• 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

      Visits: 323

    • Book Reviews,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Podcasts

      Could we ask for a little help from you?

      An exhibition garden

      I’ve been really surprised at all the positive comments the site has been generating from everyone – Thank you all so much, it’s fun to write, improves my awful spelling, maybe my grammar as well ?

      You can let me know on that one !

      Some of you asked if I would make it possible to donate on this site, I’ve tried to avoid that, as well as adverts as I was trying to be impartial, with the content.


      As you may know we do have a fun internet radio show, where we interview folks from around the globe about their Gardens & Landscapes.

      Find some inspiration for your Yard today…

      When we started this radio show the aim was to find interesting people who had a passion for their Garden or Landscapes. Little did we know what would happen. In just a few months we have an audience stretching across the globe in 43 countries.


      We soon added a web site www.grotrends.com to provide details of schedules, information on guests and sponsors, and a growing information area with details of techniques, ideas and examples of projects.

      Working to complete an exhibition garden

      The show Growing Trends concentrates on the clients, the designers, the creators, the maintainers and the experts that help them, we would welcome any suggestions on who we should contact – the schedule is filling quickly, which brings me on to how you can help.

      Note how clean the working area is

      We have two one hour shows a day seven days a week, with a little funding help we can update the interviews more often, and tell the story of you, or your friends work, or your garden or landscape.

      Can you help us in just a small way ? Contributing just $5 ?

      Here’s the link to StartSomeGood   the crowdfunding source we are using for this fund raising campaign

      A Japanese style garden exhibition

      Growing Trends is fun, friendly, informative, interesting, amusing & entertaining.

      A project in Florida

      This one acre pond has a water change almost once per hour !

      A final interesting project from just outside New York. This fully structural gravity wall is almost 27ft high !

      Fully structural timber wall

      Note the access is less than 4ft !

      We really would appreciate your support, so we can interview maybe you, or your colleagues or friends, across the globe – thank you all for your support & comments.

      You can also find us on Facebook 

      Ann & Chris.


      Visits: 102

    • Edibles,  Food,  Gardening,  gardens,  Nature,  park,  Vegetable Growing

      Planting plans made easy to use at home!

      It’s been 40 years since I first grappled with a traditional planting plan. All those lovely latin names – like Fagus sylvatica,  Fritillaria meleagris, etc.,

      Hand drawn

      In the drawing office, it was a matter of using a thick graph paper so the electric eraser didn’t make lots of little holes in the paper as we repositioned plants, or corrected the many mistakes or changes in mind. Sometimes we used a plant stamp, then labelled by hand. As you can see interpreting the labels isn’t easy.

      The whole process was time consuming, difficult to make into a quality finished drawing.

      This next version once CAD was introcuded is a combination of hand drawn and CAD drawn, easier to interpret, but still not easy to set out.

      Using CAD system
      Using CAD system

      On  site, in those days these were cumbersome beasts, usually printed on dyeline, so it was dark, difficult to read with scribblings and such in the margin, fragile, and ruined once wet. Wrapping in plastic sort of helped, cutting into smaller sections then laminating was better..

      Checking off plants

      Wielding  one of these around on a damp morning picking out the plants, with the planting foreman, and then placing took for ever.

      Setting out plants

      Trying to mark off those plants you had placed and then moving on to the next batch, with a few areas missing….

      For some odd reason even though the nursery managed to price  all the plants, they never seemed to be able to deliver them all to site completely in one go, or even to the company yard, so the whole process was both time consuming, expensive and worse annoying to a client who by now had had enough of three or five members of staff working in what was their space.

      I hear a gentle nod of agreement or perhaps sigh of frustration?

      It got so bad that we used to change our standard estimate to something like..

      ” To carefully prepare ground, incorporating peat and fertilizer at each planting station, to supply & plant  in  ‘xxx’ number of flowering & ornamental shrubs, carefully watering in on completion, then applying a 50 mm depth of planting mulch”

      Here’s a plan without specifics..in this case a veggie garden area.

      An Isometric plant plan.

      This gave us a contractual escape clause, but wasn’t what we wanted to portray to our clients. We even tried to restrict the planting selection to plants we knew we could obtain, but designers & clients have pet likes and dislikes being restrained to just a few varieties caused all manner of objections!

      We even tried an even more generic look – with areas just designated for planting.

      Plan with Artist's Impression

      We also found most of our clients actually really wanted to do some of the work themselves, the idea of planting was often the most appealing, as the ground was prepared, the turf laid and all the ‘hard’ structural stuff was completed.  The feeling was that just a bit of planting wouldn’t take long and they could then say ‘we did this ourselves’….

      There was one small issue, understanding the ubiquitous planting plan. Setting out plants in the damp, with a tape, scale rule and a large piece of paper was a task best left to the experts.

      We solved this problem with our Weekend Planting Grid. A really easy to understand ‘garden bedding system’. Today we even have this simple system patented, it’s even incorporated into one of the more easy to use CAD programs.

      Photo Realistic Design

      The system cuts setting out times in half, for anyone, acts as a  landscape fabric or paper mulch, reducing weeds and watering and makes the whole process as easy as 1,2,3 ! – costing only marginally more than just a landscape fabric.mulch.

      No longer do you need a setting out plan, just a plant position is all that is required.

      New style Planting Plan

      It makes it very easy to place the plants in position, so now any combination of annual, bulb, corm, perennial, shrub, even tree  can be used with little risk of them being placed incorrectly. In fact there is no need for a planting plan at all ! Just a series of grids will do. The fabric is left to act as a landscape mulch mat, preserving water and reducing weeds, all it requires is a 2 inch layer of mulch to keep attractive.

      Setting Out Grid

      If you use the CAD program you can design your own arrangement , create them with photorealistic images and then print out their positions. The CAD program automatically generates the grid layouts, positions the plants, prints out a planting position list, even prints out a plant label with position for the plant pots, then generates a quotation and plant care notes – amazing really !

      Difficult to set out designs are now easy…

      Use four to make a quick 'Knot Garden"

      Complicated Herb and Veggie gardens are a breeze. With positions shown on a simple patented grid system.


      Even more fun is the simple PicaGardi that you can download and use it’s available on the iTunes store, Google Play and Amazon

      We are planning a Growing Trends radio show just about design and designers soon, we would love to hear your comments, suggestions & ideas.

      Ann & Chris

      Visits: 60

    • Edibles,  Food,  Gardening,  gardens,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature,  park,  Vegetable Growing

      It’s all in the detail !

      Today, I thought some technical stuff was in order.

      I’ll try and make it interesting, no doubt you will let me know ?

      I spent almost as much time as a Quantity Surveyor as I did a Landscape Architect & Contracts Manager… the worst part was as you grow a business you have to give up various aspects of the work, allowing others to do it instead.

      The secret is always find someone better than you to do the job you are relinquishing…

      Then catch them doing it right and praise them, whilst simultaneously stopping them from doing it wrong, without to much rancour.

      Quiet garden in Primary School

      Some years ago, just after I graduated I found myself working in the minor engineering and technical department for a large London Boroughs Parks Department – today you would be called a Landscape Architect, but in those days the Parks Managers wanted folks with hands on experience. This meant we not only knew how to design, but we also knew how to build and even better we knew how to manage the project, including the labour, right down to the work study times it took to build a specific item. We looked after Schools, Parks, Playgrounds, Golf Courses, Verges, Allotments, Open Spaces, Housing Sites and the odd Airfield.

      It's time to re connect with nature

      I always wondered why we frantically completed a valuation of work ( right down to the allowed minutes of time each element took) every Monday morning , then rushed the ‘bonus’ sheets over to the treasurers department on Tuesday morning  so the staff could be paid their bonuses on time each Friday – hourly paid staff were paid weekly in England ( us salaried staff were paid monthly, we even worked flexi time with every other Monday off, those were the days as they say !).

      In later years these standard minute values that had so painstakingly been obtained turned out to be especially useful when pricing large scale contracts, as they were actual times not  priced rates.

      What was more interesting though was they enabled someone to build up a time and thus rate for all manner of projects. So we could accurately figure out how long a BBQ would take to build for instance, or how long 5 tonnes of tarmac would take 3 men to prepare, lay, roll and clean up.

      Car Park

      When semi automatic pricing came along in the form of access based databases it was easy to ‘plug’ these times into the program to use for pricing projects.

      This worked great for projects where you weren’t tendering for a job, as you were usually able to produce a fair price, quickly and accurately.

      Saddleback coping with dark mortar.

      The projects that went out to tender were much more of a lottery, as depending on who was pricing and why, often dictated how the pricing went… No one minds losing a tender by say 1-2% and if everyone has a similar price. It would suggest that the bill of quantities , drawings and specifications are usually going to be an accurate reflection of the work in hand, without any unforeseen errors.


      What is intensely irritating  from a contracting point of view is when you carefully price a project and then lose by more than 15%, I’ve often wondered why during the assessment phase a  tendering body doesn’t add up all the tender values, then divide by the number of tenderers and use that mean figure as the basis for the work – we found that more often than not when we did this in the parks department that was the final cost of the project. I believe the Dutch usually take the second lowest price as this makes it almost impossible to ‘buy’ a job by underpricing !

      Street Planter & Paving

      One of the early ‘tricks’ we learned, was how to be asked to price the better projects if we eliminated the ‘snagging or punch list’. The client put us to the top of their use list. More often than not our site staff ‘snagged’ as they went along, this saved us so much time we gave them a bonus.

      Another trick was to put the projects up for a national award – we were fortunate to receive 17 national awards over the years, they were great for staff moral , even better for our clients who then asked us to price some fabulous projects.

      Hand Asphalting

      We have always tried to be professional, to do the best job we could for a client, avoiding confrontation as much as possible, sure we negotiate hard, but not too aggressively. – the saying ‘Under promise and over perform’ is a great way to work.

      Consistent Pointing

      The pointing above is typical of our approach, when it comes to the finish it is essential to maintain a clean consistent finish, it looks good, keeps everyone happy..

      The finished raised brick patio

      The real pearls of wisdom are ” Quality is remembered long after the price has been paid ”

      Have you visited one of your old projects recently?

      What did it look like?

      Listen to Ann & Chris at Growing Trends 

      Visits: 64

    • Edibles,  Food,  Gardening,  gardens,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature,  park,  Vegetable Growing

      From “Concept to Completion” – a complete project!

      Ever wondered how a landscape project is conceived, designed, planned and then implemented?

      Completed Project

      We have created quite a few over the years, so we thought we would attempt a trial of one here that we did some years ago.

      There is an ulterior motive for this, Ann & I would like to attempt to follow a project  from ‘Concept to Completion’ on our radio show ‘Growing Trends’ 

      This project started because the owners, a young couple, were starting a family, and wanted the swimming pool that dominated their back garden removed, partly for safety reasons and partly because as you can see it didn’t leave much space for a user friendly garden.

      The Garden Before

      The first step was to survey the garden, in this case we needed to take fairly accurate levels to enable us to quantify the amount of work to do.

      This has a number of benefits ;-

      When working in tight areas , there was only a side gate access, it is very wise to design in such a way as the least amount of material is taken away or brought in to complete a project – all that hauling is wasting the clients budget.

      Secondly it is jolly hard to accommodate too much material when the entire site is being worked on.

      Here you can see the access restrictions

       With such restricted access the design whilst needing to be imaginative, had to be practical and effective.

      So we folded the pool in on itself

      The solution was to use the existing access path level as the main level,  demolish the pool surrounds, break out the base of the pool, to allow for drainage, then backfill in layers the excavated  pool , paving and surplus material  to bring the levels up to create a much larger patio.

      Enlarged patio

      We even salvaged some of  the brick wall to mix in with the new london stocks to create the imposing planter that acts as a statement as you walk around the side of the house to the rear garden.


      The new paving extends all the way around the house to give continuity, we added a stock brick edge to the paving so we could link the low black stained timber retaining walls, the raised patio diaz, and the black stained timber edged step to the rest of the garden.

      Brick edged surround

      The stained timber edge is protected with polythene sheeting and has a gravel pressure release drain set behind, to prevent water incursion onto the light coloured patio stones, which would stain very easily otherwise.

      Much enlarged patio

      There is now a much enlarged patio area ideal for young children to play on, which is both safe and secure.

      Step detail

      The step detail is modulised to provide continuity and ease of use when walking on, planting the edges will over time soften the strong straight lines and allow the planting to seamlessly flow into the step area.

      Planting bank

      The steep banks are now lost in the planting, supported by the low stained timber wall, creating a feature rather than an aftercare issue as before.

      Completed Project

      The completed project, is much easier to maintain, has a huge amount of safe space, opens the garden up, into an interesting useable space, for play, entertaining , whilst giving more light to the inside of the house and a feeling of spaciousness.

      You can hear Ann & Chris talking to garden owners and the experts that help them on Growing Trends ( just click this link) it will send you to our internet radio show.

      If you have an interesting garden or story to tell do drop us a line, we will get back to you in a few days.

      We would love to hear from you..

      Ann & Chris

      Alternatively take a look at our web site at www.grotrends.com it’s packed with helpful hints.

        Visits: 82

      • Edibles,  Gardening,  gardens,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature,  Vegetable Growing

        Why natural materials invariably look superb.

        There are a number of reasons why, let’s start with this picture of a French Restaurant not that far from Lyon.

        A welcoming French Restaurant

        Natural materials, always weather well, they tend not to lose their colours so quickly, being much less affected by UV light. The wood for instance changes colour slowly,  blending into the other colours, with a softer patina. The natural stone stays basically the same colour apart from the addition of dirt and moss etc., the rendering isn’t really natural, it was something started in the 1950’s for some reason in villages throughout France, some have returned to a more natural stone look by hacking the rendering off, others as here have allowed the rendering to weather and blend in.

        Of course it helps to have the walls half covered in virginia creeper, with the windows festooned with trailing geraniums. The over all effect is soft on the eye and pleasing.

        When selecting materials for a project, it’s always a good idea to see what natural ones are available first.

        A selection of natural materials

        All the materials in the picture above are ‘natural’  as you can see they have a softer look to them.

        They  ‘weather’ in much better and seem to last longer.

        Bound Gravel Driveway

        This beautiful driveway was constructed with natural bricks to form the rain water gulley run offs – it actually took three bricks to form the channel.

        The top wearing surface is a double coated natural dried Pea Gravel that has been applied with fibreglass rovings and a special binder to form an impervious surface. Surfaces like this need to be re applied every 5 years or so to keep up appearances.

        The beauty of such a surface is that the gravel isn’t likely to ‘fly around’ much, and the surface lasts longer because it is more or less water proofed.

        Gravel and granite path

        This attractive Gravel and Granite surface, will basically never change colour, it will always looks warm and inviting, sure it will need some aftercare to keep weeds and encroaching plants at bay, but it will be the same in twenty years time as it is today.

        Secret Garden

        This secret garden, is really easy to construct, its basically larger gravel rolled into the soil, with stepping stone flat rocks leading to a a stone bench with a small statue acting as the main focal point… a great place to listen to Growing Trends  our downloadable internet radio show.

        Small bridge & low rockery


        Here we used a low natural stone rockery with a low bridge across a pathway around the garden, as a starting point for an artificial stream, adding differing sized stones and rocks into the stream bed to create a natural appearance.

        We will be having an interview  with an ex Head Gardener of one of England’s great Estates shortly.

        Do listen to Growing Trends and let us know what you would enjoy hearing about.

        Ann & Chris



        Visits: 28

      • Edibles,  Food,  Gardening,  gardens,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature,  park,  Vegetable Growing

        Growing Trends that have been around awhile….

        Let's dance !
        Let’s dance !
        When Ann & I started  ‘Growing Trends’ the web site, blog and radio show, we weren’t sure how to engage all of you. It seems a little wit, the odd anecdote and should I say a touch of knowledge has helped us enormously.

        In a very short time we have built an audience of readers, listeners and fellow Horticulturists, they have come from :-

        United States, Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, Columbia, Germany ,United Kingdom, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Denmark, Romania, France, Netherlands, Jamaica,Barbados, Egypt, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, India,  Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Republic of Korea,

        We are just stunned…  thank you all so much. Please if you have time send us a picture of your favourite space, garden or landscape with a few notes, we would love to hear from you.

        Today, as we have a holiday weekend here in the USA, it seems that our blog should be a little in this spirit, so I’m going to try and find a bunch of pictures of projects we’ve completed along with pictures of unusual items used in the urban landscape that perhaps some have not seen before.. hope you enjoy them..

        So let’s start with a really big tree being  moved, it was one of many on this site, weighing some 600 tons and approximately 60ft tall!

        Really it's that large !

        One of my favorites a flower clock in Geneva, Switzerland.

        Geneva, Switzerland
        Geneva, Switzerland

        This one was ‘snapped’ in Amsterdam, it’s an old cannon, now serving as a vehicle bollard !

        An old cannon being used as a bollard

        The next is fairly common – creating a bubble fountain using an old natural millstone wheel.

        Original granite millstone fountain
        Original granite millstone fountain

        This method completely softens a brick pier and makes it look ageless – we used a single canted brick on each corner, and added a double layer of tiles ‘Creasing Tile’ before the soldier course, the resultant ‘shadow line creates interest and helps the wall to ‘weather’ much better.

        Brick Pier with creasing tile
        Brick Pier with creasing tile

        This one is much harder to do, it’s a circular patio of natural setts – they tend to be slightly different sizes. When laid like this, in a circular pattern creates a feeling of movement and space, in what is a fairly small area.

        Small setts laid in a radiating pattern
        Small setts laid in a radiating pattern

        When you have a natural random wall it is always hard to create a ‘finish’   , we solved this by bonding a brick coping to match the drive brick edge.

        Brick Coping Course
        Brick Coping Course

        What is really interesting is, if you look really carefully you can see the brick coping running into the driveway as the wall ends, this looked so good, the red tarmac ( which is quite expensive) helps with the overall effect.


        Many years ago, we needed to find away to create ‘Raised planters’ on a roof that were exceedingly light weight, contained and yet attractive. We think we succeeded with these specially made by us artificial rock faced grp planters. – we won an award for the project , which was fun !

        Artificial Rocks
        Artificial Rocks

        Some 30 years ago we started building gravity walls with ‘TimberGrid’ , then we thought let’s add some plants, it worked great..!

        Treated Structural Green Wall
        Treated Structural Green Wall

        It wasn’t long before they started to ‘Grow’ well you know if you try hard enough it becomes a ‘Trend ‘

        Tall timber gravity wall
        Tall timber gravity wall

        Sometimes it’s fun to experiment, so here we came up with a ‘curved’  wall

        Creating movement
        Creating movement

        Finally a simple picture on a very clear day !

        Looking Up
                               Looking Up

        Hope  you have enjoyed,  do drop us a line

        or visit our website at www.grotrends.com

        or listen to our internet radio show  Growing Trends

        Ann & Chris



        Visits: 70

      • Edibles,  Food,  Gardening,  gardens,  Landscape design,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature,  park,  Vegetable Growing

        Have you included herbs & veggies in your landscape?

        Could you grow these?
        Could you grow these?
        The Victorians, were an inventive bunch, they invented and developed so many things, today we seem to spend more and more time with new technical inventions rather than try and solve the many issues facing us with the environment.

        Perhaps its simply we do not spend enough time outside to enjoy the sun, stars,landscape and the water?

        Going back to the Victorians, they have been credited with developing the regimented summer bedding displays, they developed huge estate layouts with ponds or should I say lakes, they were instrumental in cut formal lawns, I think Ransomes was one of the first with a horse drawn mower?

        What they also did was include vegetables within the garden landscape,as did the Germans and French, it’s a great way to grow veggies and herbs as it is almost invisible, yet so effective and pleasing to grow your own.Plus invariably the food is both fresh & free of those pesky pesticides.

        Have you included herbs & veggies in your design? – a question for your landscape designer perhaps?

        The marigolds help reduce the bugs
        The marigolds help reduce the bugs

        Our first interview for our Growing Trends radio show,was with a couple that do just that, – we are due to return shortly to see how the fruits of their labour has gone..

        Their garden has between 350 – 400 Trees,Shrubs, Perennials, Annuals, and at least 75 Herbs & Veggies. It still has this beautiful pool to relax in !

        Can you spot the herbs & veggies?
        Can you spot the herbs & veggies?

        Even if you only have a small area it is very beneficial to grow say just a pot or two of herbs, not only are they fresh, they keep on producing throughout the season, (saving lots of money) all you need to do is water, and take any seed heads off as they form.

        Stacked herb pot.
        Stacked herb pot.

        For the more adventurous a larger area can be created, this requires more commitment, the rewards are much greater with more produce grown and the satisfaction of growing your own food.

        An example from a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit
        An example from a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit

        Of course you could get completely carried away, employ a full time team and develop a world class garden, that attracts thousands of visitors a year.. feeding an awful lot of folks into the bargain !

        Simply stunning !
        Simply stunning !

        How do I start ? I hear you say. Well the best way is always start in a conservative way, the easiest is probably to start with herbs, which will grow throughout the growing season, once thats mastered, try a quick growing veggie such as lettuce, it has a short cycle and is relatively easy to grow. If you don’t want the hassle of growing from seed initially, it’s possible today to buy ‘plugs’ that are pre started and likely to produce quite quickly, then progress from here, adding interesting varieties of say garlic, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes….

        Weekend Garden Kit from Picagardi
        Weekend Garden Kit from Picagardi

        This garden was planted just 2 weeks earlier with pre started plants. The trick if you haven’t grown many plants yourself is to start small, then as you find that the weather and conditions are unpredictable, you can try a more adventurous approach. Remember though that even hardened gardeners find that some plants some years just do not flourish as expected.

        The rewards are so worth the effort, producing your own food, saving money and having a healthy outdoor activity.

        Hort Cuisine anyone ?
        Hort Cuisine anyone ?

        Ann & I will be talking to some new gardeners, along with some seasoned,experienced gardeners in the next few weeks… the trick is always to have fun and experiment just a little !

        You can hear more of our interviews at  Growing Trends 

        Or drop by our website at www.grotrends.com  

        We would love to hear your suggestions, comments or requests….and we would really appreciate a like on Facebook !


        Ann & Chris






        Visits: 32

      • Gardening,  gardens,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature

        Growing Trends

        I thought it would be fun to share with you, our interview schedule.

        We are on air at 1pm & 7pm daily at www.cravingtalkradio.com or you can download as a podcast for later listening.

        Our first interview was with Belinda & Terry, this is their lovely garden.


        and a more romantic version, the pool is so inviting….

        belinda impressionist

        and the famous ‘Zen’ deck, now sanded and restored to its glory…

        belinda zen deck

        Our next interview was with John Stanley of John Stanley Associates in Australia, we didn’t talk about his garden as it’s a tad larger than most as you can see – what a view !

        2013-11-15 18.45.34 HDR


        What we did talk about was trends in edibles  and concerns over  bees, you can hear both on Craving Talk Radio.com, we are due to revisit John in Perth again shortly.


        Coming up soon is :-

        Kelly Daniels lovely garden,

        kelly Gallery garden

        and here is some of her superb photography.


        Then we have:

        Dwayne Hoover the Horticulturist at the  Kauffman Memorial Garden in Kansas City we caught up with Dwayne early one morning – 6am to be precise, the team was starting to put together the summer bedding.


        Then it’s Jenny’s turn  and her Fairy Room at the Celtic Ranch along with ‘Half-pint McGee’, who will soon be your little heart throb…….


        Then it’s the turn of the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City,


        and the lovely sculpture park. You have to be strong to play badminton here !


        and my favorite the Henry Moore collection…


        this next amazing sculpture is some 56ft tall..


        to read more about our rather different programs visit www.grotrends.com

        [polldaddy poll=8159522]





        Visits: 46

      • Gardening,  gardens,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature

        When weather plays a part

        As it seems for some of us climate change is playing havoc with our normal weather – for some way too much rain, others nowhere near enough and yet others both but at the wrong times along with huge temperature variations. I thought it might be an idea to show you some projects that eventually turned out quite well despite the conditions we encountered during construction.

        The thing to remember is, that they took longer to complete, longer to establish and usually they cost much more because the folks building them could only work in short time sections.

        This first project was constructed on very heavy wet clay, here is the site as we saw it when we started work.


        here is the site after we have been working a little while. Almost ready to put the finishing planting, turfing in etc,.


        Here, during an inspection, the plants have established and the grass is growing well, you would never know how bad the conditions had been. Happily this project won a number awards for us.


        This next site was similar… in this case we recommended the owner take a few long weekends away, whilst the garden looked so bad, actually we also wanted the housebuilder to leave so we could apply a finished landscape, without him running equipment over the finished work.


        and so it slowly took shape..notice it’s somewhat tidier looking..


        The trick is to let the ground dry out, drain where necessary, and what ever you do, do not over compact the sub surface where planting and lawns are due to be.Also as soon as possible get the site clean and tidy and keep it that way, the client usually has had enough after about week 8 of these very distressing looking pictures., fortunately In the end it looked just like any other project.


        perhaps nicer than some..


        We found that if management spent a little extra time with the client in these situations, it wasn’t long before the project was back on course, with a happy client and a happy workforce.

        Visits: 29

      • Gardening,  gardens,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature

        Some great landscape detail.

        Let’s start with the unusual, well perhaps not unusual more not where you would expect it.


        A car park in Portland, Oregon.


        Miniature gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show

        Chelsea 93019            Chelsea 93015

        A Joker water fall with brick edge

        chelsea 0704007

        A very large tree being moved.


        A moon gate


        Hawaii – a different way for a tree to remain standing !


        A clever way to screen pedestrians from too much sun..


        Providing shade at the upper level


        Immaculate aftercare


        Is it Art ?


        an interesting restoration or is it pub conversion?


        “Knapped flint’ walls are just amazing..


        a lovely old stone wall…


        Building stepped walls is not easy, this one has been

        very well thought out.




        Visits: 41

      • Gardening,  gardens,  Landscapes & Gardens,  Nature

        Growing Trends our new internet radio show is going to be on air very soon


        Growing Trends on Craving Talk Radio – www.cravingtalkradio.com 

        The preparations are all done, we’ve been working flat out on interviews, not too mention how to be heard above the noise of a garden landscape – it’s amazing how birds, ponds, sirens, planes, wind, dogs & cats make noise. No just kidding, they all add that true ambiance to a garden landscape.

        We are so lucky our guests are interesting, knowledgeable, fascinating, often busy people, who find a huge amount of relaxation and enjoyment from their gardens, they all experiment with plants and vegetables, most have pets, they all absolutely love spending time in ‘their space’.

        It is a real privilege to be invited into their space with them to conduct these interviews. Ann and I really appreciate the time they have given us to bring some remarkable interviews to you on Craving Talk Radio – www.cravingtalkradio.com.

        We have a really exciting lineup of interviews from around the world, all with a sense of humour, knowledge, fun and we think informative.

        Trends like miniature gardens, growing vegetables and herbs in amongst traditional planting or in pots, not just in a traditional garden but also on decks, roofs and other smaller spaces.

        Our schedule will be available shortly…if you would like to ask us a question or have an unusual garden landscape drop us a line at chris.coope@grotrends.com telling us more and we will get back to you.

        We will also be talking about ‘How to ‘ features, which will help you plan and develop your own space.

        Ideas & trends from around the world, with expert views and advice, and of course light hearted banter from Ann & Chris

        We hope you will enjoy our show…

        Ann & Chris





        Visits: 91