How We Built An Award Winning Garden


This case study explains how we built a garden in Chelmsford from the plan to completion to winning an APL Award.

The garden in Little Baddow near Chelmsford, Essex took 10 weeks to complete.

The Plan

The garden was designed by Paul Baines MSGD.

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Client’s Brief

The client had purchased a large plot of their neighbour’s garden with the view of creating a suitable terrace area. The client also wanted to make use of the garden above the terrace area, so easy and safe access to this area was important. The client had also requested a water feature to be built into the retaining wall.

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Problems We Had To Overcome

This sloping site required a large excavation. Approximately 120 tonnes of sub-soil had to be removed by small vehicles as the access was very restricted.

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Setting Out The New Terrace and Wall

Setting out the wall and terrace was fairly simple. The most important part of setting out this project was ensuring the radial point was in exactly the right place and was upright. Once the area had been excavated we set the radial point into position. The site was marked out and levels were set to ensure the excavations were accurate. Footings for the wall were excavated and the concrete poured. Edging bricks have been laid for the terrace and the first few courses of bricks have been laid for the wall. The sub-base was then laid and compacted.

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The Construction

The Old Rectory sandstone paving was laid first. It was then pointed and protected with plastic sheeting to keep it clean during construction of the wall. The wall construction was the most complicated part of this project. As the wall was circular, string lines could not be used as per the standard methods of bricklaying. Each brick had to be laid then plumbed using a spirit level. An important part of building this wall was getting the cuts underneath the brick-on-edge right. The mortar bed between the cuts and brick on edge would need to be a consistant thickness to look its best. A copper water feature, with a fine stainless steel mesh was installed into the wall. This would provide the clients with the noise of splashing water and provide a beautiful focal point.

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Winning an Award

The project was entered into ‘The Association of Professional Landscapers’ annual awards in 2010 in the category: Garden Construction Between £30,000 – £60,000. We were the category winners. This was a great achievement and we are very honoured to have won this award against such good national competition.

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