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Landscape News Spring 2021

The official journal of the British Association of Landscape Industries


We’ve refreshed our brand, find out why this will benefit members the most


100 years and 220 million plants later, we talk exclusively to Johnsons of Whixley


Exclusive interview with James Scott MBALI on creating beautiful spaces


Women in landscaping - an untapped talent pool on our doorstep

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Chairman’s Welcome DEAR MEMBERS

I hope you and your family are safe and well. Our industry has certainly had plenty to navigate its way through in the first quarter of 2021, with COVID-19 restrictions and Brexit creating challenges for all of our members. Brexit has already had a rapid impact on some species of plant supply importations into the UK and proved near impossible to export plant material for our Northern Ireland members due to new regulations. I think most of the market has felt the pressure on supply chains at some point, with global demand for containers and as a result of the United Kingdom formally leaving the European Union. I remain hopeful and optimistic that we have all weathered the storm and can now look forward to a positive and profitable spring season. Our Trade Association continues to maximise the use of digital to maintain smooth operation, staying in touch with our members via online meetings and webinars. We hosted all eight of our Regional Annual General Meetings in one day, an impressive feat indeed. On a personal note, Greentech, who are an Accredited Supplier member, has renewed its headline sponsorship of the BALI National Landscape Awards for a further three years and the team at Landscape House are in the

process of contacting all sponsors in readiness for a much anticipated physical return on Friday 3rd December 2021.

The Awards showcase the best of the industry and highlight some truly remarkable projects. It provides the perfect opportunity to bring the industry together and shine the spotlight on the notable talent which is out there. In response to member feedback and with growing trends towards sustainability and conservation this year, I am delighted to share the news that the British Association of Landscape Industries has created a brand-new category Nature Conservation and Biodiversity Enhancement. If you have not entered before I would urge you to please visit baliawards.co.uk to learn more about how the Awards can benefit your business. Interested in sponsorship? Get in touch with Media Sales and Sponsorship Officer, Diane McCulloch, diane.mcculloch@bali.org.uk.

Before signing off I would like to ask each and every member to support the recently launched BALI Chalk Fund Champions, a three-option annual sponsorship package, ranging from Bronze £250, Silver £500 to Gold £750, this will help motivate and equip

the next generation of landscape professionals. Read more on page 12, or to become a Champion visit balichalkfund.org.uk/become-achampion.

Finally, I would like to personally congratulate all of our new members listed on this page. I look forward to meeting you all as soon as it is possible to do so. Our Trade Association is a fantastic organisation to be part of and I would encourage you all to get involved with your regional committee and their event programme, and/or attend one of our national online connects for all members to take part in. Best wishes.

Richard Kay National Chairman

New members (17th November 2020 - 8th March 2021) Accredited Contractor South Thames • Angell Services • Ryan Alexander Associates • Urban Meadows • VDW Landscapes

North Thames • Countrywide Grounds Maintenance • Culverhouse Gardens • Empire Landscapes North West • Creative Gardens & Driveways

South West • Urban Earth SW

East Anglia • Green Ice T/A A1 Trees and Landscape Builders International • R L Makepeace T/A Daniel Moquet

Accredited Supplier

South Thames • AVS Fencing & Landscaping Supplies

South West • Re-flow Landscaping Workflow Management Software

Northern Ireland • Larsen Manufacturing T/A Larsen Building Products

Accredited Designer

South Thames • Andrews, Rory (MBALI) • Carroll, Debbie (MBALI) • McClure, Karen (MBALI, MSGD)

Associate Contractor South Thames • Terra Build Services

Scotland • In-Work Enterprises

Associate Individual North West • Bozena Shaw

Training Provider

North West • The Landscape Academy


Scotland • Ipsum Drainage (Scotland)


South Thames • Amanda Border • Kerry Wilson North Thames • Jason Walker • Michelle Tarling Midlands • Kathryn Davis

Yorkshire North East • Karen Crawshaw International • Shuai Lyu




Editor’s Welcome WE’VE GOT A NEW LOOK


ou may have noticed that your copy of Landscape News looks a little different. That’s because I’m excited to say we’ve launched our new brand, refreshing the identity and our entire suite of marketing collateral, website and newsletters in the process. It was critically important to the team that we have the right tools in place to continue to deliver the very highest standards of service possible, enabling us to support, promote and inspire you to design and create, build and develop, maintain and supply the finest landscapes in the UK and internationally.

We’ve not just changed the way we look, we’ve also made changes to the ways in which we communicate with you, both online and in print, to ensure we’re not only promoting the latest industry news, events, technical support and training, but we’re also ensuring it is relevant, educational and delivered in a timely way. High quality content is more important now than ever before and in this edition we have it in spades. On pages 8, 10 and 12 we have some important updates for you from Landscape House. Pages 14 to 23 we cover the latest member news, which

is now more condensed to allow for additional features to be covered, before we turn our attention to the issue of the VAT reverse charge for building and construction services on pages 28 and 29, continue our spotlight on raising standards in landscaping on page 36, explore the hugely important roles of women in landscaping on page 40 and discover how to get better quality leads through your website, in association with Adtrak, on page 44.

I hope you like the new look and welcome all thoughts via email to darren.taylor@bali.org.uk. This is just the beginning, in 2022 we celebrate 50 years of being the leading Trade Association for the nation’s landscape professionals and we cannot wait to share more details with you in the coming months on what we have planned.

For now, enjoy the edition, stay safe and I hope to see as many of you online as possible as we continue to deliver a regular events programme for you all to join in with as we eagerly await the lifting of restrictions in the summer. Best wishes.

Editor: Darren Taylor E: darren.taylor@bali.org.uk T: +44(0)24 7669 8656 M: 07800 573351 Sales: Diane McCulloch E: diane.mcculloch@bali.org.uk T: +44(0)24 7669 0333 M: 07455 110975 Registered address: British Association of Landscape Industries Landscape House Stoneleigh Park Warwickshire CV8 2LG Designed by: bdci.co.uk Print and mailing: warwickprinting.co.uk Copy Deadline (Summer 2021): Friday 28th May 2021 Front Cover: © Harrod UK T/A Harrod Horticultural - Southwold Collection

Darren Taylor


6 Chief Executive’s Report 8 BALI News

14 Member News 24 Interview




28 Business Support 30 Technical

44 Member Benefit Spotlight 46 Education






48 Training 50 Events







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National Landscape Awards is introducing a new category this year - Nature Conservation and Biodiversity Enhancement

2020 set new records for the British Association of Landscape Industries’ National Landscape Awards, albeit in very different circumstances W

ow! What an awards ceremony we experienced at our virtual National Landscape Awards.

I would like to start by congratulating those members that were awarded a prestigious National Landscape Award, Principal and/or Special Award, and of course, the highly coveted Grand Award. The latter was won by Accredited Contractor PWP Landscape for their spectacular private residence in Yorkshire. Congratulations to all of our winners. Whilst last year’s ceremony was missing the celebratory atmosphere of being together inside The Great Room at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London, there was still a sense of occasion and grandeur that we have come to expect from our leading awards ceremony, the largest of its kind anywhere in Europe. We were lucky in other ways as the awards was enjoyed by over 1,600 guests, the most we’ve ever recorded watching at any one time, many of whom may not have been able to make the trip to London. If you are a winner, make sure you maximise the potential press and publicity opportunities by promoting your achievement using the appropriate winner logo and link to our website baliawards.co.uk.



BALI National Landscape Awards 2021

Entries are now open for our 45th National Landscape Awards. Although we cover the story in more detail on page 12, I wanted to personally thank our loyal sponsors who have already signed up for this year’s event, in particular Accredited Supplier Green-tech who have confirmed their headline sponsorship for another three years. I would like to encourage all Accredited members to enter a scheme. For our smaller landscape contractors, garden designers and supplier members it may seem daunting, but I welcome one and all to share your experiences, passion, determination and drive with fellow landscaping colleagues at the largest industry awards in Europe. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. Visit baliawards.co.uk for more information.

Member engagement

Due to COVID-19 and current lockdown measures, at the time of writing, we had to hold all of our Regional Annual General Meetings

virtually in January. Following my update to members during the pre-show, which took the form of a 90-minute online national event, we had a great presentation from Accredited Designer Jilayne Rickards MBALI and Ben West of Accredited Contractor Landscaping Solutions.

Topics they covered included: • Reasons for choosing to work with each other • How their relationship translated to the client and what they wanted out of the project • The reuse and recycle aspect of the project and Jilayne’s passion, along with the client, to reduce the carbon footprint of the garden and overall project • What materials were used and how they were sourced • What were the challenges and how they overcame them. If you missed the pre-show, a recording of the event is available in your video resource library in the member’s area of our website.

The regional AGMs were, in the main, well attended and some great discussion points were covered.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S REPORT Jilayne Rickards MBALI partnered with Ben West of Landscaping Solutions to present at the Regional AGMs - Photo Credit Marianne Majerus

Members were reporting that, if they’d had the staff, they could have turned over four to five times the turnover they had done this last year. The commercial market still seems buoyant but cautious as we all watch with bated breath as to how the Brexit negotiations turn out. Meanwhile our Regional Support Officer, Laura Doyle, is doing a great job and wants to continue to build on this early success by getting more of you involved. So, if you are wondering what else you can get from your membership, if you haven’t already, why not join in with one of our regional meetings or national online connects. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we can all move towards some kind of normality this summer.

Membership renewal

It is once again that time of year when we ask our members to renew their annual membership. By the time you read this the deadline will have passed, 31st March 2021. We’ve had a really solid start in 2021, with members renewing early and securing their 2% discount. Thank you to those that have fully completed the process, your service will resume uninterrupted. For those of you that

ROLO Operative, Supervisor and Manager courses environmental responsibilities, including invasive threats like Giant Hogweed

have not yet responded, now the deadline has passed I want to stress that, currently, your company is not being listed on our website, if this is a benefit of your membership, and you will not be receiving our marketing communications, including the BALI Newsletter. There is also a danger that you will not be listed in our annual Who’s Who Landscape Directory, if this is one of your benefits of membership and you receive a free listing, as the cut-off for that is the middle of April. So, please ensure you have completed both stages of the process; completing the renewal form and making payment of your membership fee, to ensure your continued promotion as a member and to continue your access to a great range of benefits.

What’s new for 2021

By the time you read this we will have already started rolling out our refreshed brand and new look, announced details of our BALI Chalk Fund Champions and preparing to launch the highly anticipated ROLO Health, Safety and Environmental Awareness courses for both Supervisors and Managers. The latter will be the only accepted route into applying for your Land-based Industry Skills Scheme & Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (LISS/CSCS)

SmartCards (for those working in the commercial sector) at the appropriate level and provide a great basis for health & safety training, even if you do not need the LISS/CSCS SmartCards.

These courses, along with our ROLO Operative course, have been approved by both Build UK and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and therefore are the appropriate SmartCard that you and your staff should be obtaining to get onto site. As a result of this approval, all three courses do attract a training grant from CITB for those companies that are paying the CITB Levy. Further details can be found on page 10. Best wishes.

Wayne Grills Chief Executive




Refreshing our brand, retaining our heritage


e’re turning 50 in 2022 and our team at Landscape House wanted to ensure your Trade Association’s brand remained strong and current, reflecting your needs and those of the wider membership. On Thursday 1st April we unveiled our new look to the world.

New BALI logo

New BALI accredited logo

New BALI membeship wallet


Your rship membe benefits

In 2018 we commissioned a specialist agency to undertake a brand positioning project which helped us to understand our market position. The research revealed several positive findings, including our support and promotion of members and industry, our technical guidance and lobbying prowess and our continued efforts to maintain and improve the standards of landscaping in the UK. It was the areas of improvement that caught our attention. We needed to be more confident, online and in print, using our status to vocalise industry issues and produce content that was informative, educational and inspirational. We needed to be smarter in the ways we promoted and advertised our business, and yours, in the digital space, tackling a longstanding issue similar to an identity crisis, BALI. An acronym known by many in the industry but widely unknown in the public domain,

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Enhance your knowledge, learn new skills, meet new people and network, save money, protect your business and more with our curated portfolio of benefits designed to support, promote and inspire.

Let’s see what benefits are waiting for you

Have an idea for a new benefit? Don’t be shy… Our team regularly review our benefit offering and are happy to discuss new ideas with you. This is your membership, so write, email, call or pop in for a chat, you’re always welcome.


was always going to struggle when 8


compared to the more commonly referred ‘BALI island’. In 2019 work began on refreshing our identity whilst retaining our heritage. We also revaluated the terminology of our Registered and Affiliate membership bands. All members who were Registered are now known as Accredited members, and Affiliate is now referred to as Supplier. The team also recognised that we needed to be more competitive on Google, ranking higher organically for industry-specific keywords and providing links to richer, more in-depth content, which is supported by regular paid promotions, driving engagement and directing potential clients and their enquiries to our website. To help support this we plan to launch a long-term public awareness campaign on Google and a variety of social channels, advertising our service and those of our members. We now have brand guidelines to download from your member’s area, as well as the new suite of logos for you to access, where they are applicable to your membership category. Due to the added pressure on businesses from COVID-19 and Brexit we’re extending the period of time you have to update your workwear, stationery, vehicle liveries, website and email signatures by six months, until December 2022. If you would like further information on the new guidelines, the logo suite and/or your membership benefits please contact Marketing and Communications Manager Darren Taylor, darren.taylor@bali.org.uk +44(0)24 7669 8656 or Marketing and Communications Officer Emily Magdij, emily.magdij@bali.org.uk +44(0)24 7669 8652.

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ROLO is a prerequisite to apply for a LISS/ CSCS SmartCard to access live commercial land-based sites

ROLO to expand its offering to Supervisors and Managers


hrough our Register of Land-based Operations (ROLO) Health, Safety and Environmental Awareness courses, we play an essential role in the safety and wellbeing of those that work in the landscape industry, by raising industry standards through training. ROLO courses address the specific safety and environmental challenges our industry faces. Whilst we are closely linked to the construction industry, there was and is a need to develop our own training, dealing with specific safety concerns unique to our workers.

We are pleased to announce that the launch of our ROLO Health, Safety and Environmental Awareness course for Supervisors and Managers will be Spring 2021. We’ve developed both of these newly accredited courses to meet the requirements of the Land-based Industry Skills Scheme and Construction Skills Certification Scheme (LISS/CSCS). The ROLO Supervisor and Manager courses have been specifically designed to support the Land-based 10


sector’s training needs. They are fully supported and approved by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and Build UK, as being equivalent to the CITB SSSTS and SMSTS courses.

Each of these two new courses has been designed to support the development of experienced and practicing Supervisors and Managers working in the land-based sector. Each course focuses on roles and responsibilities, health & safety as well as environmental awareness.

Both courses are made up of two parts and have a blended learning approach that starts with an online e-learning element, before moving onto a tutor led course. Learners are expected to engage with all the activities and assessments in both aspects of the course to gain the most and prepare for a final assessment. The first online e-course sees learners spend a minimum of seven hours (on the Supervisor course) and 10-14 hours (on the Managers course) reviewing the legislation, activities, and assessments before booking on


to the second part of the course. This will vary depending on the learner’s relevant qualifications and experience, but as a minimum you are expected to complete and successfully pass (achieving 80% or more) each of the area’s assessment quizzes. The second part of the course is a face-to-face session, two days for the Supervisors course and three days for the Managers course, which will lead into a final assessment. On successful completion and passing of all aspects of the course, you will receive a ROLO Supervisor or Manager accredited certificate which is valid for five years, after which you can undertake the appropriate refresher course.

Refresher courses will be available for those renewing having taken the full Supervisors or Managers courses, and for those looking to upgrade their CITB SSSTS or SMSTS courses for their Land-based sector position. For more information visit bali.org.uk/lisscscs/rolo

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Green-tech have signed up to a new three year deal for the National Landscape Awards

Entries now open for our National Landscape Awards with exciting new opportunities available


ccredited members can now enter our 2021 National Landscape Awards, the largest of their kind anywhere in Europe, and with the announcement of entries opening there are also a number of exciting opportunities this year that we would like to share with you. Due to the effects of COVID-19, contractor, designer and international members, for 2021 only, now have the opportunity to submit a scheme that has achieved practical completion in the last 24 months, instead of the normal 12 months, offering members more flexibility and choice in the scheme(s) that they submit.

With sustainability high on the agenda, alongside the 32 categories available to enter, a new category for 2021 has been developed and launched: Nature Conservation and Biodiversity

Announcing BALI Chalk Fund Champions


he British Association of Landscape Industries’ own charity, the BALI Chalk Fund, has launched Chalk Fund Champions to combat the industry skills gap. This new funding scheme will open doors for individuals and businesses looking to support ongoing training and development in the landscape sector.



Enhancement. The judges will be looking for projects that embody the principles of sustainable development using innovative concepts.

With many members still working from home, the introduction of a new entry system, where members can now complete their full entry online, including uploading of the submission pack, will ease the entry process as well as reduce members’ own carbon footprint. These new opportunities open up the National Landscape Awards to more members than ever, and we hope to see a wide variety of entries across all of our available categories this year. To assist members with the entry process, Chair of the judging panel John Melmoe and fellow judge Jason Lock held a workshop on the 25th March where they provided an

Trustees of the Chalk Fund have ambitious plans to increase both the level of funding raised and the amount of activity following the launch of the Champions, a scheme which provides an opportunity for individuals and companies to invest in the education, training, motivating and equipping of the next generation of landscape professionals.

opportunity for those interested in entering to ask questions about the entry process, as well as to provide an insight on how the judges evaluate and score the submissions. This workshop is now available ondemand through the Awards website baliawards.co.uk where entrants can also view this year’s Entry Guidelines and all of the available categories. For further information please visit baliawards.co.uk or contact Events Project Manager Emily Feeney via email at emily.feeney@bali.org.uk or call 07936 944258.

Emily Feeney Events Project Manager

The Bronze Champion tier costs £250 per year, Silver £500 and Gold £750. To view more details of what’s included visit balichalkfund.org.uk/ become-a-champion or contact Trustee Richard Gardiner on 07715 654964 or email richard.gardiner@bali.org.uk

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How to choose the right wildflowers with Green-tech

Harrod UK strengthens its stylish Southwold Collection with new additions for 2021



ildflower meadows have been in decline for decades, so the importance of reinstating them in the countryside and on urban roundabouts and verges has been recognised and is now firmly on the government’s agenda.

Choosing the right mix is easier than you think, just follow these three golden rules to help you get started: Soil type – every wildflower is unique, so knowing whether it’s clay, sand, loam or chalk is essential. Taking samples of soil from across your site and testing for pH is the most accurate way to identify the correct type. Companies such as John Chambers Wildflower Seed can then advise you on the most suitable products. If you take an area with a heavy, clay-type soil the seed mix should contain species which are suited to this type of soil, such as Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris), Greater Knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa). The site - where your proposed wildflower area is located must be considered. Is it in a coastal area, near wetland or affected by shade? If we take hedgerows, where there is an element of shade at certain times of day, then the soil is likely to be poor and dry, with less nutrients and moisture. We therefore



need wildflowers that can cope with these conditions; not all can. In this case, choose a mix featuring Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) and Red Campion (Silene dioica). The size of the area can also have an impact on the most appropriate mix. If you wish to sow in a flower bed, a mix without grass is a good choice. Environmental objectives Wildflowers are incredibly important for biodiversity. They are an intrinsic part of the food chain for insects and some animals, and they are an essential and attractive food source for pollinating insects. There are several wildflowers and mixes that will specifically support certain pollinators. Good examples would be Field Scabious, Viper’s-bugloss and Kidney Vetch. Finally, consider and plan for management and maintenance of the area in the longer term. For more information, including how best to prepare the site for wildflowers, contact John Chambers Wildflower Seed on +44(0)1423 369730 or visit johnchamberswildflowers.co.uk.

fter launching the traditional handcrafted garden furniture range in 2020, which combines comfort, beauty and quality, Accredited Supplier Harrod UK Ltd T/A Harrod Horticultural are excited to introduce a number of new additions in the form of complementary garden pieces. From towering obelisks, supports, trellis and a traditional pergola, Harrod UK have everything required to perfectly enhance your client’s garden or patio area, while complementing its natural beauty.

The beautifully engineered pergola is complete with retractable awning for sun shade and shower protection or a wire roof to create a fragrant living canopy with climbers and ramblers. It makes a stunning backdrop that will enhance rather than dominate, the perfect centrepiece for small or larger gatherings whatever the weather this summer.

Borders and walls can be brought to life too with favourite planter varieties intertwining with the decorative handcrafted framework of obelisks, plant supports and trellis, just look at our front cover of this edition of Landscape News.

The Southwold Collection is hot dip galvanised and hand etched to give a unique antique appearance that will develop over time and continue to improve with age. Handmade by skilled technicians and finished in Suffolk where steel manufacturing has been in operation in this family business for over 65 years, each piece carries a lengthy 25 year structural guarantee which befits its outstanding quality.

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A recently completed domestic scheme delivered by Culverhouse Gardens

Culverhouse joins membership to grow and develop its business after impressing clients around St Albans


ccredited Contractor Culverhouse Gardens, founded in 2008 as a family run garden maintenance and landscaping business, has recently joined the British Association of Landscape Industries after attaining an excellent reputation in their local area near St Albans for delivering a high standard of work and using local independent suppliers. The team have a passion for creating and maintaining beautiful outdoor spaces that are an

extension of their client’s homes or workplaces. Operating within a 15 mile radius of their yard, they have been transforming landscapes for 13 years, from small domestic courtyard gardens right up to large commercial premises.

Director Andrew Culverhouse told Landscape News, “Our values for offering a friendly, honest, and reliable service are continually passed on to my team as the company continues to grow. We guide and advise our clients through the whole process of creating a garden,

from design ideas through construction and onto maintenance. Even if our clients choose to maintain their garden themselves, we still offer guidance and tips to help them do so.” Andrew continued, “Since being founded the business has continued to grow and develop and we see joining membership as another step in the process to help us to continue our growth and development.” Visit culverhousegardens.co.uk to check out their services.

Permeating success CED Stone Group officially launch ECCO products in the UK


ccredited Supplier CED Stone Group has worked in close partnership with ECCO Products, from conception, distributing and marketing, to bring the ECCOGRAVEL product to market under their own brands CEDAdrive and CEDApath.

ECCO’s innovative water permeable landscaping solutions, marketed as CEDAdrive and CEDApath, are to be rebranded to ECCOGRAVEL under exciting plans being drawn up by CED. Gary Ewing, Landscape Divisional Director, told Landscape News,



“I truly believe now is the time for us to build on the success of CEDAdrive and introduce the full range of products available to us. CEDAdrive has enjoyed great success and by utilising our six nationwide depots is now recognised throughout the country as a quality SuDS compliant solution for driveways, paths and carparks.”

A staged roll out of ECCO’s full range of products is underway, which started with ECCOGRAVEL earlier this year. For more information visit cedstone. co.uk/gravel-stabilisation-systems

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Empire Landscapes take great pride in delivering landscaping services

Building an Empire with quality landscapes


their customers, suppliers and industry professionals and take pride in providing exemplary landscaping services. Their knowledge and advice, which comes from the initial design and quotation stage, ensures that the highest standards are delivered and maintained.

ccredited Contractor Empire Landscapes has joined the British Association of Landscape Industries and provides all aspects of landscape construction services, grounds maintenance and tree management throughout Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Director Ryan Reid told Landscape News, “Our customer’s experience is hugely valued, which is reflected

The team has spent the last five years developing relationships with


or a hands-on industry, taking on more work isn’t easy without employing more people, but this hasn’t stopped the commercial landscaping community. Forward thinking members have been quick to embrace technological advancements in the sector to reduce time consuming activities such as completing daily job sheets, risk assessments, health & safety forms, vehicle checks and before and after photos - by digitising the process.

Members take back control of job management and workflows



Since the launch of Accredited Supplier Re-flow Landscaping Workflow Management Software’s services, the team has seen a significant rise in the number of commercial landscapers adopting their system.

Re-flow’s software provides managers and administrators with a command dashboard that enables them to quickly set up and schedule one off or recurring jobs and add and assign all the required job information and forms to groups or individuals. The information is accessed

through the continued investment in equipment and training our employees to ensure we maintain the highest industry standards. With the help of our Trade Association, we aim to expand into a diverse landscaping community and continually strive to becoming market leading professionals.” Visit empire-landscapes.co.uk to view more of their latest work.

in the field on an app, accessible on both smartphones and tablets.

After integrating the system within their business operations, Accredited Contractor Shines Environmental Co’s Operations Director Harry Downing said, “There’s no waiting around for paper job sheets to be issued in the mornings, our team is able to grab their phones and instantly see where they’re going, who they’re working with, what tools they need and they’re able to get loaded up and out to work a lot quicker. One of the most powerful tools for us has been the ability to upload photographs of work against each individual task, and within seconds we can view this in the office. If there’s any challenging situations, this enables us to see in real time what is required to deal with them. Being able to drag and drop work on the scheduler, add tasks and send plans instantly has actually increased our ability to be even more flexible and react even quicker, which our clients love.” To find out more visit reflow.co.uk/ sectors/landscaping



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Johnsons of Whixley


Lupins in full bloom at Johnsons of Whixley

Over 220 million plants have been sold in Johnson’s illustrious history

The Richardson family celebrate 100 years of business

First ever lorry loaded in Holland against Boscoop canal 1966




ith Accredited Supplier Johnsons of Whixley celebrating 100 years in business, Editor Darren Taylor sits down with John Richardson to talk about heritage, family, climate change, the rise of digital, and what it feels like to sell 220 million plants in a Landscape News exclusive. DT - Johnsons has grown exponentially, becoming a commercial nursery powerhouse, but where did it all start?

JR - Literally with a ‘seed’. Mr Johnson, a war veteran, founded the company in 1921 with minimum assets and a small piece of land with a couple of dozen fruit trees. As the business continued to flourish, he took on more employees and began to import plants from Holland.

The Second World War was a setback. Eric saw all but one of his staff join the war effort; he stopped growing ornamentals and concentrated instead on producing vegetables. He was given a commission with the Home Guard, with a platoon of 60 covering the area between Walshford Bridge and Skip Bridge along the River Nidd to Nun Monkton, back to Green Hammerton and the A1. Towards the end of the war, Eric bought seven acres of land in Whixley, and ER Johnson Nurseries, based at Cattal & Whixley, was born.

By 1964, my wife Dorothy and I took over; the company was producing 150,000 plants annually. The business employed 11 full-time staff and had a turnover of £30,500. I had spent much of my childhood in my grandparents’ market garden at Carlton, between Leeds and Wakefield. Aged 18, I went to Writtle College in Essex and completed a two-year college diploma in horticulture. Leaving college, I worked a full year for Willy and Robert Bean in East Yorkshire on intensive salad crops, while in my spare time, I would divide and grow rhubarb roots on borrowed land. I managed to sell the lot to the Bean brothers for £400 - a small fortune when the weekly wage at the time was just £6.50.

Today the business has 150 acres of land and 120 employees, rising to 150 seasonally. The company sells between five and six million plants and trees each year. Despite the pandemic

and Brexit, turnover for 2020 was £13.2m, the second highest in the company’s history.

Planting shrubs in 1966

DT - What makes Johnsons so unique?

JR - Whilst a family business, many of our staff have become part of the extended family, with 20% of our workforce now reaching 20+ years’ service. We recognise that we would not be the successful business we are today without the staff we have behind us. We spend around £10,000 per year to boost morale via our unique ‘Extra Mile Awards’. Staff receive an annual attendance and profit share bonus, enhanced company sickness scheme, pension fund (one of the first for a land-based business) and Healthspan medical support insurance. At the same time, key managers are company members of Bupa. DT - How do you manage the operational complexities as a family-run business?

JR - It is a challenge, particularly as we maintain 3 channels to market (retail via garden centres, commercial landscapes and a trade counter). We attempt to micro manage and find that improvements are made incrementally – these generally add up to a sizeable difference. We also attempt to foster a ‘can do, sleeves rolled up’ attitude, but also retain some capacity for strategizing and continual improvement. DT - How is Johnsons helping to tackle climate change? Due to your size and influence, have you found the processes you put in place to be inspirational for others?

JR - Selling an estimated 220 million plants in the last 100 years, we are one of the few businesses that can claim to be a true contributor to the environment. By supplying five-six million plants each year, we continue to tackle climate issues at the coal face. We were the first European nursery to acquire the ISO 9001 Quality Standard, a management system underpinning every process, and actively manage and audit our ISO 14001 Environmental System.

DT - How does being an Accredited Supplier help the company achieve its goals and ambitions

JR - Networking with existing and potential customers. You bring people within the industry together and help build better relationships; this has provided many opportunities over the years and helps provide customers with confidence in our offering as they encourage the highest standards of quality, service, and workmanship. They say there is strength in numbers and being part of your Trade Association gives us all a much louder voice!

DT - What does the next 100 years look like for Johnsons? Do you see yourselves diversifying even further to capitalise on the continual rise and dominance of digital services?

JR - The future is very much in my sons and grandchildren’s hands now, much of the production’s future is set to be automated, with more of the picking, packing and plant care processes likely to be mechanised, particularly for large volume crops. This would involve more complex machines with a degree of intelligence. Still, most nursery processes are uniform enough not to need the differentiation ability of what I would think of as a robot. The sales and marketing processes have already developed beyond my expectations with the ability to communicate with existing and potential customers via email, phone, and even Twitter… whatever that is? Read the full unabridged interview at bali.org.uk/news. For more information of Johnsons, including its 100-year celebrations visit nurserymen.co.uk

Our environmental processes have proven hugely successful, helping us secure projects and customers while underpinning our environmental responsibilities and credentials.




Mobilane joins GRO to champion J green roof development

oining the top echelons of specialists, manufacturers and suppliers known for their expertise in the creation of green roofs, Accredited Supplier Mobilane UK have joined the Green Roof Organisation (GRO) as supplier members, something the British Association of Landscape Industries are supporters of.

As long-term pioneers in the development of green roof technology and products with their MobiRoof green roof systems, Mobilane are pleased to be able to support the organisation to encourage the retrofitting of green roofs to existing buildings, as well as promoting installations of highquality green roofing in every UK city and town. GRO seeks to increase green roof use and development and the awareness of all the potential gains a green roof can bring in biodiversity, rainfall management and aesthetic appeal. Mobilane will be actively participating in technical committees and events to help extend the reach of the green roofing industry. This will include input and involvement in the updated edition and commitments within the GRO Code, an important reference document for all in the industry. Find out more about the GRO and their endeavours in the development and promotion of green roofing across the UK on page 42.

To explore Mobilane’s MobiRoof green roof system, visit mobilane.com/en/products/mobiroof or call +44(0)203 741 8049.

Provender Nurseries is now certified Plant Healthy

Stuart Tickner, Nursery and Biosecurity Manager


ccredited Supplier Provender Nurseries has become one of the first ornamental suppliers to be certified ‘Plant Healthy’, an industry-developed quality assurance and certification scheme which has seen input from government and sets out key requirements for plant health management to protect against destructive plant pests and diseases.

The certification was awarded to Provender for their responsible and ongoing approach to plant health and biosecurity, something which will now be audited annually with the aim to improve the plant health and biosecurity management systems throughout the plant supply chain.

Provender’s Richard putting out heathers


Stuart Tickner, Nursery and Biosecurity Manager, said, “These procedures, and others that we carry out on site, are part of our everyday culture of plant procurement and are utilised at every step of our plant supply chain. We will continue to train our nursery team on a regular basis. On an annual basis


we currently organise training sessions with the Animal and Plant Health Agency on site for all staff.” Richard McKenna, Managing Director, spoke to Landscape News, “I am immensely proud to have achieved this certification and for the recognition this scheme deserves. All landscapers, designers and public spaces should use nurseries with such certification for peace of mind that stock has been grown and supplied from a site with high standards of biosecurity.” For more information visit provendernurseries.co.uk


M&M Timber launches gazebo, shelter and pavilion range

Provender Nurseries is now Addagrip’sPlant Terrabase Rustic certified Healthy permeable paving provides a sensitive solution for Christchurch Gardens


ccredited Supplier Addagrip Terraco was appointed by Accredited Contractor FM Conway, the main contractor for the project, to provide materials to help complete a project in Christchurch Gardens, a green space in Westminster, London. Addagrip chose its Terrabase Rustic Resin Bound permeable paving and hired one of its approved contractors, Accredited Contractor Street Tree, to source and plant large specimen trees, provide 750 tonnes of soils and install the paving onsite. Works on the £3.3m scheme included extensive remodelling of the park to provide open and inviting footpaths into the gardens, new lawns and planting and seating to offer a flexible open space that reflected the site’s historical background.

Due to the existing location of large London Plane trees along the perimeter of the garden and a desire to avoid compromising the trees, Terrabase Rustic in a 6-10mm Oak blend was installed onto a porous asphalt using a Cellular confinement system base. This provided a solution to allow site traffic access to these routes throughout the construction phase. The new resin bound surface provides decorative natural aggregate porous pathways with a rustic feel, in-keeping with this inviting green space in the heart of the city. The installation was completed in September 2020. Visit addagrip.co.uk for more information on permeable paving solutions.

ccredited Supplier Vestre have announced to Landscape News several market-leading drives to cut the carbon to help protect our planet, including publishing all of their environmental data on every single product manufactured by the company, the first outdoor furniture company to do so.

They will now list the carbon footprint or global warming potential of each product, displayed as carbon equivalents (kg CO2), and the total energy used to produce each product (in MJ); both are cradle to gate (A1-A3) i.e., for the production stage:

ccredited Supplier M&M Timber has launched its new range for installation in the education, leisure and play industry in the UK. Specially designed for outdoor education and leisure applications, the range comes complete with all the required timber, roof & fixings and assembly & installation guides.

The range is manufactured at its Worcestershire site and is made from PlayGuard Radiata pine timber, renowned for its low split properties and is FSC® Certified, licence code FSC-C022336. It’s also backed by the independent Wood Protection Association Benchmark accreditation. The range includes outdoor modular gazebos, whiteboards, chalkboards, retractable roll down panels, palisade fencing & solid fencing, timber benches, pergola and pavilion shelters.

In-Vesting in your future with Vestre’s environmental firsts



A1 Raw material extraction and supply A2 Transport to manufacturing plant A3 Manufacturing and fabrication

Elsewhere Vestre has also pre-ordered from the first batch of HYBRIT steel – a project that will reduce virgin ore in blast furnaces fuelled by hydrogen. This will be the first fossil-free steel to be manufactured from virgin ore, to be released on the market in 2026. You can download their sustainability report at vestresustainability. com/2019 or to order their latest catalogue email uk@vestre.com

Fraser Hall, Managing Director, says, “We are excited to offer a comprehensive range of outdoor products. The timber framed buildings offer a great solution for the education and leisure sector, especially at a time when social distancing and outside entertaining is more important than ever.” To find out more about the range visit mmtimber.co.uk

PlayReady C O M M E R C I A L P O R T FO L I O




30 years on and still great company

by Darren Taylor An interview with James Scott MBALI

BALI Award Winner, Sarratt, Hertfordshire



Multi-purpose family garden

Wildlife pond Photo credit: Rebecca Bernstein

Garden with a view Photo credit: Rebecca Bernstein


ccredited Contractor The Garden Company is celebrating three decades in business and to celebrate, Editor Darren Taylor was invited to learn more about the company from Accredited Designer, Managing Director, James Scott MBALI. DT - Let’s rewind the clock. Why professional landscaping?

JS - It was my grandparent’s Cotswold garden and orchard that first inspired my love of nature and landscapes. After that, I didn’t have a particular career in mind until I spent a summer working for a forestry company at the age of 18. I met someone there who’d studied landscaping at Merrist Wood College in Surrey. Switching to Merrist Wood and landscaping was a key decision for me, and in the short term meant that I gained from a year working in the US and also having one of my garden designs selected to be built on Main Avenue RHS Chelsea (Silver-Gilt in 1989!). Although I certainly wasn’t the most diligent student, I was awarded the accolade of having produced the best design projects when I graduated. After college, I joined Capital Garden Landscapes in Highgate as a Designer/ Manager (quite a learning curve at 21). I was responsible for the whole process: taking enquiries, drawing up plans and managing the build. Not to mention line-managing people older than my parents and handling clients with exacting requirements. Two years later, in 1991, I set up The Garden Company in Chipperfield near Hemel Hempstead with my business partner Kathie Coss, who retired from the business several years ago.

James Scott MBALI MSGD

DT - As multi-award-winning National Landscape Awards winners, do you have any advice for our Associate members looking to enter in the future? JS - It’s definitely worth the effort. Writing awards entries takes time and energy, but the benefits of winning make it worthwhile. I believe that The Garden Company’s awards track record helps us to stand out from other businesses in a crowded market. It gives prospective clients a sense of reassurance that we know what we are doing! Every award brings with it great marketing opportunities – not only to prospective clients, but to other business partners and even potential new recruits. I also think it’s very motivational to be recognised by the judges and fellow professionals, who really understand what is involved in creating a beautiful, bespoke garden – not only for me, but also for my team members who have put in the hard work.

As for specific advice to members looking to enter for the first time, obviously it’s vital to choose a successful scheme that has a bit of a ‘wow’ factor. The quality standard is high and something special needs to make the project stand out. Then – allow sufficient time to write your entry and collate the images – don’t leave it until the night before the deadline! Study the awards criteria and make sure your responses stay on point. I also think it’s great for your client to provide a meaningful testimonial, showing how you have brought their garden dreams to life.

DT - Would you say that there is a wider problem facing the industry with public perception of valued landscapes?

JS - Yes! Despite our heritage as a nation of garden lovers and years of popular TV gardening programmes, it seems that we still have difficulty helping people to understand the value of the professional services that we offer and the skills, knowledge and experience that we deploy. This concerns me on two levels. Firstly, how can we expect to attract people into landscaping roles if the work is misunderstood and undervalued? With Brexit now in place, combined with an ageing workforce, employers throughout landscaping are faced with an evermore challenging ‘war for talent’ and urgent skills shortages. Secondly (and as your question suggests), how can we expect our clients to appreciate the ‘value-add’ in our services, if we are seen as providing low-skilled, low-budget instant ‘makeovers’?

On a positive note, there are hugely talented young people already enjoying early success in our industry. Over the last few years, I have enjoyed attending Pro Landscaper’s presentation of awards to the ‘Next Generation - 30 Under 30’. This is a great initiative that seeks to recognise and reward the achievements of inspiring young people in design, build and horticulture. It’s wonderful that Pro Landscaper is driving this forward, and of course there are other initiatives that share the goal of inspiring more young people – including your very own GoLandscape initiative.




Rural retreat, Tring, Hertfordshire

However, with regard to TV programme makers, the media and the wider public’s perception of what we do and how we do it: there is still a very long way to go. Of course, every time we talk to prospective clients, we need to demonstrate our value and help people to appreciate the range of disciplines that we draw on – design, hardscaping, softscaping, horticulture, planning regulations…I have always seen this as part of the ‘day job’, but I would love to think that it could be made easier in future through a wider understanding of our services. We are lucky to have various trade associations, societies and others working hard on our behalf to address both the ‘war for talent’ and our industry’s professional reputation. DT - Do you tend to use regular suppliers for the soft and hard landscaping elements, or is it more about the location and the needs of the project?

JS - We have longstanding working relationships with a limited number of key suppliers, in both hardscaping (Accredited Suppliers CED Stone Group and London Stone) and softscaping (Accredited Suppliers Rochfords and Europlants UK). We genuinely view these working relationships as business partnerships, and we work collaboratively with our suppliers to achieve outcomes that are mutually beneficial. I feel that the relationships are characterised by trust, professional respect and open communication, and I hope that they feel the same! Suppliers help us to control costs, pricing variations, security and reliability of supply; and if needed they give us good, joint problem-solving and aftercare capability.



In our view, our regular suppliers benefit too - from good visibility of the ‘order pipeline’; receiving payments on time, within payment terms; our willingness to resolve any problems jointly; plus of course PR and marketing opportunities on prestigious domestic and commercial sites. However, the location and needs of the project are vitally important too and at times we need to source hardscaping or softscaping materials that are unique or somewhat different to our usual requirements. Like any responsible design and build business, we are highly committed to protecting the environment – by reducing the negative environmental impact of what we do, and actively seeking opportunities to have a positive environmental effect. With this in mind, we design with vernacular materials in mind, taking advantage of local resources which are relatively energy efficient and sustainable. DT - What percentage of your business is domestic landscaping compared to commercial design and build?

JS - Most of our work is in domestic design and build. Around 20% is commercial, this varies from year to year. Some of our most interesting projects have been in this category, including prestigious business parks, corporate head offices and several schools. We are honoured to have collaborated with the head gardener at the historic Temple Gardens in London’s legal district for several years, helping to restore some areas to their former glory after damage sustained during the Second World War and some unsympathetic repairs afterwards.

BALI Award Winner, Rickmansworth, Herts

DT - How many projects do you have on at any one time? JS - There are usually 3-4 landscape build projects underway, and our maintenance business services 60-plus clients. The company’s chief operational areas are North London and South East England, although we can deliver design services nationally. There are around 20 of us in total, including a small office-based team made up of our Horticultural and Gardens Manager Joanna, Landscape Architect Molly, a vacant position for a Contracts Manager and – importantly! – our Accounts function, handled by Barbara. Not to forget my wife Helen who works from home, taking the lead on marketing and business development.

DT - With the company founded in 1991, pre-Internet, how has the importance of digital complemented your business model? What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?

JS - It was indeed pre-Internet when we started out with two people, one vehicle and a handful of clients. At the same time, and to put things in context, John Major was in his first year as Prime Minister, Nirvana was topping the charts and people were queuing at the cinema to watch Home Alone. I didn’t have a mobile phone for the first two years, and I used to take my handwritten notes to a local typist. There have been limitless opportunities to apply digital technology to what we do since then, and we have applied new ways of working in many ways. However, I believe it is the integration of new technology along with the retention of some traditional methods that

has helped us to be efficient and to enhance our customer services.

We have developed an approach which integrates the use of CAD and associated technology with traditional hand drawing. We also use software to improve the presentation of mood boards and planting plans.

Technology has helped us to greatly enhance our communications with clients, prospective clients, professional designers, suppliers and each other. We have replaced many traditional paper-based systems with digital methods. File-sharing software is a huge help, along with smartphones enabling us to share images from landscaping site to office and suppliers. Most recently, our prime focus in terms of technology has been the creation of a new, born digital brand identity and website, both of which were launched in February. The website is our main source of enquiries and we haven’t paid for any advertising for a long time. The new website reflects our brand identity through key messages, tone of voice and visual appeal including videos showing the customer ‘journey’ when working with us. Our aim has been for the content to be SEO-friendly and to the highest user experience standards. I have no doubt that the bar will continue to rise, and I am interested to see what happens in the near future with newer approaches, especially VR and AR technologies.

DT - By offering a full design and build service, do you find this setup works well for prospective clients initially when trying to secure the work?

whether we are going to build or not. Clients are always free to use another contractor. Our pricing is the same for design work whether or not we are going to build. There can be a cost saving for the client in that there is no separate management fee. Obviously, we prefer to build ourselves as this gives us quality control over the outcome and a good income stream! We love to see projects all the way through and think that our landscaping offering does help us to secure design work. We also collaborate with other designers, building to their designs. DT - What does being an Accredited Contractor mean to you? JS - Accreditation with your Trade Association provides many benefits - to me personally and to the company overall.

Firstly, it helps us all to stay up to date with best practices. As ownermanager of a small business, it is vital not to be left behind regarding best practice, but also a challenge to find the time and resources to focus on improvement opportunities and industry trends. Statutory requirements and regulations are in a constant state of flux, along with developments in new products, new technology and ever-expanding client expectations. Being a member helps me to stay up to date and to ensure that – along with my management team and staff – we remain competitive, and we continuously improve. This includes giving us ready access to relevant professional information and expert advice; and the professional

development opportunities over the years have been invaluable to me personally and to my management team too in terms of high-quality conferences, open days and (during COVID-19) remote webinars.

Secondly, accreditation is very helpful in terms of sales and marketing. Prospective clients are (rightly!) discerning and in search of the best quality services and value that they can find. Winning work in this environment is not a ‘quick sell’ and requires careful marketing. We do this ourselves directly of course, but our efforts are boosted significantly with our membership, via the BALI website and other marketing tools including newsletters and publications. Prospective clients are naturally reassured by our certification with a professional trade body. Evidence of winning awards at regional or national levels also provides a type of quality assurance and confidence in our services. Numerous business benefits arise from meeting and getting to know fellow members. In some ways these people-related benefits are less tangible than others, but that doesn’t make them less valuable. Trade associations are basically ‘mutual interest groups’ which can lead to excellent business opportunities.

Feeling inspired? View case studies and recently completed projects whilst learning more about the company at thegardenco.co.uk or contact the team on +44(0)1442 832666 or email james@thegardenco.co.uk.

BALI Award Winner, North London Photo credit: Rebecca Bernstein

JS - Our primary offering is a ‘one-stop shop’ for clients – an end-to-end design and landscaping service that supports them every step of the way. We do find that clients love this approach, as it guarantees our personal involvement through every stage of their garden transformation. We understand their dreams at the outset and - because we are designers and landscapers - we can ensure that the dreams translate into a practical reality. We design with ‘buildability’ in mind and we bring our landscaping craftmanship and attention to detail together to make sure that the build quality is of the highest standard. However, we also make it clear to clients from the start of the process that our design offering is the same




Report by Owen Baker Technical Officer (Policy & Research)

VAT reverse charge for building and construction services


rom 1st March 2021 all sub-contractors supplying services to a VAT-registered contractor will no longer receive VAT from the contractor. Instead, the contractor will pay the VAT normally paid to the sub-contractor, directly to HMRC.

Accredited Contractor Maylim Greenwich Block 3




This means if you are a VAT-registered subcontractor, registered with the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), who currently receives VAT payments from a contractor client, as of 1st March 2021 you will no longer receive VAT from these clients. This change will affect nearly all landscape contractors and sub-contractors, and it is important members understand the consequences of the changes.

The new charge will apply where the customer (contractor) and the supplier (sub-contractor) are both: • VAT registered • Registered with the CIS • Undertaking works that are either subject to standard rate (20%) or reduced rate (5%) VAT. The reverse charge will apply to the same services currently reported under the CIS, which includes the following landscape services: • Landscaping a housing estate, an industrial estate or the surrounds of a house as a finishing operation in a wider project of construction • Landscaping a location following demolition of buildings or structures • The construction of walls, drives, patios and suchlike, as part of ‘routine landscaping’ • Tree-felling as part of site clearance • Turf laying as part of a wider project of construction.

The reverse charge does not apply when only materials are supplied but does apply when the cost of materials

is included within a service provided – and this is regardless of material or labour content. If they are on the same invoice, all are included in the reverse charge procedure.

The VAT reverse charge for building and construction services does not apply if: • Contractors use sub-contractors for zero-rated work • If the contractor or sub-contractor is not VAT registered • Where building or construction works are for end users (consumers and final customers).

• Identify and record evidence supplied to suggest the customer (contractor) is VAT registered and subject to CIS.

If the customer is not an end user and subject to the VAT reverse charge, the sub-contractor must advise on their invoice that the reverse VAT charge applies. Whilst no VAT will be charged on the invoice, the invoice must refer to the reverse charge and how much VAT is due (20% or 5%).

From now on, contractors must: • Advise the supplier (sub-contractor) if they are an end user – and therefore not subject to the reverse charge – in writing Sub-contractors must: • Ask the customer (contractor) if they are an end user and should record this request and any response in writing and retain as evidence

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Evergreens (UK) to use revolutionary air purification technology in artificial grass


n a global marketplace forecast to be worth £4.2b by 2023*, Accredited Supplier Evergreens (UK) has written to Landscape News to announce, what it calls, a revolutionary air purification Artificial Grass range - introducing AIR™.

Mature trees play a vital role in tackling the issue of airborne pollution, their foliage providing absorption and purification. Speaking to Evergreens (UK), they have developed a new solution: AIR™ from ArtificialGrass.com, which launches this spring. With every square metre replicating the air purifying skills of a mature tree, an average size AIR™ treated lawn can pack the same pollution-busting punches as 50 mature trees. One average lawn can contend with over 1kg of nitrogen oxide per year, neutralising the equivalent of a car engine’s emissions running 20km a day for a whole year.

How does it work?

Activated by sunlight, AIR™ artificial grass, pre-treated in its production process with AIR™ technology powered by Pureti, helps remove nitrogen oxides and dioxides from harmful car emissions and industrial output. Its eco-friendly, air-purifying, self-cleaning

solution combats methane build-up from animal excretions and household emissions such as formaldehyde, present in cleaning products, cosmetics and pesticides.

AIR™ technology

When UV or direct sunlight strikes the treated surface, it activates selfcleaning photocatalytic TiO2 particles. The artificial grass then uses this energy to transform humidity into powerful oxidizing agents that destroy harmful organic compounds and pollutants in the air, naturally returning them to harmless water vapour. This process repeats millions of times per second, destroying pollutants and allowing cleaner air to continuously circulate across the treated surface.

 On hearing this news, our Technical Officer, Owen Baker, investigated titanium dioxide, reporting, “Titanium is a metal commonly found in plants and animals. Similarly, titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral which has many useful properties. In the 1960s researchers discovered that, under intense UV light, a variant of titanium dioxide has the potential to decompose inorganic materials into

carbon dioxide. A development of this research resulted in titanium dioxide being used in catalyst devices on cars to remove pollutants from engine exhaust gas emissions, as well as on exhaust gases of power stations. In recent years research has focussed on the potential of titanium dioxide to be used more widely on surfaces, where – under UV light – it has the potential to serve as a coating on urban buildings to decompose pollutants and allow the surface of the building to self-clean.

By 2000 research started investigating the potential of titanium dioxide to be used as a means of purifying air in urban areas by coating concrete paving blocks with it, with the intention of reduce the concentration of nitrogen dioxide – a harmful airborne pollutant – from the environment to benefit human health.

Controlled conditions in laboratory tests gave positive results and proved the technology has the potential to contribute to a reduction in airborne pollutants, however, implementation of the technology in urban areas resulted in several variables, including exposure to abrasion, contaminants on the surface and a lack of consistent UV light.

Research proves the potential of the technology in the fight against pollution, but the variability of real-life applications has limited adoption so far and here at the British Association of Landscape Industries we are looking forward to seeing how this particular product is developed.” For more information visit artificialgrass.com/air. You can also contact the team on +44(0)800 246 5566.

*UpMarketResearch Report: Published November 2019 - Artificial Grass Turf Market Size, Share, Trends, Growth, Forecast Analysis Report by Product, By Application, By Segment, By Region Global Forecast 2018-2023



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Report by Owen Baker Technical Officer (Policy & Research)

Fuel for thought


he race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is on. Fuelled by a commitment made by the UK government and devolved administrations to reach a target of net-zero by 2050, big changes are afoot to reduce emissions generated by human activity. Whilst the definition of ‘net-zero’ allows some wiggle-room in terms of off-setting emissions, the task remains a significant one. To meet the target, the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases will be expected to implement emissionreducing initiatives. As the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2019, the transport industry - or at least a part of it - is first to face changes, with proposals to transition to a greener petrol from September 2021. There is potential to change the composition of petrol to produce (slightly) fewer greenhouse gases during combustion in engines of all sizes. Whilst this new variant of petrol is (slightly) better for the environment and unlikely to affect the majority of car owners, operators of 2-stroke and 4-stroke petrolpowered landscape equipment are encouraged to pay attention to what fuel they are using from September 2021 to avoid negative consequences from the change.



Most readers will have heard of the term ‘biofuel’, which is broadly defined as fuel produced from plant or animal matter, as opposed to the traditional geological processes involved in fossil fuel production. Ethanol is a type of biofuel that can be produced via a process of fermentation from any raw material which contains a high proportion of sugar or starch, commonly sugar cane, sugar beet and molasses. Fossil fuels may be combined with ethanol. Most standard unleaded petrol currently sold in the UK contains 5% ethanol and features an ‘E5’ label on the pump. From summer 2021 the proportion of bioethanol will increase to 10% and be labelled ‘E10’.

Whilst increased ethanol use is of potential benefit to the environment, it poses challenges to owners of smaller petrol-powered equipment and members should be aware of the following potential issues:

• Ethanol can cause problems in older machinery by dissolving soft materials used in parts such as seals and gaskets, not designed to be immersed in petrol which contains ethanol • Prolonged exposure to ethanol can result in parts failing, resulting in fuel

leaks or poorly running engines

• When in long term storage (for example, during the winter), fuel containing ethanol may also become acidic and cause corrosion of aluminium, zinc and galvanised materials, brass, copper and lead/tin coated steels – all of which are likely to be found in older engines

Due to its propensity to absorb – and later separate – from water, ethanol can cause water to settle within parts of the engine such as the fuel tank, carburettor, or fuel injection system and cause difficult starting and even corrosion. Consequently, landscape equipment stored for a period of more than 30 days may be difficult to start and require stale fuel draining from the fuel system prior to use. Engines fitted to landscape equipment sold within the past 10 years are generally compatible with petrol containing ethanol, to the extent that the materials used in their manufacture are resistant to the potentially corrosive effects of ethanol. Although guidance differs between manufacturers (and the instruction manual should be the first point of reference), most equipment sold within the last 10 years can be run on either E5 or E10 petrol without any modification.

Owners of older equipment, or those who wish to avoid running their equipment on fuel with 10% ethanol, have options:

correct procedure is followed prior to storage of machinery for more than 30 days, to prevent equipment damage and breakdown.

• Aspen is another brand who offer ethanol free fuels and pre-mixed 2-stroke fuel for landscape equipment

Owner’s manuals should be the consult if in doubt. The ethanol-free fuels discussed earlier can remain in machines without issue and generally have a storage life of several years.

• Several manufacturers offer fuel specifically formulated for new and old landscape equipment which contains no ethanol. For example, Accredited Supplier Andreas Stihl produce Moto4Plus for 4-stroke engines and MotoMix for 2-stroke engines.

From September 2021, all premium or super-unleaded fuel will be sold with a lower 5% ethanol content for the foreseeable future. This fuel is more expensive than standard unleaded but ensures greater compatibility with older engines. Regardless of equipment age, however, is the need to ensure the

Guidance differs between manufacturers, with some suggesting all fuel is drained from machines prior to storage, whereas others suggest an additive - commonly called fuel stabilisers - may be added to the fuel tank prior to machine storage to prevent petrol from deteriorating.

The change to E10 fuel is a quick fix whilst longer-term sources of power, which produce fewer greenhouse gases, are developed. Despite advances in battery technology, gaps remain in product capability and user needs, which means petrol and diesel engines will remain for the foreseeable future.

Modern machinery is faster, more powerful and efficient than ever before, and the industry has come to expect relentless progress from manufacturers of all types of equipment. However, machinery must use sophisticated technology to meet increasingly stringent regulations, which makes it sensitive to poor maintenance. Operators play an increasingly important role in ensuring of equipment is running at optimum efficiency.

Owen Baker Technical Officer (Policy & Research)

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Report by Owen Baker Technical Officer (Policy & Research)

Custodians of the landscape, hear our call, we have a planet to save


y our very nature, landscape professionals care for the environment. We are more than designers, constructors or suppliers; we are custodians of the land who take pride in leaving landscapes in a better condition than before we found them. Long before climate change and sustainability were headline news, landscape professionals were making positive contributions to the environment at every scale, creating habitats for flora and fauna, managing water responsibly and increasing the cover of plants. As time has progressed and data gathered, scientific evidence

suggests, unless global greenhouse gases are reined-in by 2050, it will be impossible to prevent a global average temperature increase, which will bring potentially disastrous levels of flooding, drought, and famine on a global scale. In response, the UK committed to the 2008 Climate Change Act and with it, an 80% reduction in carbon emissions relative to 1990 levels, to be achieved by 2050. In 2019 the target was increased to a reduction of at least 100%.

Whilst measures to reduce emissions have largely gone unnoticed until now, meeting the 2050 target will mean national government policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions are likely to get a lot more personal. As already mentioned in this edition of Landscape News, transport - the biggest producer of greenhouse gases in 2019 - is now being targeted. Due to its reliance on fossil fuels for equipment and transportation, the landscape industry is facing potentially costly initiatives to encourage adoption of equipment that consumes renewable energy sources as opposed to fossil fuels. However, outside of government mandated policies, the landscape industry continues to strive for excellence, by delivering voluntary initiatives that show care for the environment and resources.



Accredited Supplier Barcham Trees have recently developed a system to help customers identify the extent to which different tree varieties lock-up carbon during growth. Using a home appliance style ‘A’ to ‘E’ rating, the measurement is estimated dry weight at maturity, so the longer a tree lives and the larger it gets, the better a contribution it can potentially deliver. Here at Landscape House, our team is in the process of arranging an online presentation for members, from an American business, who are pioneering a system of measuring the whole life carbon cost of a landscape project. It’s incredibly exciting prospect so make sure you bookmark our website, bali.org.uk and ensure you are signed up to receive our weekly BALI Newsletter by contacting my colleague Darren Taylor, darren.taylor@bali.org.uk to be one of the first to hear the news and confirm your place.

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In Canberra you must have a licence for residential building work, including structural landscaping

Raising standards in landscaping


n the last edition, I mused on the perceived value of landscaping and suggested ways in which members could focus on those clients that value what you do, rather than trying to change the minds of those that don’t. This time we explore how raising standards could increase the perceived value of our industry.

Looking back 20 years, there were aspirations for our Trade Association to be like “Corgi” (now “GasSafe”), a body so strong that using anyone but an accredited contractor would render insurances null and void, invalidate material warranties etc. Big claims indeed and an initiative that lost some traction as those involved retired from the board. It’s probably fair to say that it was just too big a dream at that point, but I recently came across evidence that suggests it might be time to re-open the case? I was shadowing a new vetting officer last year on a visit to see Paul Bentley of Accredited Contractor The Landscape Gardener Southern. Paul had not long returned from a stint in Australia and was curious that trades didn’t require any licensing to operate in the UK. Whilst writing this, my thoughts drifted back to my conversation with Paul. After all, if a sector is licensed it raises the barriers to entry and it will naturally become more valuable… wont it? Having so few barriers to



entering the landscape market is, in my opinion, why rogue traders persist. Anyone with a trowel and a wheelbarrow can do a leaflet drop and is up and running. But what if they needed a license to trade, how would that affect the marketplace?

I have taken a brief look at systems in Australia and the US to see what’s involved, and if it could work in the UK.

In New South Wales (NSW), a state that includes the capital (Canberra) and Sydney, you must have a licence before you do any residential building work, including “structural landscaping” valued at more than A$5000 (approx. £2,700). There are different levels of licence, and costs range from around $200 to around $325 per year. This is in addition to the NSW Fair trade license. Queensland is similar, with a lower threshold of A$3,300. In South Australia, you need a builder’s licence and a supervisor’s license to carry out any landscape works. Things are a little more relaxed in the Northern Territory, where trading requirements vary from council to council, with some requiring you to hold a home improvement licence. Like Australia, there are too many to list here, but there are a range of controls in use across the states. Most require a licence similar to our PA system for applying chemical pesticides. Some consider landscaping a specialty and require

Report by Richard Gardiner Technical Officer (Quality Assurance) licenses for all landscape works. Some states just require a license for structural work, a little like Australia.

In addition to licencing, some states also require a surety bond of which varies in value but $10,000 seems typical. Some have no specific licensing but advise you to check your local licencing requirements. When it comes to eligibility to hold such licences, these vary from state to state too. Most states with special licencing in place require experience, normally 3-4 years. Most also require a qualification at Level 3 or above, as well as a test or exam at the time of applying for the license. It appears to be reasonably common to require some form of trading license to run any business too, and these often require the passing of an exam, to ensure operators have an understanding of the laws governing their business.

Now I’m not one for too much red tape, much of it serves little purpose in my view, but I do feel that if the UK extended some form of licensing to our industry, our members would find the playing field on which they ply their trade to be a little more level. Calling all members, what do you think about having a licensing or regulatory industry body? Share your thoughts in our Members-Only Facebook Group bit.ly/3cecu3B

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Preserving the WPA’s campaign for treated wood

For those who need further guidance on what the most critical Use Classes mean in practice, WPA have developed new ‘A4 Guidance Notes’ on ‘Understanding Use Class 2,3 & 4’ preservative treated wood. These include a simple explanation of what national standards require for each application, what species are most suitable, what preservative penetration to expect in different treated commodities and the necessary quality control criteria.

For further information or guidance on any of the above please download these new ‘Guidance Notes’ and the ‘WPA Buyers Guide to Treated Wood’ from the resources page of the WPA website via thewpa.org.uk or give them a call on +44(0)1977 558274.


e’re delighted to confirm that we are helping to support and preserve the Wood Protection Association’s campaign to promote the accurate description of preservative treated wood. Market feedback suggests that meaningless generic expressions such as ‘green treated’ are still prevalent. The inaccurate description of preservative treated products inevitably increases the chance of failure in service and subsequent customer complaints, particularly for outdoor and landscaping applications. The Wood Protection Association (WPA) believes the answer is to keep the message as simple as possible and communicate it regularly through the right channels. To that end, we have now confirmed that we will be supporting the WPA to help promote a consistent message across our membership network and the landscaping sector. It’s a mistake to assume that all pressure treated wood is the same. Whilst one piece of treated wood may look very much like any other, the level of preservative protection could be very different. That’s because the British Standard for



wood preservation, BS 8417, requires that the loading and penetration of preservative impregnated into the wood is tailored to the desired end use. Applications for treated wood are therefore grouped into ‘Use Classes’. Specifiers and users of preservative treated wood products must therefore ask for the appropriate Use Class so as to be sure that the products they buy are fit for the intended purpose (See table below).

Image courtesy of Gripsure / Elmtree Garden Contractors

You can rely on treated timber in the landscape

when you follow the simple

Ground Rules

Preservative pressure treatment provides wood with added durability. However, it’s a mistake to assume that all pressure treated wood is the same – treatment levels should be tailored to the desired end use (Use Classes). When ground contact timber is treated correctly to Use Class 4, it is fit for purpose – evidence from WPA field trials supports this. Several timber trade bodies are working together to help ensure that quality standards are assured across the timber supply chain – so whether you buy or sell treated timber you can rely on its performance, just follow the simple Ground Rules.

for ground contact treated timbers:

Specify Use Class 4

levels of preservative treatment – anything less and service life, structural safety and customer satisfaction will be compromised.

Use a trusted treater

who has third party accreditation of their operational quality management systems – such as the WPA Benchmark Scheme.

Be prepared to pay

for quality – premium products incur higher costs but their inherent value is priceless when performance in the field is paramount.

Typical Use Class 4 applications include: Fence posts, retaining walls, landscaping timbers, playground equipment, decking posts, decking joists, boardwalk substructures and any external application where structural integrity is essential for user safety.

The Make Sure it’s 4 campaign is supported by:

Find a WPA Benchmark Approved treater:


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Women are the hidden pool of talent the landscape industry is crying out for


e face a crunch point in our industry. At a time of surging demand for good landscape contractors, our industry is facing a recruitment crisis, with lower numbers of new entrants to replace those retiring exacerbated by Brexit labour shortages.

And yet it feels as if we have not tapped into the most blindingly obvious resource: women. They may make up half of the population, but women account for just 11% of the construction sector workforce and 1% of those on site.

We’ve been talking about better representation for so long that I’m confident we all know the face of the industry must change. The landscape contractors we work with say they are desperate to employ more women and benefit from the skills and

Charlotte Harris doing what she loves best



Report by Charlotte Harris Co-director of Harris Bugg Studio experiences they bring. And of course, diversity extends way beyond gender, too. We all know the hard-nosed metrics - more diverse workplaces result in more profitable businesses. So what can we do? Organisations like the British Association of Landscape Industries have a golden moment, right now, to champion a new vision. A serious campaign of recruitment aimed at groups not traditionally represented in landscape construction gives us the greatest opportunity to inject new energies. It also helps educate the wider public that landscape construction is a relevant and respected choice for everyone, regardless of background. It is a career of skill and creativity, of attention to detail and achievement.

Getting that message into schools early - before GSCE choices demonstrates our industry offers fulfilling and meaningful career paths with a myriad of opportunities for women as well as men. We can all play our part in celebrating the richness of careers and opportunities, from project management and procurement through to the trades. Ours is a sector of huge versatility with an endless range of options to develop interests and specialisms.

‘Women Into Construction’ are a brilliant organisation with fantastic mentoring and support programmes; let’s work alongside them to roll out this success in landscape. And we also need to reach out to career changers - women and men - coming to us later in life. Landscape design is full of them; why shouldn’t construction be? Let’s have open, truthful discussions about the barriers - real or perceived - to women on site and then really commit to working hard to dismantle them. That includes addressing the assumption that work on site is just about physical strength; a misconception that diminishes the skill and craft of contractors as well as the abilities of women. Improving site facilities is a given. Making patterns of work more flexible and more family friendly is good for everyone, not just women.

By creating places that connect people to nature, our industry has demonstrated we have real impact on mental and physical wellbeing. Now more than ever, people are becoming attuned to the importance of landscape. If there’s a rallying moment for us to make meaningful change to the makeup of our workforce, surely it should be now. www.harrisbugg.com

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Outdoor play should be on the Mental Health agenda

BALI joins GRO in celebrating World Green Roof Day


ast year we celebrated the inaugural World Green Roof Day. Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, there was plenty of noise around green roofing across social media. Projects from over 57 countries were shared with the Green Roof Organisation (GRO and admired around the globe. This campaign has shown the strength and passion of our landscape community, as well as the skill and talent across the industry.


he Association of Play Industries (API) has informed Landscape News that they have written to the Government as part of a campaign organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood (APPGFHC) that comprises academics, service providers, charities and practitioners. An open meeting was called by the APPGFHC on 8th February in response to the publication of the ‘Mental Health White Paper’* which appears to focus heavily on treatments and cures at the expense of prevention. The 70+ attendees have been urged to respond to the White Paper and submit the legislation they would like to see to the Select Committee on Health and Social Care: Inquiry into ‘Children and young people’s mental health’.

API Chair, Mark Hardy, told Landscape News, “Providing outdoor play opportunities is both a protective and a preventative public health measure and urgent and sustained investment in a national network of community playgrounds is needed to safeguard children’s mental health.

“The Government must ask why children’s mental health is in crisis and implement policies to prevent so many children reaching breaking point. Outdoor play is essential to children’s normal development and a key factor in their mental health and emotional wellbeing and yet the numbers of public, free-toaccess play spaces are in steep decline. The repeated lockdowns of the last year have meant that children have been under varying degrees of house arrest for months, exacerbating an already worrying trend from outdoor to indoor time. “The relatively modest investment required to create a sustainable network of public playgrounds across the UK would have a substantial, positive effect on the mental health of children and represent a simple yet highly effective public health measure”. To find out more information on the API visit api-play.org.

*Mental Health White Paper gov.uk/government/consultations/ reforming-the-mental-health-act/reforming-the-mental-health-act



Chris Bridgman from Accredited Contractor Bridgman & Bridgman LLP told Landscape News, “World Green Roof Day” is now an officially recognised celebratory day of the year, taking place annually on the 6th June. We would love to get as many landscape professionals involved again this year. Green space appreciation and awareness of the climate crisis is one of the better things to emerge from the pandemic. We want to build on this and celebrate green roofs as one way we can address some of the climate and biodiversity issues we face in our lives.” Members are encouraged to share videos, stories, images and case studies on social media using the hashtag #WGRD2021. You can also find out more about the day at worldgreenroofday. com or for more information on the GRO visit greenrooforganisation.org

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elping your brand and business to grow with expert digital marketing support and advice. Make the most of your online presence with this exclusive membership benefit, powered by Google Premier Partner and one of the UK’s largest full-service digital marketing agencies, Adtrak. Getting your marketing and digital strategy implemented when times are good is important, but when times are challenging it is vital you increase awareness, expand your market share and gain new customers. As a member you have access to BALI Digital, which provides favourable rates for the following services: • Free website audit • Website design review • Website security checks • Mobile-friendliness test • Website page speed score • Website build and structure review • SEO/Google performance review

BALI Digital entitles you to exclusive discounts on a variety of options, from a one-page website, a 10-page website or even a project specific build. It’s flexible and the team will work to your needs and requirements.

To find out more about this membership benefit, login to your member’s area at bali.org.uk/login and look for the ‘BALI Digital’ page in your list of available benefits.



The webinar is being held via GoToWebinar, an easy-to-use virtual meeting platform. It will be split into two parts:

New Event - How to Get Better Quality Work in 2021

On 20th April, Adtrak will be hosting a free webinar exclusively for members to help them improve the quality of their leads. Led by Ben Shaw, Account Director at Adtrak, who has over 20 years of experience in a range of sectors, including the landscape industry, and Caroline Hill, one of Adtrak’s senior graphic designers with over nine years of experience in transforming brands. Branding is a key component of a business’ identity and an important driver of brand awareness and customer acquisition, and so Caroline’s expertise will be of great use to members.

Session 1: 8:45am - 9:30am Effective Branding to Attract the Correct Customers: Caroline will be providing her insight into the importance of branding and the role of branding in acquiring better quality leads. This session will include a Q&A, so attendees can receive expert advice about all things brand. Session 2: 9:45am - 10:30am

Display Your Work Effectively: This session will focus on the best ways of displaying your work for engagement and lead generation. From web design and online presence to video content and portfolios, Ben and Caroline will impart their digital marketing expertise, as well as taking questions in a Q&A. If you’re interested in growing your business online, improving your brand and the quality of your leads, then this webinar is for you. Find out more information and reserve your place by visiting bali.org.uk/events

THE AWARDS ARE OPEN FOR ENTRIES! Visit baliawards.co.uk to view the categories and entry criteria and submit online today. Contractor/Designer/Group Early Bird Discount Deadline: 5th May 2021 Final Deadline: 2nd June 2021

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Does e-learning have a place in our industries’ education?


n landscaping and horticulture, you never stop learning, but does it work as a virtual subject? Whilst our industry is hands-on and practical, are there aspects that we could not only learn virtually, but may well be better in this format? The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has reported a surge in enquiries for its distance learning courses and many of our training provider members offer Register of Land-Based Operations (ROLO) courses online. It might be your view of education is the traditional school experience, the teacher in front of the board, talking at the students. The class takes place at a set time, duration, according to a strict timetable and often entails homework. Many people happily learn

Report by Stephen Ensell Education Officer

this way, and some have moved this format online to carry on. But it’s not the only way, or necessarily even the best way, for everyone.


Times have changed, technology has advanced, and the old distance ‘correspondence course’ has had a face lift! The biggest advantage of e-learning is its flexibility, you can set you own pace and times to study, this could be first thing in the morning, after the children have gone to bed or around your work commitments. You are not tied to a timetable, don’t have to stress about missing classes and trying to catch-up. This means you can do it when it’s convenient, fast track through it if you have the time, or consume it in ’bite sized chunks’.


Technology has brought learning on, there is so much available to help us. No longer do we have to rely on just paper courses sent through the post, we can now stream videos, access eBooks and materials, visit virtual classrooms and webinars, email, text and call lecturers. And all these improve your digital skills at the same time!

Pause and review

In many traditional classroom settings, you have to listen and read the PowerPoint all whilst taking down notes; do you capture everything? We remember around 50% of what we see and hear, so, if we are in this type of setting, what happens to the other 50% once it’s over? With virtual materials, you can re-watch and reread to make sure you capture it all. E-learning allows you to pick a time that works for you, as well as being able to pause and review what has been taught.

Is this style of learning for everyone and can all our industries education be taught this way? Of course not, there are certain skills that must be taught face (mask) to face (mask), but there are some incredibly exciting areas that address the theory behind our practices. To read more articles like this, including a regular blog written by Stephen, visit the golandscape.co.uk website and check out the latest news section for more details and look for the ‘BALI Digital’ page in your list of available benefits.

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A fresh perspective from a horticulture recruitment expert

Supporting members with industry relevant training

Written by Marian Barker Accredited Supplier, Fresh Horticultural Careers


s we emerge from the pandemic, recruitment for our industry will become an even hotter topic. The industry will be one of the winners at the end of all this as our greenspaces, both public and private, become more important than ever with the pandemic having highlighted just how vital they are to our health and wellbeing. However, the skills shortage of the last decade will not disappear and we need to be mindful that this does not stifle growth. It is imperative that we do not waste this opportunity to promote the career choices within horticulture and landscaping. In the meantime, finding staff with both experience and qualifications continues to challenge.

Horticulture has always attracted a high percentage of career changers and

Report by Stephen Ensell

this is likely to increase post pandemic. However, the majority are most likely to opt for design orientated courses, and qualifications gained will not necessarily help us to identify those with the correct aptitude.

In the long term we need to lobby both the government and education sector to incorporate horticulture qualifications, both practical and academic, into the National Curriculum. We need to signpost the industry to our younger generations at a much earlier stage in their school career. At this time a flexible approach is needed, and employers need to be prepared to offer ongoing training and mentoring both on the job and off-site courses. Inexperienced staff need ongoing support and those newly qualified need the chance to test their knowledge in the field.

As is so often said you can train for skills but not for attitude! If you’re a member and need help recruiting for a role in the industry, contact marian@freshhortcareers.com, call +44(0)207 7937825 or visit freshhortcareers.com


esearch over the last few years from landscape companies is showing a worrying trend that they are finding it increasingly difficult to source relevant external landscape and horticulture training opportunities for themselves and their employees. With barriers like employee time commitments, and the quality of course content, duration and costs not being appropriate, our Trade Association sees the importance of not only raising industry standards, but also playing a stronger role in supporting and supplying specific training and education. The British Association of Landscape Industries has now taken steps to see how we can support members with this challenge. Over the last 18 months, through our industry steering group, we have been conducting our own research into existing training and education, exploring and mapping this to the skills and standards that landscape companies need for their employees and the work they carry out. The intention is to develop a technical training scheme that covers these much-needed skills, based on industry fundamental standards, appropriate to the varying levels needed. This will then assist both the employer and the employee to develop essential skills and knowledge, that will help fill skills gaps.

Although the pandemic has hindered the progress of this scheme in terms of bringing it into its pilot phase, additional research work has continued, with syllabuses and assessment criteria being created for several subject areas. With the likely easing of lockdown over the next few months, trials are planned for later in the year. If you’re interested in getting involved contact stephen.ensell@bali.org.uk or call +44(0)24 7518 5611.



Oakham Garden Services - CAD Design

Recruiting top talent from a contractor’s perspective


Written by Ben Parkinson, Company Director of Accredited Contractor, Oakham Garden Services

ith initial indicators signalling that 2021 will again favour the landscaping industry, opportunities are likely to be abundant – but do you have the team to deliver the dream?

As I reflect, as most of us do at this time of year, I can see how far Oakham Garden Services has come. I’ve always thought we had a good team, but I now know that we have a great team! We made a pledge less than two years ago to raise our game and we knew very quickly that we wouldn’t be able to grow our business without investing in our recruitment practices and ensuring that we are in a position to attract and retain the candidates of our choice. As our business evolves, we have worked hard to build a positive culture and we have created a company that our team wants to be a part of; everyone wants to come to work they don’t live for the weekends, or dread Monday mornings. They share our excitement about new projects, they are motivated, and they want to excel. We all strive for excellence and we share a thirst for learning, but we do recognise that challenges are

inevitable and not every day goes 100% to plan. We all understand the importance of demonstrating professionalism, and this is backed up by encouraging the team to display and showcase their personality, as having fun is important to us all.

We are serious about the work we do and the commitments we make to our clients, but that doesn’t mean we have to be serious at all times!

Finding new team members who complement our business is crucial to our success and future growth. I know what a challenge it can be to get it right, how tempting it can be to rush or compromise and how painful it can be to get it wrong. We have been working closely with an outsourced HR consultant, Emma Spradbury, since last year and we have implemented a structured, robust and bespoke recruitment process that is designed not only to identify and attract top talent, but to recognise the people we are confident will fit in most comfortably and be happiest working with us. As Emma says, “Legal compliance is the starting point, of course, but many business owners make the mistake of thinking that they have the skills and experience required because they have been hiring for years; but often they are ignorant to the nuances of Employment Law. Whilst it’s critical to be compliant, will this guarantee an effective process? Absolutely not! A box ticking exercise is likely to take time and cost money

but is unlikely to yield the results you were hoping for. Once compliance and consistency are in hand, my priority is to work with my clients to design recruitment and selection activities which will facilitate the outcomes they are looking for whilst complimenting their style - the wins come from being authentic and prioritising the human aspect of what we do, and how we do it.”

At the heart of recruitment, and all of our people practices, are our company values. When we are looking to introduce new team members into the business, we are ultimately offering someone a piece of what we have worked hard to create; it’s not just a job, it’s a genuine opportunity and the start of a potential career with us that doesn’t have a ceiling. We don’t gift that lightly, or without careful consideration. Feeling inspired? Looking to strive for perfection in a team environment? Visit oakhamgardenservices.co.uk/ work-with-us to find out more.




A look at what’s to come

Confirmed dates for industry shows and events for 2021. Correct at time of print. For the most up-to-date listings visit bali.org.uk/events 20th - 23rd May 25th - 27th June 6th - 11th July

17th - 18th July 21st - 25th July

4th - 8th August

13th - 15th August

7th - 12th September

14th - 16th September 21st - 26th September 14th October 30th October – 1st November 3rd - 4th November

16th - 17th November 3rd December

Harrogate Flower Show Spring Essentials 2021 flowershow.org.uk

RHS Garden Harlow Carr Flower Show 2021 rhs.org.uk

RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2021 10am-7pm Tuesday-Saturday/10am-5pm Sunday rhs.org.uk The Belvoir Castle Flower and Garden Show 2021 RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2021 10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday rhs.org.uk

RHS Garden Hyde Hall Flower Show 2021 rhs.org.uk

RHS Garden Rosemoor Flower Show 2021 rhs.org.uk RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show 2021 7 rhs.org.uk

Glee 2021 9am-6pm Tuesday-Wednesday/9am-4pm Thursday thenec.co.uk/whats-on/glee RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 8am-8pm Tuesday-Saturday/8am-5:30pm Sunday rhs.org.uk Perennial Festival Dinner 2021 perennial.org.uk/events/festival-dinner Great Britain Live – Best of British 2021 greatbritainlive.co.uk

SALTEX 2021 75th Anniversary gmasaltex.co.uk FutureScape Expo 2021 futurescapeevent.com 45th BALI National Landscape Awards 2021 baliawards.co.uk

We’re returning to shows and events this summer


e’re excited to confirm we will be exhibiting at The Belvoir Castle Flower and Garden Show, RHS Chelsea Flower Show, RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, SALTEX and FutureScape Expo. We’re also planning on exhibiting at the BBC Gardener’s World Live but at the time of print no new date for 2021 has been confirmed. The team at Landscape House are looking forward to meeting members, promoting the opportunities of membership to prospect members and promoting member services to the public. For a full list of industry shows and events visit bali.org.uk/events, and to find out more about member exclusive stand sharing opportunities, login to your member’s area, bali.org.uk/login and look for ‘Events’ under membership benefits.



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06/01/2021 20:34

Profile for British Association of Landscape Industries

British Association of Landscape Industries - Landscape News Spring 2021  

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