• Copellas New Garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace

    We were delighted to help RHS Young Designer of the Year Caitlin McLaughlin with her creation of the new Copella Garden, which was first shown at the RHS Malvern show earlier this summer.

    Copella is a British fruit juice company based in Boxford, Suffolk. The orchards were founded in the 1930s and the company have been producing bottled juice made from 100% pure pressed apples since the 1960s.

    We caught up with Caitlin at Chelsea to get her thoughts on how she went about designing the garden for the Malvern Show, which can now be seen at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in all its glory!

    The garden design draws on the inspiring landscaping of UK orchards and meadows, and by incorporating hay bales, scattered seating and apple barrels it creates the perfect spot to taste the latest Copella juices. The raised beds are filled with native wildflowers, naturalistic ornamental planting, apple trees and grasses. Caitlin was impressed with how quick and easy it was to construct the raised beds with WoodBlocX.

    So if you're attending this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, then make sure you pop round to the Copella Garden for a refreshing glass of juice and little look at our WoodBlocX in use!

    To get a feel for what the show is like take a look at the video below for highlights from last year.

  • Top Tips For Designing Your Dream Garden

    A new garden design – or a new determination to transform your garden – can be a daunting prospect. Caitlin McLaughlin, the RHS Young Designer of the Year 2016, gives us her take on what makes a successful garden design in the above video.

    Below are some tips on things to consider when preparing to design a garden.

    Before you start, spend some time thinking about exactly what you want the garden for. Do you want purely ornamental planting, or productive areas as well? Your plans might have to be amended as you go along to accommodate different circumstances – adding lower maintenance areas for example, or including more veg-growing space because you’ve discovered you enjoy cultivating plants for the kitchen. WoodBlocX can be used to build a wide range of raised bedsplantersseatingedging and even ponds – in a variety of shapes and sizes and all without a power tool in sight.

    Another consideration is how much, if any, lawn do you want – do you need to supply a sports pitch or play area for the children? What about seating and entertaining areas and storage - where’s the lawnmower going to live? Even the most difficult-looking of gardens can be transformed with a bit of thought. A steep slope can be terraced to create a stepped garden with flat beds and paths. Front gardens and courtyard gardens are often neglected, but a few simple beds or some edging can really transform their look and feel. Corner beds are especially good for small urban courtyards – WoodBlocX have single and multi-level options, or you can give them your specifications and receive a free bespoke design.

    After assessing what you want against how much time you will have to look after it, amend your plans as necessary. Once these decisions have been made, then it’s time to design your garden.

  • The Best of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017

    This years RHS Chelsea was bigger and better than any of the previous shows. It was home to eight Show Gardens, five Fresh Gardens, nine Artisan Gardens and more than 100 floral displays.

    Artisan Garden highlights included the 2016 winner of Best Fresh Garden, Gary Breeze, who designed a garden which features the replica of an 800 year old boat which was discovered in the Norfolk Broads. Meanwhile, Ishihara Kazuyuki returned for his 12th year with Gosho No Niwa inspired by the Kyoto emperors of Japan, and the work of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí was the focus of Sarah Eberle’s Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration.

    Fresh Garden highlights included Jack Dunckley’s The Bermuda Triangle which resembled an active volcano surrounded by tropical planting. At 23, Jack was one of the youngest garden designers ever to exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Kate Gould’s City Living demonstrated how to create a usable green space in an urban apartment block and Mind Trap by Ian Price, described his personal experience of depression.

    In the Show Garden category, James Basson re-created the stunning Maltese landscape for the M&G Garden: Melitense. Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins teamed up for the third time at RHS Chelsea with The Chengdu Silk Road Garden which combined architecture and planting in a conceptual East-West landscape with a dramatic ‘Silk Road’ bridge linking the different elements of the garden. Lee Bestall celebrated 500 Years of Covent Garden, while Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam aimed to highlight endangered heathland for Wellington College with Breaking Ground. Chris Beardshaw meanwhile worked with the National Youth Orchestra on the Morgan Stanley Garden.

    The jewel in the RHS Chelsea crown, a 12,000sq metre marquee big enough to park 500 London buses, featured more than 100 exhibits from the world’s best nurseries, growers and florists.

    Also in the Great Pavilion, the Discovery Zone featured the Come to your Senses Eco Garden by Scotts Miracle-Gro aiming to tackle the overstimulated and sedentary lives of children in the UK, with a design that encouraged children to enter the haven of a garden. The British Ecological Society’s Delight in the Dark showcased the diversity of shade tolerant plants.

    Taking inspiration from the environmental issues surrounding bees, Burncoose Nurseries shone a light on the lesser-known plants pollinated by flies, moths and beetles, while Raymond Evison created a contemporary design inspired by the seashore. It featured sand, pebbles and five large waves running the length of the exhibit, each of which had a clematis arranged on and below them.

    Birmingham City Council brought the whimsical and wonderful world of Rowland Emett to life with a floral re-creation of ‘A Quiet Afternoon in the Cloud Cuckoo Valley’, the last-known machine made by the cartoonist and inventor in 1983.

    Sarah Eberle returned with Hillier Nurseries, assisted by 2016’s RHS Young Designer of the Year Caitlin McLaughlin.

    Just some of the anniversaries being celebrated in the Great Pavilion included the Hardy Plant Society, which featured 60 hardy plants for its 60 years, and Hooksgreen Herbs which celebrated 10 years exhibiting at RHS shows. Fibrex Nurseries created a tiered exhibit in tribute to the 30th anniversary of the National Plant Collection of Pelargonium, and Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants returned to the world-famous flower show for its 25th year.

    Nurseries exhibiting for the first time included Hare Spring Cottage Plants with their collection of Camassia, Calamazag Nurseries and the Delphinium Society.



    Here is a list of all the winners from the show:

    Show Gardens

    GOLD – Royal Bank of Canada Garden
    Design – Charlotte Harris, Build – Landscape Associates

    GOLD – The Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s
    Design – Darren Hawkes, Build – Bowles & Wyer

    SILVER-GILT – Silk Road Garden – Chengdu
    Design – Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins, Build – Bespoke Outdoor Spaces

    SILVER – The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden
    Design – Tracy Foster, Build – Landform Consultants

    Fresh Gardens

    GOLD & BEST FRESH GARDEN – City Living
    Design – Kate Gould, Build – The Teamlandscapers

    GOLD – Mind Trap sponsored by id verde
    Design – Ian Price, Build – Conway Landscapes

    SILVER-GILT – Inland Homes: Beneath a Mexican Sky
    Design – Manoj Malde, Build – Living Landscapes

    Artisan Gardens

    GOLD & BEST ARTISAN GARDEN – Walker’s Wharf Garden supported by Doncaster Deaf Trust
    Design – Graham Bodle, Build – Walkers Nurseries

    GOLD – Seedlip Gardens
    Design – Dr Catherine MacDonald, Build – Landform Consultants, Supported by Gadd Brothers

    SILVER-GILT – Hagakure – Hidden Leaves
    Design – Shuko Noda, Build – Frogheath Landscapes

    SILVER – The Poetry Lover’s Garden
    Design – Fiona Cadwallader, Build – Landform Consultants

    SILVER – The CWGC Centenary Garden
    Design – David Domoney, Build – Arun Landscapes

    Suttons took the Chelsea Plant of the Year 2017 award for Mulberry Charlotte Russe (‘Matsunaga’), exhibited on the 40 Sunbury Road stand.

    HTA Members who have won medals in the Floral Marque include:

    GOLD – Burncoose Nurseries
    GOLD – David Austin Roses Ltd
    GOLD – Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants
    GOLD – Hillier Nurseries
    GOLD – Peter Beales Roses
    GOLD – Walkers Bulbs @ Taylors

    SILVER-GILT – Cooks Garden Centre
    SILVER-GILT – Kelways Plants

    Discovery Zone

    GOLD & BEST DISCOVERY EXHIBIT – The Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company for the Come to your Senses Eco-therapy Garden.

    SILVER – Capel Manor College – Compost, Energy Light

    Bespoke Outdoor Spaces, Zion Landscapes, Morgan Oates Ltd and Barcham Trees were all involved in 5 Star Trade Stands, whilst TKE Landscapes got a 4 Star.

  • The new Health and Wellbeing Garden at RHS Malvern

    It was a great pleasure for us at WoodBlocX to recently work with the wonderfully talented Jekka McVicar on another garden project. This time the focus was on Health and Wellbeing, and the design incorporated a number of curved sections as well as a central seating area.

    The garden forms the focus point of the new Live Well Zone at the RHS Malvern Show. The garden is inspired by the increasing need for reflection and escape from the stresses of modern life, and seeks to preserve and share the vital knowledge of how horticulture and its associated therapies can help soothe the mind, body and soul.

    The garden brings to life a living, working space for the mind, body and senses, and demonstrates the role gardens continue to play in our health and sense of wellbeing. The WoodBlocX team were on site for only four days to install the garden infrastructure before Jekka and her planting team were able to come in and really bring the space to life.

    Jekka McVicar, who is the RHS Ambassador for Health through Horticulture, said: “I am delighted to have been asked to create a lasting garden for RHS Malvern Spring Festival. I want the Health & Wellbeing Garden to be a usable and beautiful space that is embraced by people of all ages – a space for growth, education and reflection. With the Malvern Hills as a dramatic backdrop, RHS Malvern Spring Festival is such a beautiful place and because it’s at the start of the summer, it’s always a time of such optimism. It is a real privilege to bring this garden to life as part of such a dynamic and exciting show.”

    The Health & Wellbeing Garden is in support of Pathways, a work-focused day service for adults with learning disabilities and difficulties. Pathways use gardening and the environment as an educational tool to introduce young adults to the working world. Clients of Pathways benefit from gaining vital skills for entering the working world including trust, communication, interaction with peers, taking direction and responsibility for themselves and others.

    Leaving a legacy, Jekka’s garden will provide Pathways with a nurturing space to continue their works in encouraging clients to grow, and WoodBlocX are proud to be associated. Throughout the show times, Pathways will sell plants and refreshments from the garden and funds raised will go towards covering the costs of the residential trip taken twice each year for clients of Pathways; a vital retreat for clients that contributes to their sense of wellbeing. Outside of show days, Pathways and local schools will host sessions in the garden, a garden which aims to inspire visitors of all ages and abilities with engaging elements tailored for all.

    The Planting

      The theme is all about wellness of body and mind:
    • Rosemary has been scientifically proven to restore the memory
    • Fennel is a good digestive
    • Woad is a traditional dye plant
    • Heartsease helps mend a broken heart
    • Lavender helps relax the mind and body
  • Big Dreams Small Spaces

    Did you watch the first episode of the new series of ‘Big Dreams Small Spaces’? If you did, you’d have been treated to loads of beautiful shots of WoodBlocX being used in Glenn and Zoe’s garden transformation project! Monty Don was on hand to help the couple revitalise the awkwardly shaped green space into something magical.
    During the programme, Glenn and Zoe wanted to find a way to make their very steep garden more enjoyable by implementing level pathways and retaining walls. The solution was, of course, WoodBlocX! Glenn had heard of WoodBlocX beforehand, but had no first-hand experience building with the system itself. The team got straight to work planning and plotting the redesigned garden and assembled their bespoke WoodBlocX kit in a short space of time.
    “For the terrace we’re going to use WoodBlocX, built with a peg system, and they’re relatively easy to put together,” Glenn said on the programme. “Once you’ve got them level and square, it’s just like a big LEGO set made of wood!”
    In case you missed it, the full episode is available on BBC iPlayer right now.
  • Sustainability of timber garden products

    It’s good to know that when you buy a product it is not just from an environmentally-friendly company, but that the good ethics are present all the way back down the supply chain to where that company sources its materials. When buying timber for a garden project it can sometimes be difficult to be sure where it has come from, but when using a company like WoodBlocX you are guaranteed not only a high quality product but also the highest environmental credentials.

    The modular timber constructions from WoodBlocX – raised bedsplantersretaining walls and terracingpondsbenches and more – are all made using mostly UK-grown timber (some shortfall is made up with Latvian timber that also meets the company’s strict guidelines). Using UK timber drastically reduces the ‘timber miles’ and carbon footprint of the product. Plus, when it comes to delivering the BlocX to your site, they stack easily on pallets for efficient transportation.

    Furthermore, WoodBlocX timber is accredited by the FSC® (FSC-C134890) (Forestry Stewardship Council ®). FSC®  is an international body that sets the standards for responsible forest management, so that you can be sure that your garden materials are from woodland that has its water, soil and ancient trees protected, and that the forestry operation does not use hazardous chemicals. The Soil Association’s rigorous certification process only allows the products with the highest organic standards.

    The timber is then treated using a water-based preservative (Wolmanit CX-10), so there are no nasty chemicals to leach into your garden’s soil. WoodBlocX constructions are so strong that they don’t need foundations – even for retaining walls – so you won’t have to use any cement, which has many environmental concerns connected to it. The dowels that fix the BlocX together are even made using recycled plastic, so it’s all in all one of the greenest products on the market.

    The more UK-grown wood is used to make products, the more trees will be planted to meet the demand, and we all know that more trees in the world is a good thing. Imported wood can often be from areas that are not managed sustainably, causing untold damage to the earth’s wildlife and climate – WoodBlocX UK timber has none of those concerns.

    But the ethical aspects of sourcing materials extend to more than just the materials themselves. Using a product made of UK timber means that you are also supporting many UK companies, not just WoodBlocX themselves. The wood is not only grown but also cut in the UK, managed by forestry companies and WoodBlocX’s own sawmill - all of which create jobs in rural areas. Jobs bring money and life to rural communities, often in areas that sorely need them. Using a UK-timber product such as WoodBlocX is the smart choice, for the environment and for your garden.

  • Seans Allotment Garden

    Sean has been preparing his perfect gardening space for years and we had the opportunity to help him by installing some of our raised beds. Our video will give you an idea as to how versatile and cost-effective our WoodBlocX can be.

  • Making a Garden from Scratch

    A new garden – or a new determination to transform the garden – can be a daunting prospect. There are two possible approaches: do it all at once, or do it bit by bit.

    Doing it all at once, if you can afford to do so, is obviously an attractive proposition. You get the garden you want in very little time, and can enjoy it fully and properly as soon as it’s done. Doing it bit by bit is easier on the purse strings, and is also a good option if you’re not sure how much time you’ll have to devote to gardening as your plans can be amended as you go along to accommodate different circumstances – adding lower maintenance areas for example, or including more veg-growing space because you’ve discovered you enjoy that most of all.

    Either way, before you start, spend some time thinking about exactly what you want the garden for. Do you want purely ornamental planting, or productive areas as well? How much, if any, lawn do you want – do you need to supply a sports pitch or play area for the children? What about seating and entertaining areas and storage (where’s the lawnmower going to live?)? Then assess what you want against how much time you have to look after it, amend your plans as necessary, and then it’s time to design your garden.The design needn’t be complicated, but if the idea of working it all out fills you with dread, or even if you just want a second opinion, think about using a design service. Unlike many others, the one offered by WoodBlocX is completely free and puts you under no obligation to buy.

    Most garden designs will use some form of hard landscaping, but there is no need to be daunted by this if your DIY skills aren’t up to scratch! WoodBlocX can be used to build raised beds, planters, seating, ponds and edging, and all without a power tool in sight. They are all also guaranteed to last for at least 15 years.

    Even the most difficult-looking of gardens can be transformed with a bit of thought. A steep slope can be terraced to create a stepped garden with flat beds and paths: WoodBlocX will do all the calculations, and design specifications for you, and their strong interlocking construction method means complete peace of mind once your garden is finished.

    Front gardens and courtyard gardens are often neglected, but a few simple beds or some edging can really transform the look and feel of these spaces. Raised corner beds are especially good for small urban courtyards – WoodBlocX have single and multi-level options, or you can give them your specifications for a free bespoke design. Wooden planters are also a really good choice for courtyards or to flank a front door: they are smart, can be painted any colour you like, and will not crack or corrode.

    Whatever you end up doing with your outdoor space, remember that gardens are there to be enjoyed, not to be a chore!

  • What it takes to build an Award Winning Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show

    It’s that time of year again, the weather is warming up, the flowers are starting to bloom and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show opens its gates to showcase the best of the world’s garden design talent.

    Whilst we’re not exhibiting this year, WoodBlocX has been included in The Sun newspaper’s Flower Square Garden, which is a series of four 4m x 4m square floral exhibits based in the Grand Pavilion. Our BlocX have been featured in Lovania Nursery’s garden called ‘Room Outside’ designed by Rick McKeever.

    Rick has used WoodBlocX as an integral part of his design, incorporating four stacked tiers of painted BlocX for the Children’s Corner. There is something different to see on each tier, including a working a train set complete with a Lego model of London’s Tower Bridge, a fairy garden, a sandy beach scene with a lighthouse and the top tier has a cascading waterfall.

    Rick’s design shows the versatility of WoodBlocX and how the BlocX can be used in unusual ways to create different effects. The garden also includes a living wall, green roof and a central dining table featuring turf for placemats and garden trowels and forks for cutlery and a seating area made from wooden pallets.

    If this has got your creative cogs moving or if you would like inspiration for your own garden take a look at our website.

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