THE URBAN NATURE PROJECT
LETâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S HEAR IT FROM
Your monthly insight into the industry
small project BIG IMPACT Awards
Martin Shaw, Walmsley Shaw
Lee Bestall on how hiring has changed
E IR U Y Q DA EN TO
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W E LCO M E W
We must also congratulate the shortlist and winners of Pro Landscaper’s small project BIG IMPACT Awards. We couldn’t be prouder of you all for the fabulous projects you are producing on such tight budgets – special congratulations to the Supreme Winner of 2020, Landtech Landscape, for its Italian Sanctuary garden. Although it would have been preferable to host the awards live in person, we hope you enjoyed the online version. Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation – Class of 2020 are now fully inducted into our Hall of Fame and we look forward to following their careers into the future. Well done everyone! Though we all really enjoyed the experience of FutureScape VIRTUAL 2020, we hope that the exciting news of a COVID-19 vaccination will mean we will all be able to meet up in early 2021. Thank you all for your continuing support this year and we wish you all a safe and relaxing Christmas.
JIM & LISA
IT WAS A SHINING EXAMPLE OF THE INDUSTRY COMING TOGETHER IN WHAT HAS BEEN AN UNPRECEDENTED YEAR
elcome to the December issue of Pro Landscaper. Well, where do we begin? Not only was FutureScape VIRTUAL 2020 a massive industry success, with an attendance of more than 3,000 individuals across the three days, but more importantly it was a shining example of the industry coming together in what has been an unprecedented year. The content of the seminars, the knowledge of the speakers and the interaction of the visitors goes to prove the amazing knowledge and in-depth understanding in our sector. The wide range of topics again showed the diversity of the sector, but maybe more importantly the camaraderie; the willingness to share experiences and knowledge openly is a real testament of our industry acting as one. On another note, we are extremely pleased that the seminars have all been recorded and will be available via our website – so hopefully more people can view them and be inspired. I am also really pleased to announce that the new technology worked – well, most of the time anyway (a couple of times there was an element of user error – sorry)!
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
08 12 13 15 22 24 27 30 32 33 37 4
News Our monthly roundup of industry news 30 Under 30 Statistics Analysing six years of awards
43 46 50 53 55 56
Deck the Halls Indoor Garden Design Sunken Success Langdale Landscapes Exotic Exterior April House Garden Design Putting Play as a Priority Tim Gill Paving Six suppliers share some insight Landscape & Architecture in Harmony FCB Studios
FutureScape VIRTUAL 2020 Seminars, speakers and success
small project BIG IMPACT Shortlist announced Future Projects Urban Nature Project, London Let’s Hear It From Martin Shaw, Walmsley Shaw The Attenborough Effect Adam White Learning to Play the Piano Andrew Wilson Illuminating the Problem Ben West Nene Park Peterborough’s rewilding project
UK Landscape Barometer The stats for September
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
61 64 65 66 68 69 71
Feature Garden The Beth Chatto Garden Bringing Biosecurity Back Nick Coslett Talking Trees Rob Petrow Not all Containers are Equal Steve McCurdy A Drop in the Ocean Lewis Normand Nursery Focus Van den Berk Nurseries Introducing Meadowscape Pro™ Wildflower Turf
D EC E M B E R 2 0 2 0 E D U C AT E 75 76 77 78 79 80 81
Five Tips for Creating a 5-Star Customer Experience Alison Warner Considering a Contractor Ilan Braha and Jason McKenzie of Oracle Solicitors
Rethinking Recruitment Lee Bestall The Writing’s on the Wall Angus Lindsay Gritting is Going Green Modern winter maintenance Inside Vestre Learn more about how this ‘green’ company operates Best of British The Traditional Company
87 DECEMBER 2O20
85 86 87 90
THE URBAN NATURE PROJECT
Out & About Richmond Park 30 Under 30 Update Giorgo Daniel Love Horticulture Andrew Duff Little Interviews Questions with the individuals who make up our industry
LET’S HEAR IT FROM
Your monthly insight into the industry
small project BIG IMPACT Awards
Martin Shaw, Walmsley Shaw
Lee Bestall on how hiring has changed
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
Wishing you all good health, happiness and a prosperous 2021 Thank you to all our customers, suppliers and friends in the industry for your support this year. Whatever challenges 2021 brings, we look forward to working with you to create beautiful landscapes. • Over 25 years servicing the landscaping and forestry industries • Professional advice and technical know-how • Vast stock holding capabilities • Next day delivery • Competitive pricing • Excellent customer care
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CO N T R I B U TO R S Andrew Wilson The landscape industry is one of few that thrived in lockdown, which is great for business but not for freeing up time for other projects and goals at home. Andrew Wilson ponders his personal to-do list which has been shoved to the side thanks to a hefty workload, and how it’s important to ensure we take regular breaks.
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ADAM WHITE P30
NICK COSLETT P64
Tim Gill implores us to design spaces with children in mind, explaining how this can be done and the vast range of benefits this can provide which are not just mental and physical but environmental too. He gives inspired examples from cities where child-friendly, sustainable spaces are being created.
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LEWIS NORMAND P68
Rob Petrow Rob Petrow considers the solutions for designing more sustainable spaces in our cities, from increased cycle lanes to community growing schemes. He focuses on the role trees can play in creating areas which are more resilient to climate change but says there are pitfalls of which designers need to be aware.
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ALISON WARNER P75
ORACLE SOLICITORS P76
Preparing for a particularly chilly winter, Ground Control is aware of the environmental impact its snow clearing and gritting operations could have, so the grounds maintenance company is striving to lower its carbon footprint with new trials, which winter maintenance director Ian Morehouse tells us more about.
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Pro Landscaper / December 2020
PEABODY LAUNCHES GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE FRAMEWORK
eabody, one of London’s oldest housing associations, has launched its Green Infrastructure Framework – ‘Living in the Landscape’ – which captures its strategic approach to managing and utilising the blue and green spaces of Thamesmead. The framework sets out five themes: • The big blue – to see the full potential of Thamesmead’s lakes and canals realised. • Wilder Thamesmead – maintaining and creating habitat for wildlife. • A productive landscape – the landscape is used to educate to learning environmental skills such as food growing. • Active Thamesmead – enjoying an active lifestyle which improves people’s health and wellbeing. • Connected Thamesmead – improving the connectivity within Thamesmead and into central London.
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
Dr Phil Askew, director of landscape and placemaking said: “There’s nowhere in London with the amount of green spaces and waterways than in Thamesmead – we have more than double the amount of green space per person than the London average. ‘Living in the Landscape’ underpins everything we do within Thamesmead’s rich landscape. We’re invested for the long-term and we will maintain and enhance the town now and for future generations. “Our blue and green spaces have a crucial role to play – whether it’s improving connectivity so people can walk, run and cycle between different neighbourhoods (which in turn has positive effects on people’s health and wellbeing), addressing climate change or in a post pandemic world what the future of urban development and city living will look like. We are pioneering the way and creating a sustainable new town for London where people want to live.” ‘Living in the Landscape’ was commissioned by Peabody from a team led by LDA Design. www.thamesmeadnow.org.uk
RHS RECEIVES RECORD £1.8M DONATION TO GARDEN
he Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has announced the receipt of a £1.8m gift from retired Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist Dr Lee Kai Hung DL to RHS Garden Bridgewater. The donation comes as the charity begins the six-month countdown to the grand opening of the garden on 11 May 2021. Representing the largest single gift from an individual to RHS Garden Bridgewater, the funds will go towards the horticultural and landscape development of the garden, as well as promoting the art, heritage and culture of Chinese gardening within the local community and beyond. The RHS now has £1.2m remaining to raise before opening. In particular, Dr Lee’s donation will support the development of the Chinese Streamside Garden at RHS Garden Bridgewater, a key feature of the 154-acre garden which connects the historic lake beneath the Nesfield Terraces to the new lake beside the Welcome Building. Dr Lee is Chair of the Chinese Streamside Garden Founding Committee, which is raising the first £500k towards the creation of the Chinese Streamside Garden. RHS director general Sue Biggs says: “This incredible and inspirational gift from Dr Lee not only enables the RHS to develop a unique fusion of British and Chinese horticulture and people within RHS Garden Bridgewater, but so much more besides. As part of our commitment to engage with our local community at every level, these vital funds will also be used to recruit additional staff to help achieve this aim. We are enormously grateful to Dr Lee for his generosity and vision in helping us create this horticultural legacy for all the people of Greater Manchester and beyond.” www.rhs.org.uk
TWO LANDSCAPING COMPANIES NAMED IN LIST OF UK’S FASTEST GROWING SMES
illericay-based Ground Control and Windlesham-based Nurture Landscapes have both been recognised in the London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2020’. The report recognises the UK’s fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized businesses, highlighting the regional and sector diversity of the UK’s SMEs and the entrepreneurial spirit shown by these companies. To be featured in the report, businesses had to demonstrate strong revenue growth over the last three years and outperform their sector peers, creating a unique list of the UK’s most innovative SMEs. David Schwimmer, CEO of the London Stock
Exchange Group, says: “This report highlights the vital role of SMEs in driving economic growth, leading innovation and providing jobs across the UK. In this challenging year for businesses, it is more important than ever to shine a light on these stories of resilience and entrepreneurship. The success of UK SMEs is crucial as we rebuild a post-COVID-19 economy, and London Stock Exchange Group is committed to helping growth companies achieve their potential.” www.1000companies.com
PRIME MINISTER OUTLINES 10-POINT PLAN FOR ‘GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION’
he Prime Minister has set out his ambitious 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution which will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs. Covering clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies, the Prime Minister’s blueprint will allow the UK to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050, particularly crucial in the run up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year. The plan will mobilise £12bn of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs in the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030. The Prime Minister’s 10 points, which are built around the UK’s strengths, include protecting and restoring our natural
environment, planting 30,000ha of trees every year, whilst creating and retaining thousands of jobs. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, I haven’t lost sight of our ambitious plans to level up across the country. My Ten Point Plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050. “Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.” www.gov.uk
NEWS IN BRIEF FIVE FINALISTS REVEALED FOR UK’S NEW PARK IN THE SKY Following a two-month international design competition, Camden Highline has announced a shortlist of five finalists drawn from the 76 entries to deliver the newest park in the capital. The charity is searching to find the studio that can realise its ambitious vision of converting 1.1km of disused railway into a new green link, bridging Camden Town and King’s Cross. www.camdenhighline.com
INDUSTRY COMMITTED TO BETTER COLLABORATION ON PEAT USE The horticulture industry and government have welcomed data that shows further decreases in the percentage of peat used in growing media, acknowledging its importance to the sector. For the first time since the data has been recorded, it shows the amount of peat contained in growing media is less than 50%. www.hta.org.uk
GREEN-TECH CHOOSES HENSHAWS AS CHARITY TO SUPPORT IN 2021 Green-tech has announced its intention to make Henshaws its charity of choice for 2021. Each year, staff members take it in turns to choose a charity for the company to support and Henshaws has been selected for next year. Henshaws works with those living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities. www.green-tech.co.uk
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
TIVOLI EXTENDS RELATIONSHIP WITH WEST LINDSEY DISTRICT COUNCIL
WHAT DOES A SECOND LOCKDOWN MEAN FOR THE INDUSTRY?
Ahead of the second national lockdown coming into force on 5 November through to 2 December, we asked the industry what challenges it will have to overcome and how businesses were preparing. www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ what-does-a-second-lockdown-meanfor-the-industry
CONFERENCE WITH CLIMATE CHANGE AT ITS CORE
With the SGD Autumn Conference held on 21 November, we spoke to chair Mark Laurence, the SGD council member for sustainability to find out what visitors could expect from the event, which is still available to view. www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ conference-with-climate-change-at-its-core
THE WEIRD AND THE WONDERFUL – SPOOKY PLANTS FOR HALLOWEEN
est Lindsey District Council has extended its grounds maintenance contract with Tivoli for a further year. The contract will now run until the end of January 2022. Tivoli’s teams have been working with West Lindsey District Council since 2011, and the current contract commenced in 2014. Grounds maintenance services delivered by Tivoli include grass cutting, flower/shrub/rose bed maintenance, memorial inspections, and the provision of hanging baskets for open spaces, churchyards, cemeteries, and ornamental areas across the district. The district of West Lindsey covers 447 square miles of the area immediately north of Lincoln and is predominantly rural, with three attractive market towns of Caistor, Gainsborough and Market Rasen. Anna Grieve, West Lindsey District Council business development officer, says: “We would like to thank Tivoli for the services already
BIGGEST EVER NATIONWIDE INITIATIVE TO RESTORE NATURE IN ENGLAND LAUNCHES
n the first of its kind, an England-wide initiative has been launched to recover nature across the UK. It is the biggest initiative to restore nature ever to be launched in England. The Nature Recovery Network (NRN) Delivery Partnership, led by Natural England, brings together representatives
Bookmark this exclusive article for next year. Not all Halloween decorations need to be fake spider webs and witches’ hats. Ian Drummond of Indoor Garden Design provides six suggestions. www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ the-weird-and-the-wonderful-sixspooky-plants-for-halloween/ from more than 600 organisations to drive forward the restoration of protected sites and landscapes and help provide at least 500,000ha of new wildlife-rich habitat across England from doorstep to landscape, as set out in the government’s 25-Year Environment Plan.
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
delivered under this contract, and look forward to a continuing relationship between now and the conclusion.” Spencer Rock, Tivoli chief operations officer, says: “Tivoli is delighted to have secured this contract for a further year. We understand the importance of sustaining high standards of grounds maintenance across local authorities, particularly at present, and we will continue to deliver a high-quality service to West Lindsey District Council.” www.tivoliservices.com
The partners, alongside Defra, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission, will be providing a wide range of support including funding and land to be restored. Natural England is calling for even more organisations to be part of the initiative. As well as making sure our existing protected sites are in the best possible condition, the Nature Recovery Network programme will recover threatened animal and plant species and create and connect new green and blue spaces. It will engage conservation rangers and environmentally focused community-based projects and put lost features like hedgerows and trees back into our landscapes. These restored habitats will help address climate change through capturing carbon, while improving the quality of our air, water, and soil, and provide natural flood protection. They will also provide us all with places to enjoy and connect with nature and helping to improve our health and wellbeing. www.gov.uk
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THERE HAS BEEN A TOTAL OF
IN SIX YEARS
HAVE ATTENDED THE
30 UNDER 30:
81 ENTRIES PER YEAR
AWARDS CEREMONIES OVER THE YEARS
THE OLDEST AVERAGE AGE OF WINNER HAPPENED IN 2017, WHEN THE AVERAGE AGE WAS
INDIVIDUAL 30 UNDER 30: THE NEXT GENERATION
HAVE BEEN PRINTED
OVER THE YEARS
HAVE OWNED THEIR OWN
WE HAVE RECEIVED AN AVERAGE OF
THE NEXT GENERATION
THERE HAVE BEEN
THE YOUNGEST AVERAGE AGE OF WINNER OCCURRED IN 2019, WHEN THE AVERAGE AGE WAS
THE YOUNGEST WINNER IS LEON CHAPPELL OF KIRMAN DESIGN. LEON WAS 18 WHEN HE WON IN 2020
445 MILES BETWEEN
THE TWO FURTHEST AWAY WINNERS
OF ALL WINNERS
HAVE BEEN LANDSCAPERS WORKING ON THE TOOLS
OF ALL WINNERS
WORK IN THE LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE SECTOR
LOOKING BACK AT THE LAST SIX YEARS SINCE WE FIRST LAUNCHED PRO LANDSCAPER’S 30 UNDER 30: THE NEXT GENERATION, WE WERE ASTOUNDED BY SOME OF THE NUMBERS. HERE ARE A FEW WE’VE PULLED OUT
77% 23% 2 1% OF ALL WINNERS
H AV E B E E N
OF ALL WINNERS
G R O U N DS
H AV E B E E N
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
30 Under 30 Statistics.indd 12
OF WINNERS ARE
D ES I G N E RS
WORKED IN THE
Headline sponsor IN WHAT HAS BEEN AN UNPRECEDENTED YEAR, FUTURESCAPE WENT VIRTUAL THIS YEAR – AND LUCKILY FOR US THE TECHNOLOGY WORKED. BUT ONCE AGAIN, FUTURESCAPE VIRTUAL 2020 SHOWED HOW THIS INDUSTRY CAN COME TOGETHER, WITH MORE THAN 3,000 INDIVIDUALS ATTENDING ACROSS THE THREE DAYS, 96 DIFFERENT SPEAKERS AND 86 EXHIBITORS.
here was a huge range of topics which once again showed the diversity of the sector, and perhaps more importantly how open and willing it is to share experiences, knowledge and advice – a demonstration of our industry acting as one. Amongst many other topics, we’ve covered mental health, the impact of the pandemic and sustainability. We’ve interviewed some of the biggest companies in the industry, including Rosebank Landscaping, Willerby Landscapes and Landform Consultants. And we’ve had a range of ‘Great Debates’ on plants, soil, and decking. The seminars have all been recorded and are available on www.futurescapevirtual.com for the next 12 months – so hopefully more people can view and be inspired.
The Pro Landscaper Summit
For the highlight of the FutureScape VIRTUAL calendar, we were honoured that the Right Honourable Christopher Pincher – MP Minister of State at The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – opened The Pro Landscaper Summit. This year, the event focused on how the sectors, as well as businesses and business owners, will operate over the next few years – what are the big changes coming? What do companies need to do to survive and thrive? And where will the funding come from both in the commercial sector and the domestic market? Watch the seminar on our website to find out what our panellists – Marian Barker of Fresh Horticultural Careers, David Dodd of The Outdoor Room, Tim Howell of Mitie Landscapes, garden designer Juliet Sargeant and John Wyer of Bowles and Wyer – have to say.
FS Review.indd 13
small project BIG IMPACT Awards 2020
The winners of this year’s small project small project BIG IMPACT BIG IMPACT AWARDS were announced over a virtual ceremony at FutureScape VIRTUAL. These awards, back for a third year, celebrate and reward those projects within a £25,000 budget – the smaller, but no less important, schemes. This year’s Supreme Winner, the winner with the highest total score when the judge’s scored were added up, was Landtech Landscape for its Italian Sanctuary Garden. You can find the full list of winners on page 22.
Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation
Ahead of The Pro Landscaper Summit, the class of 2020 were virtually presented with their 30 Under 30: The Next Generation awards. The initiative, sponsored by Green-tech, is now in its sixth year, and aims to recognise, reward, and promote the rising stars in the UK’s landscaping industry. This year, we had our youngest winner at just 18 years’ old, and sustainability and climate change were high on the agenda from all the entries, as was a real get-up-and-go attitude.
Pro Landscaper / December 2020 13
E R R A IN M SE
EW I V
Pro Landscaper Theatre Future of Design and Build Should design and build be offered under one company? Or should they be kept separate? What are the pros and cons of both? Our panellists – garden designer Rosemary Coldstream, David Dodd of The Outdoor Room, Pete Jones of Land Design Partnership and James Scott of The Garden Co – tackled the topic. Diversity in Landscaping The panel – garden designers Manoj Malde, Jacquie FelixMitchell and Claire Vokins, and landscape architect Sarah Jones-Morris – explored how the sector can become more diverse and the steps to achieve this, and also why this is so important for the industry and what has perhaps prevented it from being more progressive. Landscape Industry Post COVID-19 The sector has boomed over the last few months, but will this continue? How will the domestic and commercial markets fare? Find out what our array of industry experts think – John Melmoe, Richard Kay of Green-tech, Phil Jones of Cultura Group, Tom Williams of Maydencroft, Helena Pettit of the RHS and garden designer Helen Elks-Smith.
Green Theatre Getting the Soil Right when Planting The UK’s topsoil expert Tim O’Hare discusses four key areas which are commonly misunderstood and which can cause issues either at the design or construction stage, including soil pH and how it influences species selection. The Great Soil Debate Chair Jim Wilkinson speaks with a panel of experts – soil scientist Tim O’Hare, Drew Wetherell of Bourne Amenity, Andy Spetch of British Sugar TOPSOIL, Mark Wood of Green-tech and John Coles of Bury Hill Landscape Supplies. Soil is at the heart of almost all landscaping projects, are we choosing the correct soil for the right price in the right environment? Gardens with Nature at Heart Esteemed plantsman Lewis Normand and a panel of respected garden designers – Jilayne Rickards, Matthew Childs, Charlotte Rowe and Ben West of Landscaping Solutions – discussed their thoughts on creating a wildlife-friendly garden and how to encourage clients to keep the garden wildlife-friendly after sign-off.
FutureScape Theatre Battersea Power Station project The Battersea Power Station project is delved into, with input and discussion from the landscape architect, designers and contractors involved – Andy Sturgeon, Thomas O’Mahony, Liam Hawkins, Benjamin Walker, Matt Ainscow and Sarah Banham. This is one of the biggest landscaping projects in central London that this market has seen in a while and the prestigious panel had a lot to talk about.
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
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RHS Wisley project The RHS is building the UK’s first ever dedicated scientific centre of excellence at its flagship garden Wisley as part of a huge regeneration scheme. We spoke to those involved in one of the most exciting landscaping projects being undertaken – Mark Gregory of Landform Consultants, Matt Keightley of Rosebank Landscaping, Ann-Marie Powell, and Matthew Pottage and Alistair Griffiths of the RHS.
One-to-One with Dr Marcus Watson Dr Marcus Watson, managing director of Ground Control, talks about his predictions for the future of the industry during these uncertain times. With some experts claiming that this is the most significant economic impact in the last 300 years, Marcus makes parallels from the Second World War and the Napoleonic War, explaining that the borrowing as a percentage of GDP is significantly lower as is the destruction of assets – and, more importantly, that we overcame it before, and we can do it again.
ello and welcome back to another UK Landscape Barometer. This is the second of an ongoing look at how the market is performing against last year. Thank you for your feedback and comments, which were both positive and constructive, from last monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s findings. This is a long-term project that will continue to grow and develop as more companies become involved and we gather historical data. This month, we will be focusing on September 2020 compared to September 2019 on many of the same indicators as last month. These will include confidence, turnover, enquiries, quotes, projects, and full-time staff. We will be back again next month but, for now, let us review the results and responses from businesses in September.
Please note that all statistics are based on those surveyed and compare September 2020 to September 2019, with the exception of confidence; confidence is compared at the time of survey to the same time last year.
COMPANIES MORE CONFIDENT LAST MONTH THIS MONTH 31%
COMPANIES LESS CONFIDENT LAST MONTH THIS MONTH 30%
UK Landscape Barometer-2.indd 15
Pro Landscaper / December 2020 15
NATIONAL VS LAST YEAR CONFIDENCE
Higher No response
Higher No response
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
UK Landscape Barometer-2.indd 16
If you would like the full report or would like to contribute to the UK Landscape Barometer moving forward, please send an email to Joshua Chew on Joshua.firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call on 01903 777570.
NURSERIES • With the announcement of the month-long lockdown, there was a big rush of orders before Thursday [5 November]. Many people do not think the lockdown will be lifted [on 2 December] but be extended. • There’s a significant increase in sales to local authorities over the same period last year (circa 40%), as well as a significant increase in customers stating ‘must be UK-grown trees’. • New hedges from Poland and Belgium, thin stock levels. There [are] big shortages of everything, really. So many cancelled summer orders as we did not have enough staff to handle the stock. Demand is up and stock is down.
GARDEN DESIGN • More people looking for advice only. • People who had enquired a long time ago and had put projects on hold have this year made them active. • There were so many enquiries in September that we had to stop taking on new clients. • People are looking to improve their gardens as they spent more time in them over lockdown. Many people see that they will be doing more work from home in the longer term and so want a nicer garden. • More enquiries this autumn, good jobs. People improving homes instead of travelling. Retiring early.
TURNOVER 17% 33%
Lower Equal No response
UK Landscape Barometer-2.indd 17
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
COMMERCIAL LANDSCAPING CONFIDENCE
PROJECTS 9% 27%
Lower Higher No response
Pro Landscaper / December 2020
UK Landscape Barometer-2.indd 18
Commercial landscaping • Work is being bought by companies to secure a forward order book. The percentage we are out on price is 3 to 5% normally. Currently, we have lost projects recently by as much as 23%. • Delays on projects are still evident. There is a knock-on effect from trades working in front of us which then delays works on site. It has now become apparent that this will remain the same until early 2021. There has also been an increase in positive COVID tests amongst teams; this could well be due to an increase in testing compared to previous lockdown and previous months. • Significant concern of second lockdown or extensive local lockdowns and impact on business. • There has been a marked increase in the last month in activity from customers and a definite will on their part to speed up award and completion of projects. • A month-by-month comparison is maybe not the best as (for us) there can be exceptions in any particular month – a job overrunning, one large contract being completed. A quarterly comparison would perhaps give a more reliable indicator. Design and build • We are noticing shortage of site labour resources. We are also noticing disruption to supply chains, especially on imported goods. • Seems to be quite a positive feeling about landscaping. Last recession, the landscaping industry was delayed in being hit. No signs of slowing down at the moment. Last lockdown they kept operating. They stopped immediately in first 24 hours; however, clients asked them to continue. They only stopped projects that required the team to travel on public transport, and hospitality projects as can’t work on those. Same with this lockdown as last – clients and teams want to continue works. A good indicator would be from recruitment companies finding out about skilled workers. Last recession their team grew, and they operated on smaller profit margins with more work. This time, no skilled applicants. Might be plenty of unskilled, but none from within the industry. • [Commercial] has really [slowed] down after August with levels of enquiries, whereas domestic has substantially increased since lockdown and ever since on high enquiries. • We have noticed significant increase in enquiries and design commissions in recent months but are yet to find out what the conversion to build contracts will be. Domestic landscaping • Things are very buoyant and we have noticed a marked increase in enquiries; it remains to be seen whether this is short-lived and how the recession caused by the pandemic will impact the industry in the medium to long term. We do feel that with higher unemployment, people will be willing to retrain, and the new attraction to working outside may help the industry address some of the longstanding issues around lack of skilled and semi-skilled labour in the industry. • I see the industry to be in a good place for the next six months and things will remain as buoyant as they are now in my opinion. • People didn’t go on holiday over summer so had holiday money to spend on their gardens. Usual down period after summer did not happen this year. • Still a current wave of interest; I think that may decline after, say, March – depends on events. Current lead time: short term availableish but busy all next year.
DESIGN AND BUILD
TURNOVER 25% 50%
STAFF 25% 50%
UK Landscape Barometer-2.indd 19
Pro Landscaper / December 2020 19
4 MONTHS 67%
The average lead time for design and build companies is
100% 16% There were about
more projects this September
Most nurseries are less confident now than last year with
Commercial landscapers were the only sector where the majority of respondents had a decrease in turnover with
75% 73% stating so
of companies in the Midlands are less confident now than they were this time last year. Despite this, 78% responded as having a higher turnover in September. Those in Scotland and the North are working on
more projects on average
20 Pro Landscaper / December 2020
UK Landscape Barometer-2.indd 20
Turnover in commercial landscaping in the South fell by
of the respondents in Scotland and the North reduced their full-time staff numbers
of the industry is more confident this September
of nurseries have a higher turnover this September compared to last
Turnover for design and build companies fell by
Garden designers in Scotland and the North are working on
On average, enquiries rose by
more projects on average
Turnover in domestic landscaping rose by
35% on average
of garden designers are more confident now than they were this time last year
of businesses have increased their full-time staff
Design and build companies in the South had on average,
30% more enquiries
Commercial landscaping companies are converting on average,
more enquiries to contracts
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The Urban Nature Project NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON
THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM IS REDEVELOPING FIVE ACRES OF GARDENS TO NOT ONLY TO IMPROVE THEIR BIODIVERSITY BUT TO CREATE AN URBAN NATURE MOVEMENT
n the heart of our capital, The Natural History Museum is creating a biodiversity hub. Already, in just a small part of the five-acre gardens, examples of woodland, grassland, scrub, heath, fen, aquatic, reedbed, hedgerow and urban UK habitat can all be found. In fact, around 3,400 species have been
History Museum’s iconic diplodocus – is not only responding to the urgent need to both will overlook the gardens. monitor and record changes to the UK’s urban The West Gardens will be a ‘model’ for urban nature but to a desperate need to reengage people nature, showcasing the abundance of with the natural world. biodiversity which can be found in the A powerful quote from Sir David UK’s habitats. This space will feature Attenborough will be featured in bronze an outdoor learning centre which will lettering, encapsulating the essence of be a platform for the museum’s this project: “The future of the natural national programme. Finally, the world, on which we all depend, is in South Kensington gardens will your hands.” host a living lab. Here, scientists, Sir David Attenborough has also visitors and volunteers can study commented on the project: “The Urban the changes in urban nature and Nature Project opens the door for young witness an exemplar for sustainable people to fall in love with the nature on urban nature. their doorsteps and develop a lifelong “Working in close collaboration concern for the world’s wild places. with Landscape Architects J & L Nature isn’t just nice to have, it’s the VOLUNTEERS Gibbons, we have enjoyed the linchpin of our very existence and challenge of bringing to life a walk ventures like the Urban Nature Project recorded over the years, some for the first through over 500 million years of the help the next generation develop the time. Throughout the redevelopment of these earth’s history,” director of Feilden strong connection with nature that gardens for the Urban Nature Project, scientists Fowles, Edmund Fowles tells us. “From is needed to protect it.” will be working carefully to ensure this current the pre-Cambrian era to the present Focusing on engaging diverse RECORDED IN THE biodiversity is protected and enhanced. day, translating vital messages about audiences who are least likely or able to The new gardens will be fully accessible, human’s impact on nature and the access nature, volunteer opportunities allowing everyone to take a journey through the role we all have to play in revitalising will be increased threefold via an changing world and the diversity of life urban biodiversity today.” outreach programme to neighbouring DELIVER ONE NEW on Earth. The East Gardens will tell the A huge part of the Urban Nature and diverse boroughs. There will also be TRAINEESHIP story of the Earth’s history, with plants Project will be about continuing the online, onsite and national monitoring AND TWO NEW and fossils reflecting each geographical scientific work the Museum is already programmes including an onsite APPRENTICESHIPS era giving visitors a undertaking. The project aims to education centre, a range of citizen COMPLETION IN chance to learn about develop the scientific tools to monitor science programmes and a scientific the profound impact and protect urban nature, drive ‘living lab’ where the museum’s existing humans have caused forward evidence-based nature scientific work will continue. in such a short time. conservation, pilot a range of Learning and volunteer programmes At its centre, a cast of innovative, cost effective technologies will provide opportunities for people learn the Dippy – the Natural and continue to research and tackle skills to engage with and protect urban nature, some key challenges. tackle the UK skills shortage KEY KEY 1. East Gardens With the natural world under in understanding and 5. Wildlife Garden 1. East Gardens 5. Wildlife Garden 2. Garden Cafe Building 2. Garden Cafe Building 6. Learning and Activity Centre 6. Learning and Activity Centre threat like never before, this project identifying UK wildlife, 3. Central Courtyard 7. DC Courtyard 3. Central Courtyard 7. DC Courtyard 4. West Lawn 4. West Lawn in partnership with The Prince’s Trust create training for youth workers and programmes for young people UK wide, and develop a new summer training
5 ACRES REACH
THE URBAN NATURE PROJECT OPENS THE DOOR FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO FALL IN LOVE WITH THE NATURE ON THEIR DOORSTEPS
30 TO 100
PRESENT & FUTURE
PRESENT & FUTURE
PRESENT & FUTURE
24 Pro Landscaper / December 2020
1. East Gardens
5. Wildlife Garden
2. Garden Cafe Building
6. Learning and Activity Centre
3. Central Courtyard
7. DC Courtyard
4. West Lawn
Future Projects Urban Nature Project.indd 24
P R OJ ECT D E TA I L S Landscape architects J & L Gibbons Architects Feilden Fowles Design consultants Gitta Gschwendtner Engineers HRW and Max Fordham
DIPPY IN THE EAST GARDEN
DARWIN CENTR E COURT YARD LO D G E Images ©Feilden Fowles and J & L Gibbons
Future Projects Urban Nature Project.indd 25
programme, one new traineeship and two new apprenticeships. By helping people learn its value, Natural History Museum hopes it can empower them to understand and protect the natural world. “We have suffered decades of decline in the abundance and distribution of many UK species, and in urban areas especially. By 2030, nine of out ten of us will live in urban areas, meaning nature is quite literally backed into a corner as concrete cities expand,” explains Clare Matterson, the Natural History Museum’s executive director of engagement. “We want to trigger a movement that will ultimately help reverse this decline.”
Pro Landscaper / December 2020 25
Horticulture Horticulture Horticulture Horticulture
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Let ’s Hear it From
MARTIN SHAW WALMSLEY SHAW
IN 2000, MARTIN SHAW SET UP A LANDSCAPING BUSINESS AS A SOLE TRADER. SINCE THEN, WALMSLEY SHAW HAS COME ON IN LEAPS AND BOUNDS, AND IS NOW A LEADING GARDEN BUILDER IN THE SOUTH WEST. MARTIN SHARES HOW HE ENDED UP IN THE INDUSTRY AND HOW THE COMPANY HAS DEVELOPED IN THE LAST TWO DECADES
Motorway construction received hefty investment around this time – the government pumped money into new road infrastructure in the late 80s and early 90s until environmental protestor Swampy and others changed public opinion and brought this to a halt – so Martin lived on site in a caravan with other workers before earning enough to go to university as a mature student. “I did business studies and marketing, which I’ve always been quite good at; I had a passion for that sort of thing.”
On leaving university, Martin took a role with a drilling company, driving up and down the country every day. “When you’re in your 30s, you get stuck in a rut. You’ve got expenses, so it’s hard to leave a steady job and launch into something on your own. But starting a business was always the topic of conversation with friends. We all talked about working for ourselves and being entrepreneurs, and then one day in January 2000 I got so tired of talking about it, I just went ahead and did it. I chose landscaping
f you’d known Martin Shaw as a child, you’d be forgiven for thinking he’d end up in an entirely different industry. With a penchant for making his own wine – for his parents’ enjoyment only, of course – and a cork collection to rival any grown adults’, his father encouraged him to go to Hadlow College in Kent when he left school, to become an apprentice in producing English wine. It would have been a fitting beginning to an illustrious career in the wine industry, but five years in to the course, a conversation with some road engineers in the local pub led to being offered a job as a quality assurance technician for motorways under construction. With a higher salary on the cards, Martin jumped at the chance. “I turned down an apprenticeship at Rosemont Vineyard in Australia to watch diggers on the new section of the M20 and other great motorway projects around the UK. For a 21-year-old, it was a great job,” explains Martin.
LHIF Martin Shaw.indd 27
Pro Landscaper / December 2020 27
because I thought it would be easy. I never expected it to turn out how did it.” And how exactly has it turned out? Since Martin founded the business in 2000, Walmsley Shaw has become one of the most reputable landscaping companies in the South West, working on projects ranging from £30k to £500k. They’ve built up a solid client base of garden designers, which all stemmed from one fortuitous leaflet drop through the door of somebody who became a client, who then recommended Martin to Bristol-based designer Alex Johnson. “It all grew from there,” reflects Martin. “Once we started building great gardens for designers, they ended up recommending us to their fellow designers.” Bringing other people’s designs together is something Martin says he and the team loves to do, and as earthworks and logistics have always
been his strengths, he has avoided adding a design service to Walmsley Shaw. “I’d love to have a design team, but I have to look after all the people I already work for; Walmsley Shaw’s success is based on the quality of these designers. “If we lose that reputation, we could lose business. But who knows? It may be something we can add in the future, as we become more efficient as a company and in the services we offer.” The business has become known for its handling of materials, in particular soil. “As a kid, I used to play in the farm sandpit, and I grew up moving materials and soil around. It’s fitting that Walmsley Shaw is known for our creative earthworks and land forming. This reputation allows the company to compete with larger contractors. “It’s certainly made a difference to
our turnover, knowing how to handle and move around soil. We don’t just dump it all in a corner; we place it, look after it and then put it back. “It’s something I learned from life on a farm, but also from being on the motorways and from the last 20 years. If you don’t look after the soil, what’s the point of the garden? It doesn’t work. We love building gardens for our clients, but we also build them for the longevity of the plants – and we do a good job too.” Over the last three years, Martin has gradually been removing himself from site to focus on managing projects from the office, which he says has been tough but necessary to ensure he’s always on the end of the phone for clients. He joins office manager Jenny Diederich and contracts assistant Karen Woodward in the office, with up to ten team members out on site each day.
IF YOU DON’T LOOK AFTER THE SOIL, WHAT’S THE POINT OF A GARDEN? Martin says that Walmsley Shaw prides itself on accuracy, service and giving gardens the best foundations from which to flourish, rather than rushing jobs through and cutting corners. “We’d rather have a better garden at the end of it and manage the price realistically from the start. I think that shows in our work and reputation. We’ve been fortunate to complete some really great projects of considerable size.” A notable project for Martin is one that Walmsley Shaw completed around a decade ago;
28 Pro Landscaper / December 2020
LHIF Martin Shaw.indd 28
a town garden in Marlborough for designer Anne Keenan. “It was an amazing design that appealed to my passion for walled and formal gardens, and required so much detailing and work to bring it to life – it really made it the most exciting project to date. We were still finding our feet at that point and it was a major project to do. There were thousands of bricks and lots of retaining walls; but it was ultimately a beautiful garden. Anne is a great designer.” The company usually runs up to 12 projects a year, and more of these are becoming higher in value as the company continues to cement its reputation in the industry. “In the early days, I never imagined we would get this far,” admits Martin. “Walmsley Shaw had a bigger team with less turnover in the initial ten years; now we have a smaller team, our turnover is better and we do far more interesting work.” COVID-19 hasn’t changed this, either. “We haven’t stopped, and it’s great that our clients have been given the time to fall in love with their gardens again. Through the sadness of it all, it does seem to be a great time for landscapes.” Along with many others, Walmsley Shaw halted operations on 23rd March, but was quickly back on site. “We all panicked for about a week, but then the sun came out and we thought, ‘this is ridiculous – we’ve just had the wettest autumn and winter for a long time and we have a lot of catching up to do!’ It was like a breath of fresh air to be at work – there was no traffic on the road and clients weren’t pushing for projects to be completed faster.” Unfortunately, though, Martin predicts the surge in demand for landscaping is likely to slow down in six to 12 months’ time. “All we can do is make hay while the sun shines, and for the future we should work hard together to keep
LHIF Martin Shaw.indd 29
the boom in landscaping going, to give our clients what is expected from the industry.” Regardless of the pandemic’s impact, Martin is committed to furthering Walmsley Shaw’s reputation across the South and South West of England, “so we can employ and nurture all those who work for Walmsley Shaw for the foreseeable
ONE OF THE BEST INVESTMENTS A COMPANY CAN MAKE IS IN ITS TEAM
future. One of the best investments a company can make is in its team,” Martin notes. “A lot of landscapers start off as sole traders, like I did, and then end up employing people who are reliant on the company. It’s important for Walmsley Shaw to look after those people, who are then more likely to look after Walmsley Shaw. The question is: what do I do with Walmsley Shaw when I retire? Does one of four my children take over? I quite like the idea that the people within the business will want to take it over, and that could happen too.”
At 50 years’ old, Martin says he has at least another decade to mull over the future of the company. Until then, he’ll continue to ensure the business thrives under his leadership, which leaves little time to resume his passion for producing wine, but that’s not to say he hasn’t considered it. “We are talking to a client at the moment who is in the process of buying a farm. They have some spare land, so we suggested planting a vineyard. If the sale goes through, we’re hoping it’s something they’d like to do, and of course, I’d happily manage that. It would really bring things full circle.”
1 Surrounding countryside of Cotswolds near Bath – Wild At Heart – designed by SEED Landscapes 2 Raymond Blanc’s kitchen garden, Oxford – Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – designed by Anne Keenan 3 Urchfont, Devizes - A Courtyard Style Garden designed by Robin Williams 4 Bath – Georgian Meets Contemporary – designed by Jano Williams 5 Mulberry House, Bristol – Cedar Kitchen Garden – designed by Robert Hughes 6 Bath – Georgian Meets Contemporary – designed by Jano Williams 7 Marlborough – A Town Centre “Oasis” – designed by Anne Keenan 8 Water feature at Mulberry House, Bristol – Cedar Kitchen Garden – designed by Robert Hughes
C O N TA C T Walmsley Shaw Ltd, Filwood Green Business Park, Filwood Park Lane, Bristol, BS4 1ET Tel 0117 403 2370 Email email@example.com
Pro Landscaper / December 2020 29
A DA M W H I T E THE ATTENBOROUGH EFFECT
ADAM WHITE TELLS US ABOUT SOME OF DAVID ATTENBOROUGH’S NEWEST DOCUMENTARIES AND INTRODUCES US TO A BRAND NEW LI AWARD INSPIRED BY THE MAN HIMSELF
ot long after being made an Honorary Fellow of the Landscape Institute, Sir David presented the BBC documentary Climate Change: The Facts, and this was followed with Extinction: The Facts. The programmes explored the science behind climate change and how the biodiversity emergency has consequences for us all.
In his 94 years, Attenborough has visited every continent on the globe, documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. Now, for the first time, he reflects upon both the defining moments of his lifetime as a naturalist and the devastating changes he has seen. David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet premiered in cinemas across the globe on at the end of September, after being postponed due to COVID-19. The film serves as Attenborough’s witness statement for the natural world. I was lucky enough to be invited to the premiere which included an exclusive conversation between Sir David Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin. The film is honest, revealing and urgent. A powerful first-hand account of humanity’s impact on nature and a message of hope for future generations. During lockdown I caught up with David and he kindly agreed to my request that the LI introduce a
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new awards category that would be named after him. The Sir David Attenborough Award for Enhancing Biodiversity will celebrate projects which emphasise the enhancement or connectivity of habitats for biodiversity.
A POWERFUL FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF HUMANITY’S IMPACT ON NATURE AND A MESSAGE OF HOPE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS Prince William has also joined forces with Attenborough to launch a new environmental award, the Earthshot Prize, which has ambitions to incentivise change and help to repair our planet over the next 10 years. The Duke of Cambridge announced the initiative as part of his ITV documentary Prince William: A Planet For Us All. A new initiative inspired by Sir David Attenborough is the ‘Get Set Global Challenge’, it is an international competition being run in partnership with the WWF and aims to encourage school children to learn about the natural world. Andrée and I have been invited to join the team and are looking forward to inspiring more children to #chooselandscape. Australian Damon Gameau has explored what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply
embraced the best solutions already available. He has created a film that blends traditional documentary with dramatised sequences and visual effects to create a vision of how these solutions could regenerate the world. Meanwhile, Sir David Attenborough has no intention of retiring; in 2021 he will present a new five-part series called The Green Planet. It will include stories from around the world such as seeds that can outlive civilisations, trees that care for each other, and plants that are as aggressive and dramatic as animals. Across the series, David will travel to the USA, Costa Rica, Croatia and northern Europe – from deserts to mountains and from rainforests to the frozen north. The series will look at some of the largest living things that have ever existed, including plants that breed so fast they could cover the planet in a matter of months. It will also look at our relationship with plants and show how all animal life, including humans, is totally dependent on plants. In my last conversation with Sir David we discussed how plants can be as aggressive, competitive and dramatic as animals – locked in desperate battles for food, for light, to reproduce and to scatter their young. This is going to be another must-see for our profession and industry.
ABOUT ADAM WHITE PLI Adam White is a chartered landscape architect, a Fellow and the Immediate Past President of the Landscape Institute. He is a director at Davies White Ltd. Social media: @davies_white
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ANDREW WILSON LEARNING TO PLAY THE PIANO
ANDREW WILSON REFLECTS ON THE NEW NORMAL AS WE COPE WITH OUR SECOND LOCKDOWN
ne thing is for sure, life has been pretty hectic since COVID-19 came on the scene, and I know I am not alone in this profession of ours in saying this. In conversations with those in other professions, I must admit to being careful as to what I say when people ask if I’m busy or still working. So many have had to drastically change their lives, businesses and income streams.
LIFE HAS BEEN PRETTY HECTIC SINCE COVID-19 CAME ON THE SCENE, AND I KNOW I AM NOT ALONE IN THIS PROFESSION OF OURS IN SAYING THIS There is a part of me, however, that dreams of having just a little more time to myself. It may well be my time of life, having hit 60 last year, which brings another concept of retirement that bit closer. There are several friends and acquaintances who warn about retirement and the shock of how to fill your time. Unless I am missing something crucial, I don’t think I am going to have that worry. At 40, I narrowed down a few aspirations to a final three – to learn to ride a motorbike, to learn piano and to learn to be a better windsurfer. To those who know me, the motorbike won, leaving me still yearning to sort out the other two, and 20 years later I am still aiming to fit them in somehow. Does learning to play piano really get
32 Pro Landscaper / December 2020
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harder as one ages? And how old can I be whilst still legally in charge of a board and rig? As for my garden, I inherited a rather fab but wildly random garden when we bought our house in 1996. I produced a design in 1998 and have only this summer managed to get round to clearing the space to set out the new design. The basic plan is done (now somewhat revised) but I vowed to get the details to Richard Curle in the early summer when the whole of lockdown seemed like a new diary – an endless time period with no commitments. How wrong I was! Here I am in December with little to show. Design work, teaching, marking, interviewing, COVID-19 risk assessments and of course Zooming all now occupy huge periods of my life in a way that seems much more time consuming than before.
I could be slower as I get older but, on the other hand, I am more experienced which should compensate a little. It is possible that there is just more work to be done, but lockdown provides more time in which to do it, given the travel and commuting restrictions. What I have experienced are days that no longer seem to follow a pattern, sometimes feeling endless and longer than in pre-COVID days. The commute to and from Kew, travelling
WHAT I HAVE EXPERIENCED ARE DAYS THAT NO LONGER SEEM TO FOLLOW A PATTERN, SOMETIMES FEELING ENDLESS AND LONGER THAN IN PRE-COVID DAYS to and from site, or sharing a catch-up and coffee with Gavin broke the days down into more manageable periods, each with a start and end point. The lack of these segments potentially produces days filled with work or ending in exhaustion and call for a new sense of order and control in an attempt to deliver a better work-life balance. The introduction of “artificial” breaks in lockdown days should not induce feelings of guilt but rather should refresh the brain, enhance the work we produce and increase efficiency. If I can manage it properly this time around, I should also be able to get on with that garden and get started on the piano. I think I might leave getting back on the windsurfer until the summer though – not because I can’t fit it in now, but because it will be just that bit warmer!
ABOUT ANDREW WILSON Andrew Wilson is a landscape and garden design consultant, director of the London College of Garden Design, and an author, writer and lecturer.
B E N W E ST
ILLUMINATING THE PROBLEM HOW DAMAGING IS ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING TO THE ENVIRONMENT? BEN WEST CONSIDERS THE IMPACT
e don’t have lighting in our garden. The generosity of the local borough council is such that all the light we need is gathered from an adjacent lamp post. ‘Light trespass’ from this single luminaire ensures evening al fresco dining at our place is always infused with the charm of a Gestapo interrogation. The offending streetlamp has recently been limited to operation from dusk until midnight, presumably as a cost cutting measure but possibly also as a response to emerging evidence of the negative effects of artificial light on the environment. Recent studies, particularly those by the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter, have revealed artificial light to be adversely impacting behaviour of a much wider range of species than myself and the missus.
Birds are particularly affected with physical reproduction traits and behaviours being modified. Bird movements are also being disrupted, along with those of bats and fish, as navigational ‘signposts’ such as starlight, moonlight and diffused natural light in the atmosphere are obscured or obliterated by ‘skyglow’ from artificial light. This phenomenon is observable many miles from the source, can be equal to or exceed light intensities produced by moonlight and sufficient to mask natural lunar light cycles.
Ben West-4.indd 33
Light pollution is a relatively new phenomenon so the long-term effects on biodiversity are unknown. However, the short-term effects are obvious; leave a window open on a summer’s evening and it’s clear that artificial light has an effect on night flying insects
LIGHT POLLUTION IS A RELATIVELY NEW PHENOMENON SO THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS ON BIODIVERSITY ARE UNKNOWN such as moths. Is there a link between the reported declines in moth numbers over the past 30 years and the increase in artificial lighting during the same period? It’s too early to answer questions like these definitively, but it’s easy to test the hypothesis; switch out the lights and the problem disappears. Knowing the detrimental effects on wildlife, can we continue to freely prescribe lighting in our design work? Maybe it’s time for a more measured approach. Let’s look at the facts; the environmental impact of various lighting types depends on where they sit on the spectrum. Different lamps emit light over a distinctive range of wavelengths which become more environmentally impactful in the following ways; a) As it becomes broader on the spectrum (or ‘whiter’) b) As the ratio of blue to red emissions increases c) With increased emissions in the UV (ultraviolet) range The broader the spectrum, the more overlap with the sensitivity of biological systems. Lighting towards the red end of the spectrum is
generally thought to be less impactful to the environment though this also has a bearing on the ability of birds to migrate and has an effect on plant physiology. Light-emitting diode systems require lower wattage than traditional light sources and produce lower radiant heat for the same light output. They have a longer working life and allow easy light level manipulation. Unfortunately, they utilise white light which is disruptive to natural systems and the blue component is disruptive to human circadian rhythms. So, what should we be doing as environmentally conscious professionals? • Maintain naturally unlit areas where possible. • Specify light only where there is clear, sufficient and necessary human benefit. • Provide barriers to ‘light trespass’ such as covers or hoods, walls, screens and evergreen hedges. • Ensure lighting is switched on only when needed by utilising motion control. • Disseminate knowledge to clients to raise awareness. • Use LED lights on as dim a setting as possible. • Avoid use of white and blue lights and fittings which emit UV light. Special thanks to Jo McKerr for inspiring this piece.
ABOUT BEN WEST Ben West spent his formative years exploring the landscapes of Staffordshire, and studied environmental management at Keele University, prior to moving to Surrey and setting up Landscaping Solutions. The firm has since won many RHS medals and BALI Awards. Ben wishes to use his passion for natural landscapes to direct the firm’s future trajectory, and ensure clients consider nature when planning landscaping schemes.
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he whole presentation was built around a live project by Quercus Landscape and Garden Design – Roger and Chris initially designed the project with pen and paper but then decided to take the step into the world of Vectorworks. During last spring, we helped setting up workflows and best practices for the project, and this process became the storyline for the talk. In the presentation we could follow the whole workflow – from setting up the file, coordinating it with GIS and the National Grid, creating a site model, through the concept stage and on to the detailing of structures and planting plans. The other point the presentation covered was best practices – the benefit of libraries and resources, how to produce schedules and reports, and how to annotate and dimension drawings. PLANT DATA SOURCE
“Our goal was to show how you can create a workflow where you avoid repetitive actions and pitfalls and instead can concentrate on the exciting and creative side of a project,” says Katarina Ollikainen, landscape industry specialist at Vectorworks UK. “This is really how you become a better designer – more designing and research, less paperwork. “We want you to focus on what’s most important – creating projects that are good for people and the environment and the wildlife, projects that have a long life as they’re well
©Quercus (Roger Smith and Chris Mennie
34 Pro Landscaper / December 2020
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IMPROVE WITH VECTORWORKS LANDMARK VECTORWORKS EXPLAINS HOW TO BECOME A BETTER DESIGNER BY USING VECTORWORKS LANDMARK, THE PREMISE BEHIND ITS FUTURESCAPE V I R T U A L S E M I N A R , AVA I L A B L E T O V I E W O N T H E E V E N T ’ S W E B S I T E thought through, and where you can see that effort has gone into choosing the exact right plants and materials. “This is where our effort as designers should be put – to do the research to find ethically sourced materials, to learn how to minimise water runoff, choose the right plants for the right place, understanding how to make the site part of the bigger picture. There are no shortcuts here, and we need to learn as much as we can about it. And this is why you need a good structure to reclaim time from every-day processes.”
YOU CAN CREATE A WORKFLOW WHERE YOU AVOID REPETITIVE ACTIONS AND PITFALLS AND INSTEAD CAN CONCENTRATE ON THE EXCITING AND CREATIVE SIDE OF A PROJECT By keeping the whole project in Vectorworks Landmark, from concept stage to finished drawings, you’re in a position where you can quickly amend anything – you have control of all the documents and can pull out important data and records directly, without having to amend excel sheets or models in other software. Another great time saver covered was ‘the concept of concept plants’. At the beginning of a project, you decide where you
want your trees and feature plants, but you might not know exactly which trees you want yet. So, by using concept plants (plants without any botanical data) as placeholders, you can then come back to this later and decide what species you want and with a click replace them. To learn how to efficiently place, move and replace plants is vital and when it comes to putting together the actual plan, the process of dividing the site to create easy to read drawings is a game changer. There are many new and exciting features in Landmark 2021, but the biggest one is the improved Landscape area tool. You can now create landscape areas that include both the plant matrix and the planting medium in one go. You have full control over both the plants and what kind of soil or mulch you want to specify, and Vectorworks then gives you all the quantities in an easy-to-read report. If you’re placing it on a site model, it also gives you the C&F for the bed and you can see the profile in sections. If you’re interested in learning more about Vectorworks Landmark workflows, check out Vectorworks University – a free resource where you can find webinars and instructional videos, as well as technical papers on in-depth subjects and project example files.
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WE SPEAK TO HEAD OF OPERATIONS OLIVER BURKE ABOUT HOW NENE PARK IN PETERBOROUGH IS REWILDING WHILST ALSO DELIVERING PROJECTS FOR BOTH VISITORS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
hile 2020 has brought us challenges, it’s safe to say our outdoor spaces have come into their own – and Nene Park is no different. Its activities and water sports centre has had its busiest year on record, the park has seen an influx of new users and its car parks are packed. This doesn’t come without its own set of issues though. As well as the usual social distancing rules that many organisations have had to bring in, Nene Park has struggled with antisocial behaviour and, most of all, littering. Oliver Burke, head of operations at Nene Park and his team have been tackling this with a marketing and social media campaign. Images of the park’s staff with direct quotes on the impacts of littering aim to appeal to visitor’s sympathy. “These comments range from an environmental perspective to a financial one,” explains Oliver, “and, ultimately, a personal one. Our volunteers would much rather be getting on with more useful things than picking up litter.” Covering 1,000 acres, there’s certainly a lot to get on with at Nene Park. Wyndham Thomas was responsible for the vision for the park in the 1960s, as emphasis landed on the need for publicly accessible green space where people could spend their recreation and for their health and wellbeing. The River Nene forms the spine of the park, while the landscape is a result of gravel and sand extraction used for road infrastructure. Ferry Meadows is perhaps the most popular area of the park and is one of the largest country parks in the region. Here, visitors can walk, cycle, fish, try water sports or simply enjoy a cup of tea. Other areas of the expansive park boast innumerable activities. Thorpe meadows is home to a purpose-built rowing lake and a sculpture collection. At Orton Meadows, you’ll find a cycling superstore, a golf course and a garden centre.
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Management Despite its extensive size and facilities, the park is managed by a total of just 20 staff members. Apart from very specialist tree management or project work, the management of the park is done completely in house. “We have a multiskilled team. They do everything from woodwork and carpentry right through to metal work,” explains Oliver. “We have all the tools and facilities they might need in house, so if we need to make a new BBQ or repair a boardwalk, we’re capable of doing so ourselves.” But taking care of Nene Park sometimes means stepping away, and letting it do what it does best – rewild. Before, expanses of the park were cut for amenity, leaving an abundance of grass areas with very little interest or, indeed, environmental value. Now, Oliver and his team are relaxing the management of these areas and allowing them to naturally regenerate into wildflower meadows.
WE HAVE A MULTISKILLED TEAM. THEY DO EVERYTHING FROM WOODWORK AND CARPENTRY RIGHT THROUGH TO METAL WORK Nene Park Trust Custodians of the park, Nene Part Trust was established in 1988 to ensure the park would be managed and protected forever. The Trust aims to: “Provide facilities for recreation, education and leisure, establish parkland facilities, conserve and safeguard wildlife, and preserve, restore and develop park features (infrastructure).” The park’s commercial properties, tenanted buildings and endowment fund go a long way to achieving these aims. But, with a 999-year lease on the land they can’t rest on their laurels. “Although it looks pretty healthy in terms of a bank account, what we mustn’t lose site of is that we’re custodians on a 999-year lease that we’re only a few decades through,” Oliver explains. “We’ve got a long way to go so we must be very mindful that funding needs to see us through in the long term and not for us to be frivolous in the short term.” Nene Park Trust aims to take full advantage of its charitable status by fundraising for new projects and seeking voluntary and partnership support – a strategy it calls, “doing more with more” to provide a more enjoyable park for its visitors.
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Projects As well as its park rangers, duty rangers, operations team, visitors service team, education and activities team and one of Nene Park’s newest additions – its development team. This department is charged with bringing forward projects within the park. These might be lottery funded programmes of activity, or big infrastructure projects. Fox Play is the next in a series of play areas to be transformed at Ferry Meadows. The natural play area will have many accessible features with water features, ziplines, raised walk ways, climbing opportunities and plenty of new tree planting. The remodelled play area will be designed by Davies White Landscape Architects who have a wealth of experience in this area, perhaps the pinnacle of which was the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Back to Nature Garden which they co-designed with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. “We’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with Davies White for a number of years,” Oliver tells us. “Their designs have been particularly inspirational and their approach to engaging members of the public in that design process has been really well received.” Further afield, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Heron Meadow and Goldie Meadow have been restored. The ditches dividing Heron Meadow had become heavily silted, causing the meadows to be waterlogged in winter but dry come spring. To correct this, a RSPB
ULTIMATELY, FOR US, OUR FOCUS WILL ALWAYS BE ON OUR ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT rotary ditcher created areas of shallow water with scrapes, pools and foot drains. Now, the site also has water control structures in order to manage the flooding of these meadows. It’s a haven in winter for waders such as snipe and lapwing and in summer for wading birds such as redshank. Sustainable farming Historically, Nene Park would have been agricultural, and this hasn’t been lost today. Recently, Nene Park Trust advertised for a farmer to go into business with, sharing both the profits and the investment. Brothers Ryan and Craig ‘won’ the tender, bringing their rare breed sheep and cattle onto Nene Park Trust land. “The ambition for the farm is not only to deliver better charitable outcomes,
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but to enable an education programme around it and raise the profile of farming, by delivering it in an environmentally sensitive way with high levels of animal welfare.” explains Oliver. Future Though it may seem like Oliver and the rest of the teams have enough on their plates, there are plans to do even more. A multimillion-pound activity centre is set to include an Olympic-grade climbing wall as well as one of the country’s largest ‘clip ‘n climb’ arenas. And, throughout the park, better infrastructure, waymarking and access will help ‘spread the load’ so commonly high footfall areas are reduced and unknown areas are explored more. Perhaps one of its most ambitious projects is Nene Park: Your Community Greenspace Project. Currently in the development phase, it has three main aims: “to empower and engage communities to help conserve the natural heritage of Nene Park, to build bridges with the multi-cultural communities of Peterborough to make Ferry Meadows an inclusive community hub and to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing through nurturing connections with nature and the outdoors.” Nene Park Trust has already been working with community groups to find out how regularly they access greenspace, and what could be done to encourage underrepresented groups to access this greenspace. Following this development stage, Nene Park Trust will resubmit a more detailed application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. If successful, the £3m, five-year project will develop a variety of activities throughout the park. Through it all, Nene Park has one goal: “Ultimately, for us, our focus will always be on our environmental footprint,” explains Oliver. As well as introducing a battery powered cylinder mower and looking into ways visitors can access the park more sustainably, this also involves acquiring new land in order to become custodians and protect it for years to come – the future certainly looks green.
1 Pontoon Bridge crossing Overton Lake 2 Heron in flight ©Ade Jones 3 Nene Outdoors Watersports and Activity Centre in Ferry Meadows 4 Otter Play in Ferry Meadows 5 Badger Play in Ferry Meadows 6 Barge on the River Nene ©Richard Mortlock 7 Eco-electric passenger boat ©Perfect Pose Photography 8 Glossy Ibis ©Chris Park 9 Ham Mere 10 Thorpe Meadows rowing lake ©Aladdin Alswaifi
Pro Landscaper / December 2020 39
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INSPIRE PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value £10k Build time Two days Awards Gold Leaf in the Christmas Projects category at the plants@work Awards, 2018
D EC K T H E
S T PA N C R A S R E N A I SSA N C E H OT E L , C H R I ST M AS EV E N T INDOOR GARDEN DESIGN INDOOR GARDEN DESIGN ADDS SOME FESTIVE TOUCHES TO THE S T PA N C R A S R E N A I S S A N C E H O T E L
ndoor Garden Design has worked with St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, a five-star luxury hotel of unique architectural stature, since it opened in 2011. Each year, Indoor Garden Design creates Christmas planting and displays for both the interior and exterior of this iconic building. Planning for this starts in the spring when a theme, including colours and lighting, is agreed for the planting outside the hotel, at the entrance, and continuing inside the building into the foyer, grand staircase, bar, and restaurant.
1 Detail image: Christmas tree – Grand Staircase 2 Christmas tree – Grand Staircase
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INSPIRE Design For this Christmas scheme, Indoor Garden Design worked from the Renaissance style guide â&#x20AC;&#x201C; creating a simple festive scene with rose gold, gold, silver and clear decorations. The famous Chambers Grand Staircase featured two 16ft live trees, with white lights and full decorations which created a spectacular highlight for the hotel. At the exterior main entrance to the hotel there were two 18ft Norwegian spruce trees covered with an abundance of bright white lights, giving a very welcoming festive look. Build The Christmas planting takes place over two days, starting incredibly early in the morning to minimise disruption to the guests. Day one began at 4am with the secure installation of the large exterior Christmas trees and positioning of soft white lights to create a spectacular highlight for the hotel. Indoor Garden Design then moved inside to decorate the famous Chambers Grand Staircase with two 16-foot trees, complete with lights and full decorations, finishing just as the first guests are waking up. The second day started similarly early; this time Indoor Garden Design moves through the lobby, where it installs a central display of Christmas trees, and onto the hanging decorations within the bar area.
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The Christmas Scheme is kept to the highest standards which Indoor Garden Design has become known for. When the hotel is ready for the display to be removed, Indoor Garden Design spends another early morning removing the installation as the hotel continues to welcome guests for the new year ahead.
Christmas trees In the approach to the installation, Indoor Garden Design ensures the quality of the Christmas trees, two of which stand 18ft in height, by handpicking them while still growing from a Christmas tree farm in Hertfordshire where they are later cut and delivered as quickly as possible. The environmental impact of British grown Christmas trees is of huge importance to Indoor Garden Design and this choice was the greenest. The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) has carried out
extensive analysis on the choice of real trees over artificial. Real Christmas tree farms act as carbon dioxide sinks with at least a tree for tree planted. Along with the plantation located on earlier arable land the family run farm has ensured that broadleaf trees have remained on the farm, whilst continuing to plant pine and fir. Indoor Garden Design says: “It is always an honour to work in this amazing iconic building. The Christmas displays work so well against the backdrop of the high Victorian décor and as a result the atmosphere is always festive. We are immensely proud to work with the approval of not only the hotel building’s owner, but also English Heritage. “We are currently working with its clients on projects for Christmas 2020 and is looking forward to a Christmas very much focused on the beauty and magic of the season. “Although it’s not quite business as usual this year, as cities, towns and organisations focus on plans for more lighting added to displays, replacing the usual Christmas markets around the country, being part of the interior landscaping industry means that we are able to add to the festive cheer in and around London with its Christmas schemes.”
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Christmas tree – Bar Detail image: Christmas tree – Bar Christmas trees – hotel exterior, main entrance Christmas trees – Grand Staircase Detail image: Christmas tree – Grand Staircase Christmas Tree – Restaurant
ABOUT INDOOR GARDEN DESIGN Indoor Garden Design has been bringing nature into the workplace since 1975. It has developed its reputation for providing offices, hotels, retail spaces and event venues with the benefits of plants and green spaces. For its Christmas service it specialises in festive displays that add the desired luxury and seasonal appeal to your celebration. With a uniquely creative approach that it has honed over the last four decades in this industry, its bespoke festive installations are available whenever and wherever you need them.
REFERENCES Contractor Indoor Garden Design www.indoorgardendesign.com Designer Ian Drummond www.indoorgardendesign.com Trees Evergreen www.evergreenext.co.uk Decorations DZD www.dzd.co.uk
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PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value £147k Build time 14 weeks Size of project 300m2 Awards APL Awards Winner 2020 Project Value £100k-£175k
TUNBRIDGE WELLS, KENT L A N G DA L E L A N DSCA P ES LT D A N O U T D AT E D 1 9 7 0 ’ S S T Y L E P O O L I S TRANSFORMED INTO A MODERN SUNKEN G A R D E N P E R F E C T F O R E N T E R TA I N I N G
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ith the lower garden untouched for several decades, this spot previously had an outdated 1970’s feel. The clients had done a lot of work on the house, so it was time to turn their attentions to the garden. The clients were keen to have an area that they could entertain in year-round, which would give them a reason to want to be in it. Langdale Landscapes Ltd was approached by Sarah Speight of Boxtree Design to convert an old swimming pool into a garden. With lots of experience building structural work, Langdale Landscapes was delighted to get involved. Design The initial designs were drawn up by Sarah Speight and Annie Bishop who were able to communicate the concept to the client. Langdale Landscapes then worked with them both to get the construction detailed up so costs could be worked out for the work. The design involved creating a sunken seating area with associated landscaping and then replacing an old 1970’s pool building with
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something more in line with modern day lifestyles. The clients wanted to make use of the dead area at the bottom of the garden and create a lovely entertaining area. “The design for this garden was all about opening up the space at the end of the garden and making it both useful and a beautiful place to visit and use,” Sarah tells us. “The planting we chose is pretty and bright,” explains Annie. “Clear blues, lilacs and soft yellows in the lower area, with pinks, purples and whites along the walkway changing to deeper reds in the autumn – grasses blur the whole effect.” Year-round interest was achieved with bulbs and evergreens and the eyes are drawn to beautiful pleached pear trees standing round the firepit, adding structure and charm. Build Langdale Landscapes created a beautiful sunken seating area constructed using IPE timbers with a feature firepit as the focal point. It then landscaped around this with porcelain paving to create an easy maintenance surface. A bespoke oak framed building was built
containing a small bathroom and significantly large storage section. An outdoor kitchen was built which has everything the clients might need for a fantastic dining experience with guests. It is partially under cover and close to the seating areas, creating a social environment that the clients can use year-round. In the open area of the building, lighting was installed along with heaters to extend the evening as the chill sets in. A beautiful path was put in to enable a journey down the garden. This leads to feature arches created using heavy oak posts and plants which have been trained up them, flanked by luscious planting. Lighting adds a final touch, giving the garden a beautiful atmosphere. A sculpture that the client originally had in the middle of the lawn was re-located to the end of the path to give a great focal point as you look down from the house.
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View across seating area to the oak framed building A path of pavers leads down to the area Lovely seating area to enjoy evenings under heaters View of the outdoor kitchen area A place to sit and take in the garden view
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THE OLD SWIMMING POOL
Challenges Access, as always, is a challenge with these kinds of projects and this was no exception. Langdale Landscapes had to remove a section of fencing and bring all of the materials in down a neighbourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s narrow driveway. It was not easy seeing in all of the lorries and involved a lot of coordination to ensure all of the neighbours could get out at all times.
6 Sunken seating area with gorgeous fire pit designed by Ak47 Design
A B O U T L A N G DA L E L A N D S CA P ES LT D DURING WORKS Langdale Landscapes Ltd designs and builds landscape projects in the Kent and Surrey area. It employs 24 people full time and all of its staff are passionate about the work and love what they do. Langdale Landscapes Ltd also collaborates with other local garden designers and works for them on a build only basis. This is often rewarding, as it gets to work with some of the leading design studios that luckily operate within the area. CONSTRUCTING FEATURE ARCHES
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REFERENCES Construction Langdale Landscapes Ltd www.langdalelandscapes.co.uk Design Boxtree Designs https://boxtreedesigns.co.uk Porcelain paving, Yorkstone steps and wall cladding London Stone www.londonstone.co.uk Brick paving Chelmer Valley www.chelmervalley.co.uk Kitchen appliances Fire Magic www.fire-magic.co.uk Timber: IPE decking for seating area Round Wood of Mayfield www.roundwood.com
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EXOTIC EXTERIOR THE GARDEN ROOM APRIL HOUSE GARDEN DESIGN THE GARDEN DESIGNER BECAME THE CLIENT FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF A TIRED AND UNDERUSED BACK GARDEN INTO THIS MODERN AND SOCIAL OUTDOOR SPACE
PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value Â£13k Build time 4 weeks Size of project 57m2
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or this garden revamp, April House Garden Design was both the designer, and the client. Owner Emily CrowleyWroe redesigned her garden as a case study on a Garden Design course at The Cotswold Gardening School. She wanted to refresh a tired and underused rear garden so that it could be used by the whole family for private dining, relaxing and socialising. Situated next to a leisure centre car park, it was important to make the garden feel remote from its surroundings, calming and immersive in atmosphere through structural features and lush exotic planting. The rear garden of this property is cut off from the front garden and only accessible through the garage or house where it leads from the family living room. April House Garden Design wanted to create a separate outside “room” that related to the modern extension at the back of the house and that would contrast to the cottage garden style at the front of the Grade II listed building.
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Design and build The design was drawn on a 45-degree angle to the house to increase the feeling of space. This also created triangular planting areas which match the geometry of surrounding buildings visible from the garden. Triangular planting pockets were created for large feature trees and shrubs such as Trachycarpus fortunei, Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Rex’ and Fargesia varieties. A space was allocated in one of the large containers for a water feature to attract wildlife and incorporate the relaxing sound of water into the garden. Resting seats between the plants were also built into the container areas offering different 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Raised container pond with Horsetail equisetum View to raised pergola area through lit palm tree View over garden from swing seat Seating nook between the planting Angled boardwalk towards planting areas Strong contrasting fence, container & flooring lines Plants with contrasting foliage shapes and texture add dramatic vertical accents and soften the space 8 Large-leafed Alocasia odora backlit at night
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places to view the space and to sit and relax. Bespoke contemporary double slatted panels made by local company A+B fencing in Cirencester were installed adding privacy and creating a modern tropical hideaway style. A bespoke corner pergola, dining area and swing seat on a raised area of decking at one end of the garden provide shade whilst offering various seating options for family meals. The pergola also adds height and structure and was designed to echo the triangular patterns on the ground and surroundings. This was constructed by Darren Watt Landscaping using green oak and tension wires for plants to scramble and drape. The canopy of an existing
Salix caprea provide a natural green roof over the swing seat. The middle of the garden provides a flexible area for sitting, sunbathing, yoga and socialising.
Lighting was installed so that the garden could be used late into the evening – built in deck lights wash over the centre of the garden while angled spot lights illuminate surrounding trees and plants. These were sourced from Landscape Plus who helped provide advice. Supplying the lights during lockdown meant this was all conducted over the phone. The composite wood floor was selected to match the interior kitchen/dining oak flooring which opens out into the garden. The raised planting containers were built from the same material to create a seamless design across the space. The composite decking used was Design Board sourced from London Stone. Laying angled joints proved painstaking work for Darren Watt Landscaping as each board required measuring and cutting on site to the design pattern and requirements for fitting the product.
CONSTRUCTING THE DECKING
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THE GARDEN AT NIGHT
Challenges Access to the site proved time consuming. Clearing and carrying new materials including tonnes of soil for the containers took several days to wheelbarrow from the drive. Huge hunks of Cotswold stone lay under the previous flag stones and had to be drilled and pickaxed out around the container areas. These were recycled and used in the container pond for creating ledges, dotted amongst the plants and will be used in future works at the front of the property. In the final week of construction, it became clear that COVID-19 could halt work indefinitely, but Darren Watt Landscaping managed to complete the build just in the nick of time.
A B O U T A P R I L H O US E G A R D E N D ES I G N April House Garden Design is owned by Emily Crowley-Wroe who graduated from The Cotswold Gardening School in 2019. Her work focuses on residential garden projects in the Cotswolds. With a background in English literature, publishing and horticulture, Emily is interested in the narrative and transformative power of garden design. As well as being functional, productive and sustainable, gardens have the capability to take us on journeys to other imaginative and restorative spaces.
REFERENCES Designer Emily Crowley-Wroe www.april-house.co.uk
With April House Garden Design’s show garden for RHS Malvern postponed until next year, Emily was able to find solace in putting the finishing touches to this garden and busied herself planting to create the lush green vibe she was after. Emily’s family had no idea at the time of designing and building the space how important the garden would prove to be over the next few weeks. Emily’s husband was diagnosed with cancer during lockdown so this peaceful, tranquil space was not only crucial in proving extra, flexible outside space for the family but also as an aid to his recuperation.
Contractor Darren Watt Landscaping www.darrenwattlandscaping.co.uk Fencing A+B Fencing abfencingciren.co.uk Design board decking London Stone www.londonstone.co.uk Green oak timber Batsford Timber Ltd www.batsfordtimber.co.uk Lighting Landscape Plus www.landscapeplus.com
INSPIRE I M AG E 2 : PLAYABLE LANDSCAPE, VAUBAN, FREIBURG ©CIARAN CUFFE
P U T T I N G P L AY AS A P R I O R I T Y I T ’ S M O R E I M P O R TA N T T H A N E V E R TO D E S I G N S PAC E S W I T H C H I L D R E N I N M I N D, S AYS T I M G I L L
hen I give talks about creating more child-friendly places, I start by inviting my audience to think about their own childhoods, and about their favourite places to play when they were young. What is striking is how often these memories feature wild, natural places; places where we could feel a sense of freedom, and leave the adult world behind. These experiences can be resonant and powerful. But sadly, they are disappearing from the lives of children today.
I M AG E 1 : T H E T WO DIME N S IO N S O F A C H ILDF R IE N DLY N E I G HBOU RH O O D ©SAM WILLIAMS
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It is not mere nostalgia to revisit these memories. As I show in my forthcoming book, ‘Urban Playground’, the benefits of a more ‘free-range’, outdoor childhood – physical health, emotional resilience, self-reliance, even a stronger immune system through exposure to germs – are becoming ever more clear. Of course, we cannot simply turn back the clock; but what we can do is take the goal of expanding children’s horizons more seriously. We know that children today are less physically active, more obese, and more unhappy than a few years ago. And the way we design neighbourhoods, towns and cities is part of the problem. We can and should do much more to create places that allow children the freedom to grow, get up close and personal with the natural world, and foster healthier bodies and minds. So, what are child-friendly places like? In simple terms, they are places where children have lots of choice about where they can go and what they can do, and where it is easy for them to travel around, especially on foot or by bicycle. Image 1 illustrates the two dimensions of child-friendly neighbourhoods: lots of things for children to do, and high levels of child mobility. As image 1 shows, child-friendly planning and design is about much more than just playgrounds. Living in a car-dominated, sprawling suburb – even one with lots of play parks – is like living in a glasshouse: children see the world largely through a windscreen. The most well-designed playground in the country is not much use if it is on the other side of a dangerous, busy road.
In fact, a child-friendly neighbourhood looks a lot like a sustainable neighbourhood. It is green, free from pollution, easy to get around without a car, and compact, with everyday
WE DO NOT NEED TO IMAGINE A MORE SUSTAINABLE, CHILD-FRIENDLY FUTURE. WE CAN SEE IT TODAY, IN INSPIRING DEVELOPMENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD services and facilities like schools, shops and parks all within easy reach. It also looks a lot like a healthy, attractive neighbourhood. Developers take note. As Roger Madelin, the man behind the Kings Cross Central and Canada Water megaprojects in London, told me: “Public spaces and parts of cities where families with young children choose to visit signal better than any marketing material that an area is clean, safe and fun!” We do not need to imagine a more sustainable, child-friendly future. We can see it today, in inspiring developments from around the world. Take the ecosuburb of Vauban in the German city of Freiburg (which I showcase in ‘Urban Playground’). Its 5,500 residents live more-or-less car-free, in well-planned
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apartment blocks overlooking safe, sociable streets and attractive, playful green spaces. Trams and cycle routes give fast, reliable connections to downtown. Nature is woven into the landscape thanks to mature trees, sustainable drainage features, and community gardens. It is no wonder that, on my last visit a couple of years ago – on a cold, bright midweek afternoon in early spring – the whole of Vauban’s public realm was filled with people of all ages walking, chatting or relaxing. Children were playing everywhere, enticed by playful naturalistic landscapes, sandpits (easier to maintain than many people think) and well-chosen play structures, with not a single springy chicken or bow-top fence in sight.
PEOPLE ARE MORE LIKELY TO SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE INITIATIVES WHEN THE BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN ARE EMPHASISED Or take Rotterdam, which has probably invested more than any other city in becoming more child-friendly. It has transformed hundreds of streets, public spaces and school playgrounds, many with input from children themselves. And it did so for hard-nosed, economic reasons. Fifteen years ago, families with any choice were leaving Rotterdam in droves, taking their energy and creativity – not to mention their taxes – with them. The politicians realised that they had to act to safeguard their city’s long-term viability. While there is nowhere quite like Vauban or Rotterdam in the UK, some new developments and local authorities are showing what is possible. Goldsmith Street, an award-winning social housing scheme in Norwich, and the Marmalade Lane co-housing project in Cambridge, are compelling examples of sociable public space design that place people – including children – before cars. In London, Hackney plans to become recognised by UNICEF as a child-friendly municipality. Its award-winning Kings Crescent estate regeneration project features innovative playful interventions, including a courtyard that combines food growing and play features, and a stretch of newly pedestrianised street with bespoke play elements. Hackney is also at the forefront of measures to tame traffic and
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IMAGE 3: KINGS CRESCENT, HACKNEY © LEWIS DONALD
promote walking and cycling, including the introduction of play streets and school streets (where through traffic is banned for fixed periods). Change is not always easy, especially when it involves persuading us all to use our cars less. But a child-friendly lens can help build the case. People are more likely to support sustainable initiatives when the benefits for children are emphasised. It’s the Greta effect: thinking about children and bringing their views and voices into debates about neighbourhood planning and design are powerful catalysts for action. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard. But amidst the fear, loss and worry, a period of hyper-local living has revealed how much we all value space on our doorsteps to breathe, to play and to de-stress from the daily grind.
We cannot continue building places and spaces that fail to support healthy, sustainable lifestyles. What is more, as we emerge from this difficult time, the public is hungry for a vision of a better future. Is it too much to ask that we reimagine the places where we live by seeing them through children’s eyes?
ABOUT TIM GILL Tim Gill is an independent researcher, writer and consultant, and a global advocate for children’s outdoor play and mobility. His book, ‘Urban Playground: How child-friendly planning and design can save cities’, will be published by RIBA in February 2021. He is a Churchill Fellow, a Design Council Built Environment Expert, and a visiting research fellow at the University of Reading.
Adapting to socially distanced get-togethers, we’ll be maximising the use of outdoor living spaces. Porcelain will remain a popular choice with a wide range of colours, styles and complementary products such as decorative and large format slabs also available, providing surfaces which are not only beautiful but easy to maintain and keep hygienically clean. CASATUA will be adding new products to its collection next year; nature inspired palettes with warmer earth tones are expected to be exciting new choices for next year. WWW.CASATUAOUTDOOR.COM
MARSHALLS When Marshalls looks at the design visualisations it has created for Marshalls Register members recently, there’s a continuing trend for grey patios, in particular with charcoal borders. It has also noticed a shift from a consistent colour or block type throughout a garden, with customers opting to create zones by using different materials, patterns or colours. In 2021, it will be introducing a number of new products which reflect these trends but that also offer more design options and flexibility to give customers the freedom to create something truly unique. WWW.MARSHALLS.CO.UK
PAV I N G 2021 TRENDS
Flintana Eve (Vitripiazza paving) and Rok Grey (Vitripiazza cladding)
LONDON STONE London Stone plans on expanding its range of hard landscaping and lifestyle products throughout 2021. This year has highlighted the importance of giving its customers choice and value-for-money online. London Stone envisages that the trend towards consumers investing in their outdoor space to continue and plans to support the landscape industry by continuing to provide products and materials that are innovative, quality, and represent outstanding value. London Stone is also introducing porcelain planks, setts and project packs for 2021.
Symphony Matte Porcelain
The trend for both grey paving and porcelain paving has gained momentum over the past few years and 2020 has seen a comparative explosion in demand for both – 2021 will undoubtedly follow suit. In order to meet ongoing supply needs and material preferences, Talasey Group is set to launch a number of new grey porcelain paving options within the Vitripiazza range. The new products will offer the aesthetics and beauty of natural sandstones and granites, in different and large size formats, combined with the excellent performance properties of porcelain paving. WWW.TALASEY.CO.UK
KEBUR GARDEN MATERIALS
In response to customer’s needs, Stoneasy.com will expand the range of standard sized porcelain coping stones to suit any budget and style. A solid range of bullnose steps and 40mm downstand copings will become available at the start of 2021. Mix and match its extensive range of porcelain and natural stone products. Tumbled limestone pavers are an excellent choice for driveways and pathways. Stoneasy.com remains upbeat about the upcoming year as everyone is seeking to have a relaxing and luxurious staycation.
For 2021, Kebur Garden Materials will be boosting its range of natural stone and porcelain accessories as well as entry level paving options. These include Asian Blue Limestone Setts and large format porcelain Style Clad in a choice of industrial cement and metallic finishes. For clients on a tighter budget next year; new options Urban Great Style Clad in will include more ‘Sand’ with matching paving 900 x 600mm limestone slabs available to buy individually, and Pro Porcelain in popular rectangular and wood effect plank formats.
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L ANDSCAPE & ARCHITECTURE
IN HARMONY ARCHITECT AND URBAN DESIGNER SARA GROHMANN PRESENTS SOME OF FCBSTUDIOS’ PROJECTS, AND PROVES THAT NOT ALL ARCHITECTS THINK OF LANDSCAPE AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT SHOWING THE BEST SCHEMES SEE THEM WORK IN HARMONY
t’s a tale as old as time – architecture vs the landscape. But for Sara Grohmann, you can’t care about one without caring about the other. During the New SARA GROHMANN Labour era under Tony Blair’s administration, Richard Rogers – an architect best-known for Lloyd’s building, Pompidou Centre and Millennium Dome – was commissioned to draft a strategy to renew Britain’s towns and cities. His ideas included building more densely in cities around transport networks and reusing brownfield land for housing rather than building in open fields. It was during this time when a dialogue about how cities are developed so they achieved better sustainability, that Sara began to get involved with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBStudios). “Sometimes architecture might
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be put first and landscape second, but for us, it’s quite the opposite,” explains Sara. “All of our key projects have been interwoven with a very strong story on the landscape, biodiversity and sustainability.” Accordia was one such project. It set a new benchmark for large-scale housing in the UK and was the first housing project to win the RIBA Stirling Prize. Traditionally, residential properties have a front garden and a back garden, and everyone on the site lives in that context. But at a development site in Cambridge, FCBStudios wanted to challenge this. In total, the landscape amounted for 3.5 hectares of the 9.6-hectare site. Working alongside Grant Associates, these traditional gardens are replaced with a mixture of private open spaces such as courtyards, roof terraces and large balconies each with their own theme – a kitchen garden, long walk and central garden all feature mature trees and new planting. These larger spaces offer residents more opportunities for recreation and play.
1 Hayle ©FCBStudios 2 Accordia ©TimCrocker/FCBStudios 3 Embassy Gardens ©Hufton and Crow/ FCBStudios 4 Church Street public realm ©GrantAssociates/FCBStudios 5 Hayle ©FCBStudios
“We developed a whole new language, and typology of houses,” explains Sara. “The homes were built with traditional Cambridge brick, but the variety and richness came from the landscape, where different areas have a character and will change through the seasons, creating a life cycle.” For FCBStudios, one commonality between many of its projects is creating a development which is bespoke to that site’s context. At a project in Hayle, Cornwall, its World Heritage Site location means that this is essential. The question for FCB Studios was how to create a residential development that could host new communities in an existing context sensitive both in terms of its visual impact and in terms of its habitat. Churchman Thornhill Finch will help FCBStudios reimagine the site as 500 homes, waterside commercial spaces and a new public square are developed, inspired by the site’s heritage and hope to foster a sense of community. Above North Quay a bundle of larger homes will be embedded into the landscape providing dramatic views. A former industrial yard will become a garden, with native flora and fauna being encouraged to regrow. This keen ethos and interest in context, sustainability and community architecture has been at the heart of FCBStudios since it was founded 40 years ago.
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SOMETIMES ARCHITECTURE MIGHT BE PUT FIRST AND LANDSCAPE SECOND, BUT FOR US, IT’S QUITE THE OPPOSITE “Over the years, the studio has maintained this ethos,” explains Sara. “We are still at the forefront of the discussion on sustainability and the social side is fully interwoven when we do projects.” At a 3.5 ha site in East London, FCBStudios with Churchman Thornhill Finch and FaulknerBrowns Architects are supporting Hackney Council in the redevelopment of the existing Britannia Leisure Centre, to deliver a new Leisure Centre, a new secondary school for 900 local students – plus a 200 student sixth form and 481 new homes. Public spaces offer options – either for community events, social gatherings or for peace and reflection. Outdoor classrooms are on offer at the school, while play spaces sit on ground levels and on rooftops to cleverly address requirements for open space. A qualified architect, Sara also has a master’s degree in environmental design and has had an interest in the history of cities and the open environment for as long as she can remember. Not only does this mean she strives alongside FCBStudios to create sustainable, community focused projects but it also means that more often than not, a masterplan is developed from a landscape approach. In 2012, FCBStudios and Grant Associates collaborated to devise a 20-year infrastructure
and public realm plan for Church Street and Paddington Green Renewal Area in London which aims to “set new standards in the UK as a retro-fitted climate change adapted neighbourhood”. Some of the key issues the plans have addressed are clean air, drainage, flooding and drought. Set to become London’s most ‘liveable neighbourhood’, green infrastructure plays a huge part. Underused estate gardens will become part of the public realm enriched with play areas, rain gardens and fruit and vegetable gardens. And, a new green corridor will run north to south connecting neighbourhoods and creating pocket parks. Over the next few years, the hopes are that the UK will continue to gear towards green as it tries to achieve its carbon neutral targets and FCBStudios – and indeed Sara – plan to be a part of the conversation. This starts with the form of the buildings they create through to the materials they specify and the landscape surrounding it. Ultimately, it comes down to the site’s ability to answer the dilemma of climate change and respond in a positive way. At least for Sara and FCB Studio, this cannot happen without architecture and landscape working as one.
C O N TA C T FCBStudios Tel 0207 323 5737 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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F E AT U R E GARDEN
THE BETH CHATTO GARDENS AT THE BETH CHATTO GARDENS, JULIA BOULTON AND DAVID WARD ARE CONTINUING ON THE WORK OF THE LEGENDARY BETH CHATTO – CARRYING HER ETHOS OF RIGHT PLANT, RIGHT PLACE THROUGHOUT THE GARDEN. HERE, WE EXPLORE HOW THEY'VE DONE IT
THE WATER GARDEN
ith over 10 publications, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Garden Media Guild, The John Brooks Lifetime Achievement Award, 10 successive Chelsea Gold Medals, a Victoria Medal of Honour, and an OBE, Beth Chatto needs little introduction. The quote, “right plant, right place” may not have come from Beth’s mouth, but its sentiment certainly did, and today it’s part of her legacy. When Beth and her husband Andrew first bought their home with its acres of adjoining land, people were baffled. The unfarmable land was overgrown with brambles, nettles and bracken, with poor gravel soil and boggy hollows. But Beth and Andrew saw an opportunity. As is written in The Beth Chatto Handbook: “We lost too many plants in our impatience to possess them, because we had not achieved the proper growing conditions.” Here, at their property in Colchester, they set out to create a series of gardens that would thrive in different conditions. Today, their granddaughter Julia, garden and nursery director David Ward, along with head gardener Åsa Gregers-Warg and her team of four, carry on this work, opening the gardens up to thousands of visitors a year.
THE RESERVOIR GARDEN
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SURROUNDED BY ACRES OF ARABLE LAND, THE GARDENS HAVE CREATED AN OASIS FOR WILDLIFE THAT WOULD OTHERWISE NOT EXIST
There are five gardens emulating different growing conditions in the gardens. The Gravel Garden, Scree Garden, – which provides an elegant solution to troublesome areas of the garden by emulating the growing conditions of stony, mountainous slopes – Water Garden, Woodland Garden and Reservoir Garden – an open and sunny spot recently redesigned. The Gravel Garden is famous for the fact that it is never watered. There are plants from all over the world in this part of the garden, but one thing they all have in common is that they are adapted to thrive in dry conditions. These drought resistant plants sit in dry, sandy and gravelly soil. “We’re in the lowest rainfall area in the country so plants in the Gravel Garden have got to be really drought resistant,” explains David Ward, garden and nursery director. Common plants such as lavender, Stachys byzantina and Nepeta are supplemented by the more unusual grasses such as Stipa tenuissima, Stipa gigantea and Stipa barbata which dazzles in the summer. Gaura lindheimeri and Verbena bonariensis are joined by large flowered Romneya coulteri and the early flowering Thymus longicaulis. Trees including a giant Eucalyptus dalrympleana from Australia and Genista aetnensis. Bulbs especially are an ideal drought resistant plant as they’re dormant in the summer.
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sometimes unfavoured – at The Beth Chatto Gardens, glossy leaved Bergenias are hugely popular. Grown out in full sunshine, and exposed to cold weather, they also turn brilliant colours in the winter. "They’re almost like the hostas of the dry garden,” explains David. Structurally, the plants in the Gravel Garden are designed to look good year-round, something which can be seen throughout the gardens. Another design principle which can be seen throughout is inspired by a flower arranging style called ikebana. This triangular design sees a high point (or heaven), a mid-point (man) and ground (earth). In the garden, a conifer may represent the high point, head-height grass the mid and ground cover the lowest.
The Water Garden keeps this triangle design principle, with large gunnera, tall grasses such as Miscanthus and hostas. Here, the more retentive soil is able to grow Rudbeckia, Astilbe, Persicaria amplexicaulis forms, Primula bulleyana, Carex elata ‘Aurea’ and Iris x robusta ‘Gerald Darby’. Here, plants bloom in late spring, summer and on into autumn. In the Woodland Garden, snowdrops litter the ground, followed by daffodils and finally shade loving perennials like Epimedium x perralchicum 'Fröhnleiten', Pachyphragma macrophylla, Brunnera macrophylla and Geranium phaeum. But, even when winter sets in, foliage such as Geranium macrorrhizum 'Album' and dominant ferns like Dryopteris filix-mas give the garden form and interest. Many of the plants in these gardens are unusual even by today's standards, but back in 1960 they were even more so. When developing the gardens, Beth and Andrew began collecting and subsequently propagating their own plants. With a demand for these, they then were able to sell them on – a practise which remains in place today. In fact, the garden propagates 80% of its plants and sells almost 200,000 plants a year. When COVID-19 hit, many nurseries were pushed to begin offering mail order plants, but The Beth Chatto Garden had been doing this since 1970. “We were in such a fortunate position,” Julia explains. “It wasn’t brilliant for us over lockdown, but it was nowhere near as disastrous as it could have been if we weren’t already set up to mail out plants.” By growing these plants in peat free compost this opens up the opportunity of the National Trust as a potential buyer. But it’s not just the potential big customer that drives this
THE RESERVOIR GARDEN
All photographs ©Beth Chatto's Plants and Gardens
THE GRAVEL GARDEN
“It’s almost 30 years now since it was planted, and it’s an ongoing educational process for us,” explains David. One plant in particular which wasn’t part of Beth’s original design is the Romneya coulteri. David and his team brought in the California tree poppy to experiment with which plants would grow in the Gravel Garden, and it’s blossomed. By nature, various plants in the garden are thin leaved, fussy or hairy. Which is why – though
THE WOODLAND GARDEN
MILLIUM EFFUSUM 'AUREUM'
GERANIUM MACRORRHIZUM 'GLACIER'
sustainability, which is important to the garden. As well as using a different coloured plant pots that can be recycled – as opposed to the black pots which recycling plants can’t recognise – the Garden doesn’t use chemicals on its plants. Surrounded by acres of arable land, the gardens have created an oasis for wildlife that would otherwise not exist. Though the team
pollinated, but unfortunately, they don’t release them, causing a kind of carnage. Since being informed of this, David and his team have removed the flowers from the plant, leaving the still striking foliage. This sums up a belief that Beth Chatto had, which was to work with nature, not against it. She also firmly believed that the way to a
WE'VE GOT AN AMAZING GARDEN THAT DEMONSTRATES THE THEORY OF THE RIGHT PLANT, THE RIGHT PLACE PERFECTLY didn’t set out to create this biodiversity haven, the gardens are full of a diverse range of pollinators, rare insects and moths. “We have a naturalist who comes into the garden and looks at it through a different set of eyes than we do,” explains David. “We’re gardeners, he’s a naturalist.” An example of seeing things through different eyes was with the plant Thalia dealbata. Beth and her team had introduced it to the Water Garden’s pond, with big leaves and spikes of purple flowers, it’s an architectural plant. These fascinating flowers physically trap insects as a means to be
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PRIMULA BULLEYANA IN THE WATER GARDEN
healthier planet was through education. Thus, The Education Trust was born. Beth Chatto Education Trust caters for all. Children can learn through school visits and
HAKONOCHLOA MACRA 'AUREOLA'
holiday activities. Adults through plant/gardening workshops, artistic and wellbeing courses, events, and by gaining RHS qualifications. Just like Beth, the Education Trust’s mission is to help others who want to make a difference too. Its currently working with John Little, founder of Grass Roof Company to advise him on, and experiment with, different types of plants which might suit the roofs all sorts of buildings and shelters. The garden is also working closely with Mind, exploring the mental health benefits of plants and gardens. In the future, the team are interested in exploring the use of plants to benefit mental health and the environment even more. Julia, David and the team took stock during lockdown, revaluating what The Beth Chatto Gardens’ values are. “We’re even more determined to focus purely on plants,” explains Julia. “We’re a visitor attraction, but we’re not for everyone. We’re a specialist nursery with a fantastic range of plants. We've got an amazing garden that demonstrates the theory of the right plant, the right place perfectly with Beth’s style of planting and her ethos.” Instead of remaining open seven days a week, the gardens will be open for five and the café will offer light refreshments but it won’t try to compete with other eateries in the area. So far, this has been successful and the plants have hugely benefitted from the breathing space. In Julia’s words, the future is: “plants, plants, plants.”
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BRINGING B I O S EC U R I T Y BAC K
COVID-19 IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR NURSERIES TO PUT CERTIFICATION SCHEMES ON HOLD, SAYS NICK COSLETT, AND THE NEW PLANT HEALTHY ONE COULD BE A GOOD START
e’ve been discussing over the last few months the need to reduce the significant biosecurity risk on plants for landscape schemes. The threat is real; we should be worried, as many pests and diseases have arrived in recent years with many due to the import of large containerised or rootballed plants hosting pests which have either been missed or not inspected at all. We all have responsibilities in the plant supply chain. So, how can plant buyers, designers and specifiers be assured that their plants are healthy? Buying from a UK nursery is a good start but not a guarantee. An easily recognisable certification scheme such as the ISO Quality Assurance would show that growers had good systems in place and were independently audited to maintain set standards. There is a certification scheme specifically for plant health and biosecurity, but it will need significant numbers of growers to adopt it to create a new plant-safe marketplace. However, research by Forest Research, surveying 100 nurseries and garden
centres in 2019, indicated that they would only join a scheme if the threat of a disease such as Xylella was an imminent threat or had arrived here and wiped out a grower or landscape site! Resulting from an RHS and Prince of Wales arranged meeting at Highgrove in February 2018, Plant Healthy was formed by an alliance of 19
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government, industry and third sector organisations covering ornamental horticulture, forestry and land management. The not-for-profit, Plant Health Alliance, supported by Defra, launched its Plant Healthy Certification Scheme (PHCS) in February this year just before COVID-19 distracted us all. This Certification Scheme, based on the Plant Health Management Standard, sets out to help businesses and organisations in the
REGULAR REVIEW, SELF-ASSESSMENT AND IMPROVEMENT OF PROCEDURES IS A KEY AND CONTINUAL PART OF THE STANDARD development of a consistent plant health management system, a level plateau of good responsible husbandry from propagation to planted in the landscape. Awareness of the scheme is starting to penetrate the industry, but as of October only seven ‘pioneer’ growers had signed up with the four growers – Oakover, J&A Growers, Forestry England and Maelor Forest Nurseries – achieving audited certification by the independent certification body Grown in Britain. There is a simple self-assessment with pointers for improvements you can do which assesses your organisation’s biosecurity systems and is open to all growers, designers and landscapers. https://planthealthy.org.uk/ In fact, regular review, self-assessment and improvement of procedures is a key and continual part of the standard, along with training and the allocation of biosecurity responsibilities to specific key staff. These become champions within the business to use their training and expertise to keep on the Plant Healthy track. Costs are dependent on the size of business and number of sites which
require inspection/auditing. This system is, therefore, suitable for all businesses which produce or trade plant material for the UK horticulture, landscape and forestry sectors. The majority of large growers are aware of the scheme but are yet to get onboard. Yes, it’s been a distracting year, but plant biosecurity has not gone away; some say the pandemic is because biodiversity and biosecurity have been ignored. “I urge all nurseries and traders of plants to engage and use this vital scheme which will help to make our country more biosecure. In government we are doing our bit by exploring how we can procure Plant Healthy stock for our own projects and through our public funded grant schemes.” – Lord Gardener The industry has had nursery certification schemes before – for example, the NCS in 2002 to ensure the National Plant Specification was supplied, where the majority of larger growers signed up. However, getting sufficient specifiers and plant buyers to adopt using certified NCS nurseries only for plant supply did not happen. Not creating a broad marketplace for this standard was the Achilles heel which led to its demise. I hope lessons have been learnt by the Plant Healthy Alliance and they have sufficient resources to promote to the Landscape Institute, SGD, BALI, RIBA and the construction sector to adopt this worthy Plant Healthy standard and help us all protect our nation from unwanted threats to our natural environment. "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." – African proverb
ABOUT NICK COSLETT Nick is now retired but has worked in landscape offices, parks management and horticultural nurseries. For the past 20 years, he has also run soft landscape workshops at Coblands and Palmstead. He has been involved in BALI at a regional and national level, and is a trustee of the BALI Chalk Fund, as well as an awards judge.
ROB PETROW DISCUSSES THE ROLE OF LANDSCAPE DESIGN – IN PARTICULAR, TREES – IN MAKING TOWNS AND CITIES MORE RESILIENT TO CLIMATE CHANGE
ometimes a client’s brief calls for landscape architects to design site-specific problems into sustainable and attractive solutions. This requires an understanding of ecology, placemaking, and local community requirements to deliver impactful solutions. This fusion working process provides an excellent model to create cost-effective and sustainable solutions that make cities more resilient to climate change and a more attractive and healthier place in which to live and work.
Design solutions could include: • Design schemes that reflect natural process (biomimicry) with plenty of spaces for nature, with trees planted along the streets and sustainable urban drainage that will absorb excess rainfall and create new habitats. • Reduce the need for cars by creating a local network of safe cycle lanes, a bike-sharing scheme, a high walkability score with good street connectivity, well-maintained footpaths
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and pedestrian crossings to nearby destinations. If you can, provide charging points to encourage the use of electric and hybrid vehicles. • Encourage and create spaces to grow food, such as community growing schemes in schools, parks and allotments. Repurpose grey areas such as flat roofs into green spaces for growing food or keeping bees.
ENCOURAGE AND CREATE SPACES TO GROW FOOD, SUCH AS COMMUNITY GROWING SCHEMES... REPURPOSE GREY AREAS SUCH AS FLAT ROOFS INTO GREEN SPACES FOR GROWING FOOD OR KEEPING BEES Planting trees can offer many resilience benefits to towns and cities – carbon capture, temperature regulation, stormwater regulation, air purification and noise mitigation. Trees also offer cultural and health benefits, connecting communities to nature and the landscape and opening up opportunities for education and learning. There are some issues to consider to ensure the new trees are long-lived and sustainable and don’t give rise to future problems—for example, select trees that can grow in the available soil and local conditions. Take into account the
tree’s ultimate size and spread. Could its roots potentially damage adjacent buildings and services? Consider the impact of leaf and fruit drop, shading and any other nuisance factors. If we accept that climate change is a fact, tree species need to be selected that are resilient to drought, frost hardiness, temporary waterlogging, pests and disease and are tolerant to higher air temperatures and shortened winter dormancy. Keep the newly planted area weed-free, prune to maintain the desired tree shape and the removal of tree ties and guards and mitigate against drought stress for the newly planted trees. Planting new trees is not a case of plant it and forget about it. The most important considerations are root health, weather, soil conditions and aftercare. Trees will not grow where soil contains too little air or where soil moisture is either excessive or insufficient. Therefore, time and money will be required to provide the right soil preparation that will improve both the growing medium and conditions.
ABOUT ROB PETROW Rob Petrow is a chartered landscape architect. He established Petrow Associates in 1996 which was followed with the establishment, in October 2010, of Petrow-Harley Ltd, an award-winning landscape architecture practice. Rob Petrow originally trained in horticulture and landscape construction before graduating from Greenwich University. He has more than 30 years’ professional experience.
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here is no doubt that planting a container grown tree dramatically reduces the likelihood of loss, but there are still pitfalls you need to consider before you plant. When we started Majestic Trees, we looked at all the possible containers we could grow our trees in before settling on the Air-Pot system, which like every container on the market have their positive and negative attributes. Whilst the vast majority of our stock is grown in Air-Pot containers, I have purchased many container grown trees over the years and observed the production methods and, then later at projects, the problems you need to watch for. So, let’s take a quick look at the different container types trees are grown in.
NOT ALL CONTAINERS ARE EQUAL STEVE MCCURDY TAKES A LOOK AT CONTAINER GROWN TREES AND WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU BUY stock may result in failures. Furthermore, large plastic pots often have to be cut off, which makes recycling them difficult; once cut, you will struggle to find a recycling company, unless you pay them to take them. However, the biggest problem is root spiralling, and if not dealt with properly at planting, the roots will struggle to break out and establish successfully.
A GOOD QUALITY ROOT SYSTEM OF A MAGNOLIA IN A PLASTIC POT, THOUGH IT HAS STARTED TO SPIRAL
Container grown trees in a plastic pot There is no doubt that for mechanisation purposes, plastic pots have dominated over the past 40 years. Whilst automation is not quite so simple for larger trees above 100 litres, plastic pots up to 1,000 litres are still readily available and widely used, as they are simpler to handle. The nursery can move stock around that is not fully rooted and, in many cases, sell it before it is fully rooted out, though not necessarily something you want, as planting poorly rooted
SOME TREES, SUCH AS THIS TRACHYCARPUS ROOT OUT DIFFERENTLY IN A PLASTIC POT
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THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT FOR MECHANISATION PURPOSES, PLASTIC POTS HAVE DOMINATED OVER THE PAST 40 YEARS Containerised trees in a plastic pot You might think I’m repeating myself, but there is a critical difference that you must check when you buy. In my experience, this is especially prevalent with containerised stock coming from many, though not all, Italian nurseries, in that a ‘containerised tree in a plastic pot’ means a tree that has been dug up as a rootball and shoved in a plastic pot with some soil packed around it. These often have two or even four pieces of wood strapped across the rootball, nailed or stapled to the side of the pot, because otherwise the tree will simply fall out of the pot when it is moved. Many containerised trees come like this, and once you try to remove the tree from the pot you quickly discover that there are few (if any) roots outside the original rootball, dramatically reducing the tree’s chance of surviving.
EXAMPLE OF A ‘CONTAINERISED TREE’ RECENTLY POTTED STRAPPED INTO A PLASTIC POT
SOMETIMES YOU CAN SEE THAT THE WOOD IS SIMPLY SECURING THE ROOTBALL IN PLACE!
Bag grown trees Trees grown in bags certainly have a better root system than a plastic pot, and also have certain handling advantages over plastic pots. You either carry them by the handles if small enough, or if larger drag them around, place in the tree pit and cut the bag off, then putting it in the trash. Whilst it is not reusable it is far better than cutting off a plastic pot and hopefully sending it to recycling,
A TYPICAL ROOT SYSTEM ON A BAGGED TREE ONCE IT IS CUT OFF. SOME PRODUCE BETTER ROOTS THAN OTHERS
and the bag will produce a far more fibrous root system than a plastic pot with far less spiralling. There are a range of bags on the market, some with minor differences, and whilst the root system they produce is much better than a plastic pot, it is still not the best on the market.
THERE IS NO EQUAL TO AN AIRPOT GROWN TREE, AS IT PRODUCES OUTSTANDING FIBROUS ROOTS, WHICH RESULT IN FAR QUICKER ESTABLISHMENT trees are the easiest to establish any time of year, and for that reason dominate the RHS Show Gardens at Chelsea, Hampton Court and other shows. On the flip side, Air-Pots cannot be picked
AirPot grown trees There is no equal to an Air-Pot grown tree, as it produces outstanding fibrous roots which result in far quicker establishment. With the lowest failure rate, Air-Pot grown
Invasive weeds Just as I emphasised in my article on rootballs in the November issue, look out for all the problems with horsetail, bindweed, et al in containerised stock. This is especially prevalent from some Italian nurseries, though that doesn’t mean to say you won’t find it in containers from other parts of Europe. It will not be obvious in the winter months, and will be too late once planted and established, growing away happily in the summer months, having escaped into your customers’ garden. Potted too deep This is a serious problem across Europe but especially in Italian stock. Far too many nurseries use labour that has no understanding of the ramifications of what they are doing, and are simply in too much of a hurry with little quality control once the rootball has been dumped into the pot. Just this week we replaced at no charge, a 30/35 Quercus ilex planted over 4 years ago, one of 8 we had supplied, were the tree had developed collar rot as it had been potted on an Italian nursery 150 mil too deep, and was slowly failing whilst the other 7 had romped away. Unfortunately this bad practice is very common, and we now literally inspect and remove any excess soil when the trees arrive before they go to market.
WE NOW LITERALLY INSPECT AND REMOVE ANY EXCESS SOIL WHEN THE TREES ARRIVE BEFORE THEY GO TO MARKET
THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT AIRPOTS DO CONSISTENTLY PRODUCE THE BEST FIBROUS ROOT SYSTEM
A WASHED OUT ROOT SYSTEM ON THIS TREE CLEARLY SHOWS THE FIBROUS ROOT PRODUCED IN AN AIR-POT
ONCE ROOTBALLED, THE ROOTS ARE READY TO EXPLODE INTO THEIR NEW HOME
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up by a handle and are not as conducive to being moved, and however fabulous the root system it will have no bottom, except in sizes below 40 litre. One can slide a set of forks under the Air-Pot; which could be as large as 5,000 litres; but typically when being shipped, the rootball will need to be set on a hessian and wire net to be wrapped and secured ready for planting. If the trees are going into the landscape, it actually reduces the amount of work as you do not have to remove any pot or bag, whilst the Air-Pot will be reused over many more seasons, (we have some that have been reused for 15 years), far outliving any of the other choices.
TREES PLANTED TOO DEEP IN CONTAINERS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM, AS CAN BE SEEN HERE WITH THIS QUERCUS SUBER ROOTBALL COVERED 100 MIL ABOVE THE FLARE
A B O U T ST E V E M C C U R DY Steve is managing director of Majestic Trees, which he formed almost 20 years ago. He, often with another team member, spends weeks walking the fields of nurseries all over Europe, tagging tree stock he buys to grow on. Last season, he made 12 trips in his search to ensure the best quality and the UK’s highest biosecurity at Majestic Trees.
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ccording to the MET Office, 3 October 2020 was the wettest day since records began in terms of UK rainfall. In 129 years, we haven’t seen a wetter day across the country. It’s hard to believe, but this trend of higher rainfall in autumn and winter is consistent with current weather patterns. Previously I have written about average summer temperatures being regularly higher in the last decade than ever before and contrasting wetter winters following a very similar pattern. Indeed, the effects of global warming in the UK having been digitally modelled by the MET Office and this model paints an increasingly alarming pattern of hotter, drier summers and cooler, wetter winters over the decades to come.
With this in mind then, we need to think about how we cope with these highly differing climate types. Our plants will struggle to survive this stark fluctuation across the seasons and futureproofing our plants and gardens against this will likely be impossible as it stands (see my November 2019 article). A new strategy to planting design and garden creation will need to be adopted. We have to think completely differently to how we have previously to make this work. One major annoyance for me is that, despite having substantial rainfall each winter, we do little to capture it, with the greater majority (98%, according to GMB Trade Union) heading back out to sea through our river networks. This, in itself, wouldn’t be an issue if we always had a drinking water surplus; but every summer, we are warned of impending hosepipe bans and local as well as national shortages of clean water. I, for one, am tired of hearing this after enduring six months of rainfall each winter. We could look at grey water for non-drinking purposes as some people do, using reed-beds and small-scale water filtration and purification efforts.
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A DROP IN THE
OCEAN CLIMATE CHANGE IS LIKELY TO CAUSE WETTER WINTERS, SO WHY DON’T WE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS TO REDUCE WATER LOSS? LEWIS NORMAND EXPLAINS HOW
We could do this, but we shouldn’t need to! All we need to do, really, is to better capture and hold falling rain in aquifers, dams and reservoirs more effectively than we have done previously. That, combined with our water companies reduction of lost water through leaks, should be more than enough to redress the imbalance that we encounter now and which surely will grow without mitigation.
ONE MAJOR ANNOYANCE FOR ME IS THAT, DESPITE HAVING SUBSTANTIAL RAINFALL EACH WINTER, WE DO LITTLE TO CAPTURE IT In 2017, the top nine water providers in the UK between them lost 2,397,900,000L of water every day to leaks, according to the GMB Union; that 2.39 billion litres a day equates to 959 Olympic-sized swimming pools being emptied into the ground, if that makes it a little easier to visualise. In 2018, this number was reduced by some 10 million litres a day, according to water. org.uk, through companies handling their responsibility to find and fix leaks and better manage the resource. It is, however, but a drop in the ocean (if you’ll pardon the pun) and a staggering amount of water is still
lost every day of the year in the UK, with water companies passing on the fines that they receive to their customers through higher rates. More concerning is that our consumption of water is rising and it seems logical that if summer temperatures are going to continue to increase as summer rainfall decreases, this trend of higher consumption will escalate. I imagine that we will fairly quickly need to think of grey water recycling in new housing projects as an essential part of planning rather than a desirable addition to meet eco targets. I think that retrofitting buildings with grey water recycling technology and utilising SuDS drainage systems to capture some of this will become more commonplace and hopefully be incentivised by the government as well as put into law for new builds and restorative works. With these measures, I can see that we can help to reduce winter flooding and maintain and recycle useable water domestically, but I still believe that we will need to create more large-scale reservoir resources to meet our current and future needs. Through a quick Wikipedia search, it seems that the last reservoir built in England and Wales was in 1989 in Devon. Since 1989 our population has grown by more than 10 million people. This strikes me as an imbalance that we need to consider. Infrastructure is important – vitally so – and without an investment in how we manage our water, I feel we are headed towards a real problem.
ABOUT LEWIS NORMAND Lewis has worked in a wide variety of roles within horticulture over a 20-year career. He has lectured on garden design and horticulture, and designed gardens in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Since 2011, Lewis has focused on nursery sales, now working as sales manager at Bernhard’s Nurseries, and has helped to launch a number of new plants into the UK plant market. He is a specialist supplier to show gardens, supplying more than 100 gardens at major shows.
N U R S E RY
FO C U S
Header image ©Graficonnect
VAN DEN BERK NURSERIES HAS JUST STARTED SUPPLYING ORGANIC TREES, AND THAT’S NOT THE ONLY WAY THE COMPANY IS PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE, AS MANAGING DIRECTOR PIETER VAN DEN BERK TELLS US
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n a fairly traditional industry, Van den Berk Nurseries stands out as a progressive business. It developed a machine to produce large rootballs, for instance, when most nurseries in the Netherlands didn’t make these root types. The nursery also recently introduced ‘Treevolution’, a hub of knowledge where the company PIETER VAN DEN BERK develops and tests ideas, such as exploring which trees appear to be climate resilient and which are suitable for vertical greening. Now, Van den Berk Nurseries is delivering its first organic trees which it has been cultivating since 2016. “We were already very sustainable growers, so we didn’t spray many chemicals before,” says managing director Pieter van den Berk. “But now we don’t spray any chemicals at all on those fields, we use organic manure and we manually manage weed control.” With each successive year of growing the organic trees, a new plot has been added. There are now three fields growing organic trees, and the nursery is hoping to scale its production further. “We expected the demand for it, and that demand is there. On one side, it costs a little more and the customer has to accept that there might be algae on it, for example, but that’s what happens with
biological growing – there’s no harm in it, it’s just a different way of working.” The species chosen are selected for their resistance to pests and diseases. For instance, Acer campestre – Van den Berk used the ‘Elsrijk’ variety of this species because it is resistant to mildew. “I don’t think we can grow
NOW, VAN DEN BERK NURSERIES IS DELIVERING ITS FIRST ORGANIC TREES WHICH IT HAS BEEN CULTIVATING SINCE 2016
everything organically, and there will still be times when we need to act for biosecurity, but in most occasions it’s not necessary, especially with the distance we keep between the trees.” Pieter hopes these organic trees will be popular with the UK market, which after the
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Netherlands is the nursery’s largest market, alongside France. It started exporting to the UK in the late 80s – Pieter says it was a little slow at first, but around 20 years ago, the UK market really picked up and the nursery has supplied
there was a good investment. There is a small production area there, but nothing compared to the Netherlands – we’ve taken decades to get to that point. PLATANUS HISPANICA ‘TREMONIA’
WE’RE VERY HAPPY THAT WE’RE IN A BUSINESS THAT PROVIDES A PRODUCT THAT CLEANS THE AIR INSTEAD OF POLLUTING IT ACER SACCHARINUM ‘LACINIATUM WIERI’ H900-1000
“Van den Berk Nurseries was founded in 1939 as a regular farm, with cows and pigs and chickens. My grandparents had the opportunity to rent the farm, and in this area of the Netherlands there was a lot of production of poplar trees because there was a big wooden shoe industry in those days and poplar trees were used to make those. So, my grandfather saw an opportunity to grow small trees, making cuttings and growing them a couple of years before they reached their final destination with the farmers. Unfortunately, he died very young in 1964 and his sons took over; he had five children and three of them became nurserymen on this site.”
Poplar lost its popularity soon after, and so the nursery began to produce a wider variety of plants, specialising in big trees. It now stocks more than 1,600 species and varieties of trees, exporting them to other areas of Europe and Asia, but its reputation is more than just a large variety of stock. Van den Berk Nurseries is eager to make a difference, to have an impact on the future of growing. As Pieter says: “We’re very happy that we’re in a business that provides a product that cleans the air instead of polluting it.” With organic trees already on the cards, there are likely to be many more bold ambitions from this Netherlands-based nursery. MOVING TREE
for prolific projects such as the Athletes’ Village in London. Following its success with British clients, Van den Berk recently set up a site in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. “We find the UK a very important market, not just financially; the UK customers and ourselves go very well together. We appreciate their market, and they appreciate our products, so we thought a site
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C O N TA C T Van den Berk Nurseries Donderdonk 4 5492 VJ Sint-Oedenrode, Netherlands Tel: +31 (0) 413 - 480 480 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
J A M E S H E W E T S O N - B R OW N E X P L A I N S W H AT M A K E S W I L D F LOW E R T U R F ’ S L AT E ST L A U N C H STA N D O U T
s the UK’s leading and dedicated wildflower specialists, Wildflower Turf Ltd is committed to supplying customers with reliable, innovative solutions for creating dynamic wildflower spaces. After extensive research by our dedicated research and development team, in conjunction with listening to the experiences of our accredited partners, we are excited to introduce a new product innovation – Meadowscape Pro™. Rigorously tested, Meadowscape Pro™ is an enhanced growing medium that provides effective wildflower establishment and delivers landscape professionals with a wide range of benefits and guaranteed results. Why Meadowscape Pro™? Meadowscape Pro™ delivers dynamic and biodiverse wildflower spaces in a range of settings with minimal ground preparation, saving time and money. For 2020, Meadowscape Pro™ has been enhanced with a specially developed “Historic Royal Palaces used Meadowscape Pro in its orchard garden, Hampton Court in 2020 and we were delighted by the results and support we received from Wildflower Turf Ltd” Graham Dillamore, gardens and estates operations manager, Historic Royal Palaces
HAMPTON COURT PALACE
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“I used the Meadowscape Pro solution to create a 320m2 wildflower meadow on a steeply sloping chalk hillside, set within the Hampshire Downs. I have to say, it was fantastic! Within two weeks, the seeds had germinated and were forming a dense green mat. At six weeks the first flowers appeared, and by eight weeks, the meadow was in full swing. A tremendous product which I will use again and again. Thanks to Toby and everyone at Wildflower Turf for providing great service from start to finish.” Adam Vetere, of Adam Vetere Landscape & Garden Design
formula that supports good water percolation and retention. This unique trademarked additive, called Hydropor™, stabilises the growing medium for much better seed germination compared to conventional seeding methods. It is the product’s ability to deliver optimal seed germination leading to quick, healthy seedling growth that has won it a host of plaudits, including The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which has used and approved Meadowscape Pro™. Meadowscape Pro™ sits within a wide range of proven offerings from Wildflower Turf Limited and has been developed for customers with a particular focus on: • Large sites where there is access to irrigation, but instant plant coverage is not required; • Sites where access for ground preparation is restricted or the soil type limits conventional seed bed preparation; • Areas with low incline (contrary to steep slopes); • Areas with lower historical weed burdens or lower risk of potential weed ingression. MeasdowscapePro™ has already been successfully used by: Godalming Town Council, RHS Wisley, West Suffolk Town Council, Farnham Town Council and many other landscapers and garden designers.
THREE TO FOUR WEEKS AFTER LAYING MEADOWSCAPE PRO™ (EARLY APRIL)
THE SAME AREA IN LATE JUNE
A range of species mixes has been developed for Meadowscape Pro™ and each has been researched and carefully selected to provide optimal results. A tailored, bespoke version of Meadowscape Pro™ can also be made available to a more specified brief, in line with individual customer needs. For further information on Meadowscape Pro™, please visit our website at www.wildflowerturf.co.uk or phone the Wildflower Turf team on 01256 771 222.
ABOUT JAMES HEWETSON-BROWN James Hewetson-Brown is the managing director of Wildflower Turf Limited, the UK’s leading specialist supplier of Wildflower Turf used for landscaping and green roof projects. He has spent his working lifetime in agriculture and is a graduate of Seale Hayne Agricultural College. His strong interest in biodiversity led to the development of the concept of Wildflower Turf in 2003. Since then, James has conducted a significant amount of research into the establishment of wildflower landscapes in the built environment. His work led to the introduction of Wildflower Turf to the market, a product that is guaranteed to produce a wildflower landscape.
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FIVE TIPS FOR CREATING A
5 - STA R CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE WITH WINTER A P OT E N T I A L LY QUIET PERIOD FOR BUSINESS, NOW COULD B E T H E T I M E TO G I V E YO U R C U STO M E R EXPERIENCE A POLISH. A L I S O N WA R N E R S H A R E S H E R TO P T I P S FO R A S PA R K L I N G S E R V I C E Find out what your customers want This may sound simple, and it is! A great mentor of mine once said that business is actually really simple (not necessarily easy). It is about staying in touch with what your customers want, and making sure that you are giving this to them. Put together a brief survey using a tool such as SurveyMonkey. This enables you to create your own questions to find out how they would rate your service (also very important), and what their desires and needs are. I would recommend doing this on an annual basis, so that you are keeping in touch with both the service you are providing and the changing needs in the market. Look at what your competitors are doing Research your competitors – not just in your local area or even the UK. Look further afield to similar businesses in other countries. This can be a great way of finding out best practice, both in terms of how businesses are marketing themselves, and the products and services they are offering.
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Step into the shoes of your customer This involves mapping out your entire customer journey, from the point of enquiry through to payment. Things to look at include: How quickly is the phone answered? How soon do you respond to emails? How detailed are your quotes? How quickly do they get sent out? Basically, what is it like to be a customer of your business? This enables you to spot where there are ‘bottlenecks’ – i.e. where things get stuck. The solution may involve outsourcing tasks such as admin and phone calls, so that the customer experience improves and you can focus on growing your business.
IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT YOU STAY AHEAD OF YOUR COMPETITION AND AT THE FOREFRONT OF YOUR MARKET
What opportunities are there to ‘surprise and delight’ your customers? If you do the exercise in the previous point, this will also enable you to spot where there are opportunities to ‘wow’ your customers, going above and beyond their expectations. This is a well-known marketing strategy to attract and nurture. These things don’t have to cost a lot of money, but can help you easily stand out from your competition. What new products could you offer? It is so important that you stay ahead of your competition and at the forefront of your market. This means being in touch with innovations that are happening in your industry. Quiet times are great for conducting research into what new products are becoming available, so that you can in turn be seen as the true expert in your field. To measure the health of your business, take our free BUILD system scorecard, available on our website: www.evolveandgrowcoaching.com
A B O U T A L I S O N WA R N E R Alison Warner is founder of Evolve and Grow Ltd, a business coaching firm that specialises in helping owners of construction and trade businesses grow sustainably. She is also the author of bestselling book ‘Build and Grow: How to go from Tradesperson to Managing Director in the Construction and Trade Industries’: https://amzn.to/2QIb467 www.evolveandgrowcoaching.com
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UNSURE OF THE DIFFERENCE BET WEEN A ‘WORKER’ AND A ‘CONTRACTOR’? IL AN BR AHA AND JASON MCKENZIE OF OR ACLE SOLICITORS TALK US THROUGH EMPLOYMENT STATUS
he distinction between a ‘contractor’ and ‘employee’ is not always clear-cut and has caused much case law over the years. A further complication is the additional category of ‘worker’. So, what is the difference between a contractor (or subcontractor) and a worker or employee? And why does it matter? An employee is an individual who works under a contract of employment and is personally required to do the work. The employee will have additional legal protections relating to dismissal, holiday, sick pay, and health and safety. A worker is halfway between an employee and a contractor. They retain a similar level of dependence on the employer for work as an employee, which means they are not contractors. The worker is entitled to National Minimum Wage and accrues holiday rights but does not have an employee’s additional legal protections. Employers retain much more control over the worker than over a contractor – such as how, when or where the work is performed. The employer provides any required equipment. For example, plumbers working for a company such as Pimlico Plumbers are workers. A contractor is substantially independent. They do not need to perform the work or service personally (although they usually do) and the contractor works for a client or customer. Gardeners hired by a lay person (the client or customer) are usually contractors. There is sometimes no requirement to offer or accept work with contractors. Contractors will often determine their schedule. They are responsible for their own tax and insurance and most likely will be paid per job or for a fixed period of time, frequently by invoicing. This means less HR admin for the customer, with no concerns about PAYE or National Insurance contributions; or sick pay or annual leave. The customer can contract out of paying the contractor to ‘make good’ any errors in their work. The contractor is usually hired for their
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C ONTR ACTOR
specific skillset as and when required, or for a specific job. Normally, contractors use their own equipment, although sometimes they may ‘hire’ the customer’s equipment.
Liability Usually, the employer is liable for the worker’s actions or inactions while they are working and will typically compensate for any resulting harm (financial or otherwise) to a third party. Similarly, if a worker is injured while on the job, the employer may be responsible for an unsafe workplace.
AN INDIVIDUAL MAY START OUT AS A CONTRACTOR WORKING FOR A CUSTOMER AND BECOME OVER TIME A WORKER OR EMPLOYEE IN THE EYES OF THE LAW While a contractor’s workplace still needs to be reasonably safe, they are usually required to have insurance for issues that arise as a result of their work. Indemnity clauses in the contract are highly recommended. Properly prepared, this means the contractor pays for any claims brought against the customer on the basis of negligence or financial issues they caused.
Similarly, if the contractor injures themselves while working, this may be considered more likely to be their responsibility rather than the customer’s – particularly if the injury relates to the contractor’s specific skillset. Conclusion Hiring a contractor has its attractions. Legally, the situation can seem simpler. The contractor will not accrue holiday, brings a lower liability risk, and the contract can be terminated on a purely contractual basis without the additional concerns of claims such as unfair dismissal that might be pursued by employees. The contractual basis for termination can be as flexible as needed. However, an individual may start out as a contractor working for a customer and become, over time, a worker or employee in the eyes of the law, granting them additional employment rights such as holiday and sick pay. The ‘gig economy’ has made this an increased risk, particularly with ‘zero-hour’ contracts for workers.
A B O U T O R AC L E S O L I C I TO R S Oracle Solicitors is an award-winning law firm with a deep understanding of the landscape industry and expertise in employment, commercial, litigation, property and contract law. Oracle Solicitors, founded in 2002 has since grown to include offices in London, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Frankfurt, and Addis Ababa – please visit:
RETHINKING RECRUITMENT THE WAY WE WORK HAS CHANGED AND HIRING ALONG WITH IT, AS LEE BESTALL EXPLAINS
hen I first left university, I started out as a recruitment consultant. Although it was a far cry from the horticultural world I now live in, it gave me great exposure to sales, marketing, interviewing and – most usefully – honed my techniques for talent spotting (as the Americans call it)! Being able to identify, coach, nurture, enthuse and promote great people is something I’ve become pretty good at; but in the new world in which we now work, how have our recruitment methods changed and what do we now have to bear in mind? We’ve always been pretty lucky in the past as we’ve never really had to advertise for people, they’ve come to us. Finding good people is one of our industry’s most discussed challenges, but if you’re a good company (and I see so many great examples in our industry), you’ll find that great people are attracted to you. I don’t think our industry shouts enough about what we do – I know we certainly don’t – but staff benefits such as training, use of up-to-date technology and tools, quality PPE or a team day out are all great additions to a
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salary, and our additional day off for birthdays (which is compulsory) always goes down very well. Since the pandemic, we’ve added an ‘opportunities’ page to the website, as well as a place to upload CVs, and we’re asking potential candidates to post us a video of themselves with a short bio. Interviewing over the phone is something we now do first, followed by setting potential candidates a challenge which is a great way to sort the viable seeds from the chaff!
I DON’T THINK WE’VE EVER COMMUNICATED AS EFFECTIVELY AND PRODUCTIVELY AS WE ARE IN THE NEW WORLD A Zoom interview can then be arranged and finally a working interview (for onsite positions) because this can be done outside to maintain social distancing. We hadn’t done working interviews before (I’d always felt a bit cheeky asking someone to work for us for a day for free), but the feedback from those who have completed one has been extremely positive and described as “enjoyable and educational”. What I don’t think we realised would happen, however, was how little people actually understood what the job involved, and as a result –
according to our operations director – about 90% of the applicants realised that it’s not the job they thought it would be. Our onboarding process for onsite and office (home) based staff is a little different, though, as all policies are read and forms signed digitally from home. Training for designers is on Zoom, and we’ve created small ‘focus groups’ to support and educate as well as discuss new projects and products. I don’t think we’ve ever communicated as effectively and productively as we are in the new world. Staff have commented on ‘how much more of me’ they feel they get, and I’ve noticed how they’ve responded and grown so much better when they are not micro-managed on a daily basis.
A B O U T L E E B E S TA L L Lee Bestall has been designing and managing the construction of gardens in his signature style for more than 10 years – and his honest, genuine passion is infectious. He regularly writes gardening and outdoor-style articles for magazines, is brand ambassador for Spear & Jackson and a stand-in presenter for BBC Radio Sheffield’s Gardeners’ Question Hour. www.bestall.co.uk
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THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL ANGUS LINDSAY EXPLORES WHETHER DEALERS ARE ACQUIRING SMALL BUSINESSES TO BROADEN THEIR OFFERING AND THE IMPACT THIS COULD HAVE ON THE INDUSTRY
ollowing the LAMMA and BIGGA shows earlier this year, I penned an article entitled ‘Globalisation’ which looked at the move by manufacturers to acquire smaller niche businesses in a move to increase the range of products they can offer under one badge. It now seems that a similar situation is occurring with some dealer networks in the UK. With a number of the larger dealer groups and manufacturer-led businesses looking to expand their territory or change the way they operate, we have seen a number of businesses taking over or amalgamating with their competitors where businesses maybe don’t have a succession plan in place or are looking to call it a day and join forces with their rivals. Whatever the reason, there does seem to be a move by some of the big name dealers to increase their footprint across the country. In particular John Deere, New Holland, and Kubota are expanding their networks and establishing what can only be described one-stop ‘super dealers’.
IN MANY CASES DEALERS TAKEN OVER BY LARGER RIVALS HAS BEEN GOOD FOR THE INDUSTRY
So, what’s the effect on our industry? Hopefully very little, as these larger dealers will continue to support the landscaping, amenity, and sports sectors as they are valuable components of their business; and whilst
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agriculture is undoubtedly their main focus, they need a variety of business sectors to complement their range of products and market exposure. However, it could mean that the range of competitor products currently offered could reduce as their main franchise takes on other manufacturers and starts to dictate what they can and cannot supply, especially where there is a clash of product types.
THERE DOES SEEM TO BE A MOVE BY SOME OF THE BIG NAME DEALERS TO INCREASE THEIR FOOTPRINT ACROSS THE COUNTRY The recent decision by Honda to cut its dealer network by a quarter could be seen as an inevitability as they look to streamline their business. You could blame the pandemic situation, or was it always on the cards? Who knows? I wonder how many other manufacturers supplying similar type products will look to follow suit. Will we end up like the food sector, where half a dozen main players dominate the sector, with the small supermarkets and corner shops satisfying the local requirements? There are many small businesses out there who, through hard work, have forged their way forward to establish themselves as reliable and competitive service providers, and they are now picking up some of the franchises being dropped by the larger dealers. Ironically, many of these outfits were started by ex-employees of larger franchise operations and have focused on giving a cost effective, no-nonsense and reactive service which better suits customers’ requirements.
It may sound like I am having a dig at the larger dealer network, but this is far from the case; these operations are key in supplying parts and service during seasonal pressures and difficult times, and many have done so admirably over the last few months. The point of this article is to highlight the changes, which I’m sure we have all seen as we adjust to a new way of living and working, and what this could mean to the future of our industry, as these changes will affect many different sectors; not just who supplies the parts and changes the oil, but who operates the equipment, creates the landscape and delivers the service. THE FUTURE OF THE DEALER COULD DEPEND ON HOW MUCH HUMAN INTERACTION THERE IS
A B O U T A N G U S L I N D S AY Angus spent several years working on arable farms in Scotland before joining VSO in Egypt, implementing a mechanisation programme, managing field operations for a commercial cotton plantation in Nigeria and working as a contract instructor for Massey Ferguson in Yemen. He has an Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation Management MSc from Silsoe, and joined Glendale as machinery manager in 1994, then idverde UK in 2009.
G R IT TI NG
GREEN WINTER MAINTENANCE DIRECTOR IAN MOREHOUSE EXPLAINS HOW GROUND CONTROL IS EXPLORING MORE SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS FOR ITS GRITTING AND DE-ICING SERVICES
ith the winter rapidly approaching and the long-term forecast that the weather is likely to be colder than average, it is vitally important for those who work in winter maintenance and de-icing operations to be well prepared for all eventualities this year. It is anticipated the UK will be impacted by a La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean, affecting weather patterns throughout the country and bringing extra challenges to this already difficult year. At Ground Control, our winter maintenance team delivers gritting and snow clearance services for 9,000 locations across the country, and we are acutely aware of the challenges we’ll be facing and the need to rapidly respond to changing predictions. In particular, we have been making preparations for dealing with the dual challenges of snow and ice this winter.
It is a fair observation that standard industry practices have not placed the environmental impact of our sector’s work at the top of the agenda – an approach we’re determined to change. As part of Ground Control's commitment to sustainability and the environment – and with
WE’LL BE TRIALLING SEVERAL INDUSTRY-LEADING, GREEN TECHNOLOGIES WITH THE GOAL TO SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCE THE CARBON FOOTPRINT a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2025 – over the coming months we will be trialling several industry-leading, green technologies with the goal to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of our gritting business and to incorporate greener de-icing technology. In early October, we commissioned our first demountable electric gritter from Bucher Municipal, the first step on our journey to achieve our ambition for an all electric fleet. We have already created the gritting routes across Leeds
for this vehicle and will be tracking its carbon footprint compared to the traditional vehicles in our fleet. Offering six to eight hours of continuous use on a single charge, the electric motor is expected to bring other benefits including greater reliability, less maintenance and a quieter and cleaner operation. We are also starting to utilise brine in our operation, a saltwater de-icing solution. This has the potential to be significant as the process uses less than half the amount of salt compared to a normal salt spreading operations, with the added benefit of faster de-icing as the solution activates more quickly. This technology has the potential to significantly reduce the need for harvesting, mining, transportation, and storage of the salt, resulting in a significant carbon reduction when you consider Britain typically uses two to three million tonnes of gritting salt per year. It also has the added benefits of ensuring a safer environment more quickly for the public and reducing harm to both vegetation adjacent to the area being de-iced and to the road surface. We appreciate these steps are a potential sea change in our approach and we’ll be consistently measuring their performance throughout the winter. We plan to conduct a full analysis at the end of the season with the expectation that we’ll expand the use of these and other relevant green technologies next year.
ABOUT IAN MOREHOUSE Ian joined Ground Control in October 2019 to run the acquisition of JW Crowther & Son and The Gritting Company. In April, Ian assumed responsibility for all of Ground Control’s winter maintenance businesses, including The Gritting Company, together with GC’s pothole repair business and JW Crowther Road Sweeping business. Ian is responsible for the commercial success and operations of these business units as well as their strategic development.
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VESTRE D I S C OV E R M O R E A B O U T N O R W E G I A N ST R E E T F U R N I T U R E M A N U FAC T U R E R V E S T R E , I N C LU D I N G I TS FO C U S O N S U STA I N A B I L I T Y A N D I TS P L A N S FO R T H E N E X T Y E A R How was Vestre founded? Vestre was founded in Norway more than 70 years ago by our current CEO’s grandfather. Immediately after the end of World War Two, Norwegians were being encouraged to rebuild the country, and manufacturing was very important to get the country back on its feet after the devastation of five years of occupation.
What products do you offer? We manufacture outdoor furniture (although it’s also often installed indoors) predominantly for the commercial B2B market; mostly local authorities and private developers. We have an extensive range of seats, tables, cycle stands, planters, litter bins, shelters, and bollards across several coordinated families. What is your route to market? Although we occasionally supply to private individuals, the majority of our sales are via specification. Our specifiers are generally landscape architects, urban designers, architects and interior consultants. We also sometimes supply directly to clients – for instance, facilities managers at universities or business parks.
Where is it based? Our head office is in Oslo, with a factory in Sweden and another under construction on the Swedish/Norwegian border. We also have offices in the UK, France, the USA and Germany.
What is Vestre’s USP? If we had to choose only one, it would be our approach to sustainability. Our production has been carbon neutral for 10 years and minimising the impact of our operations is extremely important to us. We’ve set ourselves the target of being the world’s most sustainable outdoor furniture manufacturer, and I believe we’re well on the way to that goal.
VESTRE IN NUMBERS Founded 1947 Number of offices globally 7 Employees Approx. 50 Lead time 5-6 weeks for standard products Standard colours Nearly 200 No. of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted 9/17 Warranty on steel elements Infinite ∞ (i.e. Lifetime)
What’s next for Vestre over the coming months? Continued global expansion, without doubt! But also, the opening of our new factory – The Plus – in around one year’s time. It will be an amazing building in many ways and a huge step towards even greater sustainability. You can read more about it here: www.theplus.no/en/about-vestre
C O N TA C T Vestre UK
Tel 07780 770 945 Email firstname.lastname@example.org www.vestre.com/uk
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CONTINUOUS WELDED SYSTEM
BEST OF BRITISH T H E T R A D I T I O N A L C O M PA N Y E X P L A I N S H O W I T S E S TAT E F E N C I N G S O L U T I O N S M E E T E V E R Y N E E D
istorically, estate fencing was wedged together. Whilst this technique was effective, the combination of modern fabrication techniques and the ‘continuous weld’ system used by The Traditional Company both increases the strength and improves its overall appearance.
GATES THAT ARE INSTALLED WITHIN TO CREATE A SEAMLESS FENCE LINE
THE TRADITIONAL COMPANY PRIDES ITSELF ON USING BRITISH SOURCED STEEL ALLOWING CUSTOMERS TO HAVE COMPLETE CONFIDENCE THAT THEY ARE INVESTING IN THE HIGHEST QUALITY PRODUCT The most comprehensive change to the old system of installation is on site welding. The continuous weld system is perfect for following the organic curves and gradients of the land. It seamlessly fits into any landscape and defines barriers, providing a discreet boundary to all kinds
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of property and open spaces. Landscape architects and developers chose to specify our product to enhance their designs. The Traditional Company prides itself on using British-sourced steel, allowing customers to have complete confidence that they are investing in the highest quality product. Whilst we employ teams of specialist installers, we also provide a supply only service together with clear installation guidance. Our depth of knowledge will allow any customer to buy the correct type of fence for every situation. Our Burghley range is the most popular traditional five rail fence. It is typically 1.2m high above ground level and provides a strong aesthetic fence dividing boundaries. The Highland range uses heavier duty fence posts more suited to larger livestock or pedestrian areas. We often get asked about retaining small animals and, in most cases, we incorporate two to three line wires which will help keep dogs and lambs where they should be. All our gates are made to the style of the fence to maintain its seamless look. The estate gates have options of designs, choice of finials and cast post tops as well as automation. We still
incorporate blacksmithing techniques within our gates, and this is also a feature of our entrance gate posts. We are delighted to be able to use all the off cuts from the manufacturing process which are recycled to then make our large cast entrance gate post and finials. It’s been a great journey and one we are proud of.
BENEFITS OF A CONTINUOUS WELDED SYSTEM • Increased strength from being continuously welded • Aesthetically discreet and subtle, • Follows gradients • Creates curves • No weak joints
OTHER PRODUCTS • Legacy steel edging • Field gates • Entrance gates • Deer fencing • Tree guards • Traditional vertical town railings • Planters • Structural garden ironwork – Arbours
ENTRANCE GATES - WE WORK ALONGSIDE MANY AUTOMATED GATE COMPANIES NATIONWIDE
C O N TA C T
WORKING ALONGSIDE HOUSE BUILDERS
The Traditional Company Office 01664 431 759 David House 07770 594 844 Martin Kilgour 07738 553 502 Email email@example.com www.thetraditionalco.co.uk
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Legacy Steel Edging is a unique, strong
and versatile steel edging system. It creates a clean separation between driveways and lawns leaving a seamless front face. Supplied and installed in mild steel, galvanised or corten steel finishes.
Choice of finishes, including naturally rusting mild steel
Pre-formed internal and external right angled sections Flexible for gentle curved features
Solid steel locating and locking pins Securely fixed below surface
Strong and durable ground fittings
For further guidance, advice and information visit our website or call us:
www.thetraditionalco.co.uk Telephone: 01664 431759
weather the storm The Landscape Centre, Leydenhatch Lane, Swanley, Kent BR8 7PS Tel: 01322 662315 Web: www.provendernurseries.co.uk
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Pleaching - Topiary - Hedging Specimen Trees & Shrubs www.griffinnurseries.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
DAILY UPDATES FROM THE LANDSCAPING INDUSTRY
For a fine range of quality trees with first class service and expert advice
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@prolandscaper @prolandscaperuk @prolandscapermagazine
OUT & ABOUT
RICHMOND PARK A
f you ask Londoners for their guesses on the greenest borough, chances are that the majority will say Richmond upon Thames, the reason being its whopping 1,000ha park. They’d be right too, at least according to a recent study by Essential Living. It crowned Richmond upon Thames the greenest borough, not just because of land use but also because of how satisfied its residents are with the amount – and the quality – of its green space. So, what makes Richmond Park so memorable, other than its size? For animal lovers, it’ll undoubtedly be the deer which wander around nonchalantly, avoiding a rugby ball or two from the nearby pitch. Royal Parks, of which Richmond Park is one of eight, puts the total at 650 deer across the 2,500 acres. What’s more, the park is just a stone’s throw from some of London’s equally well-known and pride-inducing green spaces and plant havens, such as Kew Gardens and Petersham Nurseries. If you choose your route to Richmond Park carefully (and we’re assuming that you’ll be walking), you can stroll along the river, grabbing a takeaway pretzel from Stein’s, and work your way up to the park’s entrance through the Terraced Gardens – if you can find the tunnel from the river to the gardens, that is.
ROYAL PARKS, OF WHICH RICHMOND PARK IS ONE OF EIGHT, PUTS THE TOTAL AT 650 DEER ACROSS THE 2,500 ACRES
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PERGOLA PLANTED WITH WISTERIA AND VINES
RAISED BEDS PLANTED WITH A MIXTURE OF GRASSES TO CREATE MOVEMENT AND SOUND
3 0 U N D E R 3 0 U P DAT E
FRANK WISE SCHOOL WILDLIFE GARDEN
GIORGO DANIEL HEAD OF SOFT LANDSCAPING GIORGO DANIEL EXPLAINS HOW 4TH CORNER LANDSCAPING IS ENCOURAGING THE NEXT GENERATION TO IMMERSE MORE IN NATURE
ro Landscaper talks a lot about the need to attract young people into horticulture– through the magazine, through its FutureScape event and through its 30 Under 30: The Generation awards. It’s not the only one, either; associations, influential companies and industry experts alike have all spoken about addressing the skills shortage. But it’s not just concern over ensuring there’s another generation coming through. There are plenty of reasons the sector needs to draw in fresh talent, one of which is the innovation and bold ideas they bring with them, and Giorgo Daniel is a prime example – not only is his latest idea good for business, it will also introduce school children to horticulture and the great outdoors. Giorgo started at 4th Corner Landscaping as an apprentice when he was 16 years’ old whilst studying Level 2 and 3 Horticulture. “The company was quite small then,” says Giorgo. “I worked my way up and now run the soft landscaping department. I learn more working with different plants, rather than learning through theory.”
PLANTING AT THE FRANK WISE SCHOOL WILDLIFE GARDEN
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Since Giorgo joined eight years ago, 4th Corner Landscaping has gone from working on two soft landscaping sites to now working across 12 simultaneously, and the pandemic has done little to change this. The company is “extremely busy”, says Giorgo, and it now has a new project to focus on thanks to his own initiative.
WITH COVID-19, WE THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD TIME TO GET KIDS OUTDOORS SO THAT THEY’RE NOT STUCK IN THE CLASSROOM TOGETHER “I have a friend who works in primary education. She told me that everyone is really worried about kids being in the classroom all the time, and how good it would be to have classrooms outdoors. That’s where this idea came from – we’d done a few school projects in the past and it would be good to push this further and build our portfolio.” 4th Corner Landscaping is now offering a service to design and plant gardens for outdoor learning areas and green classrooms at schools in the Midlands, where the company is based. “We have five different types of gardens that we
PRIMARY INTERACTION WITH WILDLIFE
offer, which range from tree planting to growing vegetables,” explains Giorgo. These five types are: Early Years Gardens, with natural and adaptable learning areas; Woodland, with native trees to suit their location and soil type; Orchards, with fruit trees and landscaped areas; Wildlife, to showcase biodiversity and provide a sensory experience; and Bespoke Garden Design, with outdoor spaces for young adults. “With COVID-19, we thought this was a good time to get kids outdoors so that they’re not stuck in the classroom together; it’s a good time to start building the gardens in the spring so that they’re ready to be used in the spring and summer.” The concept was partially inspired by Giorgo’s experience at BBC Gardeners’ World Live in 2018, where he won a Silver Award for his Therapeutic Herb Concert Garden in the Beautiful Borders competition. The garden, which featured herbs around a grand piano, encouraged a ‘grow your own’ culture, and he hopes these outdoor classrooms will do the same – as do we.
# LOV E H O RT I C U LT U R E Andrew Duff
ANDREW DUFF GARDEN DESIGN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE INCHBALD SCHOOL OF DESIGN AND VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE SOCIETY OF GARDEN DESIGNERS
orticulture is embedded in my heart – at an early age, I was home-schooled and spent many happy days roaming free in the Gloucestershire countryside exploring nature in its many wonderful forms. This introduction to the world of plants has greatly influenced the way I design today. For me, the design of a good garden takes time and patience, the patience to stand and look and absorb the surrounding vernacular. I take great please in identifying the simplest of plants, such as the native elder, which I used to make peashooters from as a child. Horticulture is part of my family; I have met and worked with some amazing people during my 25-year career within the industry. It doesn’t matter where you are designing a garden – Surrey or India – you always meet the same type of honest and down to earth people the profession attracts.
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE YOU ARE DESIGNING A GARDEN – SURREY OR INDIA – YOU ALWAYS MEET THE SAME TYPE OF HONEST AND DOWN TO EARTH PEOPLE THE PROFESSION ATTRACTS I have been privileged enough to have some supportive mentors during my journey. The late John Brookes taught me so much about both design and horticulture. He showed me how to use plants, which related to their surroundings to help link house to garden and garden to the wider landscape. Jacqueline Duncan of The Inchbald School of Design still to this day mentors me in so many differing ways. She has given me the confidence to teach, to share knowledge and a business acumen so important in today’s world. To both these people I am eternally grateful. Teaching is so rewarding; yes, there is the pride of seeing your students do well but there is also the sense of working together at Inchbald. We are resolving a design challenge together, student and tutor, which I find so incredibly stimulating.
T W E E T U S @ P R O L A N D S C A P E R U K A N D T E L L U S W H Y Y O U L O V E H O R T I C U LT U R E U S I N G T H E H A S H TA G # L O V E H O R T I C U LT U R E
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For full details on all jobs, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk Call 01903 777 570 or email email@example.com with your vacancy
Harry Holding Garden Design is looking for a maintenance manager to manage and inspire maintenance teams. The successful applicant will manage the operations so that the business operates efficiently and that systems are continually improving. They will take on all client-facing roles, visiting sites in order to quote and provide a proposed maintenance schedule, as well as keeping in regular contact with existing clients and arranging monthly visits. A recognised horticultural qualification and previous experience in horticultural management are essential.
Whiting Landscape Ltd is looking for a contracts manager with significant experience of large commercial landscape construction contracts. The company has a vacancy to manage a portfolio of contracts in and around the Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Huntington areas. This will be a great opportunity to develop experience with a successful and well-established company. The ideal candidate needs to be able to work well with both clients, contractors and the workforce; be able to manage a number of sites concurrently; and be able to deliver major contracts in a timely and profitable manner ensuring that the company’s high standards are maintained.
HARRY HOLDING GARDEN DESIGN Location: London
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
GARDEN DESIGNER – PART TIME/ FULL TIME/FREELANCER (NEGOTIABLE) ARTSCAPE DESIGN & BUILD LTD Location: Berkshire
WHITING LANDSCAPE LTD Location: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
THOMSON ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANTS Location: Nationwide, Surrey
Artscape Design & Build Ltd is looking for an experienced garden designer to join its team. Established for 40 years, working mainly in the home counties, its goal is to provide creative and beautiful designs that work for its clients. Applicants will need excellent Vectorworks skills to produce 2D plans and 3D visuals, or SketchUp for 3D. The successful candidate will be expected to meet clients to discuss the garden and present designs, and produce detailed designs for both hard and soft landscaping, schedules and specifications, amongst other requirements.
Are you an experienced project manager who enjoys managing projects and leading and motivating a site and office-based team? Are you organised, confident and decisive, and thrive on finding solutions? Thomson Environmental Consultants is looking for a full-time project manager based in one of its offices across the UK. Applicants must have experience working in landscaping, ecological contracting, countryside management or a similar field, with the ability to contribute to the bid and tendering process. You will be responsible for resourcing and line managing a site team whilst promoting compliance with all company systems and policies.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
PLANT HEALTH CARE TECHNICIAN
FULL TIME GARDENER
Bartlett Tree Experts has a full-time position based at its office near Beaconsfield. The successful candidate will: identify a variety of tree and shrub species and common pest and disease problems associated with them; schedule treatments with clients; drive and operate Bartlett’s 3.5t spray truck; take soil sample; complete paperwork; and manage the company’s chemical and fertiliser stock. The role would involve working with the tree crew when not busy with plant health care. Applicants must have a genuine interest in plant health care and be able to work independently. They must have PA1 and PA6 spraying qualifications and a full driving licence.
Ellon Castle Gardens is a registered charitable trust and company limited by guarantee working on behalf of the community to restore, preserve and steward the castle gardens, adjacent woodland, parkland and castle ruins. It is looking for a full-time qualified gardener to manage day-to-day practical maintenance of all horticultural aspects and tasks to develop, enhance and conserve the gardens and contribute to making it a tourist attraction and community resource. You will be expected to work to a high horticultural standard, be responsible for managing volunteers in the gardens, work with the board of trustees and prioritise workloads.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
Bartlett Tree Experts has exciting opportunities for professional, self-motivated, experienced arborists for its office near Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. The role will involve working in a team, undertaking a wide variety of tree work including groundbased chainsaw work, aerial tree surgery, pruning, identifying basic trees and shrubs and plant healthcare services. You must be able to demonstrate sound knowledge of health and safety, have of understanding of plant healthcare services and have a desire to produce the highest possible standard of work. Applicants must have minimum of CS30, CS31, CS38 and CS39 (or equivalent) and a full driving licence.
Landesigns is seeking an enthusiastic, committed skilled landscaper to join our established team based in Hertfordshire. The candidate must have at least two years’ experience of working in the landscape industry as well as passion and enthusiasm for projects and a commitment to the job. Attention to detail is imperative, as well as the ability to read and work of scaled plans, a good understanding and skill of hard landscaping tasks, the ability to drive diggers, dumpers and competently use equipment, be a team player, punctual, well presented, have an understanding of health and safety, CSCS card, and a UK driving licence.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
BARTLETT TREE EXPERTS Location: Buckinghamshire and London
BARTLETT TREE EXPERTS Location: Bedfordshire
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ELLON CASTLE GARDENS Location: Scotland
LANDESIGNS Location: Hertfordshire
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90 Pro Landscaper / December 2020
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Director, Nordland Landscapes
Foreman, The Landscaping Consultants
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Pro mountain biker or rock star – or both?
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? I probably would have become an electrician or stayed in the Royal Navy.
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Iceland and the forests of northern Scandinavia. What would you blow your budget on? Natural swimming pool with a slide and diving board! The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Capability Brown, pending the invention of a time machine. One thing that you think would make the industry better? More promotion of landscaping as a career choice at school/college level. Best piece of trivia you know? The Northern Line tunnel from East Finchley to Morden is currently the longest tunnel in the UK. Who would play you in a movie of your life? Rob Schneider. What three things would you take to a desert island? Comfortable hammock, a container load of my favourite treats and a mp3 player. Your favourite joke? “Another contractor said he could do it for…” Karaoke song of choice? Shout It Out Loud by KISS.
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? New Zealand – amazing and so peaceful. The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? That would definitely be Luciano. I’ve never had the pleasure to build a garden designed by him so I would love to meet and chat to him. One thing that you think would make the industry better? I think the industry is in desperate need for skilled landscapers, there aren’t a lot of courses or training available to allow people to learn the skills they need. I think the colleges or any training programmes need to offer more evening and part-time courses in hard landscaping as full-time/ day courses aren’t fit for the majority of full-time workers. Best piece of trivia you know? Four times more people speak English as a second language than those who speak English as their native language. Who would play you in a movie of your life? Adrien Brody. Your favourite joke? I took my friend to the seaside, but I ignored him all day and just sat by the rock pool talking to some coral. Keep your friends close and your anemones closer.
K AT I E F L A X M A N
Director and designer, Tracy Foster Garden Design
Founder, Sitting Spiritually of Lyme Regis
Director, Studio 31
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? I’d be a lorry driver for sure – it was a childhood ambition.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? I’d be a builder.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Writing. If I weren’t working here, you’d find me under a tree somewhere working on a novel.
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? I love the French Alps – the mountains, lakes, ancient tracks and hundreds of wildflowers. It makes me happy to be there.
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Italy.
What would you blow your budget on? I love oak structures and detailed craftsmanship, so a custom-built oak gazebo with stained glass or hand carving. One thing that you think would make the industry better? I’d like to see the industry bodies we have working more closely together Best piece of trivia you know? The fruit of the Swiss cheese plant is edible. I only just found out. It actually tastes very nice but not like cheese! Who would play you in a movie of your life? Oh gosh, Miranda Hart maybe – I’m always embarrassing myself and not acting my age. What three things would you take to a desert island? A boat, a map and a compass. If there’s a boat ban, I’d have some seeds and a spade, and some wine. Your favourite joke? Two fish in a tank. One says to the other: “How do you drive this thing?”
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What would you blow your budget on? Celia (my wife)! The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Dan Pearson. One thing that you think would make the industry better? Emphasis on quality and not price. Best piece of trivia you know? If they laid all the telegraph poles in England from end to end, the phones wouldn’t work! Who would play you in a movie of your life? Arnold Schwarzenegger. What three things would you take to a desert island? Helicopter, a pilot, and a navigation system. Your favourite joke? In the 1987 All-Irish sheep dog trials, how many were found guilty? Karaoke song of choice? Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones.
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Australia. I lived there for two years and my husband’s family reside there, so it’s a place close to my heart. The ecology and culture of outback Australia is like nowhere else on earth, and the recent fires are a devastating blow to such a unique habitat. The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Catherine Ward-Thompson. The research she’s doing on the link between landscape and health is pretty inspirational to the work we do here. One thing that you think would make the industry better? Greater collaborative training opportunities taking a holistic approach to join up industry professionals. Best piece of trivia you know? The Cookie Monster’s real name is Sid. What three things would you take to a desert island? A notepad, a pencil and a bottle of water. Your favourite joke? Two fish in a tank. One says to the other: “You man the guns, I’ll drive.” Karaoke song of choice? All Star by Smash Mouth, mainly because I know all the words.
Pro Landscaper / December 2020 91
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