How to make a garden border
Garden borders are a great way to bring colour and vibrancy into your garden. With thousands of varying styles and planting effects making a new garden border can be an exciting process.
Typically today many gardens are covered with lawn or paved over to save time. Many people are not confident enough to try a little gardening to make their gardens more naturalistic and interesting. Making even a small garden border can be the difference between an amazing outside space or a boring lifeless desert.
Although making a new border or flower bed is easy in principle there are a few things to consider when getting started. This article will explain how to make a garden border perfect for any garden in any circumstance.
Making a garden border from hard standing
If your existing garden has areas of hard standing which you wish to be turned into a new border some demolition will be needed. Hard standing is any external surface which is too hard to be removed without breaking equipment. Paving, concrete and tarmac are the most common forms of garden hard standing.
In all cases the top layer and underlying hard core must be fully removed until you reach the subsoil. The subsoil should then be turned over and broken up to allow sufficient drainage to the border. You must have made provision for the waste material to be disposed of usually in a cartable skip.
In some cases the hard standing may be thin enough to break out with basic hand tools such as a sledge hammer, iron bar or even a robust spade. In most cases however an electric or hydraulic breaker is needed to fracture the hard standing especially if it is concrete.
With thick layers of tarmac and concrete a 12 inch grinder can cut out the shape of the new border before you break out. Always ensure you never work alone with heavy power tools and you always read the safety instructions before commencing work. Never use electric power tools in wet weather.
Making a garden border from lawn
Creating a garden border from lawn is a much more straight forward process as long as the underlying ground is not too shallow in top soil. Typically the shape of the new bed is marked out and the top few inches cut with a half moon edging spade. The turf can then be neatly scraped off the border area and disposed of.
If you are lucky you have an adequate depth of suitable topsoil which will be deep enough for planting new plants. The hard subsoil should be excavated to make way for new topsoil loam to be filled in afterwards. The ground should be turned over and worked to a fine texture ready for planting.
Soil which has been under turf for many years commonly is very low in fertility and nutrients. The constant cutting and compaction makes lawns rather low quality for growing plants. This means you will need to add a certain amount of soil amelioration in the form of fertiliser. If the ground is heavy and lacks drainage some course sand or course grit can be added.
With borders made from lawn areas it is good to install a new edge or mowing strip. This will stop the lawn grass from spreading into the new border and help maintain a neat and robust boundary to the lawn. Lawn edging is best installed flush with the turf level for convenient mowing without the need for a strimmer.
Choosing a shape for the border
When making a new garden border it is always good experiment with varying shapes and sizes before digging. This can be done by sketching over images of your garden, computer software or simply experimenting with shapes using a hose pipe.
This will give you the opportunity to experience the effect of the new bed before you commit to any heavy work. Sometimes getting ideas by looking at images in magazines or online can be great research to finding the effect you want.
When planning a new border think about the types of plantings you visualise growing. If it is a wild flower cottage garden bed perhaps sweeping curves are a good shape.
If the garden style you envisage is more contemporary perhaps strong lines and angular forms are best. Whatever style or shape you choose, experiment this is the fun part of garden planning! Creating a new garden border can be a fulfilling and enjoyable process.
Edging your new garden border
When creating a new garden border it is common to want it to have a clean and defined edge. This is especially important when marrying up next to lawn. In such a case an edging of some sort will prevent grass encroaching into the soil of the bed.
Edgings can be made from many materials including paving, brickwork, timber or aluminium. If a new border is next to a lawn it is good to have the edging level with the lawn surface for easy mowing. This is why edgings at lawn level are often referred to as mowing strips.
Improving your garden borders soil
Most of the time existing ground if it’s lawn or hard standing will be compacted with a low level of fertility. It is vital that the existing ground is turned over and all rubble and large stones are removed to improve drainage.
If the existing area is hard standing it will be important to supply some new topsoil to build up a workable and fertile soil. Most landscape suppliers can advise you on the best option for you within their range. Most suppliers can deliver large amounts of soil in jumbo bags or loose for even larger loads.
To quantify how much soil you need times the surface area by the depth in millimetres. This will give you a cubic metre quantity. With soil 1 cubic metres is usually equal to 1.6 tonnes very often people are surprised just how much material can be generated from a seemingly small excavation. When digging also bear in mind soil bulks up by 30%. The best soil for growing healthy plants is a compost rich loam soil with a free draining structure.
To improve your garden soil to its maximum potential try to get an idea of what the local soil conditions are in your area. For example if your garden is usually damp and boggy you may want to add some sand or grit to help it drain better. If your existing soil is heavy and clay add more organic material to help break up the soil.
It also may be worth obtaining a soil PH testing kit to discover if the existing soil is acidic or alkali. The perfect ph for most garden plants is about ph 6-7 or neutral. Kits are available from most garden retailers. To adjust the ph of the new garden border chalk or lime will raise the ph and ericaceous compost can lower it. Regular turning and rotovating will keep your soil aerated, workable and free draining.
Raised garden borders
One good way of ensuring a good depth of good quality soil in your border is to build a raised one. Raised garden beds are very popular allowing you to bring your planting schemes to eye level and ensure good drainage.
Raised garden beds are also very suitable for growing vegetables and plants that require a deep rich growing medium. The two most common ways of building raised garden borders is with external grade timber or some form of masonry, usually bricks.
If building with timber it is recommended to use timber with a minimum of 3 inches thickness. It is common to try and build beds with standard 6x2 timber but bear in mind from personal experience this will rot through in about ten years. It is best to build raised beds with heavy duty timber sleepers. These are usually 10 x 5 inches and can be bolted to 4x4 posts concreted into the ground for extra stability.
If building with masonry it is important to install a robust concrete foundation for the brick work to sit upon. This will prevent cracking and movement later on. Brickwork should be built with a double thickness above 1 foot or 300mm. This extra thickness is vital to support heavy loads of wet soil.
These raised beds should have weep holes at the base to help excess water to escape. Masonry raised beds can be rendered and painted and can bled to any style or theme. Although this type of raised bed is more robust than timber they are more work and usually more expensive than timber construction.
Drainage for a new garden border
Depending on what type of plants you wish to grow you may need to consider the drainage of your garden bed. Most plants prefer good drainage but you don’t want the soil so well drained that plants dry out in summer.
The best solution for this is working on your soil. A clay loam with plenty of organic matter is the best soil type for drainage and moisture retention. When creating a new garden border try to dig down as deep as you can and turn the soil over to relieve compaction and allow water to permeate the ground. This combined with good quality topsoil will allow your new bed to have great drainage.
Irrigating your garden border
When creating your new garden border or bed you may or may not wish to install irrigation. If you have a particularly dry garden or raised garden bed you may wish to install irrigation unless you wish to grow dry loving plants. For a perfect growing medium soil should be slightly damp to the touch about 2 inches under the soil. If you are not prepared to regularly water your new garden border in hot dry weather you may want to install an automated for of drip feed irrigation.
Orientation and Micro-climate
When selecting your new garden borders position it is always important to contemplate the type of effect you want. This means considering what types of plants you wish to grow.
To make your choice as broad as possible a sheltered and sunny position is best. If you wish to grow exotic plants and summer flowering plants areas that warm up in the sun are best. This can include south facing walls and heavily sheltered sunny borders.
If you need to create your border in a shady, open, boggy or dry area don’t panic! There is plenty of good information on the best plants for these sorts of conditions also. With a little research you can still find the perfect planting effects for any beds orientation or microclimate.
Choosing plants for your garden border
Most of the time people have an idea of the type of plants and blooms they want in their new garden border. Even if your borders soil and orientation is not perfect for the plants you have in mind there will always be a substitute. Below are some of the considerations you may want to take into account when choosing plants for your border.
The theme of your garden will determine the type of planting and even shape of your new border. If you are going for an exotic jungle theme organic curvy borders are very suitable. If you have a modern scheme angular and straight lines are a more common choice.
Foliage or the leaves of the plants you plant have a huge impact on the effect your border will give. Foliage can provide visual textures colours sound and movement. Also seasonal variation can make dramatic impacts by paying attention to your plants foliage.
There are many ways to utilise colour in your new garden border. Plants can be planted which change colour seasonally. This can include flowering and foliage. Raised beds and fences can be painted to create a colourful backdrop to your garden beds. Some research will soon find you the plants that will display your favourite colours in the garden for yers to come.
All year interest
When planning a planting scheme for your border it is good to consider what the bed will look like all year round. A combination of seasonal blooms, foliage, evergreens, bulbs, climber’s perennials and annuals can make your borders look amazing all year round. Study books on planting design to get the best seasonal effects for your garden.
Mulching your border
A great way to keep your garden border weed free and retain as much moisture as possible is to mulch. Mulching is adding decomposing organic matter such as bark chippings to create a moist soil cover. There are many advantages to mulching including helping to feed microscopic soil life.
This can keep your plants healthy and stop aggressive weeds from taking hold. There are many different mulching materials to choose from including simple solutions such as leaf mulch and even grass clippings.
Enjoying your new garden border.
Making a new garden border like any form of gardening is not an exact science. There is much to consider and much information to digest to get things right first time. Having said this, the joy of gardening is learning and experiencing through trial and error. If you are planning a new garden border the most important thing is you get started! Do your research but most importantly get out there and just go for it! Good luck!
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Raised garden beds can be an interesting and functional way to grow things in the garden. These are relatively easy to build and maintain. What is great about garden beds is they allow you to grow plants well even if your soil is bad quality or too shallow.
Raised beds allow you to choose what type of soil you grow in giving you a wider choice of planting types. Not only can raised beds provide you with great growing opportunities they can also add height and elevation to your garden. Below we have laid out all the things you should consider on how to build garden raised beds.
Benefits of raised beds
Raised beds allow you to bring the soil surface closer to our preferable working height. This stops us having to bend so low down all the time making gardening easier. For this reason raised beds are great for people with lower back pain and are great for gardeners who are in wheelchairs. Raised beds reduce bending and kneeling putting less wear and tear of your back and knees.
The soil of raised beds is commonly much better quality and less compressed than normal soil. This makes it much easier to pull out deep rooted weeds and hoe off weed seedlings. Having beds raised off the ground means they are much less likely to be exposed to settling weed seeds. Seeds blown in on the wind have less chance of settling on raised beds than the lower ground.
Raised beds can actually aid you to prolong the growing season. Being raised up and well drained means plants are less likely to be exposed to frosts. Raised beds are easy to cover with transparent plastic making miniature greenhouses out of raised growing areas. The soil in raised beds can be worked quicker and easier in spring meaning you can get plants planted out sooner.
Raised beds give you much more choice when it comes to choosing soil types. If you wish to vegetables a compost rich loam is perfect. Raised beds allow you to grow in better quality soil and at a greater growing depth meaning more robust plants.
Raised planters give you much more defined growing spaces in the garden. This is great for keeping an orderly garden structure and keeping beds well managed. For this reason raised beds are perfect for smaller gardens where space is at a premium. Raised beds have a deeper, well drained humus rich soil leading to much healthier plants.
Although raised beds can allow you the ability to grow plants anywhere it is advised the ground below at least drains well. If built on top of concrete it is advised to break out holes so there is still drainage at the bottom of the bed.
If built on soil the underlying earth should be turned over to blend with the new soil substrate. If your raised bed is on a roof top or balcony a system to retain water within the bed is advised.
This is unless you are in a very warm climate and growing cacti. It is good to place your raised beds in a place where there is not much exposure to strong winds.
Tender plants especially grow better in sheltered conditions so be aware of this when siting a raised bed. It is always best to choose a sunny position for your raised beds and building them in a place which is easy to access. Your beds will need to be maintained so having them close to the home or near a work shed is beneficial.
Raised garden beds can become a fantastic design feature in any garden or landscaping scheme. Most of the time many garden spaces have excessive horizontal spaces but lack it vertical features. Raised beds allow you to add vertical structure to a garden space. This can help break up monotonous areas and provide more spatial variation. Planted correctly raised beds can give the impression of plants being taller than they are. This is perfect for providing enclosure or enhancing decorative foliage like in jungle gardens.
Raised beds can be built using a wide variety of materials. The main examples of these are Concrete, brickwork, stone timber or plastic. There is no best material for raised beds but it is important you used the correct specification grade for whatever material you choose to use. For example, due to raised beds containing large volumes of heavy material flimsy materials should be avoided.
Timber is a strong, versatile and flexible material perfect for building raised garden beds. It must be stressed however that the correct type and thickness of timber is used. One of the biggest drawbacks of building raised beds with timber is the fact it can rot in damp outside conditions. This is especially in the case of softwoods such as pine.
Softer timbers can be used but they must be treated to become external grade timber. These can be dip or pressure treated. The other option is to use harder, tougher grades of timber such as oak or tropical hardwoods but these can be expensive. With timber the best way to build robust and attractive raised garden beds is with timber sleepers. Commonly recognisable as railway sleepers these large and robust sections of timber are thick enough to resist any ware and tear.
Timber sleepers can be old reclaimed sleepers or you can buy new ones. The usually come in 2.4 – 3 metre lengths and have thicknesses of 4-5 inches. On the upside there are anywhere from 8-10 inches thick. Timber sleepers are robust enough to take the weight of heavy, wet soil. It is best to fix sleepers to concreted 4x4 inch posts for extra strength and durability. Such raised beds can be clad with expensive tropical hardwoods for an extra modern effect.
Plastic is not the most ideal solution for building raised garden beds as it is usually flimsy and degrades in sunlight. There are however now many, heavy duty, plastic deck boards on the market that can make great raised beds. If you are planning on making beds with these try to use the plastic as cladding rather than a structural element. Beds can be built using external grade timber and UV resistant plastic deck boards can be fixed on directly. These types of raised beds can be extremely effective it the beds match the materials used on horizontal decking.
Concrete is an extremely robust and versatile material and can be used to make effective raised garden beds. The benefit of concrete is it allows you to build to almost any shape or form. It does however take quite some skill to build with effectively and correctly. Concrete raised beds are rather heavy and permanent so you have to be sure about the final bed location.
Concrete raised beds due to their weight will also need some infrastructure under the ground in the form of a foundation. There are two main ways of building raised beds with concrete. Concrete block work or in-situ concrete forming.
The concrete block method involves laying concrete clocks on a concrete foundation and then either rendered cladded or painted. This usually involves digging out a foundation and filling it level with ready mix concrete.
The concrete forming method involves using formwork and shuttering to create a mould for wet concrete to be poured into. This method is ideal for creating raised beds which are curved or intricately shaped but does require much skill and preparation. Either way concrete can make very robust, raised garden beds which can be cladded or coloured in any style and will last the test of time.
Stonework and masonry can be an extremely aesthetically pleasing way to build raised garden beds. These can be created in a variety of ways using various materials and building techniques. A very traditional and contextual way to build with natural stone is dry stone walling. This rustic way to build can be extremely appealing and provide crevices for wildlife. It is advised however that any natural stone walling should be mortared in to place with a strong and course brick laying mortar.
Laying natural stone loose is not advised for retaining soil as the heavy load can cause the raised bed to crack and fail. The best way to build a natural stone raised garden bed is to excavate a foundation similar to a brick work project. Broken paving, blocks or even rocks should then be laid on strong mortar.
The joints should be neatly pointed but I personally think recess or racked out joints look better with natural stone walling. Raised garden beds should always be built with drainage or weep holes at the base to allow water to escape.
Brickwork is a classic way to build strong, decorative structures which will require little if not no maintenance. When retaining soil it is best to build beds with a double thickness brickwork bond. These usually use a combination of both header and stretcher courses. English garden, Flemish and Monk bond are all good examples of these.
It is advised to put some sort of impervious capping on top of the wall to prevent freeze and thaw action on the top courses. Alternatively you can use a soldier or header course of robust bricks on top. Brickwork raised beds should also have drainage holes at the base to ensure good drainage.
The size of the raised bed will depend on your plot and orientation of your garden space. When building with timber sleepers as they are quite hefty to cut it is typical to make beds a sleeper length. This is particularly common when building raised, vegetable garden beds. The larger you build your garden beds the more stable the growing medium will be in terms of nutrients and moisture.
Small raised beds do have the potential of drying out in warm weather especially if they have a lot of height. Having said that this may or may not be an issue depending on what you are planting in your beds. Herbs and succulents do not need as much moisture as other plants such as vegetables. Most raised beds will have to fit to your sites criteria in terms of size but in general larger is best.
Raised garden beds give you ability to add a much deeper substrate of good quality soil. This makes working the soil easier and allows plants roots to run long and deep. It has to be noted however that raised beds which are too high can become dry.
A greater raised bed height can be beneficial when soil at ground level is excessively boggy or liable to flooding. If you have higher raised beds which seem to dry out try to incorporated soil which will retain more moisture. Clay loams and humus rich soil can improve the moisture retention within your raised beds.
Watch a video of one of our raised bed projects
Irrigation can be an important factor to consider when building raised garden beds. Sometimes installing irrigation pipe feeds into the structure of your beds can ensure optimum growing conditions in summer. Depending on the types of plants you want to grow and your climate you may or may not want irrigation in your raised garden beds.
Vegetable raised beds
Growing vegetables can be one of the most rewarding and health giving things you can do in your garden. Vegetables require deep fertile soil to do well and for this reason building raised vegetable beds can significantly improve your growing. Not only do raise beds provide better soil they actually help to reduce pests.
Pests have a much harder time getting to your vegetables when they are raised up away from the ground level. Slugs and snails are easily picked off by birds when climbing up steep raised bed walls with no cover. Raised vegetable beds should be filled with a moisture retentive loam and some well rotted manure mixed into the soil. Some vegetables that do exceptionally well in raised beds are cabbages, beans, carrots and potatoes.
Flower border raised beds
Not only can building raised garden beds be good for vegetables they are also great for growing shrubs, perennial plants and flowers. In smaller gardens raised beds can lift otherwise unnoticed flower borders into view and into the sunlight.
This can provide light, warm and airy places for garden plants to thrive widening your choice of plants to grow. The height of larger raised beds can also make plants seem taller allowing you to create spaces of enclosure and secrecy. Raised flower border beds can add structure and assist an exciting planting display to flourish.
One great benefit of building raised flower beds in the garden is they can double up as great seating. This is especially so if built at waist height with either stone work or timber sleepers. This can work especially well in small gardens where space is limited and extra furniture adds to clutter.
When building with timber sleepers a seating top can be installed along the top of the raised bed. This can be achieved by laying a sleeper on its side and fixing it to the bed. No matter how you build your raised garden bed there is always the potential to add garden seating as well a great planting scheme.
When filling your new raised garden bed it is always a great idea to add some existing soil already found within your garden. This can be the dig out from the foundations or any other garden excavations. Doing this ensures existing microscopic soil life has a chance to be mixed with the new growing medium. Many people don’t realise soil is very much a living, breathing organism.
Keeping the soils natural ecological balance healthy is the only way to guarantee healthy plants. Adding some existing garden subsoil will also allow the raised bed to retain moisture. This is especially the case if your garden has a clay soil type. Whatever soil you choose to fill your raised garden bed make sure it is easy to work and fertile. This will ensure enjoyable gardening and excellent results.
Building raised garden beds can take some hard work and planning but are a very welcome element to any garden. They can provide design aesthetics and function as well as providing a rich and deep growing medium for your plants. Whether you are thinking of building large, permanent beds or just raising existing borders a few inches, you will be happy you decided to build raised garden beds in your garden.
Paving services in Buckinghamshire
There is no doubt that when seeking paving services in Buckinghamshire or neighbouring areas it pays to find the perfect contractor. Buckinghamshire landscape gardeners have been paving Buck’s gardens for over ten years with a good knowledge of all types of paving surfaces.
Not only do we have a thorough knowledge of laying paving we are experts in patio design. This means we can soon work to realise a solution to your paving needs. Our paving services in Buckinghamshire have experience of both patio and driveway construction.
Some examples of our paving projects below
Identifying the style of paving and materials you wish to use is a very important part of planning new paving. Paving can be the most permanent type of garden construction. A well built patio or driveway will last at least 60 years so it is important to get it right the first time around.
We create videos of our paving construction projects to show you how we build our paving. We use the correct excavation depths and sub grades in conjunction with British standards. We do our upmost to ensure our paving services in Buckinghamshire are the very best. We have provided some of our project examples below.
What makes Buckinghamshire Landscape Gardeners stand out from other contractors is we have an excellent understanding of external design. Our director is a fully qualified landscape architect and also a landscape builder. Not only will we help you plan your new paving we will build it to an extremely high specification. We take great care over every cut, manhole, and joint consistency so we can show off our work examples to potential clients and social media.
During one of our typical onsite, free, consultations we will take measurements and work out your gardens opportunities and constraints. After we have completed our initial consultation we will email over our formal quotation for the project. Our quotation will provide a description of the work and a potential start date.
Our paving services in Buckinghamshire are always in line with British standard specification and in response to your ground conditions. This includes digging down to the correct depths and using the appropriate depths of substrates. This is our guarantee to you so your new paving will last the test of time and look amazing for many years to come.
Why not look at some of our paving services in Buckinghamshire work examples portfolio here.
What to consider when paving your Buckinghamshire home.
A very important consideration of planning new paving and especially patios is the orientation. Orientation allows you to plan for one of the most important factors, sunlight! Sunlight provides warmth and a light space to relax and socialise. Very often the unpredictability of the UK’S weather means every second of sunlight should be capitalised on. Our paving services in Buckinghamshire will ensure you are making the most of the available sunlight around your property.
All paving is either made of natural stone or moulded concrete pavers. These stone like materials do a very good job of absorbing the heat from sun. Not only do they absorb it they retain it and release it back slowly. This ‘thermal emittance’ means paving can create warm micro-climates around our outside spaces.
This can be enhanced further if new paving is situated next to the walls of the building. If you have a south facing garden this situation can be exaggerated even further. Paving in these environments can create microclimatic temperatures much warmer than the surrounding locality.
These conditions are perfect for early morning breakfasts and early evening dinners, drinks parties and family get together’s. A garden paving scheme which is planned to enhance microclimate will enable you to grow exotic plants and even fruits. If you like this idea and have room you can grow fruits like citrus and bananas in pots taking them inside for the winter.
This may be a push for the hilly parts of Buckinghamshire such as the Chilterns. Microclimate however can certainly extend a gardens planting palette a great deal.
Our paving services in Buckinghamshire always seek to enhance the beneficial effects of microclimate. We do this by always looking at potential orientation opportunities in any garden. Orientation and microclimate are a very important element to good paving design.
What kind of paving design you opt for will depend on a few different factors. Use, orientation, material, drainage and shape are all paving design factors which need consideration and planning. Most of the time our clients have a good idea of what want. This usually encompasses the location, size and style of the new paving.
Our paving services in Buckinghamshire have many years experience in helping people achieving the paving effect they desire. During an initial consultation we will listen to your needs and expectations and work with you to make them a reality.
If there is one thing that is taught in garden design schools across the land it is function before form. Function is one of the most important parts of planning a new paving project. This includes how your paving spaces will interact with and give host to other garden elements. Paving and patios should be planned to the sites strengths and compliment both inside and outside.
Our paving services in Buckinghamshire can work with you to work out the best spatial solution for your home.
When choosing the type of paving you want the material will depend on texture, usage and effect. Adequate grip will be requires if the paving will be used by children, the elderly or if the space is regularly wet. This is a very functional requirement with extra grip to be found on well textured paving. This can be chiselled or sand blasted or a naturally textured paving such as riven sandstone or course granites. If you require textured paving our paving services in Buckinghamshire can advise you on the best choice for you.
When choosing what aesthetic qualities or style of paving you wish there are many ways of reaching a decision. Very often potential clients have got an idea of the effect they want or have seen examples of what they want. We always do our utmost to involve clients in the design process of their new paving. We find conducting a web search of images locate great precedent examples to develop ideas from. This enables clients to get new ideas and narrow down the type of scheme they would like.
A very common desire of many clients is the idea that the inside flows outside on one simultaneous level. Achieving a harmonious flow from the back of the building through to a spacious paved area is the desire of many. This is a common tool of architectural design allowing space to flow uninterrupted creating a feeling of light and space.
We have noticed many Buckinghamshire properties extent the back of the home to create extra space. These extensions are a great way to extend a kitchen or living area. These are the kind of open plan design schemes perfect for flowing onto outside paving. Many extensions have large foldable sliding doors perfect to give entrance to a Grande new patio.
In these situations or clients wish for the garden paving level to be flush with the floor level of the building. This may or may not be possible depending on where the air bricks are situated on the building. The moisture content of the ground and drainage can also be an issue here. Our paving services in Buckinghamshire can advise you on the best way to proceed with this kind of scheme.
What type of paving to choose?
As laid out above there are many things to consider planning new paving around your property. Functionally paving should complement the building and create cohesion between the inside and outside. More important it should complement the theme of the garden and look fantastic!
Our paving services in Buckinghamshire team can work with you to bring these attributes to your project. With our creative ability to formulate multiple design ideas we can make this process easy. With using precedent images of other landscape projects you will find the process easy and even fun! Our aim is to reach a big vision for your garden and build landscapes of magazine quality. Our process usually safes our clients in landscape design costs.
Our paving services in Buckinghamshire do our best to combine a sound knowledge of design and construction to work up quick schemes. This can be seen below in the simplistic landscape design using black slate. This is a low maintenance garden consisting of paving, a concrete shed base, lawn and retaining seating wall. This scheme was sketched out on paper within the first 10 minutes of meeting the client. The result was a fresh, clean, practical garden design with a beautifully paved patio.
If you would like to benefit from our paving services in Buckinghamshire including a quick sketch proposal contact us here.
Paving a front garden or driveway in Buckinghamshire
If you wish to pave your front garden it is very possible you are trying to make way for a new parking space. If you have no private front parking and with more cars today people have no choice but to pave over them. In the past 20 years Buckinghamshire’s population has risen quite substantially. This has led to busier roads and some large road building projects. This has led to a greater demand for parking surfaces and front gardens has felt the full force of this trend.
Paving the front garden however does not have to be about creating new parking facilities. A well designed front garden scheme can frame your greatest asset and even add value. If you’re planning to add paving to your front garden you may have to add a drainage system. Our paving services in Buckinghamshire can advise you on the best way to move forward. Feel free to contact us here.
Driveway construction in Buckinghamshire
The majority of driveway projects across Buckinghamshire are what we would recognise as block paving. Traditionally there are two main types of block paving. The first is the brick type block paver which comes in the colours brindle, charcoal, and buff. These are the most common type of block paving which is laid in a Herringbone pattern.
The second type is the cobbled effect three sizes block paving. These usually come in three sizes and are square and oblong in shape. Marshall’s range is called tegula with other brands coming under other names. These usually cost about £5.00 more per square metre and in my opinion look much better than the traditional block paving.
One of the downsides to using the typical brick shaped block pavers is there colours will usually fade to a smokey hue of their original colour. The reason for this is the sun’s ultra violet rays eventually fade the dyes inside the block. The concrete dyes of the charcoal, buff and brindle are a much stronger tone than that of the tegula variety. As the tegula are a more cobble effect they make use of more grey type tones. This is more like the natural colour of the material they are made out of. This means there is less fading and a block paving which will look good for much longer.
Many people wonder why block paving is just so popular for driveways across the country. The reason driveways are paved with block paving is down to their construction. Block paving is laid on a compacted layer of sand this allows for small movements in the wearing surface. These movements are tiny and unnoticeable but allow for the uneven weight distribution of heavy vehicles to not crack the surface.
This kind of construction is called flexible paving. Block paving also allows water to permeate the surface so spilt oils and engine metals cant access the road. Laying a driveway on a rigid mortar base means the likely hood of it eventually cracking. If you wish to pave your driveway with paving slabs it is possible but a much deeper excavation will be needed. To ensure no cracking it would be best to lay a reinforce concrete slab base. Paving will then have to be laid on a strong 1:4 mortar mix with a consistent mortar bed at least 40mm thick.
Many people like the idea of a moulded concrete drive with dyes. This is another option however be aware! If you have a large driveway you will probably have to install expansion joints. These can interrupt the pattern of the driveway. It is worth noting that councils do not allow water runoff from impermeable drives onto the road. With non permeable paving a drainage gully with a soak away must be installed with the project. Our paving services in Buckinghamshire can advise you on the best course of action here.
For a typical block paving driveway the ground should be dug down to a depth of 250 millimetres. Depending on the ground conditions this may need to be slightly deeper. Buckinghamshire has an underlying chalk geology which is usually very stable and durable. Then 150 millimetres of MOT Type one compactable hardcore should be spread evenly as a base.
This should then be compacted with a vibro-compaction plate. This should be followed by a 50 millimetre layer of sharp sand which should be compacted. It should be then screened to a consistent, evenly graded level. The blocks should then be laid tightly to the straightest edge and cut in neatly around the edges. The blocks should then be sanded with dry kiln dried sand and compacted once again with the compaction plate.
Want to know about block paving construction the correct way? Why not watch a step by step video of one of our driveways below. Here you can observe the correct excavation, base preparation and block laying. See this video below.
A professional paving company should leave the project, road and pavement cleaner than the day they started. If you would like any advice on the best driveway option for you please feel free contact us. Our paving services in Buckinghamshire also serve Home Counties and North West London. Typical localities for our projects include High Wycombe, Aylesbury, Amersham, Beaconsfield, Gerrards Cross and the Chalfont’s.
Watch a video of our driveway construction below!
Drainage considerations of new paving in Buckinghamshire
Due to an increase in Buckinghamshire’s traffic and population many gardens are now covered with paving. Traditional garden spaces occupied with lawns and flower borders absorb large amounts of excess storm water. This water re-absorbs into the ground replenishing the natural water table. This natural process keeps the moisture content of the ground consistent. In some cases this process has led to the underlying ground to shrink and crack. This has led to instances of ground movement and subsidence.
The more human development and household paving there is the more water runoff there is. This has caused a huge rise in the flood risk to our low lying towns and cities. Rainwater passes over patios and driveways extremely quickly. This flushes toxins from our surfaces into the drainage network. This has led to pollution pouring into the natural hydraulic cycle and affecting the ecology of watercourses.
For these reasons Councils seek to ensure that all new driveways do not accelerate these problems even further. For new driveway paving in Buckinghamshire there are some facts you may wish to consider. If you are creating a driveway where there was once lawn or flower bed the following applies. If possible water runoff should be directed into a suitably sized flower bed so it can drain. If the whole garden is to be paved all storm water must be directed into a drainage gully. The gully must then be plumbed into a 1 metre cubed soak away underneath the paving.
This will enable all excess runoff water to be reabsorbed by the ground slowly. If you’re planning a driveway and need drainage advice please contact our paving services in Buckinghamshire today.
Paving a back garden patio in Buckinghamshire
A Patio can be a truly fantastic multi use instalment to your back garden. A well laid patio will provide the opportunity for endless outside entertainment and past times. The level consistent surface can host dinner parties, barbecues and even garden games. Patios also set the stage for numerous garden gadgets and gifts. Check out a great article with a selection of patio gadgets here.
The most typical garden patios we build are using natural stone paving. Some of the most popular natural paving on the market is Indian Sandstones, Limestone’s and Slate. There is an advantage to using these natural paving materials over concrete paving. Firstly these natural stones are not as expensive as they used to be. Competitive labour rates in places like India and Brazil have meant reasonably affordable prizes. If you have a budget of £45 per metre you have quite a range of natural stone to choose from.
In my opinion natural stone looks far more superior to concrete alternatives. One of the main problems with concrete aggregate paving is they rely on dyes for colouration. After a series of years the sun bleaches out the colours and tones leading to a worn look. Acidity from the rain weakens the alkaline in the concrete leading to weathering and algae penetration. Natural stone will always maintain their colour and are easy to keep clean especially if sealed.
For back garden paving that will not be exposed to heavy vehicular traffic we use rigid construction.
This involves digging out the new paving to a depth of 150 millimetres down from the finished level. We then supply and spread 100 millimetres of MOT Type 1 compactable hardcore. We then compact with a vibro-compaction plate. For all natural paving we lay on a consistent 40 millimetre 1:4 mortar mix bed. For clean cut paving like slate we sometimes but up the slabs for consistency and then sand the joints. This depends on the client’s preference or style they wish to achieve. For sandstones and 5 size multipacks we will point the joints with a 3:1 mortar mix.
It is important that all paving is laid on a mortar bed wet enough to create a suction seal on the underside of the slabs. This also allows the mortar to be absorbed into the paving creating a firm bond. The mortar bed should be consistent and touch all parts of the underside of the paving. To lay this way requires much more skill than dobbing but is the only way to ensure durability. Paving build this way will last the test of time.
For more information on our paving services in Buckinghamshire please do not hesitate to contact us here.
Beware of paving companies that knock on your door
There is a very common worry and common phenomenon today in the paving industry. Very often a area is hit by a frenzy of driveway construction. A single paving company of which no one has ever heard before sweeps the area. Driveways and patios are built on mass with workers and advertising boards on every corner. Most often these gangs operate under a false name and disappear as quickly as they appeared. They move area changing their name resulting in no accountability for the work they have done. Their construction methods fall short of correct specification and the materials are inferior.
Persuasive sales people are enrolled to knock door to door to try to talk them into their services. Their sales teams are extremely charming and very good at offering extremely low prices. This results in them carrying out a huge number of paving projects at once. This reassures other potential clients who happily agree to allow work to begin. Sometimes they will actually start work without any agreement taking place!
Beware of the cowboys!
Our paving services in Buckinghamshire are very familiar with the aftermath of these kinds of contractors. We are very often called to put right many of these paving projects of which are nothing less than robbery. We find they are excavated to only one third of the required depth and use substrates which do not compact properly. The paving materials are the cheapest they can find and the workmanship is awful. These contractors soon become intimidating when it comes to payment and there is no way to hold them account.
Most of these companies carry out these works on a ten year rotation and change their name for every area. Even if clients are happy with the poor workmanship the drive will soon fail. Tyre sink marks are usually visible in a couple of years soon becoming an accident waiting to happen. The brick work these companies build is absolutely shocking! We have seen 1 metre high walls built on only 3 inches of concrete. One wall was collapsing only after five weeks! The mortar ratio was so weak the rain was washing it out of the pointing.
We recommend anyone using paving services in Buckinghamshire reference our construction description above. Ask them what depth they will excavate? What sub grade they will use? What mortar ratios they use? And insist on a specific brand of paving.
When considering paving services in Buckinghamshire remember a few key facts. Anyone knocking on your door has no demand for their services. If you want cheap you will pay once and then the actual price in a few years time. We recommend checking out company reviews and recommendations online. The internet has given extra accountability to tradesmen ask yourself do these people put effort into what they do? Here at Buckinghamshire Landscape Gardeners we spend much time making videos of our projects. We also have a fully updated project portfolio.
Please do not waste your money on these paving companies! Our paving services in Buckinghamshire have a long track record of successful projects and construction videos for your reference. Feel free to contact our Buck's paving services today.
Paving on Buckinghamshire geology
Buckinghamshire has a rather unique topography and subsequent geology. North western pressure in tectonic forces from Italy pushing into Europe has helped to influence our landscape. These forces have led to the buckling of chalk bedrock forming the North, South Downs and Chiltern Hills. The Chilterns acted as a dumping line of materials from the huge glacier of the last Ice Age.
This has led to a unique combination of chalk escarpments with flint, clay loams and silt sands. This has led to various soil types any competent paving contractors mush be aware of. Paving companies should follow British standard guidelines on excavation and construction of paving. A professional paving expert should assess every projects soil type to ensure correct methods are implemented.
Chalk is an extremely robust substrate to build on and so is clay. If you have sandy loams typical of areas north of the Chilterns some concrete base work may be required. Our paving services in Buckinghamshire are experts in identifying soil types. This allows us to execute successful patios and driveways based on your unique conditions.
Our paving services also cover Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire. If you require a competent paving company contact Buckinghamshire landscape gardeners today!
Examples of Buckinghamshire landscape gardeners paving.
Buckinghamshire landscape gardeners have over ten years experience in paving both patios and driveways. We have strived for many years to be fully transparent in our approach and work examples. For this reason we put in extra work to create videos of our projects and built and online portfolio.
This gives you the opportunity to research our methods and work standards before we even visit you. This safe you time and the peace of mind we are an excellent contractor that takes pride in their work. Please do not hesitate to contact our paving services in Buckinghamshire today.
Paving patios & driveways what is our approach?
Buckinghamshire landscape gardeners are highly experienced in both paving design and laying paving. Our first consultation will try to establish your desires and needs as well as your properties opportunities. This will enable us to come up with the best paving strategy for you and your family.
Our vast expertise in garden design and landscape architecture means we can come up with that big vision. By utilising simple sketches and precedent images we can come up with the perfect paving proposals fast. We want all of our paving to be worthy of coverage in a national magazine. This is why we are constantly striving to push the boundaries of garden landscaping.
Contact us for paving services in Buckinghamshire
One thing we pride ourselves with is our closeness to our clients. Not only will our director Paul work with you to come up with the perfect scheme he will personally be there on site to deliver it. With a sound knowledge of both design and construction it is possible for us to reach an extremely high standard. Our attention to detail is held to account by our ambition to have the best work examples including videos on the web.
When contacting us we feel email is the best line of enquiry. Feel free to call but due to our very hands on nature we may be onsite, with a client of physically building a project. This means we can get back to you and plan a consultation straight away. For these reasons we feel email is much better. Just leave your name, contact details and a brief description of your project and where you are based.
There is usually a wait of 5-10 weeks from agreeing a project to starting based on how busy we are. There is always a little wait for good quality contractors feel free to contact our paving services in Buckinghamshire today.
One common concern when planning a new landscaping scheme is which paving materials should we use?
Many clients will enquire if slate is a good option for a patio. They have seen images of striking gardens online and like the idea of having it laid in their garden. Well I hear you ask, why not? Well not indeed! Slate is a striking and durable natural stone which can look fantastic on paved surfaces as well as vertical cladding.
A concern most people have with slate is will it be slippery? My simple answer to this no within reason. If the patio is laid reasonably level with only slight falls grip should not be an issue. When slate is wet with extra lubrication there is some possibility of slips but I would say this is minimal. If a certain velocity to travel combined with steep gradient and wet conditions there is a slight risk of slipping. I would say these scenarios are an extreme rarity!
Paving should never really be laid on a slope anyway unless for wheel chair access. Wheel chair slopes will always be built with materials that have high grip wearing surface. Concrete is usually the material of choice here. There are different suppliers of slate on the market; slate that has a clean cut with a slightly riven surface is the best. Buckinghamshire Landscape Gardeners and our Commercial landscaping department sources slate from two specialist suppliers.
One reason slate is good for an outside patio is it is durable and its colour will not fade. Most concrete pavers on the market will look good for the first few years but will not forever. As acid within rain slowly permeates the paving over proceeding years the wearing surface of the paving will wear down.
We have all seen old patios with small stones and aggregate showing through the surface of the patio. This is a big drawback or manufactured concrete paving. Another drawback of manmade paving is exposure to the suns UV light. This bleaches out the colour dyes within the paving adding to a worn bland look.
Slate being naturally formed from high density metamorphic rock means it is impervious to rain and its pollutants. This means it is also extremely hard warring and durable ideal to the vigour’s of external conditions. Due to slate having no colour additives or dyes the colours will never fade looking brand new forever. For this reason in our opinion slate is very good for an outside patio.
Slate is a very beautiful natural material with high permeability. Although permeability is a benefit to outside patios there are some things the landscaper should do when laying slate. Slate does not absorb water very well meaning it is less easy to bond to mortar.
When mixing mortar for laying slate the landscaper should add a rapid hardener and sealant adhesive such as PVA. The Sealant will increase the stickiness of the mix and the hardener will ensure less chance of bond breakage during curing.
Using a good slate supplier is also crucial when laying an outside slate patio. A good grade of slate paving will have a calibrated underside providing a strong key for the mortar. Buckinghamshire Landscape Gardeners use two exceptional suppliers of natural slate paving perfect for an aesthetic and robust installation.
Cost is a common concern when considering if slate is good for an outside patio.
Thankfully this concern is never really founded as we find in terms of value for money it is an excellent choice. I have often used the philosophy that for all slates benefits it merely looks expensive! Average paving usually costs around £30 per square metre depending on the quantities used. Slate averages at about £45 per square metre which is a fantastic deal for the benefits it provides. Seeing there is no extra labour cost or effort to lay slate over other paving the extra £15 a square metre is worth it!
As discussed slate paving is impervious meaning it will not be effected by moisture penetration or freeze and thaw.
Due to slates impervious nature stains and spillages are never an issue. People are usually surprised just how wine, coffee, algae and bird poop can seriously destroy a new patio.
Never gets dirty
Slate being black in colour has the added benefit of never looking dirty!
The clean lines of slate and bold colour means it can be very effective in many landscape designed gardens. We find slate patios look very effective with a contempory design accompanied with light rendered walls and even metal! At the same time slate can be used to accompany traditional garden styles such as cottages and courtyards. Good design and style flexibility is paramount on deciding if slate is good for and outside patio.