A sloping garden in Ventnor by Isle of Wight Garden Designer Tim Brayford

Natural stone walling and steps

A sloping garden in Ventnor, Isle of Wight 

Our clients had lived in their family home for a great many years, it was steeply sloping and mainly laid to lawn with some mature shrubs in peripheral areas. The lawn had however become increasingly difficult to maintain and our client had become concerned that one day she might slip on the steep slope and have a nasty accident whilst mowing it. They liked the idea of having the garden divided into terraces so that they might maintain it themselves but appreciated that the construction of this was a major undertaking for which they required specialist assistance.

Amongst the challenges that we faced, quite apart from the slope itself was how to blend in the new work without disturbing the best areas of mature planting. We split the slope into three distinct areas with grassed pathways and shallow flagstone steps for access, the latter had a special challenge of its own , it had to fit around a main drain and soakaway pit!

Circular Paving and planting

No sooner had we commenced the project than it began to rain, almost every day for the next five weeks, it soon looked like a moon-scaped garden instead. However, the construction of the natural stone supporting walls was soon completed and the levelled lawns grassed with a specially grown turf specifically grown for a coastal location. We relocated many mature shrubs to new locations reinforced by some new areas of tree and shrub planting and constructed circular patios in different parts of the garden to take into account the daytime passage of the sun.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – This lovely Dogwood was well worth keeping

The whole project had taken just over three months to complete, our design had successfully given a new lease of life to their garden. It was far easier for them to maintain, just two or three hours a week.

Our clients said:- “Tim Brayford did a marvelous job, the new features fit in so well with the rest of the garden and I get a great deal of pleasure from it. People who come round are always commenting on how nice the garden looks.”

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and we are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

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Pond Life by Garden Designer Tim Brayford

 

A successful garden will  contribute significantly to our well-being and quality of life.  It may play host to a broad range of flora and fauna enhancing local biodiversity and collectively benefiting the wider world environment by absorbing CO2. Here are just a few examples from gardens on the Isle of Wight and elsewhere. 

Pond Life

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Damsel flies

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Marsh Marigold and Bee

Yellow Flag Iris

A small wildlife pond

Dragonfly

jersey butterfly

A Jersey Tiger butterfly feeds on a pond side plant

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Fish fry in a healthy pond

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A pair of wild ducks

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A Common Toad

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and we are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

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The Wilder look by Isle of Wight Garden Designer Tim Brayford

The Wilder Look 

A successful garden will  contribute significantly to our well-being and quality of life.  It may play host to a broad range of flora and fauna enhancing local biodiversity and collectively benefiting the wider world environment by absorbing CO2. Here are just a few examples from gardens on the Isle of Wight and elsewhere. 

Meadow Cranesbill

A stumpery

Spindle berries

Midsummer meadow flowers

Woodland and Bluebells

Leave some wood to decay for fungus to grow on

Yellow rattle is an essential plant in a wildflower meadow

Damselflies are attracted to pond side plants

Fritillaria naturalised into a boggy pond margin

Wild Cowslip

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

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A Residential Care Home on the Isle of Wight by Garden Designer Tim Brayford

Colourful raised beds

A Residential Care Home on the Isle of Wight

As part of a major refurbishment we were called in to upgrade the gardens at one of the island’s most prestigious nursing homes. We had worked for the same client before at another of their establishments and we were looking forward to working with them again.

The building had been doubled in size and featured a sunny inner courtyard accessible to the residents, raised beds were constructed within it which enabled them to gain the full benefit of the flowering, scented plants that featured in our carefully considered scheme. In such locations it is vital realise that elderly people can sometimes get confused and attempt to eat things that are not good for them so avoiding spiky or poisonous leaves and berries was essential.

Fragrant French Lavender

Outside was some mature woodland which we extended with new native trees and a grassy slope leading down to the sea, located within an Area of Outstanding Beauty, this too presented some challenges. The soil was a very heavy clay that had to be improved with large amounts of compost. Again we had to be mindful of the need to provide a safe environment for the residents whilst providing as much scent and colour from the plants that we used as possible . Decorative bark mulches were spread around the planting to help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth, thus reducing future maintenance requirements

Newly extended native woodland

Ground conditions were yet another challenge as with the onset of autumn rains it would become unworkable. We had to even out the slope to a more shallow grade, easier for those who needed the help of a stick or frame to walk on and separate areas of this had to be both seeded and turfed whilst we were still able to do so.

The owner of this prestigious establishment said:- “ Tim Brayford has done a great job bringing the gardens up to the high standard of our care home”

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

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Spring Flowers by National Award Winning Garden Designer Tim Brayford

Spring Flowers 

A successful garden will  contribute significantly to our well-being and quality of life.  It may play host to a broad range of flora and fauna enhancing local biodiversity and collectively benefiting the wider world environment by absorbing CO2. Here are just a few examples from gardens on the Isle of Wight and elsewhere. 

Marsh Marigold and Bee

Snowdrops

Tulips and Bluebells

Narcissus and Lunaria flowers

Cowslips

Daffodils

Camellia

Flowering Currant and Bee

Chaenomeles

Early Cherry Blossom

A late spring assemblage of blooms

Woodland and Bluebells

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

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Going Peat Free by Garden Designer Tim Brayford

A natural peat bog, according to the IUCN peatlands store 30% of global carbon

Going Peat Free

Peat has long been used within the horticultural industry both as a growing medium used in composts and as a soil conditioner. It is a natural product composed of slowly decaying plant material built up over many thousands of years.

It is harvested primarily from lowland raised peat bogs, an increasingly endangered form of habitat along with the flora and fauna that it supports. But this is not all, it efficiently locks up atmospheric CO2 forming an effective and vital buffer against climate change.

Modern peat harvesting destroys the original peat bog

Fortunately advances in recycling and composting technology has rendered the use of peat redundant for most conventional gardening purposes. Peat free compost is made up mainly from recycled waste organic material such as bark, sawdust, coir, paper etc. blended with inorganic materials such as sand , grit or perlite, with fertiliser added as appropriate.

A simple guide on how to avoid using peat in the garden:-

Only purchase composts specifically labelled as being “Peat Free”

Use recycled garden waste as a soil improver and conditioner. Traditionally gardeners have done this for themselves by constructing their own compost heap, high quality recycled composts are also available from many municipal authorities

Source plants from nurseries and garden centres that have peat free policies

Plant only what will already grow in your existing soil without adding peat

Raised peat bog flora like this Bog Cranberry will be destroyed by harvesting

*******It is the policy of Tim Brayford Landscapes to avoid using peat and peat based products*******

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

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Wildflower Meadows by Garden Designer Tim Brayford

Wildflower Meadow

The Wildflower meadow

“This lucid fount, whose murmurs fill the mind

The verdant forests waving with the wind

The odours wafted from the mead, The flowers

In which the wild bee sits and sings for hours

These might the moodiest misanthrope employ

Make sound the sick, and turn distress to joy”

(Garcilaso de la Vega, 1501 – 1536)

 

For those fortunate enough to have sufficient space, be it an under used  pony paddock, hay field or even a larger sized lawn there is the opportunity of establishing a wildflower meadow.

Wild flower meadows were traditionally areas of unimproved grassland that were kept for hay making rather than being constantly grazed. In consequence these open sunny areas have played host to a broad range of grassland flora and fauna and are important feeding zones for Bees and other pollinators.

Wildflowers attract wildlife

The pressure to raise agricultural production during the 20th century led to the loss of these biologically diverse areas as grassland was improved, fertiliser added and vigorous cultivated species such as Italian Ryegrass sown.  In the past 100 years up to 97% of these traditional hay meadows may have been lost.

With a growing realisation of the value of wildflower meadows a growing number of people have become enthusiastic about re-establishing them on land that they own and in some cases there is funding available through Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship scheme, details of which may be obtained via their local offices.

But funding is only part of the challenge of establishing a new meadow, past agricultural practices which have been successful at raising yields of grass grown may be the exact opposite of what is now required.  Bold steps may have to be taken such as destruction of the existing sward by ploughing or with herbicides, fertility reduced by removing hay or silage several times in one growing season and sowing parasitic Yellow Rattle to weaken the grass further.

Meadow Cranesbill

Meadow Cranesbill

It is only when conditions start to become unfavourable to grass growth that sowing of wildflower seeds  becomes advisable and even then do not expect instant results.

As these plants are of unimproved origin the seeds may not all germinate together and there may be some unwelcome intruders such as Ragwort, Nettles and Docks which will need attention.  Maintenance tasks will need to be attended to with a cycle of late summer hay cuts followed by light grazing of the aftermath and again as growth commences in the spring after the ground has been rolled or harrowed.

When your wildflower meadow has become established you will be able to enjoy the marvellous scents of the flowers and the sight and sound of the creatures that have come to live in the naturally bountiful grassland that you have created.

Wild Flower Meadow in May 1

Wild Flower Meadow

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

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A Seaside Garden on the Isle of Wight – by Garden Designer Tim Brayford

A Seaside Garden

Meeting the challenges of a seaside garden

Our clients had recently purchased a highly desirable seaside residence bordering the Solent. It had previously been used for commercial purposes and the grounds were in need of a considerable upgrade. On entering the driveway there were numerous eyesores that considerably detracted from the wonderful sea views that were evident. We removed a derelict mobile home , broken fencing and dying plants from an ill-advised and failed scheme that a previous occupant had planted.

In their place we constructed a series of raised beds supported by Cotswold natural stone walling. These were mass planted with a selection of evergreen flowering shrubs, carefully chosen to withstand exposure to salt laden winds whilst providing fragrance and reflecting the colours of the sea. A matching buff coloured self-binding gravel was sourced on the mainland to resurface the driveway with.

Plants thriving right on the water’s edge!

Adjacent to the house we planted semi-mature container grown conifers obtained from a specialist supplier near to London. These trees created instant impact in this part of the garden. Semi-mature evergreen hedging was planted to shield the garden from the worst of the wind. Planted areas were mulched with decorative bark chips to retain moisture and reduce weed growth, easing ongoing maintenance requirements.

Santolina thrives at the seaside

The surrounding lawn areas had previously been laid with a cheap turf unsuitable for this seaside location, the grass was in a very poor state and needed replacing. This was removed and the ground, which was quite uneven, levelled off. We imported a high quality seeded lawn turf grown inthe midlands with fine leaved grass species that thrive in locations next to the sea. There were a few challenging areas of the garden that were subject to being flooded, albeit infrequently, by the sea. These were planted with a mixture of shrub and herbaceous including Tamarisk, Sea Cotton Lavender and Sea Thrift.

 

Our client said:- Everything looks great in the garden, thankyou Tim for all you have done for us

Tim Brayford Landscapes were established in 1980 and are British Association of Landscape Industries National Award Winners for Garden Design & Construction. For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

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A garden with a view, Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight – by Garden Designer Tim Brayford

The  garden that we created

What can you do with an awkwardly shaped sloping garden? 

We were contacted by a client in Carisbrooke, she was moving into a newly built house which had wonderful views of Carisbrooke Castle, unfortunately the same could not be said of the garden that the builders had left her with, it simply consisted of a grassy slope so steep that it was impossible for her to cut it. She needed a garden that was more easily maintained and landscaped to a high standard.

We assessed the site for her and advised her on what needed to de done, she then commissioned a set of scale plans from us which detailed the general layout and itemised what was to be planted. The garden had to be in keeping with the area, the house is on the outskirts of Carisbrooke with views both of the castle and surrounding countryside. An informal natural look was preferred combined with low maintenance . We recommended leaving the area to the front of the house more open as this naturally led the eye into the surrounding area, save for some Beech hedging that was planted to screen a wooden fence and under-planting the grass with spring flowering bulbs.

The garden had spectacular views of Carisbrooke Castle and the surrounding countryside

One of the biggest challenges was the steepness of the plot, the client was not keen on splitting it up into terraces so a different solution had to be found.We constructed a curving shallow flight of steps out of old railway sleepers, mass planted on either side with ground covering shrubs. The thin chalky ground in which these shrubs are planted has been enriched with a large amount of compost and mulched with a generous layer of bark flakes to help retain moisture and supress weed growth. An automated irrigation system has been installed to ensure that the plants do not run short of water during dry spells.

At the top of the slope to provide a level sitting area that made the best of the views we created an elevated deck and a pergola. Fragrant climbing roses, Clematis and a vine were planted up it, the whole structure providing some shade on sunny days and an element of privacy from being overlooked from neighbouring houses. A couple of planters for seasonal bedding were constructed on the front of the deck.

Newly planted

A modest water feature was constructed to the side of the deck, this consisted of a small pebble filled stream and a waterfall dropping into a rocky pool, with the water recirculated by a solar powered pump. The bubbling sound of the water running through this was most relaxing. This wildlife friendly garden attracts many kinds of birds, badgers and red squirrels.

Our client said:- “What I particularly didn’t want was a garden that took a lot of hard work. The way Tim has done it I can enjoy the garden and work in it when I want to. It is just a source of pleasure. Tim really was fantastic, he saw to all the work himself, was totally reliable and created the garden that I wanted. Everyone who visits here says how pretty the garden is.”

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

 

Garden Design and Landscaping FAQs – by Award Winning Designer Tim Brayford

A country garden designed & built by Tim Brayford Landscapes on the Isle of Wight

Tim Brayford Landscapes FAQs

I’d like to have my garden designed, how do I go about this?

 Please contact us to arrange for a consultation. This exchange of ideas will be the foundation on which your new garden will be created. Our follow up recommendation reports are very popular and may be augmented by design plans where desired.

I’m very interested in having you design and build a garden for me, where can I see examples of what you have done in the past?

Please visit both the portfolio and testimonial pages of our website www.timbrayford.co.uk to view some of our past projects and hear what our very many satisfied clients have had to say.

Landscaping Proposal Example 1

When is the best time to have a garden designed and landscaped?

The consultation and design stages of the project may be done at any time. Although gardens can also be landscaped at any time of year more can be done when the days are longer and the weather is good. Rain and mud creates mess and will slow the work down. Planting can be done at any time of year but autumn, winter and spring are better for getting them established.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – A garden in spring

How much will having my garden landscaped cost?

Once we have met you and discussed your requirements we will be better placed to supply free estimates for the garden construction works

Can any size of garden benefit from being designed?

Yes. The point of good garden design is to make the most of the space you have available and ensure that the garden and house sit comfortably together. That’s what we set out to do, so you can get on with enjoying your garden.

Tim Brayford Landscapes – A large skipper butterfly feeding on geranium “Wargrave’s Pink

Can we have a garden that is child, pet and wildlife friendly?

A garden which is designed to withstand a little wear and tear is great for children, pets and wildlife. If need be these wilder areas can be separated off by hedging or fencing from the more orderly parts of the garden.

Do we have to have all of the landscaping done at once?

The design work usually encompasses the entire garden but if you just want part of your garden to be landscaped then that is no problem at all. Likewise it is possible to do the upgrade over several seasons if this is preferred.

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Do you guarantee the plants that you put in?

If you select our aftercare service we will replace any new plants that fail within the first 6 month after planting.

Do you take the rubbish away when you landscape a garden?

All unwanted wastes are disposed of via a properly licensed waste carrier, unless we inform you otherwise this has been included in our price.

Aftercare

Many of our clients decide to keep us on after their project to ensure their garden receives the very best of care. We can also supply a maintenance schedule to assist clients who would enjoy taking care of their garden themselves.

For more photos, advice & stories about gardening please visit our  website  email timbrayfordlandscapes@gmail.com  phone 07890 869918

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