Author: Vanessa Drew, Landscape Designer at Tobermore
I have been designing gardens for nearly 20 years. If I had a pound for every client who asked me for a “low maintenance” garden, I would be writing this article from a mansion in the Bahamas!
It is often feared that low maintenance means your garden will look like a concrete jungle. However with a bit of thoughtful planning, Tobermore can help you strike a really good balance between hard and soft landscaping. This ensures that your garden combines practicality with year-round colour and interest. For the uninitiated, hard landscaping includes paving, walling and steps. Soft landscaping encompasses grass, trees and shrubs.
It is essential to have a certain amount of hard landscaping in every garden. This includes steps or ramps out of doors, patio areas, paths leading from one place to another and kerbs or walls. One of the first questions I ask a client is “where does the sun rise and set?” This is because we need to put the main patio area in a south or west facing position. Most people would have a family barbecue in the evening, so we need to make the most of the sunshine coming from the west. I also think that there is nothing more luxurious than having the time to sit outside to enjoy a cup of tea in morning sunshine. For this reason, I would always seek to put a smaller patio to benefit from easterly sun.
People often say “our garden’s no good – it faces north.” But we can make the best of this situation by putting the patio further away from the house, towards the rear of the garden - this faces south!
At Tobermore we have two design services. The first is free of charge and is a good starting point for a larger project and often all that is needed for a smaller scheme. Clients simply phone in to book a 30 minute appointment at their nearest paving centre. If you would like to avail of this service, take as many photos of the area from all angles, including one from an upstairs window if possible. Also required are the measurements of the area, including distance to the boundaries, the positions of all the doors and how many steps, etc. The more information you bring with you, the better plan we can draw up.
If you feel the project warrants a visit, we can come to you. On this visit, we will measure the area, take photos and have a walk round the site with you to discuss the possibilities. After doing a quick sketch on site, we then come away and draw the plan to scale on the computer. For this call-out service we charge £175 for a single area. When the client purchases £1000 of paving from Tobermore, this fee is refunded. This is certainly a valuable service.
Over the years, I have seen every shape, size and layout of garden imaginable. Some have been a challenge to say the least! But I’m happy to say, we manage to come up with a plan to please everyone.
With both design services, we quantify all the paving required and provide you with a quotation to supply the paving products. We can also suggest some local paving contractors who will be able to do the work.
We have an extensive range of paving products and colours to suit any situation. To help clients to decide on products, it is well worth a visit to one of our paving centres where all our products are laid in individual show garden style.