Landscapes & Gardens
Dry – Lay Drives
We developed ‘Designer Drives’ almost 30 years ago..
How it all started..
My partners and I had worked for a London Parks Department. On some of the projects we were working on, we needed to use a strong paving material. At the time Marshalls( one of our suppliers) were testing a product called ‘Monolok’. It had been developed in Europe for use at bus stops. To prevent the heavy buses sinking into the tarmac, on hot days. These ‘monolok’ blocks were of differing sizes and worse ‘z’ shaped. This made them a nightmare to design with.
They were though, a really clever idea. They interlocked together, without using mortar, this effectively meant they stayed in position, didn’t crack or sink, but could be ‘unzipped’ and then relayed – if say a pipe needed working on below.
One day our sales contact rushed in with some new ‘brick-shaped’ grey blocks. He told us red would also be available soon. Did we want to try them? We immediately saw an opportunity. Using traditional bricks with a mortar bed required a heavy-duty brick version, worse it took days to point … see below.
This particular in and out brick driveway took 10 man-days just to point the bricks. Whereas the drive below took 4 hours to ‘sand in’ with kiln-dried silica sand.
Saving so much time, significantly increasing our profits on each project. We were soon demanding new, more interesting colours.. here’s one using a brindle colour mix..
It didn’t take us long to refine our own techniques. Adding our own recessed manhole covers. Canting the edges so homeowners knew where they were as they drove around their driveway. – The slightly raised edge looked great visually as well. Setting us apart from our competition.
Here a well constructed and cut in recessed cover… this time using a softer stock brick.
When well done it’s very hard to see the recessed cover, as in this picture.. there are two in the lower picture!
New layout pattern
We soon added a ‘fish- scale’ pattern using granite setts. Then a phorphery sett to our ‘Designer’ collection..
Here’s some granite…much more expensive but they look superb !
When using ‘natural’ products. Such as the granite and real bricks it is important to remember that they are often differing sizes. This means that it is very easy to lose the design module. If you have too big an area its important to have adequate changes in direction.
The stock bricks below work for about a length of 1.8m ( 6ft). Then you need to add a break line or the pattern will start to wander off.
Below is a combination of natural granite setts and softer stock bricks – my favorite by far!
Would you like to read more Landscape projects ? – More Award winning projects
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A Winding Garden Path
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..
Patios & Terraces
A Brick and Stone Terrace
A lovely natural stone and brick patio, surrounding a conservatory.
Today, I thought it would be fun to show you a series of before, during and after pictures of a patio/terrace construction.
Mick and Steve who constructed this lovely terrace. Are extremely skilled craftsmen.
If you look carefully at the stone cutting you will see how ‘evenly spaced’ all the joints are .
It all starts with good preparation on a stable foundation. In this case around 100mm ( 4 inch) of graded limestone base well consolidated.
If the ground is moist or subject to shrinkage it’s a good idea to add a geo – fabric beneath the limestone.
You should make sure the finished height of the paving, is at least 150mm ( 6 inches) below the damp proof course set in the house brick walls.
It is also a very good idea to create a fall away from the house to your drains, ( at least a 1 in 80 fall is required).
Also, consider the need for allowing moisture around the house.
If you are on heavy clay, it is a good practice to allow the clay sub surface to remain a little damp during the summer to prevent the ground ‘heaving’.
English Landscape LLC is my Landscape Design & Build company.
Here you will find a wealth of ideas, with lots of picture examples of finished projects.
Before and after picture examples , all from almost 45 years of high quality, award winning work.
Sometimes a landscape just seems to ‘pop’ right out at you. You become almost spellbound by its balance and harmony.
This doesn’t happen by chance very often. It is a result of a client choosing the right designer, then everyone working together as a team to create a dream.
Almost a living stage if you will , that constantly changes with the seasons, yet develops into this amazing restful, visual smorgasbord of colour, contrast and functionality.
Today, I thought it might be fun to show some projects under construction, you will notice that most are orderly, very little mess to clutter the picture
( the cleaner you can keep a site the more efficient and the higher the final quality often is).
I hope you enjoy, take a look at some projects here. English Landscape
English Landscape LLC is my Landscape Design & Build company.
Here you will find a wealth of ideas, with lots of picture examples of finished projects. Before and after picture examples , all from almost 45 years of high quality, award winning work.
Sometimes a landscape just seems to ‘pop’ right out at you, you become almost spellbound by its balance and harmony.
This doesn’t happen by chance very often. It is a result of a client choosing the right designer and then working together as a team to create a dream.
A living stage if you will , that constantly changes with the seasons, and yet develops into this amazing restful, visual smorgasbord of colour, contrast and functionality.
Today I thought it might be fun to show some projects under construction, you will notice that most are orderly, very little mess to clutter the picture
( the cleaner you can keep a site the more efficient and the higher the final quality often is).
I hope you enjoy, take a look at some projects here. English Landscape LLC
Paths have been around awhile.
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
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.
This beautiful path leads all the way around the garden, making it a fabulous way to explore the differing views created.
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.
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.
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.
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..
It was a hot day when they completed these 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..
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.
Do send us a comment or a request
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I was reading an interesting article the other day, it was discussing what today’s children know about plants.
The part that caused me to sit up and wonder was this line.. “Today’s children can identify about 1000 company logos but only identify 10 plants outside”
I wonder how accurate this statement is?
So a quick test – could you identify the plant below?
or perhaps this one.?
Thinking a little about it, brings to mind the simple realization that many children do not really understand where much of our food comes from.
We really need to change this for many reasons, perhaps our internet radio show, can help?
We want to engage ‘Granny Growers’ and introduce them to the ‘Growing Uppers’ , to start this rolling we’re heading off to interview a few senior citizens in our retirement community, to ask them what they learned and how they think we can help our grand children.
if you have some ideas , we would love to hear from you to… just drop us a line
As autumn and winter move in, with leaves changing into many hues of red and gold before falling to the ground.
The weather starts to turn chilly, the growing season is coming to an end or is it?
Some plants will head towards dormancy, others being more frost resistant will provide the last gasps of color, before winter sets in.
For the luckier ones living in warmer climates, not so much changes.
For some others the climate has changed enough to wonder if it’s time to convert the ubiquitous lawns.
Maybe into something more akin to a dessert landscape or perhaps a Mediterranean or Xeriscape landscape.
Time to Plan
Now is a great time to start planning any changes as you can follow some simple guidelines.
First establish a budget. Now look at the existing and consider what you might want to change and why.
Write down a wish list of likes and dislikes, add if I could I would do this, etc,.
Now it’s time to decide if you want to do the work your self?
Or find a contractor to start gathering information on materials and costs etc.
Or engage a designer who can work with you to produce a plan and a program?
Each method has it’s pros and cons. Is often decided by available budget or available time to allocate to the project.
My experience has been that most busy people are also quite successful and can therefore afford to engage a designer
They also tend to like to know what they are getting into before they start , so a design works great for them, they also like detail.
Practical people can often gain most from actually working on the project themselves.
They tend to be natural problem solvers and enjoy the discovery of ‘how to achieve something’
The best advice I learned was to consider what you would like in say 5 years time, as this is often the time when any changes are going to look their best.
It is also a time to consider where you may be in your own life cycle, for example age of children, type of free time available etc.
There is a “Growing Trend’ towards sustainability.
Growing one’s own food.
Now is a great time to look at all the methods available and how much time should be allocated to such endeavors.
Listen to ideas from experts at Growing Trends
Our internet radio show Growing Trends has attracted listeners from across the globe, we’ve been really amazed how many people comment and listen – thank you all so much, it really is a lot of fun to produce.
We would love to hear from you with your ideas & suggestions on the shows content.
We’ve interviewed some amazing people, from many different walks of life, with many differing interests in our outside environment – from a keen homeowner gardener, to a commercial grower, to an environmentalist to an estate gardener, to a very knowledgeable bee keeper, to an expert consultant. All have fascinating insights into the hugely diverse world of horticulture and our environment.
We are making some programming adjustments to our fall schedule to better reflect this diverse interest.
You can still listen daily at 1pm & 7pm on www.cravingtalkradio.com, or download direct from the site as a podcast, or just visit www.grotrends.com our own web site and click on the ‘listen here’ page.
Our new segments.
Time to Eat – Everything about growing your own food
.Gardenesque – All about gardens & landscapes.
World Wide Wesponsibility – A little more serious about sustainability and how we can be good custodians of our planet.
Face Time – Interviews with experts on topics of interest.
Have an idea for an interview ? send us an email and we will be in touch.. email@example.com
Drop us a line with your comments & suggestions, or even a request for an interview.. you can complete the form below or just email us Ann & Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org