Gardenproud Blog

Archive for the ‘Latest Project’ Category

Happy New Year from View

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

View is the quarterly update from Gardenproud on what’s new in the garden.

The new 2014 edition is out now. You can order a copy in the post, or via email. Just send an email request to

In this quarter’s edition are Gardening Tips, 2013 Highlights from Gardenproud, some ideas for Window Boxes, details of our latest Equipment updates – of special interest to the demands of larger gardens, our latest recruit, and news of our latest Design Projects.

A Contemporary Garden in Mayfield

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

A short while ago we were lucky enough to be handed the challenge that a lot of landscapers would relish. A blank canvas. Well nearly. A new contemporary housing development close to Tunbridge Wells that didn’t offer it’s customers a ready made garden solution. So music to our ears!

The garden had a very poor quality lawn that ran into a clay slope featuring a number of decaying trees. One redeeming feature was the stunning view that led across fields to woodland and hills beyond and this was something the customer wanted to enhance. In addition to this our client wanted to create a level lawned area their growing family could enjoy, plus an adult/entertaining area that would allow them to enjoy the sun and the view.

We created a series of design options for the client that achieved their goals and worked with the contemporary nature of the house. This was a joint design exercise between Gardenproud designers Tim Sykes and Paula Beresford.

Our first task was to gain permission to undertake some urgent tree works, which was duly approved. Then we set upon tweaking the landscape to provide the client with their level lawn area, and to enhance the garden shape which would allow us to progress the rest of our scheme.

The upper garden has as its focal point a beautiful oak tree, sitting in the centre of a new oval lawn. Bordering it’s sides are herbacious borders with two stunning zinc coated garden benches facing each other.

A circular tree bench surrounds the oak tree.

To take account of the drop in levels and to reflect the curves of the tree seat and oval lawn, a curved wall was created with two flights of steps leading to a lower, less formal garden area.

This lower garden flows into the woodland below and will feature planting that integrates with the more natural surroundings beyond. The lower garden is also the setting for a decking entertainment area and woodland pathways leading to a lower circular platform. These lower pathways and platform use a bark surface, again designed to merge with the woodland environment.

The decking surface floats on a subframe which appears almost at ground level, but is two steps below the upper pathway.

A new curved sleeper wall creates an interesting addition to the decking surface and supports a narrow side bed.

The decking surface leads to two stepped bark pathways that lead to a lower platform.

Pre-planting the whole scheme is really starting to come together and already represents a dramatic transformation to suit the contemporary surroundings….

The finished result is stunning and we hope will give the client many years enjoyment. We look forward to the next stage which will involve the planting scheme.

For further details of Gardenproud’s design capability and landscaping services please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820

A 4 Day Garden make-over

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

A recent Gardenproud project involved redesigning an area of a garden to a tight budget.

The area was once a garden pond with steps leading up to a raised terrace surrounding the pond.

The pond had been removed for some time and a rather disorganized bed had replaced it with the peculiar phenomenon of the steps leading into it.

Gardenproud were asked to create a concept that would be dramatic but low maintenance.

All this needed to be reviewed as part of the design concept.

Various ideas were presented.

The Gardenproud team decided that the steps could be incorporated and that central to their idea should be the steps leading into a dry river bed that appeared to lead to a focal point.

The Dry River bed was constructed using a Cotswold stone base with feature rocks and succulents planted at strategic spots.

The Dry River contrasted with its banks, which feature a box ball vista on one side and a concentration of beautiful white Agapanthus on the other bank.

“The idea of the box balls is to allow them to grow and merge into each other, ultimately creating a cloud effect”, comments Tim Sykes

The finished results look stunning, and all created by the Gardenproud team in 4 days!

Client commented,

“We are delighted with the result and thought Daniel and Ricky were brilliant.”

What more can we say….

For further information about Gardenproud’s design and landscaping capability please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820.

New Japanese Garden Design Book from Gardenproud

Monday, February 25th, 2013

If you’ve got a courtyard garden, or an area you want to develop in a very special way, then think Japanese.

We have recently been invited by Russ Chard to co author a helpful book for all you would be Japanese garden fans.

It’s called “11 Simple Ways to Turn Your Garden Japanese.”

The aim of this book is to inspire you and give you lots of useful ideas to add a ‘touch’ of Japan to your courtyard or garden.

Japanese gardens are beautiful, peaceful, simple spaces, steeped in history and meaning. With careful design they can help you create a unique tranquil space in your garden, whatever size it is.

Russ Chard is no newcomer to Japanese gardens.

He fell in love with Japanese gardens after a delayed flight in San Fransisco, he visited the famous Japanese garden in Golden Gate Park and developed his interest from there.

Russ lives in Herts and has visited many Japanese gardens worldwide in his job as a professional broadcaster.

He has also built his own small space Zen garden at his home and this spring will start work on a moss garden and a dry riverbed hill garden.

Russ has been writing about Japanese gardens and Zen gardens for over 10 years and has published 3 books, plus has 3 very successful websites on the subject.

Gardenproud helped co author Russ’s new book providing a case study of one of their most recent projects. In this case a garden was given the oriental touch. You can see more about this project on this blog, just look for our December article “A Japanese Oasis in Tunbridge Wells”.

Get your copy of “11 Simple Ways to Turn Your Garden Japanese”
today. It’s FREE!!!

To obtain your copy of the book as a PDF download just visit Russ’s site :

You will also get a copy of his Japanese garden newsletter called ‘The Japanese Garden Bulletin’.

Enjoy the reading and remember if you want some help designing and creating your very own Japanese Garden, then contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 713820.

The latest edition of View is out now!

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

The latest edition of the Gardenproud Newsletter is out now.

Entitled “View” the newsletter is a quarterly perspective on what’s new in the garden.

View looks at the latest news from Gardenproud considering both garden maintenance challenges and solutions. It also looks at the opportunities for design and landscaping that will help bring you more enjoyment to your outdoor space, whether it’s a small town garden, or a large country estate.

View is available as a pdf or as a printed copy. Either of which we are happy to email or post directly to you.

To receive your copy just contact us at stating whether you prefer an emailed or posted copy. In the case of the latter please provide us with your name, address and postcode.

Alternatively you can go to the “Contact” section of our website and complete a request form there.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy your garden this year.

Tim Sykes

Secret Sun Terrace

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Our client had an extraordinary hot spot in their garden which they wanted to capitalise on.

It was potentially a quiet area. One of those spots you might place a cafe table and a couple of chairs to catch the late afternoon sun and enjoy a refreshing cup of tea or even an early glass of wine, and read the paper or a good novel. Or even catch up on the day with your partner!

Well it was just that, but when we arrived it was an overgrown area with the just the glimmer of an idea.

The Gardenproud design brain got to work on a number of concepts….

Eventually we all set upon one design that featured a rose bordered terrace with a raised bed to one aspect, surrounded by subtle lighting and a terraced surface that integrated with existing pathways and patio…

Once agreed, first step was to clear the area, then excavate the space that was to become the new terrace.

Sleeper based walls were then erected to support the new raised bed.

Then the footings and new indian sandstone terrace surface was laid with matching border stones.

Surrounding the terrace and integrating with the existing pathway borders new dwarf walls were built.

Then a rustic rose trellis and posts were erected with an entrance archway to create our enclosed “secret space”.

A central feature in the new raised bed was a stone urn selected and supplied by Chilstone.

Perimeter lighting in both the raised bed and behind the trellising was fitted and is now switchable from a remote indoors.

Finally, the newly landscaped area was adorned with plants including of course roses!

The client was very pleased with their new sun trap, in fact so much so that within days of completion a couple of rather nice wicker work chairs were in place, and the newspaper had already been out for a good read!

“A great outcome. The eye for detail has made it far better than we imagined.” Chris Attwood.

From dangerous bog to running water

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

A client recently asked us to apply our minds to how we could enhance a water feature in his garden and create a safer, more beautiful running stream.

The stream had silted up over the years and this silt had become weed infested and reacted like quick sand when you tried to walk anywhere near it.

Similarly the banks of the stream looked uninteresting and deserved attention. Part of the historical problem here had been that the steepness had made it almost impossible to maintain and had resulted in one or two gardeners slipping back into the muddy abyss below!

Everybody agreed that it was a potentially rather attractive feature of the garden, but it deserved some attention.

The Gardenproud team came up with a plan that dredged the stream, created a permanent liner for the new stream with improvements to the rock waterfalls, recycled the silt as a soil improver along the banks, and incorporated a new maintenance pathway and rockery along the once steep upper bank.

First step was to clear the site of weeds and plants that might get damaged by the works. Then the digger came in!

This dredged the silt and took the stream surface down to a more solid base. Then Gardenproud laid a tough PVC membraine along the entire run of the stream ( some 50m) factoring in the different levels created by a series of shallow waterfalls. This was affixed one side to the supports for a new timber and bark pathway and on the other to a treated timber framework that was pegged into the ground.

Pebbles were laid along the surface of the new stream, and the Rock surfaces of the waterfalls were relaid and improved.

Some VERY large rocks were sourced and these were very kindly moved into the rear garden by a very friendly farmer. We then had the task of lifting these into their new positions on the steep upper bank. One rather heavy specimen didn’t quite make it but looks fine in it’s new resting place!

Rocks in place and the digger and other machinery could be taken off site. Next step was to get the pathways in and repair, rotovate, grade and reshape lawned areas adjoining the new beds and the stream. A rather large quantity of turf was needed! So this involved a large lorry, a large rotovator and a lot of barrowing.

The finished result is looking really good. Nice safe bark pathways, clear running water, a rockery, new upper and lower banks ready to plant and a newly landscaped and laid lawn area.

The client wanted to add a few very important comments to our blog post……….

“The stream has been a worry to me for the last ten years or so. When the first of our eight grandchildren was able to walk freely and enjoy a degree of independence (from adults that is) in this large garden I was greatly relieved. Ideas in the past have been considered and discarded, but it was when I made contact with Tim on another problem I was having to address (too many mature trees blocking the sunlight), that we discussed the stream and surrounding area and how to address the risks. Tim came up with an exciting plan, at a reasonable cost, given the difficulties in accessing the site with heavy equipment and the site being some way from the house and the road. Years of leaf mould were removed from the stream to be used on the bed prior to planting and the base made secure. The whole exercise took about four weeks, but it was four weeks well spent. All the boys who did the heavy work should be complimented on their commitment and enterprise. It was at times a dirty job but now the structural work has been completed, my wife and I are delighted with the result. The exciting part is still to come of course – deciding on the planting – but by the Summer of 2013, I shall be proud to show visitors what can be achieved with a little vision, and a whole lot of hard work and enterprise. It was a garden for children; it is now a safe garden for children, who will always be made welcome. My thanks to Tim, George and Daniel and ‘the boys’ for an excellent job completed in the right spirit.”

David Burton, Beechwood House (September 2012)

So next step is a planting plan for the rockery and lower beds.

For further information about our experience or help with water features call Tim Sykes on 07725 173820.

A Walled Garden in the Centre of Tunbridge Wells

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

We are particularly proud of our most recent garden accomplishment.

This is a delightful walled garden in the centre of Tunbridge Wells which has been given a fresh perspective.

You enter the garden via a gate in the wall. This reveals a beautiful victorian mews house situated along one side and the rear of the garden. It incorporates a large conservatory which has become a key feature of the daytime living space for the retired couple who live in the house. So they spend large chunks of the day looking out onto the garden.

The only problem was that the garden was created before the conservatory extension and thus was poorly configured both in terms of planting, lines of sight and access. Over the years a lot of money had been spent on plants and our clients were keen to retain key specimens. In addition the wife was confined to a wheelchair so improving access was a serious consideration.

So an interesting challenge and potentially a very rewarding outcome.

We created a design that re-orientated the garden, incorporating points of focus and a planting design that lined up with the viewing point of the conservatory. It included a new enlarged courtyard area outside the conservatory and main house entrance. The central planting area was re-designed to incorporate pathways with connecting ramps, a central water feature and garden bench.

Existing plants were replanted in a more logical fashion to enhance views and work alongside a number additional feature plants that were included to help enhance the structure of the new garden. A new enlarged border was created along one flank of the garden this was replanted with a lot of the larger plants moved from the old central bed.

The client is delighted with the finished result and not surprisingly is spending a lot more time enjoying the views.

They commented, “Tim Sykes of Gardenproud immediately saw how to improve our established garden without losing the character of it, something we wanted to protect. He gave us a plan and a costing and we went ahead. All went as predicted with the work being done to a high standard by a very happy team, one we enjoyed having around. We have no hesitation in recommending Gardenproud as a company able to deliver a quality job.” - Stuart and Celia Rankin, Thimble Mews, Camden Park.

For further information please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820.

Extending an Edwardian Town House to provide a very usable room in the garden

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Our client benefited from a SW facing garden, with plenty of sunshine streaming in for a good part of the day. Only problem was the geology and the fact that there was an apology of a rear terrace. The garden sloped upwards very quickly and steeply way from the house and was formed into a series of terraces.

Having said this there were some very nice features including a rockery the client had created some 20 years previous which would give the famous rockery at Wisley a run for its money!

Gardenproud put pen to paper and came up with a number of concepts. The client settled on an idea that created a large rear terrace that was lit at night, and linked in with the rockery via a new set of steps and a small upper terrace. In the process the rockery was also tweaked to incorporate a further tier and side beds reflected further aspects of the rockery.

To create the space for the terrace a huge volume of earth had to be moved, all by hand! A team of 3 gardeners grew huge muscles digging through the Tunbridge Wells clay and sandstone rock , then barrowed this debris out via a narrow side entrance to it seemed hundreds of awaiting skips!

A similar task had to be undertaken to carve out the new route for the flight of steps to take.

A new large soak-away was designed and integrated to help channel rainwater away from the terrace.

A combination of bricks to tie in with the house, and Indian Sandstone to contrast and reflect light was chosen for the step and terrace surfaces. A further design twist included cladding the terrace and step walls in crazy paving using Indian Sandstone as the base material. This turned out to be a winning design characteristic and also an excellent light reflector.

A more usable grassed area was also incorporated which featured a more level surface.

The main rockery face of the steps incorporates rock edging to help blend the Indian Sandstone surfaces with the natural Sandstone rocks of the rockery. Rockery plants trail over the tops and among the cracks.

The new steps include oak risers to help soften the overall effect and add a further dimension.

The lighting scheme includes a brass lantern on the rear house wall, plus brass spots on the remaining 3 faces to create a subtle lighting effect. Similar style lights albeit of a downward facing marker style run up the flight of step

To help signify the transition from the terrace into the garden a pleasant trellis archway has be erected.

The Gardenproud team went onto incorporate a new pathway in similar material down to the front of the house, plus a very important water butt fed by guttering around the shed.

Finally new fencing and matching trellising was erected to the neighbour borders.

The finished result speaks for itself.

For further information or ideas about how to enhance or make sense of a difficult garden space please contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820, or via email

NEW driveway puts our project management to the test!

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Earlier this year we were invited to redesign a front garden in Tunbridge Wells. This included designing a new driveway, new raised beds, lawn areas, rockery, lighting and planting as well as moving the vehicle entranceway. And this all had to be designed, submitted for planning permission, approvals by Kent County Council and groundworks and planting completed for an important family occasion scheduled for April 2012!


Well I’m happy to say we took up the challenge and following a number of alternative design concepts settled on a treatment that would provide improved access to the house, greater levels of parking, privacy for the client and importantly enhance the presentation of the house. Because of its proximity to the kitchen the concept was subsequently developed to even include a potager garden that incorporated a whole host of fresh herbs to support the clients keen interest in cooking.

Tim Sykes, Gardenproud designer said. “This design doubled the size of the driveway, it improved access for vehicles, it created the opportunity for an enhanced planting scheme in front of the house, and it re-focused attention on the main entrance of the house. Given the planning constraints of moving crossovers it was pretty ambitious to achieve all this in the timescales. But our client was really helpful and keen to progress, so having received our approvals, and with the threat of severe weather we pressed on in March 2012, like mad!”

The old entrance was narrow and led to a parking area for just 2 cars.

Ground works began in March in ernest!

The new driveway shape was excavated, new soakaways and drainage installed and cabling for the new lighting was laid.

Things soon started to take shape with the bed and perimeter walls being erected.

A wider front entrance step was built to add stature and focus to the main doorway and provide a level base for planters.

With KCC approval we set about creating the new central entrance and crossover.

A beautiful new tarmac and flint impregnated driveway surface was laid.

Smart new oak entrance posts were fitted with lead copings and integral marker lights.

The lighting featured copper style fittings throughout, and sockets for trickle charge feeders for cars.

So having got everything in place we closed up the old driveway and pedestrian access points, then created new walls to match in with the existing pavement edging. The old driveway crossover was replaced by a new run of Tunbridge Wells brick pavers that reinstated the pedestrian pathway. New mature laurel bushes were planted in a dense formation to plug the gaps in the old hedge. You can’t see the join!

We then created a planting plan for the beds and new rockery area and got straight on with the ground preparation and planting…….

The potager garden starts to take shape with its combination of herbs, flowers and shrubs all set in a new rockery feature.

The two new front beds feature a number of key shrubs and perennials including Photinia (Red Robbin), Buxus (Box) Spirals, Pieris Japonica, Camelias, Box Balls, Dwarf Roses, Alliums and Peonies. The two planters feature Bay trees and lavender. It was just our luck half way through the project when SE Water announced their hosepipe ban! The watering cans came out. Then God stepped in and gave us plenty of rain! Thank you.

Suffice to say we finished the project with a week’s grace before the big family do!

So everybody was really pleased with the result, our project management, and that we and our grubby boots were nowhere to be seen!

Final comment from the client: “We are really delighted by the new front garden you have created.  It exceeds all our expectations.”

For further information about designing and landscaping your garden please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820.