• Lake Sailing,  Landscape Design & Build,  Real Estate

    Are you thinking of moving?


    Are you looking to Buy or Sell a home in the Greater Kansas City Metro Area ?     

    I’m a licensed Realtor in Kansas & Missouri with



                                   Wingman Real Estate Associates

                                   KW Partners Inc

                                   6850 College Blvd

                                   Overland Park, KS

                                   Each office is Independently owned & Operated

    Hello, I’m Chris,

    A little about me,                                                                     

    I’ve always strived to be just a little different.

    Over the years this approach has enabled me to embrace a varied and really fulfilling work environment.

    Exploring many areas and seeing a huge variety of places. At the same time meeting many fascinating people from all walks of life. 

    I’ve enjoyed every moment, gaining much insight into the ways of clients and the world.

    Providing me with a huge amount of experience. Working with thousands of homeowners over almost 50 years.

    More Importantly, I’ve found that patience, attention to detail with regular contact helps the process of buying and selling homes.

    Please reach out call or text me at 816 813 0729 

    or just take a look at properties that are available now , visit  – My website


    My early days:

    On leaving school my first job was as a junior sales assistant to the assistant of the Commercial Partner in a large local Real Estate firm with five offices. In my then, home town of Reading, England.

    It was a busy fun place to work, with a great team of around 30 or so professionals specialising in Country Homes, Rural Estates, Shops & Offices, Rural Land and Antique sales.

    It didn’t take long to learn a huge amount, showing homes, offices, shops and industrial complexes – I recall spending a few days chain surveying a now extremely famous rock stars new estate.

    On another occasion we valued an entire aerodrome – now a large business park.

    The company used to manage estates for the rich and famous, one of my jobs was to keep the ‘Gun Book’ for Sir Charles Clores, Stype Estate. The pheasants were then sent on to Selfridges his London department store – It seemed earning how to write in Italics had its benefits!

    Amenity Horticulture

    After a year or so, I was introduced to the newly developing industry of Commercial Amenity Horticulture – a cross between Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Construction Management,  Surveying and Horticulture.

    I decided to spend the next four years learning more. It was a great decision at the time.

    Four years training for a degree. Then working for a large parks department in London. After a few years forming our own company in London.

    External Design & Build

    A cross between Landscape Architecture & Construction Management was just making an impact on cities it was an exciting time. My three partners and I soon discovered that our knowledge and training gave us a huge advantage over our competitors.

    We won many awards, as I recall around 18, were given fabulous projects to carry out, learned an incredible amount about design, engineering, construction and project management.

    Here are just a few examples of our work.

    The drive surface above is a combination of fiberglass mixed with dried p-shingle, the edging is a triple brick gulley

    A more traditional dry-lay brick drive.

    Working in London

    I trained and employed truly superb craftsmen. Designed and built both of these executive residences landscapes.


    These pictures show how the properties have matured after 25 years. 

    A natural brick & stone terrace

    Landscape features.

    We had fun designing and building features for each garden landscape.

    Here, a simple pergola.

    Here a Mediterranean dry landscape – no grass


    Here’s a small selection of projects over the years, with many thanks to all the wonderful staff that were part of the team that enabled us to carry out such lovely work for our clients.

    I’ve added some of my work and hobbies, to give a more fuller idea about me, such as writing children’s books, conducting Interviews around the world for our Growing Trends podcast.

    A whole host of landscape ideas ( some might be of interest to you) that we employed or invented for homes, roof gardens, children’s playgrounds, hospitals, parks and streets – collecting both awards and industrial patents along the way.



    My relaxing passion is sailing – that’s not me hanging over the rails, its the sailboat in front trying to keep us behind them in a race ! 

    I’ve been sailing since the age of 8. I learned on an English lake in a 10ft 6 inch Cadet like the one below. We actually made one in plywood as a woodworking project at school when I was 11.

    Example of Cadet sailing

    Today my wife Cindi and I have a Catalina Capri 25 and a Catalina 28

    Capri 25
    Stiletto our Racing Capri 25
    “Quinley” our relaxing Catalina 28
    Tuning the new sails
    Trying out the new sails

    Sailing is one of the most relaxing, thought provoking, physically exhausting and challenging pastimes one could have. It teaches you to focus 100% on the task at hand.

    Which conveniently leads me to how I approach Real Estate. 


    Hopefully you will allow me to help you discover your dream home or assist you selling a property, or just give you an idea or two.

    I would very much like to help you with your home sale or search for a new home.


    I’m here to help you. 

    If you are looking for a Real Estate Agent licensed in the Kansas City Metro and Surrounding Area and most importantly not already signed with another agent.

    Please consider contacting me. A simple text  to 816 813 0729 will get us started.

    Are you looking for someone that has the time to provide you with a professional service?


    I am someone who is willing to spend the time helping you sell your home or buying your next dream home?


    If you prefer to email : chrisdysoncoope@kw.com

    Let’s begin the journey to find your dream home or sell your property today!   




    Contents of the website.

    The additional sections within this website, of which there are many, include a series of fascinating interviews, from some very special experts across the world.

    I’m happy to answer any questions on any of the articles on landscaping, just drop me a line to get started. – chris@chriscoope.com

    Thank you for stopping by, 


    Realtor® with Wingman Real Estate Associates.  KW Partners Inc  –  Each office is Independently owned & Operated

    If you would like to sign up, I will periodically send you articles relating to homes.



      © Chris Coope LLC.


      Views: 75

    • Allergies,  Book Reviews,  Podcasts

      Suffering from Allergies?

      Ann and I were fortunate to interview Tom Ogren.

      Tom is the author of a fascinating ,very informative book about Allergies in the garden.

      This is a must read for avid gardeners everywhere. Especially if you are one of the many suffering from allergies.

      Allergy-Fighting Garden, cover

      You can hear our interview with Tom below or at www.growingtrends.org or on iTunes at Growing Trends

      We would love to hear your thoughts and comments, please spend a moment sending us your thoughts and suggestions.

      Ann & Chris

        Views: 281

      • Home & Garden,  Landscape Design & Build,  Landscape features

        Creating mystery & intrigue with Timber Walls, Fences & Trelliage

        Last time we talked about paths.

        Today I thought it might be advantageous to discuss ‘Timber Walls & Fences’.

        We will include Trelliage as they all have a role to play.

        Helping to create a certain kind of mystery within a garden landscape.

        We’ve discussed hedges recently, so you can scroll down to that article if you would like.

        These ‘vertical materials’ are acting as a visual or physical  barrier between differing areas.

        This leads the eye on to a new discovery or perhaps just creating an interesting space.

        At some time fairly soon we should add ‘Green Walls’ which are gaining in interest and can look absolutely superb.

        I wonder how long it is before we develop these to grow vertical edibles ?

        Having designed and built a huge number of gardens over the years. We have gained valuable experience in what works best in a given situation.

        Using Timber.

        The garden below, was primarily designed to reduce aftercare. Taking care to keep the beautifully rustic boundary fencing, which blends in to both the surroundings and the new work so well.

        It was necessary, to repair the odd arris rail, a couple of fence posts and some slats, re-hang the side gate etc. Overall by keeping the original fence the rustic feel was, I think, you will agree maintained.


        Low hit and miss side fence with 6ft feather edged boundary fence & framed gate
        Low hit and miss side fence with 6ft feather edged boundary fence & framed gate

        Start with what is already there.

        It’s nearly always best to work with what is already there, rather than ripping out everything. My first task is always to look up and see how the tree canopy is. Then beyond the space we are working with.

        To see what impact, we may be making without perhaps realizing how a neighbor might view our endeavors.

        Very low maintenance, Mediterranean style
        Very low maintenance, Mediterranean style

        In small gardens complete barriers tend to make the garden smaller.  It is best to create more of an illusion of a barrier. This is often best created by using trellis. Here is an example that we stained black.

        A word of warning, trying to make a gate from trellis is fraught with problems if you do not add a full frame that is braced. When you add this, it tends to upset the look of the trellis, so think carefully before using as a gate. As without the frame the gate will change shape over time!


        The trellis here was primarily to separate the more formal ‘Front Garden’ with the more relaxed ‘Play Garden’ at the rear and side of the property.



        To improve the strength of this gate we added metal framing at each corner, both inside and outside, it was only partially successful.

        A black stained trellis gate
        A black stained trellis gate

        If a more substantial barrier is required, say in the form of a structural wall to hold back a bank then there are a number of ways to achieve this.

        Low Timber Retaining wall.

        Here we used vertically set timber as a retaining wall. We did place a waterproof membrane behind the timber and a gravel pressure release drain. So as not to have unsightly stains running across the light colored paving.

        Low timber retaining wall
        Low timber retaining wall

        A quite pleasing effect can be achieved.

        The softer low timber wall looks at home here.
        The softer low timber wall looks at home here.

        Roof Gardens

        Roof gardens benefit from the light weight of timber. Its ability to be ‘modulised’, as can be seen here.

        Low timber walls on roof garden
        Low timber walls on roof garden

        Structural Timber Walls

        Some years ago, now, we discovered. Well perhaps I should say a local native of our area wanted someone to test a new product he had found lurking in New Zealand. So, as we had won a number of awards for our work, and our teams were well known, he persuaded us to try this product.

        Structural Timber Walls
        Structural Timber Walls

        It was fantastic. Ok I should add some provisos, it is treated wood, it lasts a very long time, I have pieces from 30 years ago that are still unblemished. Maybe bleached a little but otherwise fine. It will twist if not constructed correctly, although it is unzippable and thus fairly straightforward to repair. If you introduce plants into the wall, it looks amazing. Infact the plants protect the timber.

        Here’s a much taller one we completed.

        It is essential to use a structural engineer to carry out the necessary survey, and calculate the design criteria for these ‘Gravity Walls.’



        Once established they can look like this..

        Planting covering a timber wall
        Planting covering a timber wall
        The timber wall blends in so well
        The timber wall blends in so well

        Some years back we were even asked to build a play area within a timber stockade. The posts were about 16 ft long and required some ingenuity to place correctly.

        Treated timber barrier in play area
        Treated timber barrier in play area

        Here’s how we did it..

        Using a 4in1 bucket on a bobcat
        Using a 4in1 bucket on a bobcat

        Moving to more decorative uses, let’s explore trelliage and low walls..

        Wishing well feature with trellis back drop
        Wishing well feature with trellis back drop

        We sometimes add some whimsy to our designs. Here we used a rather deep drainage shaft, disguising it as a wishing well. To make it stand out we added a trellis surround to enable us to plant climbers to enhance the visual impact. Here its just been completed.

        Pergola with Wishing Well at end of path
        Pergola with Wishing Well at end of path

        Ornamental Trelliage

        Here we used a cloud trellis to add some movement to the landscape. To help hide the boring stepped trellis in the neighboring garden.

        Cloud trellis adds movement
        Cloud trellis adds movement

        Here the trellis has been painted white next to the house it gives a very clean look.

        Painting trellis white adds interest
        Painting trellis white adds interest

        Here we had a custom-made heavy-duty trellis, note the pencil edges soften the whole fence.

        Superb detail for trellis
        Superb detail for trellis
        The completed trellis barrier
        The completed trellis barrier

        Ann & I will spend a little time on the radio show talking about materials. When we interview our next guests who will be Designers.

        In the meantime, do come and listen at  Growing Trends

        We would love to hear from you with ideas, comments, suggestions and requests…

        Ann & Chris

          Views: 323

        • Home & Garden,  Landscape design,  Landscaping Ideas

          What one item or feature is the most important in a garden landscape today ?

          So a question ?

          What one item or feature would you add to your or your clients garden today?

          When we started out with our then new company back in 1984, we identified “designer drives”, especially drives with an ‘In & Out’ drives as the most important. Sure enough within 6 months our order book stretched out into the following year.

          The first drive we built in the then traditional way, hardcore sub base, with natural frost proof bricks laid on wet mortar and then pointed with a stiff one to three pointing mix – it took ten days!

          Then we remembered a new dry-lay product we had used when we worked in the parks department, it had been designed for bus stops. Called ‘monolok’ it was a ‘z’ shaped concrete block.

          We called Marshalls the manufacturer who dispatched a sales rep with a new rectangular version, available in grey and off red only … we loved the product but were not over enthusiastic about the colors.

          Other firms descended on us for information, our advertising, which showed sporty cars sitting on interlocking concrete block and brick paving, produced lots of interest.


          It wasn’t long before the manufacturers were calling wanting to take pictures of our drives. Which they used in their advertising material.


          An example of a brick drive 

          Here we used stock brick paving. Although fairly soft, with somewhat irregular shapes, requiring much shorter modules, it keeps its color very well.

          45 degree herringbone
          45 degree herringbone

          Here a much harder engineering quality natural brick is used to good effect. Although to be honest it looks a little ‘hard’

          Dri-lay natural brick drive
          Dri-lay natural brick drive

          The next was concrete block paving, these were very hard, initially with limited colors. The color does fade quite quickly. They are also quite slippery in the ice.

          Brindle colour drive

          Some of my favorite materials to use.

          As our order book enlarged we started offering more expensive solutions, such as granite setts – something the Romans introduced.

          This granite sett pathway is extremely hard wearing and yet very rustic looking.
          This granite sett pathway is extremely hard wearing and yet very rustic looking.

          These drives are very hard wearing, color fast, strong, again a little slippery in ice.


          It wasn’t long before we included ‘Fish scale’ versions, these took quite a long time to set out, but looked absolutely amazing when completed.

          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….

          Then these circular natural sett patterns became popular. The radial patterns create a strong a sense of movement – just look at them long enough, they seem to ‘move’

          What new trend, item or feature do you think will be the favorite for 2020?  

          We will interview the top three on our radio show  Growingtrends.org during the year.

          Just drop us a line with your suggestions..



            Views: 313

          • Award winning landscape Design & Build,  Landscaping Ideas,  Roof Gardens

            Green Roof

            Green Roofs

            Green Roof

            We soon discovered that the modular layout of the green walls worked superbly for Green roofs.

            So in 1994 we designed and built this award winning Green Roof in central London.

            Wooden pathway on Roof Garden

              Views: 327

            • Hedge,  Landscape Design & Build,  Landscaping

              Privacy Planting a Garden Hedge

              Garden Hedges,

              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.Image

              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.


              Clearing away the cuttings

                Views: 348

              • A little light reading,  Landscape Design & Build

                How it all began……..

                If only we could all enjoy everyday scenes like this !

                Beautiful landscapes take time, professionalism & commitment, from the owner, the designer, the builder and the maintainer.

                Unlike almost any other purchase a homeowner can make, an external project involves nature, nature has a habit of seeking attention often !

                So let’s take a moment to walk into my life as they say.

                There is a well known expression ” The customer is always right” – this is very true. It is essential to build the customers trust, and not lose it, for once gone events have a habit of sending everything as we say ‘Pear shaped’ …. today, let’s stay positive and explore some experiences….

                I only know ‘My’ experience, which to be fair has been fairly extensive, as well as fun, over all very enjoyable, with the odd heart stopping moment, which we will discuss later.

                My school days, yes ,I was privileged, were at Bearwood College, it’s a school in a beautifully laid out estate. Designed by The Rev Gilpin back in the early 1800’s for John Walters the founder of ‘The Times’,  – some 500 acres,  at school we were expected to do Estate work on the huge grounds once a week to help maintain the  appearance of the school around the mansion house.

                So as a youngster for 2 hours every week we played at aftercare of a huge Estate – I’ve just interviewed a colleague who did this for real as a Head Gardener of a 12000 acre estate, with among other things a 44 acre formal garden, this after years of designing spectacular award winning gardens, it’s a fascinating interview, as the estate is probably the busiest in the world with many events attracting over 100,000 visitors at a time, there is a motor racing and horse racing circuit within the grounds ! – you can hear Alan shortly on Growing Trends Podcast


                Bearwood College

                During my vacations to earn additional pocket money for school – the Tuck Shop was stocked with all things fattening, that us kiddies always preferred to real food ! No just kidding.

                I worked with a friend in his dad’s business of Forestry – we planted new woodlands in the winter break, did more planting in the spring break, then weeded the newly planted woodlands with a long handled hook in the summer break – it was heavy work but very rewarding, the ploughman’s lunch with a pint of shandy at lunchtime sitting out in a pub garden in the summer was glorious, however toasting your homemade sandwiches over a small twig fire in the depths of winter, cold, soaking wet, drinking peppered hot bovril wasn’t quite the same, especially as your toes were on the verge of frostbite !

                 Even the summer days had their own special moments…

                “That is  until you came across a wasp’s nest buried in the ground in your row as you cut down the foxgloves, brambles, and other assorted weeds  a swarm of angry wasp’s chased you along your row, which I might add was almost always a vertical hillside !  The really scary one was,  when a pheasant launched itself at you as you almost chopped its head off ! It used to take me a few minutes to calm down from that – you never ever hit the bird, or really saw it, but you sure heard it, and it was a huge blur as it flew past you.!”

                After leaving school, working for a year at an Estate Agent’s introducing clients to property investments, helping sell houses and commercial properties all around the Thames valley.

                I heard about a new landscape course at Merrist Wood College, was accepted, and spent three years really enjoying myself earning a College Degree in the process !

                The main house

                The course was so good, everyone of us was head hunted way before the course finished, well, now that I come to remember Bill, he had the new MGB sportscar, decided to buy a yacht and sailed off into the yonder, never to be heard of again !

                Subsequently I discovered how much fun it is to have a yacht and go sailing !

                I spend a further three or four years in a London Borough’s parks department learning some serious construction techniques – they called us Landscape technicians. There were six of us, in the group, when four of us left and the fifth joined the ranks of the clergy, one of the original six is still there so Ian must have 43 years of service ! It took almost 12 full time jobs to replace us !

                We learned a huge amount, it was a great place to learn, with lots of variety, seriously engineered construction techniques, a dedicated to us work study team, so we knew how long items took to build.

                Car Park

                Overall though it lacked the ability to really expand ones horizons, beyond parks, open spaces & schools, so after three years it was time to move on.

                Gravity Wall

                Private practice was a completely different place, armed with the knowledge of how to build to an exacting commercial standard – something that held us in very good stead as we built our company, we did something probably unique at that time, we deliberately concentrated on Design and Build we won one award after another, ( currently 17).

                We achieved this mainly because we created a standard working method, for our staff, we used standard details that we documented,. Most importantly we loved to experiment with new ideas.

                New Ideas...?

                No we didn’t do this ! This is a planning ‘item’ in Oxford, but I bet you took a couple of looks at it !

                One of the first A-ha !!! moments was Dri-lay drives, it happened because a client asked for a brick drive with a dark mortar joint.

                We duly designed and installed the drive – which took  two men 10 days just to point by hand !. This seemed a waste of potential profit , so recalling our local authority days the next one we tried was with the dri-lay method we had used in parks, the very first project saved us over 50% of the normal time to complete !

                Natural brick with mortar joints

                One of the design features we added, was a ‘canted’ brick edge, when ever possible this served two purposes, it was visually very attractive, catching the eye, creating a visual movement.

                More importantly for the housewife, it was a superb aide memoir when driving onto as if you got too close to the edge the powered steering ‘tweaked’ enough to prevent you from driving into the landscape – this produced lots of customers from recommendations..

                Below you see the first ‘dri-lay’ natural brick drive, we used a harder brick at first as the clay bricks tended to snap if you applied too heavy a vibration – after a while we figured using a rubberised mat would alleviate this issue.

                The bonus to us, the first drive took 2 weeks to complete, this one was finished inside 4 days !

                Dri-lay natural brick drive

                I well remember driving  to a large concrete manufacturer of paving and blocks in 1984 and asking for help with our advertising budget – in those days the firms would pay a percentage of your advertising if you mentioned them. Anyway we went up to Derby from London !  gave a presentation on ‘Designer Drives” , it blew them away and we were politely told that the market didn’t exist. – a year later we had 5 crews constantly working building Dry lay drives, so many firms were starting to see the market potential. that we moved up to bricks.

                Brindled block paving

                By then we offered Block Drives, Brick Drives and for the really discerning Granite Sett drives – I have to say a granite sett drive looks quite exceptional

                We also learned a valuable lesson, as we didn’t want to just build drives, we broadened what we offered clients, adding canted brick edges, specially designed recessed manhole covers, multi coloured drives- which then became ‘brindled.’ As the manufacturers caught on.

                Canted block edge

                Pictures of our drives appeared on advertising brochures from those very companies.

                Our next Aha !!! moment was the recessed manhole cover, which we made ourselves at first..

                Recessed covers

                See if you can see the second one in this picture above! This project was one of the first where we used a specially made stock brick the yellow is the kiln dried sand we used to brush between the interstices.

                Inserting recessed cover bricks

                and the final result ..

                Finished terrace

                We designed & built lots and lots of drives…100’s of 1000’s of square meters in area.

                45 degree herringbone

                We learned some valuable time saving lessons, the best looking was always bricks laid 45 degrees from the road direction, they took longer and required much more cutting, so warranted a slightly higher charge, but they almost always looked better.

                Natural bricks are not a standard size, so after about 6 ft (1.8m ) of one direction the joints tend to start running out of line so be careful how you set out. Oddly 45 degree herringbone actually helps to hide this visual effect.

                Dri-lay brick driveway & entrance gates

                 I have to admit that it has, and continues to be, an awful lot of fun and enjoyment, not to mention the satisfaction that comes from achieving a well thought out and attractive scheme, or seeing a client years later saying how much they have enjoyed what was done, how well it has lasted.

                A case of “Quality is remembered long after the price has been paid.”

                This granite sett pathway is extremely hard wearing and yet very rustic looking.

                I’ve always adopted a slightly different approach with private clients as I felt that most were not highly conversant with contractual law, or quantity surveying, always striving to give sound , honest advice, and maintain a high quality finish no matter what….

                The rose arbor was connected to the house by the pathway.

                How is it that some projects just look wonderful and others just ok ?

                The answer is in the detail and the finish.

                Pergola and well

                There is also no doubt in my mind that, the more experience one has, the greater the ability to be able to produce , not only an award winning scheme, but also to ensure that the design is both workable and economically viable – of course if money is no object ? – I have personally worked on a few projects where money was not part of the equation, oddly they didn’t work out any better than a well designed and thoughtfully implemented scheme.

                Some more A-ha !!! moments later , especially as we have grown longer in the tooth, we become smarter and now obtain patents for our “A-ha !! ” moments.

                In the meantime do listen to our interviews at Growing Trends 

                Drop me a line if you have a question or request.


                  Views: 125

                • Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature,  Path

                  Paths in your Garden

                  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


                  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

                    Views: 54

                  • Book Reviews,  Healthy Living,  Podcasts

                    The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion

                    Cancer Survivors Garden Companion1

                    Ann and I were fortunate to interview Jenny Peterson, just after her new book was published. Jenny is an amazing, extremely positive lady who is an inspiration for us all.

                    A Garden that Heals.

                    Pittsburgh, Pa. (October 5, 2015): When Jenny Peterson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, it rocked her world. Her cancer treatment was hard, emotional and often deeply depressing. But Peterson, a garden designer and Master Gardener, did not let the cancer diagnosis define her. She used her desire to garden and dig in the dirt again to pull her out of the darkness. And she discovered that gardening is good medicine –for the body, mind and spirit.

                    The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion:

                    Cultivating Hope, Healing and Joy in the Ground Beneath Your Feet
                    (St. Lynn’s Press, January 2016) tells Peterson’s story and explores the therapeutic benefits of this vital “earth connection,” including inspirational profiles of other cancer survivors, both men and women, whose gardens became their partners in healing.

                    With gentle empathy, beautiful photographs and easy how-to steps. Peterson shows others how to create their own backyard haven for healing – a personal restorative garden – with well-grounded guidance about diet, exercise, mental focus and spiritual renewal. Her book adds a fresh voice to the growing fields of horticultural therapy and therapeutic gardens.

                    What others are saying about The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion:

                    “Jenny’s tips for incorporating gardening into your life for mind, body, and spiritual health are ingenious!


                    What other authors are saying.

                    As a cancer coach, I will definitely be suggesting this book to my clients.” – Susan Gonzalez, BSN, CPCC, co-author of 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It, and editor of The Savvy Sister blog

                    “Jenny’s beautiful book reminds us all that life can be found in the healing, meditative act of gardening. By lovingly tending a garden, we can learn to nurture ourselves, restoring our mind, body and spirit in the process.” – Ray Anne Evans, Executive Director, Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas

                    “Jenny’s connection with gardening, garden design, and simply being in nature remained strong throughout her cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. In fact, it was part of what helped her through. And now she is helping others to learn from her powerful experience.” – Naomi A. Sachs, Founding Director, Therapeutic Landscapes Network; co-author, Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces

                    The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion will teach readers how to use the garden to heal, find hope and feel joy.

                    About the Author.

                    Jenny Peterson is a landscape designer and Master Gardener specializing in xeriscaping and small urban spaces. She is a cancer survivor who found hope and healing in her garden, even during the darkest days of chemotherapy and radiation. In the process, she made deep connections with the cancer support community, including physicians, nutritionists, bodywork practitioners, psychologists and spiritual counselors.

                    Peterson co-authored Indoor Plant Décor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants (St. Lynn’s Press, 2013) with Kylee Baumle. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her fiancé, 19 chickens, two dogs, two quails and a goat.

                    You can listen to the interview here :   Interviewing Jenny Peterson

                    If you would like to purchase the book : The Cancer Survivors Garden Companion

                    Views: 146

                  • Face Time,  Garden Centers,  Podcasts

                    Trends in European Garden Centers

                    Ann is in Paris, France talking to Valerie Langendorff, President of a Women’s Garden Executive Club.
                    Adjusted rose 1
                    Valerie looks at Garden Centers from the ladies perspective in France, her ladies group have identified a number of interesting trends..

                    Women make 70% of the purchase decisions.

                    Currently 90% of Garden Centers are managed by men.

                    They have developed an annual awards program judged by women.

                    Ladies nights are arranged in the Garden Center

                    They have an award for the most women friendly Garden Center.

                    They have discovered that women like innovation more than men..

                    You can listen to this fascinating interview here or on iTunes

                    Views: 84

                  • Face Time,  Gardenesque,  Podcasts

                    Ann visits the Chelsea Physic garden

                    It’s not often you find a garden that was founded in 1673 as The Apothecaries’ Garden

                    Ann was on a trip to Europe recently and dropped in on the beautiful Chelsea Physic Garden on the side of the river Thames in London.

                    The garden’s purpose was to train apprentices in identifying plants. The gardens’ location close to the river created a warmer microclimate, significantly increasing the many non-native plants that could be grown.

                    chelsea physic garden

                    In 1700 the garden had started an international botanical garden seed exchange system, which continues to this day.

                    The gardens cover some four acres and are leased on what is known as a peppercorn rent in perpetuity.

                    They are without doubt one of London’s secret ‘gems’ and thoroughly worth a visit.

                    chelsea physic garden

                    The garden’s mission ” Linking people with plants and nature”

                    The interview starts with Ann talking for around 8 minutes to a group of school children on a field trip, the gardens have over 100 such visits a year.  Ann then talks to Michael a very knowledgeable and extremely helpful member of staff. We kept all the typical inner city sounds on the recording – the enthusiasm of the children is very heartening.

                    Integrated pest management is the preferred method of bug control…

                    They have a project called “Shelf Life’ it is just an incredible way to show children where their food comes from

                    You can also listen to Ann’s interview on iTunes at Growing Trends

                    We would love to hear your comments and suggestions for a show… just send us an email to Growing Trends


                    Views: 88

                  • Book Reviews,  Face Time,  Podcasts

                    Growing Trends : How we look at Food Tourism today

                    Ann and I interviewed John Stanley of John Stanley Associates  recently about his new book, he jointly wrote with his wife Linda,

                     Food Tourism – A Practical Marketing Guide.

                    Food tourism

                    The fastest growth in tourism today is the culinary sector.

                    Listen to John as he explains the overall direction of food tourism, including how he sees future development.

                    A few snip bits:

                    Do you grow soil?

                    25% of the food we buy comes from 2% of the farmland around our cities, which is being swallowed up by development.

                    Farmers used to make 38 cents on every dollar now its down to an average of just 6 cents

                    Eating local seasonal food saves you around 25%, and is actually healthier for you!

                    You can hear this really informative interview here (click below) or on iTunes at Growing Trends

                    Views: 49