Our Standard Procedure

Here we have documented all of our standard procedures for our work. This is to ensure you as the customer know what to expect and if there is something you either want us to do differently or cannot see here you can specify that when you place an order.

Our Design Work Procedures

We can carry out various types of design depending on your requirements. As we work with domestic and commercial clients, we offer everything from hand-drawn scaled sketches to CAD drawings, planting plans and construction drawings.

We usually charge between £100-500 for designs depending on the size of the garden and any other required services, such as drain inspection and drainage solutions, level surveys, test digs or planning consent advice or applications.

In most cases, the design fee is refunded if you continue to use Beautiful Gardens to carry out the work. For simple projects we can provide designs for free.

Our Landscaping Procedures

It is vital that preparation work is carried out correctly in laying artificial turf to ensure it’s longevity.
Areas must be dug off to 5-6” depth with a MOT type1 hardcore laid to a depth of 2-3” over the area and compacted. Edgins must be laid where necessary to either retain the aggregate beneath the turf
or to pin the turf to. A 2” layer of sand is screeded level and compacted over the area, with membrane laid over this.
The artificial turf is only available in 2m or 4m widths so sizing can be very important. If areas are larger than the roll width, then the turf can be joined with joining tape, glued underneath the turf. The turf is pinned around the edges to stop any movement.
We do nto recommend brushing sand into the turf, as this can encourage weed growth. Fine rubber balls can be added to the turf, although this is usually reserved for sports surfaces.

Often used around decking or patios, ballustrading comes in numerous forms. Mostly, 4-inch square wooden posts are screwed to deck frame or concreted-in, with a wooden hand rail screwed top and bottom to form bays. Each bay can have wooden spindles or wooden/metal panels fitted between   to finish.

Decking can be laid onto a solid  surface or raised off the ground. Where it comes into contact with the house, the finished height of the deck should be 2 bricks below the damp proof course.Where it is raised off the ground, posts are either driven or concreted-in to position, depending on the height and weight-loading of deck. The posts are connected by a framework of 4×2-inch or 6×2-inch tantalised timber, screwed into position. Deck boards can be either softwood or hardwood and can be either screwed directly down to the frame or stainless steel fixings can be screwed to the frame, with boards clipped into position to give a seamless, screw-free finish. It is advised to oil boards rather than use a water-based paint. It is much harder to maintain a painted, than one that has been oiled.

Where provision of drainage is required, we mostly use Aco channel drains. These are either made of a resin polymer with a galvanised silver grate or from black moulded plastic. Both are laid on a bed of wet mortar and piped into either existing drains or into a new soak-away (where necessary)

Posts can be wooden or concrete and are always concreted-in. Post-caps and finials can be added to wooden posts and wooden or concrete gravel boards can be laid to protect the bottom of fence/trellis from rotting in the soil. Panels come in a large variety of styles and can be inserted between posts, or for picket / feather-edge fencing the rails and boards are erected on-site.

Metal or wooden gates can be installed with hinges, latches, bolts, jockey wheels, drop bolts etc. depending on the size and style of gate. Gates are secured to timber wall plates fixed onto buildings or posts concreted-into the ground.

These are simply created by laying a good woven weed-guard membrane (Plantex or similar) over the area and laying approx. 2-inches of gravel over the surface. Areas are usually embellished with stepping stones or random slabs, planting, water-features and pots.

Although we can install and locate hot tubs/spas of all sizes, a qualified electrician is always needed to connect the unit to the mains supply. We can recommend local electricians if necessary. Spas can be laid on any level surface from slabs, concrete or gravel.

Covers come as either standard plastic, aluminium or steel lids or as recessed ‘trays’. These units allow block pavers, slabs, etc. to be cut into the lid to provide a seamless finish. Usually the 4 corners of the lid have holes where lifting keys can be inserted to raise the lid when necessary. Existing chambers may need to be cut down or new collars fitted to adjust heights and then both frame and surround are concreted-in.

We work alongside electricians to install the main armoured cable around the garden to the connection point outside the house. A qualified electrician must carry out all electrical work and should provide you with a certificate on completion. All electrical work outside has to comply with Building Regs Part P.

Paths can be constructed many different ways, using a wide variety of materials Most surfacing types are described in the ‘Driveways’ section, but slabs are an obvious choice , as is gravel or even bark chippings in the right setting.

We specialise in laying natural stone slabs. They are currently cheaper than their concrete equivalents, obviously never lose their natural colour or texture and suit both new and old properties.

A compacted base layer is recommended to be laid beneath patio areas, but is not always essential. Slabs are laid on a full bed of wet mortar, with consideration of falls and where water will drain to.  Slabs are cut to size and shape and pointed between with an air-cured jointing compound.

These can be of either metal or wooden construction, and either bought in kit-form and made to fit  any area. Posts are concrete-in and pergola/arch built on-site. Treatment can be applied  to surfaces if necessary.

We have considerable knowledge and experience on planting and can advise on suitable plants for the garden and devise planting plans where needed. We plant everything from semi-mature trees to alpines and can compliment the final finish by adding bark chippings, or membraning and gravelling borders.

A range of play surfaces are available from sterile, clean play bark to rubber products or sand. Areas can be designed to incorporate various play equipment and surfacing types and we can arrange and build the play area to suit your requirements.

Ponds can be formal or informal. Formal ponds are geometric and often have brick-built sides and slab edgings. Informal ponds by contrast, are non-geometric, have no built-up sides and can have a variety of edgings, from slabs, rocks, turf, soil/plants etc.

To create an effective rockery, large limestone or sandstone rocks are usually used. These are built up in horizontal layers to emulate naturally occurring rocks. They are best planted with small perennials, grasses and alpines.

Fabric sails are weather-proof and allow areas to be sheltered from the sun. Metal or wooden posts are concreted-into position with the sail suspended and tensioned between the posts. Sails come in a large variety of colours, sizes and shapes and can be installed accordingly.

Soak-away’s have been revolutionised with the introduction of Aquacell units. These are strengthened plastic cells (1mx0.5mx0.4m) with a 95% void capacity (holds 190 litres of water). In short, one cell holds the equivalent of a 1.5mx1mx1m traditional gravel-filled soak-away. So there is consequently less to remove and dispose of and less to fill-in. They are installed by digging an appropriate-sized hole, wrapping the unit in membrane to avoid ‘silting’, inserting the unit into the hole, plumbing in pipes and back-filling. These can be used under driveways as they have a vertical load capacity of 17.5 tons/m2.

Preparation is crucial for turfing and in this respect, every garden is slightly different depending on soil type, drainage etc. Where we take up an existing lawn, it should be noted that perennial weeds such as dandelions are likely to re-emerge through the new turf. It is recommended that a ‘lawn doctor’ is used for the first year to eliminate these weeds and to feed the lawn. We often import 2-inches of screened top soil into the garden, rake, compact and level. New turf can then be laid on the final raked surface.

These are mostly self-contained, comprising of a sump, pump and decorative feature. A qualified electrician must make all electrical connections and should certify their work. Water-falls, streams and rills can also be installed. Butyl liner is always recommended, but there are a large number of liners with 25-year guarantees that are mostly suitable. All liners are laid on either a specific underlay fabric, or a bed of building sand.

Our Driveway Procedures

A 2-inch compacted screed of sand is laid over the compacted foundation, with a membrane laid between sand and the Aco Ground Guard tiles (for large areas). The tiles interlock and are cut to size on-site to fit edges. The tiles are pinned every 2m to give extra strength and can be filled with gravel (usually up to 10mm in size), or with top soil and grass seeded.

These can be of either metal or wooden construction, and either bought in kit-form and made to fit any area. Posts are concrete-in and pergola/arch built on-site. Treatment can be applied to surfaces if necessary.

This can be laid on a compacted base of MOT type1 hardcore for 3-6” in depth (depending of ground type and application). The Breedon gravel is laid at 50mm depth and wet compacted with a roller or wacker plate, to vibrate fines between the gravel. The surface is non-permeable, so requires drainage. Edgings are optional for this surface.

Where provision of drainage is required, we mostly use Aco channel drains. These are either made of a resin polymer with a galvanised silver grate or from black moulded plastic. Both are laid on a bed of wet mortar and piped into either existing drains or into a new soak-away (where necessary)

Gravel is laid to a depth of no more than 2-inches and is recommended to be between 14-20mm in size, so as not to get caught in tyre treads. Larger gravel does not move as much as smaller chippings so is a lot more stable. We will advise on the best gravel types to use, with suitable hardness not to crush under the weight of vehicles.

Covers come as either standard plastic, aluminium or steel lids or as recessed ‘trays’. These units allow block pavers, slabs, etc. to be cut into the lid to provide a seamless finish. Usually the 4 corners of the lid have holes where lifting keys can be inserted to raise the lid when necessary. Existing chambers may need to be cut down or new collars fitted to adjust heights and then both frame and surround are concreted-in.

Permeable driveways use different materials to standard drives, as it all has to be fully permeable. The base is made up of MOT type3 hardcore laid at a depth of 6-12” (depending on application). A 2” layer of 10mmm grit is over laid and screeded level. The permeable block pavers are then laid on this surface, with further 10mm grit laid in the joints between the blocks. No drainage is required as this is fully permeable.

Acrylic or polyurethane sealant can be applied to block-paved and resin bonded drives to provide protection from weathering, discolouration and weed growth. The sealant makes the sand between the joints in block-paving set hard. Acrylic sealant can be applied using a sprayer, polyurethane is applied with a roller. Edges are taped to protect areas from spread of sealant.

Soak-away’s have been revolutionised with the introduction of Aquacell units. These are strengthened plastic cells (1mx0.5mx0.4m) with a 95% void capacity (holds 190 litres of water). In short, one cell holds the equivalent of a 1.5mx1mx1m traditional gravel-filled soak-away. So there is consequently less to remove and dispose of and less to fill-in. They are installed by digging an appropriate-sized hole, wrapping the unit in membrane to avoid ‘silting’, inserting the unit into the hole, plumbing in pipes and back-filling. These can be used under driveways as they have a vertical load capacity of 17.5 tons/m2.

Paths can be constructed many different ways, using a wide variety of materials. Most surfacing types are described in the ‘Driveways’ section, but slabs are an obvious choice , as is gravel or even bark chippings in the right setting.

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