Our New Concept!

swimming pond

At Vandenberg-Hider, we love water – that’s no secret! We’re always finding new ways to incorporate a water feature into gardens. Our newest idea is a pond in back gardens which can also be swam in, without the expense of an extensive filtration system that natural swimming ponds have.


We love these ponds as they’re incredibly simple, yet so effective. They can have a great effect on your garden, bringing a brand new ecosystem and all the joys that come with them. But what’s best is that you can actually swim in them, too. 


These sorts of ponds create easy deep access points from oak jetties or decks. We think it’s a great idea to position these jetties opposite each other so you have two points of access that you can swim to. 

Swimming pond decking

These ponds and natural swimming ponds do share some similarities. Both are deeper than 1.8m and both are lined with a lining membrane. The two types of pond are both planted with native plants, which actually help with the filtration of the pond. 


But although these ponds are somewhat similar, there are some subtle differences that you probably wouldn’t notice. Unlike natural swimming ponds, these ponds are not fully concreted. Only a small area is concreted, usually around the base of the deck or jetty – so that when you get in, your feet don’t have to touch the mud. These ponds rely on native water plantation, which are the main sources of filtration for the water, whereas a natural swimming pond has a full filtration system.


We’re not saying one type of pond is better than the other. This pond is definitely not a natural swimming pond but these can appeal to those who want a pond that they can occasionally swim in. 


If you’d be interested in finding out more, give us a call today.

Chelsea Flower Show

We’ve never designed or built a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. We made the decision not to build gardens for Chelsea many years ago. This is due to the amount of stress a project of this nature can create, especially at this time of year when business is already booming as Spring turns in Summer.

We’ve always enjoyed visiting the show and made the trip down to Chelsea this Saturday.

The construction of a show garden is an intense process with many man hours spent building them in the leading weeks to the show. Sadly, the gardens are only temporary, having been designed to last for the few days of the show – although some are rebuilt elsewhere. We find it incredibly sad with all of the hard work that they’re just taken down and removed.

This year, M and G Garden won best of the show – but we think Chris Beardshaws Morgan Stanley Garden should have won (shh!). The theme this year centred around water… something the VDBH team know a thing or two about!

People always ask if Chelsea gives us inspiration for future garden designs and projects. During our visit this year there wasn’t anything new that we haven’t offered clients in the past in one form or another – whether it is a garden room, paving scheme or water feature.

The planting this year was very natural, with wildflowers taking centre stage. We think this is extremely important for the future of our planet, considering gardens are important microcosms of ecology (save the bees!). This wild feeling reminded us a lot of the gorgeous local East Anglian countryside – how lucky we are!

Our Top Tips on Improving Your Front Garden

Over the years as landscapers Vandenberg-Hider has landscaped a large variety of gardens in Norfolk, Suffolk and the rest of East Anglia. Here are some tips on how you can improve your front garden. 

Entrance splays

A great way to make an instant impact on your property leading directly from the road is by creating 

An effective and hard-wearing material that is perfect for driveways is 

is to landscape the entrance. For this purpose we have used a variety materials. Granite setts are a great material for an instant effect and will upgrade the house and the surrounding area.

This material has been used for centuries. Granite setts will retain their colour and their appearance will improve over time especially in combination with classic and contemporary planting. Another great
material is to use a clay paving brick. Nowadays there is a great selection of material available. From The a Tudor brick to a Staffordshire blue stable yard pavior. Paving bricks can be laid in a variety of patterns, from Herringbone to a half bond to a basket weave pattern. For an entrance splay we recommend that these bricks are laid on a concrete base, that the bricks are laid on a wet mortar bed and that the edges of the splay are haunched in concrete. We recommend the use of SBR additive to the mortar to increase the mortar strength.

Front gardens

Front gardens are often overlooked when improving the property. A good landscaped front garden will no doubt improve the setting of the house and its future saleability.

We think paving right up to the wall of the house is a massive no-no. It’s important to leave some space for planting to soften the interchange between the two. If parking is required, carefully choose the right paving material. Select colours and materials which complement the area. The front garden can be constructed and planted for low maintenance.

Softening the edges of any paved areas will make a great difference to the overall appearance. We suggest replacing a timber fence with a hedge. Yew trees create great hedges and can be bought (inexpensively) fully grown in order to create an instant hedge.

Entrance to the Front Door

The entrance to the house can be vastly improved by building a path to the front door. Dressing up the front with potted plants, and using good quality paving material can make a huge difference are relatively inexpensive. 

Here is a list of our favourite gardens in Norfolk and Suffolk that you can visit this winter

With what seems forever until summer, the days still dark and cold. You probably want to stay in the warm indoors at weekends. We at Vandenberg-Hider LDC think it is the best time to see some of finest gardens and landscapes in Norfolk and Suffolk.

East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk

This is not one single garden but twenty-one individual gardens, which range from a landscaped Arizona desert with various varieties cacti that grow there as well as other plants which are best in arid environments. To a more traditional English rose garden, with a large collection of ‘old-fashioned’ roses of various shades of pink. The landscape of this garden is so different and varied, definitely not traditional.

What we love about this Norfolk garden is the vast size of the area, where you can wonder for what seems like hours. Best yet there is a small tea room where you can break for tea and cake. What better way to spend a winter’s afternoon?

Sandringham, Norfolk

Next on our list is Sandringham, famous for being the Queen’s North Norfolk Christmas residence. But did you know it also had a glorious garden to visit? This estate set in 24 hectares of gardens could be considered one of the finest examples of all the Royal gardens. The special thing about this garden is that each Royal who has lived there has added something from their own tastes to the garden and landscape.

These gardens have been considerably landscaped since 1862, with an original lake filled, and planted with elaborate form parterre (sadly not longer there as they were dug up during WWII and covered with lawn). Two other lakes dug, as well as a rockery and grotto created.

The upper lake has always been enjoyed by the Royals, with Queen Alexandra, wife to Edward VII built a delightful summer house overlooking the lake and a landscaped valley which brought natural springs in the lake.

The North Garden, edged in box and bordered by pleached lime avenues was designed by none other than famous landscape architect Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe.

Finally, the Queen invited Sir Eric Savill to re-landscape the Woodland Walk and Bog Gardens in the 1960s.

Somerleyton Hall Gardens, Norfolk and Suffolk Coast

Somerleyton Hall could be an example of one of Britain’s best and well-preserved stately homes and landscaped gardens. With the stately home and gardens nestled on the Norfolk and Suffolk border and only a stone’s throw from the coast this could be a perfect afternoon visit.

Where better to spend an afternoon with the kids than in a yew hedge maze. This maze is considered to be one of the finest in Britain, having been planted more than 150 years ago. With the maze 400 feet from the centre, it may take you a while to solve its mysteries.

For those looking for more classic gardens head no further than the walled gardens, which have recently been replanted to bring them back to former glory. Joseph Paxton, the architect of Crystal Palace designed the ornate iron and glass peach cages as well as the greenhouses.

Ickworth Park House, Park and Gardens, Suffolk

Probably the most famous stately home and gardens on the list. This national trust property nestled in the Suffolk countryside close to the market town of Bury St. Edmunds is one for all to see.

Not only does the estate have a classic English walled garden, but also a large landscaped parkland area. This is perfect for an afternoon walk, which takes you on a circular trail through the walled garden and past the canal lake. At one point during the walk, there is a view of the stately home and landscape in its full glory.

You may see a sheep or two, this is because sheep have been a part of Ickworth for centuries. Used for as a way to upkeep the park’s grasses throughout the year, Ickworth currently has two resident shepherds.

If you like any aspects of these gardens, as the leading landscapers in Norfolk and Suffolk we can help you, contact us here

First Aid at Vandenberg-Hider LDC

At Vandenberg-Hider Landscape Design and Construction we care about everyone’s health and safety, that includes our staff, clients and the general public. One way to achieve this goal of absolute safety is by training all members of our team in emergency first aid. We never know if they’ll ever need to use it on site, but it could be a situation of life and death.

Emergency first aid at work

We always put aside one day every January where we get together in a local village hall to revise our knowledge in first aid.

We have been working with a local first aid company for over ten years, so we know they have a fantastic knowledge of all things first aid.

This first aid day covers all aspects of first aid that our team might face in an emergency such as among others:

  • Dealing with a casualty who is unconscious.
  • Administering first aid to a casualty with burns and scalds.
  • Dealing with injuries to bones, muscles and joints, including suspected spinal injuries.

Not only is it important for our team to have the right knowledge to deal with emergency situations, it’s also important for them to have the right equipment. This means that all our vans have fully stocked first aid kits with items such as eye wash, plasters, and bandages. On top of this, each van will have a defibrillator too. We’ve recently invested in five, but hope they will never need to be used.


Our Garden Inspiration and Trends for 2019

New Year’s has come and gone and 2019 is already in full swing. It’s the perfect time to look at garden inspiration for the year ahead! Here are 5 garden trends which we think will be the defining landscaping ideas of the coming year.

Liveable outdoor space

One of our favourite garden idea for 2019 is creating a liveable outdoor space in your garden.

Outdoor liveable space

One of the best ways to achieve this is to incorporate a clever lighting scheme. This will allow you to stay outside for longer – who wouldn’t want to enjoy late summer nights al fresco?

With last summer’s heat wave a distant memory now is the best time to start planning your outdoor living space for 2019’s summer. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing some sunshine again!

Growing your own food

Is there anything better than eating home-grown food? 2019 is all about growing your own fruit and vegetables in your garden. Sustainability will be a hot-topic in 2019 (and quite rightly so!).

A great way to help our planet out is to grow your own food. Instead of buying fruit and vegetables from supermarkets which have racked up the air miles, you’ll be able to get some of your supply from your garden. On top of this, you’ll be reducing your plastic waste – and we all know what a problem the overuse of plastics has become.

And it’s not just about the environment. By growing your own food, you know exactly what you are putting onto the table for your family to eat. It’s also a great stress buster – win-win!

You don’t need a huge garden to grow fruit and veg, so this is great garden inspiration for those with smaller gardens or balconies. Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries can all be grown in hanging baskets.

Environmentally friendly and sustainable gardens

Continuing on from our second trend, environmentally friendly and sustainable landscaped gardens are a must for 2019.

Environmentally friendly and sustainable garden

Firstly, a great way to implement this is to collect rainwater over the winter, which can then be used during the hot summer months.

Next, it’s wonderful to see your garden filled with bees and butterflies. You can give these pollinators a helping hand by including plants such as Asclepias Tuberosa and Coreopsis Lanceolata.

Lastly, it’s important to design gardens which can cope with unique and harsh weather patterns by planting the appropriate plants for the differing conditions of each garden. For example, many plants are drought-resistant, while Astilbe is a great choice for a shady garden.

Contrasting textures

The materials that you use in your garden are one of the most important aspects of any outdoor space – and this is no different for 2019.

Contrasting textures in a garden.

But we think that one of this year’s trends will be the way you actually use those materials. Using contrasting forms of the same material in different areas of the garden will massively change the feelings of various areas.

Stone, for example, can be used in many ways. Slabs can be used to create a contemporary character, whereas granite sett cobbles could be used in another area to create a more natural, rustic feel.

Contrasting colour throughout your garden

2019 is the year of colour – say hello to bold prints and clashing colours!

Contrasting colours in a garden

It won’t just be planting schemes which are bursting with colour this year. Hard landscaping materials will transform your garden with bold colours, such as oranges and yellows – bringing vibrant ‘indoor’ colours, into your outside space.

We hope you’ve gained some garden inspiration after hearing our pick of 2019 garden trends. If you’re interested in sprucing up your garden or outside space ready for the summer, don’t hesitate to contact us.

7th January 2019

We would like to introduce and welcome our newest team member. Roger joined us as a Landscape Manager on 3rd Jan 2019. Welcome Roger!

3rd January 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us here at Vandenberg-Hider Landscape Design and Construction! We’ve got some amazing projects already lined up for 2019 so keep an eye out!

11th December 2018

We would like to wish all our clients, staff, colleagues and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

VDBH LDC will be closing for the year on the 21st December and reopening on the 2nd January 2019. Thank you all for an amazing year!

4th December 2018

At this time of year, it’s important to think of the wildlife in our gardens. Here’s an article we really enjoyed on feeding the birds this winter.

13th November 2018

As a company, we’re currently helping out the local food bank get ready for Christmas. Thank you to our staff for helping those that need a little extra help this Christmas!

17th October 2018

A great start to two new projects! We are building another beautiful pond for The Swimming Pond Company and a driveway (third in the same road) in Waresley.

We are also continuing our principal contractor’s role for Renvale. We are overseeing all the health and safety on site.

Driveway in Waresley

24th September 2018

Photo: Mirko Graul/Shutterstock

Check out this handy guide by The Wildlife Trusts on how to make your garden and neighbourhood hedgehog friendly this autumn/winter.

Dawn and Johan have recently put up a hedgehog box for their newest edition to the garden – Herbert the hedgehog. It’ll be sure to keep him cosy this winter!

But don’t forget to always check your leaf/wood piles for the spiky creatures before setting them alight – especially your fireworks night bonfires!

11th September 2018

While scrolling through Youtube last night, Johan stumbled across a video of the National Garden Festival 1986 in Stoke on Trent. In the video, George Hamilton talks about a garden on a steep bank, with steps, waterfalls, perrenials and a bog garden, saying how difficult it can be to have a shady garden!

This garden was designed by Johan for Howard and Kooij Nurseries and Boulton brothers. Called The Rise and Fall of Colour, the garden won an RHS gold medal and could be seen for the six months the festival was open.

Check out the video here: Youtube

3rd September 2018

Update on Suffolk project.

Our guys are busy working hard, ready for concrete to be poured tomorrow, while the roofers and bricklayers work on the biggest building! The second building is also quickly taking shape with a team putting up the steel frame. All in all, a very busy site today!

Thanks to all our health and safety measures and organisation, so far this project has been an efficient, tidy and most importantly SAFE one. Roll on the net few months!

13th August 2018

Grey water can be an excellent way to get much-needed water to a garden during a drought.  Here are some articles to explain what exactly grey water is and how to use it in your garden, as well as very important do’s and don’ts:

6th August 2018

Work on our Suffolk project is still coming along nicely. The steel frames for the first building are currently being erected by Roy Allen Engineering, while we prepare to put in its concrete base and manage the health and safety of the site. It is now a hard hat site!

2nd July 2018

Last summer Johan and I downsized (children had left home and we retired as foster carers) – we love our new house but with a much smaller, modern house came a much smaller garden. We decided we needed a sociable area so over the last two weekend Johan has built us the most amazing deck area. Some of our wonderful team have helped him (thanks Pete, Bradley and Josh) and now we have a beautiful (and large) seating area. The deck has been made out of Iroko hardwood, stainless steel fixings and a hardwood frame. It’ll last for many, many years!

25th June 2018

Photos from a domestic garden project in Barningham, including some before and after photos: where the box hedging was, is now a lawn.

18th June 2018

Happy Monday.

The longest day of the year is just around the corner, it’s the perfect day to sit back and relax in your amazingly landscaped garden. We may have already created that for you, but if not, here’s some inspiration of what your garden could look like so maybe next year you’ll be spending the summer in style.

14th June 2018

Health and Safety on our sites:

As a responsible employer, the health and safety of our teams is vital – as is the health and safety of our clients and members of the public.

As well as health and safety training, we hold regular meetings where we continually look to make improvements. We also carry out spot checks to make sure our health and safety measures are being followed to the letter, as well as seeing what more can be done to make each site as safe as possible.

Some of our key health and safety initiatives are: no lone working unless our staff are being monitored by a lone working centre, a personal sunscreen allowance each year and changing the colour of our work shirts from black to grey in the summer months to prevent overheating.

29th May 2018

We started a new project for The Swimming Pond Company in Leicestershire last Monday. This photo was taken on Friday, the progress already is astounding! We wouldn’t like to take a dip in it just yet though.

22nd May 2018

Our Suffolk project is coming along nicely. We’ve also started a swimming pond project in Leicestershire for The Swimming Pond Company (photos will come soon!)

14th May 2018

Being a family business is something we are very proud of – husband, wife, brother and children all working together to create inspiring projects.

We have learnt many of our skills from our parents over the years and mine especially, although not being directly involved in the business, have always been on hand to offer support, guidance and advice.

This week we lost my mother, a businesswoman in her own right and the rock that our family clung to, so as a family business we are now mourning her loss – her daughter, son, son in law and two grandchildren all coming to terms with this yet knowing that she would want us to just carry on.

Dawn van den Berg-Hider

17th April 2018

An exciting new project started in Suffolk! This time a commercial project for an existing client we previously built a garden for. Lots of earth moving equals lots of muddy workers.

We will keep you updated!

3rd April 2018

Welcome to April!

Thank goodness after such an extraordinarily wet Easter weekend we can now see some sun – and the long-range weather forecast is looking positive. April will be a busy month in the office: end of financial year, training, pay increases, and the on-site teams are busy too!

Happy spring everyone.

20th March 2018

We’re currently making a bespoke climbing and play frame for a customer in Suffolk. Made with pressure treated softwood and commercial standard play equipment the frame is 1.8m high surrounded by bark. It will have removable barriers to make it safe for smaller children and includes a slide, climbing wall, fireman’s pole, climbing net, trapeze, swing and a double swing.

What children wouldn’t enjoy this?!

13th March 2018

We now have an in-house Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) tester!

Jack completed the course last week meaning he is qualified to test our electronic appliances. Although we have our appliances tested yearly, this means we can now test them on a regular basis.

8th March 2018

Snow days = Training days

Snow definitely stopped play last week. After several attempts to get to our snow-covered projects, we reluctantly gave up and asked our teams to stay at home in the warmth to complete any outstanding online training. The results we had were terrific! Amongst many Owen has completed his level 3 in Health and Safety and Jon completed 8 courses.

We are glad the snow has now gone and we are back on our sites this week – bring on spring!

5th February 2018

It might only be the start of the year but the staff at Vandenberg-Hider Landscape Design and Construction are steaming ahead with their training. Last week everyone took the one-day emergency first aid at work course, which has led to 3 deciding it is important to go even further so will be doing the 3 day course in March. Lauren and Jack have completed their level 3 health and safety, Jack has completed a certificate in leadership and management and KB has completed one in networking. Everyone has also updated their fire certificate. YAY!

UPDATE ON HUNDON: From being covered in snow at the end of last year to an almost completed swimming pond in the early months of 2018. What a transformation in only a couple of months!

30th January 2018

We are landscapers based in Harleston on the Norfolk and Suffolk border but work all over the United Kingdom. However, most of our work is in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. We first started working for a client in Cambridgeshire in 2005 when we constructed a garden designed by Timothy Garden Design. At the time this involved laying 400square metres of natural stone paving, constructing 22 staircases of various sizes and building various retaining walls laying in total 15000 Bovingdon bricks. One garden wall alone consisted of 10,000 bricks.  We returned a couple of times over the years to carry out some other projects, including the construction of a recirculation system with various oak weirs.

In 2017 we returned for another large project – a completely new entrance to their property as the existing entrance did not do justice to their property. Timothy Garden Design produced another great design, separating an existing lake form the original property by way of planting and installing a new parkland fence. The new drive would go close to the lake, which was de-silted, and would pick up the existing drive further into the property.

The original drive had gate piers and lovely metal gates at its entrance. The pier caps and finials were bought as a pair and in a very good condition and appeared to be from Haddonstone.

The new entrance was going to get a granite drive entrance splay with new Haddonstone piers but the existing pier caps and finals were going to be re-used.

We started the project in late October and completed the Granite splay and pier foundations in early December.

The team installed the new piers, steel posts and hung refurbished gates. They set about removing the caps and finials from the old piers which they did with amazing skill as none of the stone was damaged even though the material is quite brittle and the mortar was very strong. To make matters worse was that one of the piers had a bees nest in it and all through winter they were still active. The team managed to slide the pier cap of the pier and kept the bees at bay by sliding a cover slab over it at the same time, keeping the gap to a minimum. They did get a small glimpse of the nest which had filled the hollow pier to the top.

The pier caps and finial were removed undamaged and placed on top of the new piers as you can see from the photo they are weathered but it will not be long before the new piers will match them.

It is an amazing job carried out by a fantastic team.

More photos of this project and another one up the road to follow.

By Johan van den Berg-Hider

22nd January 2018

Spring is just around the corner and Vandenberg-Hider is gearing up for a busy 2018.  As a landscaping Company based in Harleston, Norfolk we often work all over the country – Anglesey, Cheshire, Gloucestershire and are currently just finishing two large projects the other side of Cambridge –if the project is within an hour and a half drive away we drive daily but over that and we look for accommodation –  so it is with great pleasure that we are about to start three brilliant projects much closer to home – Scole, Brome and Barningham. Our teams can all live at home and the driving distances are much less – which gives everyone a bit of a break for a few weeks.  In Scole we are building a swimming Pond – these are becoming so popular – you only have to swim in one to see why. In Brome we are embarking on a very large project and the wildlife on the site is incredibly important to the client and us – in order to continue to attract a mix of bats, bird and hedgehogs we are providing an array of man-made habitats which will encourage them to stay, breed and live as one with the buildings that are going up on the site. We have purchased special Schwegler boxes and these will be carefully attached to the existing trees, at specified angles to make it easy for the wildlife to inhabit.

The sun is out in Norfolk today, let’s hope it is going to stay.

11th January 2018

Welcome to 2018! Happy new year from all of us at VDBH!

This is our 25th year of trading and it looks like it is going to be a busy and exciting year. We are, for the first time ever, running a staff team of 12 and plan to have 3 or even 4 projects running at any one time.

This week we started our biggest project to date and are so pleased to be involved in such an exciting new development – more details and photos to follow!

11th December 2017

Snowy mornings don’t stop our teams who were on their sites bright and early to carry on with their projects.

1st December 2017

A new granite sett entrance splay under construction. We love building with granite setts, find out more about them on our Specialities page.

27th November 2017

This week we are inducting our newest member of the team, welcome Josh! Josh will spend his first full day of work with me and we will go through a range of training and information. By the end of the day, Josh will know all about the company, our policies and procedures. He will have completed training in fire, health and safety, abrasive wheel use, manual handling, COSHH. Tomorrow he will start his on-site training – welcome and good luck Josh.

November 6th 2017

We love starting new projects because it means we have finished somewhere else, leaving a client with a new usable and exciting garden. We have just finished one of our largest garden projects to date. This was an entire garden rebuild around a newly refurbished residential property (photos to follow). It has taken many months to complete.

Next week this team begins a new project – a swimming pond – built on behalf of The Swimming Pond Company.

This coming Saturday Johan and Dawn are interviewing for the landscape assistant post, but it is not too late if you know someone who may be interested. Please ask them to email Dawn at