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Archive for the ‘Terraces’ Category

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.

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.

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.

A walled garden in the centre of Tunbridge Wells

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011


Revive and re-integrate 2 gardens previously separated and more recently damaged by extensive building works.

Update a space previously the domain of 2 teenage boys into a multi-purpose garden with a bias towards adults.

Include a water feature to help combat local traffic noise.

Incorporate entertaining areas and extend the use of the garden beyond daylight.

Create focal points and improve the privacy of the area.


Gardenproud designed a garden to harmonise with a new orangery and surrounding terraces. This included creating a series of pathways to integrate the two gardens, designed in a pattern to dramatise the footprint of the house and it’s new extension.

A mediterrenean style pond and fountain were incorporated, creating a point of focus and soothing background noise. Trellis was used to unify the gardens and extend the privacy afforded by the walls.

A central seating area featured a handmade Edwardian bench and 2 unusual urns. Spot and back lighting was built in to create subtle light effects against wall panels and behind trellising – all switched via a remote from inside the new orangery.

A decking entertaining area was incorporated and a folly in the shape of an intriguing doorway made sense of some victorian steps that led nowhere. All the beds were redesigned and replanted and finally the lawn area was relayed.

Phase 2 is to redesign the front garden!

Why Is Decking So Popular in Garden Landscaping?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

1. Decking can be used to cover unwanted surfaces. The deck is strong enough to ensure that foot traffic is supported. An area which previously was of little use, can be turned around and used for socialising.

2. Decking can be used to give the impression of uniformity by creating steps and levels. In doing so, it has the ability to counteract uneven landscape.

3. It has the added benefits of making the garden easier to navigate around. Garden design is often focused on making better use of space and decking can help achieve this goal.

4. Decking which has been well designed can add value to a property. Decking can be seen as an extension of the property thereby making it look bigger.

Which Materials Are Used For Decking?

There are two popular alternatives, wood and composite. The attraction of using composite originates from its maintenance free characteristics and its lifecycle. On the other hand, wood enjoys a reputation of been resistant to fire (in the case of Cumaru and Ipe woods which have the same fire rating as steel) and a positive interaction with staining, a process which can rejuvenate the wood to make it appear new again. Before choosing one instead of the other, talk to Gatdenproud about the best options for your particular garden.

●      Reasons to consider composite – Low maintenance required, long life and affordability.

●      Reasons to consider wood – Fire resistant, no need for preservatives and sealants, and unaffected by insects, fungus and acids.

Is Decking Hard To Maintain?

By now you know that composite decking requires little care which means that this section is intended for those who have wood decking fitted, which incidentally is also the most popular type of decking in the UK.

Wood decking maintenance takes just a few minutes and revolves around regular cleaning. The more frequent you clean the wood, the less time it will take next time around. Start by making sure that the decking surface is free of any clutter, obstacles and garden furniture. When doing so, do not drag furniture on the surface of the wood as it might scratch the wood. Using a stiff broom brush the area to get rid of any dirt which has accumulated over time. If you have a jet washer wash the wood ensuring that you cover every plank and every edge. Now that the decking is completely clean, you will need to treat the wood. The best result is achieved by using decking oil, which will seal the wood by penetrating the surface leaving a natural looking finish.

Bonus tip – After the winter months, the surface might contain stains from debris, food or any other material. To remove these stains, use soda crystals in conjunction with warm water. Spray warm (not boiling!) water on the surface of the deck and then spray soda crystals. Allow the deck to dry naturally and wash away using a jet wash. This treatment will do wonders and is often cheaper compared to commercial cleaning solution.

If you are considering fitting garden decking, talk to Gardenproud. There are almost endless combinations and very few limitations when using decking, which is why you will benefit from a professional service.

Article kindly provided by Wood and Beyond, vendors of wood products, from solid wood flooring to engineered wood flooring.