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Landscape industry pulls together to build surprise garden for family in need

Businesses in the landscape industry are joining forces with the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity to design and build a surprise garden for the Taylor Johnson family, whose five-year-old son Joshua has severe complex physical and neurological disabilities. The surprise will also help mark the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity 20th Anniversary this month.

Lockdown has affected many families, but for those without access to a garden, staying home has undoubtedly been a challenge. Sussex-based landscaping firm Conquest Creative Spaces set out to do something for the local community this year and asked the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity to refer a family in need of a new garden.

Joshua Taylor Johnson is blind and unable to move without constant support, but his family says he loves the sensory experience that comes from being outside. The family’s garden consists of a steep, uneven slope, making it difficult for them to take Joshua out in his walking frame. The family have attempted to build ramps and a patio; however, they were forced to abandon works due to high costs. As a result, Joshua spends most of his time inside.

Ross Conquest, managing director of Conquest Creative Spaces, says: “We could immediately see how the sloped landscape made their outdoor space completely inaccessible. Every child should be able to go outside into the fresh air and feel connected to nature, and we are so excited to create a beautiful, safe garden for Joshua and his family to enjoy. It’s truly amazing to see so many businesses contributing materials to help us bring the design to reality; everything from paving stones and plants to timber and resin pathways. We wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without their donations.”

Construction began on 14 December, with the finished garden to be revealed to the family on Friday.

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