Andy's Landscaping News - Greenscapes Nottingham

Trees and hedges devoid of leaves, many plant pots empty and garden furniture packed away. That’s my garden as I write. With the winter sun shining, your outdoor room will never seem more like a blank canvas (other than a few miniature daffodils). Some gardens just need a light refresh, with well chosen pots and plants, whilst others need something more.


Springs only around the corner

That could be new fencing to set off your borders or a cost effective decking area, away from the house, to give more entertaining options. Or maybe new paving, paths and lawn edgings to give you a more integrated outdoor space. Give greenscapes a call to put your ideas into reality.

The end of January and early February is historically the coldest month of the year, but now is the perfect time to get outside, shake off the winter blues, take a deep breath, and get stuck in to the garden.

Pull out last year's straggly annuals, cut back last year's overgrown perennials and prune back wayward shrubs that are escaping their allotted space.


Shake off those winter blues

Trim the hedges before the birds start nesting and if the rains finally give us a break later in the month, lightly scarify and mow the lawn to encourage new growth ready for when spring fertilisers can be applied.

Then stand back, admire all your hard work and start looking forward to warmer times ahead.


Planting Choice is Critical


Whilst taking pictures for this month's notice board, the first thing that took my eye was the pot of miniature daffodils, from last month's posts, still in full bloom.

When you have a small garden ( like me ) the planting choice is critical. Every shrub or perennial has to earn its place with long flowering periods - like the tête-à-tête daffodils, year long interest in its leaves - such as  the acer palmatums or winter outlines ( to give an architectural background to early bulbs ) such as the various coloured barks of the dogwoods.

To get the most out of your garden space, whether it be a new planting scheme, paving  or decking project - or new feature such as a bespoke pergola or trellis, to set off your new planting, give Andy at Greenscapes a call to put your ideas into reality.


Tomatoes - The Worst Weather is Behind Us

Tomatoes.... It's a sure sign that the worst weather is behind us when the local plant nurseries start selling tender bedding plants, hanging baskets..... and tomatoes. As I picked up  a variety of shrubs  and trees  as stock plants for the new season , three  little pots of tomatoes ( tumbling cherry, beefsteak and  sweet yellow varieties ) somehow ended up in the  cart  - as a present to self.

The only problem is where to put them, as I've only a tiny planting area and that's already pretty full.   The French have the right idea, they mix perennials, herbs and vegetables along side each other in the borders, alongside coarse gravel paths, and call it a "potager ".

The seemingly haphazard growing arrangement is a way of reducing the incidence of pests and diseases that can blight plants when grown in formal rows together.  Sometimes these mixed borders are raised so that new and improved soil can be incorporated  - as well as ease  of maintenance for  the owners.

To make your garden earn its keep with a new layout or a fresh approach ( or even French approach ) give Andy at greenscapes  a call.


How much will it cost to do my Garden ?

How much will it cost to do my garden?

That's a question I'm regularly asked. It's a very important question and if not asked by the client, then at some point I've got to get round to the equally tricky question  "have you got a budget for the garden work ?"

Sometimes people would just like a quote, perhaps to compare with other contractors. But unless the work is easily specified or you have paid for professionally prepared to scale drawings/plans - with statements regarding levels, construction techniques and materials, no two quotes can ever be for the same work  

That's the  great thing about landscaping -  that no two jobs are ever exactly the same, but that simple fact makes it difficult to give a firm quote for work on the spot, especially when dealing with ponds, different levels, i.e. steps and retaining walls - groundworks, electrics or projects with bespoke joinery etc.

What is a pretty universal fact  though, is that hard landscaping is the most expensive part of a garden project.  Digging out soil, breaking out old paving and thick concrete, waste removal, possibly a digger, skips, permeable membranes, bringing in several tons of aggregate and sorting levels, all take time, equipment and knowledge even before the new paving or bricks arrive on site.

Decking can be more cost effective than paving, and often better overcome problems of sloping gardens - and using fencing or railway sleepers ( new or used) instead of traditional walling is also a less pricey option.

Re-turfing and adding gravel areas are generally at the lower end when it comes to cost.

Sometimes just tidying a neglected garden and adding a few new finishing touches can make a real transformation with minimal cost, especially on older properties

Bearing these facts in mind and with 20 years experience in the landscape sector a realistic working budget can be discussed.  Sometimes this can involve commissioning plans/schedules and  work being done in phases, especially when other major projects around the property have been recently completed such as extensions or a conservatory built, and getting a patio relaid outside the new building is of prime importance.

If you'd like Andy to discuss the different options available for you and your garden, give him a call today


Colouring the Garden Room

The phrase 'garden room' has never been more relevant. The garden for many, is an extension of their indoor living space, a space to entertain and relax, decorate with modern furniture and contemporary lighting.  And, just like the interior, getting the colour mix just right is critical.

As a practicing garden designer and landscape builder for over 20 years, you get a feel ( hopefully) for what's looks right in the outdoor space,  wether that be paving choice, curves or straight lines, gravel or grass and colour schemes ( often dictated by the age of the property or colour of the brickwork).  

With colour in the garden, it's generally better to play safe, especially with paving and fencing, but be more bold with planting. You can replace flowers relatively easily; lifting and replacing paving or completely re-painting your fencing less so.

We've just finished a makeover of a town house garden, where the client wanted a colourful contemporary space, incorporating pastel shades in the planting, blue grey paving and light blue fencing surrounding the garden. All through the build, my main concern was getting the fence colour just right.   That critical shade, when decided upon, dictated the type of  gravel and to a large extent  the planting scheme and future outdoor furniture purchases. keeping the decking area natural colour and adding pale brown trellis complemented the colour and stopped the blue being too overpowering.  

The finished garden looked great, the client was happy and looking forward to buying pots and new seating, and I was glad to have done something a little different from the norm.











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Modern landscapes - A nod to tradition

There's a growing trend at the moment for using ultra modern materials and sharp angular layouts in the garden - especially at the front of the house.

This has the initial effect of giving a "whole" design approach to the property. It's possibly not so relevant to the rear of the house, as you're generally looking from the house to the boundaries and beyond - which gives a whole different set of problems to overcome.

But to return to the front /side garden, the benefits of the modern look - it's the first thing you see when you get home or friends /relatives visit ( or potential purchasers arrive) -and it sets a tone for the property in general. That clean look reflecting the bright airy look of newly developed homes. It also frames the property, clearly defining your boundaries.  And when it comes to maintenance it's a case of keeping that definition clear and keeping nature a little at bay....

But that maintenance, though relatively straight forward, needs to be pretty constant, especially autumn / winter when decomposing leaves from neighbouring trees drop into sparkly granite chippings and machined ceramic paving becomes green tinged and slippy with algae thriving in our temperate climate.

I try, when designing front gardens, to keep those cleaner elements close to the house - paving leading to the doorway, granite chips under the windows and at the side of door entrances on which to put suitable planters /plants to frame the door. Away from the house itself I like to use elements similar in style and colour but perhaps are a bit softer in appearance and when weathered, in the case of hard landscaping,won't detract from the overall scene.

Incorporating car parking, fencing /walling, privacy and a pleasing look to the front of your property needs a quite a bit of thought but the results should make that design, time and effort every bit worthwhile.