Costs of Landscaping

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Its been an extremely busy summer so have sorely neglected the blog but there is a subject that I have wanted to talk about for awhile which is extremely applicable to anybody who wants to have landscaping done and that is the cost.

One of the things I ask new clients  is have you thought about a budget and most of the time the answer is we haven’t thought about a figure and we have no idea how much it will cost. Because Landscaping is such a bespoke service the costs vary from job to job and prices are not really something that can be listed in a brochure but guesstimates can be made depending on the size, features and materials.

Hard landscaping i.e paving, decking and walls are normally the most expensive aspects of the job and a good cost indication of paving is £100 per square metre to lay the paving (labour and materials to lay) plus the actual paving cost on top (Anywhere from £15 – £60 per square metre depending on the material) though these prices may vary depending on the company and also how easy the site is to access and excavate but you can see how paving quickly gets expensive.

For a basic landscaping makeover for a small urban back garden with flat levels and little clearance needed you would be looking at around £8,000 +VAT and prices elevate from there depending on size and complexity.

Ways to reduce costs without compromising the design is to use cheaper materials such as gravel paths instead of paved or timber sleeper walls instead of  brick but if the prices are still too high expectations will need to be reduced. Be wary of landscaping companies that give you a very cheap price in comparison with others, it is cheap for a reason. You can of course carry out the landscaping works yourself but this is tiring, time consuming and skilled work so is not an option for a lot of people.

To give an idea of the costs associated with landscaping, below are the costs of  a few projects done over the period 2017 to present.


Project  below: £35,000 + VAT


Modern Garden with topiary, decking and lighting






Project  below: £40,000 + VAT





Project  below: £18,500 + VAT (Landscaping only)


Spring Colours in the Garden

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Spring has got to be my favourite time of year in the garden, everything is so lush and new as it starts to come to life and there’s so much to look forward to seeing grow.

Here are some of the best spring plants in the garden I maintain. 

Ornamental Cherry Prunus ‘Tai Haku’ in full flower


New growth of Hemerocalis, Hellebores, Daffodils, Purple flowering Cherry and Forsythia

Amelanchiers flowering

Out and About

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Seven projects into the year so far and looking forward to lots of interesting projects to be built in the coming months.  Below are some projects that are just starting out.


Tuddenham Mill 

This was today’s visit with Roger Gladwell Landscapes and fellow designer Hannah Sheffield, a stunning setting outside Newmarket. The brief is to make a great setting amazing and maximise the use of the space for the restaurant users and guests whilst being sympathetic to the grade  II listed  historic setting. It was a pleasure to survey such a lovely setting and was the poshest tea me and Hannah have ever been made at a site meeting!



A Room with a View

With new development builds going up everywhere at the moment there are more instances of privacy issues in people’s gardens. This was an extreme case where a new build had been built parallel to the garden and a whopping four meters above the garden level, making a once very private garden with views across marshland an overlooked space with a very distracting unwanted feature.  The main goals are to obscure it as much as possible and re-direct the eye away from it. Mature Hollys will be planted on the ridge to reinstate some measure of privacy and some suggestions are to re-orientate the patio to encourage the eye to look out at the marshes, planting pockets in the paving with eye catching planting will help direct the eye with pleached trees to the side to give closer screening without blocking the views from the site’s dwelling.



Paving Choices: 3 Popular Paving Materials

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There is now a large range of paving options to choose from to suit every style and budget. Residential and commercial developments are turning away from cheap concrete paving to natural stone or porcelain and different laying patterns (We won’t talk about crazy paving)

I’d like to share some of the most popular paving materials to give you an idea of what you could use in your own garden.


Sandstone has got to be the most universally used in residential gardens now and the market is dominated by Indian Sandstone imported in. There are many natural tones from cool light greys to warm browns and pinks which are enhanced when wet. The finish can be either natural riven or six way sawn which gives a more contemporary feel with a smoother finish. There is however a cost difference here with the six way sawn needing more cutting to get the surface level and so this reflects in the price. You need to be careful to source Indian sandstone from reputable sources and to be suspicious of very cheap stone which may be unethically produced, very thin or particularly porous meaning it will deterioration quicker. Yorkstone is the English sourced equivalent if you would like to be a bit more ethically minded about air miles and it is a lovely stone used in a lot of major English cities and can be bought as reclaimed. It is however more costly than riven Indian Sandstone.

The cons of Sandstone (And Limestone) Is that they are a softer stone and so absorb more water than some other options. This encourages algae and lichen growth and means they are more likely to stain. This means you may need to do more maintenance to control this and accept the stone will gradually age (Or gain more character however you’d like to think of it)

Below: riven Indian Sandstone to the left and Sandstone setts to the right

Sandstone patio with brick details and colourful perennial planting

2. Granite 

Granite is a popular natural stone, especially in those areas that need to be tough like driveways or public areas but also can look wonderful in a garden in the right setting.  There are a range of colours but the grey shades are the most popular and so they tend to suit more contemporary gardens like shown below although they are very popular used as setts (Small square or brick sized pieces) either as paths or driveways or used as dividing points like at the edge of patios, at beginnings of paths and so on. Because it is so dense it has very low porosity meaning it is less likely to develop algae and lichen growth  and is more resistant to being eroded by water and footfall.

The cons of Granite is that personally I feel, when used as slabs,  it doesn’t have as much warmth or character as say Sandstone so I recommend it for more modern looks. It also slightly more expensive than Sandstone.

Below: Granite setts at the start of a path to the left and Granite slabs to the right

Granite paving

3. Porcelain

Porcelain paving has been gaining popularity recently as a very low maintenance paving option in the garden. Interior porcelain has of course been used indoors for a very long time and in hotter climates than the UK is often used outside but it never quite fit in that context in the UK until more recently. One probable reason is the wetter weather making a very smooth surface outdoors a huge health hazard. The original external porcelain was also very thin, easy to chip and the colour was not sustained throughout the tile so the chip would show up white and the colour patterns themselves were repeated too often making it look less natural. All these issues have now been solved with most paving companies producing high quality porcelain paving in a variety of colours and textures. Because of the very dense composition of porcelain it has very low porosity so resists algae, lichen and stains (Though will still need sweeping down if dirty i’m afraid) The range of colours available means you can match it with various styles of garden though it is especially good for more modern ones as it has such a neat finish.

The cons are that you pay more for this low maintenance and hard wearing option and you do need slightly better equipment to cut it as it is so dense.

Below: Grey porcelain paving and cladding (Note this one is not my design)







Gravel Gardens – The low(er) maintenance option

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Gravel gardens are perhaps the ultimate low maintenance garden that can still give you greenery, structure and colour.  They are especially suitable for small gardens and people who don’t want lawns, large flower beds or go away on holiday a lot and need gardens that are fairly self sufficient.

Its important for any large expanses of gravel to be broken up with a different texture or colour to stop them just looking like a beach.  In the example below the planting creates a nice contrast in colour which is accentuated by the larger Atlantic cobbles and pebbles which also create a gradient of size down to the main material of 10mm washed gravel.  Depending on your area the same principal can be applied to Cotswold gravel or slate chippings though more greenery is required to offset the two extremes in colour. It is normally better to use stone seen in your region; the example below is near the Suffolk coast so the materials tie in with the area. Stepping stones are also very useful in leading the eye through the garden and of course give a sturdier surface to walk on.



Most plants including shrubs and trees can be planted through gravel (a membrane between the soil and gravel needs to be put in place first) but grasses paired with light airy plants such as Verbena bonariensis and Nepeta are a favourite combination.  The soil may need to be improved first depending on the plant going in and the existing soil conditions.

It is also good for driveways however the area where cars will be parking will need to be supported by crushed hardcore or a plastic or metal grating/panels underneath the gravel but you can still leave gaps for planting to soften the look and blend it into the garden.