We've been busy asking a multitude of folks what they would like to hear us talk about, so we thought it would be fun to start a library of all the many techniques, styles,ideas, creation that we come across. Many are from our own collection of projects which we have designed and built over very many years. If you like one or are looking at starting your own project we would be happy to be considered.
In addition we will be searching out homeowners all over the world to talk to them about their own gardens & landscapes. We have found that so many wonderful folks are really passionate about their garden landscape, finding time to make them beautiful even with a very busy schedule, they all love their garden landscape. drop by and listen, you never know you may be one of them or if not, you may catch the bug too !
We have so many project examples, from so many years of creating beautiful landscapes , Landscape Gardens are basically a collection of projects completed over a number of years for clients. I have always believed that designers of gardens should revisit them every 7 years or so to see how they have developed.
There are around 30 pages of pictures and shortened comments on each here, a more detailed information on each of these projects is being developed on another website, we will link each page here with it as we develop the complete information on each project adding new projects as we interview folks, and talk about topics on the show.
Enjoy - do like us on facebook to help us Grow - Thank you all Ann & Chris.
This next project has a couple of pergola's linked by trellis sections, this enabled us to design the patio as an octagon, rather than as a circle, by allowing a small border infront of the trellis the patio becomes par tof the larger perennial border behind the trellis, whilst still be a room with in a room.
A large amount of natural stone was used in this very large executive residence, using stone creates a strong, solid feel to this multi terraced garden.
The huge coping stones hide the secondary brickwork that enabled the natural stone to be used in this way.
The next page is more Residential Landscapes
This delightful project was carried out over a number of months as the builder completed the residence for a very discerning client. The house was built on top of an existing pond, so the main structure was piled to a depth approaching 50ft, this necessitated some elaborate engineering for the roadway.
The final wearing surface is a combination of fibreglass rovings, binder, tar and clean pea-shingle. The resultant waterbound surface is both functional ,practical , and long lasting as it doesn't disperse when driven on, it is actually waterproof.
The brick walls ( below), to the terrace are deliberately designed to be wide enough for someone to sit on and place a glass next to them, this provided the client with additional entertaining space, with out making the terrace too large. Or requiring that 'Hotel' look of rows of seat everywhere.
The terrace is laid in a random rectangular natural stone, with a brick edge.
We will be discussing the construction techniques used here in later programs.
The next page is Public Gardens...
To enable public areas to withstand the much higher traffic usage, the construction methods employed are often much more substantial and consequently the work lasts many years longer. Often this robustness comes at a price of softer looking landscapes.
This first picture is of a Museum exhibition, constructed on a Roof Garden it was actaully on three levels, covers around 27,000 sq ft and traces the history of garden from the 14th to the 20th century in London.
This next is a classic urban regeneration project adding additional car parking to a group of terraced houses. Instead of using all asphalt we opted to use grasscrete blocks to at least soften the impact of the extra parking.
This a somewhat more famous site - The Tower of London , we designed and installed an irrigation system to keep the lawns immaculate. Some of the requirements of this site were, no physical connections to the property, and the need to hide an 800 gallon water storage tank..!
The next page is Organic Farmers..
Vegetable Growers - There is a huge and growing demand for fresh local vegetables and herbs, with 'Farmers Markets' popping up all over the place. We are fortunate to be able to interview both the growers and the experts who follow these trends.
A close up of the fruits of their labours.
The next page is our Go 'n Grow Kits.....
Growing Trends Go 'n Grow kits.
We've been developing a patented really easy to use method of 'garden construction & growing' you can see more at www.picagardi.com.
Here's an example of one of the kits ,. Our new range is called 'Hort Cuisine' here we created a mix of vegetables and added some marigolds to ward of some of the likely pests. It's often a good idea to add marigolds and nesturtiums.
The patented garden bedding system uses a unique grid identification so that you can easily see which plant goes where.
These super easy designs come free with the Go 'n Grow Kit orif you just prefer the design you can download them from www.picagardi.com for a dollar !
It's quick, easy and the paper fabric dissolves into the compost after 12 months.
The next page is Roof Gardens..
Roof gardens, and I suppose 'Green Roofs' started for us back in the late 1980's the first projects were really fun..this one was so old we only have a black & white picture ! It was a bank in the City of London. Because all this was 'new' back the, we had to make do with unusual items to create effects, here we used a satelite dish to create a pond - even personal satelite dishes have been miniturised these days, at least we have many more pre-formed ponds available now !
This next one we developed our own GRP planters using rock face moulds and bonding them together to contain the planting compost, they were then grouped and assembled to form these attarctive planting areas on an office roof.
This particular award winning project from 1984 roof was practical and very low maintenance, it helps to maintain the site in house as you can monitor the development much better.
Here's another, this time on a suspended roof, using spreader pads, beneath the paving.
Another award winning 'Green Roof' was designed & constructed using sustainable timber modules, its always a great idea to use 'modules' when designing as this usually cuts down on waste and makes the whole process of design & construction becomes much more efficient.
A peaceful retreat from the inside office.we maintained this site, apart from a pair of nesting mallard ducks, and some careful pruning the project developed beautifully.
Another award and a much larger project, around 1/4 mile of balcony planters on this government
building, this site was maintained by us for many years.
The purple beech was retained on site and the building constructed around it, beech are notoriously
fickly about changes in water table to their roots, by providing a larger than normal working area
the tree thrived.
This next was tracing the history of London's plants from the 14th Century to the 20th Century.
Here's during construction..the roof garden is some 27000 sq ft, in the heart of the City of London
Almost completed..and ready for the exhibition, which lasted for some 3 months.
The next page is Miniature Gardens...
My first sightings of a miniature garden was many years ago at the Chelsea Flower Show, these are from that show, I've no idea who designed and constructed them but thank you anyway..
here's another..I did like the beautiful proportions, and the attention to detail.
The next page is sustainable timber crib walling...
Sustainability - timber walls from a renewable source.
These walls are both structural and sustainable, some thirty years ago we built this award winning one
and just for fun we talked the client into adding our own 'Burrito's' of plants, the result was better than
The site was South facing and a chalk escarpment, so we used the chalk as infill as its pretty stable.
Designing steps into this type of wall is easy if you remember consider the module size.
Here's what we started with...
The next page is Vertical Gardens.....
Here's one from Portland, Oregon. I think these are a wonderful way to introduce a 'green landscape' into a tight space.
The next page is a little about Project Planning..
Planning a project is essential from the construction point of view if you want to make a profit, from the client point of view it is important from a 'How do I have access?' , 'When do I need to decide on this item?', 'When will I need to pay for this?', 'What happens if I change something?'
There are programs with Gantt charts you can use for really complicated projects, or there is a simple time chart for staff allocation, in the end it is all about communcation. The trick as they say is to have the right staff, with the right materials, arrive and complete in the right timeframe and to the right standards - which given our variable weather can be a challenge.
The next page is about Design...
Creating a design is one thing, comminicating what you are intending to a client is quite another. Today it has been made much easier with the advent of 'What you see is what you get' CAD programs, they are able to convert a 2D design into a 3D photo realistic presentation, or even a movie.
In the past the designer created an 'Artist Impression' which in itself was a work of art and took many extra hours to complete.
Once the design has been approved, a set of working drawing is produced, again in the old days this was a scaled set of drawings so you could set out the planned works accurately, today computers enable CAD drawing to be drawn at full scale, so all that is required is a 'Dimensioned' version of each section of the plan,a much quicker and much more accurate system. They still get plotted to a recognised scale for ease of use, but they do not need to be drawn at this scale in the very beginning. - any alterations are a snip to introduce and then reprint.
The next page is all about Construction techniques..
Learning what works best under differing situation can take a life time, it can also be described as experience, and as we all know experience is another word for 'expense' . If you truly want to create something long lasting, that will grow with you, the help of a group of experts is invaluable.
Most projects have a tight deadline which always creeps up on you, due to change orders, availability of materials, staffing, weather or just too much work to be completed in the alloted time frame. A good firm handles all this without any undue stress, and still manages to create a beautifully finished project.
As can be seen below...
The next page is about Aftercare ...
Taking care of the newly built landscape requires much more initial work than maintaining an established landscape, we used to figure at least 10 - 15% more labour time initially, as plants died, or didn't thrive, grass wouldn't grow or the irrigation system needed tweaking, or we just needed to fertilise more to get the plants to grow.
Once you have the site under control, as long as you tend to it a little and often it will always look wonderful, both these sites were visited weekly and it shows in the finish.
The next page is about Shade Gardens..
Growing in the shade is much harder than you expect, for a start you have eliminated a huge number of achitectural and colourful plants, and remembering that the tiger rhus on the right is going to be at least 8ft tall in a couple of years is critical to understanding how the site will mature. Mind you coleus will thrive beneath the small tree once it does get that high.
The next page is about Sunny Gardens..
Not too many of us have the joy of living in tropical or sub tropical regions, when you do they bring all manner of different conditions and requirements. Not least the differing plants that you can use outdoors rather than inside, and in some regions you can really grow your own coffee !
The next page is about Xeriscape or Mediterranean Gardens..
Xeriscape or Mediterranean Gardens
Really the same, these are gardens designed for hotter, drier climates, not quite arid, but definitely much less water and much less aftercare.
The next is about School Gardens....
Over the past twenty years we have developed a number of 'school based garden landscapes', at first they were more 'playgrounds' for kids to play in at break times, then we developed these quiet gardens, which had additional benefits of 'brass rubbing' and a little history of how plants grew in the local region. Recently there has been a bigger push for showing and growing herbs & vegetables so children can see where their food comes from.
The next page is about Exhibition Gardens...
Nothing ever quite prepares you for the skills of a really good designer or his construction teams, most exhibitions are lessons in extremes, hardly any can be repeated at home, simply because you cannot replicate the conditions or the construction methods over the long term. What they do is stimulate the mind to show what sort of things are possible, even if they have to be moderated a tad back home.
The next page is about Demonstration Gardens..
Every ten years the Dutch hold a 'Floriade' this is probably the largest and one of the very best horticultural displays anywhere in the world, covering hundreds of acres, with exhibits from all over the world, it is a display of everything that is currently possible and some that is looking into the future..if you ever decide to go, make sure you allow at least two to three days to tour the simply breathtaking array of gardens, plants, exhibits.
The next page is about Garden Centres & Nurseries
Garden Centers & Nurseries
Over the years nurseries learned that just growing plants in a field and dispatching then when tthey became dormant wasn't a good business model for long term growth. Along came garden centers, when growers started to grow plants in pots, they were able to display much longer and folks could take them home without them wilting. Then annuals were bred that offered bright colours to attract customers more and more, so they could be put in pots and look instant, rather than grow from seeds. Recently the trend has been to add vegetables and herbs to the mix.
Soon I expect Garden Centers will start offering complete design solutions for you to take home and complete yourself in a weekend - I sure hope so because that's what our new patent does - www.picagardi.com ( nothing like a quick plug for your own product! ).
The next page is about Landscape Companies
These four extremely talented fellows were responsible for at least 12 of our national awards over the years.
The four of them are all skilled in stone work & brick work, which is the foundation work for most of our landscape projects, we found that if we paid attention to quality construction which stood the test of time ( built somewhat more robustly than our competitors) it went on to be a great advert for us as our projects looked superb ten years and more later.
Here the project is taking shape.
The house was built on an old farm field, we found the clay pipes running across the heavy clay soil.
Of course keeping a site clean and tidy is essential to a successful project.
The lawn has a great look to it, this is achieved by avoiding isolated over compaction, careful, preparation and then finally an irrigation system.
The bricks we used here are extra burnt stocks, these makes them much harder and much more frost resistant for these conditions.
The next page is about Landscape Designers....
The next page is about Farmers Markets..
The next page is about Farm Shops
The ext page is about Outdoor Wedding Venues
Outdoor Wedding Venues
The next page is about Office Landscapes
The next page is about Hospital Landscapes
The next page is about Therapeutic Gardens
The next page is about Scented Gardens