Pro Landscaper December 2022

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DECEMBER 2O22 PRO LANDSCAPER’S MOST INFLUENTIAL The top 25 revealed CHANGING PRICES Jake Catling on handling rising costs FUTURESCAPE 2022 Looking back at this year’s event


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We’re coming to the close of what has been another year of uncertainty. Over the last few months, we’ve been tackling a cost-of-living crisis, where inflation has soared and taxes are now likely to do the same in the Autumn Statement to keep a recession short and yet not so sweet. Material prices have continued to fluctuate (mostly in the wrong direction), and the industry’s confidence – as shown in our UK Landscape Barometer – has tumbled. We’re on our third Prime Minister since the start of the year – Boris Johnson having quit after a series of blunders including Partygate, and Liz Truss’ stint in the job being outlived by a lettuce after her chancellor’s budget sent the country’s finances spiralling.

It might be difficult to look back on this year with fondness, but there are still many highlights that we want to celebrate from 2022 – one being another successful FutureScape event, the second one to be held at the ExCeL London across two days. Hot topics were debated, numerous awards were handed out and the industry’s first diversity charter was signed. (If you missed it, you fortunately don’t have long to wait – FutureScape Spring will be taking place at the NEC, Birmingham, on 14 and 15 March).

Once again, the industry has shown resilience despite uncertainty, and whilst the boom sparked by the pandemic is likely to come to an end, there are bound to be opportunities ahead.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 WELCOME 3
The Association of Professional Landscapers
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Terraced Transformation McWilliam Studio

Trends: Water Features Claire Brutnall, Foras

Most Influential 2022 Discover who the industry has selected as 'most influential' Can We Bring Back Biodiversity? Initiatives to tackle species loss

The Clay Curse: Part Two Gareth Wilson Wrapping Up the Winter Months Alison Warner

What is 'Constructive Dismissal'? Oracle Solicitors

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 CONTENTS 6
Our monthly roundup of industry news
35 41 46 49 69 74 75 76 08 11 14 16 19 21 22 24 27 28 29 31 33 35 December 2022
from 2022's
UK Landscape Barometer The statistics and facts recorded in September 2022 The Calm Before the Storm? Neil Edwards Ask the Expert Jake Catling Teaching and Doing Andrew Wilson The Carceral Archipelago Christopher Martin New Government: New Direction for Sustainability and the Green Agenda? Marcus Watson Are We Any Closer to a Minister for Horticulture? Lewis Normand What will be the Impact of 2022 on the Landscape and Landscaping Industry? Nick Coslett Upskilling for Scaling Up Biodiversity Clare Rooney The Nicholsons Approach Quality plants and advice from expert horticulturalists From the Ground Up Soil companies flourishing with high quality products


For more than 30 years, Andrew has been teaching garden design. He shares some of his experiences and challenges of training the next generation.


Alternative energy sources were firmly on the agenda at this year’s trade shows, but not just electricity – hydrogen is also being explored as a sustainable option, says Angus.


Regeneration is necessary, says Christopher, but is the culture of our public realms being replaced by surveillance, control measures and social boundaries, he ponders.


Staff need knowledge to improve biodiversity and implement net gain, so the Field Studies Council has been working with Ground Control to upskill its team.


‘Constructive dismissal’ is a term which can often be bandied around when it appears as though someone has been pushed out of their role, but what does it actually mean?


After campaigning for a minister for horticulture, Lewis wonders if we’re any closer to reaching this goal, following a recent letter to Defra which has so far been unanswered.


The government is somewhat unpredictable, but Marcus explores how our new Prime Minister’s policies could impact green infrastructure and the cost-of-living crisis.


Soaring temperatures, nationwide droughts and hosepipe bans dominated the summer this year, and this may well be the norm going forward, so we need to prepare, explains Nick.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 CONTENTS 7
79 80 82
Something in the Air Angus Lindsay
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system 5 Minutes with Tecwyn Evans' show garden experiences and future plans


Members from numerous industry associations have signed a charter committing to creating a more inclusive industry.

The Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter for the Horticulture, Arboriculture, Landscaping & Garden Media profession was signed at FutureScape 2022 on Tuesday 15 November. The signing followed a seminar in which representatives from the British Association of Landscape Industries, the Society of Garden Designers (SGD), the Association of Professional Landscapers

(APL) and the Landscape Institute (LI) had shared how they have worked and are working towards making the industry more diverse, amongst tackling other industry topics.

The charter came about after the British Association of Landscape Industries’ Access All Areas webinar nearly a year ago, after which panellists and attendees were eager


Industry Updates

Manchester-based landscape architecture practice, DEP, has announced new ownership following a partnership buyout.

DEP founder and director, Chris Podmore, has bought out former partner, Rory McVean, signalling a real step change for DEP and enabling ambitious future expansion plans and growth.

Director Chris Podmore says: “This partnership buyout heralds a fresh

start for DEP as we look to build on our success and expand the business. We have a dedicated, passionate and highly skilled team and this move demonstrates our commitment to them and their future. There’s an exciting road ahead as we continue to deliver sustainable, creative improvements to landscape and public realm, while facing a climate crisis.”

to see the discussions at the event taken forward. Signatories include British Association of Landscape Industries’ CEO Wayne Grills, SGD chair Lynne Marcus, the LI’s CEO Sue Morgan, and APL general manager Phil Tremayne.

Adrian Wickham, a board member for the British Association of Landscape Industries who appeared on the Access All Areas and has been one of those spearheading the charter, says: “This is one of many steps in the right direction that the industry is collaborating with. We all need more people in each of our sectors and by working together we can promote the industry to a wider, more diverse audience.”


Commercial landscaping company Kings Landscapes has gone into administration as of 14 October. The Milton-Keynes based company, which was established 18 years ago, says “commercial pressures” were behind the decision.

Managing director David Houghton says that delays in supply and payments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant its client base were unable to pay on time which left Kings Landscapes also falling behind on payments.

Before closing its doors, Kings Landscapes completed all its existing contracts and the majority of its staff have gone on to find other work. David Houghton will continue in the commercial sector as a consultant and advisor, but his main focus going forward will be on “green solutions in design and build”, such as green roofs, living walls and natural swimming pools.

Within the past two decades, Kings Landscapes has been behind prolific developments in London such as Royal Wharf and has won multiple BALI National Landscape Awards. David says the decision to go into administration was “disappointing, and we’re sad to say goodbye to the staff, but at the end of the day we had no choice”.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 NEWS 8


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a series of announcements on energy transition, climate financing and forest and nature preservation at COP27 in Egypt in November.

The UK government has committed to tripling funding for climate adaptation, from £500m in 2019 to £1.5bn in 2025. It has also launched the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership. The new group, initially comprising 20 countries, will meet twice yearly to track

commitments on the landmark Forests and Land Use declaration at COP26, which aims to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030.

To support the forest agenda, the UK has pledged £90m for conservation in the Congo Basin. The PM has also confirmed £65m in funding for the Nature, People and Climate Investment Fund and new financing for Treevive, which is working to conserve and restore two million hectares of tropical forest.

Quote of the month

Principles such as designing wayfinding and acoustics for when it’s dark are often overlooked. By considering safety during the feasibility and concept stages, the principles of ‘designing for dark’ can integrate with biodiversity and accessibility with compelling consequences.

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McWilliam Studio, alongside generous donors, helped to create a Peace Garden for the children at St Mary’s C of E Primary School in Old Amersham. Gavin McWilliam, from McWilliam Studio, tells us about his most recent pro-bono project.



"Most commercial landscapers will work for the construction industry, which has payment services that are fairly onerous and wouldn’t be accepted in any other industry. The retention will be taken off and some construction companies think that the retention is extra profit for them; so, you have to jump through hoops to get hold of that 5% retention after two years.

“We make sure we’re on top of our credit control as much as we can be, so we don’t let customers go beyond the terms. You have to be so careful to ensure that you don’t do anything without a proper variation order because if they think they can argue you down when you send your invoice or application, then they will.

“On one site, we were supposed to be finished in 2021, but due to delays on site – which were no fault of ours – we're not

Talking Point

going to be finished until 2023. It’s going to be an extra £35k that we need from our client to pay for the increased cost in materials and labour. I sent the evidence through and was told to put it on our valuation at the end of the month. I told them ‘no’, that they needed to send an official order through and then we’d carry on working.

“We always carry out a credit check on any new clients using Creditsafe, but there inevitably may be the odd occasion when a company looks really healthy and strong but something goes wrong. Cost is going up for everybody, so we need to protect our cashflow, making sure that we’re on top of any increased costs and are passing these onto the clients immediately. We’re strict on our fixed price period, reviewing whether costs have increased at the end of that period.”

As the association celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, one of its founding members Tony Brophy explains how the British Association of Landscape Industries was formed, providing a timeline which surprisingly starts in 1940.


Pro Landscape speaks with 30 Under 30 winner, Lexi Harrison, about taking on a more versatile role since picking up her award in 2016. Lexi is a great example of how adapting to change can mark a positive career step and continue to enhance an already thriving company. 30-under-30-update-lexi-harrison

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 NEWS 9
Johanna Elvidge (Head of design at Marshalls) which launched the white paper ‘Creating Safe Spaces’ following the clocks going back on 30 October. Paul Lynch, managing director of Elmtree Garden Contractors, on the commercial pressures of working with the construction industry following Kings Landscapes going into administration

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FUTURESCAPE 2022 Looking back at

FutureScape 2022 was an incredible success. Thousands of visitors attended an abundance of seminars, which offered insight on issues such as the cost-of-living crisis, climate change and health and wellbeing. In the Training, Education and Employment Village there was advice for those starting out in the industry, those looking to change roles, and and those looking to upskill. FutureScape 2022, held at the ExCeL London from 15 to 16 November, also provided visitors with a vast range of exhibitors, from leading hard landscaping product suppliers and nurseries to expert service providers and the industry’s top associations. Better yet, there were numerous visitors who left the event with an award in hand, from Pro Landscaper’s Most Influential and Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation to the winners of Pro Landscaper’s small project BIG IMPACT Award winners and the annual Arbordeck Awards.


Pro Landscaper’s Most Influential 2022, in association with tigerup! The top 25 most influential people in the industry were revealed. You can find out who they are on page 49.



This year’s winners collected their awards for their incredible achievements so far and their future ambitions.
list of winners by
View the full
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prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 11 NEWS


Our flagship debate looked ahead to how government policies could impact the industry.


Nine category winners were announced, as was our Supreme Winner, The Floating Deck by Adam Vetere Landscape & Garden Design. View the full list of winners here:


We introduced the Training, Education and Employment Village (in association with GoLandscape), the Urban Greening Zone (in association with Maylim) and the Lighting Zone to FutureScape 2022.

NEWS prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 12 Tuesday 14 March 2023 Wednesday 15 March 2023 The NEC Birmingham WHEN WHERE


Tuesday 14 March 2023

Wednesday 15 March 2023

The NEC Birmingham

Face the future of the UK and play your part amidst a showcase of future-fuelled products, materials and services – all you need to stay ahead in your landscape business. Powered by a superb seminar programme, expert panellists with real-life, relatable experiences get ready to tackle the issues you face and challenge industry norms for a brighter landscape future.



Confidence has taken another dive across the sectors compared to the previous month, but even more so compared to the same time last year, when confidence appeared to be on the up.

Design and build seems to have taken the biggest hit during September 2022. All respondents in this sector reported that their turnover had decreased from the previous year and that there had been no change in the number of enquiries, projects that they’re working on, or staffing numbers. They also all reported a decrease in their conversation rate from last year. One respondent said that they now had an “immediate” lead time, whilst another said that they are booked up until February. “All work seems to be in limbo; I have the usual level of projects, but they are all in various stages of being stalled,” commented one design and build company.

Government instability and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis are likely causes for projects being put on hold, so the outcome of the autumn statement mid-November could have a significant impact across all sectors of the landscaping industry.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 NEWS 14
SCAN HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Nov Dec Jan Feb MarApr May JunJul Aug SepOct PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS MORE CONFIDENT COMPARED TO LAST MONTH 2021 2022 2020

Commercial Landscaping

The results for commercial landscaping were somewhat contradictory. For the majority (75%), confidence has stayed the same from last month, and for half (50%) it has stayed the same from this time last year. But three quarters of respondents said their enquiries had increased from last month, and though most said their conversation rate stayed the same, 75% said their conversion rate had in fact increased from last year. Half reported an increase in projects from last year too.

So, what’s behind the lack of confidence, when the market seems to be performing well? One respondent puts it down to the fallout of the Truss government, which resulted in the Bank of England purchasing £19.3bn of gilts – an unprecedented act designed to bring financial stability: “The shock to the gilt markets resulting in interest rate rises, along with concerns over the cost-of-living crisis, have taken confidence out of the market,” they explained.

The Bank of England said it is “setting out how it intends to unwind this portfolio in a way that is timely but orderly.” The impact of Hunt’s impending budget, though, is yet to be seen, but tax hikes and spending cuts are likely to be announced, to help plug the £55bn black hole in the government's finances.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 NEWS 15
CONVERSION RATES HAD INCREASED STAFFING NUMBERS 67% 100% OF DESIGN AND BUILD COMPANIES REPORTED A FALL IN TURNOVER IS LOWER FOR OF NURSERIES 30% 20% 50% 57% 14% 29% 57% 14% 29% HigherEqual Lower 0% 20% 40%60%80% 100% Turnover Projects Enquiries Conversion HigherEqual Lower CONFIDENCE 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Confidence last month Confidence last year *These are year-on-year comparisons for September 2022 to September 2021

The calm beforeTHE STORM?

When the BCLive league table of construction contract awards failed to hit the £4bn baseline in September 2022, it was tempting to believe that the good times were officially over.

The good news is that any such talk has proved premature. The more worrying news is just how long the industry can cling on to any remaining positivity and optimism.

The BCLive league table hit an impressive £6.5bn in the month of October 2022 – above the total for the same month last year and streets ahead of the lowly £3.8bn recorded in September. Further positives were that the league table was less dependent upon the two regional and sector bellwethers of London and the housebuilding sector – both of which were knocked from their perch in October.

But that apparent good news is a doubleedged sword, particularly in the case of the housebuilding sector. That sector has been the crutch upon which the wider construction

After a dismal September, the construction industry bounced back in October, recording more than £6.5bn in new contract awards. But with fears over skills and materials shortages and wage and fuel price hikes, just how long can the positivity last? Neil Edwards looks at the figures.

industry has leaned for more than four years now. If the latest rise in interest rates and a lack of available mortgage funding does hit the housebuilding sector, the tremors will be felt throughout the industry.

Landscaping professionals will be eyeing a £450m project awarded to Mace for the erection of a 27-storey mixed-use development on the site of Becket House in London’s Southwark that will include plant areas and public realm improvements.

Meanwhile, Hampshire Homes Group has been awarded a £30m contract to build 128 new dwellings on land next to Burgoyne Road in Southampton. Alongside the main construction, the project also makes provisions for landscaping and public open space development.

Even though it contributed 108 new projects to the monthly total, the housing sector delivered just £1.35bn and was beaten into second place by the roads sector. At the

same time, Yorkshire took the top spot on the regional countdown with 22 new contract awards worth a total of £1.58bn. London threw up 64 new contract awards but fell just short of the £1.5bn total, delivering £1.49bn to temporarily surrender its regional crown. The South West contributed a further £730m but both Wales and Scotland continue to lag behind with £148m and £140m respectively.

With the industry now eyeing the festive period and the year end, the monthly totals for both November and December may well fall short of the £6.5bn reported in October 2022. The concern now is whether that slowing is purely seasonal or whether a rise in interest rates might prove to be the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.

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 realtime 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 more than £80bn.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 16 OPINION
The concern now is whether that slowing is purely seasonal or whether a rise in interest rates might prove to be the straw that finally broke the camel’s back

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Professionally and morally, we all want to do the best for our clients, and often, we do this at some loss to our business. Providing that loss is minimal, most of us will soak up the cost in order to keep good relationships with our clients –sometimes, working out how we could gain it back with efficiencies found in other areas.

With that said, in times such as these – when price rises are dramatic and, in some cases, more than your profit margin, like when cement prices rise by 14% and your profit margin is only 10% to 15% on a project – you can see the issue. So, we need to be aware of this.

If this happens on a high proportion of your resources, it can affect the viability of your projects, impacting your business over the year. So, we must be mindful of rising costs as we already have many variables to deal with when delivering our service effectively.

To mitigate these risks and be fair to your client, I suggest forecasting as best you can. Failing this, informing your client and designer at the tender stage that you will need to revalue the resource costs limited to materials, plant and waste – excluding labour time, which should stay fixed unless the scope of works changes, of course.

All of this should be discussed before starting works on site and never after the

fact, as presenting an unexpected bill at the end of a project will never go down well. By being proactive, you’re allowing your client the option to proceed, postpone work, or value engineer the project to keep it within budget. This is a fair approach for all parties while navigating this uncertain time. Good communication and presenting your costs in a clear and organised way leads to the transparency needed to manage the budget collaboratively. So, discussions about unavoidable increases are normally understood and accepted by clients.

Remember to collaborate honestly and openly with your suppliers, designers and clients in order to find the fairest solution for all parties.

The panel


Chair of the APL, Holly Youde, is a director at Urban Landscape Design in the North West and The Landscape Academy, a purpose built training centre dedicated to landscaping in the UK.


Jake founded his domestic landscaping company, The Landscaping Consultants, aged just 24. He is now a BALI board director and the BALI South Thames chairman, and has delivered various awardwinning gardens and outdoor spaces.


Ken White, former chairman of the APL, leads the multi-award-winning Frosts Landscape Construction, which carries out large commercial and private estate projects across the UK.


Rosemary has won numerous awards for her work, creating high quality gardens for both domestic and commercial clients. She is a fully registered member of the SGD and sits on the board of directors at BALI.


Chelsea’s most decorated designer boasts a collection of RHS medals and is a member of the LI, SGD and the Institute of Horticulture. Sarah strives to create as sustainable gardens as possible.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 ADVICE 19
With rising costs, can I change the price of an agreed quote?
Material prices can be unpredictable, but you can avoid losing money on a project by addressing this at the start, says Jake Catling
We must be mindful of rising costs as we already have many variables to deal with when delivering our service effectively

DOING Teaching

Having been teaching since 1984, I have seen a prolonged period of growth in the profession of garden design; but that upward trend has never been steady. Our economic cycles of growth and recession have come and gone in that period and once more we seem to be on the brink of a downward trend with at least economic uncertainty in our sights.

Garden design is often behind the curve. With longer periods of commitment to design schemes it can be several months or a year or so before designers see a change of direction. Trying to teach and organise tutors in these two contrasting periods can be tricky.

Garden design practices, even the more successful ones, are still small businesses with few employees. The popularity of garden design through the pandemic has meant that many designers are overstretched and desperate to recruit to deal with this phenomenon. Landscapers in turn share the same issues with overstretched teams and a shortage of skilled staff. The impact on teaching can be dramatic.

My preferred way of delivering garden design education is to use the combined knowledge and experience of designers and landscapers who are successful in their work and are able to share that with others, communicating and explaining well and sharing their passion. Students benefit from this shared knowledge, realising that this is linked to their future experiences of the garden design world. Tutor’s enthusiasm tends to be infectious too, allowing them to realise that there is a rewarding career out there for them beyond the pecuniary.

The description of tutors above might also be used to define the more successful designers and landscapers meaning that an expanding economy or

increased design demand makes finding and retaining tutors much more difficult. The converse, however, is that in times of recession

I receive many expressions of interest from both designers and contractors desperate to offer their services or to try their hand as their work falls away.

I have to strike a balance, creating a sustained level of quality that delivers a successful level of tuition whether the economic climate is good or bad. I also need to deliver teaching consistency which comes from a small, well-balanced team engaged regularly through the academic year. This can be compromised in both climates. I am unwilling to flood the course with a wide range of tutors each offering a day or so. Conversely, it can be difficult to find the right mix or balance of tutors when a growing design workload is calling.

A teaching day at LCGD is pretty full on and of course means that students are the focus of the day with little time to attend to work on site or a pressing design workload. I totally understand this dilemma having made a career juggling these issues for almost 40 years.

My concern is that I am teaching and nurturing the designers of the future, designers who will populate this career and work alongside landscapers. Perhaps at some stage they will also help to support successful practices and in turn teach from their experience. Surely this is an investment worth careful consideration.

Andrew Wilson is a landscape and garden design consultant, director of the London College of Garden Design, and an author, writer and lecturer.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 OPINION 21
I have to strike a balance, creating a sustained level of quality that delivers a successful level of tuition whether the economic climate is good or bad
Andrew Wilson considers the ups and downs of teaching in the field of garden design


Ihave found myself thinking about fun a lot recently.

As the markets tumble around us, energy bills become memes, and a pint of beer edges a tenner in London.

I am certainly not finding much out and about, though.

On a recent walk home from Tottenham Court Road station, with these recent events in mind, I was reflecting on some of the changes we have seen in and of the public realm in recent years – as well as some of the extreme embodiments of those changes being unwrapped today.

Walking around this area when I moved to London and lived around here 20 years ago, I was in awe of the tremendously ramshackle establishments of York Mansions offering me a glimpse of different cultures, sounds and smells; the famous Denmark Street offering one of the few remaining specialist streets in London; and not to mention the underground clubs giving birth to new movements and culture. It’s not like this anymore.

Do not construe my comments as being antiregenerative or me pining for yesteryear. Regeneration is necessary, essential and beautiful. It keeps us at the forefront, and it can bring forgotten parts of a city to life and make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. But for me I cannot escape the feeling that the public realm has become a disciplinary zone of surveillance, ruled by increasingly efficient technologies and connected to the simultaneous defunding of public infrastructure and increased privatisation. The architectural policing of social boundaries propped up by physical security systems and private forces have become the zeitgeist of some modern urban regeneration.

As in Paris through Haussmannisation, modern spaces are arguably at risk of becoming the panoptic spatial expression of control in city design. To be clear, we’re talking about the dominating presence of security; the defensible space principles

writ large, CCTV sculpture parks and deterrent designs. Barriers or barricades that direct us as pedestrians; metal gates that control crowd circulation; guardrails that block pedestrian movement; metal blocks placed between escalators to prevent sliding; spikes on perfectly good ledges to stop sitting; and – a personal favourite – seats designed to be so inhospitable that one can only perch for 10 minutes or so.

These contemporary devices, designs, and technologies of management and surveillance are the physical infrastructure, the outward signs of the regulation and correction of human behaviour. Something Michel Foucault referred to as the creation of the ‘carceral archipelago’ in his 1975 publication, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, to describe the modern penal system of the 1970s. What this illustrates well is the extent to which we have allowed contemporary urban environments to purify the public by eliminating all so-called undesirables in order to produce a consumerist ideal public – one that consumes rather than enjoys urban environments, one that must consume to have fun.

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.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 OPINION 22
I cannot escape the feeling that the public realm has become a disciplinary zone of surveillance, ruled by increasingly efficient technologies
Has our public realm been overrun by surveillance and control, wonders
TheChristopher Martin

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New direction for sustainability and the green agenda?

The news was gloomy a few months ago and things have only gotten worse with the energy crisis deepening, fuelling a cost-of-living emergency not seen in generations. The outlook remains bleak, and it is going to get worse before it gets better, a view supported by almost every key economic indicator.

We are facing a broad and long recession as inflation (CPI) peaks at around a staggering 11%, a level not seen since the early 1980s. Price pressures remain acute, consumer spending is being constrained, labour markets remain tight, markets were spooked by the disastrous Liz Truss/Kwasi Kwarteng minibudget,1 interest rates are rising and investment intentions are decreasing.

To limit the rise in interest rates that the UK Government pays on public debt (and indirectly that homeowners pay on mortgages) the jittery bond markets need to be re-assured that the UK is a low-risk place to

do business. In sharp contrast to the minibudget which sought to borrow eye-watering amounts of money to pay for tax cuts, Sunak and new chancellor Jeremy Hunt have placed reducing public debt at the centre of regaining credibility and achieving the financial stability which will benefit businesses and consumers alike. This means we will see a combination of tax rises with a reduction in public services and capital investment, impacting economic activity and household wealth. The argument goes that without such measures, the recession would be worse still. All the while, the weak pound vs. dollar increases the cost of imports as many commodities are priced in dollars, fanning the flames of inflation in the process.

The energy crisis required significant government intervention to prevent human, social and business catastrophes. But the energy price cap, announced on 8 September, and other support to business and consumers, will likely require a similar level of state

funding as that provided during the first year of the COVID-19 crisis,2 kicking the problem into the long grass with taxpayers footing the bill in years to come. There were probably no pragmatic alternatives: the UK is, after all, supporting an asymmetric war against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and wars come at a cost, in this case in the form of higher, more volatile energy prices.

All of the above raises the spectre of “stagflation” for a few years until the drivers of high inflation (mostly energy, food, wages, interest rates and the value of the pound) return to some normality.

Whilst climate change, sustainability, and the green agenda did not feature prominently in the leadership contest debates over the summer and into October, the Sunak Government appears to be less blind to the catastrophic consequences of climate change and biodiversity loss. For instance, there have been some welcome U-turns with the ban on

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 OPINION 24
Marcus Watson investigates the the potential impact on net zero, sustainability and the green agenda of the new Rishi Sunak government, the energy crisis, inflation and an expected lengthy recession
The Sunak Government appears to be less blind to the catastrophic consequences of climate change and biodiversity loss

fracking being re-instated and Sunak appearing to listen to feedback by attending COP27 in person and stating that “there is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change” and that he wishes to “deliver on Glasgow's legacy of building a secure and sustainable future.”3

Of course, we will need more than words to achieve the ambition of net zero by 2050. And with investment in capital projects coming under increasing pressure, action may be harder to come by.

What can we expect from the Sunak Government? A return to an orthodox way of running the economy where the government will not spend money it does not have. We can expect to see a smaller state with (hopefully infrequent!) bold interventions where these are required to maintain stability. We are likely to continue to see the transition from “what can government do to help business” towards “what can business do to help itself” where the role of government will be more about regulation and frameworks rather than direct investment.

More specifically, what can we expect from the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the department with much influence in transitioning the UK to a sustainable economy? Chris Skidmore MP, a sustainability advocate and former energy and climate minister, was appointed in September to lead a senior review of the UK’s net zero plans, to find the most efficient and fastest ways to reach the climate target.4 Whilst his appointment was made under the Truss Government by the then Secretary of State for BEIS Jacob Rees-Mogg, Chris appears to have survived the reshuffle which is good news for sustainability and mitigating climate change.

The appointment of Grant Shapps to replace Jacob Rees-Mogg has been broadly met with relief and, at times, Shapps has spoken in favour of the economic benefits of going green: “We need to combat the idea that it costs you money to go green.”5 That said, he has not been a particularly vocal advocate for the green agenda and there

remains a concern in some quarters that he may represent “business as usual.”6

What I am unsure about is the impact of so-called “business-friendly” deregulation on our environment.

Will this policy continue? If so, will promoting growth and simplifying planning, come at a cost to the natural world upon which all human activity, including business, relies on to thrive? Time, which increasingly is in short supply, will tell.

Ultimately, as we have seen recently, should there be a tussle between political ideology, the views of business (especially big business), and voters, voters will win. And we must hope that voters of all persuasions are unlikely to vote for policies that will damage the health, wealth and happiness of their children and grandchildren.

Combined, and despite some recent setbacks, the above offer hope and a rational basis for optimism that the UK’s sustainability and net zero ambitions will endure and be re-invigorated following COP27, even if the plans to deliver these ambitions are tweaked in their detail and delivery methods. What we cannot afford to do is delay.

Of course, many people and businesses, especially low-income families and small businesses, will be rightly concerned about the huge impact of price rises not seen in two generations. Support must therefore be targeted to people and businesses most in need.

In this respect, there is still much work to do. In parallel, government, businesses and individuals must, together, persevere in creating a thriving and prosperous UK economy that safeguards and indeed restores the natural world upon which we depend. After all, on this point, there is no alternative.


1 “Britain’s chancellor offers up a reckless budget, fiscally and politically”, The Economist, 23 Sept 2022,

2 Discussions with Ben Jones, Lead Economist, at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) where the author is Council Member. Difficult to accurately estimate costs due to volatility of energy prices uncertain scale and scope of additional support packages but the order of magnitude comparison is thought to be accurate.

3 Rishi Sunak Twitter Account, @RishiSunak, 2 Nov 2022.

4 H. Horton, “Liz Truss appoints green Tory Chris Skidmore to lead net zero review”, The Guardian, 8 Sept 2022, liz-truss-appoints-green-tory-chris-skidmore-tolead-net-zero-review

5 “Grant Shapps MP: Going green isn’t to blame for rising prices”, BrightBlue a Think Tank, 28 Jan 2022, www.

6 S. Smith, “Grant Shapps urged to ban fracking as he replaces Jacob Rees-Mogg in business secretary role”, The Independent, 26 Oct 2022, www.independent.


Marcus Watson joined Ground Control in 2011 and led the company for close to a decade, handing over the reins to Jason Knights in Jan 2021. Marcus remains with Ground Control as non-executive director and a shareholder. As a Council Member for the CBI and a member of the CBI’s Energy & Climate Change Committee, Marcus champions the voice of business, entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability. Marcus believes that business is a force for good and that business leaders have the opportunity and 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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Government, businesses and individuals must, together, persevere in creating a thriving and prosperous UK economy that safeguards and indeed restores the natural world
01428 741655 Pleaching - Topiary - Hedging - Specimen Trees & Shrubs

any closer to a


Christmas is just around the corner and a feeling of political change in the new year suggests we are all none-the-wiser on how horticulture and the landscape industry will find 2023 and beyond. At the time of writing (mid-October), there are lots of unanswered questions on labour and skills shortages, APHA plant health checks on imports, Border Control Points, peat phasing out timetable, ELMS (Environmental Land Management Scheme) being changed/watered down by the government, energy shortages and so much more.

I have had to rewrite this article having first wondered if Liz Truss would still be PM when it was published, and now know Truss has been replaced by Rishi Sunak. But following the Truss government reshuffle and appointment of new Defra ministers including Ranil Jayawardena as the cabinet minister in September, I took the opportunity to write to him to stress the importance of him finding a healthy and communicative working relationship with horticulture.

As some of you will know, in 2019 I started a campaign to install a minister for horticulture in the UK parliament: I had no real belief that this would ever happen, but I was very keen to promote discussion and that tool proved a valuable one to really bring horticulture to the agenda within Defra. I have been critical of the previous cabinet minister George Eustace, as someone understandably very focused on post-Brexit agriculture and fisheries, but resoundingly poorly focused on horticulture.

My hope is that for however long he lasts as the minister, Mr Jayawardena will give horticulture better attention and representation in the political corridors of Westminster. From what I have seen so far, he has been reasonably focused on it, with a trip to Holland to look at mechanisation and a review of UK mechanised horticulture. Personally, I feel that we have far greater things to be immediately concerned with in the industry than whether a robot can trim plants, pick crops or apply feeds, and a ‘jolly’ to Holland doesn’t help to ingratiate the minister with those he represents.

While our industry has endless unanswered questions, many of which represent untold costs, lack of job securities and further

weakening of our businesses, we must expect answers from those in power. I feel that Defra as a body has been more consultative of late, which I welcome, but it comes after a long period of significant imposed change, without due input from the industries that it affects. Instability in recent governments have led to wholesale tearing up of previous agreements and laws, including some with catastrophic potential to our wildlife and landscape. The desire of a PM or cabinet to leave their mark on history shouldn’t be tolerated where it simply choses to undo legislation without consultation or to wantonly backtrack on promises because the are hard to keep.

Like many, I’m sure, I long for a period of calm in our politics, where sensible decision-making guided by actual research, buy-in from affected industries and independent scientific and financial guidance can help us to form policies that shape our future positively, sustainably and measurably.

Addendum; I got a response to my letter the day after Mr Jayawardena was replaced and it seemed focused on horticulture being an entirely food production based industry, failing to grasp the value of ornamental horticulture. We have some way to go.


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.

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A letter to the latest Defra minister was met with silence, shares Lewis Normand
Are we
While our industry has endless unanswered questions, we must expect answers from those in power


Landscapers need to prepare for a continuing drought order into next year,

We tend to have short memories regarding past weather, but we ought to remember 2022 as a year of drought and one of the hottest on record. This was especially in England and south of a line from the Wash to Bristol Channel where July temperatures reached new records and rainfall was scarce. In this area rivers are still subject to low flows and groundwater levels remain below normal.

The potential soil moisture deficit measured in Cambridge this year was as severe as the droughts of 1976 and 2018. Yes, our lawns have returned to green but woody plants have suffered, especially trees. The effects of this year are set to be with us well into 2023.

River flows are likely to be below normal, exceptionally so in many cases, over the next three months in central, eastern and southern England and normal elsewhere.

The heatwave we had in July hit record temperatures of 40°C amidst a very dry spring and summer. In the unfolding drought, hosepipe bans were announced and at the time of writing they remain – though we have had heavy rain in early November, the outlook is predicted to be below normal monthly averages. Unless we get consistent well above average rainfall over this winter we face drought conditions in 2023, so be prepared. How can we as landscapers prepare, especially in the dry South and East? Invest in soil moisture retention capacity with all soil cultivations this winter. Mulch everything. Advise customers that drip irrigation will be the only irrigation permitted during ongoing hosepipe bans and drought restrictions. Where possible, install rainfall harvesting to avoid using drinking water for irrigation. Watch out for stressed trees in spring and apply first aid by using watering bags on new tree planting.

is only the initial phase with appalling success rates if young trees have to go it alone.

Is this summer going to have similar effects on our established mature trees? I experienced the 1976 summer where temperatures topped 32° for 15 days on the trot with a maximum of 36°. The results of which can still be seen in any felled tree where the growth rings for that year are tiny. I predict 2022 will have similar

Groundwater levels are likely to be below normal in October in the far south, and normal to below normal elsewhere.


We need trees – they have the power to save lives. The heat is damaging to people, not just to plants. This year’s July heatwave is calculated at causing some 2,800 excess UK deaths in the 65+ age group. It just reinforces the need for more tree planting, but we should call it tree establishment as planting

effects. Research of a Herefordshire woodland showed 1976 caused permanent damage to Beech trees resulting in loss of growth and even 40+ years later they are only growing at 70% of pre 76 rates. In this wood the Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) have overtaken beech to become the dominant canopy tree.

I have seen plenty of stressed beech and other trees this year and it’s a clear indication that beech trees are not viable long term for planting in the south of England apart from as a hedge. Of course, young and newly planted trees will have had a hard summer and mostly only survived with supplemental irrigation. So, I don’t think we can we continue to plant without sufficient irrigation to get them established.

We must all champion the need to get trees established and independent in the landscape. I wish you a merry Christmas and a profitable new year.

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warns Nick Coslett
It just reinforces the need for more tree planting, but we should call it tree establishment as planting is only the initial phase
©UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology


Conversations around biodiversity amongst those in land services agencies are now often couched in terms of how to achieve net gain and the application of a national metric that uses habitat features to enable the calculation of an area’s condition and value to wildlife. Biodiversity net gain and the metric have been introduced to protect and enhance species diversity but to work effectively the people involved in their implementation need sufficient background ecological knowledge and awareness of how to survey the land in front of them to make better informed decisions of the most appropriate next steps.

Ground Control – a fully carbon neutral, award-winning external maintenance company – identified this need to support its workforce in building a stronger understanding of habitat survey skills to lead to more positive outcomes for biodiversity across its estate. Through this need, a partnership was established with the Field Studies Council; an educational charity with 79 years’ experience of offering formal adult learning in natural history, ecology and the environment. The organisations collaborated to develop a bespoke learning package uniting site managers from different sections of Ground Control’s operations with FSC’s expert botanical trainers through a package of experiential learning content entitled ‘An Introduction to UK Habitat Classification for Site Assessment’.

Ground Control’s site managers are the first people to audit the landscapes in their care. It was therefore a key aim of the training to equip them with the basic skills to identify when a habitat may be of high biodiversity value, understand what makes a site biodiverse and how we might change management of client sites to improve biodiversity. The course introduced learners to UKHAB as the new

unified and comprehensive approach to classifying habitats and the focus was placed on grassland, woodland and scrub habitats as those most encountered. The learners were introduced to botanical skills to help them identify key plant species indicative of the different habitat types and awareness was built around the completion of habitat condition assessments considering structure, diversity and the presence or absence of key species. On completing the course, attendees are now able to apply their understanding out in the field to create digital base maps denoting habitat types with reference to UKHAB classifications using existing Ground Control applications. They also have a basic understanding of the habitat condition assessment process using the biodiversity metric set out by Natural England. The Field Studies Council’s training partnership with Ground Control promises to be the first of many given the potential scale of support possible for further UK land services agencies and associated industries as they all look to support their workforces in the comprehension of new methodologies leading to the net gain of biodiversity across the UK.


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Clare Rooney is the training and engagement manager for adult natural history and biodiversity skills learning at the Field Studies Council. She oversees the development and delivery of courses across a broad range of biodiversity subjects happening both online and in venues across the UK. She comes from a background of science and environmental education consultancy and has a lifelong love of learning and sharing knowledge about the natural world.
Clare Rooney explains how the Field Studies Council created bespoke learning on biodiversity with Ground Control
Ground Control’s site managers are the first people to audit the landscapes in their care
The Park, North Aston, Oxfordshire OX25 6HL | 01869 340 342 (option 1) NICHOLSONS PLANT TRADE Experienced growers and traders since 1979 • Trees • Hedging • Screening • Specimen shrubs • Topiary • Climbers • Fruit • Hebaceous perennials • Plant sundries • Irrigation All of our own production is peat-free, grown and nurtured by our horticultural experts on our 23-acre site at North Aston. We also have strong network of trusted trading partners. For our trade terms and to register as a customer please visit:


Quality plants and advice from expert horticulturalists, helping you to plant a better future


Resilience and responsibilities. Two simple words that any businesses these days will have invested a lot of time and thought into. All businesses want a level playing field on which to operate and economically this has never been harder to achieve. Levelling up or down is a worthy endeavour, but economic disparities in earnings and the buffeting of global forces mean businesses must be resilient. Responsibilities, whether to markets, consumers, staff, or the environment are not commitments to be taken lightly.

Nicholsons, based north of Oxford, has been growing and supplying trees, hedges, and screening for more than 40 years and so knows something about resilience. There is a real tangible drive in this nursery to make sure that their products are produced with not just the trade, wholesale, and private customer in mind but also the environment. They take these responsibilities very seriously.

The quality of what they grow always takes the lead and this is supported by cultural excellence and an energetic, caring team.

But how they produce these lovely plants is equally important for them and at every turn they act responsibly. Biosecurity is not the least of their concerns.

Nicholsons is proud to have been certified to comply with the Plant Healthy Management Standard. It joins a select group of leading UK nurseries and horticultural organisations which hold this credential, with the aim of helping people and businesses grow and supply healthy plants. Becoming certified is no tick-box; undertaking it forces the business to assess operations at every turn and ensure that best practice is embedded and has traceability.

The most common way for pests to be introduced into a new area is by the movement of live plants; if businesses handling plant material do so in a manner that promotes plant health and biosecurity, then Nicholsons believes they are on a much stronger footing to protect other cultivated plants and natural habitats. This has led to some tough commercial decisions for Nicholsons and not trading high risk and many of the lower risk Xylella fastidiosa hosts is for them the responsible thing to do.

Similarly, peat: trialling over 10 years and finally moving all production over to peat free, as well as offering customers only peat free composts was never in question. The increased costs were absorbed and not passed on to the end user. It is possible to go from 85% peat to zero and the team are rightly proud to have achieved this without compromising quality. Whether it is recycling or reusing pots, capturing, and treating rainwater for irrigation, using nematodes over chemicals, it can be done – even if the journey to get there is not always easy. Nicholsons evolved from growing native trees and shrubs in pots. In an era when bareroot was king and seasonality meant you did not plant out of the November to March pocket, eyebrows were raised at potting up hawthorn, oak, ash (back in the day) whips. The model worked and Nicholsons has been supporting landscape projects, councils, schools, developers, and individuals alike ever since. The range now encompasses larger ornamental screening, laurel, natives, pleached material and probably the biggest range of UK grown, peat free Quercus ilex Director Merlin Brooke-Little comments: “It is always a pleasure to help a client get from

theory to reality, working with their requirements but also be able offer something a little different that they may not have considered.”

Taking what Nicholsons considers to be the responsible approach to matters of sustainability can come at an initial cost, but it is a testament to how this approach makes for an offering to be proud of. Resilience for Nicholsons is about working with nature, its resources and limitations and wanting to lead by example and bring others on the journey whist also offering a fabulous range of plants and great horticultural advice.

Nicholsons also provides a full consultancy and operational service in the areas of arboriculture, ecology, biodiversity net gain, forestry, woodlands, landscape design and green infrastructure. For further information on our full suite of services, please visit:

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It is always a pleasure to help a client get from theory to reality
BRITISH FIELD GROWN MULTI-STEM TREES 2022/23 Field Collection available, call now for your free copy The home of field grown multi-stem trees 2022/23 Field Collection available now to view or download on our website. Contact us at


Location: York

Rolawn Vegetable and Fruit Topsoil (Bulk Bag)

“Rolawn Vegetable and Fruit Topsoil was recently used as part of an allotment project based in the quaint and historic city of York. A mix of strawberry, onion, carrot and broad bean seeds were planted using this type of soil, as it is a safe, peat-free and friable growing medium.

The purpose of the project was to create raised beds filled with food-safe soil to highlight the importance and value of sowing and growing your own organic produce.

Rolawn’s Vegetable and Fruit topsoil is available to purchase online (70L of product approx. per bulk bag) and is the perfect soil for many fruits and vegetables to flourish in. It’s ideal for raised beds and containers and analysed to BS3882:2015, making it suitable for residential home-grown use.”


Location: York

Green-tree topsoil “Nine hundred tonnes of Green-tree topsoil were supplied to a prestigious £33.5m mixed use project in York. Re-form Landscape Architecture was tasked with ensuring the green areas of the site were as impressive as the buildings themselves. This included a courtyard garden and areas of public realm. The garden is interspersed with seating areas and an outdoor ‘office’ with power points. The landscaping included lawned areas, tree planting and shrub beds.

Green-tree’s topsoil was chosen for its green credentials and was used throughout. Andrew Ryder, managing director of landscape contractor Atlas Green comments: “We have worked with Green-tech for many years and can always rely on them to supply what we need, when we need it.”


Getting the soil right is vital to a project’s success, as these suppliers showcase


Location: Mindenhurst, Deepcut Village, Surrey Specialist manufactured topsoils

“Mindenhurst is a neighbourhood set Surrey's countryside – being created by Skanska in partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. Formerly the home of Princess Royal Barracks, the site has a rich military history, which brought its own challenges.

Once complete, Mindenhurst will offer 1,200 new homes and essential local amenities, which include a new primary school, retail outlets, sports facilities, business premises and over 69ha of public green space, which includes valuable heathland habitat.

One challenge was the need to replace much of the topsoil to mimic the diverse range of soils that exist on the site, which includes low fertility and ericaceous soils. Bury Hill’s challenge was to create a range of specialist manufactured topsoils, which were guaranteed to be contaminate free, whilst fully meeting the diverse needs of the site.


Location: New build primary school, Derby with Panoramic Landscapes Screened Topsoil

“AHS produces its own blended Screened Topsoil to BS3882:2015 which is perfect for professional landscaping applications. A mixture of specialist sand and PAS100 organic green compost, this Screened Topsoil is peat free, rich in nutrients and organic matter. By producing our own blended Screened Topsoil, we can control the quality and consistency of product. We spoke to Jacob at Panoramic Landscapes, who was delighted with our Screened Topsoil: ‘We frequently use AHS for the supply of various goods thanks to the excellent customer service and the quick turnaround. It was essential for this project. The Screened Topsoil was excellent quality too. And thankfully with AHS’ help, we achieved this goal on schedule.’”

PRODUCTS prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 33 | 01582 843881 | Chequers Hill, Flamstead, Nr St.Albans, Herts, AL3 8ET • ADVICE • DELIVERY • PLANTING • AFTERCARE • Over 450 varieties of semi-mature and mature trees and hedging, grown in 35 to 4,000 litre AirPot containers. SUPPLYING MAJESTIC TREES NATIONWIDE FOR 20 YEARS! Grower of the Year: Nursery Stock 2008 • 2011 2015 • 2017 Supplier of the Year 2020 Google reviews 4.9 out of 5 Visit our 27 acre nursery, where you can personally select specimen trees for your upcoming projects. Majestic always excel from their front of house, horticultural advisors, delivery drivers and through to the scheduling department – consistently reliable job after job! Our clients are always
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At this private residence in the West Midlands, the garden was a relatively blank canvas, with a sloping lawn and oddly shaped paved areas. To replace the somewhat dull and uninviting space, the clients were looking for a new, contemporary design that was functional for the whole family, with various areas to entertain, relax and dine. An outdoor kitchen, hot tub, firepit seating and lighting were also on the wishlist.

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Lucy Bravington split the garden into zones and terraced the lawn, a request which was a key part of the brief. She explored making the garden more useable for the clients whilst being easy to maintain, with planting focused around the house and the seating areas.

Porcelain perfection

Various porcelain paving was used for different areas, including modern patterned tiles from Mandarin Stone for two of the seating areas. From Landscapia’s point of view, it made for a “enjoyable build which was completed on time and on budget. Our favourite parts of the garden have to be the detail porcelain we chose for the feature areas and the amazing tree ferns that frame the paths.”

Landscapia has since assisted with the furnishing and lighting, which it says has really completed the garden. “Being such a crisp design, it was important that the precision of the build was perfect. The transition between all the different materials had to be seamless and we pride ourselves on being able to deliver this level of attention to detail.”

There were areas of deep, dry shade under neighbouring mature trees and also pockets of full sun, so Lucy designed the planting scheme accordingly. Tree ferns were chosen to add drama

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The contemporary paving used throughout the project:

• Porcelain paving in Florence Storm and Urban Grey, London Stone,

• Porcelain paving Casa Grande Decor 1, Mandarin Stone,

• Split face tiles in Silver Grey Quartz, Mrs Stone Store,

against the house and soften the brickwork, with ferns, hostas and hellebores beneath. Climbers to soften the fencing with Trachelospermum jasminoides were used for evergreen cover and fragrance. Long flowering perennials and grasses were specified for areas in the sun, with Stipa gigantea positioned as a focal point to draw the eye and to provide soft screening by the hot tub.


The only design challenge, says Lucy, was working out where to position key elements. “We explored several positions for the Green Retreat studio, hot tub and kitchen. There was also to be another pod style seating area at one point, but this was removed to suit budget and refine the design. The end result

and chosen configuration works really well. Sometimes it’s worth exploring several options to put minds at ease and it’s essential to iron out any concerns before the garden build starts,” says Lucy.

There were a few surprises with the build, though. Tweaks were made to the design due to hidden manhole covers and the location of the garden room meant two of these covers needed to be relocated. “When marking out the ground ready for building the hardstanding areas we invited the customer to see the space in a real sense.

1 Casual seating area

2 View of casual seating, framed by tree ferns

3 Split level garden, with tree ferns and hedging

4 All three seating areas and family lawn

Photographs ©Bair Visuals

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There were a few concerns over whether the space would accommodate the proposed furniture and hot tub. We were able to tweak the layout to ensure the space was adequate before we committed to building walls. It is extremely important that the designer, the contractor and the client have regular catch ups to discuss the design during the process and for everyone to be open to slight changes to ensure the end product is perfect.

“Like most people, the client found it hard to visualise the space initially but we

offer a 3D visualisation service so we were able to take Lucy’s design and turn it into a realistic walkthrough which gave the client the confidence to visualise how the garden will ultimately look.” The clients now have a new outdoor space which meets all of their needs thanks to the collaborative effort from those who created it.

5 View towards garden room and three seating areas

6 Fire pit cover and comfy sofas

Photographs ©Bair Visuals


Porcelain paving London Stone

Porcelain paving Madarin Stone

Split face tiles

Mrs Stone Store

Garden room Garden Retreats ABOUT

Lucy Bravington is an award-winning garden and landscape designer with more than 15 years’ experience designing gardens. Her designs are elegant, contemporary spaces with strong lines created through the hard landscaping and enhanced with planting. Lucy enjoys using evergreen hedging to frame areas and adds perennials to soften, provide pops of colour and interest.

Landscapia Ltd is a multi-award-winning garden design and build company specialising in creating beautiful gardens and contemporary outdoor spaces in the West Midlands. It has a passionate team which is experienced, dedicated and prides itself on its professionalism and attention to detail.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 PORTFOLIO 38
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For further information regarding commercial opportunities with Maze contact Harry Beard via email: or call 01440 840086.

Has adding water ever been easier?

How to: The OASE Waterfall

OASE’s waterfall range enables you to add the beauty of moving water to even the smallest project. The design allows it to function alongside an OASE reservoir system or to be added to a pre-existing pond. This feature is easy to install, easy to maintain and is precision-engineered to ensure longevity.

The OASE Waterfall can be purchased as a complete set and comes in three sizes: 30cm, 60cm and 90cm. These size options allow you to cater to any space. Encase the waterfall spillway with decorative elements, or have it free-standing when you purchase the wall version shown in the image. By burying a reservoir under the waterfall cascade (with a pump inside) and running the hose back to the feature, a cyclical effect is created.

The waterfall produces a continuous sheet of water that is both calming and mesmerising to watch. Create an eye-catching centrepiece for your client by placing it against a feature wall or on a patio. If you want to reduce the sound and minimise splashing, an OASE Silent Splash can be added. Furthermore, an additional LED light will illuminate the spillway lip and make the water glow throughout the evening and night.

OASE has taken engineering elements from our largest and most prestigious fountain installations, and scaled it down for your projects. OASE’s waterscaping prod uct range is easy to use, perfect for any space, and most importantly - reliable.

Find your nearest OASE distributor here

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TERRACED Transformation

Privacy can be difficult when you’re living in central London, but the clients for this impressive property were looking to create a home for the family to enjoy and the key areas were to be screened from view.

Standing within the Holland Park Conservation Area in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the client’s listed building was undergoing an extensive refurbishment by Guy Stansfield Architects, and the garden needed to flow seamlessly from this.

A greater sense of arrival to the front of the property was requested, with a driveway and planted areas. The rear garden was to be designed

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 41 PROJECT DETAILS Build time 1 year Size of project 1,050m2

with different spaces for the family to relax and socialise, with dining spaces seating up to 12 people, a BBQ area and an outdoor fire. The clients also wanted more private spaces for their older daughter to enjoy the garden, as well as a lawn which could be used for informal play but also with the possibility of adding a marquee in the future.

Access needed to be improved from the higher main terrace and lower basement level into the main garden, and the clients wanted water to be explored in the design. Overall, the garden was to be turned into a more immersive experience for the family.

Adding privacy

To create more privacy in the front garden, McWilliam Studio added pleaching to the boundary, and perennials and ornamental grasses were planted to replace the existing lawn. Light, spacious paving was used for the path and steps leading up to the front door, with roses for structure and scent, and planted lower beds to soften the retaining wall.

Before, the lower terrace used to look out onto a large circular lawn, with a steep bank heading down towards the basement, leaving a narrow path alongside the house. As part of the architectural refurbishment, the basement was developed to create more space, and the lawn turned into a series of planted and paved levels with a shallow rill running throughout the levels. Planting surrounds the lower terraces for privacy.

Where the lawn took centre stage previously with planting tucked around the edges, McWilliam Studio introduced deep borders, multi-stemmed trees and hedging for a more diverse planting scheme. Smaller terraces were created on the retained bank, replacing the monoculture of Lonicera nitida

A brick wall-lined path with an old wooden bench to the east end of the garden looked more like a park than a private garden, so it was transformed into a more modern area with a series of spaces for the family to relax by the fire, host barbecues and engage with productive planting with nuts and fruit for foraging.

In the central garden, multi-stemmed hawthorns (Crataegus monogyna) add character to the border, and lower ornamental meadow planting features a mix of perennials, grasses and roses.

Diverse planting

The majority of existing mature trees were retained, including a large Quercus ilex in the front garden, and a further 15 trees were planted within the garden. A liriodendron adjacent to the boundary wall alongside the public pavement needed to be removed, though, as it was in a dangerous condition and was affecting the structural integrity of the wall.

Plenty of new planted areas were added, with a diverse range of perennials, grasses and shrubs, as well as a foraging area. Around 60m2 of planted area across the flat roof spaces will help with water attenuation and species diversity.

Without a doubt, the biggest challenge in delivering the garden was

1 Aerial view over new garden

2 Outdoor fireplace with relaxed seating and charred larch screens

3 View across new terracing and steps combined with luxuriant planting

At the end of the garden, decorative screens in charred timber and brass create contemporary focal points as well as privacy beside a large outdoor fire and seating area.

A water rill runs down the series of terraces and stairs, with Allgreen hard paving used for terrace, steps and driveway

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doing so during a global pandemic. Aside from COVID-19, the site access was very restrictive, which made removing spoil from the site and bringing in new materials very difficult for the contractors. They were able to negotiate the dismantling and then rebuilding of the rear boundary wall which enabled the 12 specimen Crataegus monogyna to be brought in and positioned on site without the use of a crane. A mix of planting and light, modern hard landscaping has turned the outdoor areas of this listed property into seamless contemporary spaces for the family to both relax and entertain.

McWilliam Studio is a multi-award winning and leading landscape architecture and garden design practice, based in Buckinghamshire and working across London and the South East. The practice is led by award winning designer Gavin McWilliam in collaboration with Andrew Wilson and a team of talented Associates. Over the past 10 years it has won more than 30 national and international awards for its work, including Gold at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Gold and Best in Show at the Singapore Garden Festival.


Paving Allgreen Group

Water feature Water Artisans Metalwork Surrey Ironcraft

Trellis The Garden Trellis Company

5 View through Crataegus monogyna with underplanting 6 View through planting to pleached Carpinus betulus Photographs ©Alister Thorpe Garden designers Gavin McWilliam and Andrew Wilson, McWilliam Studio Architects 23 + GS/318 Landscape contractor Landscape Associates Main contractor RAI Developments Trees Deepdale

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 PORTFOLIO 44
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Pool Ideasof

The addition of a water feature to any garden, whether a private residence or large commercial landscape, will enhance the wellbeing, experience and feeling of those who use the space. With an increased focus on living sustainably, people are seeking to diversify their gardens by extending their living space and adding relaxation areas, the essential ingredient being water.

Changing customer landscape

Online searches provide endless inspiration leading to increasing requests for customisable, innovative, and artistic products which fit individual needs. Many clients need the convenience of a total landscaping package, with sculptures, paving, copings and cladding all available together in synergy with their design, planting plan and desired water feature.

New materials

Natural stone has long been the Foras mainstay; however, driven by changing customer requirements and industry-led trends, the range has expanded to include new materials which suit more modern architecturally intricate buildings. Making use of clear acrylic, fused glass, and stainless steel, we have developed a range of quality features utilising the plethora of engineering talent and artistic flair present in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. Architectural design is certainly pushing the boundaries and we are complementing this by experimenting with laser cut metal, enhanced lighting, adaptive finishes and a smaller footprint.

These portable and lightweight features boast an integrated reservoir which can be installed above or below ground and can cast a myriad of illuminated kaleidoscopic effects in the water flow.

Illuminated thinking

There are also increasing requests for integrated LED illumination. This allows a feature to be appreciated long after the sun goes down, as well as brightening the garden

in the darker winter months. For commercial spaces illumination adds impact and really draws people to the feature, making it the focal point as intended by the designer of the space. Optically clear acrylic, when combined with water and light, displays active water movement and creates a sensory experience.

Foras Fusion, Neptune and Aqueum ranges contain features which aerate the water to create bubbles, display endless reflections and even produce a vortex effect.

Bespoke flexibility

Designing and manufacturing in-house allows the flexibility for many of our customers to specify extra features, combining our exquisite natural stone pieces with new materials, open water pools and bespoke steelwork. Features

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Claire Brutnall shares the water feature trends which are shaping Foras’ own range
We have certainly seen more and more clients seeking individuality and asking for bespoke features tailored to them

can then be enhanced with coping and cladding. We have certainly seen more and more clients seeking individuality and asking for bespoke features tailored to them utilising our innovative, engineered solutions.

No digging

Although there has been an upsurge in water feature popularity, it has historically been impossible to site a feature on a roof terrace, in rented accommodation, or a listed building. People are also moving home more often creating a strong market for lighter, more compact and moveable features. Foras introduced portability in 2019 with our Italian porcelain water boxes. Compact, lightweight and customisable in different colours of porcelain, they mimic a raised bed without the permanence and associated cost of building work. This allows customers to enjoy a water feature without digging, on roof gardens, balconies and even indoors. A steel version is available in either solid Corten or powder coated to match any colour, opening the scope of what can be displayed, including heavier, larger features.


New for 2022 Foras has introduced the first in a range of self-contained features which

Bespoke functional art

Always seeking the new, our development team has been working to incorporate fused art glass within a functional water feature. Our Shard bowls are produced by combining metal oxides and paints within the glass to

3 Top FeaturesWater


Bliss Trio

create a vast array of polychromatic effects. Bubbles, created by the high temperatures in the fusing process, enhance the texture of the glass and give a luminous and iridescent effect. Each bowl is a piece of art and as such is individually named and completely unique.

The Shard Shrine water feature, a union of bespoke stainless steel and artisan fused glass, launched during FutureScape 2022, showcases the controllability, portability, and sustainability of our work. For those seeking a smaller feature the Shard Vault offers one of our beautiful bowls on an illuminated acrylic tube, highlighting all the colours and textures within the glass and the water flowing over it.

The future

For 2023 Foras will have a curated range of features with watertight engineered reservoirs integrated into the design, which will provide the ultimate solution in terms of flexibility, durability and longevity. Some will be available for hire, compete with installation/removal. An investment for now and the future, combining timeless materials and timeless design.

Three uniquely patinated rainbow natural stone spheres, carved with infinity pools at the top and sited together as one feature. £4,600

Neptune 600

A water feature uniting a natural slate dish with a ‘floating’ clear acrylic sphere, beautifully illuminated with an integral light. From £2,500

require no base. The Crucible Spa has all components neatly concealed within the bowl, making it the ideal piece for unconventional locations and commercial use where it can be easily re-sited with just two people. A feature such as this would make the ideal centrepiece for memorable events, festivals, product launches, or an opening night party.


Claire has a background in international procurement for blue-chip retailers and wanted to source something less volumetric and more sustainable. Founded in 2002, Foras Ltd was created after a chance conversation about the longevity, beauty and durability of natural stone and the market need for a new type of garden accessory. Foras managing director Claire is focused on the ‘Norfolk Born’ brand and the company values of choice, quality, and customer service.

Belmont Layered Slate

Individual layers of iridescent natural slate are shaped to produce water feature spheres from 40cm to 100cm diameter. From £899

*all prices inclusive of VAT

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@WCrowder&SonsLtd @crowdersnurseries @CrowdersNursery Legacy Edging is made from solid steel providing strong, durable and subtle edging. It creates a clean edge between driveways and lawns, beds and pathways. We manufacture in galvanised, natural steel and corten. Available nationwide on a supply only basis or supply and install. For further guidance, advice and information visit our website or call us: 01664 431759 Pre-formed internal and external right angled sections Securely fixed below surface Strong and durable ground fittings Flexible for gentle curved features Solid steel locating and locking pins Choice of heights and thickness available to suit every application LE_198x128_Ad-01.2022-ART.pdf 1 13/01/2022 11:31
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Design by


Five years ago, we revealed the 25 Most Influential people in the horticulture industry. But a lot can change in half a decade, and whilst some of the faces will be familiar from the list back in 2017, there are also a lot of new entries to Pro Landscaper’s Most Influential. Take rising star Tom Massey, who continues to make a name for himself at Chelsea, or Paul Lynch and Tony Benger whose companies have both received the title of Supreme Winner at the Pro Landscaper Business Awards.

Amongst this year’s Most Influential, you’ll see those who are leading our associations, those who have become household names after appearing on our TV screens, and those who are striving for more sustainability, diversity and inclusivity in our industry.

To decide who would appear on our list of influencers, we asked for our readers to put forward who they thought were their top three Most Influential people. This formed our list of 50 finalists, which we put out to a vote to reach the Top 25. Within these 25 names, we have highlighted Pro Landscaper’s Top Three Most Influential, but also our People’s Choice Top Three Most Influential. Eager to find out who they are, and who made the Top 25? It’s all in the next few pages, so enjoy!

The Most Influential Award is Pro Landscaper’s way of showcasing the individuals that are responsible for shaping the landscaping sector, whether that’s through the quality of their work, their ambassadorial work on behalf of the industry, or by being an inspiration to the rest of the market.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners.”

“We are delighted to sponsor Pro Landscaper’s Most Influential award at this year’s FutureScape exhibition. It is incredibly important, now more than ever, to recognise the individuals who are shaping the landscaping and horticulture industries. Whether that is through driving innovation, quality, and sustainability or being an ambassador and champion of the landscaping sector. We must celebrate and encourage their achievements to secure the future development and success of our industry.
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Urban greening has seemingly been transformed in totality thanks to Nigel Dunnett’s approach to planting. Together with his colleague James Hitchmough at the University of Sheffield, he has created ‘The Sheffield School’ of planting design, an approach to creating ‘plant communities’ and adopting a ‘high impact, low input’ approach to landscapes.

As Professor of Planting Design and Urban Horticulture in the Department of Landscape Architecture – recognised as one of the leading schools in this field –he has undoubtedly inspired many students to think outside the box and to

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Mark Gregory are arguably synonymous with each other.

He has been called the ‘King of Chelsea’, and it’s hardly surprising; Mark recently announced that the 2023 show will see him design his sixth garden but it will be the 108th which his company, Landform Consultants, has built, usually taking on multiple show gardens per year.

He regularly helps the RHS as a garden judge and assessor at its show – and with a string of Gold medals to his name, he’d

certainly know what it takes to create an award-winning garden.

And it’s not just show gardens where Mark has made himself a name. Landform is behind many high-end domestic gardens and high-profile commercial projects, including the Superbloom installation at the Tower of London.

He has served as a director of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and chairman of the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), and proud vice president of The Yorkshire Society.

consider how to create more genuinely sustainable landscapes.

Nigel has also worked on some of the most prolific projects in London, including the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as planting designer and consultant alongside James Hitchmough, the podium landscape at The Barbican Centre, and Superbloom at the Tower of London. Closer to home, the Sheffield Grey to Green project is an awardwinning scheme creating a green corridor in the city, and he is an ambassador for the RHS’ Greening Grey Britain campaign. He has also written numerous books and regularly appears as a speaker at industry events.

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Sarah Eberle needs no introduction. She is the most decorated designer across RHS shows, with 20 Gold medals to her name and an illustrious career in garden design which this year saw her being honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the SGD.


This year’s Chelsea saw Sarah win her final Gold medal, though, as she decided to retire from designing show gardens. The garden –‘MEDITE SMARTPLY Building the Future’ – proved to be the most challenging yet. “It was ‘go big or go home’,” says Sarah. “It was physically challenging, design wise challenging –it even challenged Mark Gregory” –a fellow Most Influential and multimedal winner from Chelsea. “It was a lot of hard work for everybody, but it was brilliant.” And the hard work paid off.

Two months later, Sarah finished her final show garden – an unjudged space –at Hampton Court. She became the fourth designer to be honoured by the RHS with an Iconic Horticultural Hero garden, for which she had the opportunity to showcase her signature style.

It’s a fitting close for the designer, who was so eager to create a garden for Chelsea as a student. She began working with the team at Hillier to create its show gardens before tackling her first judged garden under her own name in the early 90s, which saw her achieve her first Gold medal.

Since, Sarah has created a garden in nearly all of the categories at Chelsea – but not as a box-ticking exercise.

“The reason I started doing the smaller gardens like Artisan is because I find small spaces a real challenge. In a bigger garden, you can make quite simple, powerful statements; but in a small garden, there’s got to be enough detail to engage you but not overwork it.”

The novelty of winning a Gold never wears off either.“Just because you win more medals, doesn’t mean it gets easier. You have a different sponsor, a different

brief, and for me personally, I try to do something different from what I’ve done before. Learning is a privilege and everything that I do that I haven’t done before makes the breadth of what I do better. I learn more, therefore I hopefully get better and have a broader knowledge.”


Sarah is hoping to pass this knowledge onto the next generation of show garden designers too. “I’m keen to help young designers, I love mentoring. If I can ever be of help to anybody – first timers at Chelsea, for example – then that’s something I’m very interested in doing.”

Passing on knowledge will be her legacy, says Sarah, so there may be books in the pipeline too. But arguably the biggest legacy will be the seven and a half garden Sarah has purchased in Normandy. “I am doing a real life, experimental, sustainable garden, and that’s my guilty pleasure. I’ll be doing a lot of training courses there and

hopefully brainstorming events. It will be a place where the industry can come together and learn from it and make suggestions. I’m 66 now, and I want to use my wisdom and experience where I can, because I get great pleasure from that as well.”

It’s certainly easy to see why Sarah received the Lifetime Achievement Award, though there is plenty more still to come from the hugely influential designer.

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With more than 30 years’ experience in the landscaping sector, Gareth Wilson has become a go-to for those seeking advice on their projects. He founded his own company, G.K. Wilson Landscape Services, based in Derbyshire, which created numerous domestic and commercial gardens. It also picked up 30 RHS medals, including a Gold at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and a number of additional accolades such as the Best Construction Award and Best in Show.



Having already built a successful career in publishing, Mark was steered towards garden design after an accident nearly 20 years ago. He experienced the benefits of horticultural therapy and undertook a garden design course – a choice which has since led to Mark becoming the first Gardeners’ World presenter in a wheelchair and him wanting to show how horticulture can be more inclusive.

Mark’s TV career started after a BBC researcher came across an article he had written for Gardeners’ World magazine, and an audition soon led to him helping to present the coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. He presented at Hampton Court before joining the team on Gardeners’ World and has since been a regular presenter on BBC Morning Live. This summer, he was awarded for his efforts with an honorary doctorate from the University of Kent, which cited his ‘inspirational career in garden design and media’. He is also an ambassador for a number of charities including Greenfingers and Thrive.


Just over 30 years ago, James founded one of the UK’s most well-known and reputable design and build companies. Throughout this time, the Hertfordshire-based company has grown steadily and organically, winning several awards from the Society of Garden Designers, British Association of Landscape Industries and the Pro Landscaper Business Awards.

James set up The Garden Company aged just 23 with a business partner who he amicably bought out seven years ago. It became the first to gain Practice status of the SGD when the association launched its new membership category in 2017, with James being an avid supporter of the industry’s trade bodies, having served on the SGD council and the committee for the British Association of Landscape Industries.


Last year, The Garden Company created numerous apprenticeship training opportunities for new members to join the team to attract the next generation. In the same year, it updated its branding to celebrate three decades of creating high quality gardens.

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Gareth is now passing on his knowledge to others in the industry, mentoring those within the landscape trade – be it on best practice, managing teams and building client relationships – but also those aspiring to compete in the show garden sector. He trained others at The Landscape Academy and now works as an expert witness having become an accredited mediator.

Gareth shares his experience in dispute resolution by writing regularly for Pro Landscaper and speaking at events such as FutureScape, to help those working within the industry to avoid mistakes and conflicts. He is also a judge for industry awards such as the Pro Landscaper Business Awards and the BALI National Landscape Awards.


Tom Massey is becoming a regular name at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It was announced this year that he would be returning in 2023 with his third garden, this one for the Royal Entomological Society (RES), whose garden will be relocated as a teaching garden and long-term opportunity for insect study as part of the RES’ planned UK network of gardens. His last show garden, the Yeo Valley Organic Garden, won not only a Gold medal but also the People’s Choice Award, so there are high expectations for the budding designer.

Chelsea is not the only place where Tom is making a name for himself. From RHS shows to TV shows, Tom has appeared on the last two seasons of BB2’s Your Garden Made Perfect, competing with other garden designers for his design to be chosen by clients on the programme.

It’s an already illustrious career for the London-based designer, who retrained as a garden designer aged 28, having previously worked in animation. He graduated with distinction from the London College of Garden Design and became one of the inaugural winners of Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation.


One of the biggest achievements which stands out from Adam’s two years as president of the Landscape Institute from 2018 is his work in raising the profile of the landscape profession. He launched the campaign #chooselandscape to inspire the next generation, but he also – alongside his business partner, Andrée Davies – co-designed the RHS Back to Nature Garden at Chelsea and Hampton Court. The RHS shows themselves are world renowned, but it got the word out about what a landscape architect is and the work that they do – plus the opportunities that they have.

The woodland garden included an impressive treehouse and sensory elements to help children learn. After all, playscapes are something which Adam and Andrée specialise in at their chartered landscape architect practice, Davies White Ltd.

During Adam’s presidency, he also shone brightly by launching the LI’s Climate and Biodiversity Action Plan and collaborating with the British Association of Landscape Industries, the APL and the SGD to create The Landscape Consultant’s Toolkit. And let’s not forget presenting Sir David Attenborough with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the LI Awards.

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©Britt Willoughby Dyer

Adrian Wickham might have taken a two-year break from Glendale to work at a law firm, but he never really left the industry. In fact, he became a BALI board member during this time, and it wasn’t long before he was drawn back to the company where he spent a couple of decades previously. He’d been keeping in touch with Glendale throughout the two years and was even a green space commissioner for the Mayor of London.“I just couldn’t let go of my green background,” says Adrian, who was one of the first people to complete Glendale’s management development programme in the 90s.

He left Glendale soon after the passing of its founder, Tony Hewitt – a moment he counts as one of the lowest in his career as Tony was one of his biggest mentors. “We had an agreement. He said: ‘When are you leaving?’ And I said, ‘When you leave Tony.’ So, when he passed away, I wasn’t sure what to do and I thought I’d try something different. It’s really important to never burn bridges, and I’ve never done that –with Glendale or the law firm.”


Having returned to Glendale last year, Adrian is one of five board members shaping one of the bigger green service providers in the industry, and he says the company has grown significantly over the last 12 months. “Post-pandemic, we saw the opportunity to capitalise on some of the learnings from that difficult time. We think the marketplace has changed significantly, so my role was to fine tune and develop some elements of the business and explore new areas of work too.”

Adrian continues in his role as a BALI board member as well, which he says is his opportunity to give something back to the industry. Towards the end of last year, he took part in a webinar called Access All Areas, organised by BALI, to discuss the lack of diversity and inclusivity in the industry. He has since spearheaded – though he humbly refuses to use this word himself –a charter, which leading associations and organisations across the industry have pledged to sign.

The Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter for the Horticulture, Arboriculture, Landscaping & Garden Media profession “benefits the whole industry,” says Adrian. “Access All Areas was a bit trailblazing. We had

some brilliant panellists and people really spoke about diversity from their hearts; there were some really emotional stories. So, after that meeting, we were pleased that so many other membership organisations attended and together we agreed that everybody is involved in the charter, and everybody had input into it.”

Now, those behind the charter are looking to set a date to sign it and confirm a plan of action. Adrian says: “We are keen to look at surveys to understand a baseline figure of diversity within the industry, with the intent of improving these figures. Recruitment has been an issue for years, possibly more so in the last couple of years, so it’s about attracting people into the industry – and not just one company promoting themselves, but actually as an industry. It’s about opening up the industry and making it more appealing and interesting.”

There’s the potential to tackle the skills shortage, as well as a lack of diversity –all whilst Adrian continues to help grow a company which has been awarded previously for its work in supporting apprentices.

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An engineer by trade, Thomas became managing director of Maylim in 2009 when it was a groundswork and civil engineering contractor. Four years later, he and Gerard Purcell, who had come on board as commercial director, bought the business from its previous owner which kickstarted Maylim on its impressive growth trajectory.

In 2021, turnover soared to an eyewatering £61m and Maylim became known as a leading external works and landscaping contractor, having worked on prolific projects such as Canada Water and Merchant Square – and those were right at the start of Thomas joining.

Maylim’s work on One Tower Bridge


saw it win BALI’s Grand Award in 2017, which propelled the company into the spotlight in the industry. This year, in its 20th anniversary year, it launched a new company focusing on soft landscaping too – Maylim Landscapes. Under Thomas’ guidance, Maylim is an incredibly forward-thinking business. It became an Employee-Owned Trust three years ago to ensure a succession plan but also provide the opportunity for employees to put their stamp on the business.

Thomas wants Maylim to be a company which drives change in the industry, by addressing the lack of diversity by attracting those from marginalised groups, for instance, and striving towards achieving bold net zero ambitions.


Gardens by the Bay celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and since it was created, the project has seen millions of visitors, has appeared on a variety of TV programmes including Blue Planet II, and has become an iconic image for Singapore. It was Andrew Grant’s practice, Grant Associates, which designed the 54ha Bay South Garden, the largest of three gardens to feature overall and where the famous Supertrees reside. And off the back of such a significant scheme, Grant Associates now has its own office in Singapore, allowing it to take on

more work in countries such as Malaysia, Australia and China.

It’s an incredible feat for someone who says pursuing landscape architecture was somewhat of a “fluke”. When Andrew graduated, his first role saw him spending three years in Qatar.

When he returned, he spent around a decade at a Bath-based firm before deciding to pursue an interest in more sustainable design and setting up his own practicing in Bath, where he is a member of the Bath World Heritage Site Advisory Board and chair of the Bathscape Landscape Partnership.

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Piet Oudolf is often cited as an inspiration for budding designers and was regularly the answer of Pro Landscaper’s Little Interview question of who in the industry people would most like to meet. His impact is global; the Dutch garden designer has worked on projects around the world, from countries such as Germany and Italy and his home country of the Netherlands to Canada and the US.


Perhaps the most prolific is the High Line in New York, a 1.5-mile long elevated, linear public park along a disused railway line in Manhattan. The project has sparked

other countries, including the UK, to consider how disused spaces can be transformed into green areas, and the project has won multiple awards. Piet Oudolf designed it in collaboration with other practices and has, himself, collected numerous awards and accolades. There is nowhere near enough space to list them all here, but some highlights include an RHS Gold medal and Best in Show, the RHS’ Gold Veitch Memorial medal, an honorary fellowship from the Kew Guild and the RIBA, the SGD’s Lifetime Achievement Award and an honorary degree from

the University of Sheffield, where he is also a visiting lecturer. So great are Piet’s accolades that not one but two documentaries have been made about him and his work.


As soon as Wayne joined the British Association of Landscape Industries as chief operations officer 11 years ago, he became integrated into the landscaping industry. He did it, firstly, by going out and visiting as many members as possible to find out what they wanted and needed from their association. He had been managing director of the Lantra Awards for five years previously, and so was not completely new to the sector, but he was tasked with improving the systems and processes of the association and with growing its membership, which had halted at around 650. Since, it has soared to 950, with plans to grow this figure further as

part of the association’s three-year strategy going forward.

It’s just one of his many achievements at the British Association of Landscape Industries, which also include setting up vetting communities to improve the standard of those coming into the association, bringing its awards in-house to huge success, launching GoLandscape to attract the next generation to the industry, and updating the association’s branding last year which saw it move away the acronym ‘BALI’ amongst other changes. His vision now is for it to become the essential accreditation partner for all landscaping professionals.

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Endearingly nicknamed ‘the lockdown president’, Jane Findlay’s two years as president of the Landscape Institute were not quite as she’d envisaged when she successfully campaigned for the role. However, her manifesto – which she prefers to call a “statement” – was surprisingly relevant throughout the pandemic.

Jane first decided to stand for the presidency after being approached by members to do so, but also when she was sitting in the Landscape Institute boardroom for a meeting on the Trailblazer landscape apprenticeships. “On the wall was a list of all the past presidents over the last 90 years, and there were only four females on there, in a profession which is meant to be 50/50. It got me thinking that I can’t complain about the lack of female voices if I don’t stand up and do my bit.”

So, the focus of Jane’s statement was on the future and to be a modern profession. It outlined issues which Jane felt were important to the profession such as its relevance to wider issues, improving digital skills, encouraging young people to join, developing young leaders to champion the profession and supporting registered practices.

“But then we got hit by lockdowns, and it wasn’t the presidency I thought I was going to have. Having said that, it had a huge influence on my presidency; because I wanted to improve the LI’s influence and relevance, and COVID-19 gave us that inarguable proof of just how valuable green space and nature are to people. As a result, our work has become more import than ever.”

Adapting to new ways of working has also allowed the LI – board members, advisory council and registered practices –to move forward. So, whilst her presidency might not have been “as dramatic” as others, it helped the LI to become more visible and with more members able to attend events online, says Jane.

Lockdown also highlighted a topic which Jane has focused on throughout her career – the link between health and outdoor spaces. Her background is designing for healthcare, creating spaces for patients, but Jane wanted to take that one step further and apply the benefits this can offer to all landscape design. She’ll continue to promote this in her role as immediate past president

of the LI and therefore as an honorary trustee on the board until the end of June. Jane is also eager to continue raising the profile of the profession. “We need to find our voice. American landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson once said that we are a shadeloving species, we quietly get on with it; but we need to shout a lot more about what we do.”

A two-year presidency at one of the toughest periods of recent UK history is one of the “hardest things I have ever done in my life,” says Jane. But it was also rewarding, and she hopes that it has laid the foundations for a modern institute and a more modern profession going forward, with a focus on the next generation.

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Winning Supreme Winner once at the Pro Landscaper Business Awards is an impressive feat but winning it twice – as Paul’s company Elmtree Garden Contractors has done – is remarkable and a testament to the culture Paul has created.

Elmtree first scooped the award in 2019, in the same year the company was celebrating its 50th anniversary, having been founded by Paul’s father, Keith. It continues to be recognised for its dedication to the industry, to upskilling staff and to corporate social responsibility, but also to the health and wellbeing of its employees, something which Paul has been outspoken about.

He has appeared on panels at FutureScape to discuss how Elmtree supports its staff with trained Mental Health First Aiders and an opendoor policy, as well as a suggestion box which allows staff to put forward suggestions which are always listened to and often acted on, something which Paul has found to have been genuinely beneficial to the business.

Ken White has undoubtedly become one of the biggest names in the landscaping industry, recognised for the work his company, Frosts

Landscapes, has carried out in the commercial sector, but also for his personal dedication, such as serving as chairman of the Association of Professional Landscapers.

He joined Frosts in 2004 as operations manager for the commercial landscaping division before going on to become construction director after six years. In 2012, he took over as managing director, and six years later, he and the management team bought out the Frosts family from the landscaping company.

Frosts has become a hugely reputable company, having worked on some incredible projects, including 3 Merchant Square, The Garden at 120, the Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace, Vauxhall Sky Garden and, of course, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. So, unsurprisingly, it has collected a number of awards such as those from the British Association of Landscape Industries, the APL and the RHS.

Outside of the industry, Ken has also co-founded charity Supershoes with his wife.



Multi-award-winning garden designer Ann-Marie Powell started her practice in 1998 and, in the last 20 or so years has designed a variety of projects including private and commercial schemes, roof terraces and show gardens. She has also appeared on numerous gardening TV programmes, such as Garden SOS, The Great Garden Challenge and the BBC’s coverage of RHS Chelsea.

Her practice strives to create bold and energetic gardens with sustainability as a fundamental value of its approach – which is hardly surprising considering AnnMarie’s own passion for environmentally friendly gardening and growing her own

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Andrew Wilson is one of Pro Landscaper’s longstanding contributors, bringing his expertise to each issue of the magazine – and this isn’t the only way he shares his experiences and knowledge with others. The multi-award-winning garden designer is one of the founding directors of the London College of Garden Design, attracting and educating the next generation as well as upskilling those in the industry with a variety of courses available. Graduates include fellow Most Influential Tom Massey and the winner of this year’s APL Designer of the Year, Adam Vetere.

Andrew is also a former RHS show garden judge, having exhibited at Chelsea himself as well as the Singapore International Garden Show. He was previously a partner at Wilson McWilliam Studio – now McWilliam Studio, which recently featured on House & Gardens’ Top 50 Garden Designers – where he continues to practise as a consultant. Andrew is on the adjudication committee for the Society of Garden Designers, where is a fellow and a former chairman. For the last two years, Andrew has been a fellow of the Landscape Institute.


fruit and vegetables. She designed one of three gardens for the new RHS Hilltop at Wisley – the World Food Garden. The project won two SGD awards this year, including the People’s Choice Award – and these are just two accolades which Ann-Marie has received throughout her career. Just this year, the Greenfingers charity patron was listed as one of the UK’s Top 20 Landscape Designers by Country and Town House magazine – as well as being one of Pro Landscaper’s Most Influential, of course.

The success and growth of Nurture is undoubtedly impressive. It started on April Fool’s Day in 2008 with just Peter and three others. It is now a nationwide group with three leading brands: Nurture Landscapes, Gavin Jones and its most recent addition Rokill, each offering different services.

For more than a decade, with Peter at the helm, Nurture has become a multiaward-winning group, expanding through organic growth and a significant number of acquisitions. Earlier this year, the company was awarded Industry Trailblazer at the Living Wage Foundation’s annual Champion awards, having become a Real Living Wage employer last year.

At the start of this year, Peter took on the role of chairman and brought on board a new CEO. Not that Peter is stepping away from the company; he continues to be involved in its development, and there are exciting times ahead for Nurture.

Having already achieved carbon neutral, it is now working towards becoming B-Corp certified and is sponsoring a garden at next year’s Chelsea – designed by Sarah Price –which focuses on sustainability. Peter ultimately wanted a company that would nurture the environment, its clients and its staff – and it’s hard to argue against him having achieved that.

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NEW ENTRY ©RHS/Oliver Dixon


From day one of launching London Stone, it was Steven Walley’s ambition to build a well-known brand in the industry – and that’s exactly what happened. The supplier has grown from one person in one location to a company of around 150 people, with seven showrooms – and two more to be completed by spring next year – as well as both a northern and a southern depot. It also recently purchased clay and brick paver specialist Chelmer Valley, as well as taking a 50% stake of the nursery, Form Plants. Needless to say, London Stone has experienced exponential growth since it was founded in 2008 and has become “the market leader” in its field, says Steven. “We’re not the biggest, but we genuinely believe that we’re regarded as the best by our customers.”

At the heart of its growth is its focus on customer service, says Steven. There was a point though, after growing yearon-year, when London Stone had a “flat year” in 2017. “We realised that we were really well known in London and the Home Counties but were probably known as being quite expensive at the time because our focus was on high-end garden designers in those areas. To step further afield and grow, we had to change our model and our cost base.”

So, that’s what it did. A wider range of products was stocked for different budgets, which proved to be popular. London Stone wanted to offer even better value, so Steve says the company built a culture of eradicating waste and improving the efficiency of its processes, which reduced its costs and made it more profitable. This then helped to fund the next three years – before COVID-19 hit – in which London Stone froze its prices, increased profits and increased staff wages. “That period laid the groundwork for this next five years of growth. ”

Steven says there are plans to open one or two showrooms each year over the next five years. London Stone will also be doubling down on its focus on the landscaping industry by removing garden furniture and interior tiles from its offering and sticking to its

area of expertise. London Stone will be developing its e-commerce platform to make it “as easy to use as Amazon” and, alongside all of this, will be striving towards being carbon neutral – a goal which Steven says it will be achieving “sooner than anyone might think.”

London Stone has also become widely known as an ethical supplier, which comes off the back of Steven’s first trip to India to visit suppliers. “We dropped into a village called Budhpura, where kids as young as five or six were working away making cobbles, and I was shocked to see that; it was distressing. So, we started to think about our supply chain, and our ethos became to always treat people further down the supply chain with the same respect, and offer the same conditions and opportunities, as we give to our staff. It’s a difficult to environment to operate in, so I’m not saying we always achieve this, but it is something that has guided our ethical direction. It’s not just from the goodness of our hearts though; we recognise that this is the right way to build a successful brand and that it’s in our interest too.”

This transparency is one of the ways in which Steven hopes he can leave his mark on the industry. “I like to think that we’ve come into the market and have innovated in a way that’s improved the customer’s ability to build better gardens – in terms of the products we supply, the service we give and our transparency. Most importantly, it’ about putting our customers first because without your customers, you have no business.”

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The list of ways John Parker has dedicated himself to arboriculture and forestry seems endless. He is currently the chief executive office for the Arboricultural Association, a role he has held since last year, having previously served as the association’s first technical director for two years. Before this, he was a director of the National Association of Tree Officers as well as a member of the executive committee of the London Tree Officers Association, where he was chair for two years.

Prior to working at the Arboricultural Association, John

was an arboriculture and landscape specialist at Transport for London and in 2018 he was named as the Young European Urban Forester of the Year. The chartered forester and chartered environmentalist delivered a TED Talk in the same year called: ‘Why trees are better than people’.

John is now a member of the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) International Steering Group. He also established the Stonehouse Community Arboretum, which includes all of the trees on public and private land in the Gloucestershire-based town.



Arguably one of the most famous horticulturists of all time, Monty Don has been on our screens for more than 30 years. He first appeared as a gardening expert on This Morning in 1989 but is best known for his long-running stint on BBC Gardeners’ World. Since 2003, Monty Don has been the lead presenter, and he now hosts the show from his own garden, Longmeadow, in Herefordshire.

As well as Gardeners’ World, Monty Don has hosted various other programmes, including BBC2’s coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, The Secret History of the British Garden, Around the World in 80 Gardens and Big Dreams, Small Spaces.

He was gardening editor for the Observer for more than 10 years until 2006 and now contributes regularly to the Daily Mail and Gardeners’ World magazine. Monty has also authored a variety of books, including The Sunday Times Bestseller ‘My Garden World: the natural year’.

The organic gardener, who was president of the Soil Association, supports a number of causes, from being vice-president of Farms for City Children to being patron of charities such as Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and Bees for Development. In 2018, he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to horticulture, broadcasting and charity.

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©Peter Rhys Williams/

There is perhaps no better known or trusted soil scientist as Tim O’Hare. His consultancy has been involved in some of the most prolific projects in the UK and further afield, from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Battersea Power Station to Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.

After gaining a Masters in Soil Science, Tim joined London-based consultancy Dr Augustus Voelcker & Cons Ltd, where he eventually worked his way up to head of soil science. He took on the same role at the newly formed Mayer Environmental before setting up his own consultancy with George


Since starting his career in the industry more than four decades ago, Alan Sargent has shown an impressive amount of dedication to its trade associations. He founded the Association of Professional Landscapers, of which he is now an honorary life member, and later founded the Professional Garden Consultants Association.

Alan has also served as regional chairman of the British Association of Landscape Industries and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture. He is a member of the Professional

Gardeners Guild and the Garden Media Guild, amongst other organisations. Having been involved in more than 60 show gardens himself, Alan was a show garden judge and assessor, as well as sitting on the RHS Chelsea Flower Show gardens committee.

He began by building his own award-winning landscaping business. Since, he has constructed a plethora of gardens and was head gardener at the Goodwood Estate for six years until 2007, restoring the private gardens. Alan is now an expert witness, consultant and acclaimed author.

Longmuir and later forming Tim O’Hare Associates in 2006.

Since, Tim has been involved in updating the British Standards for Topsoil and the first British Standard for Subsoil. He has also sat on the British Standards Institute working group for Topsoil and other Growing Media and co-authored Defra’s Code of Practice for the Sustainable Use and Management of Soils on Construction Sites in 2009.

Tim has been a council member of the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists and in 2019 was awarded an honorary fellowship by the Kew Guild.

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All you have to do is do a really good job,” says Tony Benger, who founded his own landscaping company nearly 40 years ago. This has become one of its mantras, and it stands true even though the company now boasts 125 employees. It’s not just quality of work, though, for which Tony Benger Landscaping has become renowned.

Last year, it scooped three Pro Landscaper Business Awards: Design and Build Company of the Year, Employer of the Year, and the top prize, Supreme Winner. This year, it added two more to its collection. Tony Benger Landscaping has been consistently recognised for its employer excellence.

“If you can keep staff happy and keep your customers happy, growth automatically comes from that,” says Tony, who says he learned early on how to manage people thanks to a course run by the Agricultural Training Board. Along with achieving ISO9001 this year, his company – which offers design, build and maintenance services for domestic and commercial projects – has been recognised by Investors in People since 2016.

So, what amounts to an excellent –and influential – employer? “Fair pay, good conditions, listen to their needs, make sure the machinery is reliable and make sure they feel valued,” explains Tony. “It’s so important to look after your staff.” There’s a long list of ways in which Tony Benger

Landscaping meets this criterion, starting with having staff dedicated to upskilling employees, such as a full-time trainer. It’s not all about learning, though. ‘Employee of the month’ celebrates hard work and social days reward them. Mental health and wellbeing ambassadors are there to help staff feel supported. The company’s motto, “Tony Benger Landscaping –a good place to work”, is entirely embodied throughout each aspect of the business.

As Tony says, without happy staff the company can’t grow, and it has expanded impressively since it was founded, with more to come. It keeps growing geographically too, as word of mouth about the quality of its work spreads. The company now covers the whole south west, “nudging up into the Midlands and southern England,” says Tony, whose mother was a well-known horticulturist locally. When he started out on his own after a decade in farming, he says he had her expertise to back him up. It taught him that when you’re carrying out a task, “always stick to good horticultural practice and you can never be wrong.”

As his legacy, Tony wants Tony Benger Landscaping to be “renowned for good quality and reliable service”. His advice? “When you’re losing money on a job, it’s very tempting to cut corners – but don’t. Just do a really good job and you’ll get asked to do more and more.”

It’s worked for him, so it’s a lesson that can undoubtedly work for others.

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prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 MOST INFLUENTIAL THE SHORTLIST TALENTED, INSPIRATIONAL FIGURES: MEET 50-26
Garden designer Professor of Horticultural Ecology, University of Sheffield
presenter and gardener Garden designer and director, Cleve West Ltd Owner, Elks-Smith Landscape and Garden Design Principal, Marian Boswall Landscape Architects Garden designer Former managing director, Willerby Landscapes CEO, Bowles & Wyer Garden designer and director, Andy Sturgeon Garden Design Garden designer and director, Tom Stuart-Smith Ltd ARABELLA LENNOX-BOYD JAMES HITCHMOUGH ALAN TITCHMARSH CLEVE WEST HELEN ELKS-SMITH MARIAN BOSWALL JULIET SARGEANT JOHN MELMOE JOHN WYER ANDY STURGEON
©Chaz Oldham


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General manager, Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) PHIL TREMAYNE Garden design and director, Dan Pearson Ltd DAN PEARSON Director, London College of Garden Design (LCGD) ANDREW FISHER TOMLIN Non-executive board member, Ground Control Director, Urban Landscape Design Managing director, Willerby Landscapes MARCUS WATSON HOLLY YOUDE RICK DAVIES TV presenter, garden designer and director, Diamond Hill Garden Design ARIT ANDERSON Former head of arboretum, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew TONY KIRKHAM TAYSHAN HAYDEN-SMITH Founder, Grow2Know JASON KNIGHTS DAVID DODD Garden designer and director, Harris Bugg Studio Managing director, Ground Control Managing director, The Outdoor Room TONY WOODS Managing director, Garden Club London ADAM FROST TV presenter and garden designer ©Jason Alden ©Huw Morgan
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CAN WE BRING BACK biodiversity?

Species have been declining and habitats destroyed , but there are a number of initiatives and ambitious targets to turn this around

Biodiversity can be a bit of a buzzword, but it’s gaining traction. At COP27, on 16 November – also known as Biodiversity Day – the environment secretary Thérèse Coffey set out bold ambitions for the UK government to tackle widespread species loss. The government is pledging £30m to the Big Nature Impact Fund, which encourages private investors to help fund green projects around the country.

Coffey also called on countries to come together at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity next month in Montreal to agree a ‘robust global plan for tackling nature loss.’

“Over half of the world’s GDP is reliant on nature, which is why the United Kingdom put nature at the heart of our COP26 Presidency and led calls to protect 30% of land and ocean by 2030,” Coffee told those at this year’s conference.

“We continue to demonstrate international leadership through commitments to create a natural world that is richer in plants and wildlife to tackle the climate crisis, and at next month’s meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity we will strive for an ambitious agreement that includes a global 30by30 target, a commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity

loss, and an increase in resources for the conservation and protection of nature from all sources.”

But the big question is: is it enough? “We’re seeing biodiversity levels collapsing around the world, and Britain is no exception – far from being an exception, we’re doing very poorly here in the UK,” says Richard Bunting of Rewilding Britain, which promotes rewilding – or “large scale nature recovery” – across the UK. “Globally, all sorts of species are crashing towards extinction. Here in Britain, we’re bouncing around at the bottom of the league tables. There have been various studies, one by the RSPB last

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year using Natural History Museum data which ranked the UK as the least effective G7 member at protecting nature. We’re the worst country in the G7 for the amount of wildlife and wild species that have been lost due to human activity.”

One in seven species are threatened with extinction, says Bunting –and 2% are already extinct.“So, there’s a serious crisis underway, and we are cultivating nature’s demise even though we know nature is good for us on all sorts of levels.”

And we don’t always know what we’re losing, adds Bunting.

“Shifting baseline syndrome means that every generation thinks that the biodiversity that they see as they have grown us is what’s normal, but it isn’t; we’re blinded to nature loss over time because, slowly but surely, we lose more and more but don’t recognise it. That has a knock-on effect to our connections with the natural world. There was a study in 2019 that found four out of five children can’t recognise a bumblebee or an oak leaf anymore.”

Whilst wildlife deserves to be protected in its own right, there are other benefits to boosting biodiversity. Gill Perkins, CEO of the Bumbleebee Conservation Trust, told those who attended an Environmental Roadshow in Preston, hosted by facilities management company Mitie: “In 2012, insect pollination in the UK was estimated to be worth £691m to the UK and €14.2m in the EU and this was a conservative estimate.

“84% of all crops grown in the UK depend on pollination. Pollinators are an essential component of agriculture, horticulture and the diversity of its animal and plant life...By encouraging clients to invest in pollinators, landscapers are helping reverse the serious declines in bumblebees which are crucial to the pollination ecosystem.”

Spotting opportunities

Biodiversity is set to be a big focus at next year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Director general Clare Matterson told those at the press launch for the 2023 gardens that the UK has an average of only 53% of its

biodiversity left, with nearly half disappearing since the Industrial Revolution.

Gold-medal winning designer Tom Massey is returning to the show with The Royal Entomological Society Garden, inspired by the biodiversity of brownfield sites. He has been working with the RES for around 18 months, having initially been engaged by the charity to design the landscaping around its headquarters in St Albans. After hearing about Project Giving Back, though, they saw an opportunity to reach a wider audience at Chelsea, and the garden will be relocated after the show as a teaching garden and long-term opportunity for insect study as part of the RES’ planned UK network of gardens.

“Insects are key species in our ecosystems, but many are suffering mass global decline. We have a vital role to play in their recovery and survival, just as they do in ours,” says Massey. “Chelsea represents a unique platform to bring the work of RES to a new audience and engage with a wide audience about the benefits of insect science and its importance to everyone who values our planet.

“We are going to be monitoring the garden at Chelsea to conduct research into the effect of adding biodiversity to a site. Most of the year the show ground is an

There’s a serious crisis underway, and we are cultivating nature’s demise even though we know nature is good for us on all sorts of levels
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Richard Bunting, Rewilding Britain

empty grass pitch, but in May it is filled with a huge array of plants from around the world. Insects arrive almost immediately. We hope to study the impact of adding plant biodiversity and use this to inform wider research and design.”

It offers an opportunity for the public to better understand how they can incorporate biodiversity measures into their own gardens. “We are trying to show people how they can be important to insects – in the choices they make and the way that they garden. The garden will help us highlight the role gardeners play in providing food and habitats for a wide range of insects, whilst balancing the need to control a small number of insect species responsibly.”

It’s not just domestic gardens which can contribute to tackling biodiversity loss. Commercial projects arguably have a bigger role to play, and ‘nature-led’ landscape architecture practice Land Studio has introduced a new service to help them to do so. Associate landscape architect Rachael Fenton is now an approved assessor for Building with Nature, a green infrastructure benchmark with 12 standards, some of which related to wildlife. The aim is for residential and commercial developers to deliver high-quality green infrastructure.

“Building with Nature is what we do anyway as a practice. It connects all the dots,

if you will, of our vision as a studio, which is connecting people with nature as much as we can, where we can. When we have the opportunity to do that, we should in the best way possible, not only for nature but for people. There are obviously gains for biodiversity, but also for the climate.”

Consultants such as those at Land Studio are now under the public’s microscope too, says Fenton. “The public wants us to do the best we can with new developments, and they expect to see it. It’s exciting to be a designer at this time because there’s real momentum and enthusiasm to deliver these things, and policy is an important part of that, to get local authorities to see sites and solutions that way, as well as planners and developers.”

Local authorities are already introducing more nature-based solutions, with the help of companies such as green service provider idverde. “There’s been an element of

organic growth in regards to the demand for nature positive work. I would suggest it’s principally been the local authorities, but now private sector clients are clamouring for it. The bulk of our clients now want to be seen as nature friendly, and we help to shape that," explains John Pemberton, who became idverde’s first national biodiversity development manager earlier this year.

Pemberton’s role will help the company to build upon its practice in “biodiversity hotspots” such as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and its work within the London Borough of Bromley. idverde was awarded the parks management contract for Bromley in 2015, which includes local wildlife sites and nature reserves, as well as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The local authority’s biodiversity and nature-based responsibilities are entirely outsourced to idverde, and it is one of six contracts currently benefitting from idverde’s partnership with the RSPB. For the last five

By encouraging clients to invest in pollinators, landscapers are helping reverse the serious declines in bumblebees which are crucial to the pollination ecosystem
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Gill Perkins, CEO of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

years, staff from the RSPB have been on permanent secondment throughout the business, helping the team to incorporate evidence-based practice for biodiversity and helping the RSPB to influence the management of these sites.

Now, idverde builds nature positive elements into its tenders, even if it is not a key part of the tender, says Pemberton. “Under the new Environment Act, there are new obligations for local authorities around conservation and biodiversity. They now have to demonstrate a due regard, which in itself is a broad term, but they have to do something. So, we try to help shape typical, traditional contracts to be more innovative.”

There’s also the introduction of biodiversity net gain to consider. From November next year, most developments will need to deliver a minimum of 10% increase in biodiversity value as part of the new Environment Act. With less than a year to go, some developers are incorporating the policy now, and it potentially presents a huge opportunity for the landscaping industry.

The Landscape Service has been preparing for its introduction in order to become a “go-to” company for implementing it and managing director Luke Mills says it needs to be involved at the masterplanning stage in order to do so.

He expresses concerns, though, about the option for developers to purchase ‘statutory biodiversity credits’ for investing into habitat creation elsewhere if onsite

and local offsite habitats will not meet the requirements of net gain.

Landscape designer James Smith adds: “Developers might look at the price difference and whether they will be worse off losing a unit. A house price could be £350k, but the conservation could cost £20, so they’re obviously going to pay the lesser one, keep the unit, and the biodiversity and the ecology of the site will be non-existent.

So, whoever is putting this legislation in place needs to find that balance.”

Rewilding is also on the government agenda with the Environmental Land Management schemes, which could see farmers being paid for delivering a ‘reduction of and adaptation to climate change’ and ‘thriving plants and wildlife’, amongst other sustainable initiatives. “This would provide one of the few silver linings of Brexit on the environmental side by rewarding and supporting farmers for boosting biodiversity and for ensuring nature-based solutions and services rather than being paid for the amount of land that they manage or own,

which was one of the problems under the EU subsidy scheme,” says Bunting.

“The more we can work with our farmers, and encourage them and support them to restore nature, the better, because rewilding and farming go hand in hand...There is a push back against rewilding because it is somehow perceived as in opposition to farming, but they can work really well together, and an increasing number of farmers are starting to engage with rewilding.”

But a significant turn for the worse came when the Liz Truss government put these schemes under review, says Bunting.

It was called an “attack on nature”, and it’s still unclear whether these schemes will go ahead under Rishi Sunak’s government. His reluctance to attend COP27 received a major backlash from the public, forcing him to make a U-turn and attend the conference in Egypt.

Rewilding also has its critics, as does the drive for homeowners to make their gardens wilder. TV gardening personality Alan Titchmarsh told Gardeners’ World magazine that rewilding is causing gardens to become “less biodiverse” - “don’t be cajoled into turning your tiny garden into a wilderness”, he said.

Speaking at Cheltenham Literature Festival, Titchmarsh said he’d hate to see “100 years of British gardening thrown out the window because people think the only way forward is to leave it.” He instead encouraged an organic approaching to gardening. “We can then work hand in hand with nature in creating a garden that plays its part in brightening our lives and ensuring the survival of wildlife.”

Regardless of the method, improving the nation’s biodiversity is on the agenda – for the industry, for the government and for the mainstream media. There is a lot of work to be done, but there is hope that Britain can halt and even reverse the decline.

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The public wants us to do the best we can with new developments, and they expect to see it.
It’s exciting to be a designer at this time because there’s real momentum and enthusiasm
Rachael Fenton, Associate landscape architect, Land Studio
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Wilson continues his series on solutions for dealing with heavy clay soil

Following on from my last article regarding paving on heavy clay soils, there are still more cost-effective techniques you can use or even combine, rather than going to the expense of a slab and the associated curing times.

The popularity of proprietary bedding mortar systems is ever increasing – and not without very good reason. Many proprietary bedding mortar systems have the BS 7533 backing and even exceed this standard. This gives a pavement up to a 40-year lifespan if built correctly.

Proprietary bedding mortars, when used in conjunction with the particular brands of bonding mortar and grout, form an incredibly strong bond with a minimum 35N compressive strength and good flexural strength. To put this in perspective, a 3:1 mortar mix is approximately 18-20N compressive strength with many of the proprietary bedding mortars as high as 55N.

Biaxial Geogrid systems are another way of minimising lateral movement, both within a sub-base and a bedding mortar layer. Geogrids have high tension resistance along with a high tensile strength. Therefore, they increase the overall bearing force of which the geogrids are capable.

Regarding installation, I would add a layer of geogrid on top of unwoven geotextile membrane and then another layer between the sub-base MOT layers. I would then lay the geo grid in the middle of the bedding mortar layer. It’s also worth mentioning that other geo grid systems offer many other ground stabilisation benefits, not just for sub-bases. Another way would be to add a perforated drainage pipe into the substrate (below formation level) and have an inlet pipe allowing the perforated land drains to be filled with water from a hosepipe in the summer months. Therefore, this will keep the clay hydrated and not allow it to dry out and separate.


At this stage, it’s worth noting that a correctly constructed concrete slab is always the best option on clay. With the techniques or combinations of some of the techniques I’ve discussed, clay heave can be greatly reduced or even eliminated.

Leaving college at 17, Gareth has worked in the landscape industry since 1989. Progressing onto high-end projects over the years, he has picked up 30 RHS medals, including Gold at Chelsea. Now a freelance tutor 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.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 OPINION 74
Thanks to CORE Landscape Products and Rachel Platt. Gareth GARETH WILSON
The popularity of proprietary bedding mortar systems is ever increasing – and not without very good reason

Landscaping must be one of the most seasonal industries in the UK, making running a business that bit more challenging. Gearing up to cope for busy times and then scaling down for the winter. However, this is also a business where it is possible to ‘pivot’; in other words, divert your skills to the needs of the market at that time. It’s also a great time to invest in getting the business ready for next spring.

Here are some ideas to help with the seasonal shift:

Adapt to the weather

Create a marketing campaign to drive awareness of how you can help during the winter period e.g. clearing trees and debris after a storm, or clearing driveways of snow.

Think festive!

Many people take risks installing festive lighting and ornamental displays. If this is something that you know you can help with, let people know.

Monitor search behaviours

SEO (search engine optimisation) and pay-per-click advertising will drive more people to your website based on their google searches. This may be something you already invest in, but when was the last time you reviewed it? Do you change the search strings (group of search terms) to match the seasonal changes?



Review your marketing collateral such as website, brochures and branding. Check that they are they up to date, relevant, and assess what leads to the best results.

WINTER MONTHS Wrapping up the

Look around

It’s always a good idea to keep on top of your competition, to see both what they are offering and how they are offering it. This will help you stay relevant and competitive.

Map and track customer journeys

Do you have a list of all your customers and potential leads in a customer relationship management (CRM) system? A CRM will enable you to email your contacts in one go, track responses and set up regular communication. It will also help you segment customers into different groups e.g. families, first time buyers, etc.

Train your team

There is no better time than when you are quiet to invest in the development of your team. This could be in using new equipment or it could be in customer service and sales skills.

Invest in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for your employees

Don’t forget you as well! It is vital that you remain connected to the latest developments in the industry to remain relevant to your customer!

To find out how Evolve and Grow can help you grow your business, take our free BUILD system scorecard, available on our website:


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’.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 OPINION 75
Trades Coach Alison Warner gives her top tips for the festive season
There is no better time than when you are quiet to invest in the development of your team


The term “constructive dismissal” is sometimes mentioned in conversations, but many are not really aware of what it is and its significance in the context of employmentrelated claims.

Dismissal generally

A dismissal is where an employer terminates the employment of an employee. The employer will usually formally terminate the employee’s employment with or without notice.

Constructive dismissal is a form of dismissal.

Employment law has developed the concept of constructive dismissal which refers to the situation where an employee resigns as a result of a serious breach of fundamental terms of their employment contract by their employer.

The significance of a finding of constructive dismissal is that it can lead to a subsequent Employment Tribunal claim such as unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal (essentially breach of contract) being lodged by the employee.

Employment contract terms

Employment contract terms can be express (i.e. written) or implied.

Examples of breach of fundamental express terms can include a unilateral reduction of pay, a significant change in job duties or place of work, or manifestly unreasonable disciplinary proceedings. In

the recent Employment Appeals Tribunal decision of Mostyn -v- S and P Casuals Ltd (2017), the employer was found to have constructively dismissed the employee by unilaterally deciding to reduce his salary from £45k to £25k following a decline in sales by the employee.

Implied terms, on the other hand, are incorporated into every employment contract by caselaw that has developed over time. An important implied term is mutual trust and confidence between employer and employee. If a party conducts themselves in a way that destroys or seriously breaks down the relationship of trust and confidence, the other party may be entitled to treat the contract as terminated.

So, is it constructive dismissal?

For the circumstances to amount to a constructive dismissal, certain tests must be met:

• The claimant must be an employee (not worker or contractor)

• The employer must have breached a fundamental term of the contract

• The employee must resign in response to that breach (with or without notice)

• The employee cannot not delay too long before resigning (otherwise they might be regarded as accepting the breach).

It may not always be one decisive act of the employer that compels the employee to resign. A series of small breaches which,

taken cumulatively, amount to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence may also amount to constructive dismissal, known as the “last straw” doctrine. In Craig -v- Abellio Ltd (2022), the employee had a dispute with the bus company Abellio over sick and holiday pay. He was subsequently awarded over £6k in backpay, which was not paid on time. Mr Craig then resigned and was found to have been constructively dismissed, with the failure to make payment on time being one of a string of mistakes made by his employer.

Such cases highlight the need for employers to treat grievances with appropriate seriousness and to have regard for express and implied contract terms, especially where changes are to be introduced.


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:

Kai Sammer and Kumsal Kaleli of Oracle Solicitors explain what this term actually means and when it’s applicable
It may not always be one decisive act of the employer that compels the employee to resign
OPINION prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 76

by Dr Geoff Whiteley. It is made from wheat straw, is an earthy brown colour has a neutral pH and lasts on the surface for up to two years.

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IN THE AIRSomething

September saw a flurry of industry events in the UK and on the continent: Galabau in Germany, Salon Vert in France, APF Exhibition in Warwickshire, and the Recycling and Waste Management exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, not to mention a number of dealer days and supplier road shows – a busy time! Unfortunately, time and resource were against me, so I couldn’t attend those on the continent; but I managed to spend a day at the APF and a couple of supplier events where it was great to see renewed enthusiasm for the industry and those supporting it.

No doubt Pro Arb will focus heavily on the APF show, but after a four-year hiatus it was encouraging to see people out in the open enjoying the spectacle that this show provides. The festival-like

atmosphere included everything from chainsaw carving to coracle making, whole tree processing to pole climbing, backdropped by a spectacular range of machinery. But it was the numbers attending that impressed me: professional arborists, visitors from across the globe, along with school groups learning about the forestry industry, all to the soundtrack of woodchippers, two-stroke engines and the swish of electric chainsaws.

Apparently at the continental shows there was a strong focus on electric power, which is hardly a surprise. This was also the case at the UK events, but with couple of exceptions: at the RWM Exhibition, along with the eerily quiet RCVs and road sweepers in the demo area, were operational examples of gas and hydrogen powered vehicles and equipment, a breath of fresh air in an industry where emissions of all types are a constant challenge.

On the subject of hydrogen, Kinto part of the Toyota Group, held a Fleet Exchange Day exploring the current state of the fleet industry and future developments through its eyes. Toyota, already known for its hybrid vehicles, has recently launched a fully electric car and has had several hydrogen powered

vehicles operating around London for the past couple of years. Like electrification, infrastructure is still the main stumbling block for hydrogen, but it’s getting better with the government pledging significant investment in infrastructure over the next few years. The car itself is impressive and realistically priced.

I hate to sound like a broken record in these articles around alternative fuels, their pros and shortcomings, but we all have to do something to reduce our effect on the planet; as I see it, we don’t have an option. The automotive industry has traditionally led the way, but it is encouraging to see that behind the scenes, machinery manufacturers are developing equipment which doesn’t rely on fossil fuels.

I think the next couple of years will see a revolution in the types of equipment available to us. It may not be a case of, “What equipment do we use?”, but more along the lines of, “Do we have to use anything at all?”

With more than 27 years working for national contractors and responsible for managing 2,000 vehicles and 18,000 assets across the UK, Angus Lindsay – group head of assets and fleet management at idverde UK –annually manages a capex budget of £5m and 300 vehicle replacements, a demanding and challenging role.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 OPINION 79
Shows have been in abundance this year, and each touting alternative fuels, Angus Lindsay
It is encouraging to see that behind the scenes, machinery manufacturers are developing equipment which doesn’t rely on fossil fuels



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Cloud-based and intuitive

All the data and information are stored in the cloud. It’s fully app controlled so no control box or PC set up is necessary. The app itself is very intuitive and user friendly, and Bluetooth connectivity is integrated to allow full control through the app via a smartphone, tablet or PC –simply download and choose up to six stations, four independent programmes and three start times.

Integrated and scalable

The connecting modules fit into Toro Infinity Sprinklers, the smartest, hardest-working sprinklers on the market – top accessibility to all the critical

components and built for flexible expansion for the perfect combination. Scalability is a key feature, making this an inexpensive water delivery solution, with Wi-Fi allowing you to manage up to 30 modules and 3G up to 25 modules.


Field conditions can be remotely monitored, and you can program by time, volume and rainfall. Tempus Air is ideal for those looking for a sustainable and unique solution for areas without electricity, completely eliminating cables from professional landscaping projects. This remote management allows for control from up to 800 metres away.

Efficient and reliable Tempus Air can monitor a wide set of field parameters for even more precise and efficient irrigation scheduling control for the hydraulic valves, water pumps, pressure valve sensors and filters and lots of functionality can be added by linking moisture levels, temperature, and wind speed. Plus, accurate and improved reporting make it an incredibly reliable tool.

Fully automated Tempus Air automation removes some of the inevitable issues of traditional automation such as the expense, labour required, and time needed to install. It’s the straightforward way to take command of your water. It’s an extremely stable and secure connection offering real-time connectivity, now proven in the field, and automated responses can be applied based on pre-set thresholds.

Portable and flexible It’s very easy to install as it requires no wires and can be placed indoors or outdoors in a waterproof box. You can move it around the site when needed and pair gateways and field modules together with a single click of your smartphone. An optional 10m antenna wire extension is also available.

Toro highlights its new centralised irrigation system


• Power: 9V batteries and solar panel option

• Capacity: Up to 30 field modules on Wi-Fi, 25 on 3G

• Modules: Either controllers (CT or MV), Multi Sensor (MS) or Pressure Sensor Module (PS) in any combination. Each Multi Sensor can accommodate up to four different sensors

• Range: Up to 800m radius for each gateway (1600m in total)

• Connectivity: Wi-fi, 3G, Bluetooth (within 10m of devices)

• Platform: Available for desktop and mobile


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Tel 01480 226 800

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prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 80

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Five minutes with TECWYN EVANS

Tecywyn shares his show garden experiences as he looks ahead to building Jilayne Rickards’ Fauna & Flora International Garden at Chelsea 2023

How did you first get into landscaping?

Landscaping came about as a result of my wife having a garden maintenance business and I started helping her. I’d joined the army when I left school and did civil construction, but I decided to go on a course and be taught how to do landscaping properly and then set up the business to be a landscaping one.

What advice would you give to those starting their landscaping careers?

To make sure they have done courses with reputable training providers to have a good understanding of what they should be doing or have worked with a reputable company which can pass on its knowledge, because you can’t just start out as a landscaper without training. You could also contact good landscaping companies to see if there is the opportunity to subcontract for them, which gets you on site to see how they operate, and you can learn from them. We sometimes offer people the chance to work on our show builds as the learning curve is fantastic.

For your next Chelsea garden, what do you anticipate will be the biggest challenge?

The creation of the boulder and rock walls that are going to emulate the rocky terrain and rock face of the mountain scene the garden will be promoting. There is quite a big increase in height as you go through the garden and we’re using various construction

methods to do that. There’s no cement in the garden, so we’re using gabions with a structural stone within to give it stability. Then I have to place the boulders on top of that to create this scene. Moving a threetonne boulder and shifting it slightly to put another stone in can be quite awkward!

What has been your show garden highlight so far?

I’d have to say Manoj’s Beneath the Mexican Sky in 2017. It was a wonderful garden to build and it still gets used in quite a lot of coverage today. The other one is Matthew Child’s B&Q Bursting Busy Lizzie Garden the following year. There was a lot of work involved, but it was challenging and interesting – and it got the Best Construction Award, a Gold medal and Best in Show.

Why did you want to build the Fauna & Flora International Garden?

It’s quite unique. Since working with Marian Boswall Landscape Architects from 2018, we changed our practices and now all our construction is from a sustainable mindset; they’re as environmentally friendly as possible.

So, when Jilayne told me this garden wouldn’t have any cement and the whole garden would be sustainable and relocated, I thought it was a great way to demonstrate techniques which create a nice show garden without having a negative impact on the environment.

How early do you start thinking about the build of a show garden?

Jilayne and I went out to Rwanda in February this year and we were designing it on the plane back. In June, whilst we were waiting for approvals, I took a punt and started sourcing various materials because the more you can plan and pre-build, the easier it is. We’ve been doing a lot of the groundwork to make sure we have everything in place, and we have a Zoom meeting every week to discuss the garden. We’re starting to build some items in our workshop at the end of November into December to get as much done as possible before Christmas.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I have quite a record collection, so I like listening to that, and also working in my garden. I’ve also bought an old farmhouse in Spain, so I’m looking forward to rewilding it and using my experience to bring it back to life.


Living Landscapes Tel 07968 449 329 Email

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | December 2022 LAST WORD 82
I thought it was a great way to demonstrate techniques which create a nice show garden without having a negative impact on the environment
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