The importance of good bed prep

0 Written by Lisa on 8th Jun 2018 in Design Tips, Plants

If there’s one thing that gets me going it’s when I arrive at site to carry out the planting and I have to pick up a fork because the beds aren’t prepared properly.

It can be tricky when you’ve had machines on site and the ground’s been worked a lot, but a good landscaper will think ahead when they start the job and retain any decent topsoil for re-use later.

I’m most suspicious when the beds look too good to be true, with a smooth covering of, what looks like, perfect soil.  Often that means it’s covering up something far less ideal.  Dig a hole for a shrub and the evidence is clear that things have been buried beneath the soil and it’s going to be a very hard day!

I appreciate that I’m having a bit of a rant, but good bed preparation not only gives the plants the best start possible, it also ensures that you don’t waste decent soil, time and money.

Even if the beds are rotavated or dug over with a machine, they still need to be hand dug.  This will ensure that the soil has been forked through properly and that any large stones and plant material can be removed before the plants go in the ground.

If you need to top up the beds with more soil then it’s worth the extra money to buy manufactured topsoil.  Screened soil essentially comes from skips or clearance from other sites so, even if it’s up to the British Standard, it still might have some contaminants that you don’t want around the roots of your plants.

Screened soil is fine for levelling off a lawn area before the turf is laid, but the beds need something a bit better in quality.  Often screened soil has small fragments of brick so it’s quite easy to spot.

The added bonus of manufactured topsoil is that you can order it with organic matter/compost already mixed in.

If you’re not bringing in any new topsoil then ideally you need to dig in some sort of organic matter which will help to enrich the soil and improve the structure and this should be forked through the soil by hand.

It really isn’t rocket science, if the beds are prepared properly it will give your plants the best possible start.  You’ll reap the rewards quickly when they establish much more quickly and your garden starts to flourish after just a few months.



Introducing Iron Fire

0 Written by Lisa on 1st May 2018 in Garden accessories, Inspiration

I’ve recently been introduced to Iron Fire, a Wiltshire-based company who use an ancient Japanese technique for preserving wood called Shou Sugi-ban. Read more

From the drawing board – Cheshire garden under construction

0 Written by Lisa on 23rd Mar 2018 in From the drawing board

I’m very excited to be able to share some pictures of my Cheshire project which is well into the construction phase.  You may remember me sharing the design with you some time ago but, if not, here’s a reminder… Read more

How to budget for your new garden

2 Written by Lisa on 23rd Feb 2018 in Design Tips

Working to budgets is part of what I do, but it’s not always easy when there are so many choices available and if make tweaks along the way.  We’re undertaking a small building project at home and it’s exhausting making decisions, even though we’re doing some of it ourselves and therefore don’t have any time pressures. Read more

From the drawing board: A walled garden near Bridgend

0 Written by Lisa on 18th Jan 2018 in From the drawing board

I’ve recently been working with a client in Laleston, near Bridgend.  The house is really old and they’ve spent some time since they brought it a couple of years ago, lovingly restoring it. Read more

Winter berries

2 Written by Lisa on 15th Dec 2017 in Design Tips, Plants

I don’t know about you, but I love foraging for foliage at this time of year.  I’m lucky now that we have holly and ivy in the garden, the hedgerows are full of hazel and the woodland up the hill has an abundance of pine cones.  Now that the snow has disappeared, I’ll be cutting some holly at the weekend for Christmas decorations. Read more

From the drawing board: A new garden for a listed barn near Cardiff

0 Written by Lisa on 23rd Nov 2017 in From the drawing board

I’ve recently been working with a couple near Cardiff who live in a Grade II list barn near Cardiff.  They’ve lived in the house for years but, having recently renovated the inside, now want to make the garden at the back of the house much more inviting and inspiring. Read more

A tour of the quarry at Forest of Dean Stone

0 Written by Lisa on 25th Oct 2017 in Design Tips

A couple of weeks ago I visited the quarry and production plant at Forest of Dean Stone. I organised the trip for the local Society of Garden Designer’s “cluster group” I coordinate and it was well worth the visit. Read more

Wild County Kerry

0 Written by Lisa on 26th Sep 2017 in Inspiration

I’ve just returned from a week in Ireland where we had the most fabulous weather and were properly able to enjoy the amazing rugged landscape. Read more

A Dewy August morning in South Wales

1 Written by Lisa on 11th Sep 2017 in Inspiration

It’s been feeling quite autumnal in South Wales over the past couple of weeks and we’ve had some gorgeous dewy mornings where the light has been catching the water droplets and lighting up the landscape. Read more

Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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