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April 2017 | Volume 7, Issue 4


April 2017



Welcome to April 2017



A warm welcome to April’s edition of Pro Landscaper, which continues to be packed with in-depth articles portraying the diversity of our industry. I am honoured to be invited, in the first month of my retirement, to be the magazine’s first guest editor. At FutureScape 2016, Ann-Marie Powell instigated the concept of an interdisciplinary exchange, a challenge Jim and Lisa invited us to take up. In February, my colleague David Witham and I had the privilege of touring the Pro Landscaper office. The intention was for us to gain an understanding of the processes associated with pulling together the magazine which, in my opinion, is becoming a market leader. Apart from the obvious enthusiasm of the team,

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the first thing that hit me was its sheer size. It is vast, and I wasn’t prepared for the scale of the operation. Whilst I appreciate that the staff are working simultaneously on a number of other publications, the size of the research and support teams was impressive. Willerby Landscapes Ltd reciprocated the invitation, and Jim and Lisa joined us for a day in our working life. Rest assured we didn’t dress it up, starting with a 7am briefing in sub-zero temperatures on a London rooftop. I trust you will all enjoy the insight, featured on pages 22-23. April is generally a watershed month for the industry, seeing the transition of winter into spring. Our focus turns from awards ceremonies to flower shows and the publicity machinery cranks into life, focusing on the first, and arguably most challenging, show: RHS Chelsea.


On the 6 April 2017 the all-industry apprenticeship levy comes into force. The scheme will only touch a tiny fraction of employers within the industry, those with a workforce wage bill in excess of £3m. I think the structure and banding of the levy has little relevance to our diverse industry. For this reason, I strongly urge you to get behind and support the GoLandscape initiative, which could have a more tangible impact on recruitment into the sector. To any youngsters reading this magazine, I encourage you to step on board with us. It’s a great industry with an eclectic mix of people. To those starting out, the opportunities are vast — aim high, chase your dreams, and dare to fail.

John Melmoe

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Pro Landscaper is published 12 times per year by Eljays44 Ltd. The 2017 subscription price is £95.00. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA, UK. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Eljays44 Ltd and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, uncommissioned photographs or manuscripts. Whilst every effort has been made to maintain the integrity of our advertisers, we accept no responsibility for any problem, complaints, or subsequent litigation arising from readers’ responses to advertisements in the magazine. We also wish to emphasise that views expressed by editorial contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.

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MANAGEMENT Managing Director Jim Wilkinson Director Lisa Wilkinson Business Development Manager Jamie Wilkinson Managing Editor Joe Wilkinson

Subeditor – Charlie Cook Tel: 01903 777 578

Leader.indd 3

Pro Landscaper / March 2017


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April 2017 INFORM


Agenda Is globalisation good for the British landscape industry?


10 News Our monthly roundup of industry news

15 News Extra: RHS Apprentices

The benefits of the scheme

16 Association News The latest updates from efig, SGD, BALI, RHS, APL and Parks Alliance

20 APL Awards

COVER STORY The winners from the APL Awards 2017

Concept to Delivery


APL AWARDS 2017 winners announced



Pro Landscaper visits some of the company’s current projects

Manoj Malde and Dan Riddleston continue their diary series

29 Let’s Hear it From

COVER STORY Skidmores of Hertford Ltd

32 Company Profile We speak to Patricia Fox of landscape design practice Aralia

34 Landscape Architect’s Journal Gustafson Porter + Bowman

37 View from the Top

COVER STORY Marcus Watson discusses the potential impact of Brexit on mergers and acquisitions in UK landscaping

39 It’s Not Just a Man’s World David Dodd asks why there are so few women working in hard landscaping in this day and age


Pro Landscaper / April 2017

Contents.indd 4

April 2017




22 On Site with Willerby

25 RHS Chelsea Diaries



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41 Second Time Around Many ‘revolutionary’ ideas have been done before, says Angus Lindsay

42 Changing Perception Andrew Wilson explains why low cost garden design isn’t viable

45 Floral Kingdom Adam White relives his holiday visit to South Africa’s Cape Floral Kingdom

47 The March of Progress Pro Landscaper visits Winchester in our latest council feature


53 Reclaim the Past Daniel Shea gives a cottage garden a contemporary update

56 London Luxury Elite Landscapes delivers modern elegance atop a London superstore

60 First Class Living Landscapes creates a family-friendly entertainment space with a slick finish

63 In Step Katherine Roper Landscape and Garden Design transforms a sloping front garden

66 Summer Dreaming Anji Connell suggests some covered furniture to inspire in summer

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Nursery Factfile Nederhoff-Plant


Planting Mature Trees Top tips from the experts

101 Managing Natural Turf in Shaded Areas

Five turf experts give their advice EDUCATE

104 Helping You Make a Profit Sam Hassall breaks down labour costs

107 It’s Good To Talk Sean Butler offers advice on communication

108 High and Mighty Paul Newman on roof terrace design

110 Mobile-Friendly Websites Having a mobile-friendly website is vital for modern businesses, says Adtrak’s Ben Shaw


Higher Values Mutual respect is crucial in business, says Robert Webber


85 Nurture News 69 A Brief History of Time


John Melmoe reflects on his 32 years as managing director of Willerby Landscapes

73 The Future of Willerby Landscapes

As he takes the helm, Rick Davies looks ahead

76 Choosing Decking Composite or hardwood? John Keohane and Karl Harrison make the cases

79 Latest Products Bespoke fencing and decorative aggregates

Contents.indd 5

A roundup of news from the UK’s growing sector

86 Designer Plants Nigel Philips plants a transitional border for a country garden

89 Deer Fodder Andy McIndoe recommends some deer-proof plants

91 Quietly Does It It’s time to reappraise the peace lily, says Ian Drummond

92 Heavy Petal

COVER STORY Jamie Butterworth on his favourite blossom trees

112 Ethical Sourcing Steven Walley explains why sourcing ethically isn’t always easy

114 Look Out For Ewan Sewell

117 What I’m Reading Fleur Porter reviews Garden Design by Patricia Pérez Rumpler

118 What’s Your Role? Colin Smith, regional account manager at GRITIT Ltd

121 Ride-on Mowers A roundup of ride-on mowers and expert maintenance advice

125 RHS Bursaries Pro Landscaper highlights the RHS Bursaries programme

130 Little Interview Quick-fire questions to the people who make up our industry

Pro Landscaper / April 2017


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Sam Hassall Managing director, LandPro Ltd

In his new series, specialist landscape cost consultant Sam Hassall helps industry contractors make a profit by analysing expenditure, starting with labour. In this first instalment, Sam looks at the factors that influence labour cost, and provides illustrative figures to help you calculate the cost to your own company. @SamLandPro @SamLibr8

Marcus Watson

Jamie Butterworth

Steven Walley

Managing director, Ground Control

Show plant manager, Hortus Loci

Managing director, London Stone

In this issue, Marcus Watson considers Brexit’s impact on the UK landscaping industry, and examines how merger and acquisition activity is likely to be affected as a result of the decision. Assessing Brexit against a backdrop of international financial and political uncertainty, Marcus reflects on how the UK’s decision to leave the EU presents both risks and opportunities to the industry.

In this month’s column, Jamie Butterworth is reminded that Chelsea is fast approaching, and celebrates the arrival of spring with nature’s very own confetti – blossom. Jamie recommends a selection of his favourite blossom trees, places to visit for inspiration, and reflects on this fleeting, floral embodiment of spring.

Steven Walley kicks off a new three-part mini-series looking at the ethical sourcing of stone, and how ethics and good business can go hand in hand. Steven begins by exploring some of the challenges involved in ethical sourcing, including the complex and fragmented nature of Indian stone supply chains. @MDrWatson @Gardener_jamie @LondonStoneSW

Adam White Director, Davies White Ltd Angus Lindsay Head of fleet, idverde Andrew Wilson Garden designer and lecturer David Dodd Landscaper and lecturer

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Other contributors Anji Connell Interior architect and landscape designer

Robert Webber Founder, Scenic Lighting

Andy McIndoe Leading horticulturist

Sean Butler Director, Cube 1994

Ian Drummond Creative director, Indoor Garden Design

Paul Newman Owner, Paul Newman Landscapes Ben Shaw National account director, Adtrak

Pro Landscaper / April 2017


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IS THE INDUSTRY AT RISK OF LOSING ITS IDENTITY TO GLOBALISATION? IS THIS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO THE INDUSTRY’S FAILURE TO ATTRACT NEW RECRUITS? The UK landscape industry is covertly being subjected to the effects of globalisation. Rising business confidence in the UK supports revenue expansion, which is attracting interest from overseas companies. This month, we ask whether our industry is at risk of losing its identity to the effects of globalisation, and whether this is a contributing factor to the industry’s failure to attract new recruits...

Martyn Mogford Chairman, Gavin Jones Landscape

I suspect that only a few operators will have experienced any pressure from overseas operators coming in (if indeed they are, which I do not know) to take advantage of the rising business confidence in the UK. There is an argument that larger landscape companies are more attractive to up-and-coming students seeking a career path. So if multinationals are getting more involved in the UK landscape industry, this could increase career opportunities, with the extra personal development and support infrastructure that larger operators tend to offer. 8

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Pro Landscaper / April 2017

I think lack of recruits currently has far more to do with our education system, which doesn’t encourage brighter A to C grade students to consider a land based vocation as an exciting alternative with lots of opportunity for a fulfilling and well-remunerated career. Mainstream schools are driven by academic results to achieve GCSE and A level results, and their level of success is judged on this. It may be that to get the brighter students we need to inspire them early on with our BALI ambassadors visiting schools, but also encourage them to complete their higher education and consider the wide range of land based opportunities thereafter.

protect its identity to make this happen. Landscaping has an extremely bright future in the modern world of environmental awareness and pressures. In turn, this will then be seen to be an attractive area to work in, with higher rewards and prospects. Difficulty with recruitment is in part due to the industry’s image and perceived weak financial rewards, but this is changing as its increasing value to society is becoming promoted and recognised.

Peter Bassett

The image of the landscape industry from outside the UK is one of professionalism and creativity, and this is the reason why investors are arriving. Personally, I don’t believe it will dilute our identity. For instance, approximately 2-3% of the existing BALI membership is under foreign ownership, and in grounds maintenance there has been only one major acquisition by a European owner in the last two years. The industry media platforms are all under UK ownership, with 99% of the content about UK projects and developments. I believe mixed messages about UK opportunities are the biggest failure in the industry’s efforts to attract new recruits. Hopefully projects such as the RHS Green Plan It and BALI’s GoLandscape will help engage and inspire a new generation into the UK industry.

Contracts director, Goddards (Landscape Contractors) Ltd

Foreign investment is an increasing trend throughout British industry, probably inevitable in a time of world globalisation, and perhaps should be embraced and encouraged to help our industry grow. Despite ours being a comparatively small industry, large investors now see it is a valuable area in which to invest. Our identity and awareness is key to its value and growth, and their investment should help expand the industry, rather than swamp it. Those within our industry, including foreign investors, need, and will want, to

Richard Kay Chairman, Green-tech

23/03/2017 08:42


There has never been a better time to start in horticulture, as there is a skills gap and chronic labour shortage in the industry. Looking at the talent which has come through the Pro Landscaper 30 Under 30 programme, I have a lot of confidence that younger members will inspire more like-minded people into this wonderful trade.

Nick Temple-Heald Chief executive, idverde UK

The fact that we feel the need to refer to an ‘identity’ is perhaps the real problem. Outside of our own industry, we are practically unknown, barely considered as a potential career unless we go out and tell them how good we are. But surely we all want new people, new ideas and new investment? Individual companies should work on their own image and attract the very best people they can (both young and ‘more experienced’). This is something the idverde legacy companies (TLG and Quadron) have always done, and so have other notable firms in our sector. As a Lancastrian living in Yorkshire for 31 years, I am qualified to speak as someone who, while now accepted, will never be ‘one of them’. Strangely, coming to our industry a mere 14 years ago, it seems from this that I may be in a similar position professionally! If you take that view, the alleged recruitment problem will become self-fulfilling.

Agenda.indd 9

Sam Hassall Managing director, LandPro Ltd No. I think that the only sector at risk is the maintenance sector. Quality landscape construction is still the domain of the British specialist which has no equal in detailing and finishing. New recruits wanting to drive tractors rather than build great spaces will always be an individual choice. The identity of the industry is defined by these spaces, public and private – not just cutting grass. Our influences are design and new materials and how to use them. Working with European, Australian, or other formally trained horticulturists and constructors introduces new methods and concepts. Whilst new machinery may be brought in to cut the grass, the grass itself is designed and installed by the design and construction process. The only loss is that of the core of our whole industry – the gardener. They are now an operator.

people joining the industry. Perhaps this makes the industry seem a little drab, but if it’s not apparent to me, I would question how obvious this would be to someone approaching the industry for the first time. We are constantly being encouraged to lower carbon emissions and utilise recycled materials. By following these simple guidelines, relying on and creatively using materials found locally to our own area, we are less susceptible to the effects of globalisation. We also try to use ‘off the shelf’ items, which may have a more global status, in original ways to give our work a more recognisable signature. None of the above would have a negative effect on the industry in terms of filling the skills shortage. Speaking to people in other trades, it is apparent that all are struggling to attract new recruits. Initiatives like the RHS Green Plan It and BALI’s GoLandscape should be considered very positive and proactive measures to narrow this skills shortage. This is hopefully the start of something good, and in no way relevant to a globalised market.

NEXT MONTH Peter Cunliffe Company director, Northumbrian Landscaping Ltd, Personally, I believe that globalisation is becoming more noticeable in every area of life but question what difference this would have on younger

How well does the industry use technology in gardens and how could we improve this? Have your say: Pro Landscaper / April 2017


23/03/2017 08:42


NEWS Phil Tremayne named APL general manager Phil Tremayne has accepted the role of APL general manager. Phil will continue to be the conduit between the ever-growing membership, active and enthusiastic committee, and the HTA. His new role started in February 2017. Phil commented: “I am thrilled to take this position within the association. Those who know me know that I am committed to delivering a great service and

association on behalf of its members. I am looking forward to continuing to work with an excellent committee chaired by Ken White of Frosts Landscapes, the various departments of the HTA that keep the APL moving forward, and with other industry associations, on many of the initiatives that affect you all. I look forward to seeing you all soon.”

idverde’s contract with Eastbourne Borough Council to continue to 2019 Green space management company idverde has been awarded a two-year extension to its grounds maintenance contract with Eastbourne Borough Council. idverde (previously called The Landscape Group) has provided grounds maintenance services to Eastbourne Borough Council since 2008. The contract includes the award-winning, prestigious seafront gardens, parks and recreation areas, cemetery and crematorium grounds, three Green Flag Award parks, sports pitches, play areas, housing sites, and specialist sports areas such as skate parks and a BMX track. The contract extension will see idverde continue to deliver these services to Eastbourne Borough Council until 31 December 2019. A spokesperson for Eastbourne Borough Council said: “We are 10

Pro Landscaper / April 2017

NewsApril.indd 10

pleased to be extending the contract and look forward to a continued close working relationship with idverde to maintain and improve Eastbourne’s reputation for horticultural excellence.” idverde operations director, Martin Packman, said: “We are very pleased to be continuing work with Eastbourne Borough Council in maintaining one of the country’s leading seaside destinations, which is enjoyed each year by so many local people and visitors alike.”

Recognition for the importance of horticulture as RHS director general receives CBE at Buckingham Palace RHS director general, Sue Biggs, has received the award of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) at an investiture ceremony performed by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace. She has been awarded a CBE for services to the environment and horticulture. Since her appointment at the RHS seven years ago, Biggs has transformed the 213-year-old gardening charity, increasing the reach of its community gardening campaigns, growing its membership to 475k and embarking on a £160m investment programme into the future of horticulture. Sue has played a significant role in bringing the horticulture industry together to create the Ornamental Horticulture Round Table Group (OHRG). The OHRG promotes the garden and landscape industry and its far-reaching benefits to the economy and the nation, delivering skills, techniques and products that have vast economic and environmental significance. The group has a shared vision that horticulture can play a significant role in the treatment of some chronic health conditions, and promotes the importance of green spaces with a focus on health and wellbeing. The work of

OHRG has made great progress in highlighting the significant benefits that horticultural social prescribing can bring to patients, and the beneficial economic and social return that such an approach could deliver, such as freeing up GPs’ time and other financial savings within the NHS. Sue Biggs commented: “I feel extremely proud to receive a CBE on behalf of everyone at the RHS, but I’m even prouder that the horticulture industry is receiving the recognition it so deserves in the role it can play to improve the environmental and economic health and wellbeing of this nation. “In a challenging fiscal outlook, the work of the OHRG is more crucial than ever. The garden industry plays a significant role in implementing plant health policy and supporting the environment, and our industry will play a vital role in post-EU policy. “Horticulture, gardening and access to green space present an unrivalled opportunity to improve health and quality of life. By encouraging the nation to garden, some of the wider determinants of ill health can be tackled in a cost effective manner. “For me, this CBE is a step further to everyone taking horticulture seriously and appreciating the immense benefits that greening this country and investing in horticulture will bring.”

23/03/2017 11:55


Glasgow practitioner shortlisted for RHS Young Designer of the Year Anca Panait, of architecture and building consultancy practice AHR in Glasgow, is one of three people to be shortlisted for the RHS Young Designer of the Year award. Each of the finalists will have to create a show garden for the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in July. The challenge, inspired by the idea of using gardens as a workspace, is to create a garden office – whether as a practical or quiet space, a place to hold meetings or a space within an urban setting. Anca’s proposal connects the standard office with the outdoors to provide a space for observation and

privacy. The woodland-style planting of ‘Prospect & Refuge’ echoes this by offering enclosure and escape from the outside world, as height variations provide a buffer from city noise, allowing quiet, undisturbed work. Anca has a bachelor’s degree in landscape design and planning from ‘Ion Mincu’ University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest, Romania, and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Edinburgh University. She is an Ambassador for Landscape, and last year mentored students as part of the

The Garden Company is first to be awarded SGD Practice Membership membership category on 1 March 2017, bringing the society in line with other professional bodies such as the Landscape Institute. James Scott, managing director and principal designer at The Garden Company, commented: The Garden Company, based in “We are very pleased to be able to Hertfordshire, has become the first demonstrate in this way to our landscape design practice in the UK clients and business partners that to gain Practice status of the our whole practice is committed to Society of Garden Designers (SGD). design excellence. The SGD launched this new “We work in a very competitive ad_2017.pdf 1 09/03/2017 08:55:50









NEWS IN BRIEF Green-tech acquires online distributor

Green Plan It Glasgow project. The other two finalists shortlisted are London-based Jake Curley and Ula Maria Bujauskaite from Northampton.

marketplace and not all garden designers are as qualified or knowledgeable as those that have passed the SGD’s strict accreditation processes. Our clients will know that we can be trusted to deliver design projects to the highest quality professional standards, that our work is fully accredited by the SGD and that we adhere to its Code of Professional Conduct. I see this as a positive move for the Garden Company, our clients and for our profession overall.”

Green-tech has announced that is has secured the purchase of Flexible Lining Products Ltd, the specialist online distributor of Terram, pond and liners, erosion control products and porous paving systems. The acquisition includes all existing stock, distribution agreements, the comprehensive online presence and trademarks.

Scottish Horticultural Medal awarded to Stan Green The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society’s (RCHS) Scottish Horticultural Medal has been awarded to past president of the HTA, Stan Green, for services to Scottish Horticulture.

BALI Awards 2017 calls for entries

The 2017 BALI National Landscape Awards, in association with headline sponsor Green-tech, has announced its call for entries. BALI registered members interested in entering should visit the BALI Awards website for more information.

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Glendale to keep gardens green for Stockport Homes

Green services provider Glendale has been awarded a five-year contract to provide grounds maintenance for social housing provider Stockport Homes. A team of operatives working across neighbourhoods managed by Stockport Homes will manage and maintain grass, hedges, shrubs, flower beds, weeds, and hard surfaces, ensuring all sites are clean, tidy and presentable. Several apprenticeship roles and opportunities for placements and sponsorship to support community events will be created as a result of the contract. Customers will also have access to information about services in their area through a portal, which will provide them with details on when work is scheduled

Crown Group announces apprenticeship investment

to take place, and when it has been completed. Daniela Blomeley, contract manager at Glendale, said: “Supporting communities is always at the core of the work Glendale does and we’re pleased to be continuing our strong partnership with Stockport Homes. “We want the tenants to feel proud of their gardens and communal areas and we’re looking forward to continuing our work to make green spaces places for local people to enjoy.” Robin Burman, chair of the board at Stockport Homes, said: “Stockport Homes is committed to ensuring that all green spaces within our neighbourhood are managed and maintained to the highest standards. “We have worked with Glendale for the last ten years and are looking forward to continuing to deliver excellent green space services to meet customers’ needs, and at the same time support our wider social, economic and wellbeing activities, through local employment and training opportunities, support to environmental improvements and community health and wellbeing activities.”

Construction and landscaping specialist Crown Group has announced plans to increase its investment in apprenticeships. The Shropshire-based company says the investment will see it add up to a dozen apprentices to its workforce over the next three years in its long-term blueprint for future proofing the organisation. Crown Group is experiencing significant growth in its facilities management and environmental management divisions, as well as its core business of delivering integrated design, building and maintenance for construction and landscaping projects. It counts construction leaders such as Bowmer & Kirkland and Galliford Try as well as local authorities among its regular clients. It is currently working on a high-profile landscaping project at the Warner Bros 150 acre

Hertfordshire studios as part of its multimillion-pound expansion. The firm has doubled in size in the last year and now employs more than 60 people across the country. Managing director Gareth Emberton said he intended to introduce apprentice roles across different sectors of the business. “We know the success of our business is down to our people and, given the growth we are enjoying, we need to future proof the business and create a workforce that is ready to meet the demands of a growing organisation. “There is a skills gap within sectors such as construction and horticultural services, and we are looking to offer a career path for younger people within an ambitious business that is willing to nurture and support them as they climb the career ladder.”

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Pro Landscaper hears from two RHS apprentices about how the scheme is benefiting them

Rebecca Mackey


HORTICULTURIST AT RHS GARDEN WISLEY I work as part of the herbaceous ornamental team and manage the Wild Garden, which showcases woodland planting, bamboos and Japanese maples. We work on seasonal jobs including planting, pruning and the recent renovation and redesign of various beds. After leaving school, I did a graphic design degree and then worked as a freelance graphic designer. I realised this wasn’t the career for me and started looking into other options. I’ve always had an interest in gardening, and the RHS apprenticeship sounded like a great route into developing a career in horticulture. The apprenticeship helped me to develop my skills and plant knowledge, which gave me the confidence to apply for a job in the garden. I’d worked in the Wild Garden during my apprenticeship,

News Extra RHS Apprentices.indd 15

WORKING AT THE RHS OFFERS SOME AMAZING OPPORTUNITIES and it became one of my favourite parts of Wisley. Working at the RHS offers some amazing opportunities, such as getting involved with the Chelsea Flower Show. In my first year as an apprentice I worked on the Telegraph garden, which won a gold medal, and in my second year I worked with Ann-Marie Powell on the RHS Greening Grey Britain garden. I am proud of the changes and renovations I have made so far and would like to continue developing the Wild Garden. It’s encouraging to hear positive feedback from visitors, and my aim is to make it a real highlight.

THE SCHEME HAS GIVEN ME A UNIQUE INSIGHT INTO THE WORLD OF HORTICULTURE cover essential skills such as turf care, and tend tropical plants in the Wisley glasshouse. One day a week, I study for an RHS Level 2 horticultural qualification. The practical experience in the garden helps with learning the theory-based parts of the course. I’ve applied to do a specialist year with the formal ornamental team at Wisley once my apprenticeship finishes. In the long-term, I would love to stay at Wisley and be involved with the projects that will be happening during the coming years.

Photographs © J Kossak

Adam Alexander

Getting a place on the RHS apprenticeship scheme was really exciting as I’ve always loved nature and being outside. The scheme has given me a unique insight into the world of horticulture. I had my own glasshouse to look after when I was working with the propagation team, helped with a pepper trial, and planted up a knot garden. We start early and get the garden looking fabulous for visitors. We then work with a particular gardening team, spending three months in each of the four departments: herbaceous ornamental, woodland, formal display and propagation. The sort of jobs depend on the season but include planting, pruning, border work, and raising plants in the nursery and propagation glasshouse. We

Pro Landscaper / April 2017 15

22/03/2017 15:15




Parks Alliance matters

Protecting parks The Parks Alliance will soon be meeting with officials at the communities and local government department to discuss how the alliance can support the crossdepartmental group of policymakers and stakeholders set up by the parks minister.

The group will look at the recommendations of the parks inquiry, and the alliance is keen to engage and take forward recommendations. In his evidence to the committee before Christmas the parks minister, Andrew Percy, said that he wanted the body to resemble the Future High Streets Forum. We have made the point, and will do so again, that fundamentally there is a case for greater leadership to ensure our public parks thrive.

We have gone further than the committee’s recommendations and have called on investment directed by central government to ensure strong leadership in the parks sector, but in order for leadership and national coordination to develop, urgent investment is required.

In other developments, Leeds University is holding a national conference, The Future of Public Parks: Policy, Practice and Research, in London on Thursday 13 July 2017. The conference will attract up to 100 delegates from the research, professional and political communities, and will be free to attend. The conference will draw together innovative thinking and learning across sectors on ways to maximise the value of parks as public assets in the 21st century.

BALI briefing

BALI sponsors show garden at Harrogate Spring Flower Show The association’s registered affiliate members are proudly supporting the 6th Regiment Logistics Corps Japanese style memorial show garden, A Homecoming Prayer, working with Help for Heroes and Hesco. The garden will be built on a 200m² site by registered contractor


Pro Landscaper / April 2017

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Northumbrian Landscaping. The garden will be relocated post-show to Dishforth Airfield near Thirsk, which will include a new cenotaph sited at the centre of the garden. Landscape News completes BALI’s product overhaul BALI has launched its new look spring edition of Landscape News, which now sports a completely

refreshed design. Alongside its new welcome packs and videos, sales enquiry packs, mailshots and promotional items, the association has completed the first phase of its strategic plan in delivering digital and printed membership products for new and existing members. Thank you to BALI registered affiliate members CED Natural Stone and Tarmac Topscape for sponsoring the welcome packs and sales enquiry pack. BALI builds new connections at top industry event BALI is delighted to confirm that it had a successful Ecobuild

event in London. BALI’s new sales enquiry pack was positively received by visitors and prospective members looking to join the

association. With plenty of enquiries and connections made, BALI’s sales officer Carly Button will certainly be kept busy over the next few months.

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RHS report

RHS Flower Show Cardiff, 7 to 9 April This year, the RHS and Cardiff City Council will join forces to bring together the best of

gardening in Wales, and capture the excitement of spring in the grounds of Cardiff Castle. From keen gardeners and floral enthusiasts to families in search of a fun day out, the show holds all-round appeal and has firmly established itself as a key date in the gardening events calendar as the first outdoor RHS show of the season. To buy tickets please visit: uk/cardiff Easter family fun at RHS Garden Wisley From 1 to 17 April the RHS Gardens will be

hosting Find the Magic – Easter Activities. Children can hop around one of the four RHS Gardens on the trail of the Lindt gold bunny, as well as take part in a host of other family activities. During the Birds of Prey Weekend (8 to 9 April), garden visitors can discover all about birds of prey, and see these magnificent creatures up close with agility displays from 11am and 2pm. For more information please visit:

10 to 16 April: National Gardening Week – Helping new gardeners to grow As well as events all over the country for National Gardening Week, there will also be plenty of fun and inspiration to be found at the four RHS Gardens. 2017 is all about helping those who are new to gardening with tips, activities and advice. Events will take place at all RHS Gardens throughout Easter, including workshops and Q&A sessions with gardening experts. Visitors will also have the opportunity to get expert RHS advice at our ‘Houseplant Hospital’. For more details please visit: www.nationalgardeningweek.

efig outline efig’s Strategy Day efig’s Strategy Day was scheduled for early February in London. Chairman Chris Jenkin introduced the members in attendance to a recent history review of what efig has achieved. He then opened the floor for discussion to consider any changes that efig should make for the future. The outcome will be published in more detail, but suffice to say a lot of ideas were taken on board.

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During the second session Julie Kortens, the immediate ex-chair of BIFM (British Institute of Facility Managers) shared her thoughts about how she felt the FM industry viewed interior landscaping and plants. Julie said that, whilst doing her research, she was surprised and fascinated to read so much about the benefits of plants in the workplace. She felt there was a lot more that efig and its members could do to ensure the industry was better informed. efig Awards As you read this, the judges will be making their last visits

to members’ clients award entry sites. Coming up on 21 April, the awards will be presented at a short ceremony at the Barbican’s Conservatory Terrace. The details and timings are as follows: Where: Conservatory Terrace, Barbican, London Time: 2:00pm - 5.30pm Price: £65 + VAT pp (drinks/ refreshments included) What to expect: 2.00 pm Welcome drinks 2.15 pm Keynote speaker: Steve Clarke – ‘Dare to be Different’ 3.15 pm Awards ceremony 4.00 pm Networking 5.30 pm Finish

Steve Clarke of Eureka Moments will inspire with his keynote speech ‘Dare to be Different’. As an international speaker, Steve shares practical first-hand experience, not hollow theory. He walks his talk. ‘How can we get our people more engaged and, as a result, increase sales and profits?’ That’s precisely where Steve can help. It’s what makes his subject matter universally relevant, as well as memorable and engaging.

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SGD bulletin SGD launch new registered practice membership The Society of Garden Designers (SGD) has launched a new registered practice membership allowing fellows and registered members to list their business as having practice status of the society, rather than membership being associated solely with individual designers. The new membership, which came into force on 1 March 2017, brings the SGD in line with other professional bodies such as RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects)

and the LI (Landscape Institute), and enables society members to demonstrate their whole practice is committed to design excellence and the highest quality standards. SGD Chair Philippa O’Brien said: “We are delighted to be able to offer our members a new status of membership which we believe reflects the way in which many operate as garden design companies today. We know the registered practice status will be of great benefit to our

members, allowing them to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace, whilst allowing the society to continue to improve standards in the industry.” Practice membership and the associated logo will be available to registered members and fellows only. Under the rules of the new category, the lead designer (or designers) of the practice must be a registered member or fellow, and must sign a declaration stating that all work produced by the practice is under the supervision of a

Garden by James Scott MSGD

registered member or fellow of the society. There will be an annual membership fee, in addition to the fees already paid by registered members and fellows. Further information can be found on the SGD website.

APL update

APL Cluster Meetings Landscaping can be a very insular occupation. Online forums are useful tools for sharing advice and asking questions, but whilst being convenient they are faceless. The APL Cluster Meetings bring forums to life. They are informal, and held in the evenings so as not to impact on the working day, and they are also usually held in a pub


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which has proven to be a great place for relaxed but informative networking. The meetings are open to all — landscapers, designers, suppliers and students — and both members and non-members. They are organised and chaired by

APL general manager, Phil Tremayne, and the topics are driven by the group. Those that attend APL Cluster Meetings find real value in being a part of the APL growing community. The list of meeting locations is expanding this year to maximise coverage across the UK. Current meeting dates and locations include: Arundel, West Sussex – 23 May, 1 Aug, 1 Nov, 12 Dec Berkshire – 17 May, 12 July, 6 Sep, 11 Oct, 13 Dec Feering, Essex – 8 May, 12 Jun, 11 Sep, 9 Oct, 4 Dec Guildford, Surrey – 24 Apr, 22 May, 26 Jun, 31 Jul, 21 Aug, 25 Sep, 30 Oct, 27 Nov,

11 Dec Kent – 6 Apr, 8 Jun, 7 Sep, 2 Nov, 7 Dec S/W London – 5 Apr, 9 May, 27 Jun, 22 Aug, 12 Sep, 28 Nov N W London – 11 Apr, 6 Jun, 27 Sep, 23 Nov Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk – 12 Apr, 22 Jun, 18 Sep, 20 Nov Further venues are also being arranged, visit for details. If you are interested in attending, or want to host or offer an educational presentation, contact Phil Tremayne at phil.tremayne@

23/03/2017 12:04

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Creative Landscape Co is this year’s APL Awards Supreme Winner Project Value £100,000 - £200,000 Winner The Gardenmakers

Supplier Makita a

APL Chairman Ken White

Supreme Award Winner Creative Landscape Co

Supplier Provend

Project V

Guest speaker Adam Frost

Soft Landscaping Winner Frogheath Landscapes Ltd

Images © Steve Burden Photography

The annual awards ceremony, sponsored by Bradstone, took place on Friday 17 March at The Brewery, London, to celebrate and recognise the outstanding landscaping carried out by members of the APL. Creative Landscape Co took the Supreme Winner award for its project: Garden for Country Cottage and Barn, South Stoke Oxon. This entry was also the winner of the Overall Design and Build category. Creative Landscape Co created an outdoor living space to meet the needs of family life and a dog with traditional cottage style planting in keeping with the surroundings. The clients required a design solution to create a new garden within an existing walled area, to link their cottage extension and barn.


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The judges commented: “The design was absolutely appropriate for the scheme, with great use of structural planting to soften, hold and separate. The angle of the house provided difficult symmetry and geometry. This was a challenging project with a harmonising solution.” The standard of entries exceeded expectations, with a record breaking number of submissions for the judges to deliberate over. On the judging panel were Richard Barnard as chief judge, Bob Sweet, Steve Smith, Robin Templar-Williams, and the APL’s national business manager, Phil Tremayne. Motivating Landscape Designer, Adam Frost, was welcomed on the day as special guest speaker. Adam shared his landscaping inspirations and upcoming projects.

APL Designer of the Year Aralia Garden Design

Hard Landscaping Winner Original Landscapes Ltd

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CATEGORY WINNERS AND FINALISTS SUPREME AWARD WINNER SPONSORED BY BRADSTONE • Creative Landscape Co Project: Garden for Country Cottage and Barn, South Stoke Oxon Supplier of the Year – South Grower Winner Provender Nurseries, sponsored by Pro Landscaper

• Project Value under £20,000 Sponsored by Trulawn • Winner – Conquest Hard Landscaping Project: In the Night Garden • Highly Commended – Green Rooms Landscapes & Gardens Ltd Project: Fiveways Garden, Brighton • Highly Commended – The Garden Builders Project: Thornton Hill

Supplier of the Year – Manufacturer Joint Winners Makita and Marshalls, sponsored by Pro Landscaper

Project Value £60,000 - £100,000 Winner Living Landscapes

Project Value £35,000 - £50,000 Winner The Garden Builders

The APL Awards would like to thank Bradstone for its continued headline sponsorship and thank the category sponsors and media partners for their support as, without them, the APL Awards would not be what they are today. The APL Judges would like to thank everyone that participated in the awards, and give their congratulations to the winners. The APL encourages the winners and finalists to use their entry to promote their businesses, the industry, and APL membership. The APL looks forward to seeing everyone involved, as well as new entrants and partners again, for the 2018 APL Awards. Entry is now open via the APL Awards website:

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• Project Value £20,000 - £35,000 • Winner – Claudia de Yong Designs Project: Georgian House • Highly Commended – Agents Green Project: 12 Elm Cresent • Highly Commended – Aura Landscapes Ltd Project: Disabled Accessible Garden • Highly Commended – Creative Landscape Co Project: Contemporary Courtyard Garden • Highly Commended – Genesis Construction and Landscapes Ltd Project: Crown Street • Highly Commended – Holland Landscapes Project: Bedford Road • Highly Commended – Frogheath Landscapes Ltd Project: Bexhill-On-Sea • Project Value £35,000 - £60,000 Sponsored by ICL • Winner – The Garden Builders Project: Arthouse Apartment • Highly Commended – Creative Landscape Co Project: Garden for Country Cottage and Barn, South Stoke Oxon • Highly Commended – G-Scapes of Lichfield Ltd Project: The All “Round” Garden • Project Value £60,000 - £100,000 • Winner – Living Landscapes Project: Quarry House • Highly Commended – The Garden Builders Project: Devonshire Place

• Project Value £100,000 - £200,000 Sponsored by Hedges Direct • Winner – The Gardenmakers Project: Vale Farm • Highly Commended – Frosts Landscape Construction Ltd Project: Saltmarsh • Highly Commended – Genesis Construction and Landscapes Ltd Project: Fordham Project • Highly Commended – Linden Landscapes Domestic Gardens Ltd Project: A Garden in Sevenoaks, Kent • Highly Commended – The Garden Builders Project: Ingram Avenue • Highly Commended – Waratah Gardens Project: The Gardeners Garden • Project Value Over £200,000 Sponsored by Sovereign Turf • Winner – The Garden Builders Project: Red Gables • Hard Landscaping Sponsored by Bradstone • Winner – Original Landscapes Ltd Project: Pensylvania Park • Highly Commended – Warnes-McGarr & Co Ltd Project: Gormley • Highly Commended – Arun Landscapes Project: Kingsbury • Highly Commended – Arbour Landscape Solutions Project: Bushey • Highly Commended – Aura Landscapes Ltd Project: Natural Stone Driveway, Sandhurst • Highly Commended – Aura Landscapes Ltd Project: Disabled Accessible Garden • Highly Commended – Conquest Hard Landscaping Project:In the Night Garden • Highly Commended – Holland Landscapes Project: Bedford Road • Highly Commended – Oakley Landscapes Ltd Project: A Garden in Sheen • Highly Commended – The Gardenmakers Project: Vale Farm • Soft Landscaping Sponsored by Classiflora • Winner – Frogheath Landscapes Ltd Project: Bexhill-On-Sea • Highly Commended – Creative Landscape Co Project: Garden for Country Cottage and Barn, South Stoke Oxon

Community Garden Winner Paxman Landscapes UK Ltd

• Highly Commended – Claudia de Yong Designs Project: Georgian House • Highly Commended – G-Scapes of Lichfield Ltd Project: The All “Round” Garden • Overall Design & Build Sponsored by Green-tech • Winner – Creative Landscape Co Project: Garden for Country Cottage and Barn, South Stoke Oxon • Highly Commended – Creative Landscape Co Project: Contemporary Courtyard Garden • Highly Commended – DCKG Landscapes Project: Outdoor Room Garden Feature Sponsored by Easigrass • Winner – Arun Landscapes Project: Beharrel Commercial Garden • Winner – The Garden Builders Project: National Theatre • Highly Commended – Paxman Landscapes UK Limited Project: Milliners Wharf, Manchester Community Garden • Winner – Paxman Landscapes UK Ltd Project: Milliners Wharf, Manchester APL Designer of the Year Sponsored by Griffin Glasshouses • Winner – Aralia Garden Design Project: Westlands APL Rising Star Award Sponsored by Anders Plus • Winner – Camilla Jousiffe and Ryan Wright RG landscape & Construction Ltd The HTA Benevolent Fund Award • Winner – Arbour Landscape Solutions Project: Sensory Garden New Company of the Year • Winner – Mango Landscapes Supplier Awards Sponsored by Pro Landscaper • Grower – North and Midlands Winner – Coles • Grower – South Winner – Provender • Manufacturer winner Makita & Marshalls • Service Provider winner – Citation

Project Value Under £20,000 Winner Conquest Hard Landscaping

APL WorldSkills • Gold winner – Jacob Botting from Myerscough College

Pro Landscaper / April 2017 21

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On site with

WILLERBY LANDSCAPES Following John Melmoe’s challenge to take part in an interdisciplinary exchange, Jim and Lisa from Pro Landscaper were invited to take part in a day of site visits to find out about the projects the company delivers. Our exhausting day started with the regeneration project at Kings Cross, London NC1

Pancras Square


We sampled a typical day in the life of a landscape team, starting at 7am in Pancras Square, with a briefing on a roof garden project designed by Todd Longstaffe Gowan Landscape Design at King’s Cross. Health and safety manager Stuart Wright and site foreman Ozzie went through the day’s briefing, letting the team know what would be going on, whether any materials would be delivered, and the main aim for the day, as well as highlighting specific health and safety issues when working on a roof top.

Tapestry Building Roof Garden 9AM From here, we could see several other projects under construction by Willerby, and the next visit was to the Tapestry Building Roof Garden, designed by Dan Pearson Studio. It was easy to believe you were at ground level until a glimpse through a gap in the properties confirmed we were on the 8th floor! We learned about the complexities of roof projects: the challenges include strengthening the substructure to allow for soil, stone, water features and trees, regularly lifting materials, and having to share a lift with all the other contractors on the building. 22

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Cubitt Park

Next visit was an on-ground landscaping project – the 11AM completion of Cubitt Park following the removal of a temporary natural swimming pool, which had been a hit with the locals. This included intricate ground modelling, tree-planting and landscaping. We saw the employees’ many skillsets, from surveying to large excavation vehicle control, soil preparation to tree planting. We wandered through the 67 acre estate and experienced the complexities of maintaining a live central London site. The soft landscape jigsaw has been slowly pieced together over the last seven years by Willerby under Townshend Landscape Architects.

Royal Hospital Chelsea 2PM

In the afternoon, we travelled over to south-west London to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where the current project involves resurfacing the whole of the front gravelled driveway with a cellular gravel system. Willerby also completed the restoration of the Royal Hospital’s South Terrace landscaped area. Agreement and planning permission were obtained to reinstate the South Terrace grounds’ original vista from the Royal Hospital towards the Thames. The reinstatement works included removing existing lawns, gravel paths, rose beds and perimeter shrubs, along with felling a number of trees in front of the terrace, and the demolition of the tennis hard court. Surface drainage and a complete irrigation system were also installed.

Project Bond 4PM The last visit of the day was to Project Bond, a private residence in London where the challenge of creating a complex landscape alongside an extensive house renovation shows where Willerby stands out. It was hard to appreciate the complexities of the subterrain supporting structures, most of which had been backfilled by the time of our visit. Willerby’s ability to manage the project precisely, while adapting and reacting to issues involving other contractors, is the reason it is the most widely trusted UK landscape company.

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...and finally


We finished with a cup of coffee and a tour of Willerby’s new London office, a stone’s throw from London Bridge. The new office has been a natural progression, and was necessary to service the company’s client base in London. Thanks to all the team at Willerby Landscapes for the most educational day. As well as learning about the company, its processes and projects, we saw the dedication of the wider workforce, which helps to produce outstanding landscapes across London and the UK.

Pro Landscaper / April 2017 23

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22/03/2017 16:27



Designer Manoj Malde and contractor Dan Riddleston will be keeping Pro Landscaper in the loop as they each prepare for their Chelsea 2017 gardens

MANOJ MALDE COUTURE GARDENS Debut Designer at RHS Chelsea 2017 Garden Beneath a Mexican Sky Contractor Living Landscapes Sponsor Inland Homes & Living Landscapes

As a new designer at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the biggest challenge was finding a sponsor. After unsuccessfully posting information packs to various corporate organisations I met Tecwyn Evans of Living Landscapes in October 2015,

sketch in hand. His first words were: “I want to build that for you.” Whilst the sponsor search went on, I researched plants and emailed a list to Dave Root at Kelways Plants. He called me the next day, very excited, saying: “I love your plant list and want to work with you.” My fortunes changed further when Inland Homes Plc agreed to sponsor the garden. Inland has won awards for commitment to landscape design and

care of the local environment – a perfect fit, as I am a real believer in ‘greening grey Britain’. Plant sourcing trips started in October 2016 – first destination Spain, where we found some amazing plants. The next trip was to Italy, where I found the very trees I’d had in my mind and in my sketches.

On the advice of Nick Bailey, and the generosity of Rosemary Alexander, we pegged out the garden at Sand Hill Farm in Hampshire. This enabled us to check all the proportions.

DAN RIDDLESTON BOWLES & WYER CONTRACTS Contractor at RHS Chelsea 2017 Garden Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s Designer Darren Hawkes Sponsor Linklaters

Nothing seems further away from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show than a wet, grey day in South Wales. On an industrial estate in Caerphilly, Precast Specialist Products is working to produce the finished hard landscape elements for this year’s garden. Darren Hawkes, Jim Brasier and I

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are meeting Martyn Fear from the company to run through the technical drawings. All the concrete structures in the garden will come from a single concrete cuboid. Darren wants these elements to be like pieces of a huge 3D jigsaw that could be put back together again, and Martyn and his team have been working hard to produce a broken concrete effect that can be cast into the edges of the structures. Down to the business of checking all the technical drawings, which may not be as exciting as checking

the progress of the plants at Kelways or Deepdale, but is extremely important. We are not just looking at how the concrete is going to be cast and its finish, but at how these heavy elements will be constructed on site. The majority will be cast and flat-packed in Wales, transported to site, and put together like giant Lego. At this stage discussions revolve

around how we are going to safely handle the pieces without damaging them, what temporary supports are required, where are the bolted connections to go, and how we will make good the construction joints so that it all looks perfect. By next month the casting will be complete, and we will be back in a few weeks to see a trial build. Only then will we know if the time spent poring over drawings has worked. www.bowleswyer-contracts.

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22/03/2017 16:28


Let’s Hear it From


OF HERTFORD LTD Pro Landscaper visited Skidmores of Hertford Ltd to speak to the directors, Darren Skidmore, Garry Skidmore and Sue Geeves to find out how the business started and developed into what it is today The current owners and directors of Skidmores of Hertford are third generation landscapers. The company was started by Charles Skidmore, a Fellow of the RHS and predominantly a grower. After WWII, the current owners’ father Don joined him to add landscaping services to the business. The two had differing visions, with the younger Skidmore hankering after larger projects and a working partnership with various house builders including Rialto Homes, which led to further commercial and domestic works. Garry joined the partnership at the age of 16 and continued to work on the larger housing projects alongside his father, which he admits became rather like a production line. Then came the recession of the late Eighties. The business suffered, as it had been largely tied to the builders who were no longer producing housing stock. In September 1992 Skidmores reinvented itself and began winning commercial

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contracts. Garry says: “We started off with larger projects, which included landscaping for Tesco stores and landscaping the mid-stay car park at Stansted Airport — a project that lasted two years. On the back of that we built up new relationships with architects such as Derek Lovejoy Partners.” Further jobs included Gatwick Airport and the all-weather section of Kempton Park Racecourse, which then led to the Heathrow Terminal 3 car park and the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre. By 2007, high-end residential projects followed, such as Ellesmere Nursing Home in Chelsea and Phillimore Square in Kensington. The majority of the work the business undertakes is in and around the south east, but it has gone as far as Dublin for one of Ireland’s biggest tree moves, although Darren says: “Logistically it’s better to keep the core business in and around the south east.” Pro Landscaper / April 2017 29

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ast seen oof ving, much eryday ways


ALL OUR WORK IS GAINED BY WORD OF MOUTH, REPEAT BUSINESS AND OUR CONTACTS WITH ARCHITECTS AND SURVEYORS Maintaining relationships We ask how the business finds its work, and Darren explains: “All our work is gained by word of mouth, repeat business and our contacts with architects and surveyors. Over the years we have gained good relationships with architects like Ben Beth, Warren Standerwick and particularly Peter Wilder of Wilder Associates, who we have set up a kind of trading alliance with. It means we can share work – if we’re asked to provide design he can help us, and alternatively we can help his business to deliver a turnkey scheme. It works very well.” And what about the maintenance of the projects Skidmores delivers? “We usually maintain a scheme for 12 months as part of the contract,” says Darren. “It’s not something we’re geared up to do long term; we tend to complete our contracts and move on to the next project as this suits our business model. Garry adds: “The industry has become so diverse. We started off as purely soft landscaping because of the family history of growers and nurserymen, but nine times out of ten now we’ll tender for the soft landscaping side of a project and the client will ask us to cost the hard landscaping. You’d think it was all paving and kerbing but often this leads to drainage, so before you know it you’re almost an external works contractor, which takes you away from your core business.” A bright future We move onto talking about the structure of the company, and learn that each of the directors plays


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Darren Skidmore (L) and Garry Skidmore (R)

a major role in the running of Skidmores. Garry is responsible for pricing, Darren runs the schemes and Sue is finance director, and with a wider staff of around 30 the business is able to deliver projects on time and to specification. Garry says: “This year, January has seen the biggest turnover for the business ever; we’d usually expect it to be around £100k and this year it’s quadrupled, in part due to winning more work, but also because of the scale of work we’ve got going on. The level of www.prolandscapermagazine

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can cherry-pick, but there is still an amount of number crunching that needs to be done to bring jobs within budget,” says Garry. Work in progress This leads onto the competition, and who Skidmores is coming up against. It’s no real surprise to learn that well-known and respected businesses in the industry, such as Frosts Landscape Construction, Turney Landscapes, Oakview Landscapes Ltd and Whitings are mentioned, but much of this is dependent on the main contractors who often have preferred contractors they work with. How does the business find staffing? “London


enquiries has also been at least double what I would usually expect for January, so the market is the most buoyant it’s been for a while. You only have to visit London and look up to see the vast number of tower cranes, which is usually a good indication of how the construction industry is faring, and which has a knock-on effect with landscaping.” So with things looking up, will we see prices pushing upwards going further into 2017? “We’re being a bit more selective; to a certain extent we

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isn’t so bad but it can be tricky elsewhere. We have a diverse workforce in the capital who are real workhorses, they’re great lads and we have some good contacts, so I don’t have too much difficulty finding people,” says Darren. “On the office and contract management side, we are fortunate enough to have Sonya (estimating and admin) and Wayne (contracts manager), plus Teresa who looks after the day-to-day running of our office.” Staffing and qualification is another area where the industry has changed over the last 20 years, and it’s not all bad. Darren says: “Although it can be time consuming, the paperwork and form-filling exercises such as risk assessments and method statements have professionalised the industry. All our guys have CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme) and CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) cards and the supervisors have SMSTS (Site Management Safety Training Scheme) and SSSTS (Site Supervisors’ Safety Training Scheme) qualifications. All this should be seen as good for the industry, though if you look back 20 years on some jobs, the guys didn’t even have welfare provided, so for all the complaining we

may do it’s definitely benefited the industry.” We go on to discuss working with building contractors and, in particular, getting payment. Sue says: “It’s a bit of a nightmare, mainly based around retentions and money they hold back.” Garry continues: “A classic example would be on the maintenance side; they could be holding back payment for something as ridiculous as grass growing, and we could then wait almost two years for as little as £10.50. We have had to wait seven years in one case to be paid £11k owed on a completed contract – all due to a manhole cover not corrected by others.” We look to the future and wonder what it holds for the business. Sadly there is no more family coming through – both Darren and Garry have daughters who aren’t interested in landscaping. Sue’s children are in aviation, so for now the family makes five-year plans and will see how the business progresses. Selling the business isn’t, we’re told, out of the question.

1 Clapham Courtyard area 2 City Wharf 3 Phillimore Gardens, Kensington 4 Private back garden 5 Clapham – The Avenue 6 Leonard Circus

CONTACT Stonyhills Nurseries, Stonyhills, Near Ware SG12 0HJ

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Patricia Fox is managing director and founder of award-winning garden and landscape design practice Aralia. She tells Pro Landscaper about the eureka moment that led her down the big-budget path and says when it comes to creating the perfect small business, size matters

How was the company was founded? When I first started designing gardens I knew that I didn’t want to do it on my own, that it would be more fun with people. I suppose that’s why I didn’t name the business after myself, I named it after a Japanese angelica tree. I’m quite a good marketer – I wanted a name that wouldn’t become dated or put me in a box. I chose an ‘A’ because it’s the beginning of the alphabet and could therefore easily be found in directories. I started going to a networking group called Business Network International (BNI) to branch out into more adventurous gardens and keep up to date with business techniques and legalities. I met someone from ActionCOACH, and began attending a group coaching course, which was brilliant. I remember driving home after a session where we’d been asked what exactly we wanted to do, and I suddenly laughed out loud because I realised I wanted to design gardens


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for the rich and famous! Athough it was lovely doing small gardens on a budget, they lacked the chance to be really creative. I knew I’d get bored if I carried on doing £7K gardens. That’s when I decided I wanted to do Chelsea and enter awards. It was a pivotal moment that sent me in a whole new direction. How has it developed since? We moved into new premises in 2011, as there were three of us working in my home by that point. There’s now six of us, and I’m not desperate to grow beyond this. The more people, the further away I get from design work, and that’s the part I love. I have a lovely team at the moment – associate Alistair Henderson has been with Aralia for five years now. He’s really talented. We now offer both garden design and landscape architecture. After RHS Chelsea 2012, I received a call from St George, a mix-use developer of the Berkeley Group. Chairman Tony Pidgley had been on our garden and was insisting that I go and meet the team. I ended up meeting them at 7pm on a Friday and they commissioned Aralia to design 11 rooftop terraces. They kept calling me a landscape architect, which I didn’t bother correcting them on because I didn’t know what the term meant! I now have three landscape architects working for me. I quite like the idea of having a multi-disciplined team with different approaches – it allows people to think outside the box.

Patricia Fox


in numbers Established 2004 Employees 6 Awards RHS Chelsea: 2 Silver Flora RHS Tatton Park: 1 Silver Gilt SGD awards: 5 BALI awards: 5 APL awards: 1

How are the services Aralia offers managed? It’s all just one team. We considered separating it at one point, as we also design lighting and irrigation, and thought about recruiting someone specifically for this, but I see it as really important that everyone has a variety of work. Each member of the team gets the chance to do a little bit of everything. We offer both design and design and build using sub-contractors, so we looked at bringing in a contracts manager, but you learn so much as a designer from going out on site and seeing the problems that can arise that you couldn’t grow as a designer without this. I can’t see that we’d ever do it differently, there are too many upsides at the moment for the individual and the company, but never say never. Aralia also offers ‘miscellaneous garden and landscape services’. What does this cover? Miscellaneous services covers everything from sourcing furniture to commissioning bespoke sculptures – anything that relates to the external

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Which of the services takes the higher percentage in terms of work? In hours, it would be design. There have been some years where we’ve literally done nothing but design work. We’ve started working with a lot of architects on new builds recently, many of which are Paragraph 55 houses. These houses must be of outstanding creative merit, and if the building has to be like that, then the landscape that’s designed to accompany it has to be fairly amazing as well, and we love designing these. What geographical areas do you cover? Most of our business comes from London and the home counties, but since we took part in ‘Ask an Expert’ at Grand Designs Live in Birmingham last year we’ve had enquiries near there, including Leicestershire, Manchester and Shropshire. We have also worked on a couple of international projects, one in the Ukraine and another in Geneva. What size projects do you normally undertake? A typical project is around £100-150k. Having said that, we also work on larger and smaller projects.


Most of them now take at least a year – some of these are ongoing phased projects. Are the majority residential or commercial? On the whole, they’re probably 90% residential, as in the end result is a residential property, but the client could be a commercial developer. It’s a mix, really. It’s quite good working on the commercial side as well because it keeps us up-to-date in terms of regulations and best practice, which is really important. Where do you see the company in five years time? I don’t want the company to be any bigger, I know that. If you’d asked me five years ago, my answer would have been different, but I like the size – I see no benefits for me or the company in expanding. I would like us to just carry on doing amazing gardens and landscapes. We’re

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genuinely lucky to be entrusted with the projects that we undertake. I have got a little itch for interior landscaping, that could be the next new trend, and basement gardens, looking at maximising small spaces as gardens are getting smaller. We designed our first roof terrace in 2012, and have done many more since. It’s a trend that will definitely continue, and we’ve been lucky to be at the forefront of that. Finally, what is the one thing you think the industry could and should do better? One of my biggest bugbears about the industry is that there’s no real network for helping new designers coming out of college. It’s such a fragmented industry. Probably around 95% of garden designers work individually, so there aren’t many ways for them to seek help and training. Some of the colleges try to be more commercial such as The London College of Garden Design, but there isn’t anything to help designers get from A to B. We have an intern with us at the moment, and are looking to take on another intern. It’s a six-month unpaid internship, which I know not everybody can afford to do, but they get amazing training – it’s beneficial for us, and at least we’re helping in a little way.

1 Chelsea Creek 2 Essex Country Estate 3 Ganton Street Roof Terrace 4 Knightsbridge Roof Terrace 5 RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012

CONTACT Aralia, Studio 2, New House Farm, Lower Sheering Road, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, CM21 9LE Tel: 01279 721461 Twitter: @PatFoxAralia Email: Web:

Images ©Aralia

space. We have a holistic approach to garden design, we prefer to choose the client’s furniture for them. If there’s a service we don’t offer in-house, such as ecology or arboriculture, we will work with external consultants and bring it to the client as part of Aralia. It just makes it easier.

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Valenc ©Gust


Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek © Thomas Schlijper

The team ©Valerie Bennett



Partner Donncha O’Shea gives Pro Landscaper an insight into Gustafson Porter + Bowman and its prolific projects


ustafson Porter + Bowman is a multi-award-winning landscape architecture practice based in London and working on an international scale. The company was established in 1997 when Kathryn Gustafson, already an acclaimed landscape architect based in Paris, opened an office in London with architect Neil Porter. Based in offices designed by Sir David Chipperfield, the practice has over 30 employees operating across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In January this year, a pivotal decision was made by the founding partners to change the company’s name to include that of existing partner Mary Bowman, who joined the company in 2002 and has since been instrumental in its development. Fellow partner Donncha O’Shea joined Gustafson Porter + Bowman in 2008, having 34

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trained as an architect in Ireland. “I was always conscious of the importance of landscape design and the potential it has for positive effect on people and places. It was exciting to have the opportunity to fully engage in landscape architecture, and I was fascinated by the range of projects in the office, which matched both the quality and complexity of my previous experience in architecture.”


Stand-out schemes The company has what Donncha calls a “healthy 50-50 split of landscape architects and architects”, with 35 employees currently, two-thirds of whom are women. Its balanced and diverse skillset allows Gustafson Porter + Bowman to work well in collaboration with other architects on complex projects, or when it needs to design and build its own structures, such as Harbour Square in Beirut. One of its defining projects is Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam, worth €23m, which was completed in 2006 and received a Landscape Institute Award the following year. The site is a transition from brownfield to greenfield,

with the council stating that accessibility and public safety were to be key considerations in any design proposals submitted following public consultations, and a need to offer several facilities for as many users as possible. Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s masterplan for the 11.5ha site included trails and gardens, with a playground and waterfall, as well as an artificial lake that could be drained ahead of large events alongside an events field suitable for around 10,000 people. The practice is currently working on another project in the Netherlands – Museumpark Rotterdam, where work has begun on site since planning permission was granted in October last

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Valencia Parque Central ©Gustafson Porter + Bowman


Harbour Square ©Walid Rashid

Partners ©Valerie Bennett

International Quarter London ©Lendlease

Woolwich Squares ©Chris Mansfield

year. “The addition of a new art collection building prompted the client, Rotterdam Municipality, to approach us to analyse how the park is used, and how it could be enhanced and enlarged with improved access and greener surroundings. Our design realises the park’s value to the people of Rotterdam and improves the integration between the park and the wider urban fabric, seeking to create a ‘city living room’ in front of the cultural buildings.

Taikoo Place ©Gustafson Porter + Bowman

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Key green elements to the park include the creation of a small lake garden between the Erasmus MC and the Natural History Museum, with educational nature trails among woodland habitats, and an aquatic garden with the introduction of aquatic plants, timber walkways and stepped terraces, surrounded by cafes and restaurants. Home ground As well as international projects, Gustafson Porter + Bowman takes on projects closer to home. With nearly 50% of Greater London being green and around 60% being open undeveloped land, the UK’s capital remains a prosperous part of the country for landscape architects, particularly with an increasing focus placed on keeping the region as green and sustainable as possible. GP+B is designing the public realm and outdoor spaces for International Quarter London, a large urban development next to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where phase 1 is set to be completed in October 2017. “The main central civic space is activated by three diamond-shaped water features which will

animate the square, engage visitors and reflect a new pavilion,” explains Donncha. “In another public square, we have created a place to pause, rest and gather in a series of outdoor ‘garden rooms’. These spaces surround a central paved plaza which will function as an additional small square, ideal for pop-up events.” The proposals also include a 300m-long textured concrete retaining wall, set to be one of the largest green walls in the UK. It will allow for self-climbing plants to colonise the wall and encourage biodiversity, almost a mandatory benefit to be included in green infrastructure proposals for urban developments. Also within the capital, Donncha is leading the Gustafson Porter + Bowman team for Qatari Diar’s Chelsea Barracks development, a major project 52,000m2 in size, with stages running concurrently, the first of which is due for completion later this year. “The site is adjacent to one of the oldest parts of Chelsea and as such needs to combine different characters. Several proposed urban squares evoke this character and continue the historic urban grid. The landscape scheme takes inspiration from its context Pro Landscaper / April 2017 35

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and uses them to portray the timeless feeling of Chelsea: high quality paving materials, and a carefully selected planting palette with incorporation of native species.” A productive garden is at the heart of the scheme, framed by two rows of fruit trees and bands of ornamental crops, flowers and herbs, presenting a constantly changing colourful landscape. To engage visitors and residents,

OUR VALUES REMAIN THE SAME: TO INTENSIFY THE EXPERIENCE OF TIME AND PLACE THROUGH LANDSCAPE DESIGN. LANDSCAPE IS A NECESSARY FEATURE OF OUR BUILT ENVIRONMENTS primary pedestrian routes run through the square, and benches are provided to encourage them to linger and enjoy the space. One of Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s most engaging projects in London is Woolwich Squares, a £4.2m public space completed in 2012, shortlisted for a number of awards and winning Best Town Centre Project at the London Planning Awards 2013. “We saw off almost 40 rivals to win this project in an international competition, which has created a fully

accessible public space for all, including feature lighting, soft landscaping and a water feature that could drain to accommodate events.”

New Ludgate ©Tim Soar

Future plans So what can we expect from Gustafson Porter + Bowman in its 20th anniversary year and going forward? “The practice is steadily growing, with London and the Far East as the strongest markets.” This certainly looks to be the case as the company recently unveiled plans for Taikoo Place, a 69,000ft2 public space in Hong Kong, which will feature both large and small open areas. “In landscape, the frequency of completed projects is much lower than built architecture, but this year we have three projects completing. In the end, our true values remain the same: to intensify the experience of time and place through landscape design. Landscape is a necessary feature of our built environments as well as an act of social and cultural expression.” CONTACT Gustafson Porter + Bowman 1 Cobham Mews, London, NW1 9SB Tel: 020 7284 8950 Email: Twitter: @GPB_landscape Web: Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek ©Hélène Binet

Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek ©Gustafson Porter + Bowman Woolwich Squares ©Chris Mansfield


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VIEW FROM THE TOP MARCUS WATSON Marcus Watson discusses Brexit’s impact on mergers and acquisitions within UK landscaping, and its potential effects On 23 June last year, the UK voted to leave the European Union. While the shape of the UK’s relationship with the EU remains unclear, it is likely that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity will be affected as a result. From a commercial perspective, Brexit presents both risks and opportunities to the UK market. The impact on M&A in the service industry in general, and the landscaping sector in particular, will be as a result of changes to the supply of quality assets and the demand of keen investors. Good old fashioned supply and demand. With sterling decreasing in value against major currencies since the referendum, international investors are more likely to look for a bargain in the UK. Broadly speaking, in the past year, sterling has lost about 15% against the euro and yuan, and more than 20% against the US dollar. Who would not want a straight 20% discount on buying a quality company? Any such discount needs to be considered against the uncertainty around Brexit, but it is wise to remember that risks and uncertainties exist for both UK as well as international investors, with the latter benefitting from greater purchasing power. In this equation, it is also important to compare the risks surrounding Brexit against

other international risks. Consider the political risks that are emerging across the pond, and the political, geo-political, humanitarian, immigration and financial risks that continue to affect many European economies. Add to that an emboldened Russia, and China’s assertive stance regionally as well as its near disregard for intellectual property, and it is easy to see that the Brexit risk, in relative terms, might now be seen as more palatable to investors. This is especially so because the post-referendum doomsday scenarios have not

FROM A COMMERCIAL PERSPECTIVE, BREXIT PRESENTS BOTH RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES TO THE UK MARKET played out and, to the surprise of many pundits, the UK has so far experienced a stable postreferendum era. And there are potentially juicy exchange-rate based advantages to be had.You only need to look at Kraft’s highly publicised attempt to take over Unilever on the cheap.1 Also

take a look at the speed at which technology group SoftBank acquired ARM.2 Many would doubt that such a swift, decisive and high-price deal could have been possible without a significant exchange rate advantage.

So some might say that it was bad timing for idverde who bought The Landscape Group in March 2015 and Quadron in February 2016, both deals being pre-referendum? Maybe not. While there are clear tactical benefits in the short-term, M&A by trade buyers should almost always be strategic in nature and consider long-term benefits. Turning to the domestic market, it is likely that M&A activity will be dominated by Private Equity (PE) and institutional investors looking for high quality businesses to safeguard their investment. After the massive slowdown in M&A deals during the recession, many PE houses and institutional investors are sitting on a mountain of capital they need to invest, or risk losing the confidence of their own investors. Add to this the demand from international investors described above, and you get only one thing; the price paid (in sterling) for quality businesses is likely to increase. This, in turn, may see a reduction in the number of non-listed trade buyers as they tend to be more concerned with cash flow returns, and are less likely to weight their investment decision heavily on potential future increases in multiple. So over the next few years we may see a trend in the M&A market that sees an increasing proportion of acquisitions being conducted by foreign investors and PE houses, rather than non-listed trade buyers. In the meantime, our industry will still be creating and maintaining landscapes that are safe and enjoyable for all. References 1. Michael Skapinker, Kraft’s Unilever failure shows need for political savvy, Financial Times, 28 Feb 2017 2. Sean Farrell and Julia Kollewe, ARM shareholders approve SoftBank takeover, The Guardian, 30 Aug 2016

ABOUT MARCUS WATSON Joining Ground Control in 2011, managing director Marcus Watson champions outstanding customer service and innovation in the grounds maintenance, arboriculture and landscaping market sectors.

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David Dodd notes the playing field in hard landscaping is still largely male-dominated and hopes that GoLandscape will be a catalyst for change I attended a GoLandscape event at the Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) last month where I spoke to around 40 students along with Jamie Butterworth. We both gave presentations about what a fantastic industry horticulture and landscaping is and all of the students were engaged and inspired. They wanted to know more about the various career opportunites out there and the feedback was great. However, I noticed that out of the 40 students only one of them was a girl, and it got me thinking: is the landscape industry really 97.5% male dominated as it was in that classroom? Firstly, it greatly depends on what sector of the industry you’re talking about. I could well believe 97.5%, or even higher, of hard landscape gardeners are male, but I know this percentage is far more balanced when it comes to the

number of women involved in soft landscaping, maintenance and garden design. There’s no clearer display of this than at the RHS flower shows. As the construction comes to an end and the plants start to arrive, the smell of BO and too

much testosterone begins to die down and is replaced with the more gentle waft of Chanel and Earl Grey. The language and level of conversation becomes, as a whole, far more savoury… unless of course you’re working with Ann-Marie Powell! I’m probably going to get shot down here, but as a completely sweeping generalisation, I generally find women better at planting, particularly for show gardens. There, I’ve said it! So why, in this day and age, is the traditional gender role still so dominant in hard landscaping? Yes it is heavy work and men are naturally stronger due to having greater overall muscle mass. However, these days, this should be less of an issue with modern lifting equipment and The Manual Handling Operations Regulations which covers the lifting, putting down, pushing and pulling of a load.

WHY, IN THIS DAY AND AGE, IS THE TRADITIONAL GENDER ROLE STILL SO DOMINANT IN HARD LANDSCAPING? Part of the GoLandscape initiative is that landscaping is open to all, no matter your sex or age, and as a company The Outdoor Room has a strict equal opportunities policy. It would be interesting to find out how many male employers are put off employing women due to a predominantly male-dominated workplace, feeling a woman simply wouldn’t fit in on site? I can only say that I employ two female hard landscapers; both are brilliant and fit in perfectly with the rest of the team. They’re creative, skilled and hard working and are quite rightly treated equally in both workload and payscale to the rest of the team. I’m not expecting that 2.5 to 97.5 ratio to suddenly become 50:50 as I think, rightly or wrongly, they’ll always be ‘traditionally’ male and female careers. My wife’s a midwife and trust me, there are far more female landscapers in Britain than there are male midwives. I only hope that as GoLandscape grows over the years and the ambassadors attend more school career events, a greater number of girls will have the opportunity to look towards landscaping as a viable career option, whether it be in construction or horticulture. ABOUT DAVID DODD David Dodd has been in the landscape industry since the age of 17. Having studied and then taught at Merrist Wood College, he set up The Outdoor Room in 1995. In 2013, he went into business with landscape architect Joe Perkins to form Longview Design Ltd. David has also lectured in design and construction for over 20 years.

Katie Bower and Amanda Miller of The Outdoor Room

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Angus Lindsay says many of today’s ‘revolutionary’ ideas have been seen before in one guise or another, and there’s nothing wrong with using them, if they work! Compared to the electronic, IT and automobile industries, landscaping and amenity management doesn’t lead the way in cutting edge technology. While there have been significant developments in sports turf management, artificial surfaces and water management, we still cut grass in the same way as when the cylinder mower was first developed by Edwin Budding nearly 200 years ago. We are, however, very good at developing ideas and machinery which are ahead of their time. So much so that they fail first time around, only to reappear several years later as a great new idea! Take for instance the triple flail mower, which

A slight case of déjà vu?

arrived on the market last year in the form of the very successful Toro LT-F3000. There are also options from Ransomes, and the recently resurrected Roberine. But this concept is not new. Back in 1993 the Turner Turf Trim was the first true triple flail mower which could easily convert from cylinder to flail – an extremely capable machine, just a bit too radical for the market.

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Remote control mowers have also been around for many years, with the earliest examples made by Kubota back in 1987. More recently, we have seen the arrival of the multipurpose tool carrier that is the Ventrac 4500, an extremely versatile machine which can operate on steep banks whilst powering an array of implements

WE STILL CUT GRASS IN THE SAME WAY AS WHEN THE CYLINDER MOWER WAS FIRST DEVELOPED BY EDWIN BUDDING NEARLY 200 YEARS AGO from mowers to clearance and cultivation equipment. But hang on a minute. Haven’t we seen something like that before? It may not have had the bells and whistles of the Ventrac but, back in the Eighties, Ransomes imported the US-built Turf Trac, again somewhat ahead of its time. Sales ceased in the mid-Nineties in favour of dedicated mowers and compact tractors. There is nothing wrong with revisiting past developments and taking a second look. Sometimes the conditions are just not right for the technology: the electric car has been around since 1895 but is only now gaining acceptance. In today’s market, economics and operational needs can dictate a rethink on the way we do things and sometimes the simple technology of the past is the best way forward. Learning and adapting techniques and equipment from other industries can also have its advantages – although this can be expensive and you need to look at future use and not just a solution for right now. Take logistics for example. Moving materials and machinery between sites seems, on paper, a simple enough task. But in practice, it is fraught with headaches: vehicle types, capacities, ground conditions, licences, trailers, materials, loading and unloading – the list goes on.

The waste management industry was revolutionised many years ago when it adopted the demountable hook-loader system for moving skips, and the truck became a multi-purpose

Good enough for the waste industry so why not grounds maintenance?

prime mover. Now this technology has found its way into construction and agriculture, so why not landscaping and grounds maintenance? On the continent, they use this type of technology to great effect on smaller commercial vehicles, where one vehicle acts as a ferry, moving materials and equipment between work teams. When you think about it, a couple of trucks with this type of technology are cheaper than a fleet of vehicles which spend most of the day parked up. I’m not advocating that we all change what we do and how we operate, just raising the question. Look around and don’t be scared to try something different, but do your homework and don’t jump in without considering what you’ll do if it doesn’t work. You never know, you may end up having a solution to a problem you didn’t know you had! ABOUT ANGUS LINDSAY Angus spent several years working on arable farms in Scotland before joining VSO in Egypt, implementing a mechanisation programme, managing field operations for a commercial cotton plantation in Nigeria and working as a contract instructor for Massey Ferguson in Yemen. He gained an MSc in agricultural engineering and mechanisation management at Silsoe, joining Glendale as machinery manager in 1994, and then idverde UK in 2009 as group head of assets and fleet. Contact:

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Andrew Wilson looks at the viability of low cost garden design which ‘everyone’ seems to want and ‘no one’ seems to be able to deliver. What’s going on? Garden design is elitist and I’m proud of it! There I’ve said it – and very cathartic it was too. I delivered a course at Wisley a few weeks ago, on behalf of the RHS and LCGD, aimed at would-be garden designers – a way of helping people make decisions about whether to pursue this career, without expending too much cash. I discussed the typical working life of a designer after first asking the audience how it compared to their preconceptions, and then looked at the work of designers and contractors. In the Q&A session that closed the day, one member of the audience accepted that the work he had seen over the day was obviously high end but what about the garden owner who wanted to invest £10k – what could we do for them? My first response was: “Where does the £10k figure come from?” That might seem a reasonable amount but what kind of car does that buy? What kind of kitchen, or house extension? The answer is a small one or an older second hand number, a decent IKEA model, and a small outhouse. To involve a designer in creating a garden scheme and a contractor in building that scheme,

GARDENS CREATED BY DESIGNERS AND THEN BUILT BY CONTRACTORS ARE NOT CHEAP ITEMS the pot of money would reduce significantly. If you are lucky it might get you a lawn, some gravel paving and fencing. If people want to take time off work and labour for free, then £10k might go a bit further but designers and contractors cannot work in that way – they would go out of business. If you are appalled by this, you are not living in the real world. Gardens created by designers and 42

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then built by contractors are not cheap items. If Gavin and I were to devote our lives to £10k budget gardens, then our fee on each scheme would be at least £1,800 – that’s according to the SGD fee scale. Do we add that on, or take that from the £10k fund? To provide both Gavin and I with a minimum wage we would have to find at least 16 new clients per year, and this would not include our office rent, telephone, electricity, accountant, equipment, software licences etc. More importantly it would provide no profit to be invested in our business and would not let us employ Tom Massey in support. So, we either have to charge more, find over 16 new clients a year, or look for garden clients with larger budgets. Well, surprise, surprise – we decided to go with the latter in order to survive and hopefully expand, as any business would. Does that make us elitist or good businessmen? We work in places such as Wimbledon, Holland Park, Surrey, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire because it makes business sense. I illustrate this to my students with a story. I was invited to speak to members of the Garden

Club of Wimbledon several years ago, agreeing to do so even before a fee was offered. I took some of my books to the talk and sold some – one to a man who was a recently elected member and who became a future client. Not bad for an evening’s work. But would I do the same if an invite came from the Gardening Club of Feltham? Well, I would probably still say yes to the talk (fundamentally I’m a nice guy), but little of the rest would follow and I wouldn’t expect it. In marketing terms, Feltham is simply not on my map. Can we just get real on this please and put our business heads on? Pictured: One of the cheapest treatments from the WMStudio back catalogue and one of the most viewed on our website, but all gardens need hard structure and costs will rise

ABOUT ANDREW WILSON Andrew Wilson is a landscape and garden designer and a director of Wilson McWilliam Studio. He is also a director of the London College of Garden Design, an author, writer and lecturer.

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Luxigraze, a new luxurious, high quality range of artificial grass products to hit the UK market

Luxigraze provides a choice of luxury artificial grass products designed for beautiful, all year round, low maintenance gardens. Luxigraze comes in a variety of specifications, each providing a durable, child and pet friendly lawn, creating a safe outdoor environment for all the family. Luxigraze also offers 3 installation and 2 cleaning products. 20 Premium

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For more information call 0330 333 8030 or visit Luxigraze is supplied by Natural Paving Products (UK) Ltd, Belton Road, Sandtoft, Doncaster, DN8 5SX.

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A 100% recycled rubber product that has been designed to resemble stone, the bonded rubber provides a compacted non-slip surface offering an anti fatigue, level, walking platform. Supported by its exceptional durability high levels of permeability and certification for fall heights, resistance to indentation and many more, Agri-Flex has proven to be the ideal solution for fitness areas; residential care homes and physical rehabilitation centres as well as pathways and uses within the golfing community. The perfect solution for many landscaping needs, with a 5-year guarantee, and available in a range of aesthetically pleasing colours. Certification to BSEN1177 & BS7188 Slip Resistance of • 81 (Dry) • 44 (Wet) • Water Permeability to BS12616 • Mean 5022mm/hour Ideal for • Pathways • Golf Buggy Tracks • Tree Surroundings • Erosion control • Physical Rehabilitation • Residential care homes

Star Kerb

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Landscape architect Adam White shares some of his holiday memories after visiting the Cape Floral Kingdom of South Africa Last month my girlfriend and I decided to leave the umbrella jousting behind and head to Cape Town, South Africa in search of some much-needed Vitamin D. We visited the must-do tourist attractions, but the highlight for me was Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. These unique gardens are situated along the slopes of Cape Town’s towering Table Mountain. Home to approximately 7,000 indigenous plant species, they form part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Most of Kirstenbosch’s outdoor display is devoted to fynbos, which I spent hours admiring, from mountain to coastal. Fynbos vegetation is indigenous, only growing in the South African Cape region. It includes proteas, ericas and restios (reeds), and is the origin of some of the world’s favourite plants: gladioli, freesias, nerines, agapanthus, ixia and, of course, those beloved geraniums and pelargoniums.

THE CAPE REGION HOUSES THE RICHEST FLORAL KINGDOM IN THE WORLD WITH OVER 9,000 PLANT SPECIES Another highlight was the ‘Boomslang’. Named after South Africa’s arboreal tree snake, it’s a steel-and-timber canopy walkway that was built to commemorate the garden’s 100th anniversary. The Boomslang offers magnificent views and takes you through the tree tops of the garden’s Arboretum section. At its highest point, it’s 12m above the ground. South Africa is also home to a third of the world’s succulents and has 1,400 species of bulbous plants. Some of these plants (that would not ordinarily grow in the Western Cape) can be seen inside the conservatory. There’s even a baobab tree in there! The lower end of the garden is devoted to plants that have either become extinct in the wild, or have been rescued from the brink. Around 1,500 plants are at risk, so information signs here

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make for a sobering read. It was a joy to see the birds, bees and butterflies that call this beautiful garden home. As an amateur ornithologist, I was over the moon to spot some of the endemic birds, like the Orange-Breasted Sunbird and the Cape Sugarbird both busy feeding on a Wild Dagga plant. Table Mountain National Park, including Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, defines the city. The flat-topped mountain and Floral Kingdom are certainly the headline act, but there are many other gorgeous natural landscapes within the park’s boundaries that we will most certainly be back to discover. ABOUT ADAM WHITE FLI Adam White FLI is a director at Davies White Ltd, a multi award-winning chartered landscape architects’ practice in Kingston upon Thames. He is the youngest landscape architect to be made a fellow of the Landscape Institute and an RHS Gold Medal and BBC People’s Choice Award winner. Twitter: @davies_white

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of progress Pro Landscaper visits Winchester to find out about the innovative strategies used by the city council to get residents into parks

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ike Ipswich in the previous issue of Pro Landscaper, Winchester is one of the smaller cities we’ve covered so far in this series looking at local authority parks and green spaces. Also like Ipswich, it makes up for its size through a unique parks offer, reflecting not only local people’s love of the outdoors but also the council’s commitment to making the best use of some extraordinary open spaces. Winchester is the county town of Hampshire situated in the south of the UK, at the western end of the South Downs National Park. As of the 2011 census, the district was home to a population of around 118k people, spread out across an area of about 250 square miles. It is the city with arguably the highest standard of living that Pro Landscaper has covered in this series, attracting 5.5m visitors a year because of its heritage city status. According to figures released by Winchester City Council, it has an extraordinarily low rate of unemployment (0.6%) and very few areas of deprivation. Pro Landscaper / April 2017 47

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Susan Lord is outdoor recreation officer for Winchester City Council’s parks department. It’s her job to help coordinate the upkeep, and also the development, of Winchester’s parkland, some of which can be traced back to the city’s Roman origin. Pro Landscaper asked her to provide an outline of some of the responsibilities undertaken by Winchester City Council in relation to its parks and green spaces. “Winchester City Council is responsible for a variety of different kinds of parks and gardens, from large recreation grounds and sports pitches to more formal gardens located in the city centre itself. These latter kinds of parks have all the usual things you would expect to find, such as traditional flower beds, park buildings and so on. Abbey Gardens, the city’s main destination park, also has the river Itchen running through it. “We organise the maintenance of all aspects of those parks, which means creating the flower

beds and planting schemes, and undertaking grounds maintenance in terms of grass and hedge cutting. We also employ a special maintenance team which does a quarterly inspection of the whole estate, and carries out any follow-up work arising from that. They’re kind of like a hit squad, and their remit could be anything from fixing signage and benches to cutting back overgrown hedges that are dangerous to the public.” Bishops and tourists As mentioned by Susan, Winchester city centre boasts a variety of different types of parks and gardens. As disparate as these spaces are however, one thing which they invariably have in common is their links to the history of the town. This history stretches back as far as Roman times when the area was called Venta Belgarum, and served as the capital of a local tribe known as the Belgae.

HEALTH IS A COUNCIL PRIORITY – THERE’S ALWAYS BEEN MONEY TO HELP FUND MAINTENANCE The main park in the city is the aforementioned Abbey Gardens. It was originally the site of the 16th century St Mary’s Abbey, which in its time was one of the largest religious houses in England. Gifted to the city by Queen Mary Tudor in 1554 and bought by the council in 1890, the land was divided in two, with the eastern part occupied by a town house – now the Mayor’s residence – and the formal gardens. Abbey Gardens is a stunning example of a formal park, with design features of particular interest including rose beds and a scented garden for the blind and partially sighted. It also possesses a temple structure, designed in the Doric style, which serves as a kind of thoroughfare for a channel of the River Itchen. Susan says: “We’re very proud of Abbey Gardens, which as well as the formal flower beds also contains a fantastic play area. “It’s situated in the centre of town, and is a great place for visitors to come, get their bearings and find out what the city has to offer during their time here. It’s also somewhere people on their lunch break come to enjoy the sunshine and get some peace and quiet. It’s extraordinarily important to the life of the city.” With that in mind, Pro Landscaper asks if the maintenance budget has been in any way impacted by the cuts to public services which have been the norm since 2010. As it turns out, its funding is more or less intact. “Because health and wellbeing is a council priority,” says Susan, “there’s always been money available to help fund maintenance, as well as our projects across the city. For instance, there’s currently something called the Feet First initiative through which the council is hoping to get people walking, and we’ve had funding via that.” She continues: “One of the biggest projects we’ve got at the moment is a refurbishment

1 Formal planting in Abbey Gardens 2 The new climbing forest at Abbotts Walk 3 Abbey Gardens with Abbey House 4 The Wonky totem at Abbotts Walk 48

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strategy looking at play areas. We fought as a council to keep that going, even as funding was being cut. A lot of our extra money used to come via Section 106 legislation, which ensured that developers of local sites also contributed to public infrastructure. That’s stopped now, but some of our parishes have still got money left in their Section 106 reserves, which they can use to improve sport or play facilities.” Wonky the Woodpecker Making sure that Winchester’s parks are kept up to the standard expected in one of the UK’s most historic towns is a huge task. Having accomplished this however, the city isn’t resting on its laurels, and is continually looking for new ways to help residents get the most out of what the council has helped to create with its leisure offer. The most recent project in relation to this was partly conceived by Susan herself as a way of getting more young people outdoors. It is the first local authority initiative of its kind that Pro Landscaper has come across in this series, and is hugely inventive. The project revolves around the creation of a ‘trail’ which takes in all the play areas across the city, beginning with a newly-built facility in Abbotts Walk. Susan takes up the story: “We’re trying to get more people out and active, so the first step is making them aware that the parks are there in the first place. Through the Feet First project, we’re linking the parks up in people’s imagination in the hope that they’ll realise they can move between them without having to use their cars. A lot of our spaces are quite hidden away, and we want to address that.” She continues: “We’ve created a character called Wonky the Woodpecker, of whom there’s a massive totem pole in the new play area in Abbots Walk. The idea is that its his home and there are mini totems there of his friends, who are a fox, an owl and a hedgehog. If you go to other play areas in the city you’ll find posts with a brass rubbing of Wonky and a letter to collect. If you go to all 23 sites you learn the names of all Wonky’s friends. We want people to pick a few sites to visit and have a day out. “Once the project is finished, we’re hoping to expand it to parks without play areas, or even out

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into the parishes. We’ve gone big with the whole Wonky idea. He’s got his own song about why he’s got a wonky beak, and you can also buy Wonky merchandise. We’re going to go into all the schools to talk to the kids about keeping fit, outside and active.” Pro Landscaper asks if the design element of

ONE OF THE KEY AGENDAS OF OUR COMMUNITY STRATEGY IS GETTING PEOPLE OUT AND ABOUT the project was handled by the council itself. “It was all done in house,” says Susan. “Our landscape architect in the landscape and open spaces team designed the new play area at Abbotts Walk, and the graphic design work for Wonky was done by our graphic designer Sarah Cope, who did an amazing job. “Other recent projects have included St Matthew Field, where we’ve introduced paths, play features, a trim trail, community orchard and swathes of longer grass for biodiversity around the perimeter.” “In terms of design and hard landscaping, we were finding that companies just weren’t understanding our design brief. That was the case with the play areas as well, when we tried to tender for the work on Feet First. It was too off the shelf, and we wanted bespoke and unique.”

Pro Landscaper asks Susan why she thinks parks are so important to Winchester. “They’re vital for all kinds of reasons,” she says. “One of the key agendas of our community strategy is getting people out and about and helping them become more active, and parks are integral to that. We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished, and continue to accomplish, in the city and wider districts.” We can’t wait to see what’s next.

Extraordinary value Winchester City Council provides a truly unique parks and green spaces offer to those living in and visiting the city. Through careful planning and budgeting, as well as an acute awareness of the location’s history, it is nurturing something of extraordinary value for the coming generations.

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DANIEL SHEA GARDEN DESIGN A rustic Hertfordshire cottage garden gets a contemporary update



ELITE LANDSCAPES LTD Modern elegance atop a London superstore



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RECLAIM THE PAST DANIEL SHEA GARDEN DESIGN Marrying this Hertfordshire cottage’s history with contemporary design

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PROJECT DETAILS Project value £70k Build time Three years Size of project 1,500m²

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fter meeting the client Jacky at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, I was invited to her lovely home in Hertfordshire. She was keen to have the surrounding areas of their house landscaped to complement the views from the new modern kitchen, but also be sympathetic to the house’s traditional rural roots. The house was formerly a game keeper’s cottage and part of the Panshanger estate, a large country house located on the edge of Hertford built in the 17th century. Brief The brief was to create a contemporary garden design that had its roots in the past. Panoramic views from the house would be dynamic and ever changing. With large bi-fold doors wrapping around the new extension, a seamless transition from the house to the garden was integral. The 15m long reflection pool, mild steel water tanks and long prairie style herbaceous borders provide drama and modernism but the use of reclaimed bricks, York stone and oak keep the garden’s provenance intact. 54

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Build and design The site was large and there were many areas of interest in the garden that needed to be designed, redesigned or renovated. A series of paths were installed connecting the house to each distinct zone, encouraging the client to explore the garden and the different areas which included: • A newly designed walled kitchen garden with a composting area, brick paths, and sun terrace laid in York stone. • A wildflower meadow which was previously a neglected piece of lawn and was sown with an annual mix of meadow flowers. The wildlife that this area has encouraged has been a real benefit to the garden and injected a lot of activity into a once neglected area. • A York stone sunken firepit with inbuilt stone benches for late night drinks. • The existing greenhouse and ponds which were replanted. • The newly designed herbaceous borders. The site itself was flat, and the chalky freedraining soil was perfect for planting long,

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PORTFOLIO REFERENCES Designer Daniel Shea Landscaper Burnham Landscaping Ltd Decking and wood

Champion timber Bricks and reclaimed planters London Reclaimed Brick Merchants

Mild steel water features Mill Green Forge Plants Howard Nurseries Ltd Joseph Rochford Gardens Ltd

01707 261370

dramatic ‘prairie style planting’. The most dramatic piece of landscaping was the 15m long reflection pool, edged in brick. It spans the length of the kitchen and is the epicentre of the garden. The bi-fold doors open onto a decked area that leads to the pool, and the rest of the paths form around this main axis point. The pool reflects the planting year round and leads the eye out into the garden beyond. Materials The majority of the materials were located on site. Fortunately, there were piles of old York stone and brick that had been discovered whilst building. We then supplemented these materials using local reclaim yards. The long deck area runs parallel to the kitchen, with the reflection pool made from Iroko hardwood, and the pergola pots made from chunky oak beams. Finally, as a finishing touch, we used mild steel to create three bespoke water drums to edge the long herbaceous borders and existing rockery. These were produced from our local forge.

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1 Panoramic view onto the contemporary herbaceous border and water rill 2 Grasses, herbs and perennials soften the reclaimed brick path 3 Traditional herbaceous border with brick arched gate 4 Daniel Shea’s signature planting style

Daniel Shea is an award-winning garden designer based in Hertfordshire. Daniel offers a range of services including garden and planting design, lighting, and water and fire features. From large country gardens to pocket-sized courtyards, His philosophy is to create harmonious and tranquil spaces inspired by nature, built on contemporary design and softened with lush and elegant planting.

5 The 15m long water rill spans the entire length of the new extension 6 Silvered oak pergola path Pro Landscaper / April 2017 55

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40th BALI National Landscape Award Principal Winner 2016

PROJECT DETAILS Project value £4.5m Build time Phase 1: April 2014 - June 2016 Size of project 8,230m²


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LONDON LUXURY ELITE LANDSCAPES LTD Bringing formal topiary and high end elegance to this London development set above a Sainsbury’s superstore


he podium gardens are at the heart of Barratt London’s Fulham Riverside development. The tranquil landscape is set above a 120,000ft2 Sainsbury’s, providing an opportunity for an exciting space for residents. Simon Garrett, operations director for Barratt London, says: “This scheme is a flagship development for Barratt London as it is a complex project combining high value residential housing with the commercial development of a Sainsbury’s superstore at ground level. The development is a joint venture partnership for Barratt London and the landscaping is a major part of the scheme. Elite has managed to deliver a quality product to exacting standards and to tight programme completion dates.” The client Barratt London is the market-leading residential developer in the capital. Fulham Riverside, SW6 is an imaginative scheme which utilises land space and location to the maximum. The gardens are one of the biggest podium garden spaces in London overlooking the River Thames on the riverfront in Fulham.

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This 3.2 hectare site, once a coal-fired power plant and then a brewery, is located on the north bank of the River Thames in Fulham’s Sands End Riverside conservation area. Barratt London, in partnership with Sainsbury’s, is transforming derelict warehouses and a disused jetty into a thriving new community of 468 new homes, dynamic public spaces and river frontage. Project scope of works Elite Landscapes Ltd was contracted to undertake the hard and soft landscaping The works were predominantly hard landscaping, and included design and development of the following items:

ABOUT ELITE LANDSCAPES LTD Established in November 1999, Elite Landscapes Ltd is a hard and soft landscape contractor with a current turnover of over £19m. The core business is commercial landscape construction and maintenance mainly in the south east of England, with project values between £100k and £5m. Elite Landscapes Ltd was co-founded by Dave Twist who is currently managing director.


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• Irrigation • Roof garden drainage, insulation and void former infill • Surface drainage • Groundworks/lighting coordination • Granite and York stone paving • Supply and installation of badminton court, play areas and outdoor fitness centre • Supply and installation of bespoke pergolas • Stone clad planter and seat formation • Step formation • Water wall and rill feature • Supply and installation of bespoke Cor-Ten planters • Installation of soft landscape maze in buxus hedging • Supply and installation of mature trees from Holland

• Ongoing aftercare maintenance. Design inspiration and planting The design creates a series of ‘gardens within the garden’. A sequence of interlinked garden rooms frame the central lawn, creating individual spaces for residents to enjoy. The central water features exploit the changes in level, creating a dynamic wall of water cascading towards the River Thames. The planting design takes inspiration from formal parterre gardens with a contemporary twist. Trees, hedges and topiary create the formal structure of the gardens. Ornamental shrubs and herbaceous perennials provide year round interest. Box headed, table top and topiary trees provide accents throughout the scheme. Landscape construction and challenges Construction of the gardens at a raised height, surrounded by the newly constructed buildings, provided a logistical challenge. To complete the works for the podium gardens, all materials had to be craned up to the third floor in individual dumpy bags or pallets. Specialist details including lightweight materials, roof drainage systems and irrigation were installed to ensure establishment of the landscape. The logistics for completing the scheme were challenging to plan and resource, and it is difficult to appreciate the work accomplished behind the scenes to deliver the garden work, particularly while working three floors up. All works were completed to a fixed deadline and geared towards programmed completions for the housing handovers, with extreme pressure to deliver the externals for the opening of the Sainsbury’s superstore.

1 Stepping  stones through the water feature 2 Bespoke  seating and pergola 3 Formal  lawn and topiary 4 Buxus  maze 5 Works  in progress

REFERENCES Landscaper Elite Landscapes Ltd Yorkstone paving George Lines Sandstone paving Hardscape

Summary This project is one of the largest podium gardens in London, and it enhances the development by being the central focus for the entire complex. The landscape of this development is certainly a major selling point and is one of the many strengths of the development. Elite Landscapes is very proud of the scheme and its part in making this one of the most sought after developments in central London.

Portfolio 2 Elite Landscapes.indd 59 Water features Fountains & Features Plants Crowders Nurseries Street furniture Bramhall 1840

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COMMENDED Project value over £200,000

LIVING LANDSCAPES Bringing style and luxury to a family-orientated garden


he client specified a complete rebuild of the rear garden as it wasn’t in keeping with the finish on the rest of the newly renovated property. Inclusion of a bespoke outdoor kitchen and dining area was also required. The swimming pool required full refurbishment, as did the pool house. The client would be hosting family parties in this garden so consideration had to be given to child safety, slippery surfaces and soft areas for the play frame. Design and build The design and layout of this garden was strongly influenced by the choice of paving. Many samples were given, and it was clear the clients wanted a modern feel with a grey finish, but were also aware that a large section of grey paving could look similar to a concrete finish. Also considered was the texture of the paving, as it would be walked on with wet feet from the pool.


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The final decision was Heath Sawn from London Stone – an excellent piece of stone, it ticked all the client’s requirements. It also came with a pre-made bullnosed tread so the stone could also be used on the swimming pool. Setting out was straightforward. Considering the swimming pool location, grouting gaps needed to be to the millimetre, and we avoided having a cut slab running along the pool coping. To add privacy to the pool area, slatted horizontal cedar fencing was installed. This was also used to hide the underground rainwater tank supplying the irrigation system. A large, bespoke outdoor kitchen and seating area was designed to create a sense of enclosure to the patio and seating area. This outdoor kitchen also had a breakfast bar at the end. Built from block and render, black micro cement was then applied to give it a durable finish. A seating area and firepit was located on an elevated section of the garden, with slatted

PROJECT DETAILS Project value £266k Build time Eight months Size of project 654m²

1 Patio 2 Water feature 3 Swimming pool and slatted fence 4 Seating 5 Oak steps and frame

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1 Clearance 2 The garden before work 3 Site levelling 4 Planting

BEFORE ABOUT LIVING LANDSCAPES Tecwyn Evans has run Living Landscapes for 20 years, covering London, Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex. Living Landscapes works with some of the UK’s most talented garden designers to create beautiful, innovative outdoor spaces for discerning clients. Its show gardens at the RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows have received multiple awards.

fencing. Finally, large pots and quality Scandinavian furniture was sourced to accessorise the outdoor living areas. Materials Paving used on this project was Heath Sawn supplied by London Stone, with Cedar Nursery providing the cooking facilities and Topcrete installing the micro cement on the barbecue area. The turf used was Rolawn Medallion supplied by London Lawn Turf, and the swimming pool work was undertaken by Roman Pools. Cedar was supplied by Honey Suckle Sawmill. Special requirements The most difficult aspect of this construction was making sure the paving was laid so that no cuts were required around the pool. The swimming pool had been originally installed by the builders of the house and its was 23mm out of square; this meant we had to adjust out coping and a paving line to compensate for it. 62

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IN STEP KATHERINE ROPER LANDSCAPE & GARDEN DESIGN Transforming a steep front garden into a shielded yet accessible space on a budget

PROJECT DETAILS Project value Under £10k Build time 12 weeks Size of project 52m²

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he client brief was to create a visually interesting, low maintenance garden. Important vistas to consider when executing the design were not only the approach from the garden gate but the views from the ground floor bay windows and master bedroom window above. The main criteria for the design solution was how to hide the two wheelie bins and recycling boxes that were on view from the lounge windows; the client also wanted to resolve the issue of having to take the wheelie bins up and down the existing steep steps every week. The bins choked the pathway to the front door and were a constant nuisance as a result. The garden sloped from the front of the house to the front rubble stone wall, and was lain to grass which was impractical and high maintenance. In addition, the client wanted to have a useable area within the front garden to sit in privacy, as it enjoyed a southerly aspect. 64

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1 Gradual ascent to front door spread along pathway 2 Serpentine dwarf box hedge softens edging to pebbles 3 Pennant Stone risers to match house 4 Softer scented herbaceous plants near seat 5 Urbis Mortar bowl with thyme 6 Step stones lead to sleeper seat 7 Excavation near gate allows room for bins

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Challenges The challenge was to provide a welcoming approach to the house whilst tackling the level changes. The change in level from the house threshold to the pavement was over 1.2m across a small area, so the run of steps and changes across the site had to be carefully considered, as did the materials.

wanted to make the transition from the gate to the front door easier and more enjoyable, so she spread the steps along the pathway to make it feel less steep, and added planting beds on both sides. The low budget for this project (under £10k) meant oak sleeper retaining walls rather than stone were the most economical approach, whilst the steps were constructed of stone to match the façade of the house. The choice of Marshalls Autumn Blend sits comfortably with the bath stone detailing in the façade of the house. The Urbis Design mortar pot added an anchor and further interest to the gravel area. There is an option to sit in the front and enjoy the morning sun, as the client’s young children have always enjoyed playing on the stepping stone pathway.

ABOUT KATHERINE ROPER Katherine Roper qualified with a postgraduate diploma in Residential Landscape Design in 2003. She was subsequently employed by a leading design/build practice in London. In 2006, she returned to the West Country to set up her own design practice in Bristol. She is a registered member of the Society of Garden Designers. Katherine’s knowledge of art, design and horticulture enables her to deliver a professional and inspirational garden design service.

REFERENCES Design Katherine Roper Landscape & Garden Design

Design and build The entire path and garden was sloping in a haphazard manner and was in disrepair, so Katherine took the decision to level off the main garden area. Paragon Gardens excavated an area to the right of the front entrance gates in order to hide the bins from the sight line of the bay windows, and for ease of wheeling them to the street outside. Installing a raised sleeper bed around the house allowed the team to drop the level of the main body of the garden. Katherine also

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Build Paragon Gardens Plants Middlecombe Nursery (Wrington, Somerset)

BEFORE/DURING Stone Marshalls Mortar bowl Urbis Design

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Anji Connell looks ahead to balmy days and considers the hottest ways to cover up once the sun comes out

In the depths of winter, it’s always nice to think about sunny summer days with their long, light evenings. To get us through to summer we can think about what we need to do maintenancewise, but more fun is thinking about how we might spice up our spaces and make them summer-ready. Never being able to guarantee how the weather will be, covered furniture might well be the way to go! Colico’s luxurious sun loungers are made in Italy from recycled teak and have two reclinable beds within a canopy structure. The loungers’ comfortable padded cushions have removable, washable, water-repellent and stain-resistant fabric that is both weatherproof and resistant to sunlight. The curtains that adorn the canopy come in the same material, and all come in a wide range of colours. Blissful even on cooler days and nights with plumped cushions and comfy throws piled around you, sipping cups of tea or something a little stronger! Gandía-Blasco invites us to: “Chill out, chat, eat, drink, laugh, listen to music, to share time together in the open air, while we enjoy our surroundings.” Their pergola systems come in anodised and lacquered aluminium in white, grey, sand and bronze with an innovative plant 66

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fibre and plastic-mix floor, a galvanised roof, with or without glass panels, and are all totally customisable dependent on project needs. Their Cristal Box “is the contemporary version of the winter garden”, says José A Gandía-Blasco. Pergola Sofa is the modern version of the classic outdoor pergola and is available in many sizes and configurations. The Nao-Nao Garden Swing, with its elegant lines, is the perfect designer sofa swing, ideal for a garden or in a larger contract space where you can wrap up warm with a fire bowl beside you. The Gandía-Blasco Fixed Blade Enclosures mean you can have a stand-alone outdoor dining room or attach it to your home, sheltering you from cold, heat, rain and snow every day of the year. And for the kids, or to nurture your inner child, the Gigante Wigwam is a contemporary tent with a mini-mattress. Pavilion, by Italian designer Paola Lenti, is an architectural structure composed of hexagon top

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al Box


panels and support side panels, and is designed to withstand wind loads up to a maximum of 70km/h when properly fixed to a load bearing surface. Above this limit, the fabric releases from the structure while remaining attached with a safety lock. Antonino Sciortino’s Ombrina sunshade has a slatted roof to fragment and soften the sunlight, its slender transparent structure has two small wheels “for changing one’s observation point”, says Sciortino. Kettal Pavilions have a collection of aluminium pergolas painted with a polyester powdered finish and luxurious weather resistant fabrics for the blinds, net curtains, panels and ceilings. Booth from Gandía-Blasco is an elegant dining booth that can be used singly in a residential garden or multiply for commercial projects. The ultimate in luxury is the Pavillion 360 from Munich-based company Nuyken von Oefele and Austrian architect Jürgen Stoppel, a column-free glass structure that affords an unimpeded 360° view. Of course, there are traditional awnings, and large cantilever sun umbrellas that, when placed over dining areas and sun beds, shade you from sun and rain. Mogambo and Bistrò sun umbrellas, again from Lenti, are a fun, functional way to add protection with a pop of colour. While Sunsail’s give a splash of colour and style, protecting you where you need cover, and are available ready-made or bespoke. Or stay toasty in an inflatable Bubble Tent with an amazing 360° view; the downside is there is a 360° view of you too!

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Gigante Wigwam tipi by Gandía-Blasco

ABOUT ANJI CONNELL Internationally recognised interior architect and landscape designer Anji Connell is a detail-obsessed Inchbald Graduate, and has been collaborating with artisans and craftsmen to create bespoke and unique interiors for a discerning clientele since 1986. Anji is a stylist, feature writer and lover of all things art and design. Pergola by Paola Lenti

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME… AT WILLERBY LANDSCAPES As landscaping pioneer John Melmoe steps down after 32 years as managing director of Willerby Landscapes, he looks back on an incredible career On the evening of 27 July 2012, I sat in the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony with my wife at my side. I looked around and reflected on what Willerby Landscapes had achieved in creating the sensational wildflower meadows, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park South Park and soft landscape backdrop for the stadium. For many, this would be the highlight of their career, but for Willerby it was a stepping stone for the next five years. I have been managing director for 32 years and on 31 March this year, I retired. In doing so, I handed the reins over to Rick Davies. Willerby Landscapes has a philosophy that you should always look forward and not waste time looking over your shoulder. However, it’s

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not possible to understand where Willerby Landscapes could end up in the next five years without understanding the platform on which it is built. There is a common misperception that it was I that formed Willerby Landscapes – the true founders were Roger Willicott and Graham Larby. The combination of their surnames gave the company its name.

ONE OF THE MANY THINGS I ENJOY ABOUT THIS INDUSTRY IS THE ECLECTIC MIX OF INDIVIDUALS YOU ENCOUNTER The hands-on approach In 1977, I joined Comtec UK from Merrist Wood College, where my first exposure to commercial landscaping was repairing bomb damaged sites in the East End of London. My London office was a red public telephone box from where I

would order materials and arrange meetings. There were no mobile phones, no fax machines and certainly no PCs. Amazingly, the hands-on approach worked and the projects got finished on time. I moved on within Comtec and became involved with overseas erosion control works; we communicated with remote projects in Tanzania, Kenya and Gabon with the aid of a vast telex machine which was then state-of-the-art. In June 1983, Willerby Landscapes was formed to complete the contractual liabilities of Comtec, which decided to close its landscape

1 Granary Square, King’s Cross 2 The Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street 3 Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Wildflower Meadows

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division. I joined in 1985 to assist with the development of the business. At the time, the landscape industry was generally chasing low margin local authority works; we turned our back on this to concentrate on the up-and-coming retailers, such as Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. The explosion of the out-of-town superstore was born, and Willerby was there at the outset. We calculated that if we could capture sufficient volume we could be exceptionally competitive, which is precisely what we did. In time retailers increased budgets and started to accept that good quality soft landscaping was part of their branding. The industry eventually woke up to this lucrative market, and prices and standards came crashing down. Willerby closed its doors to retailers and moved on. Dream big and dare to fail In 1986, in the depth of recession, we became aware of the Canary Wharf project destined for the East End of London. I soon realised that we needed to understand the project, but more importantly the clients behind it. Olympia & York was a property development company from Toronto, Canada run by Paul Reichman; I invested a vast amount of time and energy in getting to understand the drivers behind this Orthodox 70

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Jewish family. Willerby pitched against the great and the good of the landscape industry for this multi-million-pound soft landscaping contract. When I first started hunting down this project, Willerby’s turnover was less than £100k. We secured phase 1 with a handshake and were appointed on phase 2 five days later. The original construction team, shipped in from Canada, invigorated Willerby staff members. They gave us the confidence to recruit skills from outside the industry and understand that problems were there to be overcome. Most importantly, they taught us about micro-management.

OPPORTUNITIES TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH SCHEMES OF THIS MAGNITUDE ARE EARNT AND NOT A GOD-GIVEN RIGHT I recall meeting an executive from Olympia & York at Heathrow Airport. Making small talk, I asked him where he was off to. It transpired that he was going to a factory manufacturing nuts and bolts to count them off the production line. I shyly asked him to explain the rationale behind the visit – he explained that when constructing high rise buildings, you can have your tower crane in position, your steel on site and your erectors on

standby, but if the nuts and bolts aren’t falling off the production line at the correct speed, your plans fall apart. This is a sentiment that has become instilled in our staff, and undertaking critical path analysis (previously known as common sense) has become second nature. The quality of the materials used on the project was a benchmark for new standards within the UK’s landscaping industry. Olympia & York laid down a gauntlet and other developers simply had to follow. The unprecedented exposure to this unique developer made our company what it is and we will always remain indebted for the opportunity. Who your friends are In 1992, Olympia & York sadly went into administration. Out of respect, Willerby Landscapes remained on site maintaining the soft landscaping without remuneration. We never knew what impact this gesture was to have on our staff and business over the forthcoming years. Throughout the Nineties, the business continued to expand and grow in confidence. The next major opportunity for Willerby Landscapes was the Bluewater retail complex in Dartford, Kent. This was to be the first paperless construction project in the UK: all communications were to be electronic. To put this in context, at the time there

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were no PCs within our business and the digital camera wasn’t available to the mass market. The original Australian developer, Lendlease, shipped over 20 staff from Sydney to head up the project. Lendlease was understandably nervous about letting a multi-million-pound contract in the UK; as an astute developer, they decided to only let the contract to a joint venture (JV) company which had to include a supplier. The JV company had to be jointly and severally guaranteed, which meant if one party failed, the other members had to pick up the liabilities. This is when you find out who your real friends are! Willerby Landscapes went on to form the Premier Landscape Partnership (PLP) with Whiting Landscapes and Lorenz von Ehren Nursery from Hamburg. Willerby undertook the works on site, Whiting Landscapes provided vital management off site and Lorenz von Ehren supplied material and financial support. The final account in 1999 for the soft landscape package was in excess of £11m. What is not commonly known in the industry is that the entire asset bases of each of the JV companies were assigned to PLP for a period of some eight years. Whilst I had regularly gambled with the destiny of Willerby Landscapes I found

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the overwhelming responsibility of being in charge of the fortunes of the other companies, for eight years, quite daunting. Fortunately, the project was headed up by Willerby’s Rick Davies and went on to be a tremendous success, but, disappointingly, it was never recognised by the industry. Lasting friendships were forged on this project which would manifest themselves on future projects. One of the many things I enjoy about this industry is the eclectic mix of individuals you encounter. The Jubilee Park project at Canary Wharf was no exception. In early 2001 we were appointed to create an oasis within the urban environment of Canary Wharf. Jubilee Park represents the largest green open space in the area. Covering nearly 10,000sqm, the park has been installed over the existing Jubilee line underground station and RT3, the new build expansion of the below-ground retail malls at Canary Wharf. Opportunities to be associated with schemes of this magnitude are earned and not a God-given right. They are available to every company in the industry that has the determination and ambition to succeed. This fact is often overlooked by our competitors. Looking back It’s hard to reflect on what our toughest challenge has been, but the Chavasse Park in Liverpool must be one that tested the resolve of our project management team. In summer 2006, we were invited by Grosvenor Developments to assist with the completion of the design for 20,000sqm of hard and soft landscaping. The park cascades over three storeys of parking, retail and internal public space. The client was after a ‘one stop shop’ approach, inclusive of all the civils and M&E works. Our staff were encouraged to reskill to meet the operational challenges. We recruited and retained numerous local labourers who had been unemployed for a long period. These guys followed us to London for the 2012 Olympic

Games, providing us with a loyal pool of multi-skilled labour. The King’s Cross development in London has allowed us to return to how we operate best: quietly going about our business, keeping below the industry’s radar and consistently completing high quality work. An appreciative client created a fulfilled workforce. The company has been formed on a platform of self-belief. I have been fortunate enough to work with some fabulous guys and girls, some truly great characters. I’ve been in a position privileged enough to give people the opportunity to excel and succeed to the best of their ability, both inside and outside of the business. In return, they have given me great support and enjoyment for the past 32 years. I leave the company in great hands and will watch the ongoing development of the business with interest and pride. As I step aside from the sharp point of the industry, I have one lasting regret and indeed a feeling of failure. During my time at Willerby Landscapes, we successfully designed and fabricated bespoke telescopic conveys for placement of topsoil. We commissioned specialist equipment to blow mulch across lakes. We designed a range of security planters to stop hostile vehicles in their tracks. My failing is that we never succeeded in successfully pumping topsoil without destroying the structure! Perhaps I have some unfinished business within the industry?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Handyside Gardens, Canal Side King’s Cross Liverpool ONE Paradise Street Grand Stairs 2012 Gardens – Asia 2012 Gardens – Southern Hemisphere 4 Pancras Sq Roof Garden King’s Cross The Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street Bluewater Retail Park – Construction Bluewater Retail Park

CONTACT WILLERBY LANDSCAPES Bridge Nurseries Four Elms, Edenbridge Kent TN8 6RN 01732 700646

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Rick, what do you see happening at Willerby Landscapes after John’s departure? I think the first three months will be important – our clients and competitors are likely to be watching closely to see if we maintain our promise and keep it ‘business as usual’. It’s incumbent for us as a team to make sure that’s the case and, providing we do so, there will be no reason for alarm. Our consistent message internally was taken from the quote: ‘The mark of good succession is that it should be an absolute non-event’, and that’s genuinely how we feel. I have no desire to put myself at the

Rick Davies will be at the helm of Willerby Landscapes following John Melmoe’s retirement at the end of March – we ask how he plans to take the business forward

forefront of the business any more than John did, and the philosophy of the company will remain as it has done for the preceding 30 years. How will you go about structuring and absorbing what John did going forward? We have planned for this event for seven years and already have the team in place. We’ve identified the roles that John performed and plugged the gaps by promoting internally and training individuals as required. The thing that we can’t replace is John as a character. You can share passion, dedication and mental Pro Landscaper / April 2017 73

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toughness, but you can’t replace the person, so we won’t try. I’m not John, but I am equally as dedicated and committed to the business, and if there’s a burden to carry it’s that I don’t want to let John down.


Are you looking forward to this new challenge? Yes, partly because we have been planning it for so long, but mainly because I have people around me that I trust. We have a great team and it’s very straightforward most of the time, and you know that when things get tough – and they do from time to time – our people will be there four-square with us, because they wouldn’t let it be any other way. What about John’s relationships with clients – are you worried about continuity? Our client base is exceptional and we value each one very highly. It is true to say that some associate very strongly with John, but equally others have built relationships with the business outside of John’s influence. The key is to continue providing the same quality of service to every client, whilst staying true to the company’s philosophy of quietly delivering at all times. Assuming we do this, we hope they’ll have no reason to change. The temptation is to run around pushing ourselves forward and reaffirming our commitments to each and every client. However, we believe they know this is not how we operate; the proof of our commitment to them will be seen in the delivery rather than numerous meetings and lengthy speeches. It seems to us that the landscape industry looks up to Willerby and the standards it sets. Do you think that’s the case? In our more vain moments this would be very gratifying if it were true. In reality we respect our competitors for what they achieve, but don’t worry unduly about what they’re doing. Where I believe we’re different is how we treat our people. We often hear about other companies’ management initiatives which doubtless suit them very well, however, we have never felt the need for this. Instead we work on a very simple philosophy of paying our staff well, 74

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enjoying our successes as a team, sharing our problems as a team and empowering people to do the right thing at all times, safe in the knowledge that they will not be pulled up in the event that a problem arises. If that sets a standard, then we would be genuinely very proud of that. With whom does the responsibility for supplier relationships lie? With all of us in reality, our supply chain is quite diverse and each manager deals with their own contacts. All we ask is that they offer their best price first time, and when an order is placed they concentrate and deliver the correct quality. In return we stay very loyal to our suppliers because they’re loyal to us. Will your stance on being seen in the industry media change, as it’s not something you’ve courted in the past? No – as the saying goes, I have a great face for radio! Matt and I aren’t particularly camera-facing and have no need to seek the limelight. Where I think we will get more involved is with selected industry events that genuinely add value such as FutureScape – I would be happy to take part in the debate. The bottom line is that our business is about the team rather than any individual,

although we do like to win industry accolades and awards and will continue to enter schemes that demonstrate our capabilities. Do you plan to include more maintenance work on your completed projects? We’d like to build the maintenance side up because it’s quite straightforward, but not on a large scale – perhaps continuing with maintenance on projects we’ve delivered. If we were looking back in two to three years’ time, how will you hope the company has fared? I would like to see consistency and that we have maintained the ethos of the company that was developed with John. There’s no reason why this can’t be achieved if we stick to the model that is already in place, namely to quietly go about our business and make our clients and team happy. Assuming we do, the rest will follow. CONTACT WILLERBY LANDSCAPES Bridge Nurseries Four Elms, Edenbridge Kent TN8 6RN 01732 700646

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COMPOSITE DECKING John Keohane, director of SAiGE Decking, argues why composite decking is the best choice Composite decking is made from recycled materials, making it the most environmentally friendly choice. SAiGE Longlife Composite Decking boards have a composition of 95% recycled materials (50% recycled wood and 45% recycled plastics), with the higher proportion of wood to plastic creating a denser product. We carry out stringent quality testing on each batch produced. A good tip for identifying a good quality composite board is to look down the cross-section to see how well the components have been mixed. If you can see white flecks in the crosssection, it indicates that the recycled components have not been mixed properly, and there may be points of weakness. Composite decking is splinter-free, anti-slip and easy to maintain, making it suitable for family life, as well as being for busy individuals who do not want to spend hours treating and maintaining their decking. Low water absorption rates (at approximately 0.8%) means it performs well in wet environments around hot tubs and swimming pools. Being non-porous, mould and fungus do not penetrate the boards so they will not rot. The colours may fade by up to 10% in the first two months and then stabilise, so the decking will look good over


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ALFRED STREET, OXFORD Up amongst the spires of Oxford, we have recently completed a decking installation as part of a development by Feltham Construction, on behalf of The University of Oxford’s Lincoln College. Lincoln College has refurbished an existing building to create new accommodation. Sitting at the top of the building are two plush penthouse apartments, each with their own private SAiGE composite decking areas, using a combination of both the charcoal and light

time without the need to stain it annually. SAiGE’s hollow decking boards are installed by using a hidden fixing clip system. This means the screws don’t go through the boards, so there are no points of weakness, and a clean finish is created. The hollow boards are also lighter than the solid boards as there is less material; but due to an above standard structural wall thickness of 6mm the

grey hollow residential boards. The two decking colours chosen complement the grey tones of the building’s steel-clad finish, giving a high end, contemporary look. The communal walkway has also been fitted with SAiGE decking to link the buildings together. On this walkway our high anti-slip rating has made SAiGE decking the ideal solution, with the added upgrades to the pedestal and aluminium substructure making for a long term, low maintenance, environmentally focused solution. decking is ideal for any residential project. SAiGE also supplies solid decking boards, which are ideal for commercial use. They can be used in conjunction with the hollow boards to create edges and steps, as they are the same size and shape. ABOUT JOHN KEOHANE After a career in the Irish Navy, John worked in engineering maintenance and development roles, joining SAiGE in 2011. John is responsible for product development, overseeing installation projects and looking after a number of key accounts.

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HARDWOOD DECKING More projects have the inside-outside look these days, and to aid the flow of the interior into the garden and offer a level of quality, I must insist upon hardwood decking over all else. I do have to add here that it’s not necessary to match the botanical species to that of the interior, as the decking will change colour through the seasons and the interior will not. The best timber you can use is Tectona grandis (teak). Apart from the stunning colours — rich hues of bronze and gold — the reason to use teak is the durability and stability of this timber, which is second to none. Shifting decking boards, which can upset the tightest

LOUVRE ABU DHABI MUSEUM, UAE Grandeur is of great importance to the Musée du Louvre in Paris and its 9.4m annual visitors, and equally so for the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum in UAE. The architects for this project needed a decking material that would complement the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s biophilic design, which is inspired by date palms. This made it important to find something natural. Timber was considered at first, but ruled out due to the project being close to the sea, and because of the immense heat in the region. Ultimately, teak was decided upon because of its ability to stand up to these conditions. This led to a presentation of the quick-toinstall decking Exterpark Magnet in Indonesian teak, which was then specified by the architect Jean Nouvel and covers approximately 4000m² of the project.

of specifications or indeed the keenest of eyes, are a non-issue with teak. Yes, it comes with a hefty price tag, but it will be worth it over the next 20 years or so. Teak by any other name is not teak. There are others, such as ipe (Tabebuia serratifolia), which are heavier and require more specialist tooling. The blades have to be changed often, and precision is needed — sanding away errors will take an age, as ipe is one of the hardest timbers in the world. It rates on the Janka scale at an incredible 3680 pound-force (lbf); far denser than oak, which is 1120 lbf.


Karl Harrison, director of projects at Exterior Solutions Ltd, makes the case for hardwood decking The stability is a good point to discuss here. Movement will happen, but at a much-reduced rate when compared to other timbers, such as pine. Due to the tight grain and the dense structure of these hardwoods, the durability is far superior to that of any other type of decking, the wear rates are minute, and if constructed well they will outlast all other decking varieties. One tip is to not wipe the oil onto the decking in one pass and then expect it to last, as it won’t. It is necessary to open up the grain of the decking by using Prepdeck and then NetTrol, allowing it to dry and then using a saturating oil like D1 Pro (all products by Owatrol). Following the exact instructions will create amazing results that last. Maintenance is also a factor when persuading a client to increase their budget to include a hardwood deck. There can be no maintenance whatsoever, or as much as anyone could want – it’s all down to the client’s expectations. If they want it grey, then that’s great – this is a ‘no maintenance required here then’ approach. If the clients suggest they are expecting the decking to look brand new for years to come, then you’ve landed a rather lucrative maintenance job.

ABOUT KARL HARRISON Karl Harrison is director of projects at Exterior Solutions Ltd. An engineer with the IET, he designs and builds exterior timber projects. He has worked in the landscaping and construction industry for 14 years, and is also an editorial advisor, lecturer and consultant.

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A durable oak fence designed to filter air and sun without causing shade or frost pockets, whilst maintaining privacy. The oak mellows with age and requires no preservative. Standard and bespoke sizes are available, incorporating curves, trellis, gates, planters, posts, gravel boards, finials and obelisks. Produced in the UK from the oak species Quercus robur, using stainless steel fixings. Free samples are provided upon request. WWW.QUERCUSFENCING.CO.UK

Made from recycled material and available in weathered steel or powder coated aluminium finishes. The screens are laser cut and come in five designs, with bespoke options available. Dimensions are 1780mm height, 1190mm length and 3mm thickness. The panels are secured in place by steel clamps, attached to aluminium posts which are set in concrete. All materials needed for installation are powder coated and weatherproof. WWW.PROVENDERNURSERIES.CO.UK




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Bespoke sculptured trellis panels in a two-tone finish, using colours Manhattan grey and deben. Each has a framed antique mirrored centrepiece and arched top capping with circular detail and finials. The materials used in this fencing were iroko hardwood, Tricoya, treated softwood and antique mirror. The average lead time for projects such as these is six weeks. WWW.GARDENTRELLIS.CO.UK

FSC certified, heavy duty closeboard timber panels, available in three finishes. Offered in standard heights from 3-6ft, with bespoke and non-standard size panels available up to 10ft wide and 6ft 6in high. Handmade on site, these panels have an average lead time of five to seven days, come with a 10-year guarantee, and can be ordered with gravel boards to protect against ground moisture.

Zaun’s specialist sports fencing can form part of the field of play with rebound characteristics, while decorative fencing secures boundaries. Apex is a weldless railing system in heights from 0.5-3m, with round or square vertical tubes locked into a rectangular horizontal rail, all galvanised and powder coated in a chosen RAL colour. This treatment makes the railings highly durable. WWW.ZAUN.CO.UK

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Blue Decorative Aggregate Using slate extracted from the Lake District, Blue Decorative Aggregate is highly durable and designed for use in gardens and on paths and driveways. Offered in 10mm, 15-30mm and 40mm, this range can be supplied loose or in tonne bags. Price: £90 per tonne bag


Smooth River Pebbles Smooth River Pebbles, with a combination of grey and brown tones highlighted with lighter streaks and markings, come in a natural mix of shapes and sizes. A low maintenance mulch, they are designed to sit well in both modern and rustic designs. Price: From £12 per 20kg



Swiss Glacier Kelkay Swiss Glacier features cool grey and ice white angular stone chips which are 16-32mm in size. It is designed to pair well with Kelkay Coral White Pebbles and Kelkay Artic White Boulders to provide a contemporary look for a modern space. Price: From £7.99 per 20kg


White Pebbles Bowland Stone’s White Pebbles have been tumbled to produce a smooth, rounded and bright product. They are available in a variety of sizes ranging from 20-40mm and 40-90mm cobbles. Ideal project uses include flower beds, water features or as a patio complement. Price: £11.99 per 20kg


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National Trust Decorative Aggregates A National Trust-inspired range, comprising Snowshill Shingle (buffs and greys), Tatton Shingle (pinks, browns and greys), Barrington Shingle (browns) and Chedworth Chipping (reclaimed tile and brick). Shingles available in 10mm and 20mm, chipping available in 10-14mm. Price: From £73 per 150kg


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A rounded shingle in earthy colours, available in 40mm, 20mm, 10mm and 6mm. It can be used as a decorative feature, a weed suppressant, on paths or for covering flower pots. Price: From £41.50 per 850kg

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NURTURE NEWS An RHS Long Service Medal for Nigel Gibson after 40 years in the industry



The planting scheme for a West Sussex country garden



ANDY MCINDOE Plants to dissuade the local wildlife from feasting on your garden



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NURTURE NEWS Provender Nurseries’ Nigel Gibson awarded RHS Long Service Medal

Nigel Gibson of Provender Nurseries was awarded an RHS Long Service Medal for 40 years in horticulture at the Kent-based nursery on 9 March.

Richard McKenna, managing director of Provender Nurseries, gave a brief introduction at the surprise presentation before the award was given by Chris Lane, RHS Veitch Memorial Medal holder. During his time in horticulture Nigel has undertaken a variety of roles, starting out as an assistant gardener for Swale Borough Council before moving to London and working as a gardener for the London borough of Ealing. Ealing Council paid for Nigel to gain a City & Guilds qualification in horticulture, after which he applied to study

Hardy Plant Society launches its Diamond Jubilee celebrations by naming four ambassadors

The Hardy Plant Society (HPS) has kicked off its Diamond Jubilee celebrations by announcing Carol Klein, Val Bourne, Matthew Biggs and Matthew Wilson as its new ambassadors. The four horticultural experts will help to promote the benefits of

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belonging to the HPS. The society’s main aim of promoting the growing of hardy perennial plants has been the same since its formation sixty years ago this spring. Roy Lancaster, president of the HPS, feels that engaging high profile ambassadors to help spread the conservation aspect of the association is important, commenting: “One of the strengths of the HPS is its efforts in encouraging members to believe that they can, individually and collectively, play a small but meaningful role in plant conservation by growing, propagating and sharing plants with others.”

landscape construction for a year at Merrist Wood College. He went on to work for garden designer John Vellum and worked as contracts manager for Tudor Landscapes in London, which bought its own nursery in Hertfordshire and was where Nigel became involved in nursery work. He was taken on as a nursery manager at Baylis Landscapes before accepting a job in the sales department at Coblands Nursery, now part of Glendale Horticulture, where he helped to set up Designer Plants which offers a bespoke service to garden designers. Nigel began working in sales for Provender Nurseries in June 2011,

and in his spare time gives talks to local horticultural societies as well as undertaking garden design and consultancy. Commenting on his award, Nigel says: “It’s amazing, though difficult to believe I’ve been in this industry for 40 years. I applied after seeing someone received an award for 60 years in horticulture and thought, if they can receive it, why can’t I?” Nigel is debating whether to aim for a bar at the bottom of his medal, which would represent 50 years of service. He admits he struggles to see himself not involved in horticulture, as his passion for plants is as strong as ever.

Andy McIndoe receives Veitch Memorial Medal from RHS Andy McIndoe has been awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal by the RHS at an award ceremony held at Lindley Hall, London. The accolade recognises outstanding contribution to the advancement of art, science or practice of horticulture. He has designed 25 Gold medal-winning gardens for Hillier at RHS Chelsea, and was managing director of Hillier for seven years before stepping down to focus on the educational aspect of horticulture and design. Andy said: “I am overwhelmed and delighted to be awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal. I have had

so much pleasure sharing my love of plants and gardens with new and experienced gardeners alike for 40 years. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to help others on their career paths in this wonderful industry. The RHS is an amazing organisation which brings us all together, and I am honoured to be part of it.”



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Designer PLANTS Nigel Philips works his magic on a late summer border in a country garden in Costells, West Sussex

The garden is quite large, made up of woodland, meadow and more intensely used areas closer to the house. I have chosen this particular border as it has the unusual use of linking the natural meadow planting to the more organised and cultivated planting close to the house.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Graziella’


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The character of this border is therefore transitional. On one side, there is a traditional herbaceous border relating to the house and the tastes of the client, and on the other is a meadow. A balance was needed between organised colour, form and pattern in the herbaceous planting, and the natural flow of a mixed wildflower field. Both areas it would seem are controlled, but both have different outcomes. Therefore, the transitional border needed to take into account both outcomes in order to sit comfortably between the two and look interesting. This is achieved by displaying both the fluidity of the natural grasses and the poignant stronger colours of the herbaceous plants. The Aster novae-angliae ‘Septemberrubin’

and the Echinacea purpurea accomplish this with their strong rich colours which are captured and lifted to ever greater heights by the Eupatorium maculatum ‘Orchard Dene’. Alongside this, but at the lower level, is the Nepeta grandiflora ‘Wild Cat’ which romps around between the grasses adding to the richness of colour. The Miscanthus sinensis ‘Ferner Osten’ and ‘Graziella’ pick up the pinky colouring in the grasses that make up the meadow planting, and provide that all important link between the two. The Sanguisorba tenuifolia ‘Purpurea’ with its cousin, the salad burnet, give a subtle tie between this garden and the local chalk downland turf. There is also the idea of using different flower shapes here – the tight heads of the Sanguisorba and the daisy heads of the

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Echinacea purpurea


Miscanthus sinensis ‘Ferner Osten’

Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’

Echinacea and the Aster. The Gaura lindheimeri brings a lightness to the feathery grass effect for summer, and the burnished colour of the Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ will take the interest on into the winter. There is no doubt that this is a late summer border, but it does sit well between the intense summer interest of the more traditional herbaceous planting and the early summer interest of the meadow. ABOUT NIGEL PHILIPS Award-winning designer Nigel Philips has been practising landscape and garden design since 1981, having trained at Merrist Wood College. His designs tend to focus on the more traditional aspects of the English garden. As well as teaching garden design courses at Plumpton College he has taken many garden tours abroad to France, Italy and Spain.

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Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’

Plant list

• Aster novae-angliae ‘Septemberrubin’ • Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ • Calamagrostis brachytricha • Echinacea purpurea • Eupatorium maculatum ‘Orchard Dene’ • Gaura lindheimeri • Miscanthus sinensis ‘Ferner Osten’ • Miscanthus sinensis ‘Graziella’ • Nepeta grandiflora ‘Wild Cat’ • Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ • Sanguisorba tenuifolia ‘Purpurea’ subsp. officinalis ‘Tanna’ • Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Temptation’

Plant images © Liz Hughes, Provender Nurseries

Aster novae-angliae ‘Septemberrubin’

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Andy McIndoe advises on the best plants to keep rabbits and deer from snacking in your clients’ gardens


lanting where deer and rabbits roam can be a real challenge. Both can cause serious damage to established and newly planted stock. They’re often a problem in large, rural gardens where fencing would be expensive and may be considered undesirable. Certainly repellents exist, both off the shelf and those mythical solutions passed on by helpful advisors who have clearly never suffered from a deer or rabbit invasion. In reality, none work. You can either fence properly or plant what they’re less likely to eat. I say that because it’s impossible to predict the dietary preferences of a particular deer or rabbit population. Even if they don’t eat a plant, it will not prevent them from ripping it apart as part of the decision-making process. Remember that new planting always attracts deer and rabbits, so protect them with secured wire mesh. The bases of trees need suitable guards where rabbits are a pest, and a more substantial barrier may be required in areas frequented by deer. There are certain plants which are likely to survive, but they’re rarely at the top of clients’ wishlists; favourites, especially roses, are very popular with deer. Here are a few suggestions that you can be confident in recommending. Highly aromatic leaves are often avoided.


planning, you could have one in flower from the beginning of June to the middle of November. Buddlejas are also resistant and popular for their attraction of more desirable wildlife. The dwarf

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

Choisya ‘White Dazzler’

Some people don’t like the smell of choisya – deer and rabbits don’t either. Choisya is evergreen, happy in sun or shade, flowers twice a year and grows unscathed. What more could anyone ask for? Lavender, rosemary and sage are not always wildlife favourites, but they are usually left alone once established and ribes is pretty resistant because of its strong blackcurrant aroma. Fortunately, hydrangeas are avoided by deer and rabbits and as they’ve enjoyed such a surge in popularity they offer a great choice. Apart from mophead and lacecap hydrangeas, also consider Hydrangea arborescens, Hydrangea quercifolia and Hydrangea paniculata varieties. With a little

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buddlejas, such as the Buzz Series, are more compact in habit and very free flowering. They are easy to manage, requiring only hard winter pruning. So what about perennials? Many produce juicy shoots; a delicacy for deer and rabbits. Fortunately, they dislike hellebores, so any of the Helleborus x hybridus types are a good bet for big clumps of architectural foliage, as well as late winter

Helleborus x hybridus double

Deer hate euphorbias: they have irritant milky sap which makes them impossible to eat. Digitalis (foxgloves) are given a wide berth, and these can be encouraged to self-seed and naturalise. When it comes to flower bulbs, stick to narcissi and alliums, but avoid tulips as deer love them! Although some may regard it as a last resort, cortaderia (pampas grass) can be effective. If you have tried to clean up your pampas to remove the old foliage, then you will know just why deer and rabbits give it a wide berth. Large varieties are messy and difficult to accommodate, but Cortaderia selloana ‘Pumila’ is compact and attractive for Euphorbia ‘Black Pearl’ several months. Other reliable deer and rabbit proof plants: agapanthus, bamboo, buxus, cistus, clematis, delphinium (slugs get there first!), echinops, forsythia, jasminum, lonicera, mahonia, nepeta, phormium, potentilla, ribes, evergreen rhododendrons, weigela, and yucca. Occasionally nibbled: aquilegia, chaenomeles, lavenders, and philadelphus. Do not grow: cornus, evergreen euonymus, geraniums, hemerocallis, holly, pansies, roses, tulips, or anything your client really Digitalis ‘Polka Dot Pippa’ likes… ABOUT ANDY MCINDOE

Buddleja ‘Buzz Indigo’

and early spring flowers. The hybrids of Helleborus argutifolius, Helleborus x nigercors and Hellebores ericsmithii are also evergreen and have presence.

Andy McIndoe is a practical horticulturist with more than 30 years’ experience in ornamental horticulture. He has designed and advised on gardens of all sizes and has been responsible for 25 Gold medal winning exhibits at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Twitter: @AndyMcIndoe

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often feel that the peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) gets a bad press, or worse, no press. It needs a good PR. It’s one of those plants that’s everywhere and therefore weirdly invisible. Except for a brief and exciting cameo role in Hot Fuzz back in 2007, its entire existence could pass by unnoticed. I would like to counterbalance this lack of excitement, because the peace lily is popular for a reason. When you stand back and examine its role in indoor planting, it epitomises restrained good taste: no shocks, no surprises, no edginess – it’s the Marks & Spencer of the plant world. It’s unlikely to set anyone’s pulse racing, but then it’s not intended to, it’s far too wellmannered for such vulgar exuberance. Let’s start with the white flowers which appear in spring and which, with proper care, will continue to bloom throughout the summer months. They are the essence of composed elegance and understated tastefulness, yet there is quiet drama in

I OFTEN FEEL THAT THE PEACE LILY GETS A BAD PRESS, OR WORSE, NO PRESS their composition. Each flower has two distinct parts: there’s the palest cream spike, which stands loftily in front of a sharp, white, hood-like spathe, its very own photographic backdrop. The foliage is evergreen, perennial, lanceshaped and shiny, and for any landscaper that’s a beautiful list of assets. There’s more: it’s happy facing north, south, west or east, it is delighted to be indoors, thrilled to be in the shade and it purifies the very air we breathe – I could go on.

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Caring for your


Ian Drummond

The peace lily is also slow growing which is often a saviour, and will take five to ten years to reach its full height and spread of 1 to 1.5 metres. This stunning plant will fill a space beautifully without causing any trouble. There are no sudden movements with this one, you can rely on it to do the job, and it’s never going to make a scene – unless of course it’s in Hot Fuzz 2...

• Getting the watering right is probably the only critical part of its care. Water only when the soil is dry – enough to make it damp, but it mustn’t stand in water, the peace lily won’t recover from this. • If watered too little the plant will quickly wilt, but fortunately this situation is easily remedied. Watering once a week is usually ideal, but if it does wilt then water immediately. • Mist the leaves, particularly during the flowering season – this will encourage optimal health as they thrive in high humidity. Give them a wipe when necessary to remove any accumulation of dust and to restore their glossiness. • Remove unhealthy leaves by cutting them away at the base, this is the tidiest and most effective option.

ABOUT IAN DRUMMOND Ian Drummond is the creative director of Indoor Garden Design, Europe’s leading interior landscape design company. Based in Highgate, north London, IGD has been bringing nature into offices for over 40 years.

Images ©

Elegant, refined and wholly dependable – Ian Drummond says the peace lily deserves more credit

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s I drive into work, down the small countryside roads of Hampshire, I have started to notice the unmistakable white blossom of Prunus spinosa (sloes) appear scattered through the hedgerows. Not only a reminder of how close we are getting to Chelsea, and just how much I have left to do in such a short space of time, but also a sure sign that spring is imminent. It’s a moment that brings with it enjoyment and panic in equal measure. There is nothing quite as symbolic of spring as blossom, from the very first sloes, right through to the late flowerers such as Malus. From the blossom of an orchard, and extensive avenues of cherry trees, right through to the individual blossom trees that poke up nosily above the fence line from back gardens – everyone loves blossom. Nature’s own confetti, decorating paths and roads, a true celebration of spring. Below are my four favourite blossom trees, of which everyone should grow at least one, or try and find an excuse to grow all four as I have:


Jamie Butterworth Malus ‘Evereste’

show-stopping pink flowers, the real diva of the blossom world, because not all blossom has to be white and rosy. This is a slow-growing crateagus, and would make a great one-off feature tree.

small tree, producing an abundance of soft, rosy, pea-like flowers that are difficult not to fall in love with. The large heart-shaped leaves are a real bonus, definitely one for the romantics among us.

Prunus ‘Shirotae’ Is as beautiful as they come, and a favourite of mine from my time at Wisley. The tree is smothered in delicate, pure white blossom from top to bottom, and would be absolutely brilliant in a small garden that wants something special for spring. The autumn colour is also not to be missed.

Crataegus ‘Paul’s Scarlet’

If you’re looking for some blossom inspiration, then my favourite places to visit to see the best of the rest include the orchard at RHS Garden Wisley, Westonbirt Arboretum (or any arboretum for that matter), and finally the stunning Alnwick Garden in Northumberland which is most definitely worth a visit. Cercis siliquastrum

Malus ‘Evereste’ This delectable small crab apple is a real treat for any garden, it grows to between four and eight metres and can be easily managed. Red buds open to reveal a crisp white blossom, with the added benefit of soft orange fruits in autumn. Prunus ‘Shirotae’

Cercis siliquastrum Somewhere in between a large shrub and a 92

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Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’ As featured in Ann-Marie Powell’s brilliant RHS Chelsea garden 2016, this is a truly stunning hawthorn that is slightly more unusual. It boasts

ABOUT JAMIE BUTTERWORTH Graduating from RHS Garden Wisley with a distinction in summer 2015, avid plantsman Jamie now works as show plant manager at Hortus Loci, growing the plants for major flower shows such as RHS Chelsea, Hampton Court and Tatton. Jamie is a YoungHort ambassador and RHS ambassador, promoting horticulture to young people across the UK.


Images ©Lorenz von ehren

Jamie Butterworth senses the onset of spring and reveals his four all-time favourite blossom trees

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Amelanchier lamarckii



ABOUT Nederhoff Plant is a trade company based in Boskoop, The Netherlands. The family-owned business of experienced nurserymen has been in the family for generations, resulting in a quality-driven all-round supplier of trees and plants. It will supply whatever is needed in container or rootball, and can supply complete projects as a one stop shop, ensuring the best deal, saving time, and delivering top quality plants. N11 N11

Cupressus sempervirens ‘Stricta’ 175-200cm

Taxus baccata hedging plants

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TESTIMONIALS “I’ve worked with the team at Nederhoff for a couple of years and their sales service, quality and range of stock were the reasons we moved the majority of our plant buying to them. They turn quotations around with speed and deliver what they promise. Their communication is open and honest and I’d encourage anyone to give them a go, even if you’ve never ordered from Europe.” Lee Bestall, Bestall & Co.

Boskoop This Quercus ilex Solitair Multistem is a good example of the unique specimen trees that Nederhoff Plant can supply to customers – it can be admired at any of the nursery’s three sites in Boskoop.





LOCATION “We have been using Nederhoff for three years and have forged a useful working relationship with Stefan, who understands our needs when sourcing key plants for projects in the UK and abroad. Their wide-ranging contacts allow them to source extensive plant lists, providing high quality plant material for the most part. Their response times are excellent and they give good value for money, supplying at competitive prices.” Emma Mazzullo Mazzullo + Russell Landscape Design

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Uniform pleached trees

“We have sourced plants from Nederhoff on a number of projects ranging in size and complexity. At all times they have supplied quality plants to our specifications and if there have been any issues with size or variety this has been discussed and sorted. The team have jumped through hoops at times on our behalf, going that extra mile for their clients, which was really appreciated. We will continue working with Nederhoff.” Sally Court CGD Landscape Design

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Vince Edwards, customer development manager, COLES NURSERIES “Be prepared – much of the ground preparation should be completed in advance of delivery, with all planting sundries, back fill, specified soil and the irrigation system present on site. Plant will be required to unload the tree, as mature trees can’t fit in a wheelbarrow or be lifted manually due to their size. If a container is supplied then leave the tree potted until it reaches the exact location, where depth etc. have been established. If it is wire rootballed, exercise great care when moving and settling to prevent damage to the root mass. When this is all complete, water the tree substantially and repeat as required.”


Top tips for planting

MATURE TREES Industry experts offer their top advice for planting mature trees

Martin Howe, sales advisor, WYKEHAM MATURE PLANTS

Liz Hughes, marketing, PROVENDER NURSERIES

“Ensure that the contractor planting the trees has appropriate experience and equipment. It is important not to plant too deeply, as a tree with soil piled up around the stem or trunk is less likely to establish properly. Always plant at the same depth as the tree has been growing at the nursery, and do not add copious amounts of organic material under the rootball. Since regular watering will be required for at least two years, this organic material will sit like a wet sponge, discouraging root movement – it is best incorporated around the sides of the root ball, and only in the uppermost region of the planting pit. On heavy soils, or on those already rich in organic material, it may be more effective to only use organic material as a mulch.”

“When planting a mature tree of any specification, I strongly recommend the use of Mycorrhizal fungi. It is simple to apply and results in a stronger growth, creating a more self-sufficient tree, which is important to any landscaper. Mycorrhizal fungi is incredibly old and is paramount to healthy growth when planting. Apply the fungi to the roots, ensuring direct contact. The fungi attaches itself to the root and increases its surface area, thus increasing water and nutrient uptake. This results in better drought tolerance and improved survival in difficult soil conditions.”



Philip Nieuwoudt, managing director, NEW WOOD TREES “Staking is of the utmost importance, as the roots consist of fine fibres. Such roots are great for establishment, but there are usually no anchoring roots to protect the tree from strong winds. This can be achieved through above-ground or underground guying. For the tree to survive thereafter, it needs an intensive irrigation regime during its first year. This is because, at the stage when the tree is planted, the roots have yet to locate their water source. During the second year, water the tree during dry periods, and from the third year the tree will be fine on its own.”


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Jim Hillier, sales account manager, HILLIER AMENITY “Select the tree personally – visit the nursery to make sure the staff are experienced and the trees have been transplanted regularly. Prepare the site, ensuring the rooting area will allow the tree to establish – a free-draining tree pit is very important. Employ an experienced contractor with a proven record of planting mature trees successfully. Trees must be planted at the nursery depth, and the tree handled with care. Check the machinery is large enough to manoeuvre the tree safely. Prepare a maintenance and watering programme for three to five years. Mulch above the rooting area and auger the rootball to check irrigation levels.”


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Simon Johnson, commercial director,

Ellen Carvey, sales manager,



“Mature trees like flat, firm bases no deeper than the pot to discourage rocking. They also like a wide hole packed with friable soil to facilitate root penetration. Our top tip for planting though is: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Recent research shows that a supersaturated sugar solution, best sourced from beekeeping suppliers, promotes Mycorrhizal fungus. This helps to enlarge the root zone and break down soil nutrients so they are easily absorbed.”

“Decide on what effect and shape you’re aiming to achieve – a natural shape or clipped. Trees that are allowed to develop their natural shapes will be suitable for many projects where an informal feel is required. Alternatively, there are trees which particularly lend themselves to regular shaping or pruning, resulting in a neat, clipped and formal look that can be very effective in the right location, and where there will be a regular maintenance regime. Suitable trees for regular shaping include: Carpinus betulus, Laurus nobilis, Quercus ilex, Photinia serrulata ‘Red Robin’, Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’, Taxus baccata, among many others.”

“One of the prime drivers for planting mature trees is to screen views from neighbours’ houses to gardens and barns. It is tricky to determine the height of trees required to achieve maximum screening, as position and perspective play a large role. A couple of years ago I came across an innovative solution to this challenge, using a coloured helium balloon and string! The balloon can be sent up in the air at the location trees will be planted to determine the ideal vertical position for them. The string can then be measured and this will give the height the trees will need to be to achieve screening.”




Stanley Jackson, director, AGRUMI LTD

Angela Halksworth, director, TENDERCARE

Mark Grumbley, sales manager, GRIFFIN NURSERIES

“Ask the supplier for the weight and rootball size of the tree you will be planting. This will determine the support system, irrigation ring and machinery to use. Non-powered lifting equipment will cope with small to medium-sized trees but semi-mature specimens, over approximately 150kg, are likely to require a forklift, or strops for larger trees. In the dormant season, soft strops, certified to lift in excess of the load, can grip the stem to aid the lift. However, a soft material should be used to protect the stem from chafing. The hole should be as deep as the rootball, and up to twice as wide, to encourage lateral root growth, especially when installing a tree irrigation ring.”

“Common sense goes a long way in planting mature trees. Look after the bark like a priceless antique, have enough hands, or the right machine to manoeuvre the tree safely. Underground guying works well on larger trees, but staking may be better for heavy-headed species, especially at the smaller end of the mature tree spectrum. Do not plant too deeply: the top of the pot or rootball should be planted level with the soil. A slotted drainage pipe looped round the roots and buried just below the surface greatly helps summer watering. Fertiliser is a must for the first spring and, even better, add mulch.”




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John Stannard

Production manager, Lindum Turf “The key is to make sure all other growing conditions are ideal. Avoid compaction and improve the soil structure through regular aeration. Good drainage for a healthy root system, more resilient grass plants, and good airflow to avoid fungal activity are all highly important. Leave the grass blade slightly longer, approximately 25-30mm, but continue a regular mowing regime to encourage healthy grass growth — take off only the top third each time. Look for turf mixes with broader blades, and consider overseeding in early spring with species specifically bred for shade tolerance.”

Richard Owens

Technical manager, Tillers Turf “It’s a well-known fact that plant life requires sufficient sunlight to survive, and grass is no different. Before attempting to grow grass in shaded areas, investigate the source of the shade. If there’s a hedge, then perhaps it can be reduced in height, or if there’s a fence, can it be lowered? If the shade source is a tree then raising the canopy might aid the shaded turf, if removal of the tree is not practical or desired. Always check for a TPO (Tree Preservation Order) before carrying out any works. Maintain a sensible height of cut to maximise any light that is available for photosynthesis.”

Mike Jupp

Sales and marketing manager, Earth Cycle “If the area is shaded by a tree I would recommend thoroughly rotavating the area to alleviate compaction, and then sow with a Creeping Red Fescue, a seed which will root deeply and is able to withstand long periods of drought while remaining green on the top. Once the area is established, keep the grass length slightly longer than the rest of the lawn when mowing. To avoid potential compaction around the tree base, fork the shaded area regularly, prune a few branches to let some light in, and apply moss killer during the winter months to suppress moss activity.”

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SHADED AREAS Pro Landscaper hears from five experts on how to keep natural turf looking its best in shaded areas

Frank Webster

Head of sales, Grass Lands “Lift the canopy, lift the mower blades, and give the turf’s feeding regime a bit of a lift as well. If you are designing trees into grassed areas, choose trees with a less dense canopy. The RHS recommends Betula, Gleditsia and Robinia, among others. Above all, be wary of client expectations. Where landscapers tell clients that they can supply turf or seed that is shade-tolerant, clients frequently think that it will survive in total darkness. This then leads to some blame being put onto landscapers for lack of appropriate maintenance.”

Alex Edwards

Joint managing director, INTURF “Choose the right materials to maintain green grass and help it cope with the worst conditions. At some times of year it’s very difficult to keep grass areas looking green and luscious — especially in areas that are shaded, heavily used or have poor soil types. Select grasses such as Fescue that have unusually long or creeping roots to draw water and nourishment from deep within the soil. If possible, reduce wear and tear and regularly oversow with the same seed material, as recovery is vital when conditions prevail. Keep the grass slightly longer and well aerated, and use lightweight machinery on its surface.”

Pro Landscaper / April 2017 101

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23/03/2017 10:14


PAUL NEWMAN What you need to know when designing your roof terrace



BEN SHAW Find out how to maximise the potential of your website



ROBERT WEBBER The importance of professionalism and mutual respect



Tackling the problems in the stone supply chain



PLUS... 117 EDUCATE cover.indd 103


114 23/03/2017 11:40



In a new series Sam Hassall will be looking at a range of costs, starting with the core of landscaping work – namely labour


The costs of landscape labour Only when you fully understand the factors that influence your labour cost, can your company begin to make profit.

General notes • As a landscape contractor, all your revenue comes via the workforce, ie the men and women with “spades” in their hands. • Your salary, the office expenses and the Christmas party all have to come via the workforce. • The markets we are examining here are smaller companies employing 3-12 outside staff, with the appropriate admin support staff for the total team size. • These schedules examine COST only. Readers should add on the margins for profit in your area.

TABLE 1 – BASIC RATES FOR A THREE-MAN TEAM AND A VEHICLE • Each operative is paid a basic salary • National Insurance is added • An allowance for clothing is added on an annual basis • An allowance for replacement tools is allowed for each operative • The hourly rate shown is based on UK building industry working hours for 2016/2017 of 1802 hours. I reduce this further to 1762 to allow for sick and inclement weather down time.

Pricing notes • Most landscape companies base their team sizes on either two or three operatives. This is for ease of transport in vehicles and efficiency on sites. For purposes of this cost investigation we will examine the standard three-man team. • There may be a number of three-person teams on any site. We assume here a vehicle for each three-man team. • Readers can customise these tables for their own needs, or can contact Sam for a copy of the Excel sheet via

TABLE 1: NET COST OF LABOUR Working hours per year (2017): 1762

(Allows down time of 40 hours)

LONDON Number of

Labour team


Net cost


Site tools


























Vehicle costs (inclusive of fuel insurances etc)

Working days






£11,025.00 Total

Net average cost per man hour

TOTAL 3 man team



ABOUT SAM HASSALL Sam Hassall and LandPro Ltd work with the costs of gardens and landscapes. Services include providing tender cost and feasibility information to landscape design professionals and contractors. He compiles the Spon’s Landscape price book, and developed the LiberRATE Estimating system for contractors and Gardencosts for design professionals.


104 Pro Landscaper / April 2017

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23/03/2017 11:29

EDUCATE Administration costs The next part of this calculation then examines the administrative cost of the company. This is the cost of all your administration, which is required to place your workforce on the ground each day. Your admin staff, offices, advertising, traffic fines and the Christmas party are all absorbed here. It also assumes that the managing director is paid a basic salary and that he takes the rest of his remuneration through profit. TABLE 2A: OVERHEAD COSTS - SMALL COMPANY SMALL COMPANY (2-3 TEAMS) Cost centre

Number of



MD: basic salary excludes profits




Contracts managers




Secretary/book keeper




Other office staff











Telephone and mobiles




Office equipment












Other vehicles not allocated








Lights water








Other expenses Total office overhead


What your labour is really costing you Table 3 spreads the cost of your overhead into each working hour of every working operative. Remember that in these models we assume that the only people producing revenue are the labour force. TABLE 3: THE TOTAL COST OF YOUR LABOUR 3A - SMALL COMPANIES (3 TEAMS, 9 LABOUR OPERATIVES) Fill in the amount of labour on your work teams to see the total cost of labour Total number of site staff

Admin cost per hour

Total rate per man hour






















Notes on the above figures: • The optimum of this table is a company deploying 6-12 people. • Companies doing specialised work and who are employed by reputation, may be able to charge more, but could have higher administration costs.

Sam Hassall.indd 105


Number of



MD: Basic salary excludes profits




Contracts managers (including NI)




Secretary/book keeper




Book keeper (part time)




Other office staff
























Other vehicles not allocated




Other consultants








Rental Insurances Telephone and mobiles Office equipment

Lights heating etc. Other expenses







Total office overhead


The model shown above is for a medium-sized company, with the overheads as shown. Again, the figures here should be adjusted to suit reader’s needs.

3B - MEDIUM COMPANIES (5+ TEAMS, 15-18 LABOUR OPERATIVES) For the larger organisation with up to £70K overhead Total number of site staff

Admin cost per hour

Total rate per man hour



















*= optimum rate See

• Companies who are doing tasks such as maintenance may be able to deploy a higher number of workers with the same administrative cost. The optimum in today’s competitive market in London is a cost rate of between £21.00 to £24.00 pure cost of labour. Maintenance operatives are at the lower end. Regional variations can be looked up at Conclusion Once you have your labour rate, you are well on the road to making a profit. You may not win as many jobs as you did with a lower labour rate, but you will not lose money on a job providing your workforce executes the work efficiently. Pro Landscaper / April 2017 105

22/03/2017 14:42

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IT’S GOOD TO TALK Sean Butler says good communication is key to any business’s success and offers advice on getting it right

Good quality communication is essential in all aspects of life, not just business. If you analyse any situation, problem or outcome that went wrong, it is normally down to a lack of it. Getting your staff to understand the importance of good communication is key to your success. Even if you’re a small company or a sole trader, lack of communication with your clients, suppliers and sub-contractors can lead to a financial loss. A favourite quote of mine is the seven Ps: Prior Project Planning Prevents P**s Poor Performance. Coarse but true. Understanding that there are three main ways in which people learn is also very important. These are: auditory, visual and kinaesthetic. In the

GETTING YOUR STAFF TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD COMMUNICATION IS KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS landscaping industry we would use the auditory method at weekly meetings, and when talking through a project. This would be backed up with a visual aid, such as the design, along with Gantt charts detailing the works and estimated timings. The kinaesthetic method can then be communicated by your onsite foreman through demonstration of work techniques. My favourite communication tool has always been the use of Gantt charts. These can be handwritten, but it’s time consuming. There are many templates available online or you can create your own bespoke ones, as we do now. From just a simple project that might take four weeks, to year-long-plus projects, Gantt charts track when all actions are timetabled, such as: start-up, excavations and clearance, ducting,

Sean Butler.indd 107
























Sean’s Chelsea 2015 project timeline as a Gantt chart

first fix electrics, sub base, paving, scheduled meetings, deliveries in, plant hire in and off hire. Before starting each project, hold a meeting to discuss the schedule as set out in the Gantt chart, managing your team’s expectations and your client’s in parallel. We hold meetings with all foremen every Monday so they can work collaboratively, sharing labour and/or equipment in the most productive fashion, and to ensure jobs stay on track. In turn, the foremen talk to their teams, making sure they know what’s expected of them by Friday. With the use of a Gantt chart, the teams can also see what’s in and out of the scope of work. So if they come across an unforeseen problem where, for example, a design change is required, then this can be communicated back to the designer and then the client. Additional works are

often going to arise as we haven’t got X-ray eyes, but they should never be undertaken without prior approval of either the client or designer. We can never assume the client will not mind paying as this is bad practice and can be costly if additional works are not agreed. Good communication throughout will ensure projects are completed on time and within budget. Every business has its own forms of communication and should use the tools that work for them. ABOUT SEAN BUTLER Sean Butler is a landscape designer and director of Cube 1994. With a background in civil engineering, Sean has an in-depth understanding of the design, construction and maintenance of the physical and naturally built landscape.

Pro Landscaper / April 2017 107

22/03/2017 14:40


HIGH AND MIGHTY In the second of a three-part mini series, Paul Newman discusses the design of a roof terrace

Most roof terraces are not as big as ground level gardens so they can be tricky to design when the client has a lot of requirements. In general, we keep our designs simple but functional. No matter how small the space, seating should always play a big part in the design. Everyone likes to sit out on their new terrace, and seating creates a great social area where friends can gather, chat and dine. Space is precious, so use minimal materials to make a big impact. This will create an uncluttered look and enhance the overall effect. As discussed previously, weight is an important factor, so material choice plays a big part in this and should be considered in the overall proposed

scheme. For hard surfaces decks are the obvious choice, with plenty of material options available in softwood, hardwood or composite, along with a choice of fixing systems. All flat roofs will slope to aid water run off, so the substructure can be suspended on adjustable pedestals to give a level area. This creates space beneath, perfect 108 Pro Landscaper / April 2017

Paul Newman.indd 108

for concealing lighting cables or irrigation feed pipes, while also allowing water to drain away naturally beneath the deck into existing gullies. If weight distribution has been checked out properly by a structural engineer then paving options can also be used. Again, set these on pedestals with small spacing gaps between to aid drainage. Soil can be a dead weight, especially when wet, so it is worthwhile specifying glass reinforced

NO MATTER HOW SMALL THE SPACE, SEATING SHOULD ALWAYS PLAY A BIG PART IN THE DESIGN plastic (GRP) planters. These are lightweight yet strong and available in a huge range of shapes, styles and colours to suit every scheme, and of course bespoke options. If you want large planters to add impact and structure, but only intend to fill with smaller plants, then get your supplier to fit a false base half way up the planter. Existing boundary heights to the perimeter should be no lower than 1,100mm for obvious safety reasons. You may be fortunate enough to have attractive glass balustrade to enjoy the view, but if these are unsightly then use rows of planters for attractive screening. Alternatively, the walls can be clad in timber which then gives the opportunity to use different lighting schemes by creating plinths, ledges or overhangs. Tricoya panels also offer excellent design options with a long service life and can be cut, sanded and painted. Many roof terraces have air con units fitted to them. These can be disguised with slatted panels, either in natural timber or painted to fit with your scheme. As long as they can be accessed for maintenance, box them in to fit in with the garden.


ABOUT PAUL NEWMAN Paul Newman Landscapes provides a complete landscaping service from concept to completion for clients throughout London and Hertfordshire, oering high quality individual design and build projects to suit any client’s style and budget.

22/03/2017 15:08

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23/03/2017 10:17


Why your business needs a


WEBSITE Ben Shaw, national account director at Adtrak, breaks down the importance of the mobilefriendly website in today’s digital age Over the past few years we have seen a seismic shift in the way people use and search the internet. The explosion of smartphones has meant we are now able to communicate and look for information constantly. It therefore makes sense that the way in which people search for products and services has changed as a result. According to official Google statements, more than 50% of global search queries come from mobile devices. Furthermore, Adtrak reports show that our landscaping sector clients have seen as much as 60% of their website visitors coming from mobile devices and tablets over the past year. Subsequently, it is more important than ever before to have a mobile-friendly website. It has become a crucial part of a company’s online presence, and not having one can be detrimental to their success and growth. What is a mobile-friendly website? Simply put, a site which has been designed to display and function suitably on smaller screens, such as those on a smartphone or tablet. This will mean that the site has been developed using mobile-friendly practices, including text which is easy to read, mobilefriendly navigation, touch-friendly buttons and fast download speeds. Why is it so important? In essence, it’s what your customers want – and what they expect. A Google survey in 2012 found that 61% of people would leave a site if it 110 Pro Landscaper / April 2017

Adtrak.indd 110

wasn’t mobile friendly. Similarly, 74% of visitors were likely to return if it was. Mobile friendliness offers a far better experience for users, meaning visitors are more likely to stay, use your site, and ultimately make an enquiry.

In addition, visuals are incredibly important within the landscaping sector. It’s likely that your customers are looking specifically for images and videos of your work. As such, it is imperative that they can be viewed correctly on a mobile device in order to show your company, and its work, in the best possible way. Perhaps most importantly, Google may actually penalise you if your website is not mobile friendly. Last year, Google rolled out the second version of its mobile-friendly update, which gives preference to websites that have been designed and optimised for mobile. This means that if your website isn’t mobile friendly, Google is less likely to display it as a legitimate search result, often lowering where you rank as a result. This can then significantly affect visitors and enquiries.

How do you know if your website is mobile friendly? If you’re unsure whether your website is optimised effectively for mobile devices, you can use Google’s mobile-friendly test. Simply visit, input your website’s URL and they will analyse your site, providing you with a mobile friendliness score. What next? At Adtrak, we strongly recommend opting for a responsive website. This recommendation is backed up by Google, whose mobile-first strategy, and newly rolled out mobile-first index, puts the onus on businesses and their marketing agencies to design and develop with mobile as their primary consideration. All of the sites we design are responsive as standard. This means each site has been developed to recognise the device being used and resize itself accordingly, ensuring an optimal viewing and user experience. Subsequently, they conform to Google updates and benefit from improved search visibility.

ABOUT ADTRAK Adtrak are a web design and internet marketing company based in Nottingham. They offer all BALI members a free website health check and consultation, aim ing to help you improve your online presence and build your business.

Tel: 0800 030 9062

22/03/2017 14:20





VALUES Working together means mutual respect, says Robert Webber, and in light of that, here’s how to put together a specification


Most people will tell you that I’m organised, in fact slightly controlling, in the way I set out my work. But I need to be. As a small business we have to make sure we’re efficient, thorough, dependable and approachable − although that last one can sometimes be a challenge, particularly after a long day. And that’s where I find myself now − a little grumpy after a long and difficult day. Imagine the scene: I turn up for my first quote, talk over the plan (or lack of), meet the client, help

IT’S THE LACK OF PROFESSIONALISM THAT GETS ME, BECAUSE I CARE PASSIONATELY ABOUT WHAT WE DO them choose the best lighting solution, impart years of knowledge. Then, as I’m about to drive away, the designer says: “Just so you know Rob, this job’s going out to tender, so keep the price keen.” For a moment, I think I’ve entered another dimension. I’ve talked the client through switching systems, lamp types, correct IP ratings for different areas − virtually written a whole specification − and then they tell me they’re going to send the job for tender. How would another contractor be able to tender, when everything has already been decided and specified, and delivered to the client by me? But tenders are not the issue here; I tender for

projects every day with full specifications, and I’m not scared of a competitive marketplace. It’s the lack of professionalism that gets to me, because I care passionately about what we do and the way our industry is represented in the marketplace. I am proud of the value we bring to the sector − to the great friends I’ve made, and the wonderful clients who email me every week to say how perfect everything looks. It’s taken nearly 20 years of hard graft to get us here, with a fantastic small team who love, care and invest in design. So now to turn this into a positive. Specifications − let me help you write one. But with the preface that, if you know us, you know we’d do this for nothing for the designers we both work with and love. ABOUT ROBERT WEBBER Robert Webber is the founder of Scenic Lighting, a specialist exterior lighting company based in Berkshire. He designs and installs garden lighting throughout the UK and internationally. Robert can be contacted on rob@ or via his mobile on 07766 051 000.

Robert Webber.indd 111

Show us the lighting positions, a simple symbol will do, which can then be referenced in a key to the side of the drawing. Specify how the client would like to control the lighting. It’s their main interface between day and night, so it needs some thought. Most switching systems come in banks of four or two circuits. So for cost-effective switching, design around the even parameters. Think about conduits and make sure they are within the landscaper’s specification. It’s far cheaper for them if they have machines on site, or for smaller jobs they can install them without the need for us. This saves on cost and time, and shows that you care about the invisible, as well as the visible. The actual light fitting is just a canister for the lamp; a vase without flowers some might say. It’s the lamp that provides the right amount of light, the right angle and the right colour. Consider circuits, and think about which lights you want to come on together. A simple dotted line on the plan between different light fittings will show us. It completely changes the cable routes, conduit routes and amount of cable we allow for. Learn about Ingress Protection (IP) ratings. Just because it’s in an outside lighting catalogue, doesn’t mean it can be fitted anywhere. Always IP68 for recessed or submersible lights, and not below IP65 in a wooded or shady area. Trust your installer − and if you don’t, then don’t use them. Exterior lighting requires highly specialised installation, so always use a specialist for the best outcome. Correctly installed garden lighting isn’t cheap. An average guide on a £10k job is 50% infrastructure, 30% fittings and 20% labour.

Pro Landscaper / April 2017 111

22/03/2017 14:43


The issues and challenges of

ETHICAL SOURCING Steven Walley explores how the landscaping industry can make good on intentions to source ethically, and why it isn’t always so easy

©Roderick Polak Photography

It’s become clear at talks I’ve given recently that the landscaping industry is increasingly concerned with ethical sourcing. As a designer or landscaper, you want the right stone for the project, but you also want to know that the stone you specify comes with a clean provenance. The idea that the pristine Indian sandstone in your client’s garden hides a history of child labour, or the thought that stone workers are going without the most basic types of personal protective equipment, is very unpleasant. Neither do you want the worry of where your stone has come from; that should be up to your supplier. Indian stone supply chains are complex and fragmented, making tracing your stone difficult. Ask any stone supplier if their material is ethically sourced, and the answer will be yes, but in many cases the answer is based on visits to Tier 1

112 Pro Landscaper / April 2017

Steven Walley.indd 112

YOU WANT THE RIGHT STONE FOR THE PROJECT BUT YOU ALSO WANT TO KNOW THAT THE STONE YOU SPECIFY COMES WITH A CLEAN PROVENANCE suppliers. Tier 1 factories are the clean face of stone production. It’s where stone is sawn, calibrated, textured and tumbled, and it’s from these factories that UK companies buy their products. The investment required in machinery and infrastructure guarantees good working conditions and a well-trained workforce. It’s when you start delving further down the supply chain that problems can be found — in processing yards (Tier 2 suppliers), where riven material is hand-finished, and quarries (Tier 3), often family-owned, where most work is carried out by subcontractors. Total international export of sandstone from Rajasthan, which produces more than 70% of India’s total output, doubled in value between 1999 and 2004 — 354,298t was exported in 2003-04*. Yet just 5% of this material is exported and, when you combine this with a lack of local appetite to address working conditions, it’s clear we don’t have a great deal of leverage over the supply chain. Given this, we should be very proud of our stone industry — UK importers like

Marshalls, Brett, Pavestone, Hardscape and CED are all proactively working to improve conditions for workers in stone supply chains. We are working with Belgium-based importer Stoneasy on a project to establish Child Labour Free Zones in Budhpura; bringing the weight of our combined suppliers to the table has given us much greater influence in getting local cobble traders to reject child labour. When London Stone first got involved in ethical sourcing I saw it as a commercial decision that was good for the brand. As we’ve become more involved, the importance of running an ethical supply chain has become obvious. In the next article, I’ll be looking at how ethics and good business go hand in hand, and what suppliers, landscapers and designers can do to support workers in their supply chains. *Budhpura “Ground Zero” Sandstone quarrying in India Study by P Madhavan (Mine Labour Protection Campaign) and Dr Sanjay Raj, commissioned by India Committee of the Netherlands.

ABOUT STEVEN WALLEY Steven Walley is the managing director of London Stone. Through his involvement with the ETI, TFT and support of the No Child Left Behind Project in Budhpura, Steven has been actively involved in improving conditions for workers within stone supply chains.

22/03/2017 14:37

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23/03/2017 10:21



EWAN SEWELL Yorkshire-based Ewan Sewell, 25, has already received numerous accolades, most recently RHS Young Landscaper of the Year at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2016, where he was also awarded a Gold medal and Best Construction Award

What first encouraged you to pursue a career in horticulture? When I finished my A Levels, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I took a year out to start labouring on building sites with my dad. Knowing that I wanted to be outside, I enrolled on a Level 3 Extended Diploma in horticulture. It was there I got involved in WorldSkills UK. I came second in the regional event, and then won gold at the national final at the Malvern Autumn Show. What has been your route into the industry since then? I wanted to get more into the construction side. I trained at the WorldSkills Training Academy, and went to Leipzig, Germany in 2013 for the final, where I met Jody Lidgard from Bespoke Outdoor Spaces who has been a huge influence. I started working for Astek Garden Design & Build, which helped me into the next stage of my career, running projects. In the meantime, Jody gave me the opportunity to help on show gardens, as a subcontractor. Your most recent accolade is RHS Young Landscaper of the Year 2016. Can you tell


us a little bit about the garden and what was involved? We were given the coastal aspect, so I had to choose the right material for this type of environment. It was the first garden where I’d had real input into the design, and that’s what I enjoyed about the whole experience. How does it feel to have won this award and how has your career developed since? It’s been great to get the recognition, and I got some work from it. I’m currently constructing a project in York for someone who read that I’d won the competition. I want to build more show gardens and run projects, to be heading them up with my name as the main contractor.

114 Pro Landscaper / April 2017

Look Out For.indd 114

Would you recommend going down the competition route as a young landscaper? Absolutely. I never envisaged when I started that I would get to where I am now. It’s been a fast-track route. The whole of WorldSkills pushes you to get where you want to be. The trainers at the academy said that at first you start walking behind them, then you get to their level and walk beside them, and by the end of the process you should be walking ahead of them, and I suppose that has happened. What does your current role involve? As of January last year, I’ve been trading on my own, under Bespoke Homes and Gardens. I don’t want to be a generic landscaper, I want to be doing something a bit different, bespoke work. That’s where I’m heading. What are your plans for the upcoming months? I’ve got five weeks of show gardens booked in across May and June, including RHS Chelsea and the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, which is going to be good.

22/03/2017 15:22

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WHAT I’M READING Fleur Porter, Sanctum Garden Design



Title Garden Design (2003 edition) Author Patricia Pérez Rumpler Publisher teNeues ‘Garden Design’, published by teNeues, is not a conventional book on garden design: there are no chapters, it does not cover different topics and there is very little text (and the text that is there is multilingual, with English, German, French and Spanish translations) but what makes this my favourite book are the photographs and the sheer variety of gardens it covers. There are gardens from 15 countries and more than 600 photographs. The book is especially relevant today as all the gardens featured are ‘small gardens in urban settings’.

The descriptions of the gardens are cleverly written; they are concise but crafted to draw your attention to key points. This directs you to appreciate some of the important features of the gardens and helps to explain why they work so successfully. The photographs are beautiful and


AN INSPIRATION The blurb on the back cover talks about ‘the latest trends in garden design by renowned designers and landscape architects’. My copy is the 2003 edition (there is a more recent edition published in 2008), so they are probably no longer the latest trends, but the joy of this book is the variety and imagination of so many designers brought together in one place. It manages to convey the feel of the gardens as well as how they fit into their surroundings which is what makes it so special and so inspirational.

are a mixture of close-up detailed images and different perspectives of the gardens. As well as photographs, some also contain elevation plans and sketches of the original design and these too bring another dimension by showing the thought process behind the gardens. The photographs then show how this was brought to life in the finished product. SIMPLE IDEAS My copy naturally falls open on The Van Egeratt Garden in Rotterdam and I find myself drawn to this garden time and again. The garden itself is simple and is described as the ‘smallest wood in Holland’ but it is the way that just a few materials and plants have been used to such striking effect which I find so fascinating. I love the way that

What I'm reading.indd 117

the birch trees grow through overlapping pieces of slate – it uses slate in a way I had not seen before and the effect is stunning. It makes me think about how I could use materials differently and pushes me to be more innovative. I came across this book by accident at a second-hand book shop. The cover caught my attention and once I opened it I was hooked. Rather than become dated, much of what is described in the introduction has become received wisdom, which is testament to the skill of the team who compiled it. Most recently I turned to it for inspiration on how to use contemporary materials in our garden for the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show and I am already trying to pinpoint an idea for a small garden which we have just been commissioned to design in South Wales. If I sit down with this book it will help me to clarify what I am trying to achieve.

ABOUT THE BOOK ‘Garden Design’ showcases the modern day domestic garden. All of the gardens featured, whether public or private, are small and in urban settings, displaying materials and construction techniques that would have been innovative at the time the book was published in 2003.

Pro Landscaper / April 2017 117

22/03/2017 14:31


WHAT’S YOUR ROLE? COLIN SMITH Pro Landscaper spoke with Colin Smith, Regional Account Manager at GRITIT Ltd, to find out more about his daily responsibilities

What does your job involve? I manage the Scottish and Northern Irish regional accounts, which is a diverse role. I consult with clients regarding the services GRITIT provides, such as grounds maintenance, green services and winter risk management. Engaging with clients on grounds maintenance contracts is an integral part of my role, where I make visits to sites and suggest improvements, likewise with landscaping projects. I consult with new, existing and prospective clients, as well as finding new leads to expand GRITIT’s list of clientele. I deal in after sale services, ensuring our clients are satisfied with the service they received, as well as doing anything to make their ongoing project management as straightforward as possible.

How do you identify new business opportunities for GRITIT? I use contract websites to find out which tenders are available to approach along with attending networking events, such as facility or landscaping shows, in order to find new clients. I also make use of our network of existing clients who are able to inform me of any new projects in the pipeline that may require GRITIT’s services. As we provide a national service, I can pitch to clients using a larger number of localised firms, the convenience of having all operations being coordinated from a single source. Does your position as regional chairman of BALI Scotland have an impact on your job? I have been active in the landscaping industry since beginning as an apprentice, being the only student member of BALI in Scotland when I joined. The publications sent out from BALI kept me up to speed with the industry which helped my career development as I was acutely aware of how the industry was evolving. What do you find most challenging about your job? The industry has many longestablished companies and traditional practices, so innovation is a fairly new concept. When a company is more technically focused, like ours, introducing a new productive way of doing something, such as PDAs and automating client service reporting, I find I have to work a lot with clients so they can see the benefits and values of the new approach. I’ve noticed budget holders seem to view assets very

118 Pro Landscaper / April 2017

Whats your role.indd 118

SEEING THE PROJECTS I GIVE CONSULTATION FOR COME INTO FRUITION ALSO GIVES ME A GREAT SENSE OF PRIDE differently when comparing landscapes with buildings. It doesn’t always register that green assets constantly develop and it pays to manage and extend the lifetime value of trees, borders, boundaries as much as possible. What do you enjoy most about your job? I take great enjoyment in being able to share technical knowledge with people I have never met. If a client is not aware of what is available to them with the space that they have, meeting with them and pointing out small adjustments that provide a large impact on their green spaces gives me immense job satisfaction. Seeing the projects I give consultation for come into fruition also gives me a great sense of pride. What are your future aspirations? I was previously involved with operational dealings and I have been moved fairly recently into handling regional accounts and consulting with clients far more frequently, so I am very happy with where I am at the moment. As GRITIT continues to expand, I hope to take on more responsibilities for the company and look forward to the future.

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AS 940 Remote Control High speed change of remote to ride on control • 27hp Briggs & Stratton engine • 90cm wide brush deck • Variable hydrostatic four wheel drive • Remote capabilities of up to 300m Price: £20,250


IKON-X Zero Turn Fully fabricated 10 gauge steel deck and available in two sizes 107cm or 132cm • Fully welded tubular steel frame • Dial-operated cutting height with 13 cutting positions • 726cc Kawasaki twin cylinder engine Price: from £4,850


EXPERT VIEW #1: HOW OFTEN DO YOU CARRY OUT MAINTENANCE CHECKS ON YOUR RIDE-ON MOWERS AND WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR? I check the ride-on mower every time I use it, predominantly through the summer months. First, I visually check the unit and casing. This


well as unnecessary expenditure on repairs and loss of

embedded stones, checking underneath for oil leaks,

equipment during repair time. We use our on-site, full

and finally checking the amount of petrol in the tank.

time mechanic for regular in-depth machine servicing, as

checking the blades to make sure they are sharp and free of dents and cracks. The chute is checked to make sure

well as repairs. Our mechanic also trains our team on how to inspect the mowers before use. When the mower goes into storage over the winter, its

it is completely free of debris. I also grease and oil

petrol tank is drained of fuel and a visual check of

relevant parts where necessary.

the mower is conducted.

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These checks reduce the risk of mechanical failure, as

includes checking the tyres for slow punctures or

I then inspect the cutting mechanism more closely,


After the ignition of the mower, I check the switches and levers to make sure everything is working.

Pro Landscaper / April 2017 121

22/03/2017 15:20




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EXPERT VIEW #2: HOW OFTEN DO YOU CARRY OUT MAINTENANCE CHECKS ON YOUR RIDE-ON MOWERS AND WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR? We carry out maintenance checks on all of our mowers in line with the manufacturers’ and suppliers’ recommendations. We use Kubota, Ferris and

on the machine and cutting decks. Forward and reverse

John Deere products, which include pedestrian and

pedals are tested, and cutting height and gauge wheel

ride-on mowers.

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out, along with lubrication and greasing where required. Weekly or periodically we check blades, fittings and

the workshops of our approved supply chain for various

bearings for wear, wash the machinery, then lubricate. We

services, as set by the manufacturer.

also grease the machinery and decks where the grease

We conduct visual checks daily, including making sure the gauges are working correctly, checking for oil leaks

fittings are located, and clean the air filter. Services for Ferris and Kubota include an oil and filter

and inspecting the overall condition of the machine,

change after the first 50 hours, and a service every 200

which are all health and safety measures as well as

hours. With John Deere, we follow the service

quality checks.

protocol outlined in the operator’s manual.

122 Pro Landscaper / April 2017

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Water levels are checked, and the radiator and screen cleaned. The oil cooler is cleaned, and oil levels examined

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Tom King in front of Gunnera at Trebah Garden in Cornwall

RHS BURSARIES Pro Landscaper highlights the RHS bursaries programme, which helps connect people with a passion to new horticultural experiences The RHS is a multi-faceted charity, working to provide information, insights and opportunities for those with a passion for horticulture. Its bursaries scheme forms an essential part of its charitable mission. Through its bursaries scheme, the RHS provides funding towards projects aimed at broadening skills, increasing knowledge and enhancing career opportunities. Within this remit there are a wealth of exciting opportunities available, both abroad and within the UK, to provide unique horticultural experiences. Rowena Wilson, RHS bursaries coordinator, explains that requests for funding are competitively sought, and it is unsurprising the scheme attracts the number of applications that it does as it can supply funding for a number of horticultural related projects, from study tours and expeditions to conference attendance and voluntary work placements. The bursary applications are open to a number of vocations including professional and student gardeners/horticulturists, landscapers and plant and soil scientists. The funding is also available to British and Irish institutions, colleges, charities and public gardens. For those applying for an RHS bursary for

RHS Bursaries.indd 125

the first time, Rowena suggests applicants contact her for some initial guidance. “Our aim is to help applicants as much as possible and to explain the application process so that it doesn’t seem too daunting. Discussing proposed projects with applicants often helps them to

THE SCHEME CAN SUPPLY FUNDING FOR CONFERENCES, VOLUNTARY WORK PLACEMENTS, STUDY TOURS AND EXPEDITIONS understand what information they need to provide and how best to present it.” There are four application deadlines throughout the year, and it’s essential for applicants to plan well ahead to ensure their request for funding will be considered prior to their need for funds – bursaries cannot be funded retrospectively. Successful applicants will be required to write a report on their project, which becomes a reference document in the RHS Garden Wisley Library to inform and inspire others. RHS/GCA INTERCHANGE FELLOWSHIP The Interchange Fellowship is an exchange programme offered by the RHS and the Garden Club of America (GCA) in collaboration

with Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania. It allows horticultural students or graduates from the USA and Britain to study and experience horticulture in the other country. American applicants apply to the GCA, who will select a candidate for a 10 month programme in the UK. The RHS will put together the itinerary based on the successful candidate’s specific interests, which can take them all over the UK visiting and interning at a variety of gardens. British applicants, however, have a choice: “Applicants are interviewed and selected by the RHS, and can choose between a 12 month placement at Longwood Gardens or applying to attend the first year of a relevant postgraduate programme at a university in the USA.” The placement at Longwood Gardens requires 40 hours of work per week, with travel to regional gardens or relevant sites assisted by the GCA. The process of attending a postgraduate programme is more complicated, with all applicants having to sit the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) general test. For more information, please visit: The next deadline for RHS Bursaries applications is 30 June. The deadline for Interchange Fellowship applications is 14 October. Pro Landscaper / April 2017 125

23/03/2017 11:30


RHS/GCA INTERCHANGE FELLOWSHIP Molly Hendry, RHS Interchange Fellow “My goal during my 10 months in Britain is to explore how the natural world can be designed to create experiences which captivate the hearts and imaginations of people. My aspiration as a landscape architect is to first and foremost be a gardener who understands the rhythms of the natural world, and how people can step into those rhythms in a meaningful way. “What is most valuable for me is learning how Molly at the Eden Project different visions push the boundaries of the connection between people and plants, and I’m so grateful that the RHS/GCA Fellowship enables me to learn from some of the world’s most exciting minds. “Each placement has been incredibly unique and surpassed my expectations. I’ve been able to chase my goal of finding a way to connect horticulture and design in a compelling way. I’m extremely grateful to the RHS and GCA for such a life-changing opportunity.” During her Fellowship in the UK, Molly will be spending time at RHS Wisley, Sheffield University Landscape Department, Eden Project, Great Dixter, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh & Kew, Winfield House and Tresco Abbey Gardens.

Maggie Tran, GCA Interchange Fellow “The Fellowship is a great opportunity provided by the RHS and GCA. Being based at Longwood Gardens gives me the chance to be part of a Maggie planting bulbs at Longwood community, enjoy the great resources of this institution, experience a type of horticulture that doesn’t happen anywhere else and encounter some really amazing people. “I also love being able to travel to see different gardens, projects and natural landscapes, and to have a better understanding of a culture that has a lot of similarities to Britain, but which can be very different too. It also helps me gain a new perspective, and reflect on the practices and knowledge that I already know. I’m proud to be an ambassador for this programme.”

RHS BURSARY RECIPIENTS Liz Maynard, Sissinghurst Castle Liz received an RHS bursary for a two week visit to New York to learn more about community, urban and school gardens, and the role botanical gardens play in Liz Maynard supporting them. In addition to visiting key New York gardens, community gardens and urban farms, Liz spent time shadowing the Bronx Green Up Team, the community outreach team of the New York Botanical Garden which provides horticultural education, training and technical assistance to Bronx residents, community gardeners and school gardens. “The bursary allowed me to embark on a varied and educational adventure. I returned to the UK with a sound belief that there is a huge opportunity for large institutions and botanical gardens to reach out to communities and provide the guidance and support they need to start their own horticultural adventure.”

126 Pro Landscaper / April 2017

RHS Bursaries.indd 126

(Main) Lawrence and Tom at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens

Tom King, Brendan (Inset) Brendan and Tom at bamboo grove at Trebah Garden Arundel and Lawrence Wright, ex-RHS Wisley students Whilst students at RHS Garden Wisley, Tom King, Brendan Arundel and Lawrence Wright received an RHS Bursary for a two week study tour of gardens in the south west of England during June 2016. The team was interested in exploring how the topography and proximity to the sea had influenced the layout, design and plant choices at the gardens and how they had utilised their locations. Brendan Arundel: “Being a recipient of the RHS bursary scheme allowed me to visit a whole host of gardens in Cornwall and Devon that I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to see. I was lucky enough to be able to share this experience with two of my friends and fellow Wisley Diploma students. It also allowed me to learn from them and appreciate the variation in growing conditions in the UK, showcasing the variety of plants that can be grown in the south west – something I had read about, but not witnessed myself.” Tom King: “I feel very fortunate to have received funding from the RHS bursary scheme to allow myself, Brendan and Lawrence to pursue a study trip down to Devon and Cornwall. We visited a range of places including sub-tropical and woodland gardens to make our learning experience as broad as possible.”

22/03/2017 14:50


Xxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xxxx xx xxxxxxxx xxx xx For more details please go to For full details on all jobs, please go to For full details on all jobs, please go to

Call 01903 777 587 or email with your vacancy. Call 01903 777 574 or email with your vacancy



We are looking for someone to become part of our busy sales team based in Potton, Bedfordshire. The job requires someone who likes variety and has the ability to communicate at all levels, as well as good IT skills and excellent administration qualities. Most importantly you must love trees and shrubs and the great outdoors. The ideal candidate with the horticultural knowledge needed to excel and a clean driving licence might already work within the sector, but we would love to hear from those in others such as landscaping, maintenance, contracting or garden design.

We are an award-winning domestic landscape and design company, and we are currently looking for a soft landscaper/nurseryman to join our team in Worcestershire. This is an excellent opportunity for a motivated and enthusiastic plantsman with an eye for detail. Duties will include working on our soft landscape planting contracts, and at our show garden at Whitlenge Gardens, as seen on ITV’s Love Your Garden with Alan Titchmarsh. Excellent plant knowledge is a must for this role. 40 hour week. Full driving licence required. Wage depends on experience but in region of £18,000 per annum.

For more details please go to

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Our client is looking to appoint a landscape foreman to support ongoing expansion. You will be leading a small team, and must be able to demonstrate a good working knowledge of all aspects of landscaping, particularly hard landscaping, and running sites in a safe and efficient manner. We are based in south-west London, serving London and the home counties. You will be carrying out and managing day to day construction works and running of the site, working with the project manager, liasing with the principle contractor, ensuring health and safety is implemented, and hard and soft landscaping.

Ginkgo are a professional and experienced horticultural business, having served London and the South East for a quarter of a century. We require an enthusiastic and reliable supervisor horticulturist with good communication and organisational skills to join our commercial maintenance department. You will have experience using a varied range of horticultural skills on both static sites and mobile rounds. You will have some supervisory experience with good plant identification and horticultural knowledge.

DEEPDALE TREES LTD Location: Potton, Bedfordshire

ANDERSPLUS LTD Location: South West London

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We are an award-winning domestic landscape and design company, and we are currently looking for a hard landscaper to join our team in Worcestershire.This is an excellent opportunity to join a team working on some fantastic projects.The successful candidate will be skilled in paving, turfing and fencing. Experience with brickwork and blockwork is preferable but not essential. Must have good timekeeping skills and a positive attitude. A full driving license is essential for this role.

CREATIVE LANDSCAPES Location: Whitlenge Gardens, Worcestershire

GINKGO GARDENS Location: South London

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Skidmores are a hard and soft landscape company based in Hertfordshire, seeking a landscape estimator/surveyor. A junior position will also be considered. You must be able to communicate with site teams and clients’ opposite numbers, estimate landscape packages with values up to 1m, assist with the surveying/commercial side of the business, have good people skills, be reliable and well presented, and be computer literate.

For more details please go to

For more details please go to



TAYLOR2RECRUITMENT LTD Location: London/Home Counties

Our client is an expanding landscape construction business. They now have an exciting opportunity for an experienced landscape construction manager to work with both their hard and soft landscape projects.

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Jobs.indd 127

HG LANDSCAPES Location: Inner London

Landscape gardening foreman and skilled labourers required to work on landscape construction projects in inner London. Landscape foreman required to manage a team of two and to run projects on time and on budget. An eye for detail is essential. Five years experience is preferred. A sound knowledge of paving, brickwork, decking, fencing, turfing & planting is needed.You must be enthusiastic, skilled, polite and able to follow instruction as well as use initiative. For more details please go to

Pro Landscaper / April 2017 127

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Ride-On Cylinder Mowers • 440l & 220L options John Deere 900 Commercial Triple, 30” fixed units – choice of 2 option available £5’500 • AdBlue JD 2653A, 26” 8 blade units, spiral rollers, scrapers – choice of 4 from: £5’500 JD 2500 (A) (E), 22” 11 blade units, groomers, brushes, grass boxes -choice of 3 from: £5’750 JD 3235B with Cab, 22” 8 blade units, grooved front rollers – 2708 hrs £6’500 JD 3235B, 22” 8 blade ESP units – 2691 hrs £7’500 JD 3225C, 7 blade light-weight units c/w rear roller brushes – 2217 hrs £8’000 Jacobsen G Plex, recently serviced & extra set scarifying units available £5’500 Hayter LT324, 6 blade units with 10” fixed heads – choice of 10 from: £6’500 Hayter T424, 5 gang, 6 blade – 30” units – choice of 2 from: £9’000 Ransome Highway 3 – choice of 2 £ POA Pro Landscaper / March 2015 Ransome Parkway 3, 30” 6 blade units – 1970 hrs £ POA

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John Deere X748, 54” Snow Blade, 24hp diesel, 4WD, HST – choice of 2 £6’750 JD 4600 & Front Loader, 43hp, 4WD, G.Box, Power Reverser – 4331hrs FREEPHONE 0800 013Pro 7363 £7’750 0808 129 3773 123 Landscaper / September 2015 John Deere 3320, 33hp, 4WD, HST, turf tyres, roll bar – 1230Diesel hrs Bowser £9’000 w w w. r o c h fo r d s . n e t Timber Products JD 4410 & Front Loader, 34hp, 4WD, G.Box, Reverser – 2279 hrs 50 December 2012 £9’750 Balmers GM Manchester Kubota B2410, 24hp, 4WD, HST,Ltd, turf tyres, roll bar – 1720Rd, hrs Dunnockshaw, £6’900 5PF Kubota B2410 & Front Loader,Burnley, 24hp, 4WD, Lancs, HST – 1076BB11 hrs £7’900 £13’750 Designers and 20/08/2015 18/02/201510:11 14:42 Kioti DK551C with Cab, 54hp, 4WD, Gear Box – 612 hrs New Holland TC27D, 27hp, 4WD, HST, turf tyres, roll bar – 2312 hrs £7’500 manufacturers of New Holland TN55D with cab, 55hp, 4WD, Gear Box – 1751 hrs hardwood planters 18/02/2015 14:42 • Manufactured in the£12’500 UK Yanmar FE280H, 28hp diesel, 4WD, turf tyres, roll bar –•262 and garden 12 hrs month warranty £7’500

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Etesia H124DS, 48” RD deck, Hi-Tip Collector, 25hp diesel – 828 hrs Etesia Attila Bank Mower (Ex Demo) – low hours


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Ride-On Front Rotary Mowers John Deere 1445, various deck sizes and hours – choice of 8 from: £6’500 John Deere 1445 with Cab, 60” SD deck, Serviced – 2126 hrs £8’500 John Deere 1545, 62” RD deck, 31hp, 4WD, HST – choice of 2 from: £9’750 For John all your golf, and4WD, landscape needs. Deere 1565 withsportsturf cab, 62” RD, 38hp, HST – 1044irrigation hrs £9’750 John Deere 1600TMowers Wide Area Mower with canopy – choice of 2 from: £8’500 Tractor BuyRide-On online at John Deere 997 Zero Turn Mower, 60” deck, 30hp – 291 hrs £1’500£9’000 John Deere GT235, 48” SD deck, 18hp petrol, 2WD, HST – 355 hrs Jacobsen HR6010 Wide Area Mower – 1615 hrs £2’500£ POA John Deere X320, 48” SD deck, 22hp petrol, 2WD, HST – 195 hrs Ransome HR6010 Wide Area Mower – choice of 2 from: £12’000 £3’000 John Deere GX355D, 48” SD deck, 16hp diesel, 2WD, HST – choice of 2 Ransome HR300, 60” RD deck, 4WD, HST – choice of 4 £ POA £5’500 John Deere X495, 48” SD deck, 24hp diesel, 2WD, HST – 1922 hrs £6’250 John Deere X740, 54” SD deck, Low-Tip Collector – choice of 2 Commercial Pedestrian Mowers £6’750 John Deere X748, 48” RD deck, 24hp diesel, 4WD, HST – 1380 hrs HugeBahia, choice32” of RD Ferris and Scag mowers Etesia deck & collector, 2WD – 36”, 48” 52” Zero Turn mowers. £2’250

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21/01/2015 12:17 Pro Landscaper / February 2015 83 23/03/2017 11:19



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YVETTE SMITH Garden designer, Yvette’s Design Solutions Go to reference book The Illustrated Book of Trees and Shrubs, Octopus Books. It’s packed with scientific info and beautiful illustrations. Favourite seasonal plant Cyclamen. Ideal project in five words or less Extensive gardens in historic setting.

Best moment of your career Being awarded the RHS Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Presentation, for trade stands I designed and planted for Hillarys Blinds at RHS Hampton Court and Tatton Park Flower Shows in 2011. One piece of technology you can’t live without Calculator. Favourite sandwich filling I’m not a sandwich fan – give me an artichoke salad any time.

130 Pro Landscaper / April 2017

Little Interview.indd 130

Karaoke song of choice Mack The Knife.

Pro Landscaper asks quick-fire questions to gain a small insight into the people who make up our industry. To take part email

Who would play you in the film of your life? Miss Piggy, because Muppet films are the best films. Favourite sporting memory Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal to win the 2003 Rugby World Cup. I ruined my throat shouting at the TV! Top of your bucket list Explore New Zealand’s forests, and design a Chelsea garden.


BARRY BROWNE Project specification manager, gt Specifier Go to reference book Trees in Hard Landscapes. Favourite seasonal plant Lavender. It’s such a good colour, and kids love watching the insects it attracts. Ideal project in five words or less One that tests my skills.

Favourite sandwich filling Chicken and bacon. Karaoke song of choice At the minute, it would be Mark Morrison - Return of the Mack. Who would play you in the film of your life? Jim Parsons, as the Sheldon Cooper character playing me.

Best moment of your career How far GT Specifier has come and what we have achieved in such a short time. One piece of technology you can’t live without Hate to say it, but my iPhone. I’ve become horribly reliant on it for emails and diary.

Favourite sporting memory Learning to surf this year, I never had the chance to try before and it is not as easy as it looks.

22/03/2017 15:26


DANIEL BROWN Sales, Provender Nurseries

Go to reference book I like the Expert range of books, but everything is so accessible with the internet that unfortunately they are getting less important. Favourite seasonal plant I love Acers – the change in colours, the shape, just beautiful plants.

Ideal project in five words or less A true forest garden. Best moment of your career Being able to landscape a couple of small display gardens was great fun. One piece of technology you can’t live without My phone, so handy.

Favourite sandwich filling Chicken, bacon & mayo. Karaoke song of choice Sweet Child O’ Mine. Who would play you in the film of your life? Seth Rogan.



Associate Director, Terrafirma Consultancy

Owner, Alex Johnson Landscape Design Go to reference book Notcutts Book of Plants. Favourite seasonal plant Lily of the valley - for the scent. Ideal project in five words or less A complicated urban ecorealm. Best moment of your career Seeing the Terrafirma project at the air traffic control centre in Prestwick mature.

Little Interview.indd 131

One piece of technology you can’t live without My laptop, invaluable! Favourite sandwich filling Cheese, beetroot, mayo and mint sauce. Karaoke song of choice The Only Way Is Up by Yazz. Who would play you in the film of your life? Nicole Kidman (in my dream!). Favourite sporting memory My husband finishing the Great South Run in 1hr 20.

Favourite sporting memory For myself, scoring from the half-way line in a cup final as a kid, in general ,watching Spurs at White Hart Lane for the first time. Top of your bucket list Swimming with whale sharks or diving with great white sharks. Go to reference book Beazley’s Design And Detail Of The Space Between Buildings.

Favourite sandwich filling Tomato and avocado.

Favourite seasonal plant Hart’s-tongue fern and pittosporum.

Who would play you in the film of your life? Ginger Rogers though she might overplay my dancing ability a bit.

Ideal project in five words or less An adventurous and trusting client. Best moment of your career Several, and they have all been the result of having great people to work with. One piece of technology you can’t live without Zip Level.

Karaoke song of choice The Closest Thing to Crazy.

Favourite sporting memory My children learning to swim. Top of your bucket list Going back to the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. Pro Landscaper / April 2017 131

22/03/2017 15:26

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