CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Hidcote Garden’s secret garden project with MRK Services

PUBLISHED: 09:50 23 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:08 23 March 2016

MRK Services was commissioned to restore all of Hidcote garden's oldest furniture

MRK Services was commissioned to restore all of Hidcote garden's oldest furniture


We’ve been behind the scenes with family-run business MRK Services, who were set the onerous task of restoring some of Hidcote’s oldest and most precious garden furniture.

Enjoying gardens has been as much a British Institution as Marks and Spencer, Crufts, and Judi Dench. As we make haste in our adieu to the wet and sorry winter we’ve been having, there’s nothing like swearing in spring with a trip to a beautifully-maintained garden. As luck would have it, nestled in the outskirts of our own Chipping Campden is Hidcote Manor. Home to one of the country’s most illustrious Arts and Crafts gardens, the grounds at Hidcote were designed by American horticulturist Major Lawrence Johnson in 1910. A veritable Eden, Hidcote is renowned for its sequence of outdoor ‘rooms’, each one characterised by a defining fragrance and assortment of textures, which are ultimately married together by the overall aesthetic of perfect topiary, boxed hedges and herbaceous borders that make is such a memorable place.

Hidcote garden's oldest furniture restored by MRK ServicesHidcote garden's oldest furniture restored by MRK Services

Hidcote truly is a jewel in The National Trust’s weighty crown of public gardens. It’s clear that Johnson wanted to celebrate all of the senses with his design. The tapestry of stunning colours in the perennials; the sound of birds hidden in the shrubbery; the smell of freshly fallen rain on the leaves - it amounts to a scene from Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. But like any public space, it requires its fair share of upkeep and back at the beginning of winter, MRK Services was commissioned to restore all of the garden’s oldest furniture.

Company director Helen Keepence explained that MR Koating is itself, a family run business that’s based locally, just a 10 minute drive down the road in nearby Blockley. Their business card reads like that of an overachieving classmate who was great at everything. Take note: as specialists in general engineering as well as fabrication in all metals, metal office furniture design and development, welding and powder coating, they were the obvious choice to give the existing and original furniture a much-needed facelift.

Hidcote garden's oldest furniture restored by MRK ServicesHidcote garden's oldest furniture restored by MRK Services

‘When we were first contacted by the head gardener at Hidcote, the first thing that popped into my head were childhood memories of running around the garden, playing hide and seek.’ With such personal ties to the gardens, I wondered if that helped with knowing the requirements they’d likely have, ‘definitely, yes; our powder paint is 92% zinc which means it doesn’t rust and is more environmentally friendly than other alternatives’, which, for obvious reasons, was the ‘perfect and only option’ for the natural and untainted environment of the garden. The process used was one they offer on a year-round basis: ‘using the Cromadex Extra Life Coating System’, (of which they’re certified in) ‘we begin with blast cleaning the furniture back down to bear metal then applying an etch primer before a final colour top coat which can provide protection against corrosion for up to 16 years’.

Hidcote garden's oldest furniture restored by MRK ServicesHidcote garden's oldest furniture restored by MRK Services

With 20 years’ worth of experience, the ease of production on the benches and tables meant Hidcote was re-opened to the public most recently this spring and has reinvigorated the garden. This compelling advertisement must make Helen a very busy woman, and she conceded the point: ‘there’s been many enquiries of late regarding our refurbishment services, ranging from requests about wrought iron gates on people’s drives to Juliet balcony railings’. Now that we’ve seen the benches, we know why. Their work is meticulous and second to none, so it’s no wonder that for those looking to restore rather than replace, they’re the popular choice - so much so that they’ve recently had to install a new 5m oven to keep up with demand and take on ‘any size job’. From the finish of the Hidcote project, it is clear that this remedial approach neatens the look of furniture without forfeiting any of its precious charm and character. Their business is in rolling back the years of your cherished outdoor belongings, so keep their number to hand, you may just need it in future.

Twitter: @MRKServices

Facebook: MRK Services

Unit 97, Northwick Business Centre,

Blockley, Nr Moreton-in-Marsh,

Gloucestershire, GL56 9RF


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Homes & Gardens

23 minutes ago

Property prices across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds have risen steadily over the last few years, reflecting the trend across the country. But which area has shown the most dramatic hike in prices recently, and how does your postcode and house type compare with others in the area? You may be surprised to see the results...

Read more
Yesterday, 12:01

After a new home in the Cotswolds or looking to relocate within the region? We bring you 16 of the best housing developments in the area

Read more
Mon, 17:02

From mini Norway spruces to luxury Nordman firs, here are eight of the best places to get a luscious, green tree in the Cotswolds this festive season

Read more

Neil and Alison Smith wanted a project, but then their old coach house began to reveal its interesting little glitches

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

When your wood flooring is in need of TLC, help is at hand, says Scarlett Harris of ATC in Cheltenham

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Martin Smart, a director at Shipston-based Hayward Smart Architects, extols the value of appointing an architect

Read more
Friday, October 5, 2018

We look through the keyhole of some of the Cotswolds’ most luxurious houses on the property market

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more

Sometimes it can seem like destiny plays a hand at where we end up living, as Fiona and John Owen discovered when they found their dream converted chapel in Chalford

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more

Water voles and trench warfare were just two of the problems faced by the family renovating a 1720s hunting lodge

Read more

The small, dark rooms of this 1850s cottage near Tetbury were completely reconfigured to open up the space

Read more
Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Cirencester based kitchen manufacturer and showroom has won a prestigious national trade award for the second year running

Read more

When internationally-renowned sculptor Sophie Ryder bought her derelict 20-acre cattle farm near Cirencester nearly 30 years ago, she set about the huge task of designing and building a unique Cotswold stone home

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search