The BBC’s Joe Swift – award-winning garden designer, author and presenter of Gardeners’ World – officially opened a new landscaping display at New Milton Sand and Ballast’s Builders’ Merchant in New Milton.

The grand opening saw over 200 local people takling the opportunity to look around the new display and merchant area, get their hands on some free goodies, take part in some friendly competition to win prizes, and meet with Swift. Guests were also treated to fish and chips by local fishermen New Forest Fish & Shellfish, and enjoyed iced coffee and cake by Cool Coffee Cart.

The large landscaping display is the last part of the renovation project undertaken by the New Milton-based family-owned company, which has involved extensive works at the branch over the past 12 months. The Builders’ Merchant now benefits from a larger branch and indoor warehouse, hardstanding yard area, improved customer parking, and a much wider product range.

The new landscaping area has been created to enable customers to view products in a mock-garden format, rather than on boards or via brochures. The mini gardens showcase a range of BBQ areas, raised decking, brickwork and resin drives, along with a plethora of paving, blocks and decorative aggregates available. Now one of the largest displays in the South of England, the space was created by Magnolia Landscaping.

Matt Lock, Commercial Director for NMSB, commented: “We were delighted to welcome Joe Swift to New Milton on Saturday – it was an honour to have him officially open our brand-new landscaped area, which we’re all very excited about.

“It’s a beautiful, friendly, and welcoming space for both our trade customers and consumers to come and view the wide range of landscaping products we have available, to get inspiration and hopefully help them transform their own outdoor space. We are all so pleased with the fantastic job Yve and her team at Magnolia Landscapes have done to create this space.”

The independent business, which also runs a Builders’ Merchant in Wallisdown, has over 87 years’ experience in supplying quality aggregates, concrete, building materials and waste services across Dorset and Hampshire. The company operates three quarries, five depots, one recycling centre and four concrete plants, supporting thousands of customers across the South of England.

Following the opening, Swift paid a visit to New Milton’s local Community Garden and spent time with members of the Residents Association and gave them advice on looking after their garden. Throughout the afternoon, almost £350 was raised for the Community Garden and for New Milton’s local Men’s Shed project.