The clients wanted a modern, clean look to these retaining walls, so we have used one size of natural Cotswold stone walling and laid on a thin mortar bed, then raked back the joints to give this clean and simple look. The walls will be topped off with cut Cotswold stone coping, and down lights in the walls should give a lovely look at night.
For the first time, we have been using this Marshalls Sawn Versuro paving. It is perfectly cut square in a selection of sizes, so you are able to get precise 10mm joints, and has a slightly textured surface to stop it being slippery when wet. To complement it, there are 50mm thick, bull-nosed step edges. Although quite expensive, it has made a beautiful job.
For the first time, we are building a retaining wall in a stream using gabion baskets, these are filled with large clean stone, and the bottom layer half filled with concrete to protect the bank from the stream and to give added stability. Some native ferns have been added in pockets of soil to help to soften the look.
Again we were asked by Oxley's Furniture to help out with the construction of their stand at Chelsea Flower Show. The weather was hot but wet and muddy. We had a lot of painting to do which was made difficult in the rain, but it got done. Nick remarked that at long last his Art degree had come in useful!
I was recently asked by the Primary school to come and take a practical lesson with the children. I had years Reception, One and Two, 4-6 year olds. They were very enthusiastic, and we filled troughs, and filled them with bulbs and Spring flowering plants. Lots of questions were asked, not all about Horticulture! but a great time was had by all, and their playground now looks a lot brighter.
Another first for us, wild flowers on a roll! Purpose grown in the UK by Wildflower Turf Ltd. They offer three different types of wild flower turf, and we have gone for the most colourful one. Next summer we are hoping that this will be a riot of colour, so will post a photo when it is in full bloom.
We have begun to lay this new resin bonded surfacing. This is a fabulous surface, fine gravel mixed with an epoxy resin, and laid 15mm thick onto a tarmac or concrete base. It is extremely hard wearing, seamless so no joints for weeds etc, and available in a huge range of colours. Perfect for paths, driveways or feature areas in the garden.
I have been asked by many clients, 'have you still got Nellie?' The answer is yes, now 16 and still going to work every day, she is stone deaf, poor eyesight, and a bit wobbly on her legs, but she still enjoys life, and being at work. (Mind you we have to hide our sandwiches as she is always on the lookout for food!). Will keep you informed how she goes on.
For one of our garden designers, we have been building a raised deck area out of composite decking. This is a recycled product. a combination of wood and plastic, with an expected lifespan of over 20 years. It was wonderful to work with and has a clever stainless steel clipping system, so you cannot see the fixings. It is available in a range of colours from www.saigedecking.com, lovely local people, so give them a look. Up to this decking, we have also laid some lovely slate paving, laid like a tile on a concrete base, then grouted with an outdoor grout, to give a very clean and modern look.
A first for us, we have enlarged a spring fed stream into a pond, and used locally sourced blue clay to line it. Having not done this before we did not know what to expect, but the clay came quite dry and crumbly, so we were able to work it into the bottom and sides with the water until it sealed. Once planted up around the sides it should look very natural, and with the spring water always running through it, should always be topped up.
Currently we are working at an old manor house in Paxford, we are carrying out a total re-build of the back garden, with new stone terracing, several new lawns, borders, a stream based pool and an oak bridge. Some lovely natural stone paving (supplied by Pavestone, Chipping Campden), is being laid around the Cotswold stone property.
We attended Chelsea Flower show in May this year, building a trade stand for Oxley's Furniture. The weather was terrible, a sea of mud at times, but the stand ended up looking superb, and won a coverted five star award from the RHS. Oxleys Furniture is some of the finest available, why not go to www.oxleys.com and see for yourself! See the final construction by clicking on the image, or scrolling through some of the images on our gallery.
We are delighted to launch our new (and first) website. In the coming weeks we will add details of all the projects we are currently engaged in to give a further flavour of the skills we can offer you in all your garden and outdoor projects.