Gardenproud Blog

Archive for the ‘Terraces’ Category

A Town Garden in Huntingdon Avenue

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

A collaboration between Gardenproud and local designer Micheal Taylor, to create a town garden in Huntingdon Avenue, Tunbridge Wells.

Huntingdon Avenue is set in the prestigious new Royal Wells Park development by Berkeley Homes. It comprises of a mix of medium and larger proportioned town houses and apartments. The town houses all benefit from small gardens adjoining terraces, leading off kitchen and dining areas.

The approach to Gardenproud came through a recommendation.

Our client had recently moved into the property from a nearby house and enjoyed her gardening. She therefore wanted to create an outdoor space that would provide an interesting vista from the house, with room to develop and maintain a planting scheme. The design needed to include a pond, a summerhouse, plus provide some screening from nearby buildings. It needed to include a patio area adjoining the kitchen, plus beds for planting.

Mike came up with an innovative concept, that maximised the use of the space and created interesting focal points. The team at Gardenproud then helped bring this to life with working drawings, turning the concept into a 3 dimensional space and adding attributes, including the mirrored monoliths, raised bed and pond features.

Client Mari Mason, commented…..

“I am delighted with the gorgeous garden that the team at Gardenproud have produced for me.

Tim has worked closely with Mike and me, interpreting our design and adding beautiful touches of his own. Throughout the project he has been sensitive to my wishes, and has made changes as needed.

The team working in the garden were wonderful, always cheerful and a pleasure to have around, despite working through some of the most unpleasant December and January weather.

The workmanship throughout is of the very highest standard with attention to every detail. I thoroughly recommend the whole Gardenproud team, and I am certain they will create your dream garden, as they have mine.”

For further information about this garden and our work in Huntingdon Avenue, or a copy of our case study brochure, please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or via email at reallygardenproud@btinternet.com

See Gardenproud on Instagram

Friday, January 29th, 2016

We’ve recently joined Instagram and have the grand total of 30 Followers!

So a long way to go yet.

We are trying to upload new photos everyday.

The above photo features Basil who is one of our regular ride-on drivers, it’s already got a like from would you believe John Deere!

If you are looking for great pictures to inspire your garden thinking, then look no further than Gardenproud. You can see us at www.instagram.com

If you haven’t already signed up you can download the app for i-phone (IOS) , Android, or Windows phone at the above, or visit your App Store on your phone.

Looking forward to having you as Followers soon!

Gardenproud Photo Highlights 2015

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

2015 was an excellent year for Gardenproud.

Lots of new projects for the landscaping division and some previous projects revisited and updated. Which is all good stuff as gardens evolve.

We went to Chelsea and gleaned inspiration from the latest designs, braved the weather and enjoyed the champagne. We’ve started designing and creating garden buildings as part of our landscaping offer. The Maintenance teams  worked extremely hard to cope with the new assignments, and new gardeners joined the team. We look forward to recruiting more team members in 2016.

It is with great sadness to report that Emmett Gilah, who was a regular member of the team, has unfortunately died. He was an industrious chap and good gardener and far too young to die. Our thoughts go out to his family. Thank you Emmett you will be sorely missed.

2015 was a big year for us, as we moved house. We haven’t moved for 16 years. So had forgotten just how stressy and time consuming the whole process is. Especially when you are also trying to run two businesses. So having beautified our last house and completely re-fashioned the garden, we now have a new garden. So watch this space!

Fortunately shortly after moving we had a holiday. Which was a real tonic. Sarah and I visited a number of gardens during our summer holiday. We went to Madeira, which was an eye opener. We went in August, but if you really want to see the flora, I suggest you go in April or May. But do go. It is a wonderful island and it benefits from a sub-tropical climate. Over the years it has had a strong British influence, so the planting is a bit a mixture between those we see in the UK and more tropical specimens. There is a very good book (which I bought) written by an Englishman, Gerald Luckhurst. He is a landscape architect and has designed and built many gardens on Madeira. Sounds like a rather good job!

Back home and back to work on our plans for the new house and various gardens.

So here we are already in 2016. A new house, a new garden, a greenhouse for the first time, some new possible avenues, new projects and new gardens. Oh yes, we’ve got a little more savvy on the media front – we are already on Facebook, we are now on Instagram! I think we have the grand total of 30 followers, so do look us up (my son claims to have 1400)!  I don’t believe him.

See us at www.instagram.com

Enough said, 2016 looks busy, I’d better stop writing and get on with it!

New Look at Gardenproud!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The new Gardenproud brochure is printed and available for you to see.

It features some of the highlights from our recent Landscaping projects.

To get your copy, or for more information about our

Design, Construction or Maintenance services,

just contact us at info@reallygardenproud.com

or, call Tim Sykes on 07725 173820

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015 – a photo walk through the gardens of 2014 with Gardenproud

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Just a glimpse at some of the gardens we have created, maintained, visited and enjoyed during the year.

Looking forward to 2015.

We hope you all have a very enjoyable Christmas and New Year celebration.

For more information about Gardenproud, our Garden Maintenance, Garden Design and Landscaping services please contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820, or at info@reallygardenproud.com

The Secret Gardens of Venice

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

By Tim Sykes, 1st September 2014

When you land at Marco Polo Airport and jump on a Riva to whisk you into the metropolis of Venice, gardens are a long way from your thoughts. The exhilaration of sitting, or standing (holding on tight) to a fast boat speeding between lush islands towards a water bound roman city is truly surreal.

This was our second trip to Venice and I was determined to find those secret gardens I’d heard so much about.

Unfortunately we also had to fit in few other things, some shopping and a visit to the Venice film festival! All in 3 days!

The guide books suggested a few gardens we might investigate. Top on the list was the Royal Gardens, particially because if their close proximity to our hotel – Hotel Splendid – and it was, I do recommend it.

The Royal Gardens were originally conceived by Napoleon. The Giardinetti Reali was created in the early 19c to give him an enhanced view from his nearby offices.

Old photo of the Royal Gardens, as they were intended

I was expecting great things. The structure was certainly there and potential for an amazing experience. Unfortunately the reality was far from it. Instead, a well conceived structure was ruined by lack of maintenance, lack of investment and miss use. They had decayed into a shadow of the gardens Napoleon must have conceived.

I felt like getting out our hedge trimmers, flying over our top gardeners and tasking them to weed the beds and clear the pathways!

Let’s hope that the Venice Municipality regain their vision and next time we visit somebody has restored the gardens to their rightful glory.

Back onto the search for those secret gardens………

Despite the initial impression you get of very little appreciation of the flora, there is actually quite a lot going on in the  passageways , rooftops, balconies and courtyards of many private houses. As we found when we visited nearby Lido and Burano islands……

Not only have we discovered signs of greater things, but so have many much more celebrated gardeners and journalists. In fact there’s a new book (which I have ordered from Amazon), The Gardens of Venice and the Veneto, by Jenny Condie, with some fantastic photographs by Alex Ramsay.

If you go to Amazon and pop in the search against ” The Gardens of Venice and the Veneto” and up will come the book. You can pick it up for £22.75. You can also get a sneak preview of the pages and appreciate just how many gardens you can gain access to from the Venice basin.

The Gardens of Venice and the Veneto draw together an amazing variety of spellbinding garden retreats, from monastery gardens quietly cultivated in the islands of the lagoon to magnificent villas on the Brenta Canal, and baroque masterpieces in the hills beyond. Highlights include an eerie Masonic garden complete with gothic chapel and cavernous grottoes, a pleasure garden made for his workers by a benevolent nineteenth-century industrialist, and a flower-filled delight by the banks of the Grand Canal.”

So it’s well worth a look before like me you hop onto a plane!

From our island visits we returned to Venice and carried on our search. As you turn each corner you gain glimpses of many private gardens and courtyards through wrought iron gates and over the tops of terraces and walls. Some garden adornments are quite bizarre…

One of the nicest gardens we visited was linked to the Guggenheim Museum.

Well actually it was Peggy Guggenheim’s garden.

Peggy bought Palazzo Venier dei Leoni in 1948, where she lived. The villa is in fact an unfinished palace begun in 1748, designed by Lorenzo Boschetti.  It stands today at the entrance to the Grand Canal and the house and gardens are now home to her extensive collection of modern art and sculpture. Among the famous artists work on display are  Picasso, Dali, Chagall, Henry Moore, Magritte, Francis Bacon and Jackson Pollock.

From inside the gallery there are stunning views of the Grand Canal and even the odd rather nice courtyard garden!

Peggy amassed a huge collection and lived in Venice for 30 years. She died aged 81 in 1979 and her ashes are buried in the garden, alongside the place where she customarily buried her beloved dogs.

After our visit to see Peggy’s collection we treated ourselves to a real Venetian food experience.

We came across Al Vecio Forner by chance in a narrow street just around the corner from the Guggenheim. And it was a great find. Simple italian food served a bustling environment, with good affordable wine and pleasant service from a very busy italian waiter. We shared a table with a very friendly Canadian couple which helped make the experience. We both chose a seafood risotto, which we washed down with a nice bottle of italian sauvignon.

Trip Advisor also gives Al Vecio Forner good reviews. ” This is a small busy Osteria located close to the Peggy Guggenhiem museum. We enjoyed lunch twice here. We ordered the mixed plate (selection of appetisers chosen by waiter), veal steak, grilled squid, and squid in ink with polenta. Everything was tasty but in a heavier/heartier way; as expected of a good bistro/osteria. I think the owner is the chef as it show with the care taken in the kitchen (not always a given in tourist towns). Service was spot on (ie. efficient, non nonsense, but some wry italian humour thrown in) despite there being only one guy serving the room and one guy behind the bar. Price was very reasonable. Please note reservations are not possible.”

A very enjoyable end to a super holiday.

It’s amazing how quickly 3 days can pass! Before we knew what was happening we were packing our bags to return to Marco Polo Airport and a flight home.

Still I plan to read Jenny Condie’s book, and return soon with renewed vigor and focus. That’s of course if my wife can bear going to Venice again!

For further information about Venice, the gardens of Venice, or garden design contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820, or via email at reallygardenproud@btinternet.com

Magnificent! I don’t need to go to Chelsea now!

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

What a lovely thought!

But that was our dear client’s reaction was when she returned from holiday recently.

She found her Tunbridge Wells town garden transformed from the grass bank it was, to the contemporary space that she can now enjoy with her friends and family.

The new garden was designed by Tim Sykes from Gardenproud. A modern and tranquil space with interesting features and terraced planting, plus entertaining and relaxing areas designed to mask the natural topography, and create the illusion of a much larger garden than the town location affords.

“The basic design concept uses a series of offset rectangles, that both interact and interrupt each other, plus are layered. This helps create different points of focus and different compartments within the garden, ” comments Tim.

Even the rather swish terraced pond reflects the concept.

So does the bespoke pergola that now frames the pastel blue painted Lutyens bench.

First things first, the terrace was enlarged, so that it now accommodates a large table and chairs for at least 8 people in two possible locations.

Cedar strip panelling was used to help accentuate features and create vertical blocks.

The grassed area features two offset oblongs that leads the eye round to an interesting mirror.

This feature reflects the terraced planted up platforms on the opposite side of the garden.

Here is planted what will become a grouping of buxus balls that will eventually merge to form a cloud formation.

“The terraced pond was a labour of love!” states Sykes. “We wanted to create a slate clad vision that contrasted with the adjoining cedar and oak materials. But slate was potentially a problem from a frost perspective, so we eventually went down a route that used  slate coloured and textured porcelain tiles. A lot of research later and we found the perfect finish. Thank goodness!”

A textured slate strip forms the basis of the outer walls, and a riven traditional slate tile is used as the copings.

The whole garden, including the workings of the pond, all run off a clever wireless remote control system that has become the hallmark of Gardenproud gardens. “These days it’s important to be able to use the outdoor space in the evenings as well. So we try wherever possible to incorporate lighting with schemes and create zones that can be illuminated in isolation, as well as fountains and other water features that can be remotely controlled. It can all contribute to some quite dramatic results, and reasonably green too as they employ LED low wattage fittings, or bulbs. “

The planting plan also played a major role in this garden. A colour palette featuring blue, lilac, purple, white and of course various hues of green was featured throughout. Gigantic lilac alliums helped create a linking theme between different areas, bamboo columns form the basis of what will become the rear wall of the garden, a salix half standard tree links with planting of euonymous, salvias are repeated in different places in contrasting colours. Miscanthus sinesis flamingo sits among giant verbena bonariensis. Beautiful white agapanthus frame the black steel obelisk that tops the upper terraces. And behind this a wall of white jasmine will adorn the trellis background.

Two beautiful wisteria will eventually trail over the contemporary pergola. A border of lavender softens the link of the pond with the lower terrace.

Anyway, whilst our client may not feel she needs fresh inspiration from our Chelsea peers, I always do!

So I’m looking forward to my trip tomorrow to London to the Chelsea Flower Show 2014.

I’ll see what I can pick up and incorporate in our thinking for 2015!

For further information about Garden Design contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820, or via email info@reallygardenproud.com


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

One Bath Crescent to be proud of….

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
We had the good fortune to visit our relatives in Bath this weekend and what a pleasant surprise to see their new garden terrace. They live in a large delightful stone house in a village setting  just outside the City. The house is surrounded by a walled garden which is mainly laid to lawn with herbacious borders, fruit trees and a large vegetable garden (which must be Phase 2 of the garden refurb they have just embarked on).
When we first saw the garden some years ago, the levels were strange. You used to walk out of the rear kitchen door to be confronted by a high wall and a flight of steps. The rear of the house was consequently rather gloomy and garden although nice was unwelcoming.
Well that’s all changed now. Thanks to the foresight of our relatives and a rather clever design the rear of the house has been transformed. Some 30 tons of soil were dug out to create the space for a smart new terraced area. This has been designed in a crescent shape with planting terraces and steps leading up the garden beyond. Suddenly light is reaching the rear of the house, you can see the garden, you are in the garden amongst the fauna, it’s wonderful.
Thanks to the rise in temperature this weekend we were able to sit out on the new terrace and take it all in.
We were supping our G&T’s before Sunday lunch on the nicely weathered teak table, among the beautiful late flowering plants in the lower beds. The planting scheme was designed by Darren Joseph of Daisy-Rose Gardeners in Bath, and what a nice job they have made of it. My favourites include the verbena bonariensis and euphorbia, they are just stunning.
Other features include the distressed urns that adorn the local stone clad walls, and a rather cute ceramic pelican that has a great provenance.
The terrace surface is paved in Welsh stone and I can appreciate why. It has a softer riven effect to indian sandstone and works really well with the local stone walls.
If you live in Bath then why not contact Darren at Daisy-Rose Gardeners www.daisyrosegardeners.co.uk
Alternatively for further information about this article, or Gardenproud please  contact Tim Sykes at 07725 173820

A Japanese Oasis in Tunbridge Wells

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

About a year ago we were invited by a Tunbridge Wells resident to take a look at their garden. It had seen better times and the land was heavily terraced with a considerable rise in levels.

But it had real potential and at one time some thought had been given to the design and the terracing of the garden, albeit things were held together with loose rocks and old pathways and steps were crumbling.

There were a number of rather nice tree specimens including a couple of Acers and interesting Conifers. Elsewhere there were some overgrown Rhododendrons and a Camelia. An old bench sat on a grassy embankment at the top of the garden, commanding superb views of Tunbridge Wells.

The client filled us in on their brief for the garden which included a proper base for the seat at the top of the garden, revisiting the combination of steps, terraces and planting areas, a larger rear terrace outside the dining room, and another entertainment area mid garden. It would also be necessary to build in a watering system, and choose planting that was relatively low maintenance.

Armed with the brief earlier this year we set to designing and renovating the garden, from it’s old tired state to a vibrant new oasis.

Tim Sykes commented, “the combination of the terracing, rocks and the plants set the old creative juices flowing and inspired us to think of an oriental theme for the garden!”

Our vision for the garden was inspired by the Japanese, such as those at Chinzan-so, in Tokyo, and the Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon.

“I adore the combination of colours and contrasting themes you find in Japanese gardens in particular the use of red (my favourite colour) to paint bridges and benches”, comments Sykes.

“To draw the eye and as a real feature we designed the new garden to incorporate a gloss red Lutyens bench set against a backdrop of a similarly crafted dense green hedge.”

The client loved our ideas and this summer commissioned Gardenproud to redesign and landscape the whole of the rear garden.

The design incorporated an upper sitting area and rockery, a series of lower pathways, steps and terraces, a large circular mid terrace, then further steps leading down to a lower patio area and the house. It included some perimeter lighting and a water irrigation system. Trellising helped to camouflage an otherwise unattractive shed and unify the design of the lower patio.

Many tons of new Sandstone Rocks have been brought in to create new rockery walls and new flights of steps. The use of Indian Sandstone pavers has been augmented with interesting stone patterns to create new features.

The use of rustic posts and handrails at key points in the garden, helps visitors climb the terraces, but just like the planting their juxtaposition deliberately takes the eye on a journey up the garden to that gorgeous red bench!

A planting plan was created that would help emphasise the Japanese theme and included Tree Ferns, Acers of contrasting colours, Camelias, Phormiums, Buxus Balls, Azaleas, Magnolias and Dwarf Conifers.

An ingenious water butt now makes best use of the rain water that runs off the shed roof.

Along the way a lot of other more mundane things had to be addressed! Including an enhanced drainage system, renewing boundary fences, new foundations for steps, a fair amount of earth moving (by hand), a lot of lifting ( so much lifting it’s unreal)! We painted the benches, then repainted the benches ( we can advise you which famous brands not use on outdoor benches)!

But the finished result looks reasonably faithful to the concept, and the client is delighted with his new oriental oasis.

Let’s hope we have a nicer Summer next year and our client and his friends can really enjoy this unique garden.

If you’d like to find out more about this garden or would welcome a fresh new theme for your garden in 2013 contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820.