Hedges are often used to create a boundary between sections of gardens. They can help lead you around a garden. Although often their primary role is to act as a privacy barrier. A hedge can be a very useful garden tool.
Personally, we’ve even used ones for security. BY choosing a suitably thorny subject, it can make it impossible for someone or something to get through the branches.
The picture below, shows a hedge being used as an entrance into a garden, creating some privacy and yet leading the eye to the main terrace doors.
A hedge can be grown using almost any plant material that will withstand constant clipping. The list of suitable plants is quite large. At the smaller end you have the traditional box hedging often used in kitchen gardens, or to surround ornamental flower beds, as seen below.
Types of Plants to use.
To create a less formal barrier, you could use forsythia – but remember that forsythia flowers on last year’s wood. So pruning and shaping should be restricted to just after flowering if possible. Hornbeam, Beech, Rose, Escallonia, Cotoneaster, Laurel, Yew, Leylandii, Thuja all make a nice hedge.
Of course the height you desire the hedge, makes a difference in choice of plants to use as well.
Heights of hedges.
The height is also dictated by how often and by what method is used to keep the hedge clipped. As can be seen below, this hedge would take many hours of work to keep it in this condition.
Trimming a hedge can be a simple job, with a handheld trimmer or a more serious project with lots big of equipment.
Outside Home Check List
After starting my Real Estate career in England in 1971.
I left for 25 years to development a multi award winning External Works Design & Build Company in London.
Part of this was spent designing & building high end landscapes on residential properties in Southern England.
We developed an initial review list of what to look for when considering the potential for properties, along with expected on going aftercare.
Our construction teams focused on detailed hard & soft landscaping.
Developing new ‘Designer Drives’ using a ‘drylay’ system with block, brick and granite materials as early as 1982.
Can you see the second manhole cover ?
Some larger homes benefitted from a less expensive softer appearance as below when we used a bonded ( with fibreglass resin) gravel drive with brick gulley detail.
Whilst the list is by no means complete, I am planning on creating a section within this website to show the various techniques and ideas for homeowners.
I haven’t made any suggestion as to cost simply because each site is different.
There are many factors impacting costs, not least access, planning and zoning, time of year, scope of works, current material & labor costs.
I do hope though that this provides help in your overall assessment of the property you are reviewing.
I will add sections each week with picture examples.
Just send me an email or complete the form below with the Subject : “ Outside Forms” adding what you are thinking about doing, I will be happy to make suggestions.
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
“The commitment & sheer hard work required to achieve career success nowadays takes a heavy toll on our lifestyles. All of us need to counterbalance a busy working schedule with the right level of relaxation. For centuries gardens have been places of retreat and contemplation where our minds, detached from everyday problems, can resolve conflicts and plan confidently for the future.”
“A rare moment of peace in the perfect haven of a garden brings us renewed harmony with nature”
There is something rather special about returning home from work , seeing your beautiful landscape, perhaps pouring a glass of wine, or beer, then taking a walk around your landscaped garden enjoying the trees, flowers, shrubs, all whilst listening to the insects & birds, before an evening meal.
This tends to be a bit of a chore when the temperature is over 90f with sweat dripping off your forehead with each sip, however once the temperature falls to below 80f it is very much more relaxing.
It’s a great time to water the container plants ,dead head the flowers, check on the veggies , check on the water levels of the ornamental ponds, maybe even pull the odd weed from your immaculate borders. You do have immaculate borders? I mean what would the neighbours say ?
Finally stroll back to the main terrace to complete or restock the beverage..mmmm ‘if only’ I hear you say, alternatively pop into a nearby park at lunchtime for a few minutes peace and relaxation.
Unexpected benefits of gardening
Research is now emerging that suggests that digging in the soil is actually beneficial, as the microbes found in real soil are the very ones that help us feel good . – Perhaps its time for us to develop adult sand pits? No just kidding, all that yucky sand traipsed indoors would wreak havoc with the carpets, “She who must be obeyed” would read us the riot act.
I do think that , garden landscapes are for using, they are not like a trophy, or picture hanging on the wall, they are alive, constantly changing ,constantly in need of nurturing, feeding, watering ,tending but above all else enjoying.
What better way to enjoy than to actually get into the midst of the garden and soak up all those positive ions?
This beautiful award winning garden was developed some years ago for a very busy client, who had a passion for orchids , immaculate lawns, with filled to the brim shrub borders.
We were often asked how it was that most lawns had these long lasting “stripes”. The secret is two fold, first the mower used has to have a roller behind the cutting blades, it can be a rotary mower, although the best is obviously a cylinder mower, also the roller should be the drive method for the mower .
The second is to make sure that each time you cut , you turn 90 degrees from the last.
The advantage of the cylinder mower is, usually you are cutting finer grass, and it needs to be quite short, a rotary mower tends to tear the grass blades and thus causes bruising, so it never looks as good, but it is able to cut much tougher grass which is usually also much higher in length.
Sometimes when I wished to get away from the constant ringing phone , a product of having great teams, being in constant demand and being easy to contact, I would head out to a clients garden and actually spend an hour or two cutting their lawn for them, although it earned me the reputation of ‘The Gardener in a Suit” as I always wore a suit and tie to work !
It was a great way to recharge the batteries !
Come listen to our interviews at Growing Trends they are all about these amazing folks with a passion for landscape gardening, the experts that help them and the wonderful folk that create them.
We would love to hear from you too….if you visit us at www.growingtrends.org please spend a moment to click our Facebook Like !
Ann & Chris
Most people are so interesting, it’s just a matter of coaxing them to talk to you, then asking the right questions.-
Are you passionate about your garden ?,
Do you have a favorite landscape ?,
Would you like to be interviewed ?
We started this series of horticultural based interviews with one simple idea, which was, that within our very diverse industry there were many people :-
Designers or Creators,
or Visitors and Admirers,
who had fascinating stories to tell about their everyday lives.
We have not been disappointed , in fact, we have been surprised by how many folks have a real passion for all things outside, particularly by how many people would like to reconnect with nature.
So with that in mind here is a day in the life of… Ann & Chris. the co-hosts of Growing Trends, we ventured out last Saturday, bright & early, just as the sun was rising :-
5.00 am Saturday
Ann & I had literally, a ‘field day’ on Saturday.
We each got up at the crack of dawn, and went to interview Farmer Steve, at Weston Red Barn Farm
We arrived at 7.30am and had already missed Steve, who had picked a crop of fresh peaches for Cindy ( his lovely wife) to take to market some 50 miles away.
Steve & Cindy have, for the past 25 years been slowly developing Weston Red Barn Farm to a traditional working farm, specifically to show kids how farms are part of the community. They have Apples, Peaches, Chickens, Goats, Horses, a Farm Shop, Pumpkin fields, along with a wedding venue. It keeps them very busy throughout the summer and autumn.
One of Steve’s farm workers arrives to feed the chickens, goats, ducks, and horses, calls Steve for us, who appears over the horizon in a 4 wheeler…
We set up the Mics, the recorders,then we interviewed Steve for around an hour, it could have been much longer, Steve had a fascinating journey and one that you will be able to hear on our show shortly at Growing Trends Internet Radio
A few snippets : –
They have an amazing 12,000 – 15,000 school children visit them every year !
They have 67 weddings at the farm in a year.!
I happen to know one of the current family members , of the family that invented the milk churn, their company was called Express Dairies, they developed the original milk churn to take milk from the ‘shires’ to London on the newly built railways, for the burgeoning population of the city.Needless to say they made a handsome profit !
Of course these days most milk isn’t delivered by horse & cart, or by electric milk floats – yes way back in the 60’s milk in England was delivered by battery powered eco-friendly milk floats, as a youngster I often helped the ‘Milkman’ on his rounds for an extra shilling or two.
Ok, so back to the interview.
The Farm is about to lay out it’s Pumpkins for sale so Ann found a few pumpkins lying around and ….posed for a quick picture – they sure look impressive !
There was even time for a spot of ‘picking’, in my miss spent youth we would go ‘Scrumping’
With our interview completed, it was time to rush back to interview our second fascinating person of the day.
Alan Sargent was over 4000 miles away, and 6 hours ahead of us, in Petworth, West Sussex in England.
Alan has a most varied career in horticulture :-
He has Built or,
Designed and Built dozens of Chelsea Flower Show Gardens,
Design & Constructed Award Winning Landscapes.
Formed a Trade Association,
Judged Garden Exhibits,
Found time to be a Head Gardener at one of England’s finest and busiest Estates – the 12000 acre Goodwood Estate – with its 44 acre gardens, airfield, horse racing,and motor racing circuits.
the race course…
the motor racing circuit. – or for the Petrol heads as Alan refers to them !
Alan’s skills are legendary, and he has a keen eye for detail – I am a detail freak too, so I love his workmanship !
His stone work is superb.
Ann and I were to coin an English expression ‘Plum Tuckered’ – you will need to look up it’s meaning, here’s a clue to replenish the reserves we stopped for breakfast..
10.30am back home.
It was time for that quick breakfast, and of course coffee – coffee in America is so good …
Then we quickly reviewed the recordings, packed up the recording gear. Headed off to the lake some 53 miles away for a well earned break, sailing our little racing cruiser ‘Stiletto’
It’s amazing how relaxing an afternoon sail can be.. this week it was a tad hot at 100f but still fun.
This Weeks Show
This weeks show will be about a fantastic store that brings in it’s very own miniature pony each weekend, where it has a small coral in the ‘Fairy Garden’ at the back of the store. – you can buy all many of things for creating a miniature garden !
We are also talking to Richard Benfield a Garden Tourist Guru, whilst he is on his travels, around the world, we caught up with Richard in Western Australia.. do listen to the show at.. Growing Trends Internet Radio if you, or you know someone that would be fun to interview drop us a line and we will get back to you.
In the meantime we have a website telling you more at www.grotrends.com
You will be able to hear all about Weston Red Barn Farm, along with Alan’s adventures in the coming weeks.
If you have someone in mind we could interview drop us a line briefly explaining who & why.
Ann & Chris.
Ann & I thought it would be fun to explore in a little depth the opportunities to re-connect with nature and the ways we can all achieve this within our busy schedules.
Recent reports have shown that even a simple stroll in a woodland has beneficial results, as the trees give off a scent that is very calming to us all – the Japanese even have a word for this.
We also know that the soil contains beneficial microbes that act in a similar way to anti-depressants – perhaps this is why so many gardeners are happy dedicated folks ?
Our promenade starts at home…. with a stroll around a garden.
By adding the artificial stream we created more interest as you walked around the garden.
Many of the gardens we have designed and built contain a pathway to walk around the garden, they are wide enough for two people to walk side by side, usually constructed of a long-lasting, hard wearing semi flexible surface, ( we avoided concrete as its everywhere in the urban environment, and we have found that natural materials almost always look better)
Here the path acts as transition between the shrub beds and the more formal lawn, further over was a fenced in swimming pool.
The amount of traffic, will to some extent dictate the types of finish materials best suited to the task – all will need a sub-base preparation that can withstand the intended loads. ( a reminder for designers).
A lunch break walk, or special trip to the museum , brings a different style of path.
This beautiful pathway was repeated on the other side of the parkland setting
This heavily trafficked walkway above , is constructed of large rectangular pieces of natural stone, with a suitable load bearing base beneath, it is designed for many years of use.
Some of us are lucky to have offices with roof top garden for us to relax in for a few moments, this one was attached to the staff restaurant in central London.
This Roof Garden walkway is constructed of pre-treated wood and then stained, it’s laid on a spreader system, to allow the loads to be evenly distributed across the roofs entire surface ( one of those engineering requirement when working on a roof). We stained the wood green to soften it’s impact and to add to the whole ambiance.
Back home for a moment , this stepping path acts as a beautiful transition from lawn to path to pond
Walking to the rose arbor from the house….
Constructed of large wooden pieces, this treated timber, then stained black stepping path has pea-gravel between the pieces so we could add scented herbs , which release their essence as you step on them, the edges of the shingle are stopped off with bricks set between the wooden pieces. Creating a soft, but effective pathway.
Some years ago at a Dutch Floriade we came across this superbly, educational pathway.
Designed so that users could observe nature on the floor of the pond, it was both inspirational and educational.
Almost all gardens benefit from a method to transit from one space to another, here we created a gravel path that took the place of a traditional lawn, serving two main purposes, it significantly reduced aftercare, and reduced watering, yet looked as if it was meant to be here.
This garden was only 10ft wide by the shed !
This roof garden, was the subject of an exhibition, so a great deal of work was required to create a suitable pathway around.
The roof top garden was tracing the history of London’s gardens from the middle ages to the present time – well some 20 years ago.
Here’s how it finally looked..
I’ve no idea how it looks today !
Finally, if you want very low maintenance, it’s best to stick to hard surfaces, like this granite sett pathway..
If you want a softer look , using natural bricks ( as long as they are frost resistant) is another alternative to consider.
or perhaps for the busy executive, a pathway that’s covered by a pergola on either side…
Hopefully we have inspired you to step outside and wander down to your nearest park, playground or just enjoy outside.
Find out more, listen to the amazing folks that create, tend, are passionate about or just have built these beautiful relaxing gardens, our show is all about the people
We would love to hear from you.
I don’t know about you but, it’s sure been a busy week. Here in the MIdWest the temperatures have been unseasonable , with lower temperatures than normal and lots of rain. This has had a bit of a calming effect on plant growth, with some unusual results – for instance it hasn’t been a particularly good season for of all things Rosemary.
My roses are just returning to flower after a prolonged intensive care program, which afforded harsh pesticides, insecticides and miticides use.
“She” – who much be obeyed, had given due notice that she would not be amused if they continued to look like a cross between a spiders web and a spotty leaf.
This week was also National Farmers Market Week, so we interviewed some really interesting growers at a market, we then interviewed an amazing couple who have literally planted thousands of unusual trees on their mini estate – loved the Larch, and a Zelkova, and a magnificent specimen Oak.!
All this interviewing had us thinking – well the brain cells were stimulated a tad more than normal. We realized we were noticing a trend that I suspect is becoming more prevalent, in which people are missing the contact they once had with their suppliers. The market was just bustling from early in the morning, with regulars, who really wanted to converse with the many producers, all the wonderful folks we’ve been interviewing all really enjoyed talking about their garden passions.
We could see time and again, that there is a need to engage folks, and that youngsters are part of this, they are seeking information on a one to one basis, sure you could find this on your phone or tablet, but thats only half the story, the big stores are impersonal, some even intimidating, what we are seeing is a return to the more, small personal specialist. It will be interesting to see if it continues. Big may not be as beneficial as it once was !
Ever since we started our radio show, I’ve come to realize how diverse, passionate and simply fascinating today’s gardeners really are.
Whilst still at school, working in the vacations a friend and I would plant new woodlands in England, we planted well over 1 million trees in that period – of course at the time they were tiny 2+ 2’s ( thats two year old twice transplanted). In subsequent years, I’ve designed hundreds of gardens and commercial properties with the team planting many hundreds of thousands more trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, herbs, bulbs and corms. The most amazing sight , during this time was , seeing a chap in America transplanting trees ( about thirty or forty actually) some weighing over 650 tons, that were 60ft tall, with a 15ft deep x 45 foot wide rootball – now that is impressive, requiring a multitude of additional skills, not least irrigation some 40ft high into the tree itself!
Over the years we have met some truly wonderful people, who have a real passion, for flowers, or just orchids, or roses, or lawns, or even garden structures.
I remember building a gazebo for a client, who then asked for a copper roof, we then had to weather it so it went green quicker.
Or the client who’s passion was a weed free lawn – he would ‘swish’ the dew off the lawn every night before he went to bed !
Or the client who always tried to ‘scalp’ his lawn – the solution was to quietly add some washers to his mower settings and thus prevent the blades being set to low – not sure if he ever figured that out.
Or rose grower who tended his roses at night using a miners type lamp..
Or a lady who spent more than 8 hours everyday in her absolutely stunning perennial garden.
The one thing in common was that they derived a huge amount of peace and relaxation, working in the garden in touch with nature, it was like the ultimate stress release.
One of our radio show interviews touched on this when we discovered that research shows that woodland trees give of a chemical that we find calming as we walk through a woodland.
The point is they all had a passion that drove them to achieve results most of us would struggle with in all walks of life
In other words they got the maximum achievement out of each and everyday, and the garden helped them recharge their batteries just as a good nights sleep does !
I’ve always believed in attention to detail, striving to find the easiest yet pleasing on the eye finish to areas, using where ever possible natural materials, such as bricks, timber, wrought iron ( if you can find it), etc. to complete projects. When it comes to planting you cannot beat using a color wheel to develop contrasting colors schemes and have them blend with one another to create a complete picture.
If this all sounds familiar and you have a passion for gardening, no matter where, drop me a line and we will try and interview you for our show. It can be as short as a hello or as long as an hour, that’s really up to you.
In the meantime do tune in, as it’s digital radio you can listen anywhere, you will find Growing trends on www.cravingtalkradio.com daily at 1pm & 7pm central US time, or if you prefer using an app were on Live365.
Continuing from our last blog, we move to a slightly larger herb and veggie garden. Using our newly patented Weekend Garden Kits.
We’ve also added some african marigolds to help keep pests away, our next one will include some nasturtiums to further help protect naturally.
This garden uses one of our recently patented Weekend Garden Kits, which helps save a huge amount of time, reduces significantly weed growth and helps preserve moisture levels.
By purchasing the kit early, you can use it to almost effortlessly remove weeds in your plot area – this is achieved quite simply by, marking out the area and then covering with a generous layer of old newspapers, place the weekend garden kit fabric over the newspaper and use the pegs provided to keep in position. After about 4- 6 weeks all the weed growth beneath will have been stopped and the earth should be almost clear.
Simply remove the newspapers, and any debris, reset the weekend garden kit, and plant as directed for the chosen layout.
The one above took less than 2 hours to plant you can see how here.
The picture above is from a classic French village, in this case it was a restaurant we stopped at during a summer vacation. It was special because it drew the eye and the multitude of geraniums seemed to go on for ever. Red is by the way a great attention grabbing colour !
Sometimes a garden landscape just seems to ‘pop’ right out at you and you look 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 ordered, 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).
So with out further ado, here are a few true craftsmen at work.
This was an exhibition , with all the parts pre designed, when everything arrived on site, we realised that the back of the site had been raised 18 inches ( 450mm) and this required a complete re-adjustment and refit on site, so Tony and his co-worker did just that. You would never know looking at the final result.
This roof garden looked just like a normal roof, for a little while..then Mike and his co-worker went to work.
It’s hard to believe that this roof above became the picture below…
Or we started with…a real mess!
Some 300 tonnes of sub base, 100 tonnes of sand and 30,000 bricks, 250 tonnes of soil, 500 sq m of turf, 200 plants later….
What you cannot see, is that these are natural bricks, selected because they are softer looking, colour fast ( they do not bleach with time as a concrete block does) and because they are ‘fired’ they are not all the same size or shape. This is significant because it is almost impossible to lay a continuous pattern without it running out of line, it takes quite a bit of skill to get it just right.
or we started with.. the brickwork in the picture is the edge of the conservatory..
it is both exciting & fun to create a dream space for someone… here an old set of steps leading to a lawn is completely revamped, we extended the terrace, drained the lawn and raised the levels some 6 inches (150mm).
with a little extra effort…
and looking back..
The before picture, oddly we often removed swimming pools, especially when young families moved in.
Now here’s the after picture….
and one looking down from above.. quite a transformation
This BBQ is a bespoke tailor made version for an English client, the 8 inch oak posts and second hand peg tiles , add much of it’s charm.
The grill used charcoal, well I’m a purist, we made it in two sections so you can fast and slow cook….
The BBQ below is from a cousins in central France, they would burn the logs in the early morning, and then just use the embers to cook with, unless they were preparing a whole pig or lamb in which case they had a scooter motor adapted to turn the spit over the coals.
The rest of this lovely restful weekend house was a converted mill house.
So back to BBQ’s, cooking pork cutlets heavily coated in Dijon mustard and sprinkled with Herbes de Provence
I discovered that if you wrap these cutlets ( they need to have fat marbling ) in foil and BBQ them they taste even juicier than just simply BBQ’ing on a hot grill. Fantastic with dry Rose wine from Provence or the Rhone for that matter.. and a light salad…
The inside still had the mill stone housing, although the floor had been changed to multi color changing light show…