An in-depth Look at London Garden Design

London garden designer
Image courtesy of GROW London

Business website Startup.co.uk recently reported that London is the best place to set up a horticultural business. So why is this? Also, what are homeowners willing to spend their money on and what can we expect to see appearing in people’s gardens over the next 12 months? In Touch Landscapes’ latest blog, our principal designer Georgina Chahed explores London garden design in more detail and unearths the latest trends in outdoor living…

According to a report by AXA Business Insurance, the average household in the capital spends £600 a year on improving their garden and those in the North East and Scotland are also keen call in the professionals.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults reveals that London is the best place to start a gardening and landscaping business. Whilst the average Briton is prepared to stump up just £473 on garden upkeep every year – the average Londoner spends £600, with those in Scotland (£556) and North East (£514) also outspending the rest of the UK.

In contrast, those living in Wales, the South West and North West all spend below £400 – suggesting that they prefer to do the work themselves when it comes to horticulture.

Homeowners are looking for landscape experts
Despite this, 64% of those surveyed said they would a hire professional if they needed to erect a wall, with 61% saying the same if they needed to construct a deck, 58% if they needed to put in fencing, and 59% if they needed to chop down a tree.

With regards consumer price expectation, the average consumer would quote a price of £400 for common building tasks, £390 for a garden design, £378 for terracing, £290 for a pond installation and £364 for fence construction – a price that includes both materials and labour.

Gareth Howell, managing director of AXA Insurance commented: “The figures quoted by the public for common landscaping, design and gardening jobs were very low indeed, however.

“This shows a low appreciation first of the sheer number of hours that go into this work, expert knowledge of disciplines landscape architecture, design and horticulture, as well as, understanding construction, planning and site drainage standards.”

“People working in the trades have a massive education job to do when they meet clients – as we’ve emphasised, having a good portfolio of work where you can demonstrate value and results is one good step, as well as diversifying your customer base as much as possible to ensure a lower reliance on purely residential work.”

But key findings from the 2017 annual landscape trends study just released by style website Houzz says homeowners are prepared to spend much more than this on renovating their outdoor space. This report claims that only 12% of their 2,400 responses from UK homeowners using the Houzz platform indicated spending £500 or less on recent renovations, with 20% spending over £10,000.

Demand for low maintenance gardens
Unsurprisingly 94% of homeowners update their planting, citing having flowers, being low maintenance and attracting bees and butterflies as their top three reasons for making the change. Similarly, despite concerns by organisations such as the Royal Horticultural Society who believe many homeowners are paving over their front gardens, real lawns are still very popular, with just 12% planning to remove their turf altogether.

Five biggest garden improvements
The study goes on to detail the top five hard landscaping improvements homeowners will be making to their gardens. These include: patio/terrace (57%), planters/containers (56%), fence/border (50%), arbour/gazebo/pergola/trellis (30%), and shed/workshop (28%). Other trends revealed by the study include the rise of the ‘outdoor living room’ and garden lighting.

Triggers for redesigning outdoor spaces comprise: wanting to personalise a new space (44%), fixing deterioration (24%), and wanting to do it all along but only just getting around to it (23%). In terms of key motivators, the challenges homeowners face this year, include: poor use of space (45%), limited space (24%) and lack of privacy (23%).

So, with Londoners spending the most on their gardens nationally and recognising the need to call in the professionals, it’s easy to see why garden design is so popular in London. In the months to come, a peek over the garden fence looks set to reveal a sparkling patio, trendy planters or an architectural outdoor structure. City folk know that clever use of outdoor space and privacy are more important than ever when space is of a premium. Therefore, the appetite for modern or classic garden design in the capital is set to grow.

Telephone Touch Landscapes on 07872 590303 or email info@touchlandscapes.com to arrange your initial garden design consultation.

June 20, 2017

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Touch Landscapes Awarded Best Of Houzz 2016

Touch-42

 

 

 

 

 

 


Over 35 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building,
Renovating and Design Professionals in the UK and Around the World

London, UK, Monday 8th February 2016 – Kingston-upon-Thames based Touch Landscapes has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz®, the leading online platform for home renovation and design. The successful garden and landscape design practice was selected by the 35 million plus monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community, from among more than one million active home building, renovating and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Customer Service honours are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2015. A “Best Of Houzz 2016” badge will appear on winners’ Houzz profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metropolitan area on Houzz.

“We are delighted to have received this top accolade. It demonstrates both the popularity of our garden and landscape design services in the Houzz community and our commitment to first-class customer service” commented Georgina Chahed, founder and principle garden designer at Touch Landscapes.

“Anyone building, renovating or decorating looks to Houzz for the most talented and service-oriented professionals” said Andrew Small, managing director of Houzz UK. “We’re so pleased to recognise Touch Landscapes, voted one of our “Best Of Houzz” professionals by our enormous community of homeowners and design enthusiasts actively renovating and decorating their homes.”

To find out more about Touch Landscapes’ garden and landscape design services Tel: 07872 590303 Email: info@touchlandscapes.com visit: www.touchlandscapes.com or follow Touch Landscapes on Houzz at: www.houzz.com/pro/touchlandscapes

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact Georgina Chahed principal garden designer at Touch Landscapes on Tel: 07872 590303 or Email: info@touchlandscapes.com

Notes for editors

About Touch Landscapes
Based in Kingston-upon-Thames, Touch Landscapes designs exquisite gardens and landscapes for domestic and commercial clients. Offering a range of services from consultancy to complete project management, Touch Landscapes helps clients realise the potential of their outdoor space, creating gardens and landscapes that reflect their personality and practical requirements. In 2015 Touch Landscapes scooped a silver Royal Horticultural Society award for its show border ‘The Teacup Garden’ at BBC Gardeners’ World Live. www.touchlandscapes.com

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home renovation and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide.

February 8, 2016

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Why do I need a garden designer?

Surrey garden design

In this blog post Touch Landscapes’ owner and principal garden designer Georgina Chahed gives the lowdown on why property owners need a garden designer…

Homeowners often find their garden has been left in a mess following the completion of their fantastic new extension. Bi-folding doors have been installed but the view of the back garden doesn’t live up to expectations. They know they should do something about it, but where should they begin? Do they need a landscaper or a garden designer and how will this affect the cost?

For those who are just looking for a lawn, a shed and a patio, there is little or no point in getting a garden designer involved. If however, they want the garden to look as stunning as their new kitchen, then they need the services of a good designer.

A safe pair of hands
A professional designer will do a lot more than just measure up and produce drawings for a new garden. They will contact landscapers capable of carrying out the work and at the most competitive price. They will source materials, liaise with the landscapers, monitor the build and find the right plants. A designer will also provide a maintenance schedule to ensure the space stays looking fantastic, for longer. Crucially, a designer will also check to make sure every detail is perfect before completion.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch
Clients are surprised when they approach a landscaper who offers them a ‘free’ design service as part of their design and build package, only to discover that by employing the services of a garden designer as well, they can actually end up paying less. As I source plants from specialist wholesale nurseries at lower prices and can tender the landscaping out to several companies, I am able to offer clients a better deal overall.

Rather than giving them an off-the-peg garden, I will deliver something that’s unique to my clients’ individual requirements and personal style. As part of my service I introduce clients to the latest materials on the market and cherry pick the best high performance plants, selecting less ubiquitous varieties, setting their garden apart from their neighbours’.

The devil’s in the detail
So often I see poorly designed gardens that are unbalanced, aesthetically clumsy, or are simply not fulfilling their potential. As part of the site analysis and layout planning, I use my designers’ eye to get the project right first time and ensure all the components work together cohesively.

To find out more about our Surrey garden design and landscape design service, please telephone us on 07872 590303 or email info@touchlandscapes.com

July 27, 2015

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RHS Silver Medal for Touch Landscapes at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

Show visitors enjoying The Teacup Garden
Show visitors enjoying The Teacup Garden

Designed by Georgina Chahed of Touch Landscapes, The Teacup Garden has been awarded a silver medal at BBC Gardeners’ World Live.

Inspired by the theme the ‘Industrial Heritage of the West Midlands’, in her first Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) display Georgina has delivered a breath-taking subtropical border. The Teacup Garden contains a sleek contemporary water feature set on sandstone, enveloped by bold architectural foliage and vibrant blooms.

Georgina Chahed showing her RHS award
Georgina Chahed showing her RHS award

On receiving her prestigious RHS medal, Georgina enthused: “All the advance planning and minute attention to detail has really paid off; the garden looks beautiful and the award is the icing on the cake. I’d like to express my gratitude to our volunteers, suppliers and everyone who has supported my journey along the way.”

Georgina wanted to convey a sense of excitement in the border and show that even with a small space, a lot can be achieved. The border takes inspiration from the rich heritage of Wedgwood and celebrates the legacy of the master potters who made their name in the West Midlands.

Exotic gardens typically look their best in late summer so the challenge was to source plants which peak in June, whilst also complementing the Jasperware inspired blue and white colour scheme. The plant list comprises a winning combination of hardy and tender exotics, and familiar garden favourites suited to the same conditions, such as ferns, heucheras and hostas.

Eclectic planting: ferns, heucheras and hostas on The Teacup Garden
Eclectic planting: ferns, heucheras and hostas on The Teacup Garden

To find out more about Touch Landscapes’ garden and landscape design services telephone: 07872 590303 email: info@touchlandscapes.com or visit: www.touchlandscapes.com

June 18, 2015

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Let’s do this thing

Less than one week until the build commences for BBC Gardeners’ World Live, Touch Landscapes’ principle designer Georgina Chahed gives a progress report on The Teacup Garden…

The finishing line is in sight. Give or take one or two niggles, I’m feeling upbeat about our show border so I prepared this blog to fill you in on what’s been happening over the past few weeks.

Queens of the Stone Age
The stone circle has arrived and I’m happy to report that it’s a really handsome sandstone! The central paver is vast and couldn’t be lifted, so we placed a thin track of packaging across the floor and gingerly rolled it over the fibre pieces and into the studio.

Nursery Stories
Following the trip to our main nursery, I spent some time analysing the plant composition again. It’s easy to panic at this stage and randomly add in extra plants that look nice, without paying attention to what they add horticulturally. With this in mind, I’ve resolved to focus more on colour and pay extra attention to my middle tier of plants. With these subtle amendments I feel we’ve moved a step closer to having a truly winning plant combination.

Our  plant leaflet
Our brand spanking new plant leaflet!

The latest development, our show leaflet, is now ready. Here’s a sneak preview, pictured above. Now the search is on to find the perfect mulch…

BBC Gardeners’ World Live is taking place at the National Exhibition Centre from 11-14 June 2015 and I very much look forward to meeting you at our Teacup Garden.If you haven’t already booked your tickets, then now’s your chance. Horticultural serenity is just a click away…

June 1, 2015

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Call for Volunteers!

Show presenter Monty Don with visitors at BBC Gardeners' World Live
Show presenter Monty Don with visitors at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

It is eight weeks to BBC Gardeners’ World Live today where we will be unveiling our first Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) display, The Teacup Garden.

If you would like to help out with planting or greeting visitors at the NEC on any day from Saturday 6 June to Sunday 14 June, please get in touch. We have spaces for three more volunteers on our roster.

Shopping for plants at BBC Gardeners' World Live
Shopping for plants at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

We’ll shout you lunch and give you access to the show on the day/s you are able to help. This is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the buzz and camaraderie of an RHS garden show and get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes!

Telephone Georgina on 07872 590303 or email info@touchlandscapes.com to get involved.

April 16, 2015

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Subtropical drama in a teacup unveiled by newcomer at BBC Gardeners’ World Live

BBCGWL 2015 Visual 4
The Teacup Garden

Newcomer to the world of garden design, Georgina Chahed will be realising her vision of a subtropical border entitled ‘The Teacup Garden’ at BBC Gardeners’ World Live (11-14 June 2015). Georgina Chahed set up her practice Touch Landscapes in December 2013 and the Teacup Garden will be her first Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) display.

Beating off competition from rivals, the design has been given the green light by show organisers, the RHS. Working to the category theme, the ‘Industrial Heritage of the West Midlands’, the design takes inspiration from the rich heritage of Wedgwood. Garden designer Georgina Chahed commented: “I wanted to bring a sense of excitement to my border and celebrate the legacy of the master potters who made their name in the West Midlands.

Centring around a teacup water feature and stone saucer, a distinctive blue and white colourway has been used, giving a nod to Josiah Wedgwood’s original Jasperware ceramic tea sets. Capitalising on this year’s trend for tropical plants, a blend of lush and subtropical plants will be used to soften the hard landscaping.

Georgina Chahed continued: “With exotic tea growing regions in mind, I will predominantly be using plants suited to slightly moist, fertile soils. By selecting the right plants and ones that suit a garden’s conditions and soil type, a tropical border can be incorporated into many UK gardens.”

Grasses and ferns will intermingle to fill the space, punctuated by vibrant purple and orange flowers, including hardy groundcover favourite Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (‘Gerwat’) and the majestic Canna ‘Phasion’ with its dazzling striped leaves. The evergreen variegated giant reed Arundo donax versicolor will lend movement and height to the space. Striking Musa basjoo and Trachycarpus fortunei specimen trees promise to add impact and structure to the border, elevating the planting to a whole new level.

Now in its 23rd year, BBC Gardeners’ World Live, held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, is the largest lifestyle event in the UK, attracting around 100,000 visitors in June every year.

March 16, 2015

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How to Propagate Seeds

Cosmos and Sweetpeas at Petersham Nurseries
Cosmos and Sweetpeas at Petersham Nurseries

Now is the ideal time to propagate seeds so that you can plant out your seedlings from mid May onwards, when the likelihood of frost has passed. Following garden designer Georgina Chahed’s successful propagation of Cosmos and Marigold seeds last spring, here’s Touch Landscapes’ super easy six step guide…

1. Lay fine gravel in the bottom of a plant propagator tray.

2. Wet the gravel so the water comes just above the level of the gravel.

3. Spread seed compost in the seed tray, make it level and firm the compost slightly with another seed tray on top. Then remove the spare seed tray.

4. Make tiny drills (grooves) lengthways across the compost and lightly sprinkle seeds across the drills. Add a thin layer of compost to cover the seeds.

5. Fit the seed tray onto the bottom of the propagator, allowing water to filter through and moisten the soil above. Remove the seed tray when damp but not too wet. Drain the excess water off the bottom gravel tray and then place the compost tray back on to the damp gravel tray.

6. Place the propagator lid on to the bottom of the propagator and seed tray and leave the seeds to grow, checking on them every day to make sure they don’t dry out.

In a few weeks, we will update you on the progress of our own seeds!

 

March 5, 2015

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The Highs and Lows of the Sky Garden

London's Sky Garden
London’s Sky Garden

In Touch Landscapes’ latest blog, owner and garden designer Georgina Chahed takes a critical look at London’s newest public space

Officially opening to the public for the first time in January, I visited the Sky Garden last Monday, keen to explore the exotic planting. Located at the top of the Walkie Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street, the Sky Garden boasts stunning 360 degree views of many of the capital’s most popular landmarks including the BT Tower, the Gherkin, the Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral.

The view is really the best thing about the Sky Garden. The press have only given lacklustre reviews of the space – disappointed that it isn’t the public park in the sky and that we’d all hoped for.

Yes, anyone can visit providing they’ve booked in advance and if you have an afternoon free and fancy a special meal in a unique location, then the Sky Garden’s Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill would certainly appeal.However, the thought of anyone taking their dog for a walk, going for a run or meeting friends for a picnic here seems absurd – even though this is the kind of normal behaviour you would expect in a public garden.

Fronds in high places
That said, organisations including landscape architects Gillespies, landscapers Willerby Landscapes, nursery Kelways and plant experts Kew have done well to meet the logistical and horticultural challenge of making this garden in the sky a reality.

The planting consists of two high banks of aeoniums, cycads, grasses, maidenhair ferns and tree ferns. There are pockets containing intimate seating areas but hopefully the plants will be allowed to fill in and bulk up over time to soften the corporate feel of the space and provide more of a feeling of enclosure.

The only way is up
In terms of endowing London with more green public spaces, the Sky Garden has turned out to be more of a sentiment than a solution. London may be geographically and metaphorically a million miles away from the acclaimed garden city of Singapore, but projects such as the Garden Bridge will do well to fuel our appetite for innovative and inclusive city gardens, offering hope for the future of urban garden planning in the UK.

Have you visited the Sky Garden yet and if so, what did you think? Please leave a comment, I’d love to know.

Touch Landscapes designs gardens with year round interest. Call 07872 590 303 or email info@touchlandscapes.com to discuss your requirements.

February 9, 2015

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Five Shrubs for Winter Interest

Hamamelis Jelena
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’, image courtesy of the RHS

In the latest of garden designer Georgina Chahed’s blog posts, she highlights her top five woody plants for winter interest…

When light levels and temperatures plummet, colour, structure and texture are essential for making your garden sparkle. Bring vibrancy and intoxicating scents to your outdoor space in winter by introducing some of these star performers:

1. Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ (witch hazel)
A firm favourite, Jelena’s buttery autumn foliage makes way for spectacular citrus scented spidery orange flowers in winter. Great teamed with the equally architectural and colourful dogwood; which has a contrasting, upright habit.

2. Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ (dogwood)
Slightly below the radar, dogwoods deserve much more attention from gardeners. With arresting ornamental stems, Sibirica produces red winter shoots and large leaves when pruned in summer. With its graceful variegated leaves, Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ is also worth considering.

3. Sarcococca hookeriana var. Digyna (sweet box)
Digyna is dense, with a spreading habit, glossy evergreen leaves and purple-green branches. It produces very fragrant creamy white flowers in February, followed by black fruit. Plump for this hardworking shrub and you’ll discover that it has plenty going for it, being both long flowering and hardy in winter weather.

4. Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’
Clusters of flowers open to pink heavenly scented winter blooms which last until spring. Daphnes are best situated in a sheltered spot and varieties such as Daphne odora are blessed with broad evergreen leaves too.

5. Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii ‘Profusion’ (Beautyberry)
I will never forget the first time I clapped eyes on Beautyberry in Bushy Park in Kingston – I went straight home and looked it up. With clusters of showy violet berries, this winter jewel shouts unapologetically, “Look at me!” Adorned with small lilac-pink flowers, its young purple lance shaped leaves turn rosy-pink in autumn. The shiny, vibrant fruits mean Profusion is ideal for placing centre stage, in front of a window. The berries also provide food for birds and animals. Cosset this diva with shelter and companions to pollinate her and you will be richly rewarded.

Remember to check that the eventual height and spread of your chosen shrub is appropriate for your garden. Also, be sure to select plants suitable for the soil type and horticultural conditions you have.

What are your favourite plants for winter interest? Leave a comment, I’d love to know.

Touch Landscapes designs gardens with year round interest. Call 07872 590 303 or email info@touchlandscapes.com to discuss your requirements.

January 5, 2015

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