Garden Design in 2015 – Start planning now!

Its the start of a new year and with Christmas and the winter out of the way many are now waiting for summer. If you will be spending a lot of time in your home this year you might consider sitting outside in your garden and in which case it might be a great time to redesign your garden ready for the hot summer.


With planting, weather factors to consider and the time it takes to put together a plan for a garden the idea time is January should you have the budget after the festive period. Here are a few ideas of how you could redesign your outdoor space.

For some more inspiration see Leicester garden design services where you can see some of the creations that Groby Landscapes, who are a local landscaping company in the area have completed.

Add a bridge or water feature

Should you have water in your garden, whether it be a pond or water feature, you may consider building a small bridge to add a nice walkway to your outdoor area. Planning should start now with hiring a landscaping company that can plan this part of your garden and provide a schedule and the materials to ensure it is done for the summer.

Should you not have any form of water in your garden then you can always redesign your garden with a water feature in mind. These come in a variety of different styles, ranging from traditional Victorian looking features through to trendy looking designer water features. These can be bought via a garden center or installed by a landscaping company as part of a garden redesign project.

Decking and Fencing to modernise

If your garden is in need of sprucing up a great way to do this can be just by adding wooden structures. If your fence is wearing down then modern timbers can be used to add an updated look to your garden, this can also be extended to decking which can give you a great sitting area in the summer months.

Paving and Pathways

When you consider the other options for your garden and then add paving and pathways into the equation, without even going onto planting you can see how many options become available to you when having a garden designed. Paving can be an easy answer to how to fill your outdoor space without it requiring maintenance (to which artificial grass becomes yet another options!) Pathways to certain elements in your garden can really help to make it stand out – for example you can have a pathway leading from decking through to a garden shed, pond or other object of interest.

These are just some of the ideas you could use to create a great look for your garden in 2015 – the important thing is to know how to put them all together to get a great end product and for that we would highly recommend a professional and experienced garden designer that can often draw up a plan for you from the start so you can see your initial ideas become reality.

Desperate for Fossil Fuels: King Coal

Now Destroying Mountains Once Merely Raped

Patriot Coal,I spent a lot of time in Eastern Kentucky growing up, it’s where my paternal grandparents, Aunt and cousins lived and where we spent vacations no matter where else in the country (or elsewhere) we were living at the time (Navy brat). I’ve no more relatives there, the last of them died a decade ago and none of us siblings chose to live there for raising our own families or even retiring in our old age.

I do recall several very nasty UMW strikes in the mining region around Harlan, and I recall the black moonscape on the Green River near Paducah’s western shipping point that stretched as far as the eye could see in all directions, the coal tailings having turned a lovely rolling greenscape into utterly depressing nothing. I also recall learning to shoot my father’s beautiful pearl-handled six-guns at the abandoned strip mine near Laurel, and one touristy adventure in a no longer operating underground mine where we rode through in one of those little coal rail cars as if it were an amusement park ride.

These days they do things a little differently, as the deep seams get harder to work (and miners become more rare, having been decimated by Black Lung) and the easy seams have all been stripped. Now they’re going for the mid-seams, the last of the stored coal, by simply blowing up the entire mountain to get to it.

It’s called Mountaintop Removal mining, and it’s utterly devastating the southern Appalachians in the traditional coal mining regions of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. It’s a horror even worse than Mister Peabody’s tailings outside Paducah. It’s destroyed ~500 whole mountains so far, it’s polluting mountain streams that contribute to the primary water supplies for millions of people downstream, and it’s killing the abundant biodiversity these mountains are so very famous for. Most of all, for those of us who dearly love these gorgeous mountains, it’s very, very tragic. Some of the mines are as big as the Island of Manhattan.


When growing up with strong ties to Kentucky, I learned from my Aunt – a state social worker – that King Coal was an “economic boom” to the people who traditionally made their means by doing things for themselves with what the mountains provided. Yet what I saw was crushing poverty, Black Lung, and a hopeless generation of young people who couldn’t wait to get as far away from their family’s traditional homesteads as possible. It’s not like the miners and their families got any of the great wealth King Coal brought to the mining companies, their stockholders and the industrial consumers of the coal taken out of their ground.

When my family determined to move back to the land 16 years ago to see if we could re-invent self-sufficiency and commune with nature instead of a million-plus other humans in immediate proximity, we chose Western North Carolina instead of Kentucky. Or Tennessee. Or West Virginia, or even Virginia (the most perfectly beautiful and well-maintained state in the union, IMO). We chose it for being Appalachia and beautiful (tourism is our largest industry), for more sophisticated residents and politics, for then-reasonable land prices, and for not being enslaved to King Coal.

movementBut alas, this is the land of Duke Energy, and a thriving piedmont and coast full of large energy consumers. Turns out that North Carolina is the #1 consumer of coal mined by means of Mountaintop Removal. Thus I was greatly pleased when the NC State Legislature introduced a bill in May of 2008 to ban the use of coal mined by this method within the borders of our beautiful state!

There will be a lengthy legislative fight over the bill, but hope in the very fact that we did get a law back in 1983 banning development on high ridge lines – thereby destroying the mountain views from which a majority of residents make their living. Because the mountains are a gold mine simply for their beauty, there is strong incentive to keep them beautiful.

I realize that many or most of my readers don’t live in these mountains, but any of us who love the land and work hard to make our way lightly on this earth should get to know about how desperate the corporate evil-doers are to squeeze (and blast) the very last drop of profit from the earth, not caring how much irrevocable damage they do to it in the process. Educate yourself about the issue by perusing some of the great links below. Write to your state and federal representatives about your concerns, talk to activists about how to ban the burning of this ill-gotten coal in your state, and support some of these efforts to save the mountains. Please!

If there is no market for this coal, King Coal has no reason to destroy the mountains.


WattHead: Taking Mountain Top Removal On
Appalachian Voices: Geography of Mountaintop Removal
iLoveMountains: Mountaintop Removal
DKos: Mountain Mondays v 1.0
RAN: Bringing the Climate Fight to King Coal
Southern Environmental Law Center: Mountaintop Removal [TN]
NYT: Ravaging Appalachia
Stop Mountaintop Removal