The Demise of the Drawing Board
In 2008 we purchased our first copy of Vectorworks, now the industry standard CAD program for landscape designers.
We loaded it, we look at it and we drew squares and flew around spheres we had made, but that was there it ended. We continued to hand draw.
Keeping Up to Date
Modern garden design has moved on greatly in the nineteen years since I graduated.
As a designer of modern gardens, I have to keep abreast of these changes or be left behind. I am fortunate that I teach at KLC School of Design in Chelsea Harbour and am constantly being recharged and challenged by the ideas, methods and attitudes of the student garden designers.
A Small Minimalist Garden - Part Three
The nature of the style of design, it’s simplicity and lack of planting coupled with drainage issues related to floor levels and type of flagstones needed to match with the interior meant that layout and construction methods had to considered meticulously. When I plan a layout I generally specify features such as terraces to be multiples of the unit size of the paving , this makes their construction easier and has a better aesthetic. On this project the sandstone flags were for interior and external use and were only 18mm thick, this meant that no cuts could be used as the flagstone and little ‘self weight’ and would break away if used. This level of accuracy is fine on the computer but on site it meant that the setting out had to be extremely accurate. As the rill and drainage had to be installed prior to the surface these had to be set out at exact paving intervals. Drainage on this large terrace had to be concealed. Usually a channel drain with a galvanised steel grid is used but as this garden was so minimalist, this would have stood out as the main feature. My solution was to lay the channel so it was below a joint in the paving and then leave this joint unfilled. This created an invisible drainage channel. Even though the paving fell away from the house thresholds, as the paving was at floor level a similar drainage solution was used to safe guard the interior. Where abutting masonry, to prevent breach of damp proof the paving was finished 150mm from the base of the building and a grey granite gravel splash trap installed.
A Small Minimalist Garden - Part Two
As the paving and walling were completed then design details such as the lighting, aluminium raised beds water spouts and bespoke fencing could be installed. Aluminium bottomless raised beds were manufactured by Win-born Products and secured in the planting areas. These were then filled and planted with three Amelanchier lamarkii. A slate mulch and a stainless steel uplighter completed each bed. During the first phase of the build armoured cable and ducting for the lighting and water pumps was installed, equivalent to a ‘first fix’ on a house build. These feeds were connected to remote controlled switching unit and low voltage feeds taken to each light. The system was then connected to the house supply and checked and certified under Part P of Building Regulations. A cedar batten fence was constructed on site to face the existing fence and all rendered walls painted in shades of grey. Finally the garden was planted, the water commissioned and after five consecutive weeks on the site the garden was completed. The completed photographs here and in the portfolio section belie the amount of skilled landscaping that went into the successful implementation of this scheme.