Gardenproud Blog

Archive for the ‘Green Gardens’ Category

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!

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


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 info@reallygardenproud.com

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.

7.4m Brits are too ashamed to use their Gardens

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Some of you will have read the article in the Daily Mail. It’s almost unbelievable but maybe true!

Recent research reveals that an amazing 7.4million Brits never spend time in their courtyard or back garden. That’s 12 percent of us. 40% say it’s in a real state with weeds, poorly cared for plants etc. So a rather embarrassing place!

More than 25% of householders admit to finding mowing the lawn or planting flowers more difficult than doing a spot of DIY.

Well if this describes your experience then look no further!

Apart from helping you look after your garden on a regular basis we can turn that weed ridden wasteland back into a garden you’ll be proud of and enjoy.

We have a dedicated GARDEN BLITZ team, plus a team of regular gardeners who can take on the regular maintenance task.

Costs start from as little as £13.00 + VAT per hour

So if you live in Kent contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820 for a free estimate.

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.