Page 1

Concept to Delivery

December 2013

DESIGN, BUILD, AND MAINTAIN

LET’S HEAR IT FROM

MATT O’CONNER FUTURESCAPE

2013

A snapshot of the event

TEMPERATURE OF THE MARKET

ANNUAL UPDATE

CHARLOTTE ROWE GARDEN DESIGN

URBAN UPDATE An urban and contemporary London garden

Cover December.indd 2

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ADVERTS TEMPLATES.indd 217

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Concept to DESIGN, BUIL AND MAINTAD, IN

Delivery

December 2013

LET’S HEAR IT FROM

December 2013 | Volume 3, Issue 12

MATT O’CONNER

Welcome to December 2013

FUTURESC APE

2013

A snapshot of the event

TEMPERAT URE OF THE MARKET ANNUAL UPDATE

CHARLOTT E ROWE GA RDEN DESIG N

URBAN UP DATE

An urban and

contempor ary London

garden

Cover Decembe

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We have just arrived back at our desks after FutureScape 2013 and are very pleased that the second year of this magnificent event has been a huge success. The Pro Landscaper and FutureScape team has learnt so much from an industry full of inspirational, dedicated and passionate people – we are truly humbled by all the tweets and emails we received during and after the show, so very many thanks from the bottom of our hearts to all the people who have been in contact and of course all of those that attended the event, both suppliers and people from

ALL ENQUIRIES Tel: 01903 234 077 Eljays44 Ltd County House, 3 Shelley Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 1TT Tel: 01903 234 077 EDITORIAL editor@pro-landscaper.co.uk Director – Lisa Wilkinson lisa.wilkinson@eljays44.com Assistant Editor – Rose Hales rose.hales@eljays44.com Equipment Editor – Joe Wilkinson joe.wilkinson@eljays44.com EDITORIAL ADVISORY PANEL Mark Gregory Chairman of APL and Landform Consultants Sam Hassall LandPRO Ltd Russell Eales Lawn care expert Karl Harrison Decking expert

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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ADVERTISING Business Development Manager – Jamie Wilkinson jamie.wilkinson@eljays44.com

the different sectors of the industry who read or are involved with the magazine and attended on the day. Our main aim from the very outset of organising this event was to bring together everyone working in the industry to share opinions and ideas and in turn to inspire others to achieve their goals, and of course raise the image of landscaping and garden design to something it really should be – a valuable, worthy and valued profession. See pages 14 and 15 of this issue for a small flavour of the event, but we will dedicate more pages to FutureScape in the January issue in case you missed it… So now all that’s left is to round off what has been a fabulous year for most of us by wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year, we feel sure 2014 for our industry will be a big one!

@jimeljays

PRODUCTION Design – Kara Thomas Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Gwent, UK

Sales Manager – Ben Chambers ben.chambers@eljays44.com

Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd – Business Intelligence

Senior Sales Executive – Luke Chaplin luke.chaplin@eljays44.com

CIRCULATION Subscription enquiries: ellie.downes@eljays44.com

Accounts/Admin Assistant – Ellie Downes ellie.downes@eljays44.com accounts@eljays44.com Managing Director – Jim Wilkinson jim.wilkinson@eljays44.com

The Association of

Professional Landscapers

Pro Landscaper is proud to be an affiliate member of BALI

Pro Landscaper is proud to be an associate member of The APL

15:39

Pro Landscaper is published 12 times per year by Eljays44 Ltd. The 2013 subscription price is £95.00. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, County House, 3 Shelley Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 1TT, 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.

@lisaeljays

AND THERE’S MORE... www.prolandscapermagazine.com Read everything from up-to-date news to the digital version of the magazine Download the Pro Landscaper App Available FREE from the App Store CONTRACTORS A RCHITECTS Landscape Hub ARCHITECTS GARDENERS LANDSCAPERS ARCHITECTS www.landscapehub.co.uk CONTRACTORS GARDENERS HUB CONTRACTORS ARCHITECTS Visit, join and debate within the LANDSCAPERS DESIGNERS A landscape community Landscape

www.futurescapeeevent.com Save the date – 19 November 2013 Twitter: @ProLandscaperJW Facebook: Pro Landscaper LinkedIn: Join the Pro Landscaper group

MANAGEMENT Managing Director Jim Wilkinson Director Lisa Wilkinson Business Development Manager Jamie Wilkinson Business intelligence

December 2013

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Contents

December 2013 6 News Shed Round up of industry news

9 News Extra Jonathan Ward reports on the Gardening World Cup in Japan

10 News Extra How Perennial can help you and your staff

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12 Temperature of the Market A report analysing Pro Landscaper’s research on the current temperature of the UK landscaping industry

14 FutureScape 2013 Pictures and tweets from FutureScape

16 Association News The approaching SGD Awards ceremony, news from the BALI Landscape House and regions, and APL announce a new partnership with WorldSkills UK OPINION

19 View From The Top Phil Jones looks at the missing peace in our parks, and why it needs to be protected

Concept to Delivery

December 2013

DESIGN, BUILD, AND MAINTAIN

20 The Competitive Edge

LET’S HEAR IT FROM

MATT O’CONNER

Andrew Wilson suggests a fresh way of looking at competitions

FUTURESCAPE

2013

23 Going Green Angus Lindsay takes a look at some alternative energies for your vehicles and machinery

A snapshot of the event

TEMPERATURE OF THE MARKET

ANNUAL UPDATE

CHARLOTTE ROWE GARDEN DESIGN

URBAN UPDATE BUSINESS TIPS

24 The Costs of Weeding Sam Hassall provides cost calculations for weeding, a job which is necessary in nearly every maintenance contract

Cover photograph ©Marianne Majerus

26 Caring For Your Customer Advice on how not to bite the hand that feeds you, from Margaret McNeil

29 Grow Your Own Way Jacob Tompkins discusses how to preserve water, and design a garden with water use and the client’s needs in mind 4

December 2013

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30 Hardwood Joists They’re not easy to work with, but they are worth it, says Karl Harrison

31 Garden Surveying

An urban and contemporary London garden

Cover December.indd 2

TECHNICAL

20/11/2013 15:39

Janine Pattison lists the necessary kit you need for surveying

33 Long Narrow Gardens How to make the most of a long narrow garden, tips from Linsey Evans

35 Let’s Hear it From Matt O’Conner, Managing Director of John O’Conner (GM) Ltd

40 Show Time Liz Ackerley’s garden which won her the Birmingham Grand Designs Live Garden Designer of the Year award www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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Contents

56 Site Visit We visited British Sugar TOPSOIL’s factory in Norfolk

59 Fixing Fence Posts A public realm landscaping step-by-step guide

61 Artificial Grass – School Projects Highlighting the imaginative and practical uses of artificial grass for schools and nurseries

61 65 Book Review

CONTRIBUTORS Phil Jones MD of ISS Facility Services Landscaping Andrew Wilson Garden designer and lecturer Angus Lindsay Head of Fleet at The Landscape Group Sam Hassall Specialist landscape cost consultant Margaret McNeil Owner of Onsite Training UK

A review of some recently released titles

69 Equipment

-77 The latest equipment news, utility vehicles, general latest kit, mowers latest kit, and a tested feature on the Makita 4-stroke petrol backpack blower

Jacob Tompkins Managing Director of Waterwise UK Karl Harrison Director of Exterior Solutions Ltd

PEOPLE

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78 The Little Interview A small insight into the worlds of five professionals from the industry

Janine Pattison Garden designer Linsey Evans Expert on sloping garden design

PORTFOLIOS

43 Urban Update An urban and contemporary London garden designed by Charlotte Rowe

ARE YOU GOING?

46 Eastside Out

DECEMBER 04 IOG Conference & Awards Ricoh Arena, Coventry www.iog.org

The Landscape Group carried out the soft landscaping scheme for Birmingham’s first new park for 130 years

50 Malvern to Moscow

06 BALI Awards Grosvenor House Hotel, London www.bali.org.uk

Caspian Robertson’s kitchen garden, designed for the Malvern Autumn Show, and then taken to Moscow

54 Plantsman’s Plot Blasts of green and red in the winter plants recommended this December www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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JANUARY 21-23 BTME Harrogate International Centre, North Yorkshire www.btme.org.uk

December 2013

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News

NEWS SHED TLG commits to 4 per cent salary increase for minimum wage employees The Landscape Group has announced a 4 per cent pay increase for its lowest paid employees with effect from November 2013. The Living Wage (currently set at £7.65 outside London) is an hourly rate of pay calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers who have signed up to paying the Living Wage benefit from it being good for business, good for the individual and good for society. The latter is especially important when you consider that current statistics tell us that across the UK, 54.5 per cent of those living in poverty are actually in work. An increase has been awarded to the Group’s lowest paid staff to £6.50 per hour. This rate of pay, known as the ‘TLG Living Wage’

applies to all permanent staff aged 21 or over. HR Director, San Johal said “The TLG Living Wage is a huge step towards increasing our employee engagement and programme of developing a career with TLG. Amenity horticulture has always been known as a low paid industry and has consequently suffered in recent years through a lack of new people wanting to join and a number of talented staff moving out of the industry. It is only through making a commitment to change this perception and improve pay and benefits that we will begin to turn this around, attract fresh talent and keep existing skills within our workforces.”. www.thelandscapegroup.co.uk

Contractor of the Year runner up for John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance

The London and Quadrant Creating Places Awards 2013 hosted by actor and musician, Martin Kemp saw John O’Conner, the grounds maintenance contractor for L&Q Thames region,

receive the award for runner up in the Contractor of the Year category. Martin Perry, Regional Manager and Paul Stubberfield, Senior Chargehand for John O’Conner, collected the award for a community project which involved clearing, replanting and innovatively painting community planters in partnership with L&Q, local residents, volunteers and a local artist. www.johnoconner.co.uk

Announcing RHS/APL ‘Your Garden, Your Budget’ The APL will once again team up with the RHS to present ‘Your Garden, Your Budget’ gardens at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2014 which takes place 8-13 July. The newly named category (previously Low Cost, High Impact) provides APL members with an exclusive opportunity to showcase their work to the nation. APL members Arun Landscapes, Outdoor Creations, Surrey Gardens and Living

Gardens all took part in 2013 winning two gold, two silver medals and Best in Category. Outdoor Creations also won the People’s Choice award for best small garden at the show. The gardens aim to showcase a practical approach which also provides a wow factor. The aim is that visitors will be able to recreate the garden design, based on a fixed budget for hard landscaping, plant material and labour. www.landscaper.org.uk

Little Wonder it’s cutting it with professionals The Little Wonder Hydro BRC-24 brushcutter with hydrostatic drive is cutting it with professional landscapers, groundsmen and hire outlets. It rips through rough and tough weeds and brush at speeds up to 4.2mph with reduced fatigue for the operator. Constructed in welded steel with solid rod control and Honda GXV390 engine, this is a brushcutter built to last.

Schiller Grounds Care 0800 840 0888 lwdealer@littlewonder.uk.com www.littlewonder.uk.com Prac.indd 2

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News

Quadron and the Japanese Garden Society transform garden for care home residents Grounds maintenance contractor Quadron Services was pleased to help the Japanese Garden Society transform a tired courtyard into a beautiful Japanese-style garden designed by Robert Ketchell, for the benefit of care home residents at Hatch Mill residential home in Farnham, Surrey. The new garden uses a variety of different sizes and types of stone to evoke a textured landscape,

reminiscent of a river bed and mountains.The shrubs and grasses are low maintenance and will provide year-round interest for Hatch Mill’s residents.The courtyard is now a welcoming and tranquil space. Andrew Kauffman, Quadron’s Corporate Development Manger added, “It has been great to be able to support the Japanese Garden Society with their Hatch Mills project, which has given our staff and

NURSERY NEWS

volunteer partners the opportunity to learn new skills from the society and their gardener, Robert Ketchell.” www.quadronenvironment.co.uk

Chelsea 2014 Show Gardens announced The show garden designers and builders for the 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower Show were announced at the M&G media presentation in November. Some notable designers and contractors will be involved with Cleve West returning after a break in 2013 to design the M&G Paradise Garden, teaming up with Swatton Landscape. Luciano Giubbilei who won RHS Chelsea Gold medals in 2009 and 2011, will team up with Crocus to produce the LaurentPerrier Garden and Matthew Childs makes his first appearance at the world famous show with the Brewin Dolphin Garden being supported by Chelsea regulars Bowles & Wyer

YEAR

Contracts who will be carrying out the build. It is really pleasing that both Adam Frost, and Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam return to Chelsea with the same sponsors for a second consecutive year: Adam for Homebase and Andrew and Gavin for Cloudy Bay which are both going to be built by the eight-time Chelsea winning landscape company The Outdoor Room.The Sussex based company will also be building Jo Thompson’s garden in the Fresh category taking their 2014 tally to three. Chelsea newcomer Hugo Bugg is designing the RBC Waterscape Garden in association with Himalayan Landscaping and

Landscape Associates, and also first timers are Catherine McDonald and Susannah Hunter with the Massachusetts Garden who will be ably supported by Chelsea veterans Landform Consultants. Landform are also to build the House of Fraser Fresh garden designed by Chris Deakin and Jason Lock. Outdoor Options are involved with two gardens in 2014; they will be building Charlotte Rowe’s ABD The Soldier’s Charity’s main show garden and The WellChild Garden in the Fresh category to be designed by Olivia Kirk. For full details view the RHS website. www.rhs.org.uk

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WARRANTY

Using your downtime So, it’s cold outside, the days are shorter, the designs are done and you find you may have some time to spare. What to do? Our main advice would be to get out and visit nurseries – not just the ones that you use on a regular basis – but those nurseries you want to visit but never seem to have the time in the busy season. The idea may seem silly – after all what is there on offer at this time of year? You could be pleasantly surprised as in the autumn and winter months wholesale plant suppliers get a lot of stock in in preparation for the busy time ahead. Get to know new suppliers, get to know the suppliers you know well, get an idea of what

is available all year round; most of all get out of the office, see what is on offer and how visiting nurseries can benefit your business in the year ahead. There is no time like the present!

www.provendernurseries.co.uk

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20/11/2013 15:16


News

NEWS IN BRIEF Kubota chosen as Kew groundcare supplier

Kubota’s B2530 compact tractor has been chosen as the ideal groundcare solution for the worldfamous Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, following the purchase of eight units from the UK’s leading provider of groundcare machinery.

ETI, responsible sourcing of sandstone from Rajasthan, India: programme launch and panel discussion

OnSite Training receive grant for research

OnSite Training UK has been awarded a €299K grant via the Transfer of Innovation Fund to carry out further research and development of Living Roof qualifications.

Hyland Edgar Driver wins Cathedral design competition A team led by Hyland Edgar Driver has beaten four others to win a landscape design competition to redesign the way visitors first encounter Canterbury Cathedral.

Glendale wins contract Glendale, the national green services company, has won a five-year £3 million contract to provide grounds maintenance services at Lee Valley Regional Park.

The Ethical Trading Initiative held the launch presentation for their ‘Responsible Sourcing of Sandstone’ programme in October. Stone suppliers from across the UK attended this thought provoking presentation which promoted and highlighted the importance of responsible and sensible importing/exporting and trading. Led by Chris Harrop, the Global Compact Network UK Chair and ETI Non-Executive Member, and Hannah Bruce, Acting Category Leader at the ETI, the presentation included background knowledge about trading and labour laws in Rajasthan, India and explained child labour laws, workplace safety and conditions, and the improper use of hazardous equipment. Chris explained how complicated and challenging their task is, but highlighted the general positive and proactive mentality within the industry. Rana Alok Singh, Director of the National Homeworker Group, and the ETI India Rep, talked about the challenges they faced, but also indicated at the benefits and importance of having ‘boots on the ground’ in India, and how the ETI

Good month for... All the designers and contractors involved in RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014 FutureScape another incredibly successful show

was working alongside local representatives in order to move BALI Award winners forward with their goals in raising Principle Award winners awareness and making a change by announced on 6 December ensuring the Indian government not only implement more responsible APL and WorldSkills UK labour laws, but make sure they are who have announced properly policed. There was a lot of their partnership for emphasis on due diligence regarding the landscape ethical trading and importing gardening section sandstone – ethical solidarity Prac Brown V6 91mm xdown height 240mm._Layout 1 20/08/2013 15:49 Page 1 of the competition the supply chain is always a priority, and the responsibility lies on everyone. With over 30 attendees representing stone suppliers Bad month for... TM nationwide, it was clear to see that regardless of the challenge ahead, the UK is taking theThe lead only in ensuring true Instant Hedge The BBC responsible and ethical trading in the Alan Titchmarsh steps landscaping industry, and with a bit down from RHS Chelsea TV coverage after 30 years of hope and a lot of hard work, countries worldwide will follow suit. www.ethicaltrade.org

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18/11/2013 14:27

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News Extra

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1 2 4

Gardening World Cup, Japan Jonathan Ward reports on the international array of gardens at the Gardening World Cup in Japan It’s one thing to take time out of your business to design and build a show garden at one of the RHS shows, it’s quite another to head off to another country which has no experience or history of building show gardens, and where you don’t speak the language.This is exactly what a group of garden designers did when they headed to the Gardening World Cup in Japan in October, with two weeks, a limited budget and communication issues. Once they arrived it was all hands to the deck to create a range of gardens that matched the best gardens at any other flower show around the world. With entrants from Japan and as far away as the UK, New Zealand, America and South Africa, this was, in every sense, a truly global competition. With two weeks to select all the materials and plants, as well as build the garden, time was tight.This year

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a typhoon hit the show ground only days before the event was due to open, leading many teams to build a frame of plastic around the gardens to protect the delicate flowers from the rain and wind; all the gardens were completed on time for judging, some with only a nail biting minute to spare. A Gold medal was awarded to Paul Hervey-Brookes from England along with the award for the Best Planting in show, Paul said “I was thrilled to be invited to create a garden at the GWC, being my first international show I didn’t know what to expect, not only was the standard very high but the other gardens were beautiful. I was shocked to be awarded Gold and Best Planting awards and hope the visitors love the garden as much as I do.” John Tan and Raymond Toh of Esmond Landscape and Horticultural Pte Ltd from Singapore won Gold and took away the prestigious Best of Show award with their garden entitled Timeless Tropical: Peace With Nature.This garden made use of tropical plants and combined them with recycled materials, that according to the designer John Tan is helpful in the restoring and healing of our planet. Within this garden was an eye-catching wire sculpture of a

girl holding a bird by the renowned Singaporean sculptor, Victor Tan, the main feature of the garden was a flower-like wooden pavilion, made from large petals shading the seating area.This garden also had an amazing fragrance from a carpet of white Dendrobium orchids. Several of the gardens proved to be very popular with the visitors, especially the garden by New Zealand designer Xanthe White, with its sunken viewing house made from charred timber framing the view, and the chair covered with four sheepskins was a popular place for people to stop and take in the view. Leon Kluge from South Africa took inspiration from recent history, with his conceptual space depicting the time just before the release of Nelson Mandela. This garden was dominated by nine panels made from corrugated iron sheet, and decorated in a ’Shack Style’, the boundary was defined by a concrete band with hollow cavities representing the spherical boulders of Robben Island, the open sides represent the freedom, and end to the apartheid system. Within the garden this is followed up with a sculpture of kudu, which appear to be leaping out of the confinement of the garden.

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1 Paul Hervey-Brookes. 2 Beehive detail on the English garden. 3 View through the viewing house. 4 Judging carries on even in the rain. 5 Kudu sculpture. 6 Prize giving before the gala event. 7 Wire sculpture on the Singapore garden.

ABOUT JONATHAN WARD Horticulturists are usually found elbow deep in soil, grafting cuttings, carrying out back breaking digging, weeding and practical design. But what about photography, training courses and consultancy work? For Jonathan and his business Ginger Horticulture it’s about much more than the practical nature of working with plants it’s about sharing knowledge, technical expertise and representations of plants which are designed to enhance their beauty. www.gingerhorticulture.co.uk

December 2013

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News Extra

How Perennial can help you and your staff The help that Perennial gives is far reaching and practical. Here are some quotes from clients regarding the help they have received or are receiving from Perennial*

Perennial provides free, confidential advice, support, and financial assistance to people of all ages working in or retired from horticulture, and their spouses, partners and children, for as long as that help is needed. As a charity Perennial receives no funds from the government and relies entirely on donations, legacies and fundraisers, such as the recent Three Peaks Extreme Challenge. The funds raised from the Three Peaks challenge will make a significant difference to colleagues in the horticultural sector, whether they are landscapers, designers, nursery staff, grounds and sports maintenance staff, gardeners or tree surgeons. The Three Peaks team are already two thirds of the way to raising £30,000 to help Perennial clients and their families, and this will be used to offer a range of support via their National Caseworker team who are seeing client numbers increasing year on year.Your donation could:● Provide financial support to children and families in crisis ● Pay for professional services required such as occupational therapy ● Pay for home adaptations to enable independent living 10

December 2013

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● Pay for essential items such as a new boiler for a family without hot water or heating ● Pay a quarterly grant to a horticulturist in need ● Provide a client with mobility issues with a riser recliner chair

Most of us are fortunate enough not to have to worry about paying fuel bills, buying new glasses or looking after our children, but there are many colleagues in our industry who are finding it tough. This is partly due to low income that has not increased in line with inflation, and partly due to the challenges that life can throw at any of us, such as ill health, bereavement or workplace accident. The donation you make today will make a real difference to colleagues in the horticultural industry, and to their families. The Three Peaks team literally went the extra mile... Perennial aren’t asking you to climb a mountain, but they are asking you to support this fundraiser to allow these vital services to continue.

Please dig deep and support them www.justgiving. com/3PeaksExtreme or text your donation, NUTS67 and £10 to 70070.

ON AIDS FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING “I have one of those mobility scooters and Perennial noticed that there was a steep slope from my front door, so they had steps put in with a secure hand rail so I can just walk down and get onto my scooter... The steps have been wonderful. I didn’t ask, Perennial came and saw what I needed and did it for me.”

ON THEIR CASEWORKER “The help I received...was beyond my expectations. Perennial have done so much for me. To have someone come to my home to listen to me would have been enough in itself. It has bowled me over, how much help they are willing to give me. I did not need to ask, they offered. I have been through hell in the past year.”

ON QUARTERLY PAYMENTS “Honestly sometimes when I get the quarterly payment, it is a Godsend and I can pay for coal and things like that. When it comes, it is so wonderful that I can put the electricity on. Also it helped to pay for new glasses. That it is there for essentials is wonderful. It helped when the dog was ill and I had vet bills.”

*All quotes are from existing Perennial clients to an www.prolandscapermagazine.com independent researcher

20/11/2013 14:34


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News Extra Temperature of the market Pro Landscaper spoke to a handful of design, build, and maintenance contractors to gain an understanding and overview of the state of the UK landscaping market. We asked them how business has been this year, in comparison to last year, and why they think it might have changed. We also listened to their predictions for the industry in 2013

Temperature of the market

F

or the majority of contractors business has been slower and quieter this year. David Dodd at The Outdoor Room said that 2012 has been “dreadful”, Jo Hardingham from Grace Landscapes said they had received fewer tenders than previous years and have found it hard to compete against lower and lower prices. A survey by the Construction Enquirer found that 88% of firms have faced competition from others who are putting in suicide bids in order to fill order books. Sharon Butler at Butler Landscapes said that things were “still quiet… quieter than last year” – to exemplify, Sharon explained that the company worked on a garden at Tatton Park, and neither themselves nor the designer came away from the show with a single prospective client visit – which is unusual. Gavin Jones Ltd had seen an increase in profits and activity over the past year, which is due to successfully winning big

As part of an annual research project, Pro Landscaper contacted companies in the landscape and garden design industry to find out the state of the market for 2013, and going into 2014, compared to 2012 and previous years. We spoke to a mix of landscape contractors, garden designers and suppliers to get a firm understanding of what is happening from all sides.

contracts. Director Martyn Mogford said the company has benefited substantially from the Olympics over the past few years, without which it would have expected business growth to be flat during 2012-2013. We wanted to know why it was that business has been so bad for many, and if expectations are that things will get better or worse in 2013. The weather has undoubtedly been a contributory factor; Jo Hardingham explained that this led to an increase in labour costs. David Dodd believes that the problem has resulted from a lack of building work forcing builders into the landscaping market, thus flooding the industry with sub-standard (but cheap) workmanship.

Changing trend More than anything, S believes landscaping design has fallen out and it needs a push t fashionable again. Forecasts for the in 2013 have been varie home extension laws although hopeful that Theoretically, the government’s only improve, admitte proposal to relax the rules on signs “aren’t good”, b home extensions would see believe that “the signs builders move back into for things to g the building sector. – David Do Although there is that peop of firms have faced work, Jo Hardingham soon get competition from others they are feels clients are who are putting in expecting an identical spending suicide bids to fill service for the same or with the h order books lower cost, contrary to media, the p inflation. Martyn Mogford also inspired to spend explained that pricing is very their gardens again a competitive, so although there is a designers support lan reasonable amount of commercial contractors by passin work opportunities, it is difficult to on to skilled labour a come away with a profit. recommending contin Some contractors offered maintenance, then th ideas on what needs to be done is definitely there for b to improve things. David Dodd and profits to increas

88%

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

In 2012 our research threw up a general feeling of despondency from all sectors of the industry, with many landscapers and designers citing 2012 as being the worst year on record, some even admitted that their businesses would go under if 2013 did not improve.This was due in part to the terrible weather conditions experienced all over the country last year, and the recession taking its toll with both confidence and spending. Those who reported 2012 as a profitable or good year attributed this in the most part to the Olympics – or the winning of high-profile jobs. Although feedback from research in 2012 was not good, most had positive predictions for the coming year and a sense of optimism that things would improve, even in the face of low profits, suicide bidding, and lost work. With many companies having experienced the worst year ever in 2012, and with a vast improvement in both economic growth and the weather in 2013, we were very keen to speak to as many businesses as possible, of varying sizes, from all around the country, with hope that these factors

12

December 2013

Temp of the Market.indd 12

had turned things around in 2013. The overwhelming response to our research was that 2013 was better than 2012 in terms of both turnover and profit, with over 70 per cent

Many design and build, and maintenance contractors cited marketing as being a useful tool in improving their turnover of landscapers, designers and suppliers reporting this fact.The reasons were varied, with better weather and a good summer being one of them, this in turn contributed to an overall lift in customer confidence, and a better attitude from consumers. Not to be overlooked is the important information we received from those we spoke to regarding how they have personally adapted

believes that designer vital role, and need to emphasising the impo using a landscaper ra builder to construct th There have also be responses that design be making clients awa need for on-going ma once a garden has be completed. Sharon B believes that the bigg facing the industry at is a general lack of pu – in comparison to 10 ago when landscapin garden design were h publicised and busine booming. This is the e boost that the industr attract everyday peop influenced by trends.

Decem

to the changing markets channelling a positive approach to the recession, many spoke of growing, adapting, changing and improving; this included diversifying, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, and making their companies and products better, more efficient, and more desirable. Mark Gregory from Landform Consultants (and Chairman of the APL) said “You cannot rely on a market that has been there, just because it has always been there. We must adapt.” Paul Downer at Oakview Landscapes was in agreement, stating that “Our diversity as a company has contributed greatly to our success.” Matt O’Conner at John O’Conner also explained “The recession forced us to look at our business, we have to be leaner, better quality and more efficient”; instead of sitting back and accepting their fate, companies told us directly that they had adapted and changed, and as Matt O’Conner explained, “we will come out the other side stronger for it.” As well as changing and adapting, our research showed that the recession and poor

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 09:03


News Extra

turnover had forced them to become more proactive, “It’s no good sitting looking at your lot complaining about it,” explained Richard Barnard from Hillier Landscapes, “it’s down to you to go out and get it.You can’t just go down the same route year on year, you have to look for your work and go and get it.” Although he admitted the weather was always the biggest obstacle in his company’s growth, certainly actively taking the time to find work, rather than expecting work to come to you – as it may have done in the past – has been a beneficial strategy. David Dodd of The Outdoor Room is of the opinion that “Recessions are a good thing because they are a leveller – during the boom prices get higher and higher and something has to give eventually. That’s what the recession was for, to bring the market back to a sustainable level.” So, how did these companies manage to turn things around, and what might cause improvements in the future? Many design and build, and maintenance contractors cited marketing as being a useful tool in improving their turnover and profit. “I improved my website”, said one anonymous response from London, another from Hampshire said 2013 was better because of “more people knowing about me and my services”, and another simply stated “better marketing” as a reason for improvements to their business, and also mentioned social media and a marketing plan as being necessary tools for increasing reach.This also helped businesses to reach more relevant and more valuable customers, and in turn allowed them to be less ‘desperate’ – as one person put it, and take on better jobs and a higher quality of clientele, rather than taking small, time consuming

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

Temp of the Market.indd 13

and low profit jobs. As most are only too aware, year on year customers want more work done, for the same or lower cost. Some companies found 2013 to be worse or just as bad as 2012, although these were in the minority, it cannot be ignored that businesses are still suffering. Of the landscapers, garden designers and suppliers that we spoke to, some made particular mention of the divide between north and south, northern based

13.8% The same

15.5% Worse 70.7% Better

Was 2013 better/worse/the same, compared to 2012 for your company, in terms of turnover and profit? companies believe that the south is recovering much more quickly.The reasons that were given for companies across the country experiencing worse turnover and profit in 2013 were “customers wanting more for their money”, as well as problems with other companies pricing too low, or undercutting. Not surprisingly, the response from many landscapers to the question of what they perceive to be the biggest obstacle standing in the way of growth for 2014, was the continuing problem of suicide bids. With the majority of

tenders stating that contracts will be awarded based on the lowest price, many companies feel the pressure to price to win, rather than price to make a profit.This is something that has blighted the industry since the recession hit in 2008, and has established itself as an ongoing problem. Perhaps the National Contractors Forum could get a committee together in order to agree on a code of practice, to cut out the submission of suicide bids which depreciate and belittle the whole industry? A hurdle constantly cited in our research as an obstruction to future growth was the ongoing problem of finding skilled and knowledgeable staff. The RHS’s Horticulture Matters report highlights this. Committing to taking on apprentices, and volunteering in schools and colleges to communicate the value of working in the landscaping and horticulture industry are two ways in which companies can help to invest in the future of the industry.This also goes hand in hand with the need to educate the general public on how valuable and skilled our industry is. We’re delighted to report that the market has improved overall in 2013, and businesses are recovering. Although some, particular northern businesses continue to struggle, an ongoing improvement in both confidence and spending should eventually filter through to those still struggling. The weather has played a major part in this, as well as a sense of optimism and the unwillingness of companies to just sit back and watch things deteriorate. However, there is still work to be done, in particular in organising a code of practice to prevent suicide bidding, and working towards better marketing and promotion.

December 2013 13

20/11/2013 16:10


FutureScape 2013 Nina Baxter @land_girl @FutureScapeUK good show guys!

Richard Bickler @ArbourDesign Thanks to @ProLandscaperJW @Jimeljays @Lisaeljays & all the guys ‘n’ girls working to make #FutureScapeUK such a great day. Look forward to 2014

A selection of pictures and tweets from FutureScape 2013. Look out for the January 2014 issue, which will feature a full review of the show.

Ann-Marie Powell @AnnMariePowell What a lovely day & evening. A huge success I’d say @Lisaeljays and @Jimeljays. Thank you. Now time to hit some zzzzs

Christine Wilkie @christinewilkie Just back from a fab day spent @ FutureScapeUK - #inspiring!

Liz Ackerley @PoppyheadC Really enjoyed @FutureScapeUK being involved in the social media panel attending great seminars/panels & putting so many faces to names!

#FutureScapeUK

14

December 2013

Contents.indd 14

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 17:12


FutureScape 2013

Garden House Design @GardenHouseDsgn great day at @FutureScapeUK yesterday if not a tad chilly! Thanks to all @ProLandscaperJW for making the 2013 event even better this year!

Provender Nurseries @ProvenderTweets @ProLandscaperJW a great day and night y’day at @FutureScapeUK @peaksextreme large cheque at end of night!

Adele Ford @Adele_Ford Great day today at @FutureScapeUK, meeting new landscapers, designers and suppliers and catching up with some friendly faces too :)

FutureScape would like to thank all attendees and especially our speakers for making this year’s event extra special

Johnson’s Landscapes @johnsons_LDaC Really enjoyed myself today @FutureScapeUK great event!!

Woodsy @gardenslondon I have to admit, I felt completely drained, information overload after @FutureScapeUK last night but woken up feeling pretty damn inspired!

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

Contents.indd 15

December 2013

15

20/11/2013 17:14


Association Association News

NEWS

SGD bulletin

The Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London SW7 Friday 24 January 2014 Drinks: 6.30pm Dinner: 7.30pm -10.00pm The SGD Awards Ceremony is not only a wonderful occasion to meet friends and associates, it is a unique opportunity to network with influential figures, celebrities

1

The SGD Awards Ceremony and journalists in the garden design industry and the chance to celebrate the best in garden and landscape design. 18 Award presentations will be made on the night including the prestigious ‘Judges’ and ‘Grand’ Awards and the announcement of 2 this year’s recipient of the John Brookes Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, several new awards will be presented including the ‘Paper Landscapes’, ‘Big Design, Small Budget’ and ‘Designing for Community Space’ Award – the only

BALI briefing News from Landscape House and the BALI regions The 2014 BALI Who’s Who Directory is now available.This is the Association’s definitive guide to BALI registered contractors and designers, affiliate members providing products and services, and training providers. In addition

16

December 2013

Association News.indd 16

to the comprehensive directory listings, which enable you to find contractors and designers by area and by discipline, the directory also contains articles on key issues, written by industry movers and shakers. If you are a landscape

category open to the public as well as SGD members. James Alexander-Sinclair is once again in charge of the evening’s entertainment at London’s Millennium Gloucester Hotel where the great and the good from the garden design sector will be in attendance. It is still possible to get discounted ‘Early Bird’ tickets for the ceremony. Tickets purchased before 13 December 2013 will be £108 and thereafter, ticket prices are £120. So swap your wellies for a touch of glamour and join the SGD for an event not to

architect, local authority client officer, or other specifier of landscape services and products and would like a copy of the directory, please email contact@bali.org.uk with

3

be missed. For further information and to download a booking form please visit the SGD Awards website www.sgdawards.com.Tickets can also be booked online. 1 Tom Hoblyn MSGD and Andy Sturgeon FSGD. 2 Joe Swift MSGD and Elizabeth Banks. 3 James Alexander-Sinclair.

your contact details. All BALI members will have received their copy – additional copies are available on request. BALI affiliate members gathered at Landscape 1 House recently for their bi-annual Affiliates Forum – a chance for members who supply products and services to the landscape industry to get together to talk about the things that matter to their businesses, and to learn something new. In a packed agenda,

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 09:12


Association News

APL update APL announces partnership with WorldSkills UK The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) has announced that it has joined forces with WorldSkills UK, the country’s premier set of skills competitions for young people and adults. The APL became the organising partner for the landscape gardening section of the WorldSkills UK competition on 17 November. The competition is part of a set of over 70 UK wide skills competitions ranging from landscape gardening to engineering, electronics to the arts; all of which are designed by industry experts and targeted at apprentices, college and university students, trainees and employees The aim of the competition is to inspire young people and adults to be ambitious in their pursuit of skills to the highest level. Entering

which focused on marketing and promotion, m-commerce was the hot topic, with Bulent Osman from The App Garden giving an excellent presentation on mobile app solutions for smart businesses. The recently introduced BALI membership category for Direct Service Organisations (DSOs) – grounds maintenance departments of public or local authorities, operating as separate companies but working solely for the parent organisation – is already attracting new membership enquiries.The stringent vetting criteria for BALI registered contractor status still

The Association of

Professional Landscapers

the competitions is proven to catapult a person’s career, build on their skills, test their knowledge against their peers in the industry and showcase their potential to employers. The competition features

regional heats which will include a showcase of competition gardens at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park 2014, culminating in an international Olympics-style event at The Skills Show where finalists compete to be named the ‘Best in the UK’. APL Chairman, Mark Gregory said: “We are proud to be the landscaping partner with WorldSkills UK. We want to raise the profile of the APL as being the leading landscaping trades association. The APL’s partnership

1

applies and successful DSOs are permitted to use the BALI logo and enter their schemes in the BALI National Landscape Awards. The Certificate in Water Conservation e-learning prototype (‘Plan’ module) has recently been tested by a number of BALI contractors and other target learners to ensure the module content and learner experience are right before development of the full course continues.This project is the result of collaboration between seven industry bodies, including BALI, six water companies, and Waterwise and Water UK, to find a way of

mitigating the impact on the landscape and horticulture industries of future Temporary Use Bans in periods of drought. Feedback from the pilot is currently being assessed. And finally, the annual BALI Yorkshire and North East Networking Event, which took place in Harrogate recently, was another stunning success. ‘Plant hunter’Tom Hart Dyke gave a terrific talk to over 140 BALI members and guests, and 15 BALI affiliates exhibited prior to the talk and dinner.

1 WorldSkills landscape gardening heats at RHS Tatton Park 2013.

2

1 Bulent Osman from The App Garden.

3

1 Mast MSG Desig

2 Harrogate Networking Event, October 2013.

December 2013

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

Association News.indd 17

with WorldSkills demonstrates our on-going pledge of encouraging landscaping excellence and raising the profile of vocational skills.” Richard Beene, Head of WorldSkills UK National Competitions, said: “We are delighted to welcome the APL as the new organising partner for the WorldSkills UK Landscape Gardening Competition. By working with APL, an organisation which is all about promoting professional standards and quality workmanship, we are confident that the competition will continue to raise levels of expertise in further education, skills and apprenticeships and inspire the next generation of landscape gardeners.”

2 Illus MSG 17

20/11/2013 09:12


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18/11/2013 11:02


Opinion

View from the Top

Parks aren’t the calm and peaceful natural refuges they once were – thanks to modern machinery and mechanical equipment, Phil Jones looks at why our peace needs to be protected, and how we as an industry can change our work practices to achieve this

A few weeks ago I enjoyed an autumnal walk in a park. I walked through the botanic gardens and sat on a bench amongst some beautiful Acer autumn colour and reflected upon all that is great about horticulture. We have a great heritage in gardening and parks, which is why we at ISS work hard with our customers to maintain that tradition and help retain our parks and open spaces for the future.

I suggest we need to make our open spaces far more user friendly and we need to do this quickly. It is not just humans that are affected by this. There must be an effect also on wildlife habitats. The aim must be to make our parks and open spaces much more contemplative places. Thinking this through, I recalled a passage I had read recently from a US National Parks publication, part of which reads as follows: “As the din of modern society continues to grow, the need for refuge from noise and clamour are becoming increasingly important.” (National) parks must strive to “help meet that need by providing places of calm and quiet where people can still hear the wind in the trees, the rhythm of nature, and the beat of their own heart...” [Monroe et al., 2007, p. 25]

There is a ‘but’ coming! As I sat in this quiet glade the peace and quiet of the day was shattered by the total assault on my ears of the noise of the scourge of the modern grounds maintenance industry, the leaf blower! At this point I should say I understand the reasoning behind the use of mechanical equipment in parks and open spaces. I know the need for greater efficiency brings with it the perceived solution of more machinery and fewer people. But, the use of equipment that so obviously shatters the peace of a park must be counter-productive to what we all strive to achieve. I have to say my experience was far from a pleasant one. I cannot be the only one who has experienced this in our open spaces. What then is the solution, if indeed a solution is needed? www.prolandscapermagazine.com

View from the top.indd 19

In Wales there is a “Noise Action Plan”, currently subject to consultation, which includes initiatives to protect quiet areas of towns by actively managing the external noise sources impacting or potentially affecting those quiet places. We all know of course that those of us involved in the maintenance of public parks and open spaces are responsible for efficient practices, with minimum disruption. That ‘we’ may be causing the most disruption to the parks user’s day, is worrying. My recent experience certainly made me think about the way that those of us within ISS carry out our work. Is there a way of changing our work practices in order to provide more places of calm and quiet? Well, more thought as to the timing of operations, less reliance on leaf blowers and other mechanical equipment and more manual

operations (yes, I am suggesting that we go back to basics) could be some of the answers. I admit that there is entertainment value in watching an operative with a leaf blower; it seems to be all noise and no action – a series of movements which result in the leaves falling back where they started. Whatever the answer, I am sure that if we can restore that missing peace to our parks, we would be enhancing the experience for many users and creating meaningful habitats for wildlife as well as people. This would surely help raise the profile of this greatest of natural assets.

ABOUT PHIL JONES Phil Jones is Managing Director of ISS Facility Services Landscaping and is based at the company’s head office in Woking, Surrey. He gained an HND in landscape construction and moved into grounds maintenance early on in his career, further gaining an MBA. He has been with the company since 1987 and as well as running the landscaping business he also sits on the UK operational management board of ISS Facility Services. www.isslandscaping.co.uk Follow Phil Jones @philjonesISS Follow ISS Landscaping @ISSLandscaping

December 2013

19

20/11/2013 09:16


Business OpinionTips

The competitive edge Andrew Wilson looks at our dismal record of commissioning competitions and suggests a fresh look at this potentially beneficial process

When I talk my students through the business aspects of garden design I discuss ways of winning or obtaining work. I’m happy to talk about competitions as a potential source of new work and as a way of promoting their capabilities as new designers; but now I’m not so sure. I had always considered competitions a means of bringing new talent to the surface and providing an opportunity for a future generation of designers to be discovered. Obviously the client or organisation setting up the competition needs some assurances that these new designers are capable of supporting their ideas and intentions, but a recent opportunity makes an interesting case study that suggests misguided thinking and a lost opportunity on several levels. As a tutor at Greenwich University in landscape architecture and garden design, one of the most exciting but challenging sites that we masterplanned was the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. It is undoubtedly a difficult site but a glorious location nevertheless with the intricate Waterhouse cliff face of the museum presiding over a lowered green space dominated by plane trees and the clamorous Cromwell Road. It’s a perfect project not only for students but also for landscape practices in the real world. Annoyingly, the competition was delivered via architectural media perhaps under the guidance of

here? Well firstly a wide range of smaller landscape practices, whose creative potential has been stamped upon. Secondly, landscape architecture in general, because it would appear that the profession is still deemed unfit to lead the re-design of a prominent public space.Thirdly, the Natural History Museum itself as the eventual client, benefiting only from the submissions of a I had always considered limited and familiar pool of talent. Finally, the competitions a means of general public and museum visitors in particular who will potentially experience the limitations of bringing new talent another generic public open space. to the surface In researching this article, I was amused to find that the NHM stands on the site of a previous edifice, the National Exhibition building designed Artists, ecologists, and designers were all by Captain Francis Fowke. Apparently it was a encouraged to submit proposals but here the monstrosity which some thought the ugliest bureaucracy starts with checks on turnover, employment policy, equal opps, cashflow forecasts building in town.Yet, the perhaps lazy and European Union procurement guidelines etc commissioning committee found it fit to award the design of the new museum to Fowke. A etc. (The whole plot, including the Museum, only measures 150 x 350m!) We work with architects higher power intervened and Fowke suddenly departed this life. Somehow the relatively on a regular basis but found it difficult and unknown Alfred Waterhouse took on the eventually impossible to find a fit in terms of the re-design to deliver us the building that we now registration demands of this competition before cherish and admire. Perhaps there is hope for us we could even start to consider the design yet, and for many other smaller or lesser known implications. So into the dustbin it went. We can’t be the only small practice that woke practices. I’m starting my supplications now for divine intervention but there is a better way up to the news with a smile and then walked that need not tax the Almighty. Can we just have away in disenchantment. So, who are the losers more open and accessible competitions please? The potential rewards are tremendous and, let’s face it, bureaucracy never really wins creatively does it? the competition consultant who organised the whole affair. Now forgive me but when I last checked, architects design buildings rather than spaces and the space outside the NHM is most definitely a space. Landscape architects design spaces! There, I’ve said it – now let’s move on!

ABOUT ANDREW WILSON Andrew Wilson is a landscape and garden designer as well as Director of Wilson McWilliam Studio. He is also a Director of the London College of Garden Design, an author and an RHS judge of Show Gardens. www.wmstudio.co.uk 20

December 2013

Andrew Wilson.indd 20

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 09:21


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19/11/2013 17:42 20/11/2013 09:32


Opinion

Going green Wind, wave, solar, liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, biofuel, electric, hybrid: these are all great alternative energy options (well nearly all), but realistically and more importantly, what are the cost effective alternatives for our industry? It’s probably a combination of the above depending on the task, Angus Lindsay takes a look at some of the alternatives for our vehicle and machinery fleet

Wind turbines and solar panels are pretty much accepted as part of our landscape now, but they’re not so practical when powering a van or ride-on mower. Vehicle manufacturers have spent years giving us various alternatives to plain petrol and diesel, but there is still no universally viable single fuel alternative. LPG proved unreliable and lacks infrastructure, electric is initially expensive and is impractical for larger vehicles. To date the most viable option is the hybrid engine which gives the best of both worlds. This option is only currently available in the car market, most notably in the Toyota Prius which led the way but closely followed by larger offerings from Vauxhall, Peugeot and Volvo; but what of a hybrid commercial vehicle? There are options if you are looking for an electric utility truck or ATV but there’s nothing suitable to transport staff and equipment (well nothing which is cost effective for our industry). It could be argued that with the current Euro 5 and soon to be introduced Euro 6 engines in 3500kg vehicles this is good enough, but with a hybrid version could we run on electricity in parks or around housing and then use diesel power on longer runs? This could be the best of both technologies for the local and wider environment. Things get more difficult with machinery, mainly due to the size of the equipment we use and the additional weight and bulk that alternative fuels add. LPG has been tried and tested with mixed results but is not a viable www.prolandscapermagazine.com

Angus Lindsay.indd 23

alternative. Electric hybrid technology is available on golf course machines where the engine is connected to a generator powering electric motors Hybrid mowers shouldn’t be limited to the golf course driving the cutting cylinders. This technology is not new; the quarrying industry has used it for decades Looking for environmentally acceptable where huge dump trucks have a diesel engine alternatives shouldn’t be limited to one connected to a generator powering wheel technology, as a combination can give greater motors driving the machine; a bit too heavy duty performance and make better economic for grass cutting but the technology is the same. sense. Engine manufacturers are under Similarly, trailed mowers have been built pressure to develop cleaner power units for the turf industry where the tractor PTO which will undoubtedly limit their range of (power take off) drives a generator which engine sizes. This could lead to machinery powers individual motors connected directly manufacturers limiting their range of to cutting blades – no belts or drive shafts and machinery but offering a range of base limited hydraulic components. This makes for an power platforms designed for multi altogether simpler machine, although for the sake applications which use hybrid power of lighting up the operator, the 400 volt output transmission, giving the possibility of operating would need to be reduced. a range of plug-in cutting and maintenance The continuing development of Lithium units – a bit like a tractor. batteries makes them an effective power source for hedge cutters, strimmers, blowers and chainsaws. Batteries are carried on the operator’s back/belt or as an integral part of the machine. Whilst charging, these units generally rely on a 13 amp socket and ultimately a power station. French manufacturer Pellenc can supply a solar power station which makes the machines 100 per cent green (this does, however, rely on the The latest generation of electric machines British weather playing its part). can be powered by the sun

ABOUT ANGUS LINDSAY As an agriculturist, 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 as a contract instructor for Massey Ferguson in Yemen. During this time he

also spent a year at Silsoe, gaining an MSc in Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation Management. Returning to the UK he joined Glendale as machinery manager in 1994 – going on to become Company Engineer – before joining The Landscape Group in 2009 as Group Head of Assets and Fleet. Contact: alindsay@thelandscapegroup.co.uk

December 2013

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20/11/2013 10:12


Business Tips

Maintenance contracting The costs of weeding

As part of any maintenance contract a certain amount of weeding is necessary. This can generally be divided into the following categories which all have different cost implications and should be priced appropriately Generally speaking the scope of the readership of these cost calculations address domestic to smaller scale commercial or public areas and we show our samples based on this thinking. It is always quicker to weed regularly than in irregular blitzes, and therefore we show and assume the figures and models below with a reasonable to very good standard of maintenance approached. We are not addressing here very overgrown and infested weed areas which would have a cost investigation under the title “clearance” or “reinstatement”. Readers should request information on this if they would like to see it in future issues.

weeding cost calculations The following figures show the varying costs for hand weeding on ornamental beds. The full calculation for this can be referenced on the Landpro website at www.landpro.co.uk in the About Us / Cost Data section. Please note the frequency of the maintenance operation.

The following is a guide to all of the tables below: ● A sample area of 10m² is used but with an overview to a far larger weeding area ● The frequency is shown ● The minutes required for each 10m² (unless otherwise stated) is shown ● The rate per m² ● The rate per occasion is the cost for 1he area as shown (10m² for example) ● The annual rate is the rate to perform the task for one year based on the frequencies shown ● There are no allowances for subsequent removal of weeds from the beds or off site ● The labour rate is 19.50 per hour ● All items are shown at cost, readers should add on appropriate overhead and profit

The data in the tables below shows the weeding situation and the time in minutes for the area shown per occasion. Ornamental areas based on the frequency of visits as shown in the tables below:

The analyses performed within this article are only examples – readers are therefore responsible for the accuracy of their final calculations

1

All items shown at cost – allow for profit

year 1 unmulched

Ref

Time/area shown

Frequency

Quantity

U

Rate/m2

Rate/Occ

Rate/Ann

Total

1.1

3

26

10.00

m2

0.10

0.98

2.54

25.35

1.2

5

18

10.00

m2

0.15

1.56

2.80

28.08

1.3

12

10

10.00

m2

0.39

3.90

3.90

39.00

Ref

Time/area shown

Frequency

Quantity

U

Rate/m2

Rate/Occ

Rate/Ann

Total

1.4

1.5

26

10.00

m2

0.049

0.49

1.27

12.69

1.5

2

18

10.00

m2

0.065

0.65

1.17

11.68

1.6

7

10

10.00

m

0.227

2.28

2.28

22.76

year 1 mulched

24

December 2013

Sam Hassall.indd 24

2

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20/11/2013 16:31


Business Tips

2

Weeding ornamental beds in the second and third years unmulched

Ref

Frequency

Time/area shown

Quantity

U

Rate/m2

Rate/Occ

Rate/Ann

Total

2.1

26

2

10.00

m

0.06

0.65

1.69

16.87

2.2

18

3.5

10.00

2

m

0.11

1.14

2.05

20.47

2.3

10

9

10.00

m2

0.29

2.93

2.93

29.25

Ref

Frequency

Time/area shown

Quantity

U

Rate/m2

Rate/Occ

Rate/Ann

Total

2.4

26

0.5

10.00

m2

0.02

0.16

0.42

4.21

2.5

18

1

10.00

2

m

0.03

0.33

0.59

5.87

2.6

10

4

10.00

m2

0.13

1.30

1.30

13.01

2

mulched

3

Ongoing maintenance to mature planting with full coverage fourth year onwards; Unmulched beds

Ref

Time/area shown

Frequency

Quantity

U

Rate/m2

Rate/Occ

Rate/Ann

Total

3.1

0.5

26

10.00

m2

0.01

0.12

0.31

3.15

3.2

0.5

18

10.00

m

2

0.02

0.24

0.44

4.39

3.3

4

10

10.00

m2

0.10

0.98

0.98

9.75

4

Weed control with herbicides to mature beds, and shrubs over 400mm tall

Apply Glyphosate to surfaces of ornamental beds, working carefully under plant canopies on emergent weed growth; 5L/ha, spot spraying under established planting canopy Ref

Frequency

Quantity

U

Rate/m2

Rate/Occ

Rate/Ann

Total

4.1

6

10.00

2

m

0.0245

2.45

0.1470

14.70

4.2

2

10.00

m2

0.0359

3.59

0.0718

7.18

4.3

6

100.00

m2

0.0218

2.18

0.1308

13.08

4.4

2

100.00

m

0.0380

3.80

0.0760

7.60

CDA Application

5

2

ABOUT sam hassall

Native species

Spraying woodland planted areas with herbicide, assumed planting at 1.5m centres, planting maintained with 1.00 diameter circle clear Ref 5

6

Frequency

Quantity

U

Rate/m2

Rate/Occ

Rate/Ann

Total

2

10.00

m2

0.0653

6.53

0.1306

13.06

Spraying to paths and hard surfaces, Glyphosate Standard backpack

Ref

Frequency

Quantity

U

Rate/m2

Rate/Occ

Rate/Ann

Total

6.1

6

100.00

2

m

0.0470

4.70

0.2820

28.20

6.2

2

100.00

m2

0.0654

6.54

0.1308

13.08

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

Sam Hassall.indd 25

Fourth year From the fourth year onwards it may be appropriate to use chemical controls on shrub areas. These can be systemic in areas where leaf contact is not free of possible contact or selective (i.e. grasses in broadleaf only beds). The options here are mostly from backpack applied spray and controlled droplet application. To the left are indicative costs showing the costs and varying frequencies between conventional and CDA based application methods.

Sam Hassall is the UK’s only dedicated specialist landscape cost consultant. As the managing director of LandPro Ltd he provides cost and implementation information to landscape design professionals and landscape contractors. Sam also compiles the Spon’s External Works and Landscape Price Book and he developed the market leading LiberRATE Estimating system which is available as a 90-day trial.Call: 01252 795030 or visit www.landpro.co.uk December 2013

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20/11/2013 16:31


Business Tips

Caring for your customer

(or ‘how not to bite the hand that feeds you’)

Customers aren’t always right, but keeping them happy and keeping their business is very important. Margaret McNeil offers tips on recognising that the customer is upset, and dealing with their complaints We’ve all seen the huge poster on office walls of a lion with the saying ‘Customer is King’.The trouble is, customers are often not kings, but mice. They don’t always roar, but scuttle off to another supplier when they think the cheese has gone off a bit, and the first you know of it is that you are left with a pile of droppings and no work. I need to move on from mice comparisons as this is a serious issue. First of all, the customer isn’t always right, but having an argument is not going to help you keep your client. Was it Gandhi who said ‘Walk in the other man’s shoes’? The best place to be when dealing with a complaint is in that person’s head. How are they feeling? Why are they feeling that way? How would I feel in their position? Facts are important when investigating a complaint, but feelings are what have to be dealt with. You didn’t mean to upset the client, but they are upset. What do they want you to do to put things right? Can you do that? Is it reasonable? Dealing with complaints and queries swiftly is rule number one. No-one wants to speak to an angry customer, but the longer you leave it, the worse it will be! ● Listen. What exactly is the problem? ● Repeat to the customer what you think the problem is (just to be sure). ● Apologise immediately that they are feeling that way. ● Promise to investigate and call back within 24hrs. 26

December 2013

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Facts are important when investigating a complaint but feelings are what have to be dealt with

● Give them your telephone extension or mobile number. ● Find out the facts your end. ● Did you make a mistake/false promise/etc? ● If so, what are you prepared to offer the client? ● Put yourself in their shoes – what would YOU expect? ● Call them back, put your hands in the air, admit the mistake and say what you are going to do to put it right. ● Check they are happy with what you’ve offered, and make sure it happens. ● Follow up that call to check the customer is now happy. That’s not the end of it – you need to find why the mistake occurred in the first place, and put procedures in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again. If it was human error (we have to admit that they do happen) then check that the human involved knows what happened, and check they don’t need more training or coaching. Adopt a ‘Right First Time’ policy at work. Encourage staff to report procedures/ equipment/work practices/attitudes that cause errors to occur, and try to plug the gaps.

Encourage your customers to talk to you. Implement a system of feedback – either verbal (Aly in our office rings all our clients after a training course to see how they felt it went) or written (we then send a feedback sheet so we have a record). Look at your feedback and see if there is any way you could make things better. If you don’t get top scores, ring the client and ask what you could have done to achieve that top score. Above all, remind yourself and your team that the food on their table ultimately comes from the customer, and that it is 10 times harder to get a new customer than to get repeat business from an existing one. A good relationship with customers means they will come to you first rather than going elsewhere to an unknown supplier. This means job security, and we all want that.

ABOUT MARGARET MCNEIL Margaret McNeil is from OnSite Training UK. Whilst lecturing at a horticultural college, she spotted an opportunity to offer flexible learning to horticulturalists and started OnSite Training UK with Roger Clarke. Since then over 1,000 landscapers have qualified through them. Their Lamport Gardening Academy launched on 2 February 2013. www.onsitetraininguk.co.uk

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 10:18


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27/11/2013 11:54


Business Tips

Grow your own way About a third of British households grow veg at home, this is a number which has doubled since the start of the recession. Jacob Tompkins of Waterwise UK looks at how to preserve water for growing veg, and how to design with both water use and the client’s needs in mind.

Growing veg at home is about freshness and provenance as well as thrift.The extent of this home growing is varied from a few pots of herbs to full-on vegetable gardens, but in most cases it’s a raised bed. We are also starting to see terms like ‘kitchen garden’ appear alongside ‘period features’ in estate agents’ descriptions. This increase in grow-your-own has an impact on domestic garden design and may start to spill over into commercial landscaping and even sports turf.The public buildings in Todmorden (Incredible Edible Todmorden) and the boundaries of some sports grounds are a couple of examples of where this is already happening. So, as landscapers, the addition of some edible horticulture or a herb or kitchen garden would fit with this trend; however, there is a water angle to all this.There are issues over design, planting and watering, all of which can have a massive impact on the amount of water used to grow-your-own. Provision of water storage is the key element, over 21,000 litres can be gathered each year from the roof of an average UK house, so unless they are growing enough cucumbers to feed the whole of Doncaster that should be enough for your client’s veg patch.This water can be stored in water butts (which you can connect in series) or in an underground rainwater tank.Try and plan the growing areas and storage to be as close together as possible or look at pumps or systems like the rainwater hub which enables you to fill water butts located a long way from www.prolandscapermagazine.com

Waterwise.indd 29

where the water is gathered. For rainwater tanks there are online calculators to work out what size is needed or if it’s large enough to require installation then the supplier should be able to work out the size you need based on roof area

It’s worth thinking about the location of food growing areas to ensure maximum use of rainfall and amount of water needed. In all cases remember that the water is being used for food so first flush systems are a good idea for dirty roofs in urban areas and never use greywater. It’s worth thinking about the location of food growing areas to ensure maximum use of rainfall and protection from wind and strong sunlight to reduce evapotranspiration. It also might be good to talk to your client about plant varieties. Food crops such as rocket and chard are very drought tolerant and will be happy without water whilst people are on holiday, sweetcorn and tomatoes are the opposite! For commercial sites lavender and rosemary are very water efficient and whilst they may not get harvested by the office workers they will provide fragrance and colour. And finally you should think about how the crops will be watered.There is a bit of a trade-off between ease of watering and method of planting, raised beds and pots are prone to drying out but they can be easily watered through trickle/drip

systems and watering cans, whereas field style planting can use rainwater more easily but is less easy to water.The key is dialogue and design; talk to your client about what types of food crops they want, how many they want and how much work they are willing to do (or if they want you to manage it all for them!) Once you have had the discussion you can design the appropriate watering system. This may all sound a bit like small fry but globally we use 200,000,000 litres a second to grow food, so if landscapers can help ensure that some of that water is coming from peoples’ roofs to grow fresh produce in their own garden, it will help their wallets and the environment and also help reinforce the fact that using a professional landscaper pays for itself many times over.

ABOUT WATERWISE Waterwise is a UK NGO focused on decreasing water consumption in the UK and building the evidence base for large-scale water efficiency. Waterwise is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working closely with the water industry, governments and regulators, manufacturers and retailers. Waterwise is acknowledged by governments and regulators as the leading UK authority on water efficiency. www.waterwise.org.uk Jacob Tompkins is the Managing Director of Waterwise, the independent water efficiency organisation: jtompkins@waterwise.org.uk

December 2013

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20/11/2013 10:24


Technical

Hardwood joists Hardwood joists are not easy to work with, but they are worth it says Karl Harrison

Why should we use a hardwood joist system? A hardwood joist will certainly outlast a conventional softwood joist, look amazing from underneath, and ooze quality. It goes without saying that for a high quality, long lasting and beautiful deck structure one should really consider using a hardwood. Imagine standing under a raised deck and looking up to a perfectly constructed structure, finished with an oil to bring out the grain. Now compare this to a pine structure; there’s no comparison. If you are installing an Ipe, Teak or other expensive and beautiful product, take the time to evaluate a hardwood substructure. Most clients, when presented with the facts, will choose hardwood; that’s what I have found over the recent years. The tools Get new blades for everything, TCT is a must. I am not asking you to replace your complete tool set – just make sure they are robust enough to handle the heavy-duty nature of the work involved. Work slow too, when compared to softwood, hardwood is not forgiving, it tends to explode rather than simply split so pay attention during every millimetre of work when you are cutting. When you see blades heat up, they change colour rapidly, change the blade – you may need two sets of tools to allow cooling down time between cutting. I would recommend Trend router cutters, nearly all others that I have tried simply do three or four cuts and burn out. 30

December 2013

Karl Harrison.indd 30

The know how

Difficulty factor

The weight, oh boy, just to pick up a 150 x 47 joist at 4m should really be a two man lift, I am not kidding, this stuff is so heavy. I wouldn’t extend the arms on your chop saw bench, always best to build a double trestle at each end and then overlay with a half sheet of ply. Accuracy is key and perfect cutting is essential. When cutting, every millimetre counts – softwood is forgiving, you can move a few mill’ here and there but with hardwood you get nothing. So it’s either perfect or start again, try and bend it and you’ll split the wood for sure. You can use Ipe but the cost would be prohibitive, stick to the standards like Oak, Iroko, Azobe (probably the best as the stress rating is at the top of the scale at D70) I would consult TRADA for the span tables for each species.

This has to be a factor 10 and a nightmare for the inexperienced installer, well worth it though. If you can put up with the splinters, although it is funny to see someone with a splinter one minute and a fist like Professor Klump the next. Hardwood splinters can sometimes cause a reaction – always worth having some antihistamine in your first aid box. Hardwood joists, are they worth it? Of course, there’s nothing more solid, longer lasting and that looks as beautiful. It takes a lot longer to construct and costs more than double, but worth it.

Joist fixing You can’t just bang any old fixing into this stuff, you need to pre-drill everything and stainless steel is a must. Once you have carefully cut and presented the work piece, clamp and predrill. Ensure perfect alignment and then fasten with a stainless steel fixing. You may have to dress the crown with a planer and sand out, but this is more than worth it. (Lay your joists crown up, this is for bent joists with the joist bend upper most – pull a string line and then plane back to it.)

ABOUT KARL HARRISON Karl Harrison runs Exterior Solutions Ltd based in Buckinghamshire, with his wife Lana. The company offers expert decking advice and is the sole UK distributor for high-end timber decking manufactured by Exterpark. www.exteriordecking.co.uk

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20/11/2013 10:30


Technical

Surveying a garden can be a lengthy, dirty and tiring job as it is necessary to get into all areas of the garden to measure it accurately. You will find yourself pushing through thick undergrowth, treading in mud and worse and getting very hot or, more often, cold and wet. The right kit will make a huge difference to your comfort and accuracy and it is worth investing in the best you can afford. Good equipment well maintained will last for years. So, what are the most important items that we need? Well, my preference is two long tape measures, one of 30m and one of 50m; any longer and they get horribly tangled up, any shorter and you need to move them too often. I prefer the plastic fibre tapes; metal ones twist and go rusty. We only work in metric to avoid any possibility of confusion. A short tape measure of 10m (usually clipped to your belt) is great for close measurements around the building. A damp cloth is vital for cleaning all the tapes before they are put away at the end of the survey. A few pins or skewers are useful when working alone to secure the end of the tape. Spray them with hi-vis paint to make them easier to spot. The orientation of the garden is determined with a compass – a simple plastic one is fine or use an App on your phone. Always take plenty of photos during a survey. I can guarantee that they will be useful when drawing up the survey back in the studio and could save you the need for a return visit.

Surveying In the second part of her surveying series, Janine Pattison offers advice on which pieces of kit you cannot do without

A good supply of writing materials is essential. We always use pencil as pens will not write on damp or wet paper and have a habit of running out at critical moments. Coloured pencils are useful for marking up features and

The right kit will make a huge difference to your comfort and accuracy measurements. Lined or graph paper is useful too and a strong clipboard makes writing easier and prevents notes being blown away. There are weather-proof clipboards and waterproof paper available but we find that it is better to postpone the survey than struggle to do it in bad conditions when errors are likely to occur. If there are any existing plans for the area they are worth bringing to site as they can be

quite helpful. Some people like to draw up the survey whilst on site. This can work well with small gardens but is often not possible due to weather or time pressures. Simple level measuring equipment consists of a hammer and pegs with a spirit level and lengths of timber. Difficult sites may require more precise equipment like a laser level which can be hired for the survey rather than purchased. Surveying always takes longer than expected and can be very uncomfortable. Wear appropriate clothing, strong footwear, fingerless gloves, and have a change of clothes with you. Driving home after a survey in wet kit is no fun. It is wise to take some food and hot or cold drinks with you. Sites can be dangerous places and if you are carrying out a survey alone then it is vital that you have a Lone Working policy in place. Someone must know where you are, how long you’ll be there and when you are expected back. Don’t rely on the homeowner to keep an eye on you or to assist. Better still would be to have someone accompany you. They will be very helpful and the survey will be completed more quickly and safely.

ABOUT JANINE PATTISON

Janine Pattison MSGD is a multi award-winning garden designer and horticulturalist who trained with English Heritage at Eltham Palace in London and at Kingston Maurward College in Dorchester. A registered member of the Society of Garden Designers, the British Association of Landscape Industries and the Garden Media Guild, Janine is also a highly qualified RHS horticulturalist. www.janinepattison.com www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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18/11/2013 11:43 18/11/2013 11:46


Technical

Long narrow gardens Linsey Evans explains how to deal with long narrow gardens, which, if designed incorrectly, can feel claustrophobic and leave the furthest parts dark and unused

The main problem with long narrow gardens is that they can feel like you’re standing in a corridor, your eye is drawn straight to the boundaries making the space seem small and claustrophobic. This type of garden does not invite exploration and the furthest parts often remain dark, dank and unused. Counteracting the claustrophobic feeling and giving the impression of greater space and depth are the main challenges when designing this type of space. There are three main ways to deal with this. One strategy involves changing the perceived shape of the garden and tricking the eye into focusing away from the boundaries. Another method is to introduce drama by creating a more complex journey around the garden. The third way is to draw the eye upwards by introducing vertical elements that open it up by giving the appearance of more height. Although it seems counterintuitive to close off a garden that is already feeling cramped, dividing it into separate areas is very effective. Creating separate garden rooms each with its own distinct character makes people want to use the whole space and explore the next room. The garden will become more useable because each room has its own purpose. Breaking up the space is a great way of stopping the eye from immediately alighting on the rear boundary. This strategy creates a more stimulating journey and encourages exploration. Walls work well for creating garden rooms, especially if they have a window offering a tantalising glimpse through to the next room. However, brick www.prolandscapermagazine.com

Linsay Evans.indd 33

and block walls are expensive to build and other methods of dividing the space can be just as effective. Clipped hedges, pergolas, or a simple screen of posts and trellis with an archway through all make good partitions and may be more appropriate for the style and setting of the garden. Railway sleepers set on end like a huge vertical blind create a dramatic screen. The transitions between the garden rooms provide another opportunity to add visual and vertical interest. Circular moon gates add striking architectural detail, they also give height and their shape is excellent for focusing attention inwards. An arched doorway cut through a clipped hedge creates a dark outline that cries out to be explored. Circles and curves are great for directing attention where it is desired. Using circular shapes for lawns and seating areas focuses the eye into the centre of the garden. An ‘S’ shaped path will draw attention away from the boundaries and give a more interesting journey through the space. Placing some taller plants or trees in the deep curves of the ‘S’ creates informal divisions and stops the eye. Another design strategy that tricks the eye and creates a more exciting, indirect route around the garden is to set the plan on the diagonal. The lines of paths, lawns and borders set at 45 degrees to the boundaries draws the eye across the area and gives the impression of

Creating separate garden rooms each with its own distinct character makes people want to use the whole garden greater width. Using zig-zag paths will provide a meandering walk around the garden. There are many different ways to create height which can be done simply by including trees and taller plants. Pergolas are useful for creating instant vertical focus, they can be used as room dividers and give extra space for planting which is especially useful in a small garden. Clipped, formal hedges are also excellent for creating height, as a backdrop for planting and as walls for outdoor rooms. Long narrow sites can make fabulous gardens, but like any tricky space they need a good design that addresses all the practical issues, and includes a bit of wizardry to make them comfortable and inviting spaces to spend time in.

ABOUT LINSEY EVANS Linsey Evans is a garden designer based in Bracknell, Berkshire with projects in London and through the Thames Valley and Home Counties. Linsey is a specialist in designing sloping gardens with extensive knowledge of the technical aspects of garden construction. Linsey Evans Garden Design has been designing and constructing gardens for 10 years with the emphasis on strong structures and geometric layouts softened by elegant planting schemes. www.linseysgardens.com

December 2013

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20/11/2013 10:35


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LET’S HEAR IT FROM... Matt O’Conner We interviewed Matt O’Conner, Managing Director of John O’Conner (GM) Ltd to chat about the formation of the company over 40 years ago, how the business works, their exemplary apprenticeship scheme, and a lot more...

How and when was John O’Conner (GM) Ltd formed?

My father started the company over 40 years ago in 1969; he was originally from an agricultural background, and came off the farms to move into a new town to be a GPO (General Post Office) engineer. Alongside his GPO duties he did some part-time gardening and wrote to his bosses to ask if he could tender to cut the grass at the GPO exchanges. Very quickly the business was formed literally as ‘one man went to mow’. He’s always had good foresight to employ good people within the business and soon he was picking up parish and town council work and when the market opened up through CCT in the eighties, as a business, we were fortunate to be geared up to service that process. It took us forward and built up to larger contracts. The company has seen sensible growth by putting good systems in place whilst not overstretching ourselves too quickly. Our aim is to have a good reputation and do a good job for our clients.

Leicestershire, down to the south coast and now have our first overseas contract – on the Isle of Wight!

of managers and supervisors on top of that so around 450 but that drops over the winter period when the seasonal numbers go down.

How is the work split between local authority and private?

And the company turnover?

We are predominantly local authority, but also service education and housing. The split is 60 per cent local authority, 20 per cent education, and 20 per cent housing. We also do tree maintenance within that scope and pest control which is a niche market borne out of customer demand. We have no private contracts at all – we believe we have lots to offer in the markets we already serve and would wish to continue that way.

Is the business contained within this region?

We are very strong in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, with the head office based in Hertfordshire. We also work from Staffordshire Moorlands,

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

Let's hear it from 2.indd 35

How many staff do you currently have?

Outside on the ground in the summer months we have about 400 operational heads – mainly full time and seasonals, and we have a support team

It’s just over £14million. Has the turnover been affected by the downturn in the local authority sector?

It’s something we’ve had to watch very closely since 2008, we’ve been very mindful of costs in the business, keeping an eye on our overheads and making sure we’re as lean as possible. On retenders the local authorities are definitely looking for lower margins and want more for less, but there are still some great opportunities. The company grew through 2007-2012, we may be a bit steady this year and then grow again in 2014-2015. Our business is all contracts and if a large number are up for renewal in one year we will

December 2013

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20/11/2013 10:37


Let’s Hear it From...

concentrate on those and not try to go out and tender for more. We pride ourselves on having a good retention rate with our existing contracts, when we have worked for a contract for 10 years or more we build up good teams and relationships so we really want to keep those in place. We are selective in what we tender for and try to balance our focus.

Didn’t John O’Conner recently win an award for your apprenticeship scheme?

How is the business structured?

Who are you usually up against when tendering for contracts?

I am MD, we have a board of Directors, who consist of Neil Cain, Operations Director (who heads up business outside), and Contracts Director Ian Pitkin (who heads up Business Development), and our Company Accountant. Neil is supported by two Regional Managers who work very closely with our Contract Managers and Supervisors. In addition to that we have machinery and vehicle workshops and a Safety and Integrated Systems Manager. Do you buy all your machinery outright?

Do local authorities push you on health & safety and environmental issues?

Yes, you have to be best in class at everything you do; the market is too competitive to be complacent. Also one of the biggest parts of the business to have changed over the last 10 years is the amount of interaction with our communities, our corporate social responsibility and working with and understanding the communities in which we work. We try to recruit locally and build training schemes, we also have close links with the Jobcentres in the areas where our contracts are.

December 2013

Let's hear it from 2.indd 36

It would depend whether we are talking about local authority, education or housing association but we’re usually competing with Quadron, Veolia, ISS and Glendale but also sometimes we’re tendering alongside local competition. We see ourselves as a large small company or a small large company – we’re certainly a family company with family values, we have an open door policy – the Chairman, John, is very supportive and loves his business which he refers to as his ‘train set’.

The company has seen sensible growth by putting good systems in place whilst not overstretching ourselves too quickly

The company purchases all fleet and machinery outright and only leases company cars. We engage at top level to get national deals with manufacturers but also have strong links with the dealerships. We have good relationships with Ransomes Jacobsen, Toro, Hayter and John Deere and are a very loyal buyer, with some relationships going back to my father’s day. We pay our bills in 30 days and want to be paid on time too.

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Yes we were Highly Commended at the National Apprenticeship Awards for our scheme, which is great. Last year in St Albans we won a Corporate Social Responsibility Award for working with the community, and this year we won runner up for Contractor of the Year from L&Q, so awards are important to us.

How does that work with how you try to run the business?

His enthusiasm is great but keeps us all in check by telling us to ‘keep it simple’. He lets us run the business, and go in the direction we want to go, with all his support. I have great respect and admiration for what he has achieved in his life and career – he’ll never retire as he just loves the business he has created and the people that work within it. As we get larger this inclusive attitude gets harder and we have to work hard to keep it that way.

In terms of pricing, would you pitch on rate alone?

At the moment it is fierce out there on price, but we will often win a contract not by being the lowest on price; quality is a key factor. Our price is very keen but we also want to make sure we will be able to invest in staff development, training, and machinery, as this will be a long term commitment. We look for long term contracts as local authorities are good payers so we know then we will be able to manage cash flow. We have regular job costing meetings with Contract Managers to assess how things are going and how we can develop them. We know our market, and our competition and it still creates so much excitement.

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www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 10:37


Let’s Hear it From...

What does the future hold for John O’Conner, you must have had offers to sell the business?

There hasn’t been a year gone by when I don’t hear rumours that the company’s up for sale or has been sold – but I can honestly say we’re not for sale, it’s not what we want. We all need a reason to get up in the morning and we very much enjoy the business. We’ve never had serious considerations for acquisitions, but if anything came along we would need to make sure it would add value to the company without diluting our core business to even consider it. We have some fantastic, hard-working, committed people and that’s how it needs to continue, it’s one of the main strengths of our business and are proud to have won BALI Employer of the Year 2013 as recognition.

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Were you always going to come into the business?

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I have worked on the business since the late eighties, starting at ground level. I left school, and did a business and finance course and was very quickly out with the teams. I then took a year out to travel with the full support of my family, who never pressurised me to become a part of the business. I gave much thought to it and decided to go to Writtle to do a Horticultural degree, as my thoughts were that if I was going to come into the company I wanted to do it properly and have some education behind me. I then came back to the business in the early nineties and worked up to where I am now. What about succession planning – are there more O’Conner’s to come through?

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I have two young daughters who love the outside, but we’ll see how that develops. Our apprenticeship scheme is also very important and we like to think we grow our own. We took the bull by the horns a couple of years ago by deciding to start taking apprentices each year – starting in Hertfordshire where we are strongest. This is now open

1 Southern County Park, East Herts. 2 Apprentice project at Alexandra Park Rose Garden. 3 Bushey Rose Garden, Hertsmere. 4 John O’Conner apprentices. 5 John O’Conner tractor and gangs in Leicestershire. 6 John O’Conner Directors and Chairman, Neil Cain, Matt O’Conner, John O’Conner, and Ian Pirkin. 4

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7 Isle of Wight fleet.

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Let’s Hear it From... to the whole business and we build apprenticeship schemes into every one of our new and existing contracts – with the idea that these will be the supervisors and managers of the future. We also run Long Service Awards and have 10, 20 and have even recently had a 30 year award. For a purely contracting business I think this is a phenomenal achievement. We don’t do enough self-promotion as an industry which is a shame as it’s such a great business to be in. How do you split your time within your role on a day to day basis?

I try to get out as often as I can, and we have monthly board meetings where we work on the business. I will get out and meet Client Officers and customers, but also make sure we have the right infrastructure to give the managers the power to make decisions and purchases. The very least we want is for our customers to be delighted and giving managers responsibility helps this outcome. How did the staff react to you coming into the business?

We are all working hard for the good of the business so I wanted to make sure I had the education to take me forward in the business and give me the confidence that I was there on my own merit and could take the company forward, not just because I was the governor’s son. I feel very privileged that my father has built up a very successful business, he left a very stable career for me to build on. He very quickly realised that he needed to surround himself with good people and invest in them to make sure we can all do great things together.

which involved cycling between the three peaks. I thought this sounded alright and that just cycling between the hills would be ok but then he added that we’d be climbing the mountains as well. He tried to soften it by saying we would be doing it over a week and it would be quite relaxing. Without looking too much into it I said yes but when I realised what I’d let myself in for I really didn’t think I’d have the time to commit to the training and turned him down. Somehow the next thing I know, I’ve bought a road bike and started the training programme which from March dominated my life! Which was harder, cycling or climbing?

I think for me the cycling was harder. Without a doubt coming down the hills was difficult and challenging on the muscles and toes but being on the bike for anything above 100 miles a day was really tough. Team members were great, Grant Beerling from Bartholomews carried everything in his stride and was always smiling – if he thought anyone was struggling he would cycle alongside you and engage you in conversation and before you knew it you’d cycled another 10 miles. The whole team was like that. I picked up an injury halfway round and didn’t want to stop but without doubt the group helped me along. It was a mixed ability group that had never been together before this event and we bonded so well and all had a great connection. I have taken some great memories from the challenge and met some brilliant people.

Our apprenticeship scheme is very important and we like to think we grow our own

You were part of the Three Peaks Extreme Team challenge in 2013, an industry event which involved 15 people climbing the three highest mountains in the UK whilst also cycling between them. How did you get involved and how did it go?

Brian Herbert got in touch to let me know he was thinking of setting up another challenge 38

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Are you choosy as to what you open with in these meetings?

Yes of course, there is commercial sensitivity but if, for example, we discuss machinery we all buy in the market then we can discuss openly, but with some things we have to be careful and respectful because we’re tendering against each other a lot of the time. Competition certainly drives innovation and this business has always thrived on healthy competition. How do you spend time away from work?

Are you involved in BALI/NCF?

I was appointed to the BALI board in 2012; we joined as a business in the 1970s so have a long association with it. I truly feel you get out what you put into BALI. The industry is so diverse, we have large contractors, small contractors, designers and suppliers and we need to share those ideas and promote the industry to make it stronger. I see BALI as a good hub for the industry, it is host to the NCF (National Contractors Forum), which is a specialist group that was started by Bob Ivison and Mike Fitt on a voluntary basis to get contractors together and engage local authorities to the benefit of the greater good.

I started open water swimming a couple of years ago (so maybe the next challenge is a triathlon then!), and also go out cross country and mountain biking through the woods with a local group which is really enjoyable. I would also like to keep up with the road cycling. No more challenges for a while though please!!

CONTACT John O’Conner Ltd Great North Road, Welwyn, Hertfordshire AL6 0PL Tel: 01438 717 175 Email: enquiries@johnoconner.co.uk Web: www.johnoconner.co.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/johnoconnergm Twitter: @JohnOConnerGM

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 10:39


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Save Time and Money on Every Project For more information visit www.nccstreetscape.co.uk or call David or Gary on 01257 266696 Paving Joint Mortars from ADVERTS TEMPLATES.indd 220

18/11/2013 12:39


Grand Designs Live 2013

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SHOW TIME

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Liz Ackerley Following a somewhat last-minute entry into the Birmingham Grand Designs Live Garden Designer of the Year competition, Liz Ackerley reflects on her design inspiration, the challenge of show garden construction, and what made her design stand out from the crowd Less than a week before the deadline for competition entries I looked at the link to the Birmingham Grand Designs Live Garden Designer of the Year competition, forwarded to me by a friend and property expert. “You have to apply for this” she said; five days later I submitted my proposal! The brief was to create an urban kitchen garden, contemporary in style, inspirational, and reflecting an ethical and environmental sustainability ethos. I designed the Gourmet Retreat to enable a professional couple to combine growing foods including herbs, salads and fruit with enjoying their outside space as a contemporary sensory retreat; reflecting ‘ecourban chic’ living. The idea of integrating these different uses is key in a small urban garden where space is at a premium and it is close to my heart having a courtyard garden and a boutique allotment of my own. The contemporary style in the show garden was achieved through simple clean lines and materials such as the stone filled gabions, use of charcoal and grey decking to clad the wall and 40

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Inspiration comes from integrating multiple uses into each element floors respectively, and clean, crisp metalwork for the pergola and water feature. Inspiration comes from integrating multiple uses into each element, e.g. ● The gabions form the walls of raised beds as well as providing interesting bug hotels and seats. ● The pergola not only provides an enclosure for sitting but also enables support of climbing fruit and vegetables. The hard materials are either sourced locally, for example the gabions and stone, or recycled, for example the decking. Crop rotation and companion planting were included to enable organic management and bee and butterfly friendly planting including asters, fennel, sedum and herbs within a herb wall were incorporated.

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Once I was shortlisted, there were only five weeks until the build! This I knew was going to be a huge challenge, not only because I had to get suppliers on board but also because the brief meant sourcing vegetables, herbs and fruit. It turned into a 24/7 time-consuming occupation. Because my garden was dependent upon metal fabrication, this took some time but in the end I was lucky enough to be linked to IDM engineering who did a fantastic job of the bespoke elements. I had not worked with my contractors, Landstruction directed by David Binks before. Their attention to detail is fantastic 7

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Grand Designs Live 2013

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David contacted me via Twitter and for the final weeks we met weekly and discussed detailed design elements daily. Landstruction prefabricated several elements including the frames for the deck and the wall and took three transits and a 16ft trailer down to the NEC from Chester.The planting consisted of plants I had grown and dug up; grown in pots; purchased; borrowed, or in the case of the herb wall, 400 herbs donated to me by Rose Cottage Herbs in Yorkshire.The distance from Manchester to the NEC necessitated staying local during the build, on a B&B/farm near the site that had enough space to store the plants!

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The three-day build time doesn’t leave room for error and fortunately most of our work on site went more or less to plan. All the materials apart from the four tonnes of stone for the gabions were taken down with us. All of the preparation (including full testing of the water feature) and planning paid dividends. There is no time for contemplation on site: it needs to be delivered like a military operation with the exception of the last hours making sure everything is just right. I was thrilled with the judges’ response to my urban retreat and their keen interest in the bug hotels built into the ends of the gabion beds. They also really liked the use of vegetables and fruit, especially the corn providing height and authenticity. There was much interest in my garden throughout the show as people could see its reproducibility for an urban courtyard/roof terrace or other contemporary space. I also got to meet some great contacts from suppliers to developers and some potential residential clients too making it a great show to exhibit at in my first 3d model drawing year of business.

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references Designer Liz Ackerley Poppyhead Consultancy Tel: 0161 745 7890 Email: liz@poppyheadconsultancy.com Web: www.poppyheadconsultancy.com

Composite decking and lighting Saige Decking Tel: 01789 721 576 Email: info@saigedecking.com Web: www.saigedecking.com

Contractor Landstruction Ltd Tel: 01244 880 422 Email: create@landstruction.com Web: www.landstruction.com

Fire dish Eco Smart Fire Tel: 020 7384 1677 Email: thomas@smartfireuk.com Web: www.ecosmartfire.com

Trug, sieve, post and strings Hill and Sons Tel: 01663 732 607 Email: riddlesandsieves@gmail.com Web: www.riddles-sieves.co.uk

Stone Specialist Aggregates Tel: 01785 661 018 Web: www.specialistaggregates.com

Metal fabrication IDM Engineering Ltd Tel: 0151 355 4490 Email: sales@idmengineering.co.uk Web: www.idmengineering.co.uk

Metal rope and pergola fittings S3I Tel: 01302 752 504 Email: info@s3i.co.uk Web: www.s3i.co.uk

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Waterproof cushions Oily Rag Ltd Tel: 01379 871 948 Email: info@oilyragfabrics.com Web: www.oilyragfabrics.com Herbs for herb wall Rose Cottage Herbs Tel: 01302 841 856 Email: enquiries@cormacwhyte.f9.co.uk Web: www.rosecottageherbs.co.uk

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Perennial plants Bluebell Cottage Nursery Tel: 01928 713 718 Email: sue@bluebellcottage.co.uk Web: www.bluebellcottage.co.uk

1 The metal cables of the pergola. 2 The brushed steel water feature.

Vines and apples Victoriana Nursery Tel: 0233 740 529 Web: www.victoriananursery.co.uk

5 The bioethanol fire dish.

3 The slate and gabion seating area. 4 Liz Ackerley describing the garden to the judges. 6 The Gourmet Retreat show garden. 7 The build of the garden at the NEC. 8R  eceiving the GDL Garden Designer of the Year award.

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boughton.co.uk Tel: 01536 510515 email: enquiries@boughton.co.uk

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14/03/2013 15:11 15:55 15/11/2013

18/11/2013 09:53


Portfolio

URBAN UPDATE Charlotte Rowe Garden Design The clients' needs had changed, and they required an updated, urban and contemporary London garden

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his contemporary urban garden is a classic. Our clients had owned the house for 20 years but with the children growing up, their needs had changed and they were undertaking a major refurbishment to modernise the house and felt that the garden needed a total overhaul as well.The space is quite overlooked and hemmed in and the existing garden was very traditional. As our clients have a lovely country garden in Oxfordshire, they wanted the London garden to be a proper urban space with contemporary, elegant design using simple materials and formal low maintenance planting to soften the architectural structure of the space.The new extension of the house was to be a contemporary copper capsule and in addition to the main garden, there was to be raised terrace and

ABOUT CHARLOTTE ROWE GARDEN DESIGN

Charlotte Rowe spent 15 years in public relations and marketing in London and Sydney, and then trained as a landscape designer, gaining a post-graduate diploma in Residential Garden Architecture and set up her garden design studio in London in 2004. Since then she has worked on urban and rural design projects for clients both in the UK and overseas, she has also designed show gardens. Charlotte is a full accredited member of the SGD, she won the award for best garden lighting at the 2012 SGD Design Awards.

www.charlotterowe.com www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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Photographs Š Marianne Majerus

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a lower terrace.They wanted to incorporate a dining area, a seating area on the raised terrace area as well as an additional seating area in the garden. The main part of the southeast facing garden is almost square (8m x 10.5m); so to fit in both a dining area and built-in seating area to catch the westerly sun, we created a journey from the stairs down from the upper terrace and from the second flight of stairs from the lower ground floor.This journey takes one through the garden over a long water channel via stepping stones, weaving through two small umbrella top Amelanchier lamarckii underplanted with Hakonechloa macra to the dining area on one side and finally to the built-in L-shaped bench and coffee table. The planting is simple and elegant. In addition to an existing Magnolia grandiflora and a newly 44

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planted row of pleached Carpinus betulus to provide screening, there are square clipped Buxus, underplanted with Galium odoratum in the main bed, and mixed planting in the two other main planting beds including Euphorbia charachias ‘Humpty Dumpty’, Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’, Salvia Caradonna, Sarcococca hookeriana var digyna and Sedum Iceburg. The upper terrace has a frameless glass balustrade and outdoor sofas.Tall stoneware planters placed on the lower terrace and are lit from above and planted with Buxus globes and there is a large shallow discus planter placed on the storage cupboard, planted with culinary herbs.The same limestone paving is used throughout the garden and the interior of the ground floor to provide continuity. The lighting is spectacular and helps to make the

room feel an integral part of the house. Charlotte Rowe worked closely with Rob Clift, the lighting designer commissioned to do the lighting in the house, on the lighting design for the garden. CHALLENGES ● Ensuring that the work of the two contractors (main building and landscape) merged sufficiently well to avoid any major issues. ● A very large mature Magnolia grandiflora whose root structure was much larger than anticipated in the site survey, this required a small tweak in the design at the construction stage. ● We needed to put in very tall trellis to screen neighbouring gardens on top of an old stock brick wall, which was not in particularly good condition. www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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Project timeline

Cost: £75,000 (excluding excavation of the new levels/glass balustrade)

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• The design for the garden and full working drawings and specifications were completed before the clients moved out to allow the refurbishment to commence. Full quotations were sought, with the landscaping works being divided between the main contractor working on the re-build of the rear of the house and our landscape contractors, gardenlink.

November 2010

• Initial hard landscaping works carried out dovetailing with the construction of the new rear extension.

February - April 2011

• Rest of hard landscaping works including construction of the water feature, second fix lighting and erection of bespoke trellis. Plus soft landscaping and styling.

July - October 2011

1 General view of garden from upper terrace showing water rill and stepping stone, limestone paving, umbrella top Amelanchier lamarckii. 2 View from lower terrace showing storage cupboard and herb pot.

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3 Seating area at the end of the garden with built-in Western Red Cedar bench and coffee table clad in limestone.

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4 Close up of coffee table at night looking back to the house showing under-lit bench. 5 View of garden showing second fix lighting installation underway. 6 Garden before work commenced. 7 Garden and end of house as work got underway. 8 Shuttering for water feature.

REFERENCES Designer Charlotte Rowe 118 Blythe Road, Brook Green, London W14 OHD Tel: 020 7602 0660 Email: design@charlotterowe.com Web: www.charlotterowe.com Main contractor gardenlink 27 Lesbourne Road, Reigate, Surrey RH2 7JS Tel: 01737 243 224 01737 243 265 Email: enquiries@gardenlink.co.uk Web: www.gardenlink.co.uk

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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Stone paving Pisani Unit 2A Plane Tree Crescent, Feltham, Middlesex TW13 7AL Tel: 020 8917 3353 Email: sales@pisani.co.uk Web: www.pisanigroup.com Trellis, bench and door of storage cupboard gardenlink 27 Lesbourne Road, Reigate, Surrey RH2 7JS Tel: 01737 243 224 01737 243 265 Email: enquiries@gardenlink.co.uk Web: www.gardenlink.co.uk

Herb pot Urbis Design 30 Full Sutton Industrial Estate, Full Sutton, York YO41 1HS Tel: 01759 373839 Email: rm@urbisdesign.co.uk Web: www.urbisdesign.co.uk

Pleached hornbeam Deepdale Trees Ltd Tithe Farm, Hatley Road, Potton, Sandy, Beds. SG19 2DX Tel: 01767 262636 Email: mail@deepdale-trees.co.uk Web: www.deepdale-trees.co.uk

Lighting assistance Rob Clift 3rd Floor, 11 Clifton Road London W9 1SZ Tel: 020 8360 0032 Email: rclift@tiscali.co.uk Web: www.robertcliftlighting.co.uk

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More images at: www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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EASTSIDE OUT The Landscape Group The first new park to open in Birmingham for 130 years, adding 2.73 hectares of green space to the city centre

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Visitors to the park can now enjoy manicured lawns and extensive paved pathways framed by carefully selected trees 4

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astside City Park is the first new urban park to open in Birmingham for 130 years and plays an important part in the development of England’s second city. The project has taken over 13 years from initial idea to opening due to lengthy land acquisition processes and design refinements. Architects Patel Taylor won the honour of designing the park, following their selection through a competition and public consultation. Since the Park’s opening it has won a raft of awards for its design, it was one of five projects to win a coveted RIBA National Award and was shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize. The park adds 2.73 hectares of green space to the city centre, extending Park Street Gardens through to Cardigan Street and taking in a former car park in front of Millennium Point. Visitors to the Park can now enjoy manicured lawns and extensive paved pathways framed by carefully selected trees. Bespoke street furniture is interspersed throughout the space, while

the park, with trees sourced from Germany and selected individually for shape and size. 309 semimature trees were selected, with only two to three at a time being delivered to site in the case of the large mature feature pines and large multi stem impact trees. Each was installed with appropriate root barrier systems in the tree trenches.

Carpinus Betulus column hedging adds a modern edge to the designs. Following an extensive value engineering process,The Landscape Group was appointed in late 2011 under the Birmingham Partnership Scheme to undertake the soft landscaping scheme designed by Applied Landscape Design and the street furniture installation.The team started work on site in January 2012. Due to the site’s nature as a recent demolition area, soil quality was very poor and unsuitable for soft landscaping, requiring a major ground reduction and rebuild with high specification soils. We were responsible for the subsoiling and topsoiling of tree trenches, tree pits, shrub bed areas and lawned areas using six different specified purposely manufactured soils – washed sand, subsoil, general landscape soil, tree soil, lawn soil, low fertility soil, each were subject to rigorous periodic testing prior to delivery to site. The plans for the site included the exact specification of tree specimens to be used in

ABOUT THE LANDSCAPE GROUP The Landscape Group is a green service provider, delivering a range of grounds maintenance and landscape construction services throughout the UK. Established in 1919, The Landscape Group has a long history of delivering high quality award-winning services with 64 BALI Awards for their projects, including the prestigious BALI Grand Award in 2011 for the delivery of Media City Piazza in Salford Quays.

www.thelandscapegroup.co.uk

1 City Park Square’s water feature with TLG tree planting behind.

5 Landscaping and street furniture alongside the new canal water feature.

2 Millennium point.

6 City Park Square plaza.

3 Completed landscaping and new benches in the formal gardens to the front of the new Birmingham City University building.

7 The park lit up at night.

4 Looking out over City Park Square’s terrace.

8 Bespoke steel and iroko benches. 9 City Park Square lighting features. 10 50/60 girth Pinus Sylvestris and bespoke benches line the new canal water feature.

Project details Client: Birmingham City Council 8

Project value: £1.75million (approximately)

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Tree planting was originally scheduled for the spring of 2012 but due to unforeseen programme issues involving works by others on site, the majority of tree planting had to be delayed until summer 2012, outside of the planting season. Following discussions with the client team, we asked the German supplier to spring ring the trees and hold them until summer 2012. This delay in planting also meant that areas of hard landscaping had already been completed so getting large trees onto the site was difficult and required the use of a crane. Close liaison with the tree supplier was essential to coordinate delivery of each tree with the times that individual planting sites would be accessible. 17,000 shrubs were sourced locally to Birmingham and contract grown by Boningale Nurseries, with The Landscape Group team monitoring progress on a monthly basis to ensure that the plants were grown to specification. Soft landscaping works were completed with the installation of 5,000m² of hardwearing turf and 209m of Taxus hedging ranging from 50-125cm high. As planting was completed in the growing

season, a strict watering schedule was essential to keep plants healthy. A major constraint to our operations was the serious lack of site water caused by a delay in the planned new water supply network being completed, which affected

Careful coordination of works with other contractors was essential all operations and contractors’ schedules. As planting was scheduled and the contract grown plants were ready, we overcame this by importing tanks of water which we then had to transport around the site via tractor and bowser. In addition to the carefully specified planting, we installed 100 bespoke timber and metal framed benches in addition to tree grilles, cycle racks, steel bollards and mechanical bollards. We worked closely with the designer to finalise the bench designs and take them to production in

time for delivery to site. We also managed the manufacture and installation of a 35m long x 5m high canopy consisting of steel framework clad with oak beams, supported on oak posts. Following the installation of furniture, we installed two new green roof systems, one on the new canopy and the other on the new ticket kiosk roof. The installation of the metal and oak framed canopy was particularly challenging for the team, as the components included 7m long heavy oak beams sourced from France. These hefty beams were lifted by crane over completed works and then assembled into the finished canopy on site. As such a large-scale new project in such a busy location, careful coordination of works with other contractors was essential to ensure that works were sequenced in a way that would avoid soiled areas getting trafficked and planting damaged by others in the completion of their works. To overcome this, park works were sequenced in such a way as to work from one end out of the site to minimise any disturbance of complete works.

1 Bespoke 5m high oak canopy in City Park Square. 2 Planting of Betula Doorenbos in progress. 3 Spine path landscaping in City Park Square. 4 Planting scheme. 1

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1 Formal Gardens canal water feature landscaping in progress. 2 Turfing operations utilising large rolls of turf. 3 Completed shrub planting prior to mulch applications. 1

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4 Tree planting in progress involving the installation of underground guying systems.

references Landscape architect Patel Taylor LLP 48 Rawstorne Street, London EC1V 7ND Tel: 020 7278 2323 Email: pta@pateltaylor.co.uk Web: www.pateltaylor.co.uk

Canopy greenroof system Higgs And Caney Ltd 52 Field View Close, Exhall, Coventry CV7 9BL Tel: 024 7631 2345

Landscape contractor The Landscape Group Ferazzi House, Bridle Way, Bootle, Merseyside L30 4UA Web: www.thelandscapegroup.co.uk

Carpinus hedge Readyhedge Ltd Court Gate Nursery, Eckington, Pershore,Worcs WR10 3BB Tel: 01386 750585 Email: simon@readyhedgeltd.com Web: www.readyhedgeltd.com

Soft landscape design Applied Landscape Design The Threshing Barn, Bignell Park Barns, Chesterton, Oxfordshire OX26 1TD Tel: 01869 249 776 Email: mail@appliedlandscape.co.uk Web: www.appliedlandscape.co.uk

Taxus hedging Crowders Nurseries Lincoln Road,Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 5LZ Tel: 01507 525 000 Email: sales@crowders.co.uk Web: www.crowdersnurseries.co.uk

Benches/canopy Decorative Metalwork Unit 4 Upper Crossgate Road, Park Farm North, Redditch B98 7SR Tel: 01527 521 331

Trees Bruns Pflanzen Johann Bruns Alee 1, 26160 Bad Zwischenahn Germany Tel: +49 04403/601-128 Web: www.bruns.de/en

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Shrubs Boningale Nurseries Holyhead Road, Albrighton, Wolverhampton, WV7 3AT Tel: 01902 376 500 Web: www.boningale.co.uk Street furniture: bollards, racks, hess and bins Thornlighting Ltd Butchers Race, Green Lane Industrial Estate, Spennymoor, Co Durham DL16 6HL Tel: 01621 890265 Web: www.thornlighting.co.uk/en-gb Eco Z plastic piling root barrier Aldridge Piling Equipment Ltd Unit 17 Conduit Road, Conduit Industrial Estate, Norton Canes, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 9TJ Tel: 0845 519 5197 Email: david@plasticpiling.co.uk Web: www.plasticpiling.co.uk

Soils Topsport Tarmac Building Products Tunstead House, Buxton, SK17 8TG Tel: 08456 00 77 04 Email: topsport@tarmacbp.co.uk Web: www.tarmacbuildingproducts.co. uk/products_and_services/landscaping/ topsport.aspx Planting sundries, tree anchors, irrigation pipes and caps, fertiliser, melcourt bark mulch, reroot 200 root barrier Green-tech Ltd Sweethills Park, Nun Monkton, York YO26 8ET Tel: 01423 332 100 Email: sales@green-tech.co.uk Web: www.green-tech.co.uk Automatic Bollards-Globall SP100 retractable bollards ATG Access Ltd North Florida Road, Haydock Industrial Estate, Haydock, WA11 9TP Tel: 08456 75 75 74 Web: www.atgaccess.com

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20/11/2013 12:45


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MALVERN TO MOSCOW Surrey Gardens Caspian Robertson initially designed this kitchen and pleasure garden for the Malvern Autumn Show, but was then asked to recreate the garden for a fledgling flower show in Moscow

Project details Size of project: 16m² Timeline of development: Five months Cost: Malvern: £3,000 Estimated Moscow costing: £16,000 50

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www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 12:33


Portfolio

A la Mode Dining Illustration

T

he A la Mode Dining Garden is a section of a retired couple’s kitchen and pleasure garden. It has been designed to reflect the clients’ tastes combining contemporary design with antique charm. The garden is designed to support their passion for cooking, and offers a relaxing setting to enjoy meals made from the produce of the garden. TIMELINE OF DEVELOPMENT The initial conceptual work was drawn up back in May of 2012 before being developed and finalised in time for submission for the Malvern Autumn Show, which was in September 2012. These initial stages of bouncing ideas around, drawing up mood boards, celebrity endorsements and conceptual drawings tend to happen at a leisurely rate well in advance of the deadline, and when this groundwork has been well explored the design itself takes very little time. July saw the next stage of the project as we sourced materials and did the mock build, which is a very enjoyable part of the process as you get to watch the garden come to life in the yard. A few weeks and a few tweaks later and the garden was built in modular form and packed up and ready for haulage to the show. Malvern is a great place to exhibit. Its generous build time and ample space was further enhanced by the fact that the show gardens were to be inside a giant marquee. This was a particular delight as the memories of trying to build through the relentless rain at the Malvern Spring Show were so fresh in the mind! The show was a great success, and I met lots of interesting and friendly people, as you always do at flower shows. FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS In February this year I received a call from Nina Acton, the Malvern show organiser. She told me that a Russian delegation had seen the garden and been impressed.They where organising a flower show at the historic Gorky Park in Moscow and would like me to re-create the garden there. I considered this a great privilege and agreed. After much debate, deliberation and fiddling around with a translator app we decided the garden should be built here in the UK and shipped off to the show. And so in June the garden was duly rebuilt, dismantled and packed up ready for shipping. I was quite pleased because we managed to www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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Drawing name Drawing no Scale Garden name Client name Designer name Date

DESIGN DRAWING

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ABOUT SURREY GARDENS

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1 Caspian and Jean Christophe Novelli. 2 The A la Mode Dining garden at Malvern. 3 The build ready for planting.

Caspian studied applied horticulture / horticulture operations at Merrist Wood College, and has been the principle of garden design and construction company Surrey Gardens for seven years. Serving domestic, charity and commercial clients, they are proud to have developed an expertise in creating special needs, spiritual and uniquely beautiful outdoor environments.

www.surreygardens.org

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Illustration 1 Not to scale A la Mode Di Three Counti Caspian Robe 10.06.12


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use the garden's raised bedding as the shipping creates themselves. The team and I flew out to Moscow on the 9 June 2013 with just a few days to locally source the planting and re-build the garden. The build went without incident despite the 30°C+ heat and the show itself was an enormously enjoyable event within a really youthful and fun environment that would be more akin to a festival of gardens than a show. Gertrude Jekyll once observed that “the love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies”, and I feel very fortunate to have contributed in some small way to this young show that is doing such a great job in enthusing a new generation of garden lovers so far from home.The garden won Gold and Best in Show at Malvern and Moscow flower shows. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS Probably the trickiest problem to overcome with the Moscow build was understanding all of the customs procedures for shipment. The waybill went from the UK via Finland and finally Russia, and being outside of the EU commercial invoices, packing lists, certificate of origins, waybills and power of attorney documents were all required from a deluge of different organisations. It was a really nice moment seeing them arrive safe and sound at Gorky Park! 52

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1 The garden completed in Moscow. 2 The modular garden mid-construction. 3 A Russian visitor during the show. 4 Caspian and James Alexander-Sinclair, chief judge. 5

5 The pre-built garden arriving safe and sound.

REFERENCES Main contractor Surrey Gardens Shelley’s Barn, Hermongers, Rudgwick, West Sussex, RH12 3AL Tel: 01403 824 034 Email: CaspianRobertson@ SurreyGardens.org Web: www.SurreyGardens.org Designer Caspian Robertson Email: CaspianRobertson@ SurreyGardens.org Web: www.SurreyGardens.org

Oak timber W.L.West & Sons Ltd Selham, Petworth West Sussex GU28 0PJ Tel: 01798 861 611 Email: sales@wlwest.co.uk Web: www.wlwest.co.uk Herbs Pepperpot Nursery Tel: 01252 793820 Email: info@pepperpotherbplants. co.uk Web: www.pepperpotherbplants.co.uk

Larger shrubs Provender Nurseries The Landscape Centre Leydenhatch Lane, Swanley, Kent BR8 7PS Tel: 01322 662 315 Email: richard.burt@ provendernurseries.co.uk Web: www.provendernurseries.co.uk

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 12:35


Photo by Prof J Hitchmough

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27/11/2013 12:06


Plantsman’s Plot

Plantsman’s PLOT A round-up of trees and plants available at some of the country’s best nurseries To appear in Plantsman’s Plot, please send your plant of the month, details and image to editor@pro-landscaper.co.uk A low growing, evergreen shrub with leathery deeply veined leaves forming a dome-shape once mature – Viburnum davidii can reach 1.5m in height and spread. Small white flowers arranged in flattened heads in June are followed in the winter months by striking blue and turquoise berries that have a metallic sheen. The berries last throughout the winter months and look great against the dark foliage. To ensure pollination and thus a good display of berries, plant in large groups. Fussy, trouble free, funky berries and equally happy in sun or shade – what’s not to like? www.provendernurseries.co.uk

Just saying the name makes me smile and there is a lot to smile about with Sarcococca ruscifolia! Commonly known as ‘Christmas Box’, Sarcococca deserves a higher profile. This small shrub has arching stems of glossy small evergreen leaves, and grows in dense shade, but it’s the fragrance of the tiny white flowers in winter that lifts this plant to the top of the list. Small red berries turning to black follow the flowers. Growing up to approximately 50cm x 80cm, this versatile little shrub can be used in mixed borders, in containers or for a low-growing hedge. www.theplantationnursery.co.uk

The coloured stems of Birch trees (Betula spp) can make a marvellous fast growing feature in winter gardens landscapes, to brighten the short dark days. There are various to choose from with stem colours ranging from white, through to creams and pinks, to dark red and purple. One of the finest rich pink/red choices is a form of the Red Chinese Birch, Betula albo sinensis ‘Kenneth Ashburner’. It is offered in a range of sizes as pot grown specimens by Thornhayes Nursery in Devon. www.thornhayes-nursery.co.uk

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Acer ginnala is one of the best small trees for autumn colour. It is also very early into leaf in the spring and produces yellow/white fragrant flowers in May. Ideal for gardens, it flourishes in full sun or light shade and in most soil types. It has the added advantage of being wind and drought resistant once established. See a video of this trees on www.buythetreeyousee. com/trees/buy-maple-acerginnala-small. It’s common name, the Amur Maple, derives from the Amur River, which divides China and Russia.

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 12:30


Plantsman’s Plot

As the dark days of winter draw in, the glorious autumn colouring of Liquidambar styraciflua is a glowing beacon which has brought joy to gardeners for generations. This large, deciduous tree is often mistaken for maple as the lobed foliage is similar in appearance. The spring flowers are inconspicuous but are followed by brown globed spiky fruits which mature in autumn and remain through winter. Worplesdon is often favoured as a clone due to its greater frost tolerance, uniform crown and more intense autumn colour. Liquidambar is available from Deepdale as a standard, feathered, multistem or pleached tree. www.deepdale-trees.co.uk

Fatsia japonica AGM, from the coastal woodlands of Japan and Korea, adds a useful hue of evergreen as winter approaches. Their mid-green palmate leaves add an exotic almost sub-tropical feel to planting and are very architectural. They are good shrubs for sun, semi-shade and coastal areas, ultimately growing up to 2m+. Whilst hardy, very severe frosts can cause some die back which is easily pruned out in the spring. They are in the ivy family and their creamy white flowers in umbels are a useful late source of nectar. Good stocks of plants available on the nursery. www.palmstead.co.uk

Forsythia Lynwood Gold is a spring flowering plant best planted in the autumn, which will give them the best start for the following year. They will start the new season with a flush of brilliant golden flowers. It makes a good low maintenance hedge that will grow in full sun or part shade and in nearly all types of soil. It will make a lovely hedge in both urban and rural positions and will brighten up any boundary. Available at 180cm tall in Readybags for a readyhedge. www.readyhedgeltd.com

The “Dog woods” have been the main stay for designers and architects for many years; they can also be a welcome addition to the garden. Strong and quick to establish but easily managed in balance; in fact all benefit from a hard prune to keep the bark colour strong. Dwarf forms like Cornus Canadensis add a woodland feel to the garden while the alba group offer a range of colour and effects: alba Spaethii – yellow margined leaves and bright red winter bark; alba Kesselringii – autumn leaf colour and black-purple bark; alba stolonifera – very strong growth and bright yellow bark. Two others of worthy note are: Midwinter Fire – smaller with bright red/orange bark; Kousa – flowering forms for the larger garden. www.colesnurseries.co.uk

When winter has taken its hold and most of the autumn colours have faded, this seemingly anonymous willow reveals a very pleasant surprise. As the temperature drops, the slender yellow/green branches of Salix alba var. vitellina ‘Britzensis’ start to change and within weeks turn an almost luminescent red. Since it is the young shoots that colour, this makes this tree an excellent choice for pollarding. Pollarding encourages new growth to emerge resulting in a dazzling, annual firecracker for the winter garden. Prune back the entire head in April to regenerate a new, healthy and colourful crown. www.majestictrees.co.uk

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20/11/2013 12:31


Site Visit

Site visit

British Sugar TOPSOIL Pro Landscaper took a tour around the British Sugar factory at Wissington, Norfolk, with National TOPSOIL Manager, Andy Spetch, to see how the largest supplier of quality topsoil in the UK reuses and refines all the soil washed off the sugar beets before they are processed. Also, as part of this process, 5,000 tonnes of stone is also removed each year, which is washed and sold as an aggregate. Wissington is the largest sugar factory in the world, employing 270 permanent staff and 85 seasonal workers, and also offers an apprenticeship scheme. British Sugar has made it a mission to reuse as many of the bi-products from the sugar process as possible. One area in which it has become proficient over the last 15 years is producing consistently high quality topsoil which is used in many landscaping projects across the UK, one such recent high profile scheme being the Olympic Park in London, where 40,000 tonnes was delivered during the legacy transformation process. Constant sampling and analysis of the soil takes place to retain its consistency, and the company has also worked with Tim O’Hare Associates on the analysis and conditioning process. Purchasers can be assured that the end product will be free from contaminants, will promote good plant growth, and is available all year round. British Sugar TOPSOIL also carries out regular testing to make sure there is no trace of Japanese Knotweed within the soil and is audited to ISO9001, 14001, and HSE18001. During each campaign, 7.5 million tonnes of sugar beet is delivered by around 3,500 growers, to Wissington and three other factories in the east 56

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of England, and on a constant daily basis (between September and March) the very moment it arrives on site it is washed to remove the soil residue left after harvesting. This watery soil is transferred to reservoirs called settlement lagoons, where the sand, silt and clay in the soil is left to separate. At the end of the campaign in March, when all the sugar beet grown has been delivered and washed, the surface water is pumped away to reveal approximately 300,000 tonnes of soil which then goes through a specific conditioning process to turn it into a BS3882:2007 compliant topsoil. This is done by laying the sandy soil into long rows with silt and clay filling the gaps between the rows. The rows are turned and mixed until the topsoil reaches the required BS3882:2007 standard. It then takes two years to get the soil to a dry enough state when it can be put through a screening machine and blended with sand for the required end product. Once the soil is at this stage, it can then be stored ready for use. To help keep it at just the right consistency and level of dryness, there are covered storage sheds until hauliers arrive to deliver it to merchants for resale or direct to the consumer if the order is 20 tonnes or more. There are two types of soil produced currently, Landscape 20 and Sports 10. Landscape 20 is typically a sandy loam topsoil specifically produced for general landscaping uses; Sports 10 is used as a dressing for games pitches and contains a level of 80 per cent sand. In December 2012, British Sugar TOPSOIL was awarded the BALI National Landscape Award for providing exceptional service to customers.

British Sugar TOPSOIL Sugar Way, Peterborough PE2 9AY Tel: 01733 563 171 Email: coproducts@britishsugar.co.uk Web: www.bstopsoil.co.uk www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 12:27


LazyLawn-Half-Page-15-11-13-RESIZE-201113.pdf 1 20/11/2013 10:06:46

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18/11/2013 12:05


Public Realm Landscaping

Step-by-step guide to fixing fence posts By December the winter has truly set in and only a few people brave the cold in parks across Britain. However, the winter is a busy time for local authority landscapers, who work tirelessly throughout the season undertaking repair, maintenance and landscaping projects to make sure that these areas are ready for the public to enjoy when the weather picks up. In addition to ensuring the cost efficiency of these projects, time is a critical factor for contractors working in public areas. Not only do small teams often have to undertake many tasks across a large patch, projects need to be completed quickly to ensure minimal disruption to the public and unfinished working areas also need to be cleared as soon as possible to minimise the theft of materials and the risk of vandalism. Specifying specialist products can prove time and cost efficient for landscapers with the added benefit of strong sustainability credentials to help meet toughening environmental targets. In this article we give a simple step-by-step guide to undertaking a popular landscaping job in public parks and spaces – fixing fence posts using specialist ready-to-use cement, Postcrete: Postcrete is a rapid setting blended mix of cements, silicates and hardeners that has been specifically designed for fixing wooden, concrete and metal posts in all types of soil. It comes in Lafarge Tarmac’s recyclable weatherproof plastic packaging and has a ‘very good’ classification under the BRE Responsible Sourcing standard (BES 6001). ● Mark out your fence by driving a stake into the ground at each end of the location and run a line between the two stakes at ground level. ● Dig your first hole at least thirty per cent of the height of the fence, or more in light soil. Note that most wooden fence posts are three inches square but you should use four inch www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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posts if your fence is higher than five feet. Timber posts should be tanalised or pressure treated to ensure longevity. ● Mark your post with the depth of the hole required from the base to enable you to judge whether your hole is deep enough when the post is positioned – try the post before continuing. ● Fill the hole a third to half way up with fresh clean water (from the mains) and put the post into the hole. Hold the post in position. ● Pour Postcrete evenly around the post until the powder reaches the top of the water’s surface (do not attempt to mix Postcrete with water in a bucket and then pour into the hole, it will begin to set before you can do this). ● Sprinkle water on top of any visible powder. As Postcrete sets quickly – it is a good idea to have a colleague help you with this part of the process if possible. ● Hold the fence panel against the first post so you can mark the position of the next hole and be certain that it is in the right place. ● Repeat the process by filling the hole a third to halfway with water. ● Put the post into the hole, hold it in position and pour Postcrete around the post until the powder reaches the top of the water surface. ● Sprinkle water on top of any visible dry powder. ● Check the position and level of the post immediately as curing starts within one or two minutes. ● If desired smooth the surface of the Postcrete with a small trowel. ● The post will be set within five to ten minutes. ● Cover the Postcrete with soil and start the next post.

● Before setting subsequent posts make sure you have accurately measured their position and that they are the correct distance apart for your fence panels. The Lafarge Tarmac website and iPhone app contains a guide on how much Postcrete is required for a specific job, which depends on the size of your fence posts and the area you are fencing.

In January 2013, Anglo American plc and Lafarge SA formally completed a 50:50 joint venture to create the UK’s leading construction materials and services company, Lafarge Tarmac.The company is an integrated solutions provider, offering cement and lime, aggregates, readymix concrete, asphalt and contracting services. Lafarge Tarmac provides a sustainable, high quality, diverse and innovative product offering for customers across the UK. www.lafargetarmac.com

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20/11/2013 14:25


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18/11/2013 12:36


artificial grass

School projects Artificial grass is being used increasingly in schools and nurseries to create fun, creative and stimulating play spaces which are safe and suitable for allweather use. Here are some examples of how artificial grass has been used to full effect in schools and nurseries around the country

School pupils in Cottesmore, Rutland, are racing around at playtime after their playground was transformed by a unique roadway installation from LazyLawn. The artificial grass specialist has installed a bespoke outdoor play area for St Nicholas Primary School & Nursery using 184m² of artificial turf. LazyLawn has revamped the nursery’s playground from a lifeless plot of land into a vibrant play area containing a unique roadway for the children to race around in. The installation, which incorporates a 6m by 6m roadway, was manufactured at LazyLawn’s head office in the East Midlands, before being rolled out and expertly assembled on site. Andy Driver, Marketing Director at LazyLawn, comments: “The play area was made using our state-of-the-art CAD cutting tables and completed with our road way kit, which creates a truly bespoke play space. We recommended our PlayTime synthetic turf, which is specifically designed to cope with the wear and tear of school playgrounds and a highly durable surface in all weathers. As it is also fast draining, the children have more opportunity to play outside all year round.” www.lazylawn.co.uk

Our first project at Delamere C of E Academy, Cheshire this year was such a success with teachers, pupils and parents Hi-Tech Turf have now completed a total of three projects at the school, laying around 750m² of artificial grass. The turfs used in the projects have included HT Exclusive, HT Indulgence and our trade only turf HT Special. The turf has been lain underneath picnic benches, over slippery decking outside classrooms which can now be used for outdoor learning and within the play area where our 25mm shock pad was also installed to create a critical fall height under some of the play equipment. The teachers, pupils and parents are extremely pleased with all the installations as they have seen what were quite drab areas transformed into bright, clean and safe outdoor environments which can be used for a large proportion of the year. www.hitechturf.co.uk

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Happy Bunnies is a brand new day nursery which opened in early 2013 in Frodsham, Cheshire and Hi-Tech Turf were tasked with re-landscaping the outdoor area to create a vibrant, safe, clean and

educational play surface. We used our HT Play Grass Green to cover the area as it is hard wearing turf and as the name suggests perfect for a play surface, within that we incorporated hopscotch, coloured alphabet, number snake, roadway and even a fish pond for the baby area. All these designs were tufted into artificial grass so all the elements of the outdoor area were artificial, providing a safe environment for the children that could also be easily cleaned and maintained. The all-weather play surface we designed has enabled the children at Happy Bunnies to have a varied play environment when outdoors where they can learn as well as play. www.hitechturf.co.uk

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Artificial Grass – School Projects

Singlegate Primary School, London had a large play area, which was often unusable due to the great British weather. Nigel Abbey was selected to redesign the area, and Blades’ artificial grass was chosen for the surface; it provided the colour options needed to bring the designs to life, and a practical solution to tackle the mud. The colours chosen for the project were ‘Blades Colours’ Turquoise Blue, Bright Pink, Lime Green and Orange. Prior to installation, Blades prepared technical plans to accommodate the detailed curves in Nigel’s design and allow for important factors such as critical fall height around the play equipment. Our installation team then built a robust, stone base to guarantee ample drainage and create a level surface, and laid shockpad for additional cushioning. The joins were an intricate part of the grass installation, ensuring the curved cuts were perfectly aligned and tough enough to stand up to year-round heavy use. Blades’ coloured grasses have become a popular choice for school projects. The grasses are fun and versatile but still meet strict criteria for safety and durability. Blades Artificial Grass supply and install artificial grass for a range of school sports and play projects. www.bladesgrass.co.uk

Blades Artificial Grass installation for William Morris School, London for Nigel Abbey’s structured play area design. ‘Commended’ in the APL Annual Design & Construction Awards 2013. ‘Blades Colours’- Turquoise Blue, Bright Pink, Graphite Grey, Lilac Purple and Orange. www.bladesgrass.co.uk

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Earlier on in the year, the award-winning accredited nationwide designer of artificial grass, easigrass, was asked by Westminster House School in London to install easigrass within their garden area. The problem the school was experiencing related to existing traditional lawns slipping down the banks of their landscaped school exterior. By way of response to this problem, we installed our easi-play system, having been uniquely developed for the school market as it offers a tried and tested fall system. The easi-play artificial grass product is short-cut so gives the impression of a perfectly tendered lawn at any time of the year. It is low maintenance and weatherresistant, and has been independently tested for safety to official standard EN:1177:2008. www.easigrass.com

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 14:17


Artificial Grass – School Projects

This project was part of the Olympic Legacy – the school had applied to LOCOG to receive part of the Olympic hockey pitch in order for them to cover part of their playing field which was very prone to flooding. They were successful in their application, and were given 1000m² of pink and blue grass. Namgrass were invited to undertake the project as we had been heavily involved in various aspects of the Olympic park. The grass was all sorted through which involved cutting all the sections to size, and preparing the grass into a large jigsaw, ready to be put back together in order to create a large blue five aside pitch, then a smaller pink play area. The whole area was then surrounded and fringed with a Namgrass Multisport product. www.namgrass.com www.namgrass.co.uk

This project was designed by Nigel Abbey of Nigel Abbey Designs, and was installed by approved Namgrass partners – The Garden Builders. What was a dirty, gloomy courtyard play area has now been completely transformed into what can only be described as a beautiful, colourful play area, that not only ‘lifts’ and improves the area itself, but also improves the aspect from all the surrounding classrooms, and has really become a focal point of the entire school. The product used here is Namgrass Living Colours which unlike most other coloured grasses, are designed and manufactured to be extremely hardwearing and durable. www.namgrass.com www.namgrass.co.uk

Falcon Preparatory School in Richmond had a grassed area measuring 1029m². The area was used by the children as a general sports area and also a play area. The problem was that they could only use this grassed area at certain times of the year because it often became muddy – especially with lots of little feet running around on it throughout the day. In the summer the area was often too hard to play sports on. The solution was a Trulawn Continental multi-use sports pitch marked out for tennis, football and hockey. The artificial grass pitch can now be used at any time of year regardless of the weather. Both the kids and teachers are delighted with the new grassed area which is in use every day as both a sports and play area. www.trulawn.co.uk

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Horningsham School in Wiltshire had been unable to use the grassed areas in their playground when a family of moles decided to take up residence. The molehills were not only unsightly but had caused considerable damage to the grass itself and children were no longer able to play on the areas. The school decided to address the issue using artificial grass – a humane and long term solution to the problem that would ensure the molehills didn’t return. Trulawn was selected to carry out the work. The installation of artificial grass solved the mole problem and improved the schools’ outdoor facilities making a significant part of the playground usable all year round. The grass is an attractive, eye catching feature for the school and is now used for PE lessons, sports events and of course playtimes. www.trulawn.co.uk

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Star Rubber Environmental Ltd The UK’s only manufacturer of TigerMulch Rubber Chippings. Made of 100% recycled rubber. An ideal landscaping product that is permeable for tree surrounds, paths, slopes, erosion control etc.; Safety surface for playgrounds within schools/nurseries, public parks, skate parks, care homes, hospitals. Surfacing specialists for the installation of: - TigerMulch Resin Bound - Wet pour - Graphic designs - Star Kerb

- Cap Kerb - Argi-Flex - New product - Safety Tiles/Matts (For Swing etc: wear areas)

Star Rubber are proud to announce their new product Argi-Flex. A permeable product that has been developed to resemble resin stone but is made out of 100% Recycled Rubber an ideal product for pathways and erosion. This product will compliment our TigerMulch Product, you then need to decide would you prefer a Bark look or Stone look both giving an all year weather permitting safety surface. Surfaces are BSEN1177 & 7188 Tested and support a 5 year Warranty. Please contact us for more details: Belmont House, Aller, Langport, Somerset, TA10 0QN T: 01458 253 377 E: tigermulch@aol.com W: www.star-rubber.com Star Rubber.indd 3

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8

Book Review

BOOK REVIEW Rose Hales takes a look at a selection of recently released titles

The Drunken Botanist Amy Stewart The Drunken Botanists takes the reader on a journey of the plants that create the world’s great drinks. This is one for a little intellectual after dinner reading, or for taking some inspiration... This book narrates the chemical and botanical history of over 150 plants and how they form the basis of our favourite cocktails and drinks. Amy describes drink making processes, such as fermentation and distillation – including cider making, and apple spirits. As well as drinks that have their roots in surprising plants. Ever wondered what alcoholic concoctions can be made from simple grains such as corn or rye? As well as the obvious, the book delves into the somewhat unexpected ingredients for alcoholic drinks, including artichokes, camomile, and jasmine. This entertaining but educational little book has the answers. www.workman.com/algonquin

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Plans for Small Gardens Ann-Marie Powell Chelsea Flower Show Gold medal winning designer Ann-Marie Powell takes a look at what can be done with a small garden space. The book is split into a selection of handy ‘recipes’ for creating a multitude of different garden types. Pick your overall garden theme, for example urban garden, edible garden, English country garden, or night garden; Ann-Marie then takes you through a design plan and layout, including detailed plans and photographs, and what you’ll need to achieve the garden, Ann-Marie also provides a detailed planting plan for each garden. She then looks at both hard and soft landscaping elements, explaining what effect each will create, what works, and most importantly how to make the most of the space. Alongside ideas she also includes practical advice, ‘methods’, and a yearly maintenance plan for each style. Brimming full of ideas, examples and explanations with colour photographs providing clarity and inspiration. www.anovabooks.com

100 Plants that Almost Changed the World Chris Beardshaw This is a fun and fascinating read which any fact fanatic will love. Chris Beardshaw takes the reader on a journey through some of the plants, flowers, vegetables, and herbs that have bizarre and previously unknown histories. From the humble carrot, an extract of which has been heralded as being potentially the best material since the introduction of carbon fibre, which may find itself pulverised into an ingenious soup mix for the construction of cars and possibly battleships; to the undeniable health benefits of vitamin C, and the humble British blackcurrant which became the prime ingredient for a vitamin rich syrup to stave off vitamin deficiency due to limited fruit and vegetable imports during the Second World War – otherwise known as Ribena. Start reading this book and you won’t be able to put it down. www.papadakis.net

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Book Review Contemporary Designers’ Own Gardens

Design Ideas For Your Garden

Barbara Baker A rare opportunity to glimpse into the private gardens of some of the world’s top designers, including Patrick Blanc, Bunny Guinness, Dan Pearson, and Tom Stuart-Smith. None of the gardens shown in this book are generally open to the public, which makes them very pure and unadulterated examples of the designers’ own visions. Barbara Baker examines how the designers’ personalities affect their creations, and how their own gardens differ from those of their clients. Barbara profiles each garden in detail, including planting schemes, the setting, each designers’ aims, and their achievements. Stunning photographs accompany the text, which open up these private spaces beautifully as never seen before examples of garden design and landscape architecture at their very best. www.antiquecollectorsclub.com

Jacq Barber Design historian Jacq Barber takes inspiration from the vast range of gardens at National Trust properties to offer garden design ideas which can be adapted to suit all gardens of all sizes. National Trust properties feature everything from contemporary borders to sculptured topiary, which is why they are the perfect places to take inspiration from. Jacq uses photography along with beautiful illustrations to guide the reader through a range of creative ideas.There are chapters on colour, planting styles, and ways to create interest throughout the seasons. Valuable advice from Head Gardeners at National Trust properties is also provided. www.shop.nationaltrust.org.uk/books/c12

Wild Flowers Carol Klein In the past, long before gardens and plants were cultivated in the way they are today, wild flowers were central to our existence – being both food and medicine to ourselves, and the animals around us. Carol Klein believes that wild flowers still hold significant importance to us, and will continue to do so in the future, so honouring and nurturing them is a necessity. She travels the country and, working through the seasons, celebrates the wildflowers that shape and inform our understanding of the natural world. Carol then returns to her own garden to see the cultivated cousins of these wild flowers. Carol looks into the stories of each wild flower, their connotations, uses and histories, celebrating some of the oldest species on earth. www.bbcshop.com

The British Oak

The New Pastoralism: Landscape into Architecture

Archie Miles The British Oak is a comprehensive overview of a tree which is not only a national icon, identifiable to almost everyone with its unusual leaf shape, but is also Europe’s main timber resource, and the most common and often the largest tree in southern and central regions of the country – the oak has a vast history and culture which Archie Miles shares in this book. Miles explores everything from the rise of oakwoods since the last Ice Age, oaks in the modern landscape, as well as symbolism, myth and legend, crafts and industries, and disease, management, and conservation issues facing our oaks today, and in the future. The rise of the mighty oak, as well as its symbolism and place in myths and legends is a fascinating read, as is the section marked ‘Extraordinary Oaks’ which describes and photographs some of the most unusual and enthralling examples of this mighty species. www.constablerobinson.com

Mark Titman The pastoral is, as Mark Titman puts it, all about ‘comfortable and joyous ways to engage the city dweller with the delights of natural landscape’.The book explored a romantic ‘green’ and technological architecture that is closing the gap between city dwellers and the natural landscape. New architectures are being introduced that employ biomimetics, hydroponics, cybernetic feedback systems, micro ecologies and traditional construction methods with natural materials and vertical landscapes.These are used to create small, subtle, alive spaces that help remind us of our humanity.These soft constructions fulfil a hard-wired human desire to be connected to and delighted by nature.The use of the skies, planting, water, wildlife and the seasons is becoming subtly incorporated into building layouts and onto building surfaces to offer a subtle new interface with our primordial desire to reconnect with nature. 5 www.eu.wiley.com

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Our aim is to make your vision a reality with effective yet practical plant solutions.

Whatever your involvement in the horticultural industry, be it, Garden Designer, Landscape Architect. Domestic or Commercial Landscaper, Greenline Plants can offer all the plants you will need. To see our plant portfolio visit www.greenlineplants.co.uk

VISIT ONSITE. VISIT ONLINE. BUT VISIT.

The Landscape Centre, Leydenhatch Lane, Swanley, Kent BR8 7PS Tel: 01322 662315/662130 Web: www.provendernurseries.co.uk

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18/11/2013 12:27


CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN... Ransomes Spider remote controlled slope mowers are ideal for maintaining steep banks and inclines. With 4-wheel drive and 4-wheel steering manoeuvrability is excellent and the absence of tracks significantly reduce ground disturbance. And as the operator has no physical contact with machine, it can be operated in complete safety. With three models, capable of tackling slopes from 30 degrees to 55 degrees with winch assistance, Ransomes Spiders can climb every mountain ... well almost!

FOR LEGENDARY PERFORMANCE

For a no obligation demonstration call 01473 270000 or for more information visit www.ransomesjacobsen.com

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SNOW CLEARING EQUIPMENT

Snow Plough

MACHINES FOR ALL SEASONS

BCS Snow Clearing Equipment offers you grounds maintenance solutions in every season and in every environment. Whether you are clearing snow from car parks, preparing uncultivated ground, or taming dense vegetation, your BCS machine will adapt to your requirements by simply changing between over 25 attachments.

Snow Blower

Nothing competes with a BCS when it comes to getting a return on your investment. Call us today on 01444 460200 or visit our website.

Snow Brush

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18/11/2013 10:15


Equipment

EQUIPMENT NEWS Personnel changes at Ransomes Jacobsen Ransomes Jacobsen, the commercial mower and turf maintenance equipment manufacturer, has instigated several management changes at its European head office in Ipswich. John Quinton, former Sales Manager, UK and Ireland, has been promoted to the new position of After Sales Manager, reporting to Customer Care Director, Jason King. He will be responsible for the parts warehouse, order help desk, parts help desk and product support. Nick Brown, former UK

Corporate Accounts Manager, has been promoted to Sales Manager, UK and Ireland, to replace John Quinton. He joined Ransomes

GreenMech raise money for charity UK Chippers and Shredders manufacturer GreenMech saw two employees once again pedal their way to raising money for charity.This time Reg Rooke and Daniel Shepard burned up the miles for the British Heart Foundation. Reg Rooke, 50, is a design engineer for GreenMech of four years standing and Daniel Shepard, 38, has been the quality manager for the past three years. Ever the double act, Reg does the hard work cycling whilst Daniel carries out the very important role of driving www.prolandscapermagazine.com

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the support vehicle and acting as on-site mechanic.The pair do a lot of cycling for fund raising at home and abroad and are usually joined by Daniel’s father-in-law John Sulley. The event was organised by the British Heart Foundation to raise around £200,000. In fact over £300,000 was finally raised by the competitors, with over 3,000 taking part.The gruelling 75 mile trek on Saturday 21 September took them from London to Brighton via green lanes, bridleways and tracks but no real roads.The weather was kind to them, thankfully, and they completed the journey in 8.5 hours, with only three breaks. www.greenmech.co.uk

Welcome to the equipment pages of Pro Landscaper, where we will be looking at new products and developments in the market. If you have any stories, please email them to joe.wilkinson@eljays44.com or tweet me @ProLanKit

Jacobsen in 1998 as a Sales Planning Co-ordinator after gaining a BSc Hons degree at Brunel University. Matt Codd, a former Production Manager in the Ipswich manufacturing plant, has been promoted to the new position of Sales Office Manager. Matt is a Textron Six Sigma Black Belt and gained a BSc Hons degree in Environmental Risk Management at the University of Wales. Will Carr’s sales management role within the UK and Ireland has been enhanced with the addition of the MEGA light commercial vehicle brand as well as his existing Iseki tractor and mower sales responsibilities. www.ransomesjacobsen.com

Take a look at the Equipment pages’ youngest readers! Daniel Fish of Fish Landscapes sent us in this picture of his boys Harvey (5) and Oscar (4) picking their favourite Kubota tractor! These two are definitely future stars of the industry.

Kubota specified by Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Kubota’s B2530 compact tractor has been chosen as the ideal groundcare solution for the worldfamous Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, following the purchase of eight units from the UK’s leading provider of groundcare machinery. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003, Kew is one of London’s top visitor attractions with almost two million visitors each year.The site is one of the leaders in plant science and conservation with a collection of over 30,000 species of plant and trees within its 300 acres.

In order to keep Kew Gardens on top of the extensive maintenance programme that the grounds require, an army of groundcare machinery and personnel is required to keep the site in immaculate condition. www.kubota.co.uk December 2013

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Equipment

UTILITY VEHICLES A UTV is a brilliant method of transportation for our industry. I have driven a few recently, and, although they are so much fun to be in and to drive, they are amazingly useful. The John Deere XUV855D S4 has enough room for an operator and three passengers, an extra durable high capacity cargo box for the bulky equipment such as your chainsaw and also under-seat compartments for the important things, like lunch. This vehicle also has the option to fold down the back seats to create a bench for even more storage space. The Cushman 1600 XDR is a two seater vehicle capable of carrying over 500kg – roughly 78.5 Stone – (including passengers) over all types of terrain – excellent for when an

Available in olive and black livery, John Deere’s new XUV 855D S4 Gator utility vehicle combines versatile off-road performance, work capability and comfort for up to four passengers, with the same cargo box, towing and payload capacities as the new XUV 825i (see October issue). This model is powered by the

area you are working on is inaccessible in a van. The Cushman 1600 XDR is homologated like a tractor and may therefore be used on the road. Kubota’s RTV900 is built on tractor technology, so will take you comfortably through the most difficult terrain. Key features include hydrostatic drive, inboard wet-type disc brakes, and power steering. The RTV900 also features an advanced suspension system and offers ample ground clearance for a safe, comfortable ride over any terrain. Utility vehicles come in a variety of shapes and sizes and each have their different ideal uses. If you are in the market for one, I recommend sitting down and working out exactly what the vehicle will be used for first.

Earlier this year Ransomes Jacobsen launched the Cushman 1600XD-R, a road homologated 4x4 all-terrain utility vehicle, which features a powerful 22hp, 1,007cc three-cylinder OHV diesel engine with plenty of grunt to handle tough landscaping tasks on rough terrain. Its performance is enhanced by an automatic CVT with low and high gear ratios, a user-selectable locking rear differential which can be engaged in both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive

855D’s proven 22hp diesel engine; the S4 also has a top speed of 32mph, and comes with power steering as standard. To allow for extra passengers or cargo space, the S4 features an easily convertible rear bench that folds down to provide a flat surface for extra storage. WWW.JOHNDEERE.CO.UK

Both the Kubota RTV900 and RTV1140 for example have an excellent centre of gravity and equal weight distribution to give the vehicles a light footprint. All the wheels have independent and advanced suspension systems to compensate for rough terrain and uneven ground to minimise

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operation, four-wheel independent suspension, and exceptional hauling and towing capacity. WWW.CUSHMAN.CO.UK

bumps and offer ample ground clearance for a safe and comfortable ride. In addition, users also have the peace of mind that Kubota’s utility vehicles are designed to be the most robust, efficient and versatile on the market. WWW.KUBOTA.CO.UK

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 14:09


Pop uP Power Supplies Ltd. Safe

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Fits to one of your trailers or one supplied by us. Chops leaves as the enter, meaning less emptying time.

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British built machinery for the landscape industry. Contact us today for a free brochure.

C hiswick House having undergone a multi-million pound restoration is ready to safely host a wide range of events that will increase revenue and introduce more people to this historic site. The Pop uP Power installations were an important consideration when planning the restoration of this stunning historic area.

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in 2010 2014 in

Swing Out Control Station

When you need a compact stump cutter with the go-anywhere traction and flotation that only tracks can provide, the Trac Jr is your solution. This all-new design from RAYCO raises the bar for compact stump cutters by offering a small machine that is truly full-featured. Rubber tracks provide excellent traction and ground pressure of less than 4psi. Huge, 47-inch cutting width tackles big stumps, and a hydraulic backfill blade makes easy work of clean-up. A RAYCO-exclusive swing out control station provides excellent visibility of the cutting action while swinging forward www.raycomfg.com to travel through gates. Powered by a 35hp Vanguard gasoline engine. Available with a custom trailer. Westcon Equipment (UK) Limited, Unit 2 Bridge Street, Bailie Gate Industrial Estate, Sturminster: Marshall, Dorset. www.raycomfg.com 800.392.2686 WestconorEquipment for further details: Contact RAYCO your Authorized Dealer for details. BH21 4DB. Tel: (01258) 859100 Fax: (01258) 858434 Email: sales@westconuk.co.uk www.westconuk.co.uk

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06/11/2013 09:18

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Latest Kit Equipment

LATEST KIT McConnel leads the way in hedge-cutting and green maintenance technology with a comprehensive range of Power Arms, flail and rotary mowers, and multi-functional remote control machinery. 40 different Power Arms are available. McConnel has also expanded its remote-control range with a series of exciting new products including the world’s first commercial spec RC zero-turn mower ROBOZERO; 10 new working attachments including a 1.5m rotary deck, a wood chipper, and a stump grinder; and ROBOPOWER, an innovative new 140hp unmanned tractor. WWW.MCCONNEL.COM

The Toro Dingo is new in the UK, but is an industry-leading compact loader in the US and Australia because of its unique combination of power and versatility in a machine small enough to fit through a gate. Dingo operators can carry out dozens of jobs efficiently with just one innovative machine. With

more than 35 attachments available, operators can lift, carry, dig, trench, cultivate, till, grade, level, mix, demolish, fill, auger, rake, sweep and more – and quick-change dripless flush-face couplers mean it is easy to change attachments without any heavy lifting. WWW.TORO.CO.UK

Don’t get caught out this winter with impassable paths or driveways – invest in a high quality Cramer snow sweeper. A snow sweeper will make direct contact with the ground, clearing a pathway, unlike a snow thrower, where the metal throwing blade can’t hit the ground. These sweepers can be used

all year round for clearing general debris plus leaf and garden litter. In the winter however, they come into their own by allowing you to clear paths, car parks, schools and many more public or private outdoor spaces of lying snow, ready for gritting. WWW.CRAMER.COM

The new Husqvarna back pack battery models BLi 520X and BLi 940X are for those who want to work all day without the need to

recharge. Your battery chainsaw, trimmer and hedge trimmer can all be powered by the backpack batteries making these a versatile all-day worker. Also new for 2014 is the Husqvarna 536Li HD60X professional battery hedge trimmer. This model features a pivoting rear

handle and petrol equivalent performance. A high torque motor and 4000 1/min blade speed gives excellent cutting performance. The 536Li HD60X has a cutting length of 60cm and a tooth opening of 30mm. WWW.HUSQVARNA.COM/UK

The SCAG “YV” garden vacuums have a 5.5hp motor, 65cm rake-adjustable intake and build quality associated with SCAG machinery from Simon Tullett Machinery. The collector is designed to keep dust output down and maximise airflow. It has a 280 litre capacity, commercial

grade zips and abrasionresistant base. Comfortable, ergonomic handles, large wheels and conveniently situated speed

control, all make the machine straightforward to use. The adjustable intake can be flat, for even surfaces like paths and tarmac, or quickly and easily repositioned at an angle for irregular surfaces. Dimensions are 162cm long, 67cm wide and it weighs 60kg. WWW.ST-MACH.COM

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STIHL cordless products have powerful appeal. Essential power tools for professionals’ use include hedge and grass trimmers, a leaf blower and a choice of chain saws. Familiar STIHL qualities are embodied in the range, from the premium blade set on the hedge trimmers to the top safety features on the cordless chainsaw. Ensuring value from an investment in STIHL cordless power, a single Lithium-Ion battery drives multiple STIHL cordless tools. WWW.STIHL.CO.UK

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Equipment

LATEST KIT

Bobcat has launched two new compact excavators in the 6-8 tonne weight range. The new E62 6-tonne and E85 8-tonne reduced tail swing models replace the previous E60 and E80 models. The E62 compact excavator is powered by the Stage IIIA compliant 36.2 kW liquid-cooled Yanmar 4TNV94L diesel engine running at a maximum speed of 2200 rpm, providing abundant power and reliability for a machine of this size. WWW.BOBCAT.EU

DMMP Limited has announced a new Magnum spreader which has joined the Leicestershirebased company’s

In response to customer demand, Tracmaster has added a new smaller salt spreader in 2013, the PLS 50 Salt Spreader that can be used in conjunction with its entire range of BCS two-wheel tractors, BCS Crusader Power Scythes and BCS Commanders and is ideal for salting narrow pathways, both before and

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The new Little Wonder hydrostatic brush cutter is just what you need for dealing with the rough and tough weeds, brambles and brush. The Hydro BRC-24 combines rugged design with advanced features, not least the hydrostatic drive for ease of operation and reduced fatigue for the operator. Engage

the hydrostatic transaxle in forward for speeds up to 4.2mph (6.75kmh) and 2.6mph (4.18kmh) in reverse. Whichever way you’re travelling there’s a 28in (71.1cm) cutter deck with a reversible 24in (70cm) blade to rip through sapling growth up to 2in (5cm) thick. WWW.LITTLEWONDER.UK.COM

If you’re looking for a versatile machine that can take snowploughs, blowers, brushes and spreaders, then take a look at Goldoni’s range of two-wheel tractors from CTM. More weight, more power, more grip – wellbalanced tractors that makes snow

stable of expert winter tools and machinery. The new spreader is simple to use, maintain and store so will have a positive impact on the way many organisations deal with ice and snow this

clearance a doddle. One tractor unit can drive 50+ different implements, making it a versatile tractor that can be used all year round. CTM are offering some great deals this winter on their Goldoni two-wheel tractors. WWW.CTM-LTD.CO.UK

winter. The Magnum Poly Insert Spreader sits neatly on the back of a three-quarter or one ton pick-up and effortlessly deals with the issue of spreading salt when ice and snow is expected. WWW.DMMP.CO.UK

after snowfalls. Whether Astroturf, car parks, paths, driveways or access roads, Tracmaster’s snow clearance machinery tackles snow and ice in four ways; from gritting surfaces and pushing aside and sweeping snow, to throwing and propelling it up to 16m away. WWW.TRACMASTER.CO.UK

Emak UK’s Bertolini 411/9H Professional Rotary Cultivator is a machine that can handle any type of terrain – even in wet conditions. Extremely versatile and safe with a differential lock, it stands out for its strength and easy handling and can be fitted with a wide range of accessories to meet the specific needs of each user. It has a Honda GX 270 OHV, 8hp engine with six speed transmission, height and width adjustable handlebars and independent brakes on each wheel. WWW.EMAK.CO.UK WWW.MYBERTOLINI.COM

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Equipment

MOWERS VIKING MB 4 RT and MB 4 RTP mulch mowers offer straightforward practicality for hard-working use. Efficient mowing performance gives a neat and clean cut, with finely mulched clippings deposited deep in the lawn. The MB 4 RTP is a particularly tough professional with an extra powerful engine for contractor use. This 53cm cut width model has single-speed front wheel drive, 5-stage central height adjustment, and its easy-start SmartChoke makes it easy to use right from the off. WWW.VIKINGMOWERS.CO.UK

John Deere is expanding its range of walk-behind professional mowers with the new PRO 47V, a robust and flexible entry-level

The Hayter Harrier 56 Pro has been the first choice for landscapers and contractors for decades. Robust, vigorous and flexible, it easily tackles a variety of grassed areas. Maximum power is obtained from one of the new Briggs & Stratton EcoPlus™ engines which offer reduced

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The zero-turn range from Cub Cadet is ideal for maintaining large areas of turf, with the Z-Force S 48 operated by an adjustable steering wheel. The Syncro Steer  technology improves control giving the user stability and better results, benefitting professional users

Ransomes Spider remote controlled slope mowers are ideal for maintaining steep banks and inclines. As the operator has no physical contact

through sustained mowing power under tough conditions. Cub Cadet has expanded the zero-turn range to include the RZT- S42 powered by a Briggs & Stratton Engine offering the smallest cutting width of the range. Every centimetre of the Z Force S’s heavy-gauge,

with the machine, they can control the mower in complete safety. All machines in the range have

mower specifically designed for the needs of smaller landscaping businesses or as an additional machine for contractors. With a cutting width of 47cm, the handy PRO 47V is highly manoeuvrable even in difficult areas or around obstacles. The folding handle and compact size of the mower also

make it easy to transport, even in smaller vehicles. The new machine is light and easy to operate, and gives landscapers and contractors working in different conditions the performance and cutting quality of a true professional machine. WWW.JOHNDEERE.CO.UK

exhaust emissions that are at least 25 per cent lower than current European exhaust standards. The

split rear roller allows easy turning while achieving the English striped finish; a front bumper bar offers added deck protection and the Hayter friction disc system provides a lifetime guarantee against engine crankshaft bending. WWW.HAYTER.CO.UK

welded steel cutting deck has been engineered to ensure unsurpassed airflow, blade overlap and cut quality. WWW.CUBCADET.CO.UK

4-wheel drive and steering, enabling banks to be mown in any direction. Unlike some competitors’ tracked versions that use skid steering, Spider mowers have cleated tyres that significantly reduce ground disturbance. WWW.RANSOMESJACOBSEN.COM

Following this year’s successful launch of two radio-controlled tracked mowers, McMurtry Ltd have actively been demonstrating their benefits in reducing the risks associated with mowing sloped ground. Even a relatively gentle slope of 15° can be hazardous to an operator of a ride-on mower if there are unfavourable ground conditions such as wet grass or uneven surfaces. The hybrid RC-01 and RC-02 mowers provide a solution to this by allowing a remote operator to remove themselves from danger whilst performing mowing operations be they on fine turf or coarser vegetation. WWW.MCMURTRYLTD.CO.UK

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 15:05


Decking Longlife Decking

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18/11/2013 12:47 18/11/2013 13:40


Equipment

Tested

Makita 4-stroke blower Pro Landscaper magazine recently had the chance to test out the new Makita 4-stroke petrol back-pack blower, a new blower brought to the market. Russell Eales puts it through its paces, testing it in a number of different applications. Cubic capacity Engine Max Airflow

75.6 cc 4-stroke 19.5m³/min

Horsepower

3.75hp

Fuel tank capacity

1.9 litres

Vibration no load

2.5m/sec²

Net weight with pipes

10.8 kg

The blower comes in a large box, with all parts separate. Set up was relatively straightforward, slightly fiddly at points, but the instructions were easy enough to follow.The only tool needed to put the machine together is also supplied. The only thing that wasn’t clear was whether it came with oil already installed, so you will have to check this. Once set up was complete, the blower is of a pretty standard size and look. It is a good size; it’s easy to fit into a van or a corner of the garage, and has a great solid base to it which

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Makita Tested.indd 77

keeps it sturdy and upright. The 4-stroke engine really helps in terms of starting the machine. A half pull on the cord was usually enough, and it was good to go.This is one of the advantages on the 4-stroke technology over the 2-stroke. I would say that the blower is a bit on the heavy side, but the padded shoulder harness and backrest meant that once it was on, the support was fantastic and the weight was not a problem at all. In fact, I tested it non-stop for two and a half hours and had no pain, just the regular aches that disappear after a minutes rest and a cup of tea! The straps were easily adjusted also, so this added to the comfort. One of the things I wanted to test out was the noise that a 4-stroke machine produces. I will say that as long as you have a pair of ear defenders, you will be fine. A 4-stroke engine doesn’t rev as high as a 2-stroke, so the noise is reduced. I did use this piece of kit at 8am in a residential area,

and I was comfortable in the knowledge that the noise wouldn’t disturb residents. Although the blower is slightly heavier that other models I have used, you don’t have the machine on your back as long, as the power and control means it takes less time to do the job. Some back-pack blowers I have used in the past have been so powerful it feels as though you are fighting to keep your arm from tearing off. With the Makita, the power was suitable enough to move leaves, grass debris and even small branches, sticks and acorns, but not so powerful that you were fighting to keep your arm intact. I could use this blower for a longer period of time that I could other brands before I got an achy arm. In terms of fuel efficiency and consumption, the 1.9 litre tank would allow roughly an hour of use at full revs, which is very good in comparison to the competition. One thing to mention is keep an eye on the oil level – the levels differ to 2-stroke levels in other machines. My apprentice also tested this machine, and for someone with very little experience, he also found it very comfortable and was able to use it for prolonged periods. In summary, I would definitely consider this blower when it comes to buying a new one. A very good machine for the job it does. I’d rate it an 8 out of 10.

December 2013

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People

THE

LITTLE INTERVIEW Anita Smith Anita Smith Designs www.anitasmithdesigns.com

A small insight into the world of other professionals from our wide and varied industry. If you’d like to appear in a future issue please email enquiries to editor@pro-landscaper.co.uk

Do you monitor your competitors’ progress? It is always important to monitor competitors and adapt to meet new trends.

Do you expect 2013 to be better than 2012? You should always aim and plan for next year to be better and more profitable than the last.

Describe yourself in three words. Honest, creative, happy.

What is the busiest time of year for you? Mid to late summer.

Best book you’ve ever read? To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

How is sustainability embedded within your business? Reuse as much as possible on site, use as much indigenous planting as possible, and rain harvesting.

Your most inspirational garden? RHS Wisley – always something new to see there.

What do you think the trends will be in 2013? Gardens that have an emphasis on growing your own food integrated within the design.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I work on a lot of community projects with sculptor Ruth Wheeler, bringing life to underused spaces in the local area.

Alastair Henderson Aralia Garden Design LLP www.aralia.org.uk

website that showcases what we can offer to both residential and commercial clients and that drives people towards us.

What is your most important piece of equipment? Vectorworks when I’m in the office, secateurs when I’m on site.

Describe yourself in three words. Enthusiastic, ambitious, perfectionist.

What is the busiest time of year for you? We seem to just be consistently busy, which is good.

What are your unfulfilled career ambitions? To design a classical English walled garden.

What do you think the trends will be in 2013? I like to see designers take an existing material, plant, or feature and use it in an unconventional, different or innovative way.

Best book you’ve ever read? The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono.

Do you monitor your competitors’ progress? Not meticulously. It’s useful to keep up speed on what others around you are doing, but not so much to distract your focus from what you are doing. How do you find new clients? Thankfully, they tend to find us! We have a strong

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Your most inspirational garden? The High Line, New York. Such an exemplary landscape for so many aspects of design and horticulture. What would people be surprised to learn about you? Last year I jumped out of a plane, and I plan to do it again!

Catherine Clancy Catherine Clancy Inspired Gardens www.catherineclancy.com Do you expect 2013 to be better than 2012? Financially about the same, but have worked on some more interesting projects in 2013, and doing some fun things with my business. Name one thing unique about your business. My courtyard garden designs. I make the best use of space/light in a typically small and under utilised garden. What is the busiest time of year for you? January to June. How important is social media as a means of communication with clients? Important in terms of generating awareness and communicating ideas. How do you find new clients? Though my website and via client and partner referrals, i.e. word of mouth. Describe yourself in three words. Creative, professional, pragmatic. What are your unfulfilled career ambitions? I would like to teach garden design, and write more articles, and get the opportunity to design a large challenging coastal garden. Best book you’ve ever read? His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Your most inspirational garden? Great Dixter, or any of Jinny Bloms gardens. What’s your favourite meal? Grilled squid (or any other fish) and fresh vegetables. What would people be surprised to learn about you? I bake great cakes.

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

20/11/2013 14:48


People

Alison Lockwood Natural Paving Products Ltd www.naturalpaving.co.uk What is your most important piece of equipment? iPhone – I go through two batteries a day and use it for absolutely everything. Name one thing unique about your business. We import stone from all over the world but unlike all of our competitors we actually own seven quarries in India. What do you think the trends/changes will be in 2013? This year we’ve seen a growing trend of people continuing their paving into the kitchen to create a sense of space and openness which I think will continue into next year.

Marc Stapleford Landscape Architect at M.U.D. Do you expect 2013 to be better than 2012? No, it’s been worse. What is your most important piece of kit? Pencil and notepad to record ideas. Name one thing unique about your business. Forward thinking cycle trail design, and new innovative sustainable landscape designs. Do you monitor your competitors’ progress? Not that much.

www.prolandscapermagazine.com

Little Interview.indd 79

Do you monitor your competitors’ progress? No! We look forward, not behind, we know the market and just keep giving great service. It’s the competitors that are constantly monitoring our progress. How do you find new clients? A high proportion of business is repeat or word of mouth. Describe yourself in three words. Loyal, approachable, knowledgeable. Best book you’ve ever read? Furious Love by Nancy Schoenberger and Sam Kashner; it’s the story of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s marriage.

What is the busiest time of year for you? Winter and the spring – everybody wants designs for spring! How is sustainability embedded within your business? It’s very important as we have a high commission rate for recycling old materials that can be implemented into client’s outdoor spaces. Describe yourself in three words. Big, bright, bonkers. What are your unfulfilled career ambitions? To design a world standard mountain bike trail and own it; and ride it as well!

Your most inspirational garden? Small private estate in the Chilterns designed by Jo Alderson Phillips and constructed by Rob Jones of The Garden Design Co Ltd. What would people be surprised to learn about you? I’m a petrol head and love F1 and MotoGP. We won a competition to go to the Valencia Moto GP, full VIP treatment and got to meet Valentino Rossi and the other riders. Totally awesome. If you could be any Superhero – who would it be? Bionic Woman. She had a strengthened right arm which would help me lift all the stone I move around, plus she could run 60mph which would be a help some days and lastly she had amplified hearing – always useful!

Best book you’ve ever read? The Hungry Caterpillar. Your most inspirational garden? Roberto Burle Marx’s Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. What’s your favourite meal? Steak and chips. Your dream job? To design, ride and test mountain bike trails all week long and get paid a comfortable living, plus perks! What would people be surprised to learn about you? My kindness and warm heart.

December 2013

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Jobs Assistant Estimator Carrier Landscapes

JOBS

Carrier Landscapes Ltd Have a full time permanent vacancy for an Assistant Estimator, to help with tendering projects. Responsible to the Estimator, and directors. Would suit a graduate. Main responsibilities include carrying out tenders as set out with quantity and specification information, as specified by the client, to pursue leads with new and existing clients, and gain a professional relation to the client, to evolve new business.

For full details on all jobs, please go to www.prolandscapermagazine.com and click on the ‘Jobs’ section. Call 01903 234 077 or email hortijobs@eljays44.com with your vacancy.

For more details please go to www.prolandscapermagazine.com and click on the ‘Jobs’ section.

Landscape team leader

Contract Manager

Creative Landscapes Location: Worcestershire

The Landscape Group Location: Petersfield

Creative Landscapes are a Gold medal winning Landscape Company that specialises in domestic garden design and build. We have our own 15 acre nursery and unique landscape show gardens near Kidderminster north Worcestershire. We have been established for over 30 years and are seen as the leading company in the midlands and surrounding areas. We are looking for a competent and motivated hands-on team leader, with at least three years’ skills in brickwork, stone work, patios, fencing etc. Must have driving licence.This position is permanent to the right candidate.

An opportunity has arisen for a Contract Manager to be part of The Landscape Group Winchester and East Hants team.This role is responsible for managing the day to day contract activities including but not limited to programming and delivering the scheduled work, managing and motivating the team, identifying and pricing additional works and managing costs within budget. Building and maintaining a positive relationship with internal and external stakeholders is a crucial part of the role.

For more details please go to www.prolandscapermagazine.com and click on the ‘Jobs’ section.

For more details please go to www.prolandscapermagazine.com and click on the ‘Jobs’ section.

Assistant Contract Manager

Assistant Projects Manager

We are looking for a bright, energetic Junior Manager to be part of The Landscape Group team at our Warwick contract, based at this iconic location.This would be an ideal opportunity for an ambitious self-starter to take the first step into contract management. This role provides a great opportunity for an aspiring, self-motivated individual with a positive attitude, great communication and natural leadership qualities to develop this team to excellent levels of grounds maintenance operational performance.

Established commercial landscaping company seeks an Assistant Projects Manager. Applications are invited from candidates who are currently employed at supervisory/ management level and who are experienced in commercial soft landscaping projects. Suitable horticulture qualification and computer skills essential.Thorough understanding of H&S regulations and excellent communication skills desired.

For more details please go to www.prolandscapermagazine.com and click on the ‘Jobs’ section.

For more details please go to www.prolandscapermagazine.com and click on the ‘Jobs’ section.

Soft Landscaper/ Grower

Contract Manager

The Landscape Group Location: Warwick

Horticruitment Location: Hampshire

Creative Landscapes Location: Worcestershire

The Landscape Group Location: Isle of Wight

Creative Landscapes are looking for a competent and motivated hands on soft landscaper/ grower to work on our nursery and to plant out our landscape projects once our hard landscapers have finished. Must have at least three years skills in nursery work plus pruning, planting, turf laying and must have excellent plant knowledge. Must have driving licence. This position is permanent to the right candidate.

There are two roles: one will focus on clients in London and south eastern counties and the other will require travel throughout the UK entailing overnight stays away from home. Good all round horticultural knowledge combined with ‘hands on’ approach and the ability to work at height essential. Good knowledge of irrigation systems and plant feeding systems desirable. Applicants must have a horticultural qualification, chemical spray certificate and, essentially, a clean driving licence.

For more details please go to www.prolandscapermagazine.com and click on the ‘Jobs’ section.

For more details please go to www.prolandscapermagazine.com and click on the ‘Jobs’ section.

team leader

Landscape Architect

Andersplus

Hugo Bugg Location: Exeter

Team Leader sought for a newly established maintenance round based in the North of England. The ideal candidate will be based in Staffordshire as work is based there as well as Cheshire, Leicestershire, Shropshire, Merseyside, Derbyshire, with the potential for further expansion.This is a hands-on gardening role which will involve some solo working as well as supervising a team of up to four people. The majority of the role is hands-on gardening with a small proportion of the role involving planning, client liaison and organisation.

We are looking for a highly talented landscape architect to work in our multi-disciplinary studio in the heart of Exeter. Founded by Hugo Bugg, the firm consists of several consulting associates who bring unique backgrounds to our projects. Since our origins in 2010, HBL now work on projects internationally as well as in the UK. We work in all areas of professional design: residential, commercial, civic and institutional including the Royal Botanic Garden in Jordan and the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show.

For more details please go to www.prolandscapermagazine.com and click on the ‘Jobs’ section.

For more details please go to www.prolandscapermagazine.com and click on the ‘Jobs’ section.

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20/11/2013 14:59


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Classified

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LANDMARK Timber Products www.oxfordplanters.co.uk Providers of English Handcrafted Planters and Outdoor Furniture in Oak, Iroko or Accoya. Other services include a bespoke joinery service for all interior & exterior design. For more information email info@oxfordplanters.co.uk or call 01608 683022 For all horticultural and Garden design enquiries please contact Martin on 07765 188725 or email info@martincadams.co.uk

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For all your golf, sportsturf and landscape irrigation needs. Leaf collection units

Buy online at www.lws.uk.com Buy from manufacturers and save £££! Also big savings on pumps and filters! Why not visit our website!

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Autumn 2013 Autumn 2013 Price List Autumn 2013 Price List

45 Market Way, Pinchbeck, Spalding, 45 Market Way, Lincolnshire PE11 3PE Pinchbeck, Spalding, SPRING FLOWERING BULBS (Established 1951) Lincolnshire PE11 3PE Tel: 01775 723320 / 766028 Autumn 2013 D&R SIMMONS LTD Fax: 01775 723320 760451 // 766028 714970 45 Market Way, Tel: 01775 Price List Tel 0345 230 9697 • www.lws.uk.com Fax: 01775 760451 / 714970 Pinchbeck, Spalding, www.drsimmons.co.uk Suppliers of Bulbs Nursery Stock sales@drsimmons.co.uk Lincolnshire PE11 3PE e-mail: www.drsimmons.co.uk and Christmas Trees e-mail: sales@drsimmons.co.uk Tel: 01775 723320 / 766028 50Fax: 017752012 760451 / 714970 December www.prolandscapermagazine.com

D&R SIMMONS LTD

Suppliers of Bulbs

(Established 1951)

Suppliers of Stock Bulbs Price List Nursery

Nursery Stock and Christmas Trees Suppliers of Bulbs and Christmas Trees SPRING FLOWERING BULBS Nursery Stock www.drsimmons.co.uk www.prolandscapermagazine.com and Christmas Trees e-mail: sales@drsimmons.co.uk QP advert templates.indd 19 18/06/2013 15:02 Autumn 2013 D&R SIMMONS LTD Price List 45 Market Way, 45 Market Way, Pinchbeck, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 3PE Tel: 01775 723320 / 766028 Fax: 01775 760451 / 714970 www.drsimmons.co.uk e-mail: sales@drsimmons.co.uk

December 2013

83

(Established 1951)

Classified.inddPinchbeck, 83 Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 3PE

20/11/2013 11:06


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18/11/2013 10:56

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Pro Landscaper December 2013  

Pro Landscaper December 2013  

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