THE SEARCH IS ON
LET’S HEAR IT FROM
PASSION TO PROFIT
Filling the role of RHS director general
Marc Lane, Landscapia
The industry can help, says Marcus Watson
Karen McClure on running a successful design practice
DESIGN TANK PHOTO MATTEO GASTEL
Bloc Design: Atle Tveit & Lars Tornøe
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the landscaping sector has to offer, with lively debates on some of the hottest topics in the industry, from the skills gap and the materials shortage to the important role that we can and should be playing in tackling the climate crisis. We said last year that FutureScape 2021 would be the biggest event yet, and we weren’t exaggerating. Taking place at the ExCeL in London, the show welcomed thousands of visitors and boasted the latest products and innovations on the market. It also celebrated the successes of companies and individuals at various award ceremonies, starting with Pro Landscaper’s small project BIG IMPACT Awards and the 30 Under 30: The Next Generation awards on day one, followed the next day by Pro Landscaper’s Podium Awards. Needless to say, for Pro Landscaper, 2021 will be ending on a high. But whilst we’re not eager to see the back of it, we are looking forward to what 2022 will bring. There are undoubtedly still hurdles to overcome, but the overarching theme from our panellists at FutureScape was one of excitement about the year ahead, a determination to continue promoting the value of our industry and an eagerness to make an impactful difference to the environment, one that we can be proud of.
THE OVERARCHING THEME FROM OUR PANELLISTS AT FUTURESCAPE WAS ONE OF EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE YEAR AHEAD, A DETERMINATION TO CONTINUE PROMOTING THE VALUE OF OUR INDUSTRY
elcome to the last issue of Pro Landscaper for 2021, which has been yet another memorable year, though not for all the wrong reasons. When we put the December issue to print last year, it was under very different circumstances. We were, once again, under strict instructions to stay in our homes and so, for the first time, we held a virtual version of our FutureScape event before publishing the December issue from our kitchen tables. Looking ahead to the new year, most of us were undoubtedly pleased to see the back of 2020 but were cautious as to what the next 12 months would have in store. So, what has 2021 had to offer? It might have gotten off to a bad start, as we entered our third lockdown in January, but that didn’t stop the industry from making the most of a new appreciation for green spaces. Many companies have thrived thanks to a landscaping boom and, as the months went on, the country began to open up again. Long-awaited RHS flower shows were able to take place, awards were handed out at in-person ceremonies, and – most excitingly for us – trade events made a comeback. And what a comeback it was. It’s the day after FutureScape at the time of writing. The Pro Landscaper team has spent the last two days amongst the best and the brightest
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INFORM 08 10 12 14 16 19 22 25 28 31 32 33 4
Down, But Not Out Neil Edwards
News Our monthly roundup of industry news
News Extra RHS seeks the next Sue Biggs
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FutureScape 2021 Photos from the two-day event small project Big Impact Award winners for 2021 Podium Award Winners 2021 Discover this year’s winners Let’s Hear it From Marc Lane, Landscapia Inside Earth Designs Katrina Kieffer-Wells
30 Under 30 Update Freddie Strickland Stopping the Sixth Mass Extinction Marcus Watson A Golden Age? Andrew Wilson A New Way of Working Katie Flaxman Kintsugi Christmas Christopher Martin
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UK Landscape Barometer Industry feedback and statistics for September
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Cosy Courtyard Garden Club London An Urban Marvel Elite Landscapes Style & Simplicity Gadsden Gardens Landscape Architect’s Journal Hassell Colour and Styling Trends for 2022 Debs Winrow Love Horticulture Richard Ayles PLBA Winner Profile VaRa Garden Design PLBA Winner Profile Green-tech Designing With Water Suppliers share top tips Planters: Material Matters A closer look at planter choices
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Feature Garden Sezincote Gardens Never Enough Lewis Normand Horticultural Hurdles Nick Coslett Innovative Irrigation Rainbird Irrigation Products Green Our Planet GreenBlue Urban Tree Anchors Products and case studies Wildflowers Seed and soil mixes
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How to Hire for the First Time Alison Warner Come Rain or Shine Oracle Solicitors All or Nothing Gareth Wilson Six Steps to Life-Changing Results Nick Ruddle What’s Around the Corner? Angus Lindsay Worth Its Salt Nik Tozer, Nurture Landscapes
Product DNA Reesink Small Business Special: Profitable Garden Design Advice from Karen McClure Small Business Special: Buying or Leasing Vans How to fund a fleet Small Business Special: Joining an Association Small Business Special: Money Saving Tips Small Business Special: Taking the Next Steps Experts weigh in on expansion Little Interviews Questions with the individuals who make up our industry
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Pro Landscaper / December 2021
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CO N T R I B U TO R S Marcus Watson COP26 took place last month, and it’s left many of us considering what more we can do to help lower greenhouse gas emissions, but also how we can limit biodiversity loss. Marcus says those working in the landscape industry have a huge role to play in halting species decline and encouraging biodiversity gains.
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A new year is round the corner, which has left Debs Winrow considering what the trends will be over the coming months. Will outdoor kitchens stay on the hot list? What else could we be carrying over from 2021? And what will be the new trends making their way into our outdoor spaces?
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Alison Warner Recruitment is hard, particularly for small businesses looking to do it for the first time. Alison has provided her answers for the most frequently asked questions when it comes to taking on staff, one of the most important pieces of advice being to allow time for the process rather than waiting until you’re snowed under.
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Running a profitable garden design practice takes hard work and determination. Karen McClure should know; she’s put both in abundance into her own business to make it successful. For those struggling or just starting out, She shares top tips for garden designers to not only enjoy their work but to make money from it too.
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Design – Kara Thomas, Kirsty Turek
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Pro Landscaper / December 2021
NEWS NURTURE LANDSCAPES ACHIEVES CARBON NEUTRAL STATUS
urture Landscapes has announced that it has achieved carbon neutral status in accordance with the global PAS 2060 standard. Working with ECA Business Energy, an independent energy management advice company, it has spent the last year evaluating the company business processes and operations. Peter Fane, CEO of Nurture Landscapes Holdings Limited, describes the achievement as “a great to accomplishment to have achieved four years ahead of our original target date of 2025. And in addition, this has now provided us the scope to focus on becoming a net zero business by 2030, reducing our total emissions year on year to reach this goal.”
Peter said Nurture Landscapes are mindful of the impacts the company’s actions could have on the environment. He explained the UK government’s 2019 target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 was what sparked them into action. “Quickly, we undertook a full carbon assessment to determine what actions would be required if we were to become net zero ourselves.” “Undertaking this process has inspired us to step up our actions even further and put in place workable targets to ensure we keep ourselves accountable. These will be reviewed on a six-month basis.” The achievement has led the company to its involvement in carbon offsetting project overseas. These projects include two afforestation developments in Uruguay, the implementation of a clean air zone (CAZ) and reducing deforestation in Madagascar, as well as the CIKEL Brazilian Amazon REDD APD Project. www.nurturelandscapes.co.uk
PETE JONES JOINS CULTURA GROUP’S PRIVATE GARDEN CONSTRUCTION DIVISION
ultura Group has welcomed Pete Jones to lead its private garden construction division. Pete will help strengthen its capabilities in delivering large, high quality garden construction projects. He will also be responsible for creating and managing strategic partnerships with garden design practices, garden designers and landscape architects. Pete has 25 years’ experience in the private and commercial landscape construction industry. His extensive background means that Pete understands the challenges faced by designers in realising its clients’ visions to deliver exceptional gardens in partnership with a contractor who is able to offer open and collaborative working methods alongside a quality service and end product. Phil Jones, CEO of Cultura Group says: “We are thrilled to have Pete on board. Working from home has led to a huge demand for outdoor living, creating an unprecedented rise in the number of enquiries for garden designers and specialist landscape contractors who are able to deliver a high-end product. “Pete’s strong background within the industry means he is the perfect match and will be instrumental in helping us bring our landscape specialism to the garden construction sector.” www.culturagroup.co.uk
LANDSCAPING FIRM ON GROWTH TRAIL AFTER INVESTMENT FROM MERCIA
amily business UK Landscapes has secured a significant investment from Mercia’s private equity funds. The company, which was founded in 1997 and employs more than 175 staff, serves blue-chip customers such as Asda, John Lewis, Waitrose, Shell, and Santander. The funding will enable it to step up its organic growth and pursue a ‘buy and build’ strategy in the sector. UK Landscapes was founded by Andrew Preston and is now run by his son Leigh, who has been managing director since 2008. The company, which increased turnover by 40% to
Pro Landscaper / December 2021
£13.5m in the 12 months to February 2021, has recently completed its second acquisition with the purchase of Euan Weir Landscaping. As part of the deal, Martin Donnachie has been appointed as the company’s chair. Martin has more than 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in the housebuilding and
utilities sectors and is also currently chair of Aptus Utilities. Leigh Preston says: “I am really pleased to welcome both Mercia and Martin into UK Landscapes. We look forward to working closely with our new team to continue our success, breaking into new areas of the market and building on our strengths.” The deal is the second deal by Mercia’s private equity funds within three months and follows its investment in Coventry-based Imail Comms to support its buy-out. www.uklandscapes.co.uk
OVER 100 LEADERS MAKE LANDMARK PLEDGE TO END DEFORESTATION AT COP26
ore than 100 leaders have committed to halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030 at an event convened by the Prime Minister at COP26. The pledge is backed by almost £14bn ($19.2bn) in public and private funding. Countries spanning from the northern forests of Canada and Russia to the tropical rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo endorsed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use. Together, they contain 85% of the world’s forests, an area of over 13 million square miles.
The commitment will be supported by a pledge to provide £8.75bn ($12bn) of public finance from 12 countries, including the UK, from 2021 to 2025. This will go alongside at
least £5.3bn ($7.2bn) of newly-mobilised private sector funding. CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions with over $8.7 trillion of global assets will also commit to eliminate investment in activities linked to deforestation. The UK will commit £1.5bn over five years to support the forests pledge. Governments representing 75% of global trade in key commodities that can threaten forests – such as palm oil, cocoa and soya – will also sign up to a new Forests, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Statement. The 28 governments are committing to a common set of actions to deliver sustainable trade and reduce pressure on forests. Currently almost a quarter (23%) of global emissions come from land use activity, such as logging, deforestation and farming. Protecting forests and ending damaging land use is one of the most important things the world can do to limit catastrophic global warming, while also protecting the lives and futures of the 1.6 billion people worldwide – nearly 25% of the world’s population – who rely on forests for their livelihoods. www.gov.uk
DESIGN COMPETITION LAUNCHED FOR £1BN OXFORD INNOVATION DISTRICT
xford University Development (OUD), a £4bn joint venture between the University of Oxford and Legal & General Capital, has announced the launch of an international design competition which aims to find a creative, forward-thinking masterplan team for its world-leading £1bn, 190ha mixed-use Innovation District at Begbroke Science Park. The winning design team will set the bold ambition and design intent for a project that will transform the area around the University’s Begbroke Science Park, to the north of Oxford. The project will also create a community of up to 2,000 quality homes, with new schools, public park and nature reserve. The site will provide an exemplary new setting for the University’s world-leading science and innovation, which will help address key global challenges facing
Online Exclusives HELP SAVE LORRAINE
Lorraine Hartley, a caring, popular and very wellknown face in the horticultural industry, has been given only six months to live after the diagnosis of stage 4-5 lung cancer in March 2020 spread into her spinal cord, ribs, lymph nodes, and the most recent find of eight tumours in her brain. Now, Lorraine’s husband, David Topping, has set up a fundraising page to help raise funds to pro-long Lorraine’s life. Find the link on our website: www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ help-save-lorraine
PREPARING YOUR CV AND FINDING EMPLOYMENT Carl Reeders continues his three-part series on preparing a CV and finding employment. Now that your Career Development Plan (CDP) is ready, you can prepare your curriculum vitae. The key to good a CV is to keep it simple, and your experiences structured towards the position you are applying for. No one CV should be the same. Carl provides tips to help yours stand out from the crowd. www.prolandscapermagazine.com/ preparing-your-cv-and-finding-employment
INNER ACCESS TO COP26: AN INTERVIEW WITH SUE MORGAN humanity – from food security and biodiversity to climate change and the urgent need to move to a zero-carbon economy. The competition invites interest from international, UK-based and local teams, encouraging large, established practices to join forces with individuals or emerging practices to provide new perspectives on how to develop the area to its full potential. The winning team will be expected to offer both gravitas and experience alongside fresh thinking and radical ideas. www.colander.co.uk/architecturalcompetitions
We speak to the Landscape Institute’s chief executive, Sue Morgan, to find out about her experience at COP26 and the important role the landscape plays in tackling climate change. Discussing how landscape professionals can deliver on COP26 ambitions and what changes could be on the horizon, we ask Sue what the LI is doing to champion the industry. www.prolandscapermagazine.com/inneraccess-to-cop26-an-interview-with-sue-morgan
Pro Landscaper / December 2021
RHS GARDEN BRIDGEWATER
NEWS EXTRA ©Neil Hepworth/RHS
RHS SEEKS NEW
WE SPEAK TO RHS PRESIDENT KEITH WEED ABOUT WHAT THE ORGANISATION IS LOOKING FOR IN ITS NEXT DIRECTOR GENERAL
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WE WANT SOMEONE WHO SHARES OUR VALUES; WHO LOVES AND UNDERSTANDS THE VITAL IMPORTANCE OF GARDENING AND GARDENS “They will be able to inspire and motivate the RHS team but also influence and engage with our wider stakeholders. Most importantly the right candidate will be fully appreciative of the power of plants – the joy of gardening through to safeguarding the future of our planet and having a positive impact on our nation’s health. The RHS’s vision to enrich everyone’s lives through plants and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place will be central to this person’s role and future strategy.” In terms of experience, though, Keith tells us they’re keen to hear from people with different backgrounds. Be that a horticultural one with commercial capabilities, or a retail, hospitality, tourism, events or even another charitable organisation background but with a passion for gardening. The RHS is still
RHS GARDEN BRIDGEWATER
accepting applications for a little longer and has received interest from a number of potential candidates. Though Sue will remain director general until the RHS’ AGM in June 2022, the new director general will be in place in time for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show so they can learn the ropes under Sue’s guidance. Once in the role, Keith tells us they hope the new director general will not only continue to bring the future generation into horticulture – through training, apprenticeships and off the back of the enormous boost to gardening around lockdown – but also grow the charity’s work on science and practice of horticulture, and environmental and social strength, building its reach, influence and impact. All the while, Keith hopes they will also be able to advance the charity’s digital offering to transform the way it interacts with members and the public.
“They would be joining an organisation which has a very dedicated and engaged council of trustees and a truly dynamic and talented leadership team, and they would be part of taking the RHS to the next chapter,” Keith shares. “We want the best person because it’s a brilliant and marvellous charity. It’s an exciting role for someone – possibly someone reading this article now.”
RHS GARDEN BRIDGEWATER
looking for an inspirational and ambitious leader,” explains Keith. “This is a significant charity; it has a very positive and important place in the UK and we want someone who shares our values; who loves and understands the vital importance of gardening and gardens.
ue Biggs has been at the helm of the RHS ship for 11 years, but its AGM next year will be her last obligation. Now, the RHS is on the hunt for its next director general. Over the years, Sue has made her mark on the industry. Alongside the opening of RHS Garden Bridgewater – a brand new 150-acre RHS Garden in the heart of the North West – Sue has also overseen RHS Garden Wisley step up its investment in science, building and opening the home of gardening science. What’s more, Sue has helped lead a huge boost in the RHS’ work SUE BIGGS around communities and school gardens. “The RHS is very vibrant and healthy now – Sue has led a remarkable decade for the RHS. We are the world leading garden charity, getting out there and building the knowledge around horticulture right the way through to training and finding new ways to inspire people in gardening,” Keith Weed, RHS president, says. “It’s a great time to be joining and a great time to be leading the RHS.” But the time has come for Sue KEITH WEED to step down, and so the search is underway for the right candidate for her role. But what sort of candidate is the RHS looking for? “We are
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ot only did FutureScape return as an in-person event this year, but the show on 16 and 17 November was its biggest and best yet. Spanning two days at the ExCeL in London, FutureScape welcomed thousands of visitors through its doors. There were four seminar theatres to choose from, each with enticing talks, tackling everything from recruitment to planting palettes to industry collaboration – and, of course, climate change, which became the main topic for the evening’s The Summit debate on the first day. As well as seminars and many exhibitors, the event also hosted a number of Pro Landscaper award ceremonies – small project BIG IMPACT Awards, 30 Under 30: The Next Generation awards and Podium Awards. Keep an eye out for further coverage in the coming weeks!
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Let ’s Hear it From
MARC LANE T
hough Landscapia was formed in 2006, for managing director Marc Lane the business only truly began five years ago. The work was always something Marc was passionate about – at age 11, he wrote that he wanted to be a landscape designer when he grew up. Upon leaving school without the necessary grades, he undertook an extra year of study. At 19 he was a foreman, whilst designing and building his own gardens at the weekends. At 22, he created Landscapia. But, while the quality of work was there, Marc swiftly learnt that running weekend jobs was very different from owning a business. “Going from a trader to a businessman is probably the hardest route,” Marc tells us, “Although I was a good landscaper, I started to realise that wasn’t enough and I needed to be a good business owner as well.” It took a previously loyal, long-term client leaving Landscapia for another company to wake Marc up to where they might be going wrong. And it’s since become his biggest learning experience.
FIVE YEARS AGO, LANDSCAPIA HIRED ITS FIRST OFFICE-BASED STAFF MEMBER, AND THE COMPANY WAS TRANSFORMED. WE FIND OUT WHY AND HOW, AS WELL AS DIRECTOR MARC LANE’S ADVICE TO BUSINESSES JUST STARTING OUT
“We were getting busier, but though we were doing a good quality job, the journey for our customer was awful,” Marc admits. “We let people down, it was hard to get hold of us, hard to get things sorted. When that customer got so fed up, she chose someone else – when we had worked with her for years and she’d previously had never even considered going somewhere else – that was when I admitted we’re doing it wrong.” Though Marc hadn’t thought he needed the help, hiring his first office-based employee was the turning point Landscapia needed. They spent
NOW WE HAVE A SYSTEM THAT IS SO EVOLVED IT COULD WORK FOR A BUSINESS 10 TIMES OUR SIZE – WE DON’T FEAR GROWTH, WE’RE READY FOR IT six months focusing purely on organisation, updating Marc’s post-it notes to paper files and then to a customer relationship management (CRM) system they built from scratch. Marc employed an IT specialist to create a database that would log enquiries and track client progress through the entire process. They
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programmed it to log and generate quotes, give specifications, contact suppliers with supply lists, take care of accounting, health and safety, and vehicle checks – to name a few. Now, Marc says it practically runs the business. “It’s made us a quick, responsive business. Everything is logged and we have alerts to flag anything overdue to ensure we don’t miss anything. That helps with human error.” 1 Clent View, Kinver 2 Simply Stylish, Halesowen
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Certainly, from losing that client five years ago, Landscapia has grown into itself, having its projects featured in several national magazines, and winning a Pro Landscaper Business Award. “Before, we were just treading water. Once we had the right organisation in place, it gave us valuable time to focus on customer service, employment and development. Now we have a system that is so evolved it could work for a business 10 times our size – we don’t fear growth, we’re ready for it.” Part of this growth will see the company becoming VR ready over the next six months. “When clients see a 2D plan and a mood board, it’s hard for them to visualise what the end result will be – it’s not living and breathing, they can’t feel themselves in that space,” he tells us. “This can lead to lots of changes, frustrations and disappointment from the end user. It’s so important that they can visualise it before they commit to such a big investment so we can ensure they are happy with the end result.”
Growth will look different for every business, though, and for Marc the most important thing to bear in mind is your limitations. “When you have a young business, you don’t get many
enquiries but as you start getting busier it becomes difficult to know where to focus your time without compromising your customer service. Its all about the consultation process,” Marc explains. “Out of 100 enquiries you might reduce 50 straight away because they’re not looking for the services you offer, they’re out of your area or they don’t have the budget. It’s important to
ONCE WE HAD THE RIGHT ORGANISATION IN PLACE, IT GAVE US VALUABLE TIME TO FOCUS ON CUSTOMER SERVICE, EMPLOYMENT AND DEVELOPMENT address this up front and that will cut the number down again. Out of those 100 you might see 10, which is a much more manageable number. It’s about having that confidence and not being afraid to turn away work. You can still advise them without costing your business time which could be spent elsewhere.” Currently Landscapia hires eight staff members (not including Marc) with plans to grow. As Marc notes, this can be a delicate time: “Employment is always everyone’s biggest issue, and no matter how big you get there are always growing pains. When employing staff, these growing pains come from needing the
employee in order to do more work, but needing more work in order to pay the employee.” But Marc believes that it’s all about riding the wave of increased costs, with the confidence that it will lead to growth. For Marc, employing staff based on being the right fit rather than just skill has been key to his successful team dynamic. “We hire good people with little or no experience, and we train them. The downside to that is it can slow down your growth. We’ve had to accept that as a business we could be much bigger. But at what cost? We’ve had to decide what’s more important, a business that is turning over more, or a business that has a great culture with happy customers and good profit margins. And it’s safe to say that Marc has managed to grow a successful team by putting culture first. Bolstered by the company’s training matrix, which lays out very clear levels, so staff know exactly what skills they need to improve upon to move up a pay bracket, staff are motivated and encouraged to do a good job. Commonly, businesses find joining an association another helpful way of navigating the field of growth. Though Marc doesn’t believe it’s a necessity, he too sees many advantages to
CAD GARDEN PLAN
THE FINISHED GARDEN
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INFORM this. It can it give your business credibility – though he stresses that your quality of work and service is the most important – it can also be someone to turn to for advice. “It’s great to have someone to speak to who understands the challenges we face in the industry,” Marc tells us. “You also get sent literature and up-to-date legislation changes so you can be on top of what you need to do as a business.”
WE HIRE GOOD PEOPLE WITH NO EXPERIENCE, AND WE TRAIN THEM UP Marc also finds association events a fantastic opportunity to gain advice and expertise from those who have been there and done it. This is something which may come in very handy over the next few years, as he fulfils his ambition of designing and building a RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden. “I’m always looking at how we get to the next level, what small steps I need to make,” he explains. “I can speak to people with the APL who have done it before, ask them questions, and then have the confidence to know I’m doing it the right way.” Marc’s plan thus far is to start with a local RHS show to get a taste for it, before Landscapia moves on to RHS Chelsea. Alongside his show garden ambitions and VR upgrades, Marc wants Landscapia to eventually lead with the design side of the business. A particular passion of his own, he hopes to one day become internationally recognised for this work. So, there are no signs of Landscapia slowing down any time soon, and it is perhaps Marc’s innate passion for his business, seen even at the early age of 11, and this industry that drives these ambitions and will ultimately be the reason for Landscapia’s continued successes. 3 The Sunken Garden, Brierley Hill 4 Pro Landscaper Business Awards 2021 – Leigh Lane, Melissa Davies, Marc Lane, James Bamford 5 Clent View, Kinver. CAD design and build comparison 6 Urban Living, Bromsgrove 7 Modern Edwardian, Stourbridge 8 Modern Classic, Barnt Green
C O N TA C T Landscapia, Wassell Grove Business Centre, Wassell Grove Lane, Hagley, Stourbridge, DY9 9JH Tel 0121 550 2364 Email email@example.com
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Pro Landscaper / December 2021 21
EARTH DESIGNS I
t’s arguably a dream come true to have your work appear on TV. It’s certainly something worth shouting about. But Katrina Kieffer-Wells, head of garden design at Earth Designs in Essex, is remarkably humble when talking about how a private garden her company designed and built featured on one of the BBC’s latest hit shows. With the opportunity to be seen by millions of viewers, Earth Designs’ project was chosen for an episode of Your Garden Made Perfect as an
exemplar of introducing pops of colour into a space without creating a gaudy garden. To be fair, it’s not the first time the company’s work has been the focus of media attention, with its projects having appeared in a number of both consumer and trade magazines. Your Garden Made Perfect, though, made what was already a bumper year for Earth Designs even better.
IF A CERTAIN COLOUR IS BEING USED INSIDE, IT CAN BE ADDED OUTSIDE. IT ADDS A DOSE OF PERSONALITY TO A SPACE TOO, EVEN IF THE COLOUR IS QUITE SUBTLE “Because of lockdown, when people were spending more time at home and entertaining in their gardens, the idea of outdoor living and using your garden as an extra room became really important to people. So, when you’re on a programme like that, in a pandemic, it’s very aspirational and, of course, it helped to boost business,” shares Katrina.
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FOUNDER KATRINA KIEFFER-WELLS SHARES HOW EARTH DESIGNS HAS GROWN ORGANICALLY, FROM ONE SELF-TAUGHT GARDENER TO A DESIGN AND BUILD TEAM RECEIVING NATIONWIDE RECOGNITION
It helped that the garden was wellrepresented on the show, praised for its “colourpopping backdrop” and how it linked the colours in the garden with those used indoors. “One of
KATRINA KIEFFER-WELLS the lovely things about colour is that it can tie in the interior,” says Katrina. “If a certain colour is being used inside, it can be added outside. It adds a dose of personality to a space too, even if the colour is quite subtle, like a muted pink. Most importantly, it gives your garden colour in the winter. When clients ask for year-round colour in a small garden, it’s not impossible, but it’s hard to create a garden that delivers seasonal theme; but if you let hard landscaping do some of the work in terms of the colour, then
you can go for a lot more variety in the evergreens that you choose.” Smaller spaces are Earth Design’s speciality. The family-run design and build company first started in East London, where many of its projects were for terraced properties. Katrina founded Earth Designs after being made redundant from an event management company. She set herself up as a gardener, but with experience in floristry and a degree in art, this quickly turned into a garden design offering. Earth Designs now provides both design and build, with Katrina’s husband Matt now running the two landscaping teams. “You probably couldn’t do what I did then, now,” admits Katrina. “Garden design was quite an unknown, underused service – my mum and dad would never have dreamed of using a garden designer. It was more for the upper classes. Now, it’s more for the masses – more people are using garden designers than they were 20 years ago. So, I was able to offer something that a lot of people weren’t offering at the time; it was quite unique.”
1 2 3 4 5 6
Timber pergola outside room Laser-cut screens from Decori Curved bench from Gaze Burvill The curved herb bed offers a calm outdoor spot Pebble mosaic rug and London Stone paving The tropical planting scheme is truly luscious
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That was nearly 20 years ago. Katrina and Matt have since moved to Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, though they continue to take on projects in East London. Being based in Essex, though, broadens the type of projects they can undertake. “We’re now dealing with slightly larger, slightly different gardens. Every garden we’ve completed has been unique, though, with different challenges and complexities and assets, whether it’s on a hill or somewhere with really bad access, for instance.”
WE TRY TO DELIVER A GARDEN SPACE FOR PEOPLE THAT REFLECTS THEIR LIFESTYLE AND PERSONALITY BUT IS ALSO STYLISH, INNOVATIVE AND ACCESSIBLE Most of the gardens Earth Designs builds are ones which Katrina has designed, though the company does offer design and build as two separate services. On top of this, Katrina provides inspirational courses for other garden designers, where they will visit an art gallery or museum – typically the V&A, which Katrina describes as a “rich” museum, in terms of content – to discover how artefacts and other objects can influence garden design. “We’ll draw sketches based on vases, for instance, or a snuff box or wrought iron railings; looking at
24 Pro Landscaper / December 2021
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the way it’s composed, where it sits culturally, you can pull out some elements of that and put it into a garden.” It’s this artistic influence which makes Katrina’s designs, and therefore the gardens Earth Designs creates, so unique. “We try to deliver a garden space for people that reflects their lifestyle and personality but is also stylish and innovative and accessible. It needs to look great but also be usable, which all good designs should be.” These attractive but practical gardens are pulling in clients when featuring on Earth Design’s Instagram feed, which is a significantly different form of advertisement than when the company was first founded. “It used to be postcards in Post Office windows and adverts in the back of newspapers or in the Yellow Pages. Now, it’s social media, but equally they then go onto our website; the two work hand in hand. It’s really important to have a social media presence. You have to appeal to all age groups.” Earth Design also gets work through its membership of trade associations, particularly the Society of Garden Designers, which Katrina says becoming a member of was a “high-fiving exercise” for herself. “It was a real career achievement, to go from not training as a garden designer to being accredited as a member of the SGD. And now I get work through them.”
This is just one of the benefits of being an association member, though. “It offers peace of mind for the client. Whilst they may not have heard of the association, it demonstrates that you have achieved a certain standard. It’s also useful having a resource of members to tap into. This is where social media is useful too – if I’m sitting at my desk unsure of how to do something, it’s really accessible to reach out on a Facebook forum and ask if anyone else knows how to do it or where to get a certain material from.” Lockdown has made associations more accessible too. “We’ve all become so much more comfortable with Zoom. I would never have got on a virtual meeting pre-pandemic. Now, it’s not a big deal and it helps bring more people together and share ideas. It makes things like SGD training days easier to attend.” Continually searching for new inspiration has surely been key to the success of Earth Designs. Katrina isn’t afraid to try new ideas and different influences to achieve a garden which is aesthetically pleasing and functional, and Your Garden Made Perfect is unlikely to be the last time the company’s projects fall under the spotlight. 7 Jay painting by ATM Street Art 8 Railway sleeper bench and bespoke chandelier 9 Water feature tiles from Habibi Interiors
C O N TA C T Earth Designs 64 Leighton Avenue, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, SS9 1QA Tel 01702 662 950 Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
©Kat Weatherill ©Kat Weatherill
GOLD MEDAL WINNING 'ON TROPIC' SHOW GARDEN
3 0 U N D E R 3 0 U P DAT E
reddie Strickland might have grown up in the capital, but spending the last 10 years in the South West of England has arguably had the biggest influence on his career. He first relocated to study a year’s foundation diploma in art and design at Falmouth University before going on to complete a fine art degree. Two years later, after buying a house and tending to his own garden, he’d signed up to a garden and landscape design course at the Eden Project. “It was brilliant and a great place to study,” says Freddie. “The Eden Project course doesn’t receive quite the same amount of press as other courses, but it’s a little jewel in Cornwall, filled with inspiring people. It’s a place where horticulture is alive, and everything is there at your fingertips to fully understand plants and plant science as well.” Freddie now runs his own design practice in Bristol and works part-time for Tim Rees from Trees Associates. He’s also about to start working with Wiltshire-based Balston Agius, having met Marie-Louise Agius through his experience
competing in the RHS Young Designer of the Year competition this year at Tatton, where he won the title and a Gold medal. “Marie-Louise was one of the judges at Tatton this year. She got in touch afterwards and invited me to help on her
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COP26 show garden at Chelsea. Now, I’m going to start working with them on a part-time basis. I’ve got a lot to learn from amazing, experienced people in the industry and I’m really enjoying working collaboratively,” explains Freddie. His first show garden was certainly a learning curve, but also a chance for Freddie to showcase his passion for sustainable design and subtropical plants. “The garden prioritised natural materials. The pergola, for example, was made
SHOW GARDENS ARE NOT ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY BUT IF YOU DEMONSTRATE WHAT NATURAL MATERIALS CAN DO AND HOW THEY CAN BE USED IN CONTEMPORARY WAYS, THEN THE POINT BEGINS TO PERMEATE THROUGH from reclaimed steel, and we used reclaimed timber wherever possible. We came at it from as much of a sustainable approach as you can for a show garden; show gardens are not environmentally friendly but if you demonstrate what natural materials can do and how they can be used in contemporary ways, then the point begins to permeate through.” Climate change was an underlying theme of the garden, but it was the plants which Freddie
THE RHS’ NEWEST YOUNG DESIGNER OF THE YEAR, FREDDIE STRICKLAND, ALREADY HAS AN ENVIABLE LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS
WITH ARIT ANDERSON
intended to take centre stage. “The garden looked at plants which are thriving in the South West in warmer climes, even in England's coastal locations, and reimagined this planting in a garden in the North West, near Tatton Park. We’re seeing a warmer and unpredictable climate, so the garden showed the plants which could play a part in our future gardens.” Freddie had to wait two years to showcase the ‘On Tropic’ garden at Tatton, with COVID-19 causing last year’s show to go virtual. The postponement gave him a chance to come together with the other Young Designer competitors to take on a pro bono project. The four have designed a terrace for The Royal Free hospital in London, and though Freddie says it’s a “slow burner” due to all the challenges, they’re committed to creating the space for the NHS staff working at the hospital. Already boasting an RHS Gold medal, an exciting drawing board of projects, collaborations with prestigious designers and a 30 Under 30: The Next Generation award, Freddie is certainly one to watch – he has his sights set on RHS Chelsea in the future, and it could be a design to match the show’s most decorated designers.
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 25
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M A R C U S WATS O N STOPPING THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION MARCUS WATSON OF GROUND CONTROL EXPLAINS HOW WE THE LANDSCAPING PROFESSIONALS ARE PERFECTLY PLACED TO HELP STOP THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION
iodiversity is the variety of life on Earth, in all its forms and all its interactions. It is arguably the most complex feature of our planet. What is more, it is vital: the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat all ultimately rely on biodiversity. A more philosophical way of viewing biodiversity is that it represents the knowledge learned by the various species over millions of years about how to survive the vastly varying environmental conditions Earth has
experienced. Seen through this lens, experts warn that humanity is currently “burning the library of life”. Several mass extinction events have occurred since the existence of abundant life on Earth, about 532 million years ago. This is best illustrated through the extinction of species families, seen below in Figure 1. Life on Earth has suffered five mass extinction events in its long history, caused by colossal natural catastrophes. Whilst we have a very long way to
go before we reach the 95% extinction rate seen in the Great Dying (3), some scientists believe a sixth mass extinction has now begun.1 The International Union for Conservation of Nature predicts that all critically endangered species and two thirds of endangered species may be lost within the next 100 years, a view supported by the UN.2 Only recently, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared 23 species extinct.3 The trend shown in Figure 2, identifies an exponential increase in the extinctions of species.4 Thanks to COVID-19, we all know the devastating consequences exponential trends can have. When combined, these are strong indicators that a sixth mass extinction event has begun. This one will be very different to all other mass extinctions because it will be caused by humans rather than external factors such
EXPERTS WARN THAT HUMANITY IS CURRENTLY “BURNING THE LIBRARY OF LIFE”
FIGURE 1: MASS EXTINCTIONS SINCE THE EXISTENCE OF ABUNDANT LIFE ON EARTH, SHOWING THE “GREAT DYING” AT (3) AND DINOSAUR EXTINCTION AT (5). SOME SCIENTISTS BELIEVE A SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION EVENT HAS NOW BEGUN (6). 1
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as an asteroid collision or cataclysmic volcanic activity. What is more, species are dying out so quickly that nature’s built-in defence mechanism, evolution, cannot keep up. So many mammal species are expected to become extinct during the next five decades, the best-case scenario is that nature will need three to five million years to recover to current biodiversity levels.5 Simply put, extinctions are not easily reversible.
The human-generated threats to biodiversity are very easy to understand. Firstly, there is climate change. We continue to be on track to warm the world by an average of +2.7°C by the year 2100, very significantly overshooting the two Paris Agreement targets,6 with devastating consequences for biodiversity. Secondly is relocating species around the world (rats, rabbits, Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, cats, grey squirrels, crayfish...) which can decimate local wildlife populations as they spread.
FIGURE 2: EXPONENTIAL INCREASE IN VERTEBRATE SPECIES RECORDED AS EXTINCT OR EXTINCT IN THE WILD BY THE IUCN. DASHED BLACK LINE REPRESENTS BACKGROUN RATE. THIS IS THE ‘HIGHLY CONSERVATIVE ESTIMATE’. 4
THIS ONE WILL BE VERY DIFFERENT TO ALL OTHER MASS EXTINCTIONS BECAUSE IT WILL BE CAUSED BY HUMANS RATHER THAN EXTERNAL FACTORS Lastly, there is human population growth and deforestation. For example, the 7.8 billion humans and our livestock now consume 25-40% of the planet’s entire energy captured by plants on which all biodiversity depends. Figure 3 shows the exponential increase in human population growth since 1800, underlining the human species as the world’s most voracious top predator.7
How we choose to respond to these self-inflicted emergencies will determine our future prosperity, health and happiness.
I believe that everyone in the landscaping industry has, more than most, the ability to fight biodiversity loss in our jobs every single day. As professionals working closely with nature, we can advise and educate our customers in mitigating biodiversity loss and, better still, in achieving biodiversity gains. Customers turn to us as their trusted partners for advice; I believe it is our duty to help them be as effective custodians of their natural environments as they can be. Through education and working with our customers every day, we can have a multiplier effect helping to stop the progress of the man-made Sixth Mass Extinction. And of course, in so doing, our professions are FIGURE 3: EXPONENTIAL INCREASE IN THE WORLD cemented as an enabler HUMAN POPULATION. 7 POPULATION OF THE WORLD HAS NEARLY DOUBLED IN THE AUTHOR’S LIFETIME. to a happy, healthy and sustainable world.
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Brad Plumer, “There have been five mass extinctions in Earth’s history. We’re now facing a sixth”, Washington Post, 11 Feb 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/ news/wonk/wp/2014/02/11/there-have-been-fivemass-extinctions-in-earths-history-now-werefacing-a-sixth/ 2. “Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’”, UN report, 6 May 2019. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/ blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/ 3 “US declares 23 bird, fish and other species extinct”, BBC News, 29 Sept 2021. https://www.bbc.co.uk/ news/world-us-canada-58740362 4 G. Ceballos et al., “Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction”, Science Advances, 19 Jun 2015. https://www.science. org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.1400253 5 Aarthus University, “Mammals cannot evolve fast enough to escape current extinction crisis”, Science Daily, 15 Oct 2018. https://www.sciencedaily.com/ releases/2018/10/181015154435.htm 6 “Emissions Gap Report 2021’”, UN Environment Programme, 26 Oct 2021. https://www.unep.org/ resources/emissions-gap-report-2021 7 UN World Population Prospects 2019.
A B O U T M A R C U S W AT S O N Marcus Watson joined Ground Control in 2011 and led the company for close to a decade, handing over the reins to Jason Knights in January 2021. Marcus remains with Ground Control as non-executive director and a significant shareholder. Marcus believes that business is a force for good and that business leaders have the opportunity and indeed duty to build a vibrant and more sustainable economy that cares for our environment and the communities we live in, allowing us to lead prosperous, fulfilling lives without mortgaging our children’s futures.
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ANDREW WILSON A GOLDEN AGE?
ANDREW WILSON CONSIDERS THE WAY OUR GARDENS ARE CHANGING – ARE WE LIVING IN A GOLDEN AGE OF GARDEN MAKING?
started teaching garden design in 1984 at the Inchbald School of Design. Although I was following in the footsteps of John Brookes and Tim Rees who both tried to plough a more contemporary furrow, the whole world of garden design (from a UK perspective) was drowning in nostalgia. The English flower garden style had taken root in the post war years and was proving difficult to shake off. The feeling was that in gardens things either didn’t change much or at least changed very slowly. I remember Topher Delaney exclaiming at the 1994 SGD Conference that “Gertrude Jekyll was dead!” in response to a rather pinched question from the audience about whether her innovative approach to materials would work in the UK with our sensitivity to historical reference. My how things have changed and how they continue to change. Tim Rees, mentioned above, was instrumental in paving the way with Brita von Schöenaich, when they organised the New Perennial Conference at Kew in 1989. This led to changes in our attitude to planting and to a remarkable resurgence in the use of perennials
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and grasses to create the prairie planting and ornamental meadows that we see in many contemporary gardens.
THE SOWN MEADOWS OF JAMES HITCHMOUGH AND NIGEL DUNNETT AND THE EXPANSIVE PLANTINGS OF PIET OUDOLF HAVE NOT ONLY CHANGED THE PLANTS WE USE BUT THE WAY IN WHICH WE USE THEM The sown meadows of James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett and the expansive plantings of Piet Oudolf have not only changed the plants we use but the way in which we use them, losing the tradition of the border and the lawn as compatriots in favour of rolling, immersive landscapes of colour and texture. Introducing hard materials to my garden design students the other day, I was struck by the sheer choice available now – less than forty years ago we seemed duty bound to use York, granite setts or brick if the client’s pockets were sufficiently deep, look-a-like concrete products if not. What this all belies is that gardens have changed significantly together with our perception of our gardens. I was offered the job to run the programme at Inchbald at the end of 1988 and I accepted this as a heart rather than
a head decision. I loved to teach and I still do, but a significant part of me worried about that career move from landscape architecture. I needn’t have worried, as it transpired, because in 1989 Gardens by Design with David Stevens came onto our TV screens and garden design took off. He and I were reminiscing about this at the recent SGD Awards when he received his deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. I have never regretted that business decision. As we all realised the importance of our outdoor space over the last eighteen months the garden reasserted its position in our lives, but we are also in a climate crisis and our thinking has to evolve accordingly. No matter what emerges from or after COP26 changes to our environment are not going to be immediate. But we can all contribute to mitigate the effects of climate change, to work as sustainably as we can and to increase biodiversity where possible. Our teaching at LCGD has evolved and continues to evolve as our world changes, accommodating all that is new to our understanding of the garden in the C21. Our students are increasingly embracing these changes and it is clear from their design approaches, questions, and responses that the old order has had its day. On with the new I say and, yes, I think it could well be golden! Pictured: Pictorial meadow detail, SGD & APLD award winning Hertfordshire garden, McWilliam Studio
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.
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 31
K AT I E F L A X M A N A NEW WAY OF WORKING
KATIE FLAXMAN TALKS THROUGH THE PROS OF STUDIO 31’S MOVE TO A HYBRID APPROACH TO WORKING FROM HOME AND HOW THEY’RE OVERCOMING THE CONS
he last two years have seen a lot of changes to working environments across the globe. Staff were forced to move to home offices and a new light was shone on flexible working adding momentum to campaigns like Flex Appeal which has advocated to see ‘flexible working for all’ finally enshrined into law. We’ve always had a policy of flexible working at our office. Hours aren’t counted and employees time isn’t micromanaged, but we have also always enjoyed the connection of having a central office space for us to be together. During the pandemic though, we lost our rented office space to a residential development and had to make a decision regarding the future of our office base. Our team had been forced to work from home full time since March 2020 and with the already flexible attitude to working we had, this had worked well for us. So, in May this year, we made the decision not to reopen a central base but instead retain home working with the option of travel to our Eastern base in Suffolk for those who wanted it.
Making this move has meant that staff have more flexibility in their day-to-day lives and take fewer sick days. We are more readily able to
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service clients and sites from a wider area at a lower cost. This in turn is reducing our carbon footprint both in terms of office commutes and site visit miles. We are also able to draw from a much wider pool of candidates in terms of prospective employees. What it’s also meant though is that staff are more isolated, so it can be more difficult to maintain a team feel. Some staff also take less annual leave as their role allows them greater flexibility to fit in their life around work. Whilst this sounds great, we don’t advocate it as there
MAKING THIS MOVE HAS MEANT THAT STAFF HAVE MORE FLEXIBILITY IN THEIR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES AND TAKE FEWER SICK DAYS is no flexible working substitute for taking proper time away from the office and scheduling annual leave is even more important. We are working hard to put measures in place to create opportunities for connection. We have weekly online meetings to touch base and check in with wellbeing and workloads, we have bi-weekly in person meet ups to work from our Suffolk office base with long lazy lunches and meandering ‘work walks’ in the countryside. We are looking into a hot-desking options and we are organising regular CPD and staff days to visit gardens, exhibitions, or events. This means when we meet, the focus can be on connection and wellness rather than just work.
We have mental health check ins, regular reminders to book and take annual leave and for employees to “ask for what they need” whether that’s a different office chair or cuppa with a colleague. Our aim? To create an honest, open, and inclusive environment which recognises everyone’s needs. We are still navigating how to best overcome some challenges; training and integrating new team members for example. We haven’t quite worked out the home working equivalent of tapping someone on the shoulder to ask a question, but we’re working on it. In a time before running the studio, on my first day in a new role, my boss said to me, “I don’t care where you are or what you’re doing as long as you are where you need to be when you need to be there, and your deadlines get met”. It felt like being handed true autonomy and was an enlightening moment. When we set up the studio, that was what I wanted to give our team. And what I’ve found is the more trust you give; the more people exceed your expectations. It works for us. Could it work for you?
A B O U T K AT I E F L A X M A N Katie Flaxman is co-founder and director of Studio 31 Landscape Architects. Studio 31 is an awardwinning, adventurous and environmentally conscious landscape architecture practice working across the residential, public realm and health sectors.
C H R I STO P H E R M A RT I N KINTSUGI CHRISTMAS
A JAPANESE ART FOR REPAIRING AND RESPECTING OBJECTS SHOULD BE APPLIED TO OUR CITIES, SUGGESTS CHRISTOPHER MARTIN
he Climate Conference in Glasgow has been and gone, so what legacy has emerged for the built environment and for the design of towns, cities, and settlements? And how does our thinking need to move forwards, to ensure the places we shape have a better relationship with the environment? Thinking about this question, it would be remiss of me to not also reflect on the fact that we’re reading this in December. For many, this is the season of Christmas, but for most it has become a season of increasing globalised commercialisation – of seeking new things and selling people new things – ultimately having a consequence on our relationship with the environment. This relatively short-termist commercialisation has trickled into our built environments as well, having a similarly damaging effect on the environment. Constructing standardised units in greenfield sites, set within standardised landscapes, serviced off a standardised roundabout, connecting to an A-road, is similar to selling jumpers every Christmas emblazoned with flashing lights or alpine motifs. This action triggers huge levels of waste, with 95% of these jumpers being made wholly or partly of plastic. The Christmas jumper is one of the worst examples of the environmentally damaging fast-fashion market, and I wonder if a similar percentage of new mass-conceived housing developments have the
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same relationship with the environment. Fast-fashion, fast-food, fast-fabrication? At the opposite end from the Christmas jumper – occupying the space of the considered, the original, and the environmentally supportive – is kintsugi. This is the Japanese art of repairing broken objects, putting them back together
WE SHOULD BE INCREASINGLY TALKING ABOUT PLACE-MENDING RATHER THAN PLACE-MAKING IN URBAN DESIGN using lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy sees the breakage and the repair as part of the history of the object, rather than something to disguise, highlighting the story of the object. Kintsugi accepts change and fate as aspects of human life. And here we have parallels with the built environment as well. The idea of saving, of reusing, and telling the stories of a place through the buildings we design – and indeed save – is something which we are increasingly promoting in architecture and in buildings themselves. The hugely successful RetroFirst movement, starting as an AJ campaign to prioritise retrofit over demolition and rebuild, has put the idea front and centre that we should be looking to repurpose and reprogram buildings
before lazily pushing them over and replacing them – releasing all the embodied carbon from the building as well as likely using more and more concrete and other climatecalamitous components. Scaling this up to towns, cities, and settlements I think we should be increasingly talking about place-mending rather than place-making in urban design. How can we work with what we have in urban contexts to deliver meaningful social, environmental and physical improvements? How can we reimagine the physical environment to futureproof existing settlements? What uses do we need to plan for to intensify activity, and social and community connectedness? And what community systems need to be collaboratively built from the ground up to support this work and deliver social value? This is how we mend places and level up, not running to the field at the edge of town to set about making a place. Wishing you all a kintsugi Christmas. Pictured: Rejecting fast-fabrication and anonymous development in favour of place-mending and building for all time.
A BOU T C H RISTOP HER MARTIN Christopher is an influential urban designer and planner working all over the globe to help communities improve their public spaces; as well as supporting cities and governments to develop strategy, change policies, and make great places possible. He is co-founder and director of Urban Strategy at Urban Movement; a trustee of the UK charity for everyday walking – Living Streets; vice chair of the UK Urban Design Group; and is a member of the United Nations Planning and Climate Action Group.
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 33
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UK LANDSCAPE BAROMETER SEPTEMBER’S STATS
I N S I D E I Q T H I S M O N T H PA G E 3 7 U K L A N D S C A P E B A R O M E T E R – S TAT I S T I C S F O R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1 , PA G E 4 1 N E I L E D WA R D S : D O W N , B U T N O T O U T
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n this issue of the UK Landscaper Barometer, we are focused on the trading month of September 2021. On top of the consistent chaos with rocky levels of material availability, September proved to be a difficult time to navigate as the petrol shortage took hold of the UK, slowing work down even further for many in the industry as travel became an additional issue. Results have shown that lead times have lengthened, and for some, enquiries dropped as supply chain issues remain a struggle. However, month-on-month confidence has returned to figures we have been seeing over the summer months, perhaps as many are getting started and preparing for “winter work.” Now that the UK Landscape Barometer has collected a year’s worth of data, we are able to provide analysis which looks at year-on-year data. Key findings this month included a significant rise in turnover; last year 42% of participants stated they were seeing an increase, and this year that figure has doubled to 84%. Although, respondents seeing increases in enquires and projects was reported to be higher last year – 59% reported an increase in enquiries, while this year 53% saw an increase. Some 65% reported a rise in projects, and this year that figure dropped to 61%. If you would like the full report or would like to contribute to the UK Landscape Barometer moving forward, please send an email to Gemma Lloyd on email@example.com or call on 01903 777 594. Please note that all statistics are based on those surveyed and compare September 2021 to September 2020.
NATIONAL TURNOVER 16%
PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS MORE CONFIDENT COMPARED TO LAST MONTH 100%
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National turnover displayed an encouraging figure, with 84% seeing an increase on last year, and 16% remaining static. However, like last month, enquiries still saw a significant 26% of respondents stating they have seen a drop in enquiries. In addition, 36% of respondents were working with less staff – this may come as no surprise given how difficult staff recruitment is currently. One respondent commented: “Everyone is talking about how difficult it is to find skilled and qualified staff.”
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 37
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH
DESIGN AND BUILD
DESIGN AND BUILD
DESIGN AND BUILD
TURNOVER THE MIDLANDS SEP 2021
SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH SEP 2020
Higher DESIGN AND BUILD
80% 100% Less
38 Pro Landscaper / December 2021
UK Landscape Barometer (3).indd 38
YEAR ON YEAR
80% 100% Lower
Domestic and commercial landscapers displayed strong percentages of those seeing increases, with 100% of respondents in these industry types stating they feel more confident and are experiencing increases in turnover. In fact, across all industry types, every respondent reported increases in turnover. Garden design displayed the largest decrease in enquiry rates, with 60% reporting they have received less. For the first time, we can compare year-on-year data. It is clear there has been a big change in the industry regarding turnover and confidence levels, as respondents experiencing increases doubles. This could be reflective of the high demand, and an effect of the pandemic. Interested to see an in-depth analysis or find out what the conversion, projects, and staff statistics look like? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Pro Landscaper website to download the full report.
Given that results, aside from turnover, were pretty split, it may be interesting to hear that anecdotal evidence from nursery respondents was positive, suggesting that it is “back to normal” as it continues at a busy but manageable flow. A key reason for this could be due to customers “starting to order stock much earlier in order to secure it”. One respondent said: “Invoiced sales, orders for the next 12 months, and quotes have all increased significantly this month. The demand for trees is continuing to soar, and supply is struggling to keep up!” Another described work returning to normality as “no mad panic jobs, and people are back to properly planning and organising work again. There is certainly a nice and steady flow.”
SOIL Displaying a repeat of last month, soil suppliers have reported increases across all areas. One respondent said they had seen enquiries increase, stating “commercial clients appear to be more choosy at the moment as they search for contractors to put more work in up front in the tender process”. They felt that this is positive and will contribute to reducing “price-driven processes”. Demand doesn’t appear to be slowing. Evidence suggests it is remaining manageable. Another respondent said: “Now, we are supplying at rates unheard of for the latter parts of the year, and all in all, we are feeling very confident about the future.”
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Enquiries saw an increase of
Projects for garden designers rose by
Quotes for soil suppliers rose by
42% 37% 18% 13% 62% 26% The greatest increase in turnover was seen by garden designers, at
National turnover National projects rose by increased by
Commercial landscapers saw an increase of
24% in turnover
PROJECT COMMENCING TIME for domestic landscapes was
Enquiries for design and build companies rose
Design and build companies saw
of 23% in projects
1% DECREASE IN ENQUIRIES
Soil suppliers saw an increase of
Garden designers saw a
Conversion rates for garden designers increased by
Nationally, conversion rose by
Projects for domestic landscape increased by
18% for nurseries Commercial landscapers saw an increase of
27% 35% in enquiries
CONVERSION RATES for commercial landscapers ROSE 31% Pro Landscaper / December 2021 39
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IQ CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT AWARDS IN OCTOBER SAW A MONTH-ON-MONTH DOWNSHIFT. BUT NEIL EDWARDS SAYS THIS WAS ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE, AND DESPITE IMMINENT CEMENT PRICE RISES, HE REMAINS CONFIDENT
ccording to both the bible and 60s pop band The Byrds, “for everything, there is a season”. Nowhere is this truer than in the field of construction. Groundworks, paving and dust suppression equipment sales are condensed into the months with the best weather. The month of August is traditionally a quiet period for construction and the lead up to the Christmas and New Year festivities almost always mark a gradual yet predictable downturn. And so, while the figures for October 2021 – a month that also included a half term school holiday – showed a small month-on-month decline, that decline was inevitable and entirely expected. The BCLive league table ended the month with a figure of £4.74bn, way above the established £4bn benchmark but also way down on the exceptional £7.5bn recorded in September. Soaring to the top of the BCLive league table while simultaneously reconfirming the importance of the house building sector was Berkeley Group which won a single £380m contract award to secure the top slot. A pair of new build housing projects also propelled J Reddington into second place on the BCLive league table. The larger of the two is a £160m mixed-use development for client One Heritage at Greengate and New Bridge Street in Manchester. Located close to the city’s Victoria Station, the development will include 545 flats, a library and a gym. The second of J Reddington’s big wins was a £150m new build of 506 dwellings at a site located on Sackville Road in Hove. The scheme will also include co-working spaces and public gardens.
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DOWN, BUT NOT OUT Away from the house-building arena, the health sector saw a welcome boost with a £210m new build at Birmingham’s Health Innovation Campus. Won by John Sisk & Son, that project will involve the creation of a seven-storey laboratory and office building as part of the University of Birmingham’s Precision Health Technologies Accelerator programme. BAM took the fourth position on the BCLive league table for the month, courtesy of three contract awards valued at a combined £252m. The largest of these is the £220m expansion of Sheffield Hallam University and is part of
AFTER DECADES OF PEAKS AND TROUGHS, A SEASON OF STABILITY IS SURELY WELCOME a 10-year campus masterplan that also includes public realms and green spaces. The creation of green spaces will also be a focus of the £85m mixed-use development at Heaton Lane in Stockport won by Willmott Dixon. The Stockport Bus Interchange Scheme includes a covered passenger concourse, cycle storage and 20 bus stands. Willmott Dixon will also create a new two-acre town centre park. London predictably took the number one slot on the regional run-down, reporting 81 new projects valued at just over £1.62bn. Equally predictably, housing retained its crown as the
leading sector, delivering 127 projects valued at more than £2.2bn. However, education also enjoyed an upbeat month, reporting 54 projects valued at more than £730m. Most of the new contract awards announced in October 2021 will be unlikely to start work until the New Year, which will provide the industry with an excellent workload platform from which to build 2022. There are threats, of course. The skills shortage has not gone away, materials remain in short supply and cement prices are scheduled to rise before the end of the year. The removal of the red diesel tax rebate now looms large on the industry’s horizon and is just one of many environmentally-based issues that could impact negatively on the wider sector. But, for now, the industry is precisely where it should be. And after decades of peaks and troughs, a season of stability is surely welcome.
A B O U T N E I L E DWA R D S Neil Edwards is CEO of Builder’s Conference, the construction industry’s leading trade body. It provides its members to sales leads and market intelligence, as well as statistical data and networking opportunities. BCLive is a real-time league table of construction contract award activity. Operated by the Builders’ Conference, the BCLive league table monitors more than 6,000 new contract awards each year with a combined value of over £80bn. www.buildersconference.co.uk
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 41
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C O U RT YA R D C H A P E L ST R E E T GARDEN CLUB LONDON T H I S T Y P I C A L L O N D O N C O U R T YA R D N E E D E D A M O D E R N B U T S O F T U P G R A D E T O M AT C H T H E CLIENT’S NEW KITCHEN AND LIVING AREA
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stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, this Grade-II listed property was undergoing renovations across the ground level and first floor, transforming the client’s kitchen and living area. With a more modern interior, they were after a garden to match, with a soft feel, layered planting and plenty of room to entertain both day and night. Garden Club London was appointed directly by the client and was required to work closely with the architects (MICA) and main contractor (Harris Calnan) to ensure challenging site constraints were overcome and the project could be delivered whilst the main contractor still had a large presence on the cosy site.
PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value £64k Build time 11 weeks (with predominantly 2-man team) Size of project 56m2 Awards Gold in £50-65K category at 2021 APL awards
1 Raised views of the welcoming seating area, a space offering relaxation and entertainment day or night
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Design and build Working with the existing levels of the tiered basement slab, Garden Club London designed a central wall to create two areas. The lower area would be a more formal dining area with trough planters and a herb garden. The upper area became a relaxing space with low-level seating, fuller planting, feature fireplace, hidden storage space and subtle lighting. Improving privacy through raising boundary heights was high on the list and with the desired softer feel, Garden Club London specified 19x38mm cedar battens that would be treated with Osmo oil following a few weeks oxidisation. Presented with a few composite decking options from Millboard’s enhanced grain
46 Pro Landscaper / December 2021
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range, ‘Smoked Oak’ was chosen due to the lighter tones which linked with the internal finishes of the new kitchen and as a lighter backdrop to the darker colours of the feature wall, planters, and fireplace. Granite grey GRP planters and feature rendered fireplace were the final hardscape elements. Planting moodboards and initial lists were presented to the clients for their input and comment with the final agreed list being sourced from Creepers Nursery. Challenges There were many challenges for Garden Club London on this project. As is the case with most central London projects, all materials had to
come through the house. This was made even more challenging by the multiple trades on site for the duration of the build. Careful scheduling of orders and early morning/late afternoon material chain gangs allowed for efficient moving and storage of materials. Weight constraints of the basement slab meant construction of the feature wall required rethinking. Garden Club London was able to overcome this challenge by extending and connecting the two levels of composite subframe and then enclosing with tile backer to install Corten effect porcelain cladding. Extremely tight build-up space on the lower level meant strategic subframe placement to ensure free flowing drainage at slab level.
There was also a unique challenge with construction of the fireplace immediately adjacent the angled base of a historical chimney stack. The angled base effectively cut into the bottom corner of where the fireplace would stand. Garden Club London’s foreman devised a very bespoke steel rod and blockwork arrangement ensuring the finished product gives the appearance of a solid rectangular rendered structure.
2 3 4 5 6
Cedar battens provide screening and privacy Herb garden planting found in the lower area The fireplace serves as a focal point A calming transition from one level to another Comfort, privacy and nature come together
ABOUT GARDEN CLUB LONDON
Garden Club London is an award-winning design and build company. Its services cover a variety of project types from residential to pop-ups to larger commercial schemes and it strives for the best possible results. A diverse design team including landscape designers, landscape architects and horticulturalists work closely with clients to develop and detail projects. Its skilled build teams then deliver the finished product with the highest standard of workmanship. Garden Club London also has an in-house maintenance department to provide aftercare for outdoor spaces.
Designer Tony Woods www.gardenclublondon.co.uk
Contractor Garden Club London www.gardenclublondon.co.uk Composite decking Millboard www.millboard.co.uk Cedar battens Champions Timber www.championtimber.com Corten effect porcelain cladding DesignClad by London Stone www.londonstone.co.uk Planters Europlanters www.europlanters.com
BEFORE: LOOKING BACK TOWARDS THE HOUSE
Bioethanol burner Bespoke Fire & Flue www.bespokefire.com Climbing wire system S3i www.s3i.co.uk Plants Creepers Nursery www.creepersnursery.co.uk
PREVIOUS UPPER DECKING
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Lighting/electrical Parker & Bartley www.parkerandbartley.co.uk
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A N U R BA N
MARVEL WHITE CITY LIVING PHASE ONE ELITE LANDSCAPES
PA R T O F T H E W H I T E C I T Y P R O J E C T S I N C E ITS INCEPTION, ELITE LANDSCAPES R E C E N T LY C O M P L E T E D P H A S E O N E O F THIS EXTENSIVE DEVELOPMENT
48 Pro Landscaper / December 2021
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PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value £9m Build time 2017-2020 Size of project Eight acres of landscaped gardens and five-acre public park Designer Murdoch Whickham Contractor St James, Berkeley Homes Awards • Pride in the Job 2021 London Regional Award Winner in the ‘Multi-storey builder category’ • BALI National Landscape Awards ‘Hard Landscaping Construction Over 500K’
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hite City – dubbed by some as the Great White City – is an extensive development next to Westfield’s flagship shopping centre. Elite Landscapes has been a part of White City since it was just dirt and rubble. From its initial involvement, it’s been awarded several smaller packages that extended the landscaping, alongside the maintenance of the planting throughout the estate. Recently, this has led to securing the landscaping project for phase one. Brief Elite Landscapes brief from St James was to construct all the external landscaping in and around Phase One buildings. This included five separate landscaped areas that were released back to the client and opened to the public in sections. Design and build The design of White City was split into five distinct areas: Exhibition Park, The Water Park, The Spring Garden, The Autumn Garden and The Magnolia Garden. While each area has its own unique characteristic, all interconnect through shared pedestrian surfaces which additionally connect to the adjacent Westfield shopping centre and Imperial College. The designer,
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Water rill in Exhibition Park Exhibition Park’s layered views Curved designs at Exhibition Park Spring Garden seating area Marketing Suite water feature Photographs ©Paul Scott from Front Elevation
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 49
below ground ducting and junction boxes, sub-bases and paving build ups, paving and surfacing, sub and topsoil, kerbs and retaining walls with associated cladding and copings. It also dealt with the irrigation system, external lighting systems and fittings, water features, street furniture as well as mature tree and shrub planting. Materials Materials were sourced for the job by working closely with a good supply chain. Elite Landscapes placed bulk orders with its soil and hard aggregate suppliers to ensure it had continuity in its supply chain and was never short of required materials. It went through a rigorous process of blending soils and perfectly matched the specification, giving the soft landscaping the best start possible.
Murdoch Wickham, drew inspiration for the design from The Japan-British Exhibition of 1910 which can be seen in the Asian-styled gardens. Victorian plant hunters inspired exotic and botanic planting, and an emphasis on water throughout the landscape. There are also various areas throughout the site to promote community activities, such as the amphitheatre and space for markets and exhibitions. Elite Landscapes is confident it has captured Murdoch Wickham’s vision at design stage, to bring an impressive design to life. All the external elements were in Elite Landscapes package, excluding the metal works. The scope of the contract saw Elite Landscapes take responsibility for: reducing dig and installation of capillary layers, installation of all
50 Pro Landscaper / December 2021
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Water features One of the most unusual aspects about White City was the number of water features throughout the site, with each of them their own individual design and several connecting to one another. The features are all linked to the same tank and plant room that services each of them. There is a complex underground network of pipework, pump chambers and valve chambers that Elite Landscapes needed to form below ground. The most unusual water feature can be found in Centre Stage, where there are five large totems with metal spouts set at different levels. These spouts and associated pipework needed to be lifted and held in position whilst blockwork and concrete were formed around them.
Challenges A lot of the trees Elite Landscapes installed were in close proximity to the railway line, both overground and underground. Due to this, it had to meticulously plan its lift and work with both the client, crane company, tree supplier and TFL to ensure everything ran smoothly. It implemented no-slew zones for the cranes and fitted them with slew restrictors to ensure they could not pass over agreed zones. Elite Landscapes also factored in crane collapse radius, to ensure if anything did go wrong, rail lines wouldn’t be jeopardised. Additionally, whilst carrying out excavation works for reduce digging and capillary layer to be installed, Elite Landscapes came across two
VIEW FROM ABOVE
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Bold views in Magnolia Gardens Magnolia Gardens water feature staircase Water rill in Exhibition Park with lush planting Totem water feature in Centre Stage Photographs ©Paul Scott from Front Elevation
REFERENCES Water features Fountains Direct www.fountains-direct.co.uk Irrigation Waterwise www.waterwise.org.uk Planting Robin Tacchi robintacchiplants.com Trees Lorenz Von Ehren www.lve-baumschule.de/en unexpected issues. The first was asbestos found while excavating. Elite Landscapes’ experienced machine driver and banksman were quick to notify their line manager, who quickly barriered off the area and raised concerns with the client. After inspection, Elite Landscapes carried out a controlled removal and provided the client certification of its removal and its end location. The second issue was potential WWII bombs in the ground. Whilst digging, the site team found a suspicious unknown item within the digging zone. After creating an exclusion zone around the area, Elite Landscapes alerted St James who came to investigate. A larger exclusion was set up and work was stood down whilst bomb disposal teams came to site to investigate. They removed the item from site and work could proceed. No sooner than Elite Landscapes had found one, another was unearthed only a few metres away.
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The disposal team returned to site and removed the second unknown ordnance. St James implemented a watch team for two weeks whilst Elite Landscapes excavated. Its site team was commended for their actions and how safely and professionally they dealt with the situation.
ABOUT E LITE LANDSCAPES Co-founded by Dave Twist in 1999, Elite Landscapes has quickly grown from a family business into a multi-million-pound company with over 300 site operatives and projects spanning across London, the South of England and the Midlands. Offering a full landscaping service to developers and main contractors, it prides itself on being able to deliver the complete package.
Soil and aggregate Sivyer www.hsivyer.com Paving Hardscape hardscape.co.uk Edging Kinley www.kinley.co.uk Street furniture Woodscape www.woodscape.co.uk Lighting Orlight www.orlight.com
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 51
PROJECT D E TA I L S Project value £20k Build time 4 weeks Size of project 180m2
SIMPLICITY ‘SERENITY’ GADSDEN GARDENS
he brief for this entertaining area was made clear from the offset: the clients wished for a garden which was modern, minimalistic and en vogue. Gadsden Gardens had several consultations with its clients which involved attentive material sampling, preferred colour palettes, discussing in depth their wishes and requirements, and viewing draft designs which Gadsden Gardens created using a 3D modular designing software.
WITH A PASSION FOR FASHION, THESE CLIENTS KNEW THEY WANTED A GARDEN WITH A STRONG SENSE OF STYLE WHICH THEY COULD SPEND MORE TIME ENJOYING THAN TENDING TO
52 Pro Landscaper / December 2021
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Design Once Gadsden Gardens had the skeleton of the project ready, it spent lots of time fine tuning the design, which included planting and lighting schemes, until the clients were fully satisfied with the proposed finish of their dream garden. Gadsden Gardens also discussed ways in which it could interlock the pergola at the corners and whether they wanted warm light or cool light within their lighting scheme. All these small details are what brings this project harmoniously together and Gadsden Gardens always considers these during the design phase of a project.
Build The project was to offer a relaxing space for the clients to enjoy whilst away from their busy lifestyles. Entertainment areas were a musthave, and to ensure the garden itself could host a party, all the raised beds were set at 600mm high to double up as seating areas. The bespoke water feature, crafted using London Stone’s Steel Corten design clad, effortlessly induced a sense of calm as the illuminated water flows into the softly lit trough below.
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Festoon lighting hung attractively along the pergola where the dining area was positioned, which introduced a sense of fun and quirkiness to the project and helps to lighten the dining table. Brick lights with a warm glow at ankle 1 2 3 4 5 6
Clean, simple design – perfect for entertaining Brick lights and illuminated bespoke water feature Spacious entertainment area Personal details added to suit the clients Fire pit adds practicality and style Festoon lighting and pergola
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 53
A B OU T G A DS D E N GA R D E N S Gadsden Gardens is a young, refined and meticulous garden design and build company based in Hampshire which was established in 2019. Experimenting with an ever-growing, diverse range of materials is what gives its projects stability, style and significance which has been recognised by its clients and is apparent in its portfolio.
REFERENCES Designer Mark Gadsden height brought the project to life and ensured the garden had enough light to entertain in the evenings. Composite decking was used around the fire pit to break up the garden and introduce another attractive, yet durable material.
Red cedar batons were installed, and the straight lines of this bespoke built venetian fencing really complemented the natural stone cladding. The planting schemes had hues of purples, whites and pinks, with a ‘less is more’ approach – while taking into account the local wildlife; they also brought a lovely fragrance to the garden which the clients could enjoy in the summer evenings. The key to this project was style and simplicity. The clients now have a standout garden which they can enjoy for years to come.
DURING THE BUILD
Adding granite as the coping stones for the fire pit and changing the colour of the composite decking used on the seating area added interest and flair to this organically developed project. Using London Stone’s mint sandstone cladding helped uplift and brighten the garden without causing a glare from the sunshine this garden was constantly bathed in.
Contractor Gadsden Gardens Natural stone cladding, Indian sandstone, sawn sandstone London Stone www.londonstone.co.uk Composite decking London Stone www.londonstone.co.uk Water feature design clad London Stone www.londonstone.co.uk Red cedar batons, porcelain and granite London Stone www.londonstone.co.uk
7 Design plan of garden from above 8 Design plan of seating and fire pit 9 View of garden from outdoor dining area
Artificial lawn Luxigraze www.luxigraze.co.uk Lights Saxby www.saxbylighting.com Water feature blade Oase www.oase-livingwater.com/en_EN Aggregates and building materials Travis Perkins www.travisperkins.co.uk Plants Architectural Plants www.architecturalplants.com Timber Champion Timber www.championtimber.com
54 Pro Landscaper / December 2021
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INSPIRE HUANGPU EAST BANK URBAN FOREST, SHANGHAI
LANDSCAPE A R C H I T EC T ’S
JOURNAL B HASSELL
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EXTENDING ACROSS NINE STUDIOS IN FOUR REGIONS , HASSELL HAS IN RECENT YEARS ESTABLISHED ITS UK BRANCH. WE SPEAK TO HEAD OF DESIGN FOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, ANGUS BRUCE, ABOUT WORKING ACROSS CONTINENTS AS WELL AS SOME OF THE COMPANY’S UPCOMING PROJECTS
ack in 1938, a small team of Australian architects had a big dream. Today, Hassell spans nine locations across the globe with numerous disciplines under its roof. From its origins in architecture, the practice has expanded to interior design, urban design and landscape architecture For Hassell, it’s projects which see these disciplines working in harmony that it feels it flourishes in: “That’s our sweet spot,” Angus Bruce, head of design for landscape architecture at Hassell tells us. “We work collaboratively in the same space using the same structure and processes, as well as apply the same design ethos and quality objectives for the clients’ and projects’ direct benefit. The efficiency that this provides allows us to put more time into the creative process, which is what we’re being engaged for.” For the landscape architecture team, it’s only around 40% of its projects which see them work together. The rest of its public realm, urban design and environmental work is undertaken for local governments, developers, or other architects. For Angus, it’s important that no matter which way the project is undertaken, that the team of landscape architects are world leading. “We want to ensure that we’re the best, full stop. Not simply because we also have interior design or architecture skills and experience. We aim to drive the quality of our landscape architecture offer so we can compete against straight landscape architecture firms in a peer-to-peer sense.” Though its offices are spread around the globe, Hassell works as one team – where other businesses may have a franchise version, Hassell is very much one firm with nine addresses, which means not competing against its own successes. “We work actively together – not just on paper. Technology has allowed us to borrow skills from across our studios, long before COVID-19, to ensure we always have the best team combinations for each project. There’s a core team
in each studio but they don’t have to reinvent the wheel, they can borrow the expertise and lessons learnt from our network of landscape architects working across all locations.” Its widespread offices also offer Hassell security: “In the early days of COVID-19 most countries slowed down, but China in particular rapidly found its feet. For us as a business, it meant we were able to – virtually – move our landscape architecture teams around to support China’s positive growth,” Angus explains. “It has proved beneficial time and again to be able to work as one team globally.” China remains an area with a high density of projects for Hassell. One such scheme along the waterfront of China’s most populated city, Shanghai, aims to create 25% more green space. Snaking along the Huangpu River, the project will see two million trees planted – one for each local child. Its commitment to children will extend to outdoor classrooms and libraries alongside sports facilities. “This project is heavily influenced by the need to change your approach as landscape architects, to be more aggressive and dynamic in the way we help the planet,” Angus says. “In China, flooding and ponds on pathways are all part of a holistic ‘sponge city’ approach to stormwater management. Celebrating the seasons is also a lot more in debate. Seasonal change is part of the beauty of plants, and it should be celebrated as it is across Europe.” As Jon Hazelwood, Hassell principal, writes in a recent Hassell post: “A patch of coastal heath in Sydney, Australia, reveals a stunning diversity of species that are structured, self-regenerating and in constant seasonal change. Species are mixed and layered together, not corralled into separate blocks of single species, planted at three square metres.” It’s work which Hassell is currently undertaking with Nigel Dunnett, as
they explore how they approach plant material as a medium. Nigel is quoted in the same piece, using the term ‘future nature’ to explain: “Instead of looking backwards to some pre-development or pristine pre-interference mode, we look forwards. We create natural systems that are going to work for us in the future, (instead of) two or three hundred years ago.” It’s all in the name of biodiversity, as many believe our current practice of planting needs to be updated if we’re to make changes to our current climate emergency.“
OUR OVERARCHING ETHOS OF MATTER IS DESIGNING PLACES PEOPLE LOVE In 2019, it joined a group of leading design practices to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency, pledging to respond with action. Since, it has produced over 100 sustainability rated projects, and it has got plenty more in the pipeline. South San Francisco has, over the years, become widely known as the Bay Area’s industrial city. But before this, visitors could swim in the bay and walk the length of the creek. Hassell aims to bring that back to life. Part of Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, this part of the project will make access to the creek and bay easier, reduce flooding impacts and return native flora and fauna, utilising community engagement and research. “That project has won numerous awards for its design-led thinking but it’s really about community-led improvement that is striving to make the city more resilient to future climate impacts,” explains Angus. “That doesn’t just mean ecologically rich or cleaner water, it’s also about using public realm spaces and green corridors as emergency refugee locations in storm events. The project layers up community education, social welfare
needs and the learning programme at schools with the knowledge of place, ecologies and natural systems.” Certainly, over the years, there’s one thing Hassell has kept since 1938 – social value. This is seen throughout its offices across the world, but also, importantly, throughout its projects. “Ultimately it’s not about the thing, it’s about the value for people,” Angus tells us. “Our overarching ethos of matter is designing places people love.” It’s a value that Hassell takes seriously and not one that it relinquishes once a project is complete. Through its post-occupancy evaluation work, Hassell can discover how many people are congested in a space, at which time, for what duration, and what users have engaged with. This is done through data gathering – analysing predominant hashtags, what people have taken images of, as well as tracking mobile phone movement. As well as aiding the project in question, this can then be taken to clients embarking on the start of a project, helping to inform them with evidence-based data. No doubt this will see the firm well in the coming years, as the firm establishes itself more in its somewhat newer locations, which includes the UK. One project we’ll no doubt be hearing more from in the coming years is Belfast’s Cathedral Gardens. Plans will see a more attractive, accessible, safe and vibrant city with a greener, walkable and connected core. We’re confident that Hassell will take it in its stride.
C O N TA C T Hassell (London), Level 1, 6-14 Underwood Street, London, N1 7JQ, United Kingdom Tel +44 20 7490 7669 Email email@example.com
RESILIENT SOUTH CITY, SAN FRANCISCO
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GARDEN DESIGN BY TOM HOWARD
COLOUR AND STYLING TRENDS
DEBS WINROW LOOKS AHE AD, TALKING THROUGH A FEW OF THE TRENDS SHE SEES COMING OUR WAY NE XT SE ASON
s 2021 draws to an end, hopefully your order books and design requests are still bulging at the seams as clients continue to discover their gardens are truly valuable spaces and can be enjoyed for more purposes than first thought. But what trends will we be seeing as we roll into 2022? Colour the way Outdoor colour palettes follow interior trends as rightly they should. With the Dulux Colour of the Year 2021, Brave Ground, leading us successfully back to earthy tones, we have seen more and more clients moving away from the cooler greys and whites and ordering our ranges in soft hues of almond and caramel. Kitchen designs can be a great place to grasp trends, and you’ll see softer tones, mixing of woods, and lots of textures being added. The depths of these comforting neutrals are great in both modern and traditional gardens and allows us to layer with the strength of classic black – seen in outdoor kitchens and mirroring the upsurge of black crittall windows and doors being the framework between inside and out. You can then layer with playful accent colours in planting, accessories, and details to bring out the personality of the client.
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DELIVITA PIZZA OVEN
MALUWI OUTDOOR CANOPY
With these softer colours on the investment pieces, we also see a love for wood shining through again – canopies with wooden walls, wooden roofs, softened with stools, planters and more. Try including wooden pieces with interesting grain details. Of course, white will stay strong in lots of schemes being classic, bold, and centre to a contemporary vibe so continue to include shades of white in planting, structures, and furniture. Styling these areas with cushions, throws, lamps and night lights adds magic. Gather round a fireplace Trying to extend the use of outdoor spaces throughout the year is key to a clever design and can often make clients feel they are getting a much better return on their investment. One way to achieve this is to introduce a fire pit or fireplace into the design. Fireplace walls are one of the most frequently desired requests coming through the design consultations this year, as clients see fabulous photos and posts of cosy warm outdoor spaces on many social media platforms. Some realistic outdoor living education should always be talked through with the client as they also may need to consider including shelters to protect them from the elements of wind and rain
whilst enjoying the flames of fire. Expectations to the amount of building work that these type of freestanding fireplaces may require also needs to be discussed early on, but the results can be highly desirable and worth the client’s budget being pushed to have them included. Meditation on the go Managing one’s fitness at home is also here to stay with clients requesting areas in the garden for yoga practice, hot tubs and saunas, and quiet contemplation places to reset after work. Everyone relaxes in different ways, so if your client is not a friend to fitness, they may need quiet spaces to enjoy a curl up and read, listen to their favourite tunes, or watch birds and wildlife come into the garden with them. Keep this in mind when asking how the garden is going to be used by family and friends. Consider quiet spaces to sit, add smooth surfaces underfoot encouraging barefoot living, factor in a water features, and consider vertical planting and contemporary fences to add privacy. Evening gardens Most of our clients are extremely busy people so rarely have the chance to enjoy their gardens
TOP TIP Add extra outdoor power points so additional lighting, heating, charging stations, and projectors can be added quickly
CORTEN STEEL FIRE BOWLS
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during daylight hours through the week unless they are fortunate enough to have adapted to home working. The solution: an evening garden. We predict the trend of outdoor kitchens and bars as focal design points will continue strongly into 2022. They will feature the best of gas and electric BBQs that heat instantly, strong lighting schemes and lots of storage so as soon as they get outdoors, clients can start relaxing and have very little set-up to do. Offer wood fired ovens so fun begins from the first beer being opened, and dinners can be simple and delicious or slow roasted. There are plenty of chefs offering cooking lessons for all types of outdoor cooking, so present this as part of the design package to ensure your clients can remain outside long into the evening.
ABOUT DEBS WINROW Debs Winrow, creative director of award-winning landscape company Garden House Design, is an avid trend spotter, responsible for seeking out the latest and best outdoor living products, and developing an expansive portfolio to offer to both consumers and fellow landscapers and designers.
CORTEN STEEL WATER FEATURE
RENSON CAMARGUE LOUVERED CANOPY
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# LOV E H O RT I C U LT U R E RICHARD AYLES S L AT E G R E Y D E S I G N
t the age of sixteen, I was looking for a career in which to take an apprenticeship. I was always, and still am, more of a practical person and wasn’t ever going to be suited to A Levels or university. I had always enjoyed helping my parents in the garden growing up, so when the offer of a horticultural apprenticeship came up, I decided to take it. I was going to be working on a 240-acre private estate in East Sussex whilst attending college one day a week for three years. I very much enjoyed my time working on the estate and gained a lot of knowledge from the other staff, most of which had worked on the estate for many years and very much used traditional techniques. Everything had to be kept to a very high standard. There were various glass houses used for propagation and a walled garden for fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. It was on the estate that my love for horticulture started. It’s now 20 years later and I have my own design and build company, but I still remember my time on the estate very well. Horticulture plays a vital role within the landscape industry and knowledge is key when designing and constructing gardens. However much hard landscaping is undertaken, a garden is never complete until the planting scheme is implemented, and it is a very rewarding time on any project. It also goes without saying how important it is for the environment, whether it’s planting perennials, trees, or creating meadow areas – all are so important for the world we live in, and it gives me much satisfaction when I return to projects to see them flourishing. There is much written about the health benefits of horticulture; it’s so beneficial for fitness, overall wellbeing, and mental health. Interestingly, gardening is used to great effect on people suffering with Parkinson’s. It also reduces stress levels – this must be why us landscapers, gardeners and designers are generally so happy!
HOWEVER MUCH HARD LANDSCAPING IS UNDERTAKEN, A GARDEN IS NEVER COMPLETE UNTIL THE PLANTING SCHEME IS IMPLEMENTED
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 # L O V E H O R T I C U LT U R E
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INSPIRE DESIGNED BY V A R A GARDEN DESIGN, THE REMEMBRANCE GARDEN AT RAINBOWS HOSPICE SHOWED WHAT CAN BE ACHIEVED WHEN PARTNERSHIPS SUCCEED
ommissioned by Greenfingers Charity, VaRa Garden Design undertook the extension and redesign of the Remembrance Garden at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People in Loughborough. Supporting nearly 400 families in the East Midlands with life-limited children and young people, staff at the hospice aim to help brighten short lives by encouraging them to create memories. The brief of this particular garden was to ensure its longevity for bereaved families and curate a space sensitive to existing plaques and individual memorials. Inspiration came from the individual care and ‘colourful’ attention which each family received within the hospice, as well as the achievements of Rainbows Hospice. VaRa Garden Design wanted to ensure the garden reflected this care and sensitivity by creating a familycentred space which was private and restful. So, paths guide visitors through the garden, while planting beds reflect the hues of the hospice’s rainbow interior and trees are incorporated to provide privacy. The collaboration began with VaRa Garden Design, the hospice and Greenfingers
T HE P RO L A N DSCA PER BUSINESS AWARDS 2021 WINNER PROFILE
VARA GARDEN DESIGN
INDUSTRY COLLABORATION SPONSORED BY HILLIER NURSERIES
Charity, but as the project developed, the team grew. Alfresco Landscaping Ltd responded incredibly sensitively to the project, ensuring that the project was delivered on time and to budget. This was helped significantly by the team reusing most materials on site, including stones from the old water feature – painstakingly reset as benches.
THE TEAM ULTIMATELY DELIVERED A WONDERFUL OUTCOME FOR THE HOSPICE AND THE CHARITY SHOWING HOW THE INDUSTRY CAN TRULY COME TOGETHER
REMEMBRANCE GARDEN AT RAINBOWS HOSPICE, LOUGHBOROUGH
Industry specialists and suppliers helped the team make the most of the hospice’s funds by supplying trees, plants and site conveniences. Primrose and Evergreen Garden Care even gifted the new water feature and compost. Collaboration grew further when Caltef Designs created a bespoke remembrance tree to hold personalised glass leaves
created in workshops with bereaved family members by local glassmaker Lynn Jackson, to help commemorate the child or young person that they had lost.
PERSONALISED GLASS LEAVES
Throughout the build process, the teams constantly discussed options for the garden, resulting in features even better than the original design – the tree position was optimised, seating materials reused and blended, and finished touches like bullnosing were featured. As VaRa Garden Design said: “This project has been a fantastic collaboration of like-minded professionals and individuals, who have dedicated their time and skills to creating this very special place. The team ultimately delivered a wonderful outcome for the hospice and the charity showing how the industry can truly come together with shared values, expertise, respect and care – this team was definitely stronger together.”
REGISTER YOUR INTEREST FOR THE PRO LANDSCAPER BUSINESS AWARDS 2022 AT: WWW.PROLANDSCAPERBUSINESSAWARDS.COM
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INSPIRE MULTI-AWARD-WINNING SUPPLIER GREEN-TECH TICKED ALL THE BOXES FOR JUDGES OF THIS CATEGORY
ver the last 27 years, Green-tech has gone from humble beginnings to being one of the most highly recognised and respected suppliers in the industry. It now boasts more than 16,000 products in its portfolio. What’s more, the Yorkshire-based supplier has been striving to offer more environmentally friendly products to its customers. It has been searching for viable alternatives to plastic and is offering credible choices of degradable tree shelters, including one which Green-tech helped to develop – the Bio-Earth Tree Shelter. Made from special waterproof cardboard, these are entirely biodegradable, recyclable and compostable.
T HE P RO L A N DSCA PER BUSINESS AWARDS 2021 WINNER PROFILE
SUPPLIER AND SERVICE PROVIDER, SPONSORED BY FUTURESCAPE
Recognising that plastic tree shelters are likely to remain a popular choice for a while, Green-tech has been working with manufacturer Tubex to launch the Tree Shelter Collection and Recycling Programme, the first of its kind in the UK which allows for a cost-effective and responsible disposal of plastic tree shelters. Green-tech aims to broaden its range of plastic alternatives beyond tree protection products, and business development director Mark Wood is now heading up a sustainability working group at the company. Green-tech’s approach to sustainability is just one of the reasons it topped the Supplier and Service Provider category. SKELTON LAKES
Green-tech’s commitment to customer service is showcased in its 2020 customer survey, which saw 99% of respondents saying they would recommend Green-tech and 99% believe it is an honest and reliable company.
One of its biggest clients is green service provider Ground Control, for which Green-tech has been the dedicated chemical supplier since 2016. Speaking of its relationship with Green-tech, a Ground Control spokesperson said: “They have added a great deal to our business, and I am thrilled that they have been able to grow their own at the same time.”
JUDGES CALLED GREEN-TECH “A FORWARD-THINKING COMPANY DEDICATED TO THE LANDSCAPE INDUSTRY” To ensure it not only retains clients but also its employees, Green-tech invests heavily in staff training and development. Each member of staff has a Personal Development Plan which is reviewed annually. It has also embraced the government’s apprenticeship scheme since 2017, with a 75% retention rate. One apprentice was offered a permanent position in marketing and, after showing an interest in developing her design skills, was enrolled on a professional design course. She can now undertake work Green-tech would have previously outsourced, and is now studying for a digital marketing degree.
Green-tech also offers training to clients, such as onsite guidance to aid the installation of its products and eight CPD seminars are available for landscape architects, designers and specifiers. Judges called Green-tech “ SWEET STREET ROOF GARDEN
a forward-thinking company dedicated to the landscape industry”, a point demonstrated through its training but also through its links to trade associations. It is an affiliate member of BALI and has been headline sponsor of the associations’ awards for the last seven years. Sales director Richard Gill is vice chairman of BALI’s Yorkshire and North East regional committee, whilst Green-tech’s chairman Richard Kay has been chairman of the BALI board of directors for more than a year. Mark Wood sits on the Green Roof Organisation committee too, and Green-tech is a proud headline sponsor of Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation awards. Striving for sustainability, staff and client retention, and to make a difference, Green-tech is an exemplar of a supplier.
REGISTER YOUR INTEREST FOR THE PRO LANDSCAPER BUSINESS AWARDS 2022 AT: WWW.PROLANDSCAPERBUSINESSAWARDS.COM
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See you next year 15 - 16 November 2022 ExCeL London www.futurescapeevent.com FutureScape Thanks PL.indd 1
DESIGNING WITH WATER
ADDING WATER TO YOUR PROJECT
SUPPLIERS SHARE THEIR TOP TIPS FOR INTEGRATING WATER INTO DESIGNS
FORAS LTD TOP TIP
Belmont Layered Slate
POA Suitable for all settings, our layered slate water features work in conjunction with traditional exuberant planting and when juxtaposed with sleek modernist paving. A true investment piece, built to last a lifetime, stone can be heavy and consideration must be given to the intended location of the feature. Though our layered slate pieces require little maintenance, we recommend treating the water to keep it pure. www.foras.co.uk
DAVID HARBER Chalice £28,200 inc. VAT
Chalice is an excellent option for those working with a compact garden. Its highly reflective exterior mirrors its surrounding environment, creating the feeling of space and light. The beauty of Chalice is the calming sound of water that runs over the surface of this piece, which carries a zen-like serenity to it no matter how large or small the space. www.davidharber.co.uk
AQUAVEIL® TOP TIP
WELSH SLATE WATER FEATURES TOP TIP
Pyramid Slate Water Feature £775.00
Material choice Using slate water features is a perfect way to create a focal point in both modern and traditional gardens. The natural blues, purples and greys of the stone are enhanced by a constant stream across its surface. www.welshslatewaterfeatures.co.uk
Adding water to a project can seem daunting, but the results you can achieve make it worthwhile and OASE can help. It is not about how much space you have; it’s about resourcefulness and a desire for design. Moving water entices and delights and can provide a relaxing environment to all those who encounter it. If there’s only a small space available, it’s worth looking at small self-contained features such as a run of wall spouts.
AquaVeil® Water Wall £5,500 + VAT
Go bespoke Bespoke water features interact with garden designs, whilst off the shelf pieces can tend to sit awkwardly in the garden, and after all a water feature deserves investment as it’s a focal point in any garden design.
If you have a larger body of water, then think about creating an arresting display using the OASE PondJet floating fountain set. Something else to consider is the use of light. By adding lighting to water, the display is able to come alive at night. Depending on the nature of the display, lights can be programmed to dance along with water jets. Speak to OASE to add water to your project today: firstname.lastname@example.org www.social.oase.com/oasefeature
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Header image ©Oase
Get a specialist As water features specialists, we have investigated issues in the past and they are nearly always designed wrong from the ground up and sadly require replacing. www.aquaveil.co.uk
Material: Glass reinforced plastic (GRP) The physical properties of glass reinforced plastic (GRP) allow it to be easily tooled and manufactured, with no limits on size, shape or finish, giving designers creative freedom to run wild with their imagination. Large projects can be made out of GRP simply by thickening the planter walls to ensure strength. Longevity is another GRP benefit; Europlanters guarantees its GRP products for 10 years, although it is confident GRP will last much longer than this. GRP is a popular choice for planters as it is lightweight, corrosion and rot resistant and robust. Planter Hebden Price (including VAT): £189.60
Material: Powder coated steel Planters in powder coated steel have a sleek and contemporary look, and designers can take advantage of the huge range of colours. They are a cost-effective choice, particularly in large sizes, but perhaps the most significant advantage of the material is that bespoke manufacture is practical even for small schemes. Planter Steel Square Planter Price (including VAT): from £550 WWW.IOTAGARDEN.COM
M AT E R I A L M AT T E R S WITH A VAST RANGE OF MATERIALS AVAILABLE FOR PLANTERS, WE DELVE INTO THE BENEFITS OF A SELECT FEW
ARTHUR JACK & CO
Material: Galvanised steel All Arthur Jack planters are made from heavy gauge galvanised steel finished with a special treatment to give them an aged patina. Using hot dipped galvanised steel ensures the planters are made to last, are frost-proof and are of high-quality construction. Planter Large Planter Price (including VAT): £335
Material: EcoCrete The benefits of the material – which was designed by Torc – are that it is 100% waterproof and therefore frost-proof, extremely durable and should last a lifetime which makes it very environmentally friendly as it will not need replacing after a few years. All of Torc Pots’ planters can be used as water features. Planter Asa Price (including VAT): from £1,083.60
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overing 3,500 acres of rolling Cotswold countryside, the Sezincote estate and gardens were crafted to replicate a Thomas Daniell painting. Its 200-yearold Mogul Indian palace is evidence enough that this was achieved, but its landscape of temples, grottoes, waterfalls and far-reaching views frame the scene. The house was Colonel John Cockerell’s vision but when he died in 1798, the estate passed to his brother Charles, and it was down to him to pick up the project. It was his brother Samuel who designed and built the Indian house in the Mogul style of Rajasthan – said to have inspired the Royal Pavilion in Brighton after the Prince Regent visited in 1807. Samuel was heavily assisted by Thomas Daniell who had 10-years’ worth of aquatints, watercolours and oils of Indian buildings and landscapes. Together, with the help of Humphrey Repton, they created the house and garden in harmony with one another. “As you move around the garden, views are managed with incredible care. You approach the house obliquely because he theorised angles were more interesting than seeing it front on," explains Edward, Sezincote’s current owner. “The garden has elements of a Thomas Daniell design with roots in a quite sensitive understanding of Hindu spirituality. That was sort of remarkable for the time,” he reflects.
F E AT U R E GARDEN SEZINCOTE
AFTER 200 YEARS, IT STILL HAS A SPIRITUAL FEEL HERE
“After 200 years, it still has a spiritual feel here – a lot of visitors tell us they too feel its spirituality,” current head gardener Greg Power also tells us. A significant part of this has to do with the garden’s spring-fed stream. In India, it is believed as the Ganges flows down from the Himalayas it blesses the whole of India. At Sezincote, a spring at the top of the garden mirrors this, travelling via streams throughout the garden. At one point, it flows under a temple and out through the lingam, down into the yoni, or pool. “You could say this is doing for England what the Ganges does for India,” says Edward. “It’s a dimension which they were very inspired by, so
WE SPEAK TO EDWARD PEAKE, SEZINCOTE’S CURRENT OWNER, AND HEAD GARDENER GREG POWER ABOUT THIS INDIA-INSPIRED ESCAPE AND HOW IT'S CHANGING WITH THE TIMES
1 South front with Orangery ©Julian Civiero 2 Temple to Surya ©Julian Civiero
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they’ve made a huge elaboration of streams with seven pools in total.” This stream also leads under the bridge which while on top of it may look relatively standard, but when underneath resembles a pavilion. The planting, though, is a little more modern. Neglected during World War Two, the garden was restored in the 50s and 60s by Sir Cyril and Lady Kleinwort who were advised by Graham Stuart Thomas. It was his influence that saw the streams and pools ornamented with fringing borders with sinuous outlines and perennial plantings of typically Graham Thomas plants like hostas and astilbes. “Sezincote has the same palette of plants Graham Stuart Thomas uses everywhere, which are easy to maintain because they come back year after year,” Edward tells us. “Sezincote is not a flower garden. It’s a naturalistic garden based around the stream that runs down the ravine,” he further explains. Over the years, this had got lost to overwhelmingly large Hostas, though. So much so, that the stream could no longer be enjoyed. “We’ve pinched them right back so you can actually get to the stream, hear the noise, and have a picnic by its bank.” Opening up the stream also brought to light wild Primula vulgaris and Primula Candelabra hybrids. Without flowers, Sezincote’s trees become even more important, providing structure and colour. Cedrus libani and the bluer Cedrus
SEZINCOTE IS NOT A FLOWER GARDEN. IT’S A NATURALISTIC GARDEN BASED AROUND THE STREAM THAT RUNS DOWN THE RAVINE
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atlantica decorate parts of the garden, and though his grandfather had trouble successfully growing Cedrus libani, it’s this species that Edward prefers. They have hopes that as time has gone on, the quality of stock will have improved so the darker green cedar can flourish – which they feel is more in harmony with the spirit of the garden. Elsewhere, a weeping birch was one of Edward’s grandfather’s favourites. Perhaps the most unusual tree within the garden’s grounds is a weeping hornbeam. It’s a Champion Tree and the oldest in the country, but that’s not what makes it unique. The branches bend, almost in half, and though there were theories it was deliberately grown this way – by hanging weights within the tree – it’s actually a genetic mutation which Sezincote has thus far not been able to recreate. One Graham Stuart Thomas addition which has stood the test of time provides a striking contrast – the Mughal paradise garden. Prior to the 60s, the space had been a traditional rose garden. But Graham Stuart Thomas took these out, adding canals and pathways, flanked by avenues of trees and now framed from the top of the stairs by two elephant statues – formal in comparison to the garden’s wild and relaxed look. Although the trees within a garden such as this would be traditionally cypress, being emblematic of immortality, these aren’t suited to
the UK’s climate and as such the garden has used Irish yews instead. In order to give these trees the shape of a cypress tree, Greg has to elaborately maintain them. “To maintain them, we unwire the trees, take them apart and remove cuttings from the inside of the tree, shrink wrap them and then wire them back up again,” Greg explains. “If you clip them from the outside, they just bush out more and more, so you have to cut from the inside and put them back together again.” “Of course, with global warming we might be able to have the real thing one day,” Edward adds. “Batsford Arboretum nearby has a large cypress which has done extremely well. It was grown from a sprig which fell from the Duke of Wellington’s funeral wreath.” With Sezincote being an Indian inspired garden, you may expect its plants to originate from India. But, in fact, Sezincote’s exotic look is achieved with Chinese plants. Trachycarpus fortunei, the Chinese windmill palm, grows stout and solitary with a fan of dark leaves; Sorbus hupehensis 'Pink Pagoda' a mountain ash tree provides coppery-orange autumn colour which changes to pink berries in the winter. Of course, plants within the garden originate from all over the world, not just China. Aralia elata 'Argenteo Marginata' – stands at 6m with sharp spines on its stems and leaf stalks. Its club-like
branches form a canopy while white flowers followed by dark purple fruit decorate it in the summer. Cotinus coggygria 'Atropurpurea', the smoke bush, grows in several places and earns its name due to large plumes of small flowers resembling smoke. Elsewhere, Himalayan Musk – a species of rose – engulfs a yew tree creating a spectacular display towards the end of June. It’s not all sunshine and Himalayan Musk roses, though. Ash Dieback is a widespread problem. But the biggest issue by far is honey fungus, and there’s not much the team can do to solve it. This fungus attacks and kills the roots of woody plants and decays the dead wood. The RHS states it is the most destructive fungal disease in UK gardens. “It’s the largest living organism on Earth. Here, as soon as a tree is old, very young or damaged, the mycelium gets into the roots and sets off a very slow process of dying,” explains Edward. “It takes about 20 years for the tree to die,” Greg adds. “All we can do is dig out infected trees, down to about six feet of soil – though if there’s one tiny bit of mycelium left it will still spread – or put them in sheltering systems. But that’s expensive and if they are steel shuttered, top roots are confined; it’s almost like they’re in a giant pot. We’re tackling it by replanting as well as putting in more meadows around our trees so there’s less chance of them getting damaged by a lawn mower or strimmer.”
Recently, Greg and his team removed a large weeping hornbeam and though they did so due to its distinct lack of weeping and its damaging lean, doing so opened up an enjoyable view from all angles. Now from the site of its removal, visitors can appreciate an Acer palmatum and Ginkgo biloba and flowering cherry trees, and from its Indian bridge adorned with Brahmin bulls, there is a view to its weeping beech. Greg intends to continue to do a smaller tree scape in this space moving forward. Elsewhere, Greg has his sights set on Sezincote’s spotted laurel. "We are gradually replacing blocks of spotted laurel with Portuguese laurel, Osmanthus, and Viburnum tinus, while introducing more grass and woody
IT'S DESIGNED AS A PARADISE GARDEN, AND A PARADISE GARDEN SHOULD BE SOMEWHERE THAT ANIMALS AND HUMANS CAN LIVE IN HARMONY materials into the garden," he tells us. "I love the movement of grass, and we only have two at the moment. I want to introduce drifts of seed heads as well as more mixed shrubs – which is good for us as we’re not cutting everything down. Gardens should move on with the future.” Number one on Greg’s list of changes, though, remains making the garden organic. Indeed, a large part of Sezincote’s beauty is down to the wildlife that inhabit it. “It's designed as a paradise garden, and a paradise garden should be somewhere where animals and humans live in harmony,” Edward argues. “In my mother’s generation deadheading was important – you did not leave seed heads; it was seen as untidy. What would have offended your eye 20 years ago no longer does,” he continues. Greg adds: “We leave seed heads which attracts an amazing collection of birds in the autumn.” Armed with of Graham Stuart Thomas’ list of plants that rabbits aren’t likely to eat, as well as Greg’s own list of plants muntjac deer won’t eat, the garden also avoids the use of poison. After all, the garden may look like a painting, but its wildlife helps bring Sezincote to life. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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Snake Pool Rodgersia podophylla Verbena bonariensis Rock Pool ©Julian Civiero Lower Thornery Indian Bridge ©Julian Civiero Paradise garden framed by elephants
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 71
WHILST AIMING FOR CARBON NEUTRALITY IS ADMIRABLE, WE NEED TO BE GOING BEYOND THIS, SAYS LEWIS NORMAND
e have been inundated with articles and media comment recently (I am writing this before the COP26) with the concept of net zero and carbon neutrality. The UK government has finally announced its strategy on how they plan to make the country achieve net zero, decarbonising our economy and growth by 2050. It's hard to decry a plan like this, albeit easy to argue that it has taken far too long to make any headway in achieving it. The landscape industry is and will be a significant part in our journey to carbon neutrality, through tree planting and ‘green bounce back’, where value and contribution to our wider environment will form a core tenet in creating green jobs and the greening of existing jobs and work practices. The Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group has lobbied the government to better recognise and support horticulture for our contribution to be fully realisable – we will see if they do make these necessary investments in the industry. The Woodland Trust has started a media campaign to encourage tree planting by individuals on the terms that any tree we plant makes a difference. While it is somewhat of an oversimplification to say that planting any tree will help us in the future, the basic idea is sound. More tree planting by the governments of the world is essential, along with stopping the destruction of unmanaged and unmanageable forests. More tree planting need not be the preserve of the government, however; we can all plant trees and if we don’t have space, we
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can donate trees to offset our own carbon production. It is important that we also plant trees that are appropriate not for now, but for our changing climate. As an interesting aside, the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association has just launched an elm replanting scheme called Elms4London, which will seek to plant thousands of elm trees
WE NEED OUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES TO BE ‘CARBON POSITIVE’ TO HAVE ANY CHANCE OF IMPROVING THE PLANET’S SEEMINGLY INEXORABLE DECLINE to reintroduce the genus back into London’s 45,000 acres of parkland. This very specific approach may not be able to combat changes to climate on its own, but will introduce a native plant back into an environment where it can hopefully respond well to those changes. I am delighted to see an embracing of tree planting and planting in general, improving our air, removing some carbon from the atmosphere and improving the aesthetic of the landscape, but it isn’t enough. A company from Iceland (Carbfix) and a Swiss company (Climeworks) have teamed up in Iceland to build a ‘Direct Air Carbon Capture Facility’ called the Orca Plant, which uses Iceland’s geothermal
heat to power the plant as it captures carbon particles in the atmosphere, then stores them in water which it pushes down into the basalt bedrock beneath the plant. The facility is capable of extracting and storing some 10 metric tonnes of CO2 a day. Unfortunately, as a planet, we produce 35 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. As the facility says, they are not the answer, but they are an answer to the problem. The trouble with our fixation over carbon neutrality/net zero is that it only achieves one thing; its purpose is to balance the carbon we create with the amount we offset in the future. It doesn't account for the previous centuries that we have had a carbon imbalance, including the vast growth in atmospheric greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution. It doesn’t even take into account the imbalances we will make between now and 2050 when we reach neutrality. Put short, net zero is not enough. We need our personal and professional practices to be ‘carbon positive’ to have any chance of improving the planet’s seemingly inexorable decline. In other words, we need to extract more carbon than we contribute. It’s tough to hear, but that’s the reality. In a sense, we’re paying lip service to a massive problem. We’re pushing back a timeframe that only exists because we need time to improve our green credentials. The issue is already here and has been for decades.
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.
H U R DLES NICK COSLETT QUESTIONS HOW UK HORTICULTURE CAN UNLOCK ITS POTENTIAL WITH SO MANY CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME
n 2018 the value of UK horticulture and landscaping to the UK economy was calculated as £24bn a year, delivering a tax benefit of more than £5bn a year. The Ornamental Horticulture Round Table chaired by the RHS has just repeated this study by Oxford Economics and it values the potential of our market’s contribution to the UK economy as £42bn in the year 2030. This represents a significant growth and potential benefit to the UK economy and employment. However, there are hurdles to overcome to achieve this growth and I wonder if the industry can unlock this potential by itself. For example, with regard to horticultural nurseries growing for the amenity horticulture market, we don’t grow enough here in the UK, and we need to import some 60 to 70% to meet demand. What is concerning is that the hurdles placed on plant imports by government are burdensome and impractical and costly in fees, time delays and risk. EU exporters may find these just too painful when their own EU market is expanding and is easier to serve. So, they may become more reluctant to export to UK and price accordingly. We know that UK nurseries will need to grow many, many more trees to meet future promises of tree planting made by Government, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust for starters. The current capacity of UK nurseries to
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deliver this is restricted. For nurseries to expand their production, offset imports and meet the future demands for tree and other planting, they will need: • More land. • Extraction licences for irrigation water. • Skilled staff to grow this plant stock. • Planning permission and most likely environmental impact assessments to grant planning permission, if they want to erect protected cropping areas such as glasshouses. • Funding to invest in expansion of production capacity. • Government encouragement through financial grants or loans or tax breaks, plus red tape reductions.
WE WILL NEED OUR LEGISLATORS TO BE FULLY AWARE AND SUPPORTIVE OF OUR INDUSTRY WHICH BRINGS SO MANY BENEFITS TO THE UK POPULATION So, there are bureaucratic hurdles to overcome, because extraction licences are not easy to obtain, let alone planning permission. Furthermore, investment funding has to be found before we even start training and recruiting the skilled staff needed. Therefore, we need a campaign to
make government understand and make applications for extraction reasonable and planning permissions practical, let alone get horticulture into schools. Getting financial incentives may be difficult too, but import reduction is very attractive to Gov.uk. We also need support in career pathways and development because as we know horticulture and landscape hasn't been seen as a ‘go-to career path’. This is starting to sound like pushing a boulder uphill! But we have to grasp this nettle, rattle the cage and get in position to ‘build back greener and better for the future’. Our industry is too fragmented to make an instant impact but combined we can. The Ornamental Horticulture Round Table attempts to bring the fragments together, even if some have suggested that it’s "like herding cats"! But they do have a logical plan to unlock green growth. We will need our legislators to be fully aware and supportive of our industry which brings so many benefits to the UK population. So, what can you do? This is a call for action by all of us to enlighten our MPs and elected bodies and support and encourage your trade representatives to lobby government, even if they need to put up their subscriptions to fund policy lobbying staff. You can find where to write here: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/ contact-an-mp-or-lord/contact-your-mp
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.
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 73
INNOVATIVE IRRIGATION W
RAIN BIRD IRRIGATION PRODUCTS RECENTLY MADE A BIG DIFFERENCE TO A GARDEN IN OXFORDSHIRE
hen Ian France decided to landscape the rear garden of his property in Lower Shiplake, he called upon the services of local designer and contractor Grepne Landscaping. One of the major requirements of the project was the installation of a fully automatic irrigation system to protect the investment in plants and shrubs by ensuring they would receive exactly the correct amount of water whatever the weather. CHECKING SPRINKLERS
Tom Grepne and Ian worked closely to create the new garden based on Ian’s initial design and IRRIGATION Tom’s experience in plant selection and landscaping. It features a central lawn and flower beds stocked with perennials, shrubs and climbing border plants. There is a wildflower area, an array of pots and planters as well as a composite decked area with a pergola. At the far end, an existing 60ft flowering cherry tree has been incorporated which blossoms spectacularly, but its root system absorbs huge amounts of water from the lawn and adjacent areas. This had to be addressed in the irrigation solution. Aware of the reputation for quality and longevity of Rain Bird irrigation products, site visits were arranged with Tom and Richard Jones of Rigby Taylor, Rain Bird UK distributor. The proposed solution featured multiple irrigation zones, each with its own solenoid valve, to provide irrigation for separate areas of the garden with differing watering requirements.
Pro Landscaper / December 2021
The Rain Bird ESP-RZXe was selected as the irrigation controller and chosen for its flexible scheduling capabilities, ease of set-up and use. Zone based scheduling allows each valve to be scheduled independently with the LCD graphic display showing all the programming for each zone simultaneously. Rigby Taylor conducted flow tests and set up the programs on the controller which has been conveniently wall mounted in the garage. Irrigation is set for early each morning to prevent any evaporation during the course of the day. With the Rain Bird LNK Wi-Fi communication module installed, the ESP-RZXe links to both a rain sensor and the Rain Bird app on Ian’s phone. The rain sensor ensures unnecessary irrigation is prevented whilst the app gives Ian the convenience of overriding pre-set programs to make weather-based adjustments and stop/ start irrigation remotely. For Tom Grepne, this was his first venture into the design and installation of an automatic irrigation system. “It initially seemed daunting, but the assistance that Rigby Taylor provided in specifying the correct Rain Bird products and setting up the irrigation programming was first class. Zoning the CONTROLLER SETUP
irrigation meant it was not a straightforward project but having successfully installed this job, I would not hesitate in recommending automated irrigation to my customers. The benefits are immense in terms of water conservation and protecting investment in new landscapes with only the minimum amount of water.” Rigby Taylor’s experience was key to the specification of the correct irrigation products
THE BENEFITS ARE IMMENSE IN TERMS OF WATER CONSERVATION AND PROTECTING INVESTMENT IN NEW LANDSCAPES for the different zones including the lawn and wildflower area where the flowering cherry’s root system has a major impact. Careful calculation of the precipitation rates and throw distance of sprinklers has ensured complete and uniform coverage. Rain Bird R-Van adjustable rotary nozzles with variable arc have been selected with 1800 Series Pop-Up sprinklers of different body heights to give complete coverage. XFD Surface Dripline has been installed around the borders to provide irrigation exactly where it is needed. Its flexibility and resistance to UV and other potential damage were key to its specification. A pressure regulator has been included to ensure the dripline is protected from fluctuations in water pressure. Ian France comments: “The whole job was project managed excellently by Grepne Landscaping and the input from Rigby Taylor was invaluable in helping us to get exactly what we wanted from our investment.”
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GREEN OUR PLANET GREENBLUE URBAN’S EFFORTS TO REDUCE ITS OWN CARBON FOOTPRINT HAS LED TO THE COMPANY LAUNCHING A NEW ENVIRONMENTALLY FOCUSED CAMPAIGN
ree planting has become the foundation of many environmental campaigns in recent years. The call to plant trees is everywhere, seen as a simple and effective way to help reduce the impact of carbon emissions and restore natural ecosystems. Managing our urban forests to help them retain and, more importantly, increase their carbon storage potential and can maximise the ability of trees to mitigate climate change. We must recognise the value of this benefit by providing for our urban tree populations, implementing urban tree planting best practices, and avoiding urban and rural deforestation wherever possible. A government cash boost in April 2021 of £6m will see 44,000 trees planted in our towns and cities between 2021-2023. These will support areas to improve health and wellbeing and help connect people to the outdoors.
If trees are to play a part in carbon reduction strategies, a lot needs to happen quickly. GreenBlue can help with urban planning to ensure they reach maturity and offer the extent of their benefits. As part of the company’s #Greenourplanet campaign, GreenBlue will look at the mitigation and adaptation measures being taken in order to prevent and reduce the impacts being caused globally, including the COP26 commitment to keeping global temperatures well below the pre-industrial times. GreenBlue Urban has long concentrated on UK manufactured products – this forethought means that shipping delays have little effect on the company, as well as reduces the carbon footprint of the business. By manufacturing the range of products from 100% recycled materials, GreenBlue Urban is supporting the circular economy – rather than disposing of end of use plastics in landfill or by incineration,
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Pro Landscaper / December 2021
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it uses this recycled polymer to assist trees to grow and sequester the carbon produced by the manufacture of the original material. We have also launched the RootSpace Ocean, manufactured from reclaimed marine waste, further reducing the impact on the environment.
IF TREES ARE TO PLAY A PART IN CARBON REDUCTION STRATEGIES, A LOT NEEDS TO HAPPEN QUICKLY Discover more on the following efforts that GBU is making in order to reduce its carbon footprint and support the UK government’s initiative to become carbon net zero by 2050: • Assistance in evaluating project plans and tree pit designs. • Guidance on best practice planting methods. • Quality service, specifications and detailed “nothing hidden” costs. • On-site support on planting. • ArborAdvance, maintenance guarantee for the health of a tree for a minimum of 15 years. Visit our website www.greenblue.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Stourton Park & Ride is the UK’s first fully solar powered Park & Ride facility on the outskirts of Leeds. Designed by Mott Macdonald in partnership with main contractor BAM Nuttall, it heralds in a new era of clean, green public transport. Green-tech supplied a wide range of landscaping products for the central and perimeter areas. On the more exposed trees, Green-tech DropMan anchors were used to hold the trees stable without the risk of soil contamination from sleepers or kerb stones. WWW.GREEN-TECH.CO.UK
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Multi-award-winning designer Sarah Price was inspired by the atmosphere of the New Forest when she designed Maggie’s Centre. All of the trees, rootball and container grown, were expertly planted using the Platipus® Rootball Fixing System with Plati-Mat. The incredible centre was built to support anyone living with cancer to help them, their family and friends whilst visiting, to relax and to try to help them forget the stress in their lives and soak up the beauty of their surroundings. WWW.PLATIPUS-ANCHORS.COM
GREENBLUE URBAN ARBORGUY™ ANCHORPLATE™ TREE ANCHORING SYSTEM • Completely invisible method of tree guying • Wide webbing strap will not cut into the rootball • Low profile anchor plate easy to position • Complete package included, no tools required
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Selfridges, London One of GreenBlue Urban’s more prestigious projects included a bespoke tree pit design to deliver the clients exacting specifications and objectives within a highly challenging below ground environment. The ArborGuy™ AnchorPlate™ tree anchoring system was chosen for its flexibility and ease of installation due to the complex array of services and ductwork running through the tree pit. The low-profile plate system eliminated extra digging and installation processes required by other deadman anchor systems. WWW.GREENBLUE.COM/GB
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FLOWER P OW E R
NURTURE GERMINAL TALK US THROUGH ITS WILDFLOWER SEED MIX IDEAL FOR HEAVY CLAY SOIL, WHILE JOHN CHAMBERS WILDFLOWER SEED EXPLORES ON OF ITS PROJECTS WHICH CALLED FOR A STUNNING DISPLAY OF FLOWERS
GERMINAL WFG6 HEAVY CLAY SOIL Species: Pastinaca sativa, Lychnis flos-cuculi, Leucanthemum vulgare, Heliopsis helianthoides, Plantago lanceolata (ribwort plantain) This mixture of UK native wildflower species and selected non-native species, coupled with accompanying grasses that tolerate heavy clay soils, provides floral interest from late April to September and creates a great habitat for invertebrates – which in turn provides food for birds and mammals. The broad flowering period and correlated benefit to wildlife is ensured through the species selection. Early-flowering species such as ribwort plantain provide nectar for pollinators, especially bees and hoverflies in the spring, while summer flowering species such as wild parsnip are visited by bees and a host of insects when in flower, as well as birds when seeding later in the summer and into autumn. www.germinal.com
Wildflower project focus JOHN CHAMBERS WILDFLOWER SEED WICK CAMPUS, SCOTLAND A new £48m Wick Campus project, part of the Scottish Government's ‘Scotland’s Schools for the Future' programme, was commissioned back in 2018. The 17,500m2 campus replaced the previous Wick High School and consolidated a number of existing primary schools and several community resources into one community facility. Landscaping company Ashlea Limited undertook the soft landscaping which included wildflower seeding around the extensive grounds of Wick Campus.
Creation The area was landscaped from scratch, utilising best practice methods to prepare the soil prior to sowing the bespoke wildflower seed. Stuart Simpson, a director of Ashlea Limited, commented: “We first seeded in May 2018 during the very dry period we experienced that summer, but the establishment of the flowering lawn was excellent; one of the best we have ever seen.” Wildflowers used Over 300kg of native John Chambers Wildflower was supplied. It was a bespoke Flowering Lawn mix including annuals for first year flowering, while the perennial wildflowers in the mix were getting established. The wildflowers chosen gave a stunning display that was enjoyed by all facility users and attracted a diversity of wildlife. www.johnchamberswildflowers.co.uk
Pro Landscaper / December 2021 79
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TAKING ON NEW STAFF CAN SEEM A BIG STEP FOR A SMALL BUSINESS. HERE, TRADES COACH ALISON WARNER GIVES HER TOP TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID THE PITFALLS
Here are the common questions I am asked and my best advice: What process should I have in place to hire someone? The key thing is to cast the net wide with a compelling job advert and place it on job boards, social media, and spread the word locally. Start by telephone interviewing your top 10. This will save you a lot of time and will tell you a lot about someone’s attitude. It should only take 10 to 15 minutes per candidate. Next select your top three, and invite them in for a face to face interview. If applicable, include a practical assessment to assess the quality of their work.
What should I include in a job advertisement? Always include the salary and clearly state the skills, qualifications and experience needed without specifiying the number of years required, which could you leave you at risk from age discrimination. Also include what is different about your company. Do you provide
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START BY TELEPHONE INTERVIEWING YOUR TOP 10. THIS WILL SAVE YOU A LOT OF TIME AND WILL TELL YOU A LOT ABOUT SOMEONE’S ATTITUDE
a training programme, company van or other benefits? Remember, good people will assess what you are like as an employer as much as you are assessing them. How long will it take? The quick answer is, as long as it takes! Typically, good trades take longer to find, for example, than office positions. The economic climate will also have an effect. My best piece of advice is to only hire someone you don’t have any doubts about, keep going until you find the person who really impresses you. What should I look out for? Gaps between jobs on their CV – this could be innocent, but equally a red flag. Explore this at the telephone interview stage and ask them about their reason for leaving. Check how long they have stayed in jobs for which will point to their suitability. Lastly, check if their skills, experience and qualifications match what you are looking for. What questions should I ask? At the final interview stage you should ask candidates behavioural questions.
These ask individuals for examples of situations they have been in, what they did and the outcome. For example, can you tell me about a time you solved a problem on a job or dealt with an unhappy customer? The reason for this is that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. Remember, if you need a second opinion, you could also ask a HR consultant or small business contact to join the interview. 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, a business coaching firm that specialises in the trades and construction industry. She is also the author of bestselling book ‘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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COME RAIN OR SHINE JASON MCKENZIE AND RANDIP RAI OF ORACLE SOLICITORS BUST THE MYTHS AROUND WORKING IN EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS
his article will explore the rights and obligations of both employers and employees if they are unable to travel to work because of the weather; and if there are requirements for employers when employees are working indoors and outdoors. Minimum and maximum temperatures Currently, there is no law for minimum or maximum working temperatures. This is applicable whether it is ‘too cold’ or ‘too hot’ to work. However, Government guidance explains that during working hours the temperature in all indoor workplaces must be reasonable. Government guidance also suggests a minimum of 16ºC or 13ºC if employees are doing physical work. Again, there is no guidance specifying a maximum temperature limit. Employers should ensure they adhere to health and safety at work law. This includes: • keeping the temperature at a comfortable level • providing clean and fresh air. If an employee is not comfortable with the workplace temperature, they should inform their employer. Employers should consider including a workplace temperature policy within the staff handbook or manual, so it is clear what should be done in such an event. In relation to outdoor working, the Health & Safety Executive has advised that the most effective ways of manging cold environments are to implement administrative controls.
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These may consist of: • ensuring the personal protective equipment issued is appropriate • providing mobile facilities for warming up, and encourage the drinking of warm fluids such as soup or hot drinks • allowing for frequent rest breaks • educating workers about recognising the early symptoms of cold stress • Conducting risk assessments. This would need to include consideration of personal factors, i.e. body activity, clothing, duration of exposure; and environmental factors, such as ambient temperature, radiant heat, sunlight, wind velocity, rain or snow. Adverse weather and travel disruption If an employee is unable to travel to work due to adverse weather or travel disruption, they must inform their employer as soon as possible. There is no automatic legal right for an employee to be paid for working time they have missed because of travel disruption or bad weather. However, if such transport was to be provided by the employer and it is cancelled because of bad weather or travel disruption, and an employee was otherwise ready, willing and available to work, the employee should be paid for any working time they have missed. Although, certain contracts and workplace policies may have special arrangements in relation to this. This may consist of pay arrangements. Some employers may also make discretionary, informal arrangements. What if an employer decides it has to close? Employees who were ready, available and willing to work will usually be entitled to their normal pay if: • the employer fully or partly closes their business. • the employer reduces their hours.
• other essential staff such as line managers are unable to get into work. • staff who provide access to the building are unable to get into work.
THERE IS NO AUTOMATIC LEGAL RIGHT FOR AN EMPLOYEE TO BE PAID FOR WORKING TIME THEY HAVE MISSED BECAUSE OF TRAVEL DISRUPTION OR BAD WEATHER Contracts and workplace policies will need to be referred to, as both of these documents will detail the process in such circumstances. This may include alternative options such as working at the nearest accessible workplace, doing other duties or working from home. What if the employee is in an emergency involving a dependent? In this circumstance, anyone with employee status has the right to take unpaid time off. Such circumstances could include if a school is closed, and an employee cannot leave their child. This time is usually unpaid unless a contract or policy says otherwise. The employee would again need to contact the employer as soon as possible and explain the emergency.
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:
ALL OR NOTHING
DON’T LET AN EAGERNESS TO TAKE ON A PROJECT CLOUD YOUR BETTER JUDGEMENT, SAYS GARETH WILSON, AFTER RECENTLY SEEING WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN A COSTLY ERROR
fter a crazy year on my expert witness travels, I can safely say that the last six weeks have seen me travelling all over the country carrying out various reports and I am busier now than ever. Issues wise, I’ve had the usual hard landscaping suspects crop up, such as porcelain complaints and projects not finished after going on for six to 12 months, or more in some cases. One issue lately, though, I found quite worrying. A landscaper had been asked to lay a patio and build a retaining wall off another landscaper’s sub-base and wall footings. This is a first on my expert witness commissions, but it’s certainly not uncommon when I’m asked for advice on a third party carrying out groundworks either via social media or personally. I received an email to conduct what we call a joint commission on a Statement of Opinion basis, where the landscaper and the client split the cost of my fees and I give my opinion on the work carried out. I arrived on site and found a well laid patio, but gaps were appearing in the grout where the patio was moving. A retaining wall also had movement cracks running vertically down the joints – bear in mind that the project was only six weeks old.
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I asked questions of both parties and did my own invasive research. It won’t come as a surprise to you all that the sub-base varied in depth from 100mm to 50mm with no geotextile separation membrane underneath the type 1. I was surprised how easily I could get my auger into the sub-base and it didn’t feel very well compacted. The retaining wall was built well but, when I looked at the footings, they were woefully under specification 100mm to
LIABILITY LIES WITH THE CONTRACTOR IN THESE CASES AND THE CLIENTS RELY ON THE CONTRACTOR’S PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE 75mm deep for a 1.2m high wall. This, in any case, should by law have had a structural engineer’s report on its construction due to the wall’s height. Having sent my report to both parties who were both on very amicable terms I must add, the clients explained afterwards that they thought they would be getting a cheaper job due to the third-party landscaper who had prepared the footings and sub-base being
a friend’s son who wasn’t very busy at the time. The landscaper himself had let his eagerness to lay a bespoke limestone product get in the way of his better judgment. In this case, the landscaper had a satisfactory outcome as the client agreed to cover material costs and the landscaper provided the labour. Not many clients would do this, but they said they felt partially responsible. This was a lucky escape in my book. The moral of the story is, as the professional, the landscaper should have refused the job from the beginning unless he had prepared the sub-base and footings himself or, at the very least, overseen the groundworks’ construction process. In the eyes of the law, liability lies with the contractor in these cases and the clients rely on the contractor’s professional expertise.
ABOUT GARETH WILSON Leaving college at 17, Gareth has worked in the landscape industry since 1989. Progressing onto highend projects over the years, he has picked up 30 RHS medals, including Gold at Chelsea. Now a retained consultant to The Landscape Academy, Gareth is a member of multiple professional bodies. He provides technical and product advice to companies, mentors and trains landscapers across the UK, and provides arbitration and mediation services.
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SIX STEPS TO
FO L LOW NICK RUDDLE’S G U I D E TO AC H I E V I N G A S P I R AT I O N A L G OA L S FO R YO U R BUSINESS
LIFE-CHANGING Y RESULTS ou build dream gardens and projects for your customers, but you don’t earn as much as you should. Does this sound familiar? For many companies, this is the sad reality for all the blood, sweat and tears they put in. But why is this the case? Let’s explain how you can fix this and start making life changing profits.
Know your final destination Start with the end in mind. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve got there? When you know what your business looks like when it’s ‘finished’, you can then start to formulate a plan on how to get there.
Know your numbers Become an expert on the financial side of your business. Do you truly understand your margins? And do you price your work accordingly? Don’t be afraid to be the most expensive in your area. But there’s a huge caveat here – for you to justify five-star prices, your business needs to be five-star in all areas. Someone needs to be the most expensive, so why not make it you?
Get the right people on the bus To attract the best people, you need to be an attractive company to work for. By charging appropriately, you can afford to pay the best wages in your area. It is a false economy to skimp on wages. This will help you to attract and retain the best people, which will improve your quality and productivity. Great people work for great companies – average people work for average companies.
Be systematic in your approach The finest businesses are based on solid systems. Make sure that you have your processes mapped out, documented and your people trained on them thoroughly. Draft out the step-by-step customer journey from start to finish – from how they hear about you (lead generation), to how you sell to them (sales process), and how you deliver your projects (delivery process). This will improve stress levels, productivity, profitability and produce consistent results.
Communication is key To deliver projects on time, communication is key. Ensure you have a regular routine of the right meetings; daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly. They need to be disciplined, structured, consistent and with clear accountability for all involved. Make sure that every person on site understands what the daily work schedule is and what targets must be achieved every day. When you hit your daily targets, you hit your weekly targets and then you’ll hit your project completion targets. Always add in contingency for the unexpected and price this in from the start.
Get a business coach All successful athletes and teams have great coaches behind them – it’s the same in business. Don’t use your own trial and error. This can be expensive, stressful and exhausting, but if you don’t have a coach and your competitors do, who do you think is most likely to win? Contact us to get started on your journey to life-changing results.
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ABOUT NICK RUDDLE Since 2007, Nick Ruddle has coached many landscape contractors, horticulturists, nurseries, garden centres and garden designers to success and works closely with the main industry associations, suppliers and leaders. With more than 5,000 hours of one-to-one coaching and delivering hundreds of workshops and seminars over the years, Nick can help implement specific strategies, methods, processes and systems that will produce exceptional results for your landscape business. www.nickruddle.com
LACK OF PRODUCT AT THE CV SHOW PREVENTED SOME MANUFACTURERS EXHIBITING
UPCOMING TRADE SHOW SALTEX WILL HOPEFULLY PROVIDE INSIGHTS INTO THE INNOVATIONS WE CAN EXPECT FROM MANUFACTURERS IN THE NOT-TOO-DISTANT FUTURE, SAYS ANGUS LINDSAY
y the time you read this article the SALTEX show will have been and gone and, more importantly, so will the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow. Looking first at SALTEX, I would like to think that the supply situation will have eased sufficiently to allow suppliers and manufacturers to exhibit their wares and not leave blank stands, as was the case at the Commercial Vehicle Show in August. That said, we are not out of the woods yet, and I would urge everyone to start planning for next year as my gut feeling is that we still have another six to eight months of pain before the supply chain is back to some sort of normality. In the 24 months since the last SALTEX, there have been significant changes in the supply chain; manufacturers have been evaluating their product lines and ceasing production of familiar but now obsolete products in an effort to streamline production lines. I would hope that these manufacturers will also be looking to the future and displaying the next generation of commercial specification battery and alternatively fuelled equipment. Electric we are already familiar with, but what
YOU CAN’T BEAT A “HANDS-ON” TRIAL OF NEW MACHINERY
of LPG, biogas, hydrogen and the like? There are some interesting engine developments coming from New Holland and JCB which will hopefully make an appearance. In early October I attended an excellent outdoor innovations event hosted by a supplier in the North West; almost a mini outdoor SALTEX like it used to be, where a wide range of equipment was on display which participants (the event was well attended) were able to operate and compare the options on display.
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Unfortunately, the confines of the NEC do not afford us this luxury, but at least it will give people a taster of what’s to come. THESE ARE NOW CONSIDERED AS PART OF THE SCENERY IN MILTON KEYNES
Robotics too, I think, will feature heavily, albeit statically. A great pity, as seeing a robot intuitively perform its tasks unaided whilst life carries on around it is somewhat surreal, but very quickly becomes accepted. Just look at the Amazon delivery robots trundling around Milton Keynes. With the current labour shortages, I really hope
I WOULD URGE EVERYONE TO START PLANNING FOR NEXT YEAR AS MY GUT FEELING IS THAT WE STILL HAVE ANOTHER SIX TO EIGHT MONTHS OF PAIN BEFORE THE SUPPLY CHAIN IS BACK TO SOME SORT OF NORMALITY that someday soon we will see this technology performing mundane and routine operations such as grass cutting, fertilizer application, aeration and the like to free up valuable labour resource for more challenging tasks. It will be interesting to hear what manufacturers thoughts are for the future.
I’m sure the outcome of the COP26 conference will make us all evaluate what we can do to mitigate our personal effect on climate change. That said, I am staggered that there are an estimated 25,000 people attending COP26 and I’m sure they won’t all be cycling there – somewhat hypocritical considering the tonnes of CO2 that will be produced just to get there. Something doesn’t stack up, but I’m sure this will be offset by some clever economics. Whilst we look towards new technology, answers can sometimes be found in the past where the simplest of things, given a 21st century makeover, can make a difference. This was the case with one of the competitors in the recent Earthshot competition, a solar powered mobile ironing cart which does away with the traditional charcoal heated irons saving trees and reducing pollution. Simple but effective.
21 ST CENTURY MAKEOVER: TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T ALWAYS NEED TO BE CUTTING EDGE
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.
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NIK TOZER, NATIONAL GRITTING MANAGER FOR NURTURE L ANDSCAPES, SHARES HOW THE COMPANY’S ICE MASTER SYSTEM HAS TRANSFORMED ITS WINTER MAINTENANCE OFFERING
ack in 2015, Nurture Landscapes’ gritting operation covered 400 sites. Six years later, the winter maintenance team now carries out gritting for nearly 4,500 sites. So, why has the service grown so significantly over the last few years? More importantly, what now enables Nurture Landscapes to cover so many sites each winter? The answer is routed in technology. Recognising the potential to not only increase its client base but also improve efficiency, Nurture Landscapes invested in Ice Master, a bespoke CRM system it created to manage its gritting service. “We were handling everything manually before with spreadsheets,” says Nik Tozer, Nurture Landscapes’ national gritting manager, who helped to build Ice Master alongside operations manager Sheridan Cope. “After a few acquisitions, the winter maintenance offering grew, and we realised we need a better structure and a system that could handle scalability. So, we implemented a bespoke CRM system and the growth since has been
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unprecedented. To grow ten-fold in six years is not only testament to those on the ground throwing the salt but also to the way the system copes with the amount of data inputted into it.” This data starts with the business development managers gaining an initial quote for potential clients. The sites’ square metreage is discovered via a mapping software, after which the system suggests the cost per visit to the site. If the client agrees to the price, then information on the site(s) is added to the system – map, address, cost, access, billing method and how the site is going to be activated. The latter is based on the weather forecast from the MET Office, which is inputted into the system. Clients can choose the temperature at which a gritting job can be activated. “A weather forecast comes in every hour for each four-digit postcode across the UK – that’s about 2,700 forecast points,” explains Nik. “The system reads the forecast and can see for a particular postcode when the coldest point will be that night. It then views the sites for that postcode and at what temperature they’re activated. If it’s the forecasted temperature or below, the system will create a gritting job. If it’s not, then it will skip to the next site and so on. It goes through every single site, checking whether it needs to trigger a job. Once a job is activated, the client is automatically sent an email telling them that their site will be gritted
that night. The operations team and regional teams are also notified. “When you look at the amount of information we hold and how the system processes it, it’s quite amazing that the only thing we’re doing is putting salt on the ground. But to get to that point, we have to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right team and with the right equipment. The technology has to be there to drive that.”
WE HAVE TO BE AT THE RIGHT PLACE, AT THE RIGHT TIME, WITH THE RIGHT TEAM AND WITH THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT. THE TECHNOLOGY HAS TO BE THERE TO DRIVE THAT Along with better efficiency and customer service, with clients able to access information for their contract and the jobs carried out via a portal, Ice Master also helps with liability control. If someone slips over on a client’s site and claims negligence, for instance, then Nurture Landscapes can provide a tracking report for the gritting job it carried out, from the point of a job being activated to the point of completion. A job cannot be started unless the Nurture team is in the ‘geo-fence’ and, once completed, a photo is typically taken and uploaded to the portal. It proves that Nurture, and therefore the client, have done everything possible to prevent an accident. At the end of the month, Ice Master produces a report for each client, listing the jobs and providing a bill. If there are queries, the client can most likely check these on their portal and download individual job sheets. “We’re proud of the system we’ve built; it’s taken a while to get there, but we’re really pleased with how it works,” finishes Nik. Considering the multitude of benefits it provides, it’s hardly surprising Nik and his team are thrilled with Ice Master and the technology behind it, and the opportunities it offers for Nurture to continue growing its gritting service.
P R O D U C T TORO B SERIES TURF CUP
A LOOK AT HOW THE TORO B SERIES TURF CUP IS PROVIDING A SE AMLESS, ADAPTABLE AND AESTHETICALLY PLE ASING IRRIGATION SOLUTION
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS • Radius 13-29m • Trajectory 25 or 150 • Operating pressure 3.5-6.9 Bar • Body style 1” ACME or BSP • Arc 40-3300 and true 3600 • Available in full-circle or adjustable part-circle configuration
KEY ASPECTS AND USER BENEFITS ELEVATES FIELD AESTHETICS An addition for the Toro B Series sprinkler head, it allows grass to grow in the cup on top of the sprinkler, creating a seamless and continuous area of turf. Integrating into either natural grass or artificial turf sports pitches and with no sprinkler heads visible when retracted, field aesthetics are second to none with a Turf Cup. ENSURES PLAYER SAFETY AND BEST PITCH PLAYABILITY When not in use, the Turf Cup retracts into the ground and, by being woven into the turf surface, blends in completely with the surrounding area. This brings best playability to the pitch, as the turf cup becomes invisible and causes no interference. This achieves the ultimate aesthetic goal of presenting a seamless continuation of turf.
ENCOURAGES HEALTHY TURF When it comes to being integrated into natural grass, the turf cup encourages water drainage to prevent root rot and provides 1.5” of room for roots to grow, promoting optimal turfgrass health. This ensures whichever area you choose to install your sprinklers in will continue to flourish with minimal disturbance to both depth and surface, no damaged patches to be seen.
IMPROVES IRRIGATION UNIFORMITY AND PERFORMANCE In action, the heads evenly irrigate a span of some 13m to 29m and the volume can easily be altered to deliver exactly what’s required with adjustment from 25 or 15 ‘Dual Trajectory’ options without having to change the nozzle. This ensures better distribution uniformity, reliable rotation speed and system efficiency from sprinkler to sprinkler.
DURABLE AND ROBUST The Turf Cup was designed and tested to ensure the highest levels of reliability and durability demanded by the market today, withstanding the typically tough environment of UK sports fields. By fine-tuning nozzle spray height, it helps provide head-to-head coverage to compensate during windy conditions and is built to last throughout the changing of the seasons, no matter the weather.
NO DAMAGE TO PITCH OR SPRINKLER Easy maintenance comes from having easy access from the top to make adjustments and reach critical components. The quick release rubber cap pops up, allowing all the access needed to service the internal parts of the sprinkler without digging it up. Meanwhile, damage to the cup from pitch renovations is prevented by the flexible rubber compound.
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EASILY CONVERTIBLE Available in full-circle or adjustable part-circle configurations, the Turf Cup is easily convertible to full-circle operation adjustments to match the desired area of coverage. Plus, with an arc of 40-3300, precise irrigation over a considerable radius per sprinkler is guaranteed and, collectively, large areas are irrigated effortlessly without the need for different sprinkling systems.
C O N TA C T Reesink Turfcare 1-3 Station Road, St Neots, PE19 1QF Tel 01480 226 800 Email email@example.com Facebook ReesinkTurfcareUK Twitter twitter.com/ReesinkTurfcare www.reesinkturfcare.co.uk
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PASSION TO PROFIT
AFTER EXPERIENCING HER OWN LEARNING CURVES, K AREN MCCLURE SHARES HER ADVICE ON RUNNING A PROFITABLE AND RESPECTABLE GARDEN DESIGN PRACTICE
aking the decision to turn your passion into a profitable business can seem a daunting prospect. I know, I’ve been there – from studying hard into the early hours whilst also doing the day job working in a bank in the city, drawing up designs for friends and family on my kitchen table, to now running a successful garden design practice with my team, from my own studio. It can be a tough ride and requires more than horticultural knowledge and a talented design eye. Everyone’s journey is unique, but I thought I’d share some of my top tips that might help you along the way: • You don’t have to do it alone. Someone once said to me: “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” This has stayed with me ever since! You may find yourself overwhelmed and falling short on your organisation processes – seek help! Invest in people that will fill any skill voids to make your business whole and more profitable; it will give you back time to spend on doing what you love. There are small, independent businesses that offer good value ad-hoc support, such as book-keeping, systems organisation, or simply popping in for a few hours to help you with admin. As soon as you start using this support network and paying
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for it, you will value your own hourly rate all the more. Use them! • Number crunch. Don’t know how to manage your books? There are plenty of people out there that can! Keep track of your hours and ensure that they are in line with your charges – constantly review your fees verses output of work. • Invest in a good mentor or business coach – they will arm you with valuable tools that you can transfer to many areas of your business and even your personal life.
WITH PASSION, PERSEVERANCE AND WITH A GREAT TEAM, YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING • Ensure balance. Gone are the days where being ridiculously busy was a sign of success – having an equilibrium of work and play is vital to your wellbeing and has a positive impact on the success of your business. Make time for yourself and stick to it! There are always times when running a business is going to swamp you; however, learn to acknowledge it and do something about it. • Learn from your industry friends. There are associations that you can join which provide advice – APL, BALI and SGD all encourage designers to be members. Finding other designers in the same position can also provide a sounding board and invaluable camaraderie. • Trust your gut! If you meet a client that triggers a negative gut instinct, trust that they might not be a client you’d be passionate about working with. Your company values should apply to all that you interact with, not just you or your team – work ethic, loyalty, trust, reliability and a positive attitude being just a few. • Set yourself regular (and achievable) goals and make sure you review them
regularly; they may seem like small steps but soon become big steps! • Invest in a professional photographer. A great portfolio of images that brings the very best out of your work is invaluable. • It’s okay to make mistakes. Failures and challenges are only final if you don’t learn from them or quit! • Recognise that the good, the bad and the downright ugly events are going to occur along your business journey – they will all contribute to your confidence and success (even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time). • Find inspiration. Self-help books, podcasts, TED Talks, a positive movie or a simple quote – inspiration fuels drive, ambition, motivation and self-belief. Keep pursuing your dreams – with passion, perseverance and with a great team, you can achieve anything.
A B OU T K A R E N M CC LU R E Karen McClure Garden Design is a team of dedicated, passionate individuals who collectively offer an outstanding level of customer service and love to create beautiful outdoor spaces. The team has a wide-ranging skillset, efficient administration, co-ordination, strong relationships with industry specialists and an extensive horticultural knowledge.
FUNDING YOUR FLEET W hen it comes to owning a landscaping business, having a safe and reliable vehicle is a must. As that business grows, so does the fleet, but – of course – so does the cost. Is it better to buy the company vehicles or to lease them? London-based HOS Landscapes has recently built up its fleet to five vehicles, all of which are ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) compliant – a factor which those working in the capital need to take into account. Three of these vehicles were funded by Transport for London’s scrappage scheme, introduced to encourage vehicle owners to swap their higher polluting vehicles for a more environmentally friendly alternative. “The scrappage scheme was great in that it helped us to modernise our fleet, but the scheme would not have been right for every business,” says Ben Stein, managing director of HOS Landscapes. “We were able to manage our cash flow, but it was tricky as we purchased three nearly new vehicles costing over £40k and it took over six months for us to see anything back from the scheme.” Rather than just buying or leasing vehicles, Ben says HOS Landscapes sees hiring as a handy option. “We tend to hire specialist vehicles such as flatbeds for specific uses or during certain stages within projects, or use private haulage companies as delivery times from some suppliers have been unpredictable at best.” For those looking to buy or lease, though, Isuzu Truck (UK) has a range of products for the landscaping industry, from 3.5t to 13.5t.
And there are a number of finance options available. “When it comes to funding, Isuzu Truck (UK) Ltd works in close partnership with BNP Paribas in offering its customers bespoke financial solutions to suit their
THE SCRAPPAGE SCHEME WAS GREAT IN THAT IT HELPED US TO MODERNISE OUR FLEET, BUT THE SCHEME WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN RIGHT FOR EVERY BUSINESS B E N ST E I N , M A N AG I N G D I R ECTO R , H O S L A N DSCA P ES
individual needs,” says an Isuzu spokeswoman, who adds that many operators choose to purchase their vehicles outright, preferring to own the asset from the outset by utilising their own banking facilities or funds already accumulated in their business. ISUZU TRUCK (UK)’S WIDE RANGE
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IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET THE RIGHT VEHICLE FOR YOUR COMPANY, BUT JUST AS IMPORTANT TO DECIDE THE RIGHT WAY TO FUND IT
But with leasing, there are numerous factors which Isuzu says customers may find attractive: “Off balance sheet funding; low initial capital outlay; VAT spread across the term of the agreement as it’s collected monthly as opposed to being paid in a lump sum at the time of purchase; no asset depreciation risk; and when linked to a Repair & Maintenance Contract with Isuzu Truck, leasing offers the customer a predictable, fixed cost for the complete vehicle and its operating costs over a predetermined period. “Ultimately, it all comes down to qualifying the customer, listening to their needs and requirements and then being able to offer them the right funding solution for their business that’s based on their individual circumstances.” All Isuzu Truck UK vehicles are supplied with a three-year unlimited mileage Warranty and Isuzu Roadside Assist as standard, with extended warranties available for certain models. For those thinking outside the box, however, HOS Landscapes is exploring transport options which could fit certain jobs in the capital or other cities across the UK. “Recently, we have been researching the use of electrified cargo bikes, for smaller ad-hoc purchases for our city centre projects as there are times, especially within the congestion zone, that it is quicker and more cost-effective to cycle.” Every business is different, with varying assets and financial circumstances. If you’re unsure of the best option for your company, ensure you seek financial advice before buying or leasing a vehicle or speak to those within your trade association for their fleet experience.
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MAKING THE MOST OF
TRADE ASSOCIATIONS CAN OFFER A HOST OF BENEFITS OF SMALL, DOMESTIC-FOCUSED BUSINESSES
round this time of year, there are glistening award ceremonies, put on by the industry’s leading trade associations. With a glass of wine in hand, you can cheer on your colleagues or keep your fingers crossed that you’ll be topping the next category. These might be the dates you want to set aside in your calendar, but there are plenty of other reasons aside from awards to join a trade association. For one thing, becoming a member in the first place is testament to your hard work. It can be a laborious process and not every company makes the cut. Is it worth the effort? “Businesses make the decision to join trade associations for many reasons,” says Phil Tremayne, general manager of the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL). “Perhaps it’s preferential rates on products or services, up-to-date information and support on current industry issues or business benchmarking. For many, it’s simply a case of being part of something, a larger community that makes you feel less isolated, very often enabling you to realise that issues you are encountering are not exclusive.” Whilst it might seem as though it’s larger businesses which can gain the most, smaller businesses can save thousands of pounds on important business necessities through being a member, says Wayne Grills, CEO of the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI). “Members have access to a wide range of free and heavily discounted services. These include a huge library of templates for human resources and health and safety procedures, a free legal domestic contract template, access to
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discounted website building, digital marketing and even bespoke insurance quotes as well as Landscape House team support.
FEELING PART OF A WIDER GROUP OF PROFESSIONALS ALL PULLING IN THE SAME DIRECTION IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR ANYONE IN A SMALL BUSINESS A N D R E W D U F F, V I C E C H A I R M A N O F T H E SO C I E T Y O F GA R D E N D ES I G N E RS
“Members of professional organisations also benefit from what can be most difficult to build for a new or small business – connections. The British Association of Landscape Industries holds regular networking sessions for its over 900 members and provides access to exclusive tours, talks from the best and brightest of the UK’s suppliers, gardens and nurseries as well as industry peers.” The APL also holds cluster meetings for its members, which Russell Eales – managing director of Assured Landscapes – says he attends or follows on social media “to keep up to speed as much as possible – the topic is
known beforehand and may be issues others are having.” Membership can also help smaller companies to gain work, whether that’s by providing domestic clients with confidence knowing that the business has been independently vetted or clients finding the company by them being listed on the association’s website. Associations can also help businesses to take the next step or stay current. “Continued Professional Development and keeping up to date with trends and technologies is often difficult for a small company,” says Andrew Duff, vice chairman of the Society of Garden Designers (SGD). “The SGD provides many and varied opportunities for CPD. This could be at a local cluster group meeting, the regular conferences or simply at a Members’ Hour virtual session.” Andrew adds: “Feeling part of a wider group of professionals all pulling in the same direction is very important for anyone in a small business; it is easy to feel alone, particularly as a designer, and so the society provides the support needed.” Choose your associations carefully though, says Andy Kirman, managing director of Kirman Design. “All have good and bad points. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has power in member numbers, whilst smaller associations like the SGD provide tailored, niche offerings which are, on the whole, practical and helpful. Associations are at their worst when they are tired, and become infested with egos, infighting and are blinkered to positive change and evolution.” So, reap the rewards of being an association member but don’t’ be afraid to challenge them and, when possible, attend cluster meetings and other events to make the most of the networking opportunities these associations provide.
MONEY SAVING TIPS WE ASKED SOME OF THE INDUSTRY’S MOST SUCCESSFUL COMPANIES TO TELL US ABOUT WHAT THEIR TOP MONEY SAVING TIPS ARE
MANAGING DIRECTOR, THE GARDEN COMPANY
DIRECTOR, URBAN LANDSCAPE DESIGN
If you are planning a project TIP 1 aimed at growing your business, it’s well worth researching any resources, including funding, that might be available to you. For example, Local Growth Hubs provide a mechanism for providing businesses with national and local business support. In recent years, The Garden Company received funding from Hertfordshire Growth Hub to help with the costs of two of our projects: The first contributed towards the installation of new office technology to meet business needs. And, for the second project, funds went towards developing new branding and a more modern, updated website. In addition, we also benefitted from useful consultancy advice with the second project, which was provided free of charge. Of course, it is essential to identify the business’ needs first, and then to research what support is available – not the other way round!
Whilst it is important to TIP 1 search round for the best price on materials, you can be let down by suppliers on service. This results in staff left waiting on site and can cost you in ‘wasted time’. Ensuring you build good relationships with your suppliers – even if you have to pay a little more – will result in your loyalty being awarded with good service as well as good prices.
Always protect your margins. It’s worth remembering that it’s often easier to save money than to make profit. As a small business, it is essential to make sure you are getting the right balance of cost, quality, and service from your suppliers – especially in such volatile times. In addition, we aim to monitor and regularly review prices, especially for commodity-driven items. For example, we recently halved our insurance costs. Naturally, this must be done in a way that maintains goodwill and mutual respect with longstanding suppliers, as these partnerships have a value in themselves.
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Upskill your team by making sure you hire employees who are skilled to complete the tasks required on site. Your projects will be executed and finalised more efficiently, and ultimately, they’ll be of higher quality. Always aim to invest in off-site training in the required skills you’re looking for, and in turn you will be saving money in time and efficiency as your team will be more confident and less likely to make expensive mistakes.
CHARLOTTE HARRIS AND HUGO BUGG CO-DIRECTORS, HARRIS BUGG STUDIO If you’re agreeing fixed fees for a project, make sure you are specific on the number of site visits included – take into account additional visit rates should this be exceeded. It’s important to bear in mind the time it takes either side to travel as this has the potential to cost you. Understand exactly what this is costing you and make sure you have an agreement with your client at the start – who will be covering these expenses? If you don’t sort this, you are in danger of subsidising your design fees for your clients.
Furnishing your office can be a pricey task. At Harris Bugg Studio we opt to use pre-loved secondhand kit for essential office equipment; we buy our computers reconditioned too. This approach is far more cost effective and a much better option for the environment.
GRAHAM BIRD SUPPLY CHAIN DIRECTOR, GROUND CONTROL Ensure you know what warranties and insurance are valid, what access you have to discounts, and what your current suppliers provide as extras and make use of them. For example, Ground Control negotiates the same savings for our field teams with many of our suppliers. Many insurance companies also offer legal advice, HR support, and even Employee Assistance Programmes to businesses bundled in with their insurance, which are all useful.
Cut down on your emissions. Though the initial outlay might be higher, buying battery-operated tools and EVs will usually create a cost-saving over their life. Purchasing a vehicle with low or zero emissions entitles you to pay lower road tax, and with the cost of fuel spiralling, this gives you a cheaper way to fuel each day. Battery-powered tools have considerably lower running costs with little servicing and no changing of oil, filters and spark plugs. As another bonus, fewer components can go wrong on battery-powered tools, and if something does break, you will usually only have to replace one element – the power source or the tool itself.
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TAKING THE NEXT STEPS THE MINEFIELD OF EXPANSION CAN BE A TRICKY PLACE TO NAVIGATE. WE INVESTIGATE SOME OF THE KEY CONSIDERATIONS BUSINESS OWNERS SHOULD BE TAKING ON BOARD BEFORE TAKING THE NEXT STEPS
s a small business or even a one-man-band, it can be tricky to know how to take those next steps when expansion is on the horizon. Though you may be skilled in your profession of choice, running a business is a whole other kettle of fish and there are quite a few things to consider. Pay There are a couple ways you can pay yourself as a business owner. Classing yourself as an employee of the business and using the PAYE system allows you to take regular wages from the business and you’ll pay tax at the point of payment (usually monthly). Alternatively, you can pay yourself a low monthly wage (below the tax threshold) and take the rest as dividends (again, up to the higher tax bracket). Lee Bestall, managing director and founder of Bestall & Co Landscape Design, adds: “For anything above this, it’s quite common for business owners to pay into a pension scheme and then use the pension
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to purchase commercial property, such as a warehouse to operate your business from.” Though the latter is the more common route to take, Ben Stein of HOS Landscapes chooses not to take it: “I have taken dividends before, but right now, I prefer to keep profits in the business to help focus on growth and development,” he explains. “It seems to be the easiest way to plan financially both from a business and personal perspective.” Staff With a career in recruitment, two decades of which have been spent building Fresh Horticultural Careers, Marian Barker is pretty well placed to offer advice on recruitment. “Out of ten responses, only one of those will be good. If you don’t get back to that one good application quickly, you’ll lose out,” Marian says – particularly prevalent in a time of skills shortages. She continues: “People write themselves a shopping list and don’t want to deviate from it – Recruiting is not like going to a supermarket.” If one of your essential requirements is being able to use
your machinery, could you look for skills with another piece of machinery and transferable skills? If you want them to know the Latin names of plants, could you instead seek someone who had general plant knowledge, who knows the difference between plants and weeds, and build up their knowledge elsewhere?
RECRUITING IS NOT LIKE GOING TO A SUPERMARKET M A R I A N BA R K E R , F R ES H H O RT I CU LT U R A L CA R E E R S
On the topic of training Marian says: “Businesses don’t use the apprenticeship route enough. It’s one day a week during term time. What you get from releasing them one day a week means that you’ll end up with a more skilled employee. At the moment, the
government pretty much pays you to take on that apprentice.” For Jake Catling, director of The Landscaping Consultants, attitude is everything. “Landscaping is difficult. You’re working outside – working in all weathers – and you need to be a glass-half-full type of person. You can’t teach a mentality, but you can teach skills.” When looking out for this positive mentality, Marian believes that “speed of response, flexibility, hobbies, whether they’ve taken a look at your website and whether they have questions about the role,” are all good signs, though face-to-face meetings will tell you most. When writing that all-important job application, Marian urges businesses to include pay to provide a baseline alongside location and anything special about your company. There’s no set time it should be taking to fill a role, but Marian advises that if it’s been two weeks with no responses at all, put it on another job board or medium. “If you leave a job in one place for too long, people assume the job or company is no good and are put off from applying.”
IT PAYS TO BE SPECIALISTS RATHER THAN GENERALISTS B E N ST E I N , H O S L A N DS CA P ES
Services Should you offer a variety of services to maximise your reach or focus on one and get this right? “We offered a variety of services initially, to find out what the market demanded the most, analysed the most profitable elements (and those I enjoyed the most), and focused on these,” Lee tells us. “Once you have built a small team to deliver these services, it’s a good time to expand, adding in complementary services. Start with services that don’t require a large expenditure and can service existing customers – it’s so much easier to sell something to an existing client, than it is to look for new ones.” Jake agrees that you shouldn’t try to do too much too soon, stating that “your brand is what’s underpinning those services, so get that right before you expand. In the early days if you have too many teams, you’re never going to be able to
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manage everything and do it efficiently. Focus on your key service, get it right”. Ben also feels that “it pays to be specialists rather than generalists”.
SYSTEMS FOR SUPPORT
Advice For Ben, expansion for expansion’s sake is not wise. “We’re growing and developing to be more sustainable and specialised but we’re actually downsizing in terms of numbers from three teams of three to two teams of four. This is so that we can focus our efforts on delivering the best possible service and outcomes.” According to Jake, the key to making a business work at the beginning is simply, but tiringly, putting in the hours, and essentially working two jobs. “You’ll be on the tools in the day and working on admin in the evening. I was working 80+ hours a week to begin with. It will get to the point where you can’t do both, and then you’ll have to make a decision – do you pick to do the management role, or stick to the tools?” Either way, it seems administrative help is essential. “As your business expands you will make mistakes as a business owner if you take on too much yourself,” notes Ben. “We recently took on a production assistant to help with the fulfilment of projects which frees up time for me to work on strategy and development, recruitment as well as new business.” What most agree on, though, is expansion doesn’t happen in your comfort zone. “You should feel scared and excited in equal portions. It’s essential to take well calculated risks and you can be more confident with the risks that you take, if you have a minimum of 3 months’ worth of operating expenses in the bank,” Lee tells us. “Make decisions quickly, but don’t be afraid to change them if you think they aren’t working out. Small businesses have the advantage of being able to implement change quickly.” He continues, “In my experience, fear is what holds most people back, whether it is fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, or fear of embarrassment.”
Alison Warner talks us through 8 systems and processes that can help you run your business and how:
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM) SYSTEM
To collate all enquiries, ensure that prompt follow up is taking place, reporting of key metrics such as source of business, conversion of lead to sale etc.
JOB MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
ServiceM8 or Tradify, for example – a system to manage all active jobs to improve efficiencies and communication (depending on the number of active jobs at any one time).
A RECRUITMENT PROCESS
To ensure that the right people are attracted and selected, not just left to chance!
A SYSTEM/CAREER PATH TO DEVELOP THE TEAM
Either progress or perform at a higher level, e.g. team meetings, 1-2-1’s, appraisals, development plans.
A CUSTOMER FEEDBACK SYSTEM
After all jobs are complete, use a customer survey to measure satisfaction and identify opportunities to improve.
AN INDUCTION PROCESS
The first 90 days for a new employee are key – there is a direct correlation between this and their engagement/ performance/retention.
Accounting software that is kept up to date so that profit and loss reports can be generated vs a financial forecast. Cashflow software such as Fluidly, that connects with accounting software to give visibility of future cashflow.
A SALES AND MARKETING SYSTEM Key channels that can be relied upon to generate an ongoing stream of enquiries e.g., BNI, partnerships, SEO etc – you should know what each generates and your cost per lead and cost per sale.
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For full details on all jobs, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk Call 01903 777 570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your vacancy.
GROUNDS MAINTENANCE MANAGER S&D LANDSCAPES LTD Location: Yorkshire
The candidate would be responsible for the day-to-day running of grounds maintenance operations for the company. This would include managing service delivery, pricing, expanding the service and client base and helping with the management of its health and safety compliance. The candidate would report to the managing director and be accountable for grounds maintenance supervisors and operatives. Should have experience managing multiple teams in multiple locations. Numerate and able to cost various landscape operations to order materials required and determine time allowances for the delivery of operations within the division.
SENIOR CONTRACTS MANAGER/CONTRACTS MANAGER TILHILL Location: Kent
Tilhill specialises in woodland creation and management, timber harvesting and buying, and landscaping. It strives at all times to provide an unrivalled service to its clients and customers. Tilhill is part of the BSW Timber Group, the UK’s largest integrated forestry business. It has vacancies for a senior contracts manager and a contracts manager within its landscaping division. The successful candidate will be responsible for delivering a high-quality soft and hard landscaping contracting service for Tilhill’s clients.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
SOFT LANDSCAPER (43452)
Fresh Horticultural Careers’ client designs, builds and maintains top-end domestic gardens in Surrey and surrounding areas. It is seeking a soft landscaper/ planter to join its team on a permanent basis. This is an excellent opportunity to join a thriving company which boasts an extremely healthy order book, and which offers promotional opportunities for the right candidate. An immediate start is available, and experience is essential. You will be working with the installation team with specific responsibility for turfing and planting. This role is hard work and involves a great deal of digging in all weathers. Basic plant knowledge is expected as a minimum.
HOS Landscapes is a BALI registered, garden and landscape design and build contractor working in London and South East. It is particularly focused on high-end residential projects as well as a growing specialism in consulting and building meaningful public realm work. HOS Landscapes is looking for a skilled hard landscaper to join its landscaping teams and work on landscape projects in London and surrounding areas. Suitable candidates will have high-end experience in stone laying and general hard landscaping, supported by appropriate qualifications and certificates and a great work ethic and enthusiasm.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
HARD LANDSCAPER (43358)
TEAM LEADING ARBORIST (43304)
Are you an experienced hard landscaping professional, with a passion for creating beautiful gardens and the knowledge to ensure they are constructed and look wonderful for years to come? This is a great opportunity to help shape an evergrowing business in the landscape industry. You’ll enjoy the thrill that comes with being a key member of the team and the satisfaction with the transformations you will build. You’ll need to possess a great attitude, a pleasant customer manner, hard-working ethic combined with a broad range of landscaping skills to ensure the company’s gardens are constructed to a high standard.
Fresh Horticultural Careers’ client seeks a self-motivated team-leading arborist wishing to join a friendly, motivated company to work part of a team. You must have excellent timekeeping skills as well as always putting in maximum effort and working to a high standard. Based in Esher, Surrey, the client offers a good variation of works, both domestic and commercial. It operates throughout Surrey, South London and Reading. Duties will include all aspects of felling, planting and pruning of trees, shrubs and hedges. Candidates must have experience working with heavy equipment: MEWPs, tracked chipper and tracked stump grinder.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
DECKING TEAM LEADER
BALI-registered HOS Landscapes has three teams operating on different projects at all times as well as a senior management team supporting the fulfilment of each project and early-stage design intervention and consultation. It is looking for a skilled labourer to join its landscaping teams and work on projects in London and surrounding areas. Suitable candidates will have a strong desire to specialise in landscaping and want to progress in the industry and within HOS Landscapes’ teams. Candidates will have a great work ethic, be physically fit and be willing to travel to assist the company’s teams in fulfilling scheduled work.
The London Decking Company is looking for a hardworking and enthusiastic individual to join its rapidly growing company. This position will be based at its Kingsbury, North London branch. However, with the nature of the job, you will be travelling to various locations to complete decking landscaping projects each day alongside your team, which you will be leading. This will be a physically demanding yet highly rewarding and competitively paid role, involving working within teams of two to three. The ideal candidate will need to possess three years’ decking/carpentry experience and a clean UK driving licence, amongst other requirements.
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
For more details, please go to www.horticulturecareers.co.uk
FRESH HORTICULTURAL CAREERS LTD Location: London, Surrey
FRESH HORTICULTURAL CAREERS LTD Location: Cheshire
HOS LANDSCAPES Location: London
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HOS LANDSCAPES Location: London
FRESH HORTICULTURAL CAREERS LTD Location: Surrey
THE LONDON DECKING COMPANY Location: London
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B E N P O U LT E R
Project landscape architect, Ironside Farrar
Senior landscape architect, HLM Architects
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Either a conservationist or an ecologist.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Fashion designer or working in travel/ events management.
Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? They attract huge audiences and appeal to a broad cross-section of the public. Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Croatia, for its pure natural beauty. What would you blow your budget on? Woodland or land that could be turned back to woodland. The UK has one of the poorest levels of woodland coverage and biodiversity in the world; it is important that we restore our native woodlands to regenerate our countries’ biodiversity. One thing that you think would make the industry better? Stronger legislation to improve the quality of the environment and development. Best piece of trivia you know? One of the oldest living organisms in the world is a fungus. Role model as a child? My grandparents. My grandfather instilled in me a ‘work hard and believe in yourself’ ethos, whilst my nana nurtured my interest in plant design and horticulture. What three things would you take to a desert island? The first two things I would take is a Niwaki knife and a copy of ‘Bear Grylls Survival Skills Handbook’ as a plan A, and then an inflatable boat for plan B.
Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Very much so, good to see varying planting design and get inspiration for project work. Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Ecuador, Galapagos Islands or Iceland. What would you blow your budget on? Planting more woodlands, ongoing community engagement to understand how our projects impact the community and going on international site visits. The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? David Attenborough. One thing that you think would make the industry better? Developers investing in biodiversity enhancements, sustainability and seeing the importance of green infrastructure without cutting planning corners. Favourite tipple? Big fan of elderflower in spirits. What three things would you take to a desert island? My husband, a can of bug spray and a satellite phone. Karaoke song of choice? ‘Gypsy’ by Fleetwood Mac.
Freelance consultant/ plant stylist and interior landscaper
Garden designer, Renee Brailsford Gardens
Group marketing manager, Harrowden Turf
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? I would be working with Paul Smith – he is my absolute design hero.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Maybe something in fashion? I can’t really imagine not being in gardens now.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Writing for the car industry.
Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Inspirational – very much so. It’s so great to see houseplants make a fabulous entrance at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
What would you blow your budget on? A sofa swing seat – on a big veranda.
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Costa Rica. I had an amazing trip there a few years ago and managed to see lots of the incredible natural landscape. The landscape is so lush and tropical. I was also lucky enough to meet the actual growers of tropical plants. One thing that you think would make the industry better? More diversity – we really need to be much more inclusive as industry.
One thing that you think would make the industry better? Practical gardening on the National Curriculum. I’d hope that might also raise the regard for the industry generally and inspire the next generation.
Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Japan.
Newest gardening trend in your opinion. Hmm, I only pay attention to the good ones! The garden office is really taking hold.
The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Mirei Shigemori.
Role model as a child? Ma Larkin. Couldn’t get through the week without… Laughing with my colleagues, either out in the rain and mud or in the studio. Thank goodness for that!
Role model as a child? Madonna. I have always been obsessed with the Queen of Pop.
Best invention in recent years? Favourite app is Morpholio for the iPad.
Couldn’t get through the week without... A good strong pot of breakfast tea.
Favourite tipple? Clipper Decaf Tea. I’m a party animal.
Best invention in recent years? Alexa!
What three things would you take to a desert island? Sketchbook, watercolours and Spotify.
Favourite tipple? Champagne, always! Karaoke song of choice? ‘Tiny Dancer’ by Elton John.
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Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Inspirational.
Your favourite joke? I entered my snail in a race, so I took off its shell to make it go faster, but it just made it sluggish.
What would you blow your budget on? Willow trees.
One thing that you think would make the industry better? Better facilities for truck drivers. Newest gardening trend in your opinion. Pergolas. Role model as a child? My dad. Best invention in recent years? Carbon fibre. Favourite tipple? Gin. Who would play you in a movie of your life? Matt Damon. Your favourite joke? What do you call a man with a spade on his head? Doug.
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Creating exceptional outdoor spaces
T: +44 (0)1580 830 800 E: email@example.com W: streetpark.co.uk
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