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Your winter garden maintenance plan 

If you’re tucking in for winter, don’t forget your garden needs a bit of TLC as well. So get your wellies on and pour yourself a cuppa – you’ll need it. Here’s your guide to make sure your garden looks its best throughout the winter months and is poised to burst back into full life in the spring 

Garden maintenance is as important in winter as in any other season. Here are our tips and tricks to keeping your plants healthy throughout the cold months and to prepare your Kent, Sussex or Surrey garden for the year ahead.  

Prune, prune and prune 

During winter time, you need to start preparing for the spring growth. Your garden plants may be looking a bit scruffy and it’s time to give them a good prune. Almost all plants are best pruned during mid to late winter because this is when they are dormant, meaning they lose less sap from the cuts and can heal more quickly than when the plants are still growing.  

Specific plants to prune during the winter include (but are not limited to): 

  • Apple and pear trees (but not plum or cherry trees) 
  • Roses 
  • Summer flowering deciduous shrubs 
  • Fruit trees and bushes 
  • Wisteria 
  • Outdoor vines 

Look after your lawn 

Apart from properties that are right on the coast, most gardens in Kent, Sussex and Surrey will expect to endure frosts throughout the winter.  Remember not to walk on frosty or icy grass; it causes the leaves to fracture and can cause damage to the internal leaf cells. This leaves an ugly boot print shaped mark in the grass that – although not causing serious long-term damage – can linger for quite a while.  

If your grass is suffering from poor drainage, it may help to spike the lawns. This allows air, rain and nutrients to penetrate the hard surface and can increase the water-holding capacity of the soil. However, if your soil is heavy in clay particles then this does not bring about any real benefits because you are really just squeezing the particles closer together around the hole; in this case it may be best to use a hollow tine to aerate the soil. 

Winter can be the best time to lay turf, this is because you spend less time outdoors, giving the newly set turf more time to root itself into the existing soil without getting stepped on all the time.  

Planting  

Winter can be a great time for planting as it gives plants a chance to get their roots established so they’re well set up for summer.  Here are the plants you should be thinking about getting into the ground during the colder months in gardens in Kent, Sussex and Surrey: 

  • New rose bushes 
  • Trees and shrubs lifted from open ground 
  • Hedges 
  • Herbaceous perennials 
  • Root balled deciduous trees and shrubs 
  • Fruit trees and bushes 
  • Replant your herbaceous border: if it was looking tired with lots of gaps during the summer, now is the time to re-site plants and fill in the spaces with new additions. 

Think about the wildlife 

It’s good to remember that fauna is just as important as flora for your garden to be as health, environmentally diverse and attractive as possible. In order for the fish in your pond to breath, oxygen from the air has to dissolve into the water; this won’t happen if there is a sheet of ice, so remember to keep it clear to keep your fish alive. Birds are also a welcome attraction to any garden, so remember to keep your birdfeeder stocked to give them a chance this winter and make sure they have access to water that isn’t frozen; in Kent, Sussex and Surrey that can mean breaking the ice and adding fresh water every morning.  

Other odd jobs 

  • To keep your garden looking tidy, remember to clear up any dead leaves and tidy up your flower beds and borders; any final perennials should be pulled up or cut back now ready for a fresh start in the spring.  
  • Tie in the branches of your wall-trained fruit trees.  
  • Spread fertiliser over your borders  

When the temperature plummets it can be harder to motivate yourself to get outside to look after your garden, but work that you put in now will reap rewards in the spring. But if you’d rather stay indoors, or if your back isn’t what it used to be, remember that we also provide a garden maintenance service. 

To discuss your garden design or maintenance needs call 01892 577371  or send us an email using our online form.  Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:   Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill   Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex   Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.    You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.

The post THINGS TO DO IN YOUR GARDEN IN WINTER appeared first on Dewlands Garden Design.

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Twelve gifts that garden lovers will enjoy this Christmas 

With Christmas just around the corner, we thought we would round up some excellent gift ideas for your friends and family who love their gardens With the unpredictable (and unreliable!) weather patterns enjoyed across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, we’ve included items for all seasons that will help your loved one get even more out of their garden. 

  1. Hammock – A classic garden piece that you can’t go wrong with! Incredibly comfortable to lie on and enjoy the garden, especially during the summer. They can often come with or without a stand, so find out if whoever you’re buying for has somewhere robust to hang it, or whether you need to make sure you buy a stand as well. 
  2. Insect hotel – These provide shelter for insects and bugs and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can attract important pollinators such as solitary bees and butterflies which are great for the environment. A really thoughtful gift for a friend’s garden.    
  3. Croquet set – The perfect game for families and friends – just make sure that the person you are giving it to has a reasonably sized piece of flat-ish lawn.  
  4. Garden lanterns – A lantern can be a beautiful addition to any garden. You can buy some with light sensors which automatically come on when it gets dark to make a lovely garden feature. 
  5. Luxury hand cream – If your friend or family member is a gardener, they probably get really cracked and dry hands from being out in the cold all the time. Give them a treat this Christmas with some luxury hand cream they can apply when the warm inside beckons.  
  6. Fire pit – There is nothing more relaxing than sitting around a warm fire at night with friends and family. How about giving your loved one that same feeling in their garden? A firepit is not just a summer feature: it can extend the garden season by making the garden just as inviting in the colder months as in the long evenings of summer – think of those toasted marshmallows, mmmm lovely. 
  7. Portable radio – Does your partner or mum or dad spend hours out in the garden on their own? Why not treat them to a portable radio so that they can have some company while pulling up the weeds, or relaxing in the hammock that you’ve also given them. 
  8. Bird box or feeder – The only thing that can make a Dewlands designed garden more beautiful is when the birds come to visit. Encourage them to come to call with a bird feeder or a bird box.  
  9. Sun dial – Sun dials can make a really stunning garden feature when put in the right place; treat your friend or relative to one to spruce up their garden. Warning – does not work in cloudy weather! 
  10. Garden gym equipment – An outdoor gym can make a great addition to a friend or family member’s garden, helping them to keep warm and get fit; perfect if they are the active outdoors type! Equipment such as that designed by TRX Training, is easy to set up, take down, and carry around. 
  11. Giant chess set – If you’re buying for a chess lover who also enjoys being outside, giant chess might be the perfect answer! Make sure they have the space in their garden to set it up. 
  12. Personalised garden feature – You can now buy from various retailer’s beautiful, personalised garden pieces; you can either have your friend’s name inscribed or a personal message from you. From decorative garden stones, to doormats, why not add something quirky to your friend or family’s garden. 
To discuss your garden design or maintenance needs call 01892 577371  or send us an email using our online form.  Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:   Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill   Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex   Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.    You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.

The post Christmas gift ideas for garden lovers appeared first on Dewlands Garden Design.

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How we add value to your home and garden

‘An Englishman’s home is his castle.’  It’s an attitude to home ownership that has long been held to define our national psyche – but it’s probably just as true for the French, Italians and Germans.  After all, for most of us, our house is our most significant asset.  But even if you have a trust fund or millions hiding in an off-shore account, one thing is most definitely true: our homes are always our most treasured asset.  At Dewlands, we keep both these factors uppermost in mind when we create our garden designs, so that we add the greatest possible value to your house and garden.  

Our home is where we feel protected from the world, where we can relax, where we can most be ourselves.  Our home is where we nurture our families, entertain friends and make memories.  Our home is therefore, almost without exception, our most treasured asset. 

Houses as an investment

For most of us, it is also our biggest asset.  For most families, our future wealth is determined by how much value we can add to our house. The House Price Index reports issued by the Office for National Statistics show that property prices are fairly robust in their upwards march; even when the rate at which they rise slows down, they nearly always continue to rise.  The two exceptions to this over the last 12 years were the financial crisis, with house prices falling between May 2008 and October 2009, and then a small dip between January 2011 and April 2012.

The way to make the most significant gains within the property market – over and above general house price rises – is the ‘fixer uppers’.  Properties where you can improve the functionality, design and appeal of the house.  And that holds true for the garden as well; a beautifully designed garden maximises kerb appeal both by being instantly visually attractive and by encouraging potential buyers to look beyond the walls of the house to the possibility of getting the most from the whole property – house and garden. 

Garden designs that add greatest value to your investment

At Dewlands Garden Design, we understand that your home plays two roles: it is probably your most significant investment, but it is also your most treasured asset.  These thoughts are foremost in our minds when we undertake garden design projects across Kent, Sussex and Surrey; our aim is always to create an outdoor living space that you will love, but – more than that – we also produce garden designs that add value to your most treasured asset.  

 We create garden designs that extend your home by giving you an enticing outdoor living space that expands the boundaries of your house, inviting you to spend more of your time outside.  But we are also always mindful of designing your garden in tandem with your home to optimise its appeal to future owners.  As with all great home and garden design, it undoubtedly has to work for you and your lifestyle, but it also has to appeal to potential buyers, if you are going to realise the most from this most important of assets. 

Adding value to your most treasured asset is central to the benefits delivered by Dewlands Garden Design.  We create outdoor living spaces that you will love – but that will also be valued by future owners.  

To discuss how our garden designs could add value to your house  call 01892 577371  or send us an email using our online form.  Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:   Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill   Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex   Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.    You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.

The post How we add value to your most treasured asset appeared first on Dewlands Garden Design.

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How we add value to your home and garden

‘An Englishman’s home is his castle.’  It’s an attitude to home ownership that has long been held to define our national psyche – but it’s probably just as true for the French, Italians and Germans.  After all, for most of us, our house is our most significant asset.  But even if you have a trust fund or millions hiding in an off-shore account, one thing is most definitely true: our homes are always our most treasured asset.  At Dewlands, we keep both these factors uppermost in mind when we create our garden designs, so that we add the greatest possible value to your house and garden.  

Our home is where we feel protected from the world, where we can relax, where we can most be ourselves.  Our home is where we nurture our families, entertain friends and make memories.  Our home is therefore, almost without exception, our most treasured asset. 

Houses as an investment

For most of us, it is also our biggest asset.  For most families, our future wealth is determined by how much value we can add to our house. The House Price Index reports issued by the Office for National Statistics show that property prices are fairly robust in their upwards march; even when the rate at which they rise slows down, they nearly always continue to rise.  The two exceptions to this over the last 12 years were the financial crisis, with house prices falling between May 2008 and October 2009, and then a small dip between January 2011 and April 2012.

The way to make the most significant gains within the property market – over and above general house price rises – is the ‘fixer uppers’.  Properties where you can improve the functionality, design and appeal of the house.  And that holds true for the garden as well; a beautifully designed garden maximises kerb appeal both by being instantly visually attractive and by encouraging potential buyers to look beyond the walls of the house to the possibility of getting the most from the whole property – house and garden. 

Garden designs that add greatest value to your investment

At Dewlands Garden Design, we understand that your home plays two roles: it is probably your most significant investment, but it is also your most treasured asset.  These thoughts are foremost in our minds when we undertake garden design projects across Kent, Sussex and Surrey; our aim is always to create an outdoor living space that you will love, but – more than that – we also produce garden designs that add value to your most treasured asset.  

 We create garden designs that extend your home by giving you an enticing outdoor living space that expands the boundaries of your house, inviting you to spend more of your time outside.  But we are also always mindful of designing your garden in tandem with your home to optimise its appeal to future owners.  As with all great home and garden design, it undoubtedly has to work for you and your lifestyle, but it also has to appeal to potential buyers, if you are going to realise the most from this most important of assets. 

Adding value to your most treasured asset is central to the benefits delivered by Dewlands Garden Design.  We create outdoor living spaces that you will love – but that will also be valued by future owners.  

To discuss how our garden designs could add value to your house  call 01892 577371  or send us an email using our online form.  Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:   Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill   Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex   Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.    You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.

The post HOW WE ADD VALUE TO YOUR MOST TREASURED ASSET appeared first on Dewlands Garden Design.

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Enjoying your garden in the summer is obvious: the balmy days, long evenings, cool drinks, hot BBQs and garden games such as cricket and rounders with friends and family.  But, with the right design, you can continue to enjoy your garden through the autumn and winter.  Here are the Dewlands Garden Design tips for extending the use of your garden into the cooler months.  

We design outdoor living spaces for homeowners in Kent, Sussex and Surrey. The following are all ideas that we have incorporated into some of our garden designs across the South East that we know have encouraged our customers to use their gardens for more months of the year than they ever did before.

Shelter is key 

There’s no getting away from it, autumn and winter are generally cooler, wetter and windier than the summer, so creating some shelter is essential if you want to get year-round enjoyment from your garden.  Bear this in mind when you are designing your seating areas; enjoying your favourite view with a glass of mulled wine can be as delightful as watching it during the heady days of summer, but you will want protection from the wind and passing showers, and you will want to be able to keep seats dry.  A gazebo (either open or with one or more sides closed off) can be a perfect solution for enjoying your favourite spot in your garden long after the clocks have gone back.  

Add some heat 

Outdoor heaters are an ideal solution for making your garden more enjoyable in the autumn and winter, but do some research to minimise the impact on the environment.  A firepit or fireplace that burns sustainably sourced, well-seasoned timber is a good option – and will also mean you can toast marshmallows and roast chestnuts.  Bio ethanol heaters or outdoor fireplaces are another environmentally friendly solution.  If you get your electricity from renewable sources, then you might also justify infrared lamps – there are both freestanding and table-top versions available.  

Get active  

Apart from generating your own heat through gardening, you could also keep warm in the garden with an outside gym.  You could design a permanent outdoor exercise area, with fixtures such as pull up bars, or you could create a flexible outside fitness area, using portable suspension-training equipment, such as that deigned by TRX Training that’s easy to set up, take down and carry, so you can even take it on holiday with you!  Hook it over a robust tree in your garden or a sturdy beam of your gazebo, and you will not only tone up, you will also get to enjoy the fresh air and save on gym bills! 

Protective paths  

If going outside means having to scrape off muddy boots every time you come back inside, you probably won’t do it, so when you design your garden think about how you are going to move between the different outdoor living areas that you create.  Paths, steps stones or even a gravel track will all help keep your shoes clean even when there’s been a fair amount of rain, making more of your garden both inviting and accessible year-round.

The wild outdoors  

If you have a big garden, you can incorporate a wider range of ideas into your garden to make it as exciting to explore in the autumn and winter as the summer – and not all of them need to be manicured.  In fact, some of the most fun outdoor winter spaces benefit from a touch of the wild.  Campfires with seating, bonfire areas (perfect for bonfire night, New Year’s Eve and more), tree houses and dens all offer toasty sanctuaries when your breath hangs in the air, inviting you to wrap up warm and head outside.

A garden room for all seasons  

With careful design and planning, a garden room can be a room for all seasons.  You will want to fling open or fold back the doors in the summer, but consider installing utilities and heating so you can continue to enjoy it as a cosy den in the cooler months, with maybe some thick rugs and warm blankets as seasonal accessories as well.  Whether it’s a garden office, a kids’ play room, a teenagers’ den or a retreat for you to sit and unwind, with careful forethought and design it can be as enticing in the winter as the summer, giving you an extra room all the year round.   

A garden is not just for summer!  With careful planning and clever design, you can continue to enjoy your garden long throughout the winter.  

To discuss how our garden designs could bring you year-round delight call 01892 577371  or send us an email using our online form.  Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:   Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill   Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex   Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.    You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.

The post How to get the most out of your garden in the autumn and winter appeared first on Dewlands Garden Design.

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Your ideal 2019 garden starts now

November – it’s a busy time of year. It’s when our diaries start filling up and our mental space is beginning to be invaded by thoughts that we need to make sure we order the turkey in time and will we need to get an extra inflatable mattress for all those guests.  But, if you have an idea that you want to turn your garden into your dream garden next year, it’s also the ideal season to make it happen.

If you’re still trying to work out how many guests you’ll have over the festive season, that may seem a planning step too far. Indeed, most people put off thinking about any garden re-design until long after the Christmas decorations have been taken down – in fact, the vast majority don’t start focusing on their gardens until the first spring bulbs are beginning to push their way through the ground.  But here are five reasons why now is the ideal time to get the ball rolling to make sure you get to enjoy your dream garden in 2019.

  1. By next spring, the best garden designers will all be fully booked, so they will only be able to plan and execute their designs for your garden later in the year. It will probably only be ready just in time for autumn – and you’ll pay a premium for securing their services given that their diaries are already pretty full. As the natural world goes to sleep in the autumn, garden designers and construction teams get quieter, so it is much easier to secure the services of your dream team.
  1. Tendering jobs in autumn and winter when contractors are quieter is more likely to yield a keen price.
  1. Spring and summer are crazy seasons for those in the world of garden design and build; as much as your chosen team will want to give you their undivided attention, they simply won’t be able to. By contrast, during the cooler months you may well have a dedicated team – and pay less for the privilege.
  1. It is often easier to determine the lay of the land once the leaves have fallen, especially potential views that you might not be able to see when trees, shrubs and bushes are in full leaf. Creating your ideal outdoor living space now may lead to a better, more imaginative design, as you have more of a blank canvas to work from, which may reveal more possibilities.
  1. If your new garden design requires moving plants, it needs to be done when they are dormant, from October to March. If you leave your garden design until the spring, you are likely to miss the opportunity to move established plants successfully, which may mean you end up paying for substitutes, which will add more cost.

Commissioning your garden design project now, during the cooler months, is likely to lead to a more dedicated service at less cost – and it may even result in a better design.  So if you have plans to transform your garden for 2019, now is the ideal time to book your chosen professional.

To discuss your dream garden designs call 01892 577371 or send us an email using our online form.

Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:

  • Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill
  • Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex
  • Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.

You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.

The post PLAN YOUR 2019 GARDEN NOW appeared first on Dewlands Garden Design.

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Your autumn garden maintenance plan

There’s no rest for the wicked – or gardeners! Even the best-designed garden needs essential, year-round maintenance to keep it looking its best. Here’s what you need to be doing in your garden in Kent, Sussex or Surrey this autumn to make sure you enjoy it to its full potential next spring and summer.

SPRING BULBS

One of the most obvious autumn garden maintenance jobs is planting bulbs for early colour in the spring. Hyacinths, daffodils, narcissi and crocuses should have gone in in October, but you can still plant lilies and tulips into November.

YOUR LAWN

You may need to give it one last cut before you clean off your lawn mower and store it for the winter; don’t cut your grass too short – an inch (or 25mm) is ideal.

Your lawn will love you if you spike and scarify it now to stop it getting waterlogged during the winter and to enable the roots to breathe. An autumn lawn feed will also ensure it looks its best come the spring.

If you’re laying a new lawn, or filling in bare patches, now is the ideal time to do so, when there is less footfall to damage tender stems; ideally you want to lay turf when the soil is not too wet or frosty.

GENERAL TIDYING

There are possibly a few more weeks in which you will need to continue to sweep up fallen leaves; you may opt for a seasonal bonfire, but if you stack them you will have valuable leaf mould next spring to help feed essential nutrients back into the ground. Oak and beech leaves will break down with little assistance, but thick leaves such as sycamore, walnut and horse chestnut, will need to be shredded before adding to your leaf mould pile. Collect pine needles separately to create an acidic leaf mould, ideal for ericaceous plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas, camelias, Pieris and blueberries; pine needles will take two to three years to break down.

Most borders are in need of general tidying at this time of year; if you haven’t done so already, clear out any faded summer bedding plants and cut down faded perennials.

PONDS

If you have a garden pond, now is the time for a general clean up; the fish will be at their prime after the summer, while the cooler temperatures will reduce their stress levels.  Prune and remove any dying marginal plants to stop them decomposing in the water; protect living marginal and pond-side plants with bracken or straw to protect them from the extremes of winter.  Prevent autumn leaves from entering your pond by installing netting; clear out any that do get into the water as they will reduce its quality.

ROSES

After deadheading roses and pruning rambling varieties, the autumn is also the time to plant bare-root roses; make sure you have time to plant them as soon as you get them as they won’t thank you if you keep them hanging around.

FRUIT TREES

Apple trees and pear trees should be pruned when the tree is dormant, between leaf fall in early November and bud burst in early March, to ensure a good cycle of fruiting wood. The Royal Horticultural Society has clear tips on how to do this. (Do not prune plum trees or cherry trees now, as they can be susceptible to silver leaf disease if pruned in colder weather and should therefore only be pruned from early spring to mid-summer).

It’s also the perfect time to plant new fruit trees and bushes. Make sure you prepare the ground properly to get them off to a good start.  You may like to consider local varieties that thrive well within Kent and Sussex.

Kent varieties

  • The Beauty of Kent apple dates from the 18thcentury and is excellent for both cooking and eating
  • The Isaac Newton apple is said to be identical to the Flower of Kent, mentioned by contemporaries of Shakespeare
  • The Joy of Kent pear is a mini tree that will grow in any soil

Sussex varieties

Sussex Apple Trees sell a variety of Sussex apple varieties, with rootstocks available from December, including:

TREES

Any significant arboriculture work should ideally be carried out when the birds aren’t nesting, so the autumn is a great time for calling your local tree surgeon to deal with any diseased, unsightly or out-of-place trees, as well as those that need some TLC to restore them to their former glory.

PLANTING FOR NEXT YEAR

The autumn is the time to plant for next year, to give the roots time to establish themselves over the winter when water is more plentiful. Conifers, evergreens and hedges like to go in now, as do herbaceous perennials, as long as the soil is light (they may struggle over the winter is your soil is too waterlogged). It’s also a good time to move evergreens and conifers.

LOOKING AFTER THE VULNERABLE

Before the thermometer mercury dips too low, protect tender plants with bracken or straw.  As the ground gets harder, it’s also time to think of our feathered friends and put out food and water for the birds.  The RSPB has advice on what to leave for them, how often to feed them and how to keep your bird feeding station pest free.

GRAND DESIGNS

If you want to redesign your garden next year, the autumn is also the perfect time to get the ball rolling, or even to get the project started and finished. If you were planning on commissioning a garden redesign in the spring, you might like to read our article (coming soon!) on why autumn and winter are the perfect time for garden design work.

A garden is for life – not just the summer! That means year-round maintenance to keep it looking its best, but any effort you put in now will be rewarded in the spring and summer.  But if your knees are creaking or your back is hurting just from thinking about what you need to do, remember that we offer maintenance, as well as garden design services. So, if you want to enjoy your garden in its full glory without having to put in the blood, sweat and tears required yourself, we can help!

To discuss your garden design or maintenance needs call 01892 577371 or send us an email using our online form.

Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:

  • Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill
  • Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex
  • Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.

You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.

The post THINGS TO DO IN YOUR GARDEN IN THE AUTUMN appeared first on Dewlands Garden Design.

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At Dewlands Garden Design, we work with the best craftspeople. In this case, we collaborated with Michael Hart a locally based blacksmith and iron worker.

The client provided a brief for an organic form and provided some initial ideas. With Michael, we developed these ideas and presented a proposal back to the client.

Working with people who understand their craft and are open to develop new design ideas is our sweet spot, bringing our own knowledge of materials and what is possible “or not” helps us to effectively collaborate and deliver beautiful objects.

We hope to do a lot more work with Michael in the coming years, and think you’ll agree he has created something that really makes a statement, and will continue to do so for many many years to come!

Developing the design idea on the marking out table….

The finished piece…

The post Handmade Metal Railings appeared first on Dewlands Garden Design.

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Steam bending

Steam bending wood is a traditional craft and a low energy, ecological and economical method of manipulating wood to make beautiful and practical additions to your outside space. Having designed an amphitheatre-style outdoor room for a client, I wanted to create a two thirds circle curved bench to sit within it, and so felt steam bending would be the best approach!

After some expert guidance from award winning designer and highly respected Charlie Whinney, I returned home and got to work building myself a steam box big enough to take the long lengths of oak in the workshop.

Purpose built steam box used for steam bending

My design consists of 3 separate curved benches in oak to be fitted together within a circular space to form one continuous curved bench, backed by a sleeper wall – see project here. Initially I constructed a robust jig to fit the curvature of the amphitheatre and on which to fix and hold the legs in place, this also had to resist the spring back you always get when bending timber, at least until it was firmly fixed to the sleeper wall and the jig could be removed.

Curved bench seat structure taking shape

Building up the slats…

Curved bench showing seat and back

While you measure everything and take time to avoid problems the brain always worries if it will fit properly or not. There is some educated guess work in it as the oak wants to spring back a little and so if the jigs aren’t up to the job, or you haven’t compensated sufficiently, it’s going to be a major problem, and many hours down the drain. Thankfully the careful preparation and execution paid off and the bench was a pretty good fit and looks great too! – a thoroughly enjoyable project.

The post Getting steamy! appeared first on Dewlands Garden Design.

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