Garden Design in Burgess Hill

It was very rewarding transforming this patch of grass into an attractive and welcoming space.  Our client wanted somewhere to sit out and entertain friends and family, so we built a large deck in a sunny position.  We also spruced up the paving, laid a new lawn, and a low-maintenance planting scheme completed the transformation.    
She is looking forward to enjoying her garden for many years to come, but the added bonus is that it will also have added value to her property so it’s a win-win situation!

We started back in mid August when the days were still long and sunny, and the grass had turned brown.  Hard to imagine that now as we head into Autumn.

And then it rained really hard just after we had scraped off the old lawn and taken up the patio.  

We made the sunniest end of the garden into a large decked area for entertaining with raised planters along one side and on the corners.  We installed lights in the deck and these are switched on and off with a remote control from inside the house.

The last job was to bring in topsoil and compost to enrich the soil and make the area level before we laid the turf.

We replaced the boring buff coloured slab with Brazilian slate to beautifully complement the timber of the deck and planters.  The paler pointing defines the dark slabs.  

Looking down the garden to the new lawn.  The capping on the raised beds and the gravel channel give a smart finish – the devil’s in the detail as they say!

Landscaping in Isfield

“Rob has transformed my garden form the standard new build turf and a few trees kind of place to a paradise of flowers, woodland area, lush grass and a restful retreat. 

Working with Rob on the design and build of my garden was an absolute pleasure. His craftsmanship, attention to detail and his absolute love of gardening was fabulous and inspiring.

I loved the fact that he used local suppliers and a local nursery for all his materials and plants. I now have a restful and tranquil space to sit and chill and admire my garden and visiting wildlife. I would have no hesitation in recommending The Sussex Gardener to anyone looking to transform their outdoor space.”

The house was wonderful, but as with many new builds the garden was really very boring.  Our clients asked us to transform it into something stunning to complement the house, and to give them an outdoor space to enjoy for many years to come.  

A covenant on the house stipulates that there must be a “wildlife corridor” in the garden, and one of our first jobs was to put up a post and rail fence to protect this space.  We then took out the weak, self-seeded saplings and in their place put a selection of plants that bugs find irresistible such as Buddlleia, Foxgloves and Verbena.  We tried to continue this bug–boosting theme as much as possible throughout the garden.

We started with a large blank space with the wildlife area along the back of the garden.

The lawn has been stripped and work is underway.

The structure of the garden is beginning to materialise with a long raised bed to zone off the patio and you can just see the top of one or our curved walls. We brought in tons and tons of compost and topsoil to fill the raised beds and to improve the drainage in the lawn, which was back breaking work, but definitely worth it for the long-term health of the plants.

A long raised bed softens the fence and adds interest. 

What a welcoming spot.  Our client sourced this fantastic hanging chair and we made the patio and curved wall to fit.

The turf is down and the beds planted up in the back garden.  You can just see the post and rail fence in the background with the wildlife area behind.

Our client loves horses and we built this pergola in the front garden to set off the statue beautifully.  Talk about curb appeal!

A new bed and planting in the front garden with the pergola in the back ground.


A New Bed near Uckfield

This was a very tired and overgrown bed full of woody-stemmed shrubs and weeds.  An overhaul was long overdue and it was very rewarding to transform it so we decided to use a purple and white planting scheme.

We had cleared out the old plants and weeds by this point.  Once the roots had been taken out and barrow loads of compost had been incorporated into the soil to add nutrients, the ground was ready for planting.   

We were given a free reign with the planting and used flowers such as Amaranths for pops of purple and a bank of white Hydrangea at the back which will look stunning when in bloom.   Burgundy leaved Heuchera and Cotinus provided a colour contrast and tall grasses added texture.  The Magnolia tree had a lovely shape and gave immediate height. 

We planted fairly densely, but the plants can be thinned out as they grow into mature shrubs and used elsewhere in the garden.

The final touch was covering the area with a bark mulch to retain moisture in the soil and really show off the plants to their best potential.

Land Drainage in Tunbridge Wells

It was an incredibly wet winter and even the best of lawns have been waterlogged.  It’s no surprise then that we had so many enquiries about land drainage throughout March and April.  Many lawns will dry out naturally and re-establish themselves during the summer, but this lawn in Tunbridge Wells really was a boggy mess and needed attention.

A herringbone formation of channels carries away surface water from the entire lawn via perforated pipes running in to a nearby mains drain.

After the drainage pipes had been laid and the channels filled with 20mm shingle, the entire area was covered in a layer of topsoil to further improve drainage.   Once the turf was laid it looked as good as new.

Landscaping in Bexhill, Part 2

It’s taken over 4 months so far, but it’s all coming together down at the Bexhill garden.  We’ll do the “big reveal” when the project is finished in a couple of weeks, but until then here’s a couple of photos of progress so far.

It’s looking very stark and bare at the moment, but it will come to life once the new lawn is laid and the plants go in.  

Raised sleeper planters surrounding the new patio.  You can also see one of our trademark curved timber walls in the background.

More raised planters, but this time for a vegetable garden.  

Raised Beds in Five Ashes

This was a great job to kick-start the year, building raised beds for a herb garden.  

We had previously worked for this lovely couple, and this time they wanted a series of raised beds so that they could create a herb garden that could be easily maintained.   They asked us to come up with a design, and once this had been agreed we decided on an unused spot in the garden with a sunny position, and set to work.

Before work began.

The varying heights and sizes of the raised beds add interest, and the gravel paths in between allow easy access to weed and pick the herbs.  The beds have been filled and left ready for them to be planted up.

We rescued the standard Bay and it was the first thing to go in.  This will become the focal point of the garden once it is planted up.

This is what our clients said.

“Thank you so much for your help and creativity!  The new garden looks super and we can’t wait to plant it up!”

A Contemporary Patio in Maresfield

This was a modern house with crisp, clean lines and the owners wanted to continue this theme into their garden as well.  We built them an enormous contemporary slate patio at the back, and paths all around the house.   To keep the minimalist look they like so much, the rest of the garden was left as lawn and hedges.

The first job was to dismantle the existing deck in the back and take up the block paved paths in the front.  We could then begin work on digging out into lawn to make a large base for the patio.

  • We used 600mm x 900mm, straight cut (as opposed to rustic edged) Limestone slabs for a contemporary feel.  Our clients needed to be able to access an underground storage tank, but the cover was ugly and out of place.  Our solution was to hide it with a removable drain cover inlaid with the same slab, which worked really well.

  • We installed drainage around the outside of the patio and the paths to prevent them flooding during heavy rain.  This was covered with dove grey pebbles to match with the paving and looked very effective. 

The paving continued round to the front of the house.


A Garden Revamp in Haywards Heath

“The new garden has drawn numerous compliments since its completion, but best of all was this quote from an old friend of mine: "He (Rob) isn't a gardener. He's an artist!"  He is indeed, and for others in desperate need of a garden makeover, I cannot recommend Rob and The Sussex Gardener highly enough".

This was a very neglected and overgrown garden crying out for some love.  Well that might be overdramatising it slightly, but as you can see from the photos it was a mess, and it really wasn’t helping the owner to sell his house.  He asked us revamp it whilst also giving it some character, and so we set to work.

  • We had gone in 3 weeks before starting work to spray off all the weeds and brambles to give us this starting point.  

  • After cultivating, grading and leveling the garden we put down turf, which made an instant and huge improvement.  We also repaired and re-grouted the patio to give it a new lease of life.  The apple tree was rather lovely and so we decided to leave it and tidied it up to give it a better shape.   

Raised beds along one side of the garden added some interest and hid the fence.   We choose plants that were easy to look after and mulched the beds to deter weeds as our client didn’t have time for gardening. 

This was a simple project, but one that was so rewarding as it massively improved the garden and made it a pleasurable space to enjoy.

  • Curb appeal 0/10!  The front garden would have really put off a lot of potential buyers.

  • A simple scheme with shrubs planted at random positions amongst pebbles looks infinitely better, and is very easy to maintain.   The budget didn’t cover a new path and so we fixed and tidied up the existing one.


Landscaping a Large Garden in Crowborough

This was a boring, empty garden and the owners wanted to transform it into a lovely space they could enjoy and nurture for years to come.Their main priorities were to make the garden more private, and to have a patio for socialising with friends and family.They also wanted raised vegetable beds, a good-sized lawn and a new shed.   The tricky part was to get these to work altogether which is where we came in...

Read the whole story

Landscaping Project in Lindfield

A Sunken Garden, Raised Beds and Deck - now on the 'Our Work' page


More Recent Work


A Makeover in Brighton

This was a lovely old walled garden and our brief was to clear it, create a vegetable patch and make it child and dog friendly.  It was very rewarding to transform what was a very overgrown garden into a welcoming, open and functional space for the entire family to enjoy.

We set about clearing out most of the over-sized shrubs to open up the garden, and pruning the trees to get them back under control which immediately improved the garden no end. 

  • We set about clearing out most of the over-sized shrubs to open up the garden, and pruning the trees to get them back under control which immediately improved the garden no end. 

  • With the blank canvas prepared, we started to create the new and improved garden.  We built raised vegetable beds with gravel paths running between them and also one leading to the greenhouse.

Then we made a children’s play area at the top of the garden, covering it with a really thick layer of bark chippings for a soft landing!   It was great to see the children so excited about their very own new space. 

There was plenty of room left for a long raised bed and a new lawn.  We lined and filled the bed with compost, leaving it ready for the owners to plant up, as they were keen gardeners.  We used a top quality turf for the lawn, as it is hardwearing for all the use it will get and it also looks lovely and lush!


A Garden Makeover in Lindfield, West Sussex

What a great project! The original garden had such an air of neglect it was incredibly rewarding to see it’s gradual transformation into a wonderful outdoor family space.

Our client was delighted with the results, and couldn’t wait to hang his hammock between the posts we had put in for that very purpose.  His intention was for some well-earned R&R but whether his children allow him to is another matter!

  • Not very inviting

  • Looking better already.

The first job was to clear all the beds of brambles and weeds and we discovered a few nice shrubs in the process.  We also took down a tree and dug out its roots, and by the time we had cultivated the garden it was already looking much better.  Once we had laid the turf lawn, planted up the beds and built a new fence at the end of the garden to hide the shed, the makeover was complete.

Happy Days!


Garden Transformation in Haywards Heath

Their garden had become so completely overgrown it was a huge burden to our clients and they didn’t know where to start to make it the welcoming outdoor space they desperately wanted.  Need I say more?  The Sussex Gardener, to the rescue!

The great thing about an overgrown garden is that the transformation is so dramatic and in this case we also created a beautiful, low maintenance haven for them to enjoy.  Happy days!

  • It’s a jungle out there!

  • Even just clearing the brambles and weeds made a huge difference.

  • A deep sub-base and waterproof membrane strengthen and prolong the life of the deck.

  • The 2 decks are down, the planters have been built and filled with topsoil, and the outline of the garden is taking shape..

Et Voila! 

A stunning low maintenance garden.  The path was covered in purple slate to contrast with the pebble beach covering the rest of the garden and the overall look is softened with strategically placed plants.  We also built a new shed and the 2nd deck is a great place to catch the evening sun (whilst sipping something icy cold possibly?).


Transformation in Horsham

Our brief was to transform this very sad, neglected and overgrown garden into a usable and attractive space again.

The first job was to dismantle and remove the dilapidated shed and take out all the weeds.  Once we had a blank canvas we set to work erecting a new fence and gate as well as building a new path and patio.  We also built a base for the new shed and installed it ready for use.  The finishing touches were a couple of beds, which we left ready for planting up at our client’s request, and also a turfed lawn to bring the scheme all together. 

  • Before...

  • After!

In between all this activity, our client regularly plied us with tea served in one of the largest mugs we have ever seen. The project took 2 weeks and 50 gallons of tea, and the finished result looked great.  I think our client’s testimonial says it all....

"Rob's service has been excellent, from the moment he popped over to measure up the garden and plan a design, to his first day through to completion. He has a very friendly and approachable manner with regular interaction into the project and updating the design if needed. His experience, honest and expert opinion has lead to an amazing transformation of my garden. The materials used are of high quality and the workmanship is excellent. I'm impressed with Rob's attention to detail and ensuring every aspect is done well, along with the finishing touches that make the garden look complete. Thank you Rob, and I'd gladly recommend him and use him in the future."

A Happy Horsham Client

Garden Revamp in Eastbourne

We’ve been away on holiday recently but before we went away, we completed a great project in Eastbourne breathing new life in to a front garden.  

It was a perfectly pleasant front garden before but it lacked any form or structure. Having had a chat with our client about what she wanted, it became clear that the lawn was in an inconvenient position for mowing and she wanted it removed.  We suggested a coastal theme for the planting scheme which she really liked and gave us the go ahead.  The photos, as they say, speak more than words here.

  • Before...

  • After!


Woodland Management Between Uckfield and Heathfield

It has been quite a few years since we last looked after any woodland for clients as we have been concentrating on the landscaping side of the business.  However, when we were asked on to this project we jumped at it because it’s an extremely satisfying thing helping to regenerate woodland; or putting it another way – one man, a chainsaw and his bonfire, what’s not to like? 

So just over 4 weeks ago at the tail end of the Rains, we started on the first phase of a 3-year rolling woodland management program.  The wood had been neglected for years and was over run with skinny Silver Birch and bracken.  It took 9 days to thin out about an acre of the weaker trees to open up areas around existing Beech and Oak, and allow light to flood the woodland floor.   Most of the stacks of logs will be used for firewood, but we left one or two piles to become home to a wide variety of bugs and animals.  We will do the same to the remaining 2 acres of woodland over the next 2 years.

This is just the start of a long-term regeneration project and our aim is to transform a scrappy wood so that in 50 years or so, with continued management, the remaining trees will be tall and strong and the Oak and Beech saplings we planted will have matured, and this will be a beautiful deciduous wood for future generations to enjoy.   Now that really is satisfying!


More from the Sussex Gardener Blog

  • Drainage, Drive, Path and Patio in Plumpton

    This was one of those iceberg jobs - 90% of the work that went into it can’t be seen, but the 10% that is visible looks great!

  • Terraced Raised Beds in Uckfield

    Originally this steep garden was made up of an overgrown rockery with some uneven steps leading from the top to the bottom.

  • A Low Maintenance Garden in Crowborough

    The back third of this garden had become a dumping ground and was completely inaccessible to our retired clients. We cleared out the garden and then set to work !

  • A New Fence and a Bed in Blackboys

    This was for our lovely, loyal clients in Blackboys and this time they wanted us to spruce up the drive area of the front garden for them. We took down the oversized Lleylandii hedge and replaced it with a close-boarded fence.  In the resulting space we then made a new bed and filled it with plants to give colour and interest all year round.

  • Landscaping in Framfield

    This was a fairly small, sloped garden and the young professional couple wanted to make it level so that there was plenty of space for entertaining and relaxing.  They decided on decking as opposed to paving as it fell within their budget and fulfilled their brief.

  • Decking and a Path in Blackboys

    From the outset our clients had had a very clear vision of how they wanted their garden to look, and to help them budget for it they had broken what would have been a huge project into 4 more manageable ones.

  • A New Garden Fence in Blackboys

    We had created a vegetable patch for these clients in January 2014 and built a series of raised beds for the purpose, and so we were really pleased to hear from them again last December.

  • Turfing in Hadlow Down

    This was a relatively straightforward but very rewarding job turning a huge muddy expanse into lush green lawn. 

  • A Deck, a Jetty and a Pond in Buxted

    This was a very enjoyable but tricky project.  Coming up with the design and building the deck was fun, but Rob nearly fell in a few times whilst making the jetty!  Luckily the result looks brilliant and so it was worth it.

  • Drainage and Turfing in Crowborough

    It may not light everyone’s candle, but we get quite excited when a drainage job comes in.  It’s very rewarding to turn a boggy, unusable lawn or bed into one that will thrive and grow for our clients to enjoy for years to come. 

  • Landscaping in Broad Oak

    This was a lovely large garden with stunning views of the surrounding countryside, and the main aim was to make the garden as easy to maintain as possible but the client also wanted some features to make it more interesting.    

  • Landscaping in Horley

    This was a good sized garden backing on to open countryside, and was a blank canvas just crying out to be transformed, so we were very happy to be asked to landscape it.

                
Interested in a stunning garden design?  
Call us on 01825 732 524 or email us here
  • Where We Work

    Based in East Sussex, we do a great deal of work in West Sussex and Kent, in particular Brighton, Haywards Heath, Tunbridge Wells, East Grinstead and Sevenoaks areas.

    For larger projects we are happy to travel further if required.

     

  • Robin & Sarah Michell 

    Mobile: 07721 018628 
    Office: 01825 732 524

    info@thesussexgardener.co.uk

    The Sussex Gardener
    Forest Cottage,
    Howbourne Lane,
    Buxted, Uckfield,
    East Sussex TN22 4QD

                    

Interested in stunning garden design & landscaping? 

Call us on 01825 732 524 or email us here