An insight to the daily life of a garden design and landscaping build up on a rear garden located in Cullompton, Exeter, Devon.

My name is Kerry Jackson, proprietor, principle garden designer and fully fledged hands on landscaper of Jackson's Landscape Design, Newton Abbot, Devon.

A warm welcome to you and many thanks for your time viewing my blog, I will do my uptmost to explain in detail how I undertake a contemporary garden build by means of photography, videos and in depth explanation.

I trust you may find this bespoke high quality landscaping project useful in some form and If I can assist you in any way I try my very best to accomodate your questions or landscaping requirements.

Day 1

Before Image 

Rear garden Landscaping project Devon


The Brief

Having been commissioned to design this rear garden near Exeter, Devon my brief was very clear.

" Kerry, we require the wow factor, combined with a chic, bespoke low maintainace outdoor living space, subtle lighting creating ambience which will create another visual aspect once the night draws in, bold formality with the planting and a garden that we can relax in with a glass of wine after a hard days business. "

The budget was set and with this brief at the forefront of my mind I commenced the garden design process.

After a couple of months of thought and drafting concept plans this 3D design, below, was approved with a signed contract, now the time has come to put vision into reality.

The 3D Garden Design

Garden Design Devon

Landscape Design Exeter Devon

Landscape Design Exeter Devon


Designed Garden Devon

Designed Garden Devon

Creating the vision

With my van loaded with the appropriate tools the team and I head up the M5, once we arrive at the property, my first task is to issue work / apology notices to all surrounding neighbours, Ive always introduced myself as the first port of call should any problem arise, you'll be suprised with the amount of friendly waves and eventually other projects we recieve.

Common courtesy costs nothing but goes along way, but it remains in a potential prospects  mind for years....

The micro 360 excavator is delivered on time and the team set about dismantleing a section of fence for access.

I'll put the kettle on, which is extremely rare, I'm one of these people that can't operate with out a coffee first thing in the morning.

Were in

Cat scan survey

The excavator may well be on the area to be landscaped and ready to start digging concrete footings, levelling the garden etc, however, I'm not as I'm completely blind as to what lies below the visual surface.

In order to gain some insight as to what lies blow the topsoil I always scan the entire area in both direstions with a cat scan cable detector, should any live cable be within the landscaping area I will detect them and mark each high detection point with a marker spray, with gentle sweeping motions I can build a mental image of the direction.

Any live cables will be hand dug, we will also dig by hand around gas and water utility services.

The garden is clear of any live cables and I'm happy to proceed.

With a ditching or grading bucket, the flat one with no teeth to you and I, I remove the stock pile of rubble from the area of the existing large rear wall towards the opening in the fence where the road lies and within reach for my later Hiab grab driver.

Rubble clearance

The team remove the softwood decking

Softwood decking removed


You'll note the supporting pillar to the overhang, again I'm blind as to how this was installed by the clients builder.

In order to gain clarity we cut the decking around the support and remove all surface material, it's a good job that we do'nt tear the garden to pieces in our haste !!

Poor Groundworks

Poor groundworks

The treated softwood decking supports the pillar, which in turn supports the overhanging roof, as this unforeseen, a work change order will be filled in with my proposals to rectify and all costings.

I will acro prop, on clean timbers, the soffit to support the roof once I start the main frame for the Saige composite black decking.

Datum Levels

Landscape Datum levels

A datum level is used via a yellow sprayed pin as my key point throughout the entire project, this pin will not be moved at all. For this particular landscaping project I am governed by three levels, the whole project will be built from the seamless transition from threshold to composite decking, to paving at the same level and a 150mm riser.

Even though the decking and paving finish floor levels, FFL, are the same,  the area preparation levels differ, hence the reason for three datums levels.

Datum pin

Landscaping datum pin

Blue tape at surface, you can just see it with zoom, is the Saige composite decking dig level, allowing the depth of a 28mm composite deck board, 150mm deep joist and 50mm of air circulation below the joist.

White tape in the middle of the pin is the main paving level, allowing for 100mm consolidated scalping, 50mm full motar bed and 28mm Marshalls Fairstone paving.

The top blue tape is the datum level for the 150mm step riser, allowing for 100mm consolidated scalping, 50mm full mortar bed and 28mm Marshalls Fairstone paving.

Cutting the composite decking dig level

Landscape excavation

Using a 360 rotating lasor level I am able to work up to 300m from the lasor with a receiving eye and staff, the lasor glass must be kept dry other wise it will distort the lasor beam and I'd be wasting my time and money removing to much subsoil.

Every day the garden will be kept tidy once we have completed our goals.

Tomorrows blog:

A Landscapers garden preparation Devon

Votes: 0
E-mail me when people leave their comments –


  • PRO

    I always learn something from your methodical approach, Kerry :-)

    Looking forward to seeing the project thru' to completion....

This reply was deleted.

You need to be a member of Landscape Juice Network to add comments!

Join Landscape Juice Network

Open forum activity

Lee Davis replied to A. Latta's discussion Driveway weedkiller recommendations
"I can't stand driveways. I just tell them that I'm an organic gardener and don't use chemicals. If they want to use weed killer they can do it themselves."
28 minutes ago
Lee Davis replied to Lee Davis's discussion New mower time!
"Can I ask those with HRX mowers what height settings they use? They he reason I ask is that the 476 only goes down to 25mm whereas the 537 goes to 19mm. It's a bit disappointing. Thought I'd settled on the 476 HY but 25 mm doesn't sound particularly…"
30 minutes ago
Fusion Media posted a blog post
Get ready for the most anticipated event in the groundscare industry. GroundsFest 2024, which takes place at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, on September 10 and 11, is set to return, promising an even more impressive lineup of exhibitors, new…
2 hours ago
Jake Piechowicz replied to A. Latta's discussion Driveway weedkiller recommendations
"That's good to know, all weed killer seems expensive but if you look at the sqm coverage  you can quickly work out if it's good value or not."
19 hours ago
PGM replied to A. Latta's discussion Driveway weedkiller recommendations
"We use it on all hard areas, gravel, driveways, along the base of walls etc. Kills the weeds present and really reduces how many then grow the rest of the season. We find that you need to wait for the weather to warm up before using it as it doesn't…"
19 hours ago
Kris Baker replied to Kris Baker's discussion Hedge trimmer harness
"I never thought to actually compare the photos of Hencham with the original Easy Lift Harness - doh! Thanks for that, I feel much more confident in a purchase now.
>> Buy one nowOff to do that RIGHT NOW!
20 hours ago
Jake Piechowicz replied to A. Latta's discussion Driveway weedkiller recommendations
"I've found that once a month treatment of glyphosate is more than sufficient for most places. is chikara/ pistol suitable for gravel? I thought it was only for railway ballast or am I being daft?"
21 hours ago
PGM replied to A. Latta's discussion Driveway weedkiller recommendations
"We also use Pistol on our hard surfaces. 30ml per litre seems to kill pretty much everything and then keeps the weeds down afterwards too as it's residual. "
23 hours ago
Graham Taylor replied to A. Latta's discussion Driveway weedkiller recommendations
"Chikara or Pistol are great.................. one application now will keep it completely clear for the year.   Its not cheap but its good... you're looking at £150 roughly........ but its highly diluted in use so once you've bought it, you'll have…"
23 hours ago
Vic 575 replied to Kris Baker's discussion Hedge trimmer harness
"Just had a look and it’s only the name that has changed slightly, from ‘Lift’ to ‘Lifting’.
It is also over £100 cheaper than mine was all those years ago. A genuine bargain.
Buy one now."
Vic 575 replied to Kris Baker's discussion Hedge trimmer harness
"The Easy Lifting Harness you picture is pretty much exactly the same as mine, only with two gas struts as opposed to one. The double gas strut variant was available when I got mine but the single gas strut version was more than capable weight wise…"
Kris Baker replied to Kris Baker's discussion Hedge trimmer harness
"Thanks Vic, Yes, definitely been swayed by your previous review. I wonder if the V3 Elephant and the new Henchman have narrowed the gap.
I could import from USA ... but I want one "tomorrow" - I'm well past retirement age and have found manhandling…"
Kris Baker replied to Kris Baker's discussion Hedge trimmer harness
"Thanks. I have done a bit more research.
Can't seem to find the Easy Lift - their website lists 3 dealers in EU, one dead links and for the other two I can't find the product on their website. Doesn't bode well ... and seems that Henchman have given…"
Vic 575 replied to Kris Baker's discussion Hedge trimmer harness
"Hi Kris,
No doubt you will have seen my previous contributions extolling the virtues of the Easy Lift Harness. I’ve had mine for many years now [10 to 15 years maybe]. Quite simply it is a life changing device. Why every professional Gardener does…"
Geoffrey King replied to James's discussion What is average cost for mowing a garden?
"Hello Lee, i do this sort of work, in 2014 I raised my base hourly rate to £30/hr. 1.5hr @45 2hr @60 & 3hr @80 then @85 then @87.50
Last year 3hrs @95 for new customers, they said that was very reasonable this is Ryedale, North Yorks
Have charged…"
Stephen r Brook-Smith replied to Stephen r Brook-Smith's discussion Please help , what is eating my lily’s!!!??
"A quick update folks , just incase anyone else comes across this problem 
it was bloody slugs!!!! "