This week the Great Outdoors is taking us on a slightly different turn — from outdoor pursuits to an outdoor profession.
We all love our gardens — our very own piece of England, literally on our doorstep. For many of us this means a patch of grass our kids can kick a ball around on or a deck or patio we can catch a few rays of sun. For Christopher Ballard gardens are so much more than this. Christopher has a unique talent and craftsmanship to create outdoor areas that show pure artistry.
So feast your eyes on these amazing pictures and read Christopher’s Essential 5:
Tell us about Christopher Ballard Landscape Design and Construction?
We specialise in designing and building landscape gardens but also do driveways, brickwork and pointing. My mantra is quality and durability. I always manage all aspects of the design and build myself. I rarely outsource skills as this invariably leads to a compromise in quality and basically I’m a perfectionist! The look, finish and durability of the job always comes first.
What inspired you to get into landscaping?
My passion for gardens and landscaping was inherited from my Mum. I went to art college with a scholarship but when I finished it seemed easiest to join the family building business, where I learned my solid construction skills.
Six years ago when my wife was expecting our second son I decided to take a leap of faith and follow my passion for designing gardens. I could see a gap in the market for a company that would design and build understanding the scope of available materials to create something special and different. Unfortunately much like house building people lately have become focused on“safe” design and cheap quick fixes. I wanted to cater for a different market.
What’s been your proudest moment running your business so far?
Achieving my Bali (British Association of Landscaping Industries) registration. The assessment process is vigorous, involving visits to a large number of my customers and projects. I was particularly proud to be told by the assessor that my brickwork skills were the best he’d ever seen!
What do you like best about running a business in Tring?
The people. I’ve worked with some fantastic clients who want to step away from the norm and create and maintain something truly beautiful. It’s important that clients buy into my design and values so they understand how to get the best of the builds long after I’ve left site. A garden should develop over the years and grow more beautiful as they wear in, but they do need to be maintained for this to happen.
What would be your dream landscaping job?
I’m lucky to be working on a project quite close to it at the moment actually. It involves using stunning cathedral quality York stone, incorporating sunken seating areas, water features and a brilliant client who loves my eye and attention to detail. So far the two stone suppliers I’ve been using have asked for use images to us for the front of their brochures.
Thanks Christopher for sharing your business story. Such incredible work and so refreshing to hear of a tradesman who places so much importance on materials and quality. Make sure you share some pictures with us when you’ve completed the dream job!