Decks, Drains and Gardens – a March report

Well, since the colder weather of January, we have been enjoying somewhat higher temperatures and been working on a number of different projects.

Before the colder weather seemed to leave, we worked on a large decking and fencing construction for a client. Although this was a ‘normal’ project for us, the size of the decking – and its location – made it stand out and presented a few challenges.

This was behind the client’s barn conversion and, to ensure consistent and quality drainage throughout the year, we needed to install a land drain through the field in which the deck was located.

For another client, we installed a new driveway which had some interesting features to incorporate: we had been advised that a large truck and a caravan would regularly traverse and park on the drive. If you’ve looked at the driveway of your own house, you may well have spotted the tell-tale signs of family cars passing across: slightly sunk areas, where the tyres move; a depressed area where the car sits overnight; slabs or pavers moving slightly along the edges. There were also a few level changes to incorporate...

First of all, we incorporated a Geogrid in the granite MOT sub-base, as this delivers additional reinforcement and strength to the sub-base; it basically holds all of the foundation in place, and prevents movement on the surface. Although this work is invisible to the naked eye when the job is finished, its value pays off in years to come, as the surface should remain flat, with minimal depression. Drainage should also remain constant and as originally planned.

We used different kerbs for retaining the level changes, as can be seen in the pictures, and contrasting lines of pavers to break up the design and add an ‘edge’ and delineated path to it.

Finally, to provide a premium, discreet finish to the drainage we used galvanised brick slot channels. This would ensure that surface water was rapidly removed from the surface – much more pleasant when getting out of the car and coming into the house!

We have also begun a full rear-garden transformation, which is a design from our associate Ian Green at AGI.

This job is really interesting, as it has a lot of nice features in it – from terraced porcelain patios and artificial lawns to a water feature, retaining oak sleeper walls and a hot tub. This is only work in progress; more pics to come next month!

As we move closer to Spring, we have had a lot of planting installations to price, which we are really looking forward to getting stuck into. This is always an interesting exercise, as it requires us to exercise our creativity, choosing blooms, shrubs and trees to our clients’ aesthetic and budgetary considerations, using a blend of our knowledge and our contacts to be able to choose and source quality plants at the best possible price for our clients. It’s always great going back, some years later, to see a garden which we or our associates have designed, and see how well it has ‘grown into’ itself, and to see how our plans have actually been transformed into reality. We know, of course, what it should look like in years to come – but it’s always a real buzz to be proved right! There are so many considerations for us to take into account, over and above our clients’ instructions: the local weather, prevailing wind, alignment of the garden and pattern of the sun, local shadow issues, levels and inclines and the effect of other nearby structures – and of course the way the garden will be used. And you probably thought that garden design and the choice of plants was easy! Topical issues, too, come into play: Chelsea, Tatton and other RHS Flower Shows can change the public’s reactions to certain flowers and shrubs or variants – or even colours. Changing fashion and fads, in turn, can drive prices and availability quite considerably.

We have had some really strong applications for our brickie and landscape joiner vacancies and we are excited to be moving into the interview process; the addition of these new members to our team will mean a greatly enlarged capacity to handle projects!

If you’d like us to design and quote for you, or like a no-obligation chat about your project, do get in touch, phone Joe on 01522 708555 or email