On Friday last week Darrell Tom and I headed down from our Banbury base to spend the afternoon at the Marshalls factory in Sandy, Beds, learning about the new Cobblectech product and its installation.

 Continuous profesional development

At The Gardenmakers we’ve always felt it’s important to keep up to date with industry developments and new products even if it’s at the cost of productivity at the busiest time of the year. After all, how can we properly advise both our clients and the designers we work with if we don’t truly know what’s available to them and their particular landscaping needs?

About Marshalls Cobbletech

The product is excellent, something I’ve already established that with previous posts (here and here) and if you have a cobble or sett driveway in mind it’s absolutely worth looking at (if you’re in Warwickshire and Oxfordshire contact me for a brochure if you can’t get one locally.)

Feeding frenzy. Wily Marshalls installers desepratly looking for faults in the new product. Non were found!

Cobbletech comes in ‘paver units’ which have two elements to them. First the ‘cobble’ or ‘sett’ top (the bit you see) which is a good substitute for the real thing. In fact even the trained eye would have to look closely. The second element is the rectangular base which allows the Cobbletech units to be simply butted up against each other just like a normal block paver.

The installation process is exactly the same as a block paved area:

  • Excavate to formation levels
  • Restraining edges concreted in
  • Hardcore layer over a porous membrane
  • Layer of compacted sharp sand
  • Pavers laid on top, butted together and plate compacted to final level (Must use rubber protection, Oooh er!)

Finally the joints are filled using the special jointing compound that comes with the product. This is simply brushed over the area (which has been lightly watered first) to fill the joints to the desired levels. This can be a phenomenally quick process compared to hand pointing but I suspect we (The Gardenmakers) would spend more time on this to neatly highlight the cobbles. We have a thing about minimising the impact of mortar joints.

Spead it all over! Applying the jointing compound.

A rather useful thing is that the surfaces of the cobbles have a sheen on them which prevents the pointing compound staining or sticking while being applied. This sheen wears off after a few weeks.

So that’s the process. Not beyond the wit of any decent landscaper and I’ve no doubt many will want to offer Cobblectech to their clients. However, here’s the great part (if, like us, you happen to be on the Marshalls register.) Marshalls are only offering this product direct from their factory to their installers. No merchants and no middlemen will be able to get hold of it. So you’re not going to be popping down to Jewson’s to buy a few pallets.

Why has this been done? –After all it would seem contrary to common logic to limit its availability in what is already a tightening market for landscaping suppliers. This question was duly asked.

  • It shows loyalty to the register members (there are now 1050 of us.) who last year sold £38M worth of Marshalls products.
  • From the above stat it’s obvious that Marshalls installers are very capable of selling enough of the product to make it profitable.
  • It creates exclusivity and therefore greater demand.
  • It ensures that the product is being used correctly. Cobbletech has been 9 years in the making from development to market and they don’t want to destroy its reputation and all that investment because of some dodgy installations.

So if you want a Cobbletech drive, path or parking area then you need go no further than the Marshalls website and look for an approved installer near you. If you live in Warwickshire, Oxfordshire or The Cotswolds and want  great landscapers to install it then give us a call!