Gardenproud Blog

Archive for September, 2013

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
Alternatively for further information about this article, or Gardenproud please  contact Tim Sykes at 07725 173820

Prague Castle Gardens

Monday, September 2nd, 2013
Sunday 1st September 2013, by Tim Sykes, Gardenproud

We’ve just returned from visiting Prague.
There are a number of gardens to see here, but one I recommend is attached to the world famous Prague Castle situated in Prague 1.
Prague Castle dates back to the 9th century, it was originally the residence of Bohemian princes and rulers, and since 1918 the seat of the president. It is one of the largest castles in the whole of Europe.
The guides warn you about the amount of time you need to dedicate to a Castle visit. With visits of c 4 – 5 hrs often suggested. We only had 3 hrs, so decided to not join one of the guided tours. Instead planning our own tour. Suffice to say the Castle complex is so vast we nearly spent 4.5 hrs there!
The Castle stands high above the City commanding superb views.
If you are walking, cross over the Charles Bridge then up the cobbled streets until you reach the steps. The steps, don’t attempt these unless you are feeling fit! You can take the tram to the top. The number 22 or 18 tram will get you up there.
Alternatively take a taxi ride. It was a sunny morning so we walked. I didn’t count how many hundred steps there were but the views of the city were breathtaking(not that we had any breath to take by then)!
One of the highlights you must see at the Castle is the St Vitus Cathedral. The stained glass windows are incredible. They are vast (as is the Cathedral) and so beautiful.
Not surprisingly, an attraction for me were the Royal Gardens. These were originally created by the last crowned Czech king, Ferdinand V.  He chose Prague Castle as his residence upon his abdication in 1848. Apart from music he was
especially interested in nature.
Ferdinand V and his wife, Maria Anna of Sardinia
Having learned about botany in his youth he remained interested in gardens and following his move to the Castle he became interested in the strip of land above the Deer Moat. He rented this land together with a small garden house and farm buildings. He had 3 greenhouses, one of which was devoted to growing camillias, another to rhododendrons and azaleas.
A new feature of the Royal Gardens is the Orangery. This is a futuristic looking piece of prize-winning architecture.
The Orangery features a computer controlled environment designed to create just the right climate for the many tropical plants that flourish inside. Lemon and Lime trees, palms, yuccas, phormiums, figs and orange trees all thrive in the humid climate.
Outside the gardens feature some remarkable garden buildings including the Queen Anne Summer Palace, adorning Czech statues and plasterwork typical of the Prague landscape.
There are formal and semi formal areas reminiscent of park landscapes.
We travelled to Prague with Easyjet, and stayed in the Barcelo Hotel in Prague 5. This was very good. If you go treat yourself to a Junior Suite. There is also a Barcelo in the City Centre, currently being refurbished. Maybe worth a look on our next visit!
For information about the Prague Castle Gardens see Also see more about Barcelo Hotels at If you are visiting Prague for the first time make sure you pre-book a taxi transfer. We used Prague Airport Transfer, booked through Easyjet. They were very good.
For further information about Gardenproud contact Tim Sykes on 07725 173820