February’s great

Well the weather’s pretty foul but wow the daylight, fantastic! It may be the same every year but the marked increase in daylight hours at this time of year lead us all on to Springy thoughts.

These Springy thoughts have been beautifully channelled in the planning and building of the most wonderful vegetable garden that Sandstone has designed near Tonbridge, Kent. Our clients are fortunate enough to have a perfect area of flat land to the side of their house so this has been designed to allow the vegetable beds to be orientated towards the sun. These beds will eventually accommodate a vegetable garden whose space allows the inclusion of a dedicated asparagus bed, yummm!

The centrally located green house is conveniently situated near the fruit cage and dedicated rhubarb bed, and of course the herb bed is easily accessible from the kitchen ensuring its use. Perhaps the most enviable part of this project for me is the orchard, it is going to have a mixture of apple, pear, plum, damson and cherry trees; ah the blossom and then the fruit!

Fantastic, our clients’ dinners and summer puddings will know no bounds, all the ingredients being freshly picked!

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January inspiration.

At 7.00pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the past three weeks (and for 7 more, I think) BBC2 have been showing the second series of “The Great British Garden Revival.” Apart from being visually stunning the program manages to be informative without being too dumbed down. Worth catching up on to counteract the effects that this cold, wet, dark January could be having.
The beauty of the traditional flowers, shrubs and trees and associated information covered in the program is definitely worth taking on board when planning our gardens. Putting in that little, extra bit of effort into the sourcing of them undoubtedly pays off and for Ali Dempster and the team at Sandstone it is a pleasure to create a garden using the more unusual and older varieties of plants. Our clients also tend to get great satisfaction from researching and then learning more about the lesser known varieties of very familiar plants and flowers as the design and landscaping process continues.
Remember if you are intending to have a new garden completed for summer 2015 you’ll have to move quickly and book your garden design consultation with Ali Dempster ASAP. as projects are beginning to mount up!
While catching up with the earlier episodes of The Great Britsh Garden Revival you will probably be inspired.

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…and a very merry christmas to you.

A wonderful time of year when all at Sandstone manage to have a good, long, well deserved break.  It’s fortunate that our suppliers close down for the holidays and our clients don’t want us in their gardens (for some unknown reason).

So thank you to our clients, our suppliers and most of all to our wonderful team of landscapers, without them….!

Happy Christmas and good wishes for a great 2015.

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Gardening – a reflection of the human spirit!

November in the landscaping business can be characterised by standing in a muddy field with rain passing by horizontally while continuing the process of achieving the carefully crafted garden that has been designed.
Each and every landscaper knows that Hope plays a large part in the satisfaction of the work as being outside is after all what we enjoy. Hope that it’ll be a mild winter, hope that there’ll be an early spring and hope that all the bulbs planted in November appear next year.
Perhaps hope is also supported by knowledge. Knowledge that the hundreds of brown, sticky, bare root, hedging plants that we’re planting at the moment will form a lovely native hedge by next autumn and that the field of mud will be transformed into a healthy, green lawn or flower border.
Good for the soul I think, and that’s what makes our industry worthwhile and pleasurable despite the mud and rain!

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Lightscaping – if you like!

The lighting you have designed into your garden can make all the difference to extending its use throughout the year; something that will become increasingly important as the clocks change back to GMT this weekend. I believe this to be an area that is often neglected even in “designed” gardens!
With the outdoor lighting that is available nowadays and with it being so easy to research….., there is nothing holding us back!
A recently completed, contemporary garden in Tunbridge wells (designed by Ali Dempster) has lighting that creates a garden as stunning by night as it is by day. Sandstones’ clients are looking forward to sitting out with the brazier in the evenings now as they did with the BBQ in the summer.
In order to create this user friendly environment Ali has used inset, rope lights set underneath the deck to allow light to wash up the adjacent white, sweeping, curved wall. Being the main feature of this garden it was important that this was highlighted allowing the framing of the seating area as it does in daylight.
Along with small lights that are set into the decking and terrace, the planting and deck are also lit by small groupings of lights to create strategic focal points. The large architectural plants particularly lend themselves to being lit like this, providing a contrast in form, colour and style. All this combines for various moods to be created around the garden using the remote controls, so subtle changes can be accommodated, many times in one evening if required.
Pictures on our website soon.

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Inspiration and originality for the next 16 years

This Autumn makes me think of Keats’ “Ode to Autumn,” undoubtedly inspirational and original but enough of that!
Here at Sandstone we feel inspired having just celebrated our 16th anniversary, hard to believe how time flies. During our time we have grown in to one of Tunbridge Wells’ most successful Award Winning Garden Design and Landscaping company’s – perhaps time for a pat on the back considering the economic troubles the country faced until last year!
Obviously as our reputation grew so did the area in which we completed our work and we are now very happily based at Millbrook Garden Centre in Crowborough, serving the surrounding villages, a great place to be.
Why has the company been successful? Well, stripping the answer down to the bare essentials, I guess there are two main reasons; the first is the originality of thought and the talent of Allister Dempster, responding to clients’s wishes in an intuitive and inspirational way. Then there is the landscaping work completed by Sandstone’s loyal team of highly skilled landscapers who are utterly committed and also believe in a communicative and problem solving approach throughout any project, building relationships all the way!
And that’s where we are. The next 16 years are looking very bright indeed.

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Wow still Hot

New developments – well unfortunately the new gardens are, at best, left by builders with uninspiring lumpy lawns and supermarket borders. The garden that Sandstone is currently completing is no exception.
This steeply sloped garden had been left with 3 levels of grassed terrace and long log retaining walls, not offensive just boring! So, taking our clients’ wishes into account the garden has been totally transformed by Sandstone’s superior team of landscapers, following Ali Dempster’s stunning design. A verbal description will not suffice so have a look on our face book page for the photos, possibly even on our website, if I ever get the time.
Nonetheless forging ahead; the top 2 terraces have become screed beds incorporating rocks, gravel and Mediterranean planting; this consists of grasses such as Miscanthus, Stipa and Car imperata with lavender, thyme, rosemary and sage. Not only is the look appropriate, the scent is, as you can imagine, divine. By planting evergreen deciduous plants on the third terrace an interesting contrast is provided. This also serves to move the eye away from the house and for the bed to blend in with the back drop, maximising the look of the available space.
Once again a dull and uninspiring space has been transformed into a place of beauty all year round.

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Chelsea 2014’s over, have you been inspired?

What a fantastic array of gardens at the RHS Chelsea flower show this year. My personal favourite was Cleve West’s M&G ‘Paradise garden’, a beautiful example of combining traditional and contemporary style.
Now that it’s all over though, have you been inspired. Let’s hope so!
With the economy on the up (well, that’s what we’re all being told) perhaps now might be the right time to be observing, thinking and planning what you would like in your garden. As we’re able to be outside now and well into the evening too, TAKE NOTE.
Where in the garden do you or would you like to sit? Have a meal? Watch the sun go down? Do you or would you like to see and listen to water and what about a wild life pond? How much work do you realistically have time to do or want to do? Is it how you want to spend your time or is it something you’d like to leave to someone else?
Remember be inspired by the creations of the likes of RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court and Sandstone Design (of course)!!! As in the world of fashion we’re not bound to the catwalk presentation, it’s what we take away from it that’s important.
It’s easier to have some idea of what you want your garden to be and a rough idea of budget in advance as this can prevent disappointment and encourage that inspiration.

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BALI National Landscape Awards 2014

Well, it’s submission time for the BALI National Landscape Awards 2014 and have we completed a garden we feel is suitable and has a chance of winning?
Luckily yes! Sandstone thinks that we have the ideal garden to enter in the Domestic Garden Construction category and so we’ll submit away!
A brief description of this garden follows:

The challenge was to create a garden that is an interesting mix of contemporary and traditional to fulfil the requirements of both of our clients. This can be tricky but we feel this has been achieved by a wonderful S- shaped modern wall with an integral water feature holding the whole garden together. A large, modern, balau deck and traditional, random laid Yorkstone paving help to create the different areas within the garden which are enhanced by large palm trees and Japanese cloud hedging.
The garden has undoubtedly been turned from an uninspiring domestic space into a garden of thought provoking interest and delight that suits the varying requirements of our clients and their young family.

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Everything’s coming along beautifully.

By leaving this blog until later in the month I feel confident that we’re having a much more normal Spring here in the South east than we anticipated a few weeks ago. In fact isn’t it lovely? Shorts have appeared on site – all is well!

This month I’d like to highlight the difference that Good garden design can make to your quality of life. For the last couple of months Sandstone has been working on a project in East Sussex where our clients’ garden had been “designed and landscaped.” Although the garden is a very good size, the resulting “mish-mash” of paths and bits of lawn created a space that was disjointed, seemingly small and utterly unusable. Very disappointing, as they’d been the victims of bad garden design.
After a new garden design by Ali Dempster, and the Sandstone team of landscapers working their magic, the garden is now what our clients had originally dreamed of. It has a nice, large, usable terrace on which there is room to seat friends round a table for outdoor dining. The lawn is big enough for games to be played and enjoyed while another seating area allows for watching the sun go down in the evenings. The boarders have been completely replanted and the whole garden now seems bigger as each space is used to maximum effect and one area flows into the next. The addition of a glazed veranda tops it all off as the spring sunshine heats up the area to a comfortable temperature right now.
Another job well done.

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