls Yes / No.

    Ground contouring Yes / No

    Vegetable gardens Yes / No.

    Garden Features :

    Garden Shed : Yes / No.

    Power & Lighting Yes / No.

    Irrigation Yes / No.

    Summerhouses Yes / No.

    Greenhouses Yes / No

    Gazebo’s Yes / No.

    Pergolas Yes / No

    Seating Yes / No.

    Please add any other comments on the back of this sheet, the more we know the better the design.

    I would recommend that this is something the homeowners complete themselves without a salesmen/designer being present. You would be amazed at how many couples have different ideas!

    Remember to keep a little of the budget back as these things always cost more than you expect.

    Once you have a wish list, start to gather examples of the features you like from magazines. Taking pictures etc. Pretty soon you will have a good idea of what you would ideally like.

    Now it’s time to have that chat with the Designer or put pen to paper yourselves..

      Visits: 322

    • Landscape Design & Build,  Landscaping Ideas,  sustainability,  Timbergrid

      Environmentally friendly structural walls

      Environmentally friendly structural Timber Retaining Walls

      Timber structural environmentally friendly walls were designed over 40 years ago.

      They were originally designed to last for around  50 years . We have been designing and building them since 1984.timbergrid-business-card-pic

      Recently we were asked to carry out some minor repairs to a wall that had been built approximately 23 years ago, on Long Island

      wp_20160607_11_29_18_pro

      Amazingly well preserved !

      Once we had exposed the back face of the wall, it was clear that the timber was almost in the same condition as when the wall had been constructed. You can see here a few examples.

      If you are looking for an environmentally friendly, long lasting in expensive wall you may want to take a longer look, if you would like to make the wall truly green, i.e. a planted wall then TimberGrid is maybe for you.

      Check out some more information here Walls.

      Want to know more just send me an email…   chris@chriscoope.com

        Visits: 240

      • Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature,  Path

        Paths in your Garden

        Paths have been around awhile.

        Paths

        Granite sett path – these setts traveled from Portugal in the 1800’s as ships ballast and were then used on London’s streets.

        They were a very convenient group of sizes namely ;-

        • 4 inch x 4 inch x 4 inch
        • 4 inch x 4 inch x 6 inch
        • 4 inch x 4 inch x 8 inch

        These regular sizes enable a module to be used, which makes the overall finished visual much more attractive. It’s also easier to lay – below you see a radius layout using just 4 inch x 4inch x 4inch setts.

        Seeing as we have snow today, I thought it might be an idea to talk a little about paths and paving materials. Not all paving is equal as they say, concrete for instance is often more slippery than say asphalt ( there is a standard called CBR – California Bearing Ratio, this is basically a coefficient of slipperiness. Often only used for roadways and cars.)

        So lets take a look at some paths

         

        This gravel path works great, except when frost is just coming out of the surface, when it gets very sticky.
        This gravel path works great, except when frost is just coming out of the surface, when it gets very sticky.

        Gravel paths are both attractive, economical and if laid on a suitable base long lasting, a simple rake and roll often restores the path to its near original state. Keeping on top of surface weed growth is essential.

        Paths should be at least 5ft wide to allow a couple to walk side by side..
        Paths should be at least 5ft wide to allow a couple to walk side by side..although,in a garden this is often impractical.

        This beautiful path leads all the way around the garden, making it a fabulous way to explore the differing views created.

        This scented path uses camomile
        This scented path uses camomile planted within the ‘p-shingle’.

        We used old railway sleepers and camomile to create this pathway, the camomile grows and covers the widened joints. When you walk on the camomile a lovely scent rises up.

        A more formal gravel path
        A more formal gravel path – this is a white limestone and approximately 4ft 6 inch wide – just wide enough for two people to stroll (promenade) around together

        Here the path is dressed in graded white limestone, this creates a much more formal garden for the client.

         

        The next is designed in a series of straight lines using a brick module.

        Here a zig-zag brick path leads from one section of the garden to another
        Here a zig-zag brick path leads from one section of the garden to another

        Using stock bricks that compliment the house colours is a good way to ‘link’ a garden design to a house. Walking on a larger sized clean gravel, is both fun due to the noise and a safety feature as you can hear someone or something approaching.

        Here we used a larger stone size to add that lovely crunching sound as you walk on the path
        Here we used a larger stone size to add that lovely crunching sound as you walk on the path
        Natural random rectangular stone
        Natural random rectangular stone leading to a bound gravel pathway.

        Perhaps the most expensive form of path, the steps are laid in natural random rectangular stone, which is expensive to purchase and time consuming to lay..

        Natural stone steps
        Natural stone steps

        It was a hot day when they completed these steps….

        Probably the best material for steps
        Probably the best material for steps

        To finish with some of my favorite materials. I’ve always tried to use natural materials on projects as the colour does not fade with time, they are often long lasting – if laid correctly. They always look soft and blend in so well with the surroundings..but natural comes with a significant cost increase..

        Mixed brick and random rectangular yorkstone patio

        A quick word about patios, if you are using the patio for entertaining a normal table with four chairs requires an area of approximately 10ft 6 ins ( 3m) x 10ft 6 ins (3m) to accommodate the table and chairs.

        Laying small unit sett paving of almost random size in a radiating pattern requires skill and patience....
        Laying small unit sett paving of almost random size in a radiating pattern requires skill and patience….

        Do send us a comment or a request

          Visits: 54

        • Face Time,  Podcasts,  World Wide WEsponsibility

          The Growing Potential for Algae Part Two

          When we started this latest series of interviews with Bill Sosinsky and Joe Ravet we soon realised how important Algae is to life on our planet.

          algae 3

          We never realised how interesting or how much interest these interviews would generate.

          algae 5

          Here’s the second part, it’s fascinating, informative and what the future holds for us all.

          algae 6

          Have a listen then drop us a line with your thoughts we would love to hear from you.

          You can hear our latest interview here – just click on the bar below or on iTunes at Growing Trends

          We would love to hear from you with ideas and suggestions, just drop us a line at info@growtrends.com

           

          Visits: 115

        • Face Time,  Podcasts,  World Wide WEsponsibility

          Growing Potential for Algae – Part one

          Our interview this week is with Bill Sosinsky and Joe Ravet, it’s all about the amazing properties of algae and  the work being done today that could transform many areas of our lives. This fascinating interview is in two parts, with the second part coming next week.

          algae2

           

          Algae has some fascinating uses :-

          As an Energy Source –  a 737 plane flew from Houston to Chicago on fuel derived from algae, way back in 2011

          algae for jet fuel

          As a Fertilizer – from as long ago as the 16th century, seaweed has been used a fertilizer.

          As a source of Nutrition – China has been consuming Algae for over 2000 years, they harvest over 70 species as does Japan, Ireland, Chile, Wales,Korea, California, New Zealand, Hawaii, Scotland, Greenland and Iceland to name a few. It was an ingredient in Aztec foods.

          Oils obtained from some algae  have high levels of unsaturated fatty acids,others essential omega 3 fatty acids.

          As a Pollution control –  treating sewage with algae, reducing the use of toxic chemicals that would be used. They can absorb fertilizer run off from fields. Aquariums can be filtered by algae

          As a Pigment  – alternative to chemical dyes

          As a Medicine – helping fight malnutrition, immune health, reducing cholesterol

          algae 3

          Amazingly  there could be more than 72000 algae species worldwide.

          You can hear our interview with Bill Sosinsky and Joe Ravet on iTunes at Growing Trends or here on our podcast just click below to hear 

          We would love to hear from you,

            Visits: 59

          • Allergies,  Book Reviews,  Environment,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Podcasts

            Suffering from Allergies?

            It’s allergy awareness week in  England . A subject that has become more and more important to my family over the past few years. My grandson Callum was born with severe allergies , which appear at the slightest opportunity, so … Continue reading

            Visits: 64

          • Podcasts,  Time to Eat,  World Wide WEsponsibility

            School Garden Projects have many positives, you can hear many of them here

            Children-eating-salad

            Is this really salad ? it tastes so good like this !

            Ann & I were fortunate to talk to three amazing ladies from Tennessee a little while ago. They wanted to start a school garden at their school, here is their story, the school garden is now in its third year.

            Raised beds

            Some of the main points we heard were:-

            It’s essential to have teacher as well as parent support.

            Take time to plan carefully

            Initially growing from seed is harder , due to the school calendar. 

            Choose plants that will fit into this schedule.

            The children want to take ownership of their plants !

            Educating children in the different choices of produce increases the varieties they will eat.

            Children really take pride in taking home to their family the produce they have grown.

            In a blind radish test, the children could tell which were home grown as opposed to store bought and much preferred home grown !

            strawberry picking

            Ann & I would love to hear from you.  info@grotrends.com

            If you would like us to put you in touch with these wonderful ladies,or if you would like more information on starting your own school garden just send us an email to Growing Trends and we will be in touch. If you would like us to interview you, send us a picture of your garden along with contact details, we will be adding a section to our web site www.grotrends.com specially on School garden projects.

            Thank you Penny, Peggy and Emily, this was a fascinating interview.

            Ann & Chris

             

             

             

             

            Visits: 52

          • Face Time,  Podcasts,  Time to Eat,  World Wide WEsponsibility

            Eating fresh local food

            Here in the USA its Spring, time to think about fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs. It’s even more important this year with the continuing drought in California where a lot of the countries fresh produce is grown as they now have a mandatory 25% reduction in water use.

            If you are growing at home one of the most effective methods that has passed the passage of time is Mel Bartholomew’s  – Square Foot Gardening method – Ann and I will be interviewing Mel very soon.

            Square Foot Gardening

            Before we do, Ann and I were privileged to interview Nellie, she is a young mother who is passionate about eating fresh produce on a low budget.

            Our interview is inspiring for those who want to find the best way to eat fresh local food. Nellie explains how to balance your budget and yet find good healthy fresh food.

            This is one very astute young lady, who is passionate about food – her mum tells me,she is also a great cook..

            Visits: 49

          • Face Time,  Podcasts,  World Wide WEsponsibility

            Country: Growing Trends -Small is beautiful in modern energy production

            windpower

            Ann & Chris continue their talk with Rich Sapienza and Bill Sosinsky, starting with windmills and wind turbines.

            Rich is a believer in ‘Small is beautiful’ – the idea of making incremental savings of say 25% with smaller units being preferable to building huge systems that may or may not work.

            Most of the savings will come as we discover more efficient energy storage and they have been exploring some interesting options.

            We then move on to hydrogen power, thorium, Tesla and so much more. It’s fascinating to listen to the bright picture they paint for future generations..

            Visits: 65

          • Edibles,  Education,  Face Time,  Farming,  Food,  Home & Garden,  Landscape design,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Landscaping,  Nature,  Podcasts,  sustainability,  Vegetable Growing,  World Wide WEsponsibility

            GT106:Sustainability for the world today.

            Ann and Chris interview Rich Sapienza and Bill Sosinsky  we talk about sustainable solutions for the world today. It's fascinating, interesting and very enlightening. Sustainability must work on its own, grow on its own, support itself with the built-in ability … Continue reading

            Visits: 59

          • Face Time,  Podcasts,  World Wide WEsponsibility

            Country: Growing Trends -Sustainability for the world today

            Ann and Chris interview Rich Sapienza and Bill Sosinsky  we talk about sustainable solutions for the world today.

            It's fascinating, interesting and very enlightening.

            allotment

            Sustainability must work on its own, grow on its own, support itself with the built-in ability to endure and grow naturally. There must be a plan. As long as we rely on subsidies and philanthropy as the means by which we re-establish our sustainable balance on this planet, we are ultimately doomed. This lack of strategy insures we run out of sufficient monies way before we have fully addressed these essential challenges. The simple answer is that everything must work together and their needs to be a singular general vision that incorporates the best efforts of all the contributing parties

            Visits: 54

          • Face Time,  Podcasts,  World Wide WEsponsibility

            GT105:Bill Sosinsky talks on empowering the world to re-establish a sustainable environment.

            Bill continues his visionary journey creating Energime University.  Empowering the world to re-establish a sustainable environment. The Tipping Point As far back as I can remember since we as people began to recognize our potential to destroy our planet’s environment, … Continue reading

            Visits: 48