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Duncan Heather

Duncan Heather is one of Europe’s foremost garden designers, to-date having won five gold, one silver & one bronze medal and three best of show awards for his design work. Duncan sat on the SGD council from 2004-7 during which time he was responsible for producing the first industry standard fee scale as well as instigating the publishing of the first standard contract.

outdoor steps

Outdoor Steps: How to design a flight of outdoor steps

Outdoor steps are a design opportunity. On any site with significant level differences, the design of changes in level is important for appearance, convenience and safety. The size and shape of outdoor steps in new buildings is governed by the local Building Regulations. This control is mainly directed at disabled access to the main entrance but there is always a legal obligation to design safely. The rise and going (tread) dimensions of a formal flight of stairs should be constant. An unexpected difference of only 15mm in the riser can cause people to stumble. As these trees grow and leaf [...]

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Outdoor Lighting: How to Design a Garden Lighting Scheme Pt. III

In this final article on outdoor lighting, we will look at a real scheme.  In the first article we looked at the different outside lights,  such as uplighting, downlight, path lighting moonlighting   In the second article on garden lights we covered the different fittings and the choice of lamps.  Now we will put it all together and look in detail how you design a garden lighting scheme in practice.  This is a 4-acre garden I am currently working on in Oxfordshire England. I have designated 6 types of fitting to include 3 types of downlighter 2 types of Uplighter and 1 type of step light.  [...]

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Garden lights: How to Design a Garden Lighting Scheme Pt.II

In Pt. 2 of this three-part article on How to Design a Garden Lighting Scheme, we look at garden lights, the fixtures, what they are and how they are used.  Garden Lights: Spot Lights The fixtures pictured above are examples of bullet-style spotlight fixtures. The one on the left is in a bronze finish and the one on the right is in a black finish. They can be mounted on the ground using stake mounts. Or can be hard mounted using adjustable angle base brackets when on hard surfaces or trees. These fixtures can utilize either 2-pin halogen, incandescent or LED bulbs up to 20 watts. If more [...]

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OUTSIDE LIGHTS: HOW TO DESIGN A GARDEN LIGHTING SCHEME

Outside Lights: How to Design a Garden Lighting Scheme

Outside lights are fundamental to any successful landscape scheme.  In this 3 part article, we’ll discuss the different outside light fittings as well as their quality and durability. The different lamps available, as well as how, what and where to place outside lights for maximum effect. The first thing you need to accept is that unless you intend to play night-time soccer, you don’t need to floodlight your garden. Neither will you want to do the same things at night, as you would do during the daytime. (And I’m not just talking weeding!). Even walking around the garden after dark [...]

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Garden Design Tutorial: Banning the Eraser

Why Banning the Eraser will Make you a Better Designer In this garden design tutorial, I ban my students from using an eraser! Instead, I encourage them to make mistakes which can then lead to happy accidents.  I have often used the analogy of ‘writers block’ when it comes to designing.  Some days you can hit the drawing board and everything seems to go like a dream.  While other days you can struggle for hours and get absolutely no-where. This was brought home to me recently while reading a blog by Pat Flynn .  He was describing how he had wasted 4 hours of his time while trying to [...]

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