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Concept to Delivery


Jewel in the crown STANLEY PARK, BLACKPOOL

February 2018


Work,travel & inspiration WORKING IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD with Peter Wilder



Let’s Hear it From SEAN BUTLER CUBE 1994 Cover.indd 10



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February 2018

Jewel in the crown

February 2018 | Volume 8, Issue 2


Work,travel & inspiration


Welcome to February 2018 Welcome to the February edition of Pro Landscaper. Now that January is out of the way, it’s almost time to think about spring and all the extra work that comes with the new season. We were very sad to hear of the untimely death of Glendale’s Tony Hewitt on New Year’s Eve; he was still so heavily involved, with a huge passion for the business. There is no doubt that he has left a lasting legacy after more than 30 years in the industry, and we pass on our condolences to his family and colleagues. Angus Lindsay pays tribute in his column on page 32. February brings the first Pro Landscaper Business Awards. We were so impressed by the quality of the entries, which has underpinned the need for an event of this kind. We must

Eljays44 Ltd 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA Tel: 01903 777 570 EDITORIAL Editorial Director – Lisa Wilkinson Tel: 01903 777 579

also thank the sponsors for their support. Not only is the industry producing some fabulous projects, but we also know how to run efficient, structured and profitable businesses, too. It’s only a couple of weeks until the ceremony, and you can see the shortlist on pages 16-17. We plan to open the entry process earlier next year, as we know many of you couldn’t get the application in before the deadline – we’ll keep you informed. It’s not too late to purchase tickets for the ceremony on Friday 9 February, taking place at the East Wintergarden at Canary Wharf, London; call Laura Harris on 01903 777580 for details and to buy tickets. In View From the Top on page 30, Tim Howell picks up on the

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Let’s Hear it From


CUBE 1994



Cover.indd 10

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subject of plastic pollution, discussing how his company Mitie Landscapes deals with waste and recycling, while our parks focus is on Blackpool’s Stanley Park, winner of the 2017 Fields in Trust Best Park award – find that on pages 39-41. Matthew Childs reviews Perfect Plant, Perfect Place by Roy Lancaster in What I’m Reading on page 94, and our Let’s Hear it From interview on pages 23-25 is with Cube1994 owner Sean Butler, who takes us through his journey into garden design and landscaping. So with 100 pages to get through, don’t waste any time – get down to reading the best magazine in the landscape industry! Have a great month,



Design – Kara Thomas Pro Landscaper is proud to be an affiliate member of BALI

Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Gwent, UK Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd – Connecting Horticulture Pro Landscaper’s content is available for licensing overseas. Contact jamie.wilkinson@ Pro Landscaper is published 12 times per year by Eljays44 Ltd. The 2018 subscription price is £95. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA, UK. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Eljays44 Ltd and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, uncommissioned photographs or manuscripts. Whilst every effort has been made to maintain the integrity of our advertisers, we accept no responsibility for any problem, complaints, or subsequent litigation arising from readers’ responses to advertisements in the magazine. We also wish to emphasise that views expressed by editorial contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.

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

Cover image ©GAP Photos Ltd

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February 2018 INFORM

8 Agenda As our climate changes, are drought-tolerant plants the future?


10 News Our monthly roundup of industry news

12 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Preview Pro Landscaper looks ahead to this year’s exciting event

13 CED Stone Group Rebrand CED Stone Group reveals its new branding for its 40th year of trading

16 Pro Landscaper Business Awards Unveiling the shortlist ahead of the event

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

23 Let’s Hear It From Landscape designer and Cube 1994 director Sean Butler

26 Company Profile Burnham Landscaping

28 Landscape Architect’s Journal Gillespies

30 View From the Top With plastic pollution a hot topic, Tim Howell discusses Mitie’s approach

Concept to Delivery

February 2018


Jewel in the crown STANLEY PARK, BLACKPOOL



Work,travel & inspiration WORKING IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD with Peter Wilder



Let’s Hear it From SEAN BUTLER CUBE 1994



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37 For the Long Term Retaining clients is crucial to success, says David T Binks

39 Jewel in the Crown In our latest council feature, we take a trip to Blackpool’s Stanley Park

32 A Pioneer’s Passing Following the sad loss of Tony Hewitt, Angus Lindsay reflects on the positive changes he brought to CCT

34 In a Manner of Speaking Speaking engagements can bring a host of benefits, explains Andrew Wilson

36 Northern Light Adam White hails the plans for a new Northern Forest


Pro Landscaper / February 2018

Contents so far.indd 4


45 Modern Magic Clean lines transform a back garden in Poulton-le-Fylde

48 Open for Business An extensive maintenance programme keeps the Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work business centre at its best

54 Grand Designs This large garden in Surrey oozes elegance and class

58 Get the Picture Anji Connell chooses attentiongrabbing pieces for an Instagram-ready garden

60 Life/Style Pro Landscaper delves into the life of CW Studio’s Carolyn Willitts

62 Composite Decking Five impressive projects demonstrating the versatility of composite decking

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Trouble Shooting Jeff Stephenson lists what aftercare teams need to focus on after the handover from the build team


Model Behaviour Technology is changing the way we design landscapes, says Peter Wilder


Helping You Make a Profit Sam Hassall breaks down the costs associated with topsoils


Cooking Up a Storm Outdoor kitchens are booming, so Sean Butler takes us through the important points


Digging In Robert Webber discusses what happens on-site during a lighting installation project



Caroline Wade advises on forming productive links with press outlets


Nurture News A roundup of news from the UK’s growing sector


Designer Plants Neil Jones brings an attractive tonal scheme to an overgrown back garden


The Joys of Spring Flowering trees that deliver throughout the year, selected by Andy McIndoe


A Fine Romance Ian Drummond chooses his favourite plants for creating a romantic atmosphere


Pocket Rockets With gardens shrinking, Jamie Butterworth talks plants for small spaces

Contents so far.indd 5

Composite Fencing Taking a look at the role composite material could play in fencing



Building Relationships


Nursery Visit We discuss bio-security and customer service with Surrey-based Creepers


Podium Landscapes Tim O’Hare takes us through the soil considerations for podium landscapes



What I’m Reading Matthew Childs reviews Perfect Plant, Perfect Place by Roy Lancaster

Meadowology Tracing the wildflower meadow trend with Jonathan Wild


Look Out For Luke Mills, director of The Landscape Service


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

Pro Landscaper / February 2018


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Adam White

Anji Connell

Jamie Butterworth

Sean Butler

Director, Davies White Ltd

Interior architect and landscape designer

Horticultural consultant, London Stone

Director, Cube 1994

Adam White welcomes the UK government’s recent announcement to fund the creation of a new Northern Forest, stretching 120 miles from Liverpool to Hull. Led by The Woodland Trust and the Community Forest Trust, Adam hopes that the ambitious scheme – which will see 50m trees planted over 25 years – marks a positive turning point in the government’s attitude towards green infrastructure.

Continuing her quest to track down the most Instagrammable garden trends and products for 2018, Anji Connell unveils a treasure trove of picture perfect accessories, sculptural inspiration, unusual plants and fabulous furniture to get your gardens Instagram ready. From multipurpose features for small gardens to free-floating mirror ball installations and quirky edibles, Anji provides plenty of inspiration to keep us snap happy through 2018.

With 37% of the British population now living in rented accommodation, Jamie Butterworth turns his attention to Generation Rent in the first of a new, three-part series exploring how the industry can appeal to this growing demographic. Each month, horticultural consultant Jamie will share his top plant picks guaranteed to shine in a small space, or sit content in containers; proving you don’t need acres to create an attractive and inspiring garden.

The growing popularity of the outdoor kitchen is undeniable. Now with all the amenities of an indoor kitchen, this ‘room with a view’ really does have everything… including the kitchen sink! Sean Butler walks us through their creation and the burgeoning range of features, materials and accessories that are now available to clients. We are also delighted to feature Sean in this month’s Let’s Hear It From, which starts on page 23. @davies_white @anjiconnell @gardener_jamie @cube1994

Other contributors Tim Howell Managing director, Mitie Landscapes Ltd

Andy McIndoe Leading horticulturist

Sam Hassall Managing director, LandPro Ltd

Angus Lindsay Head of fleet, idverde

Ian Drummond Creative director, Indoor Garden Design

Robert Webber Founder, Scenic Lighting

Andrew Wilson Garden designer and lecturer

Jeff Stephenson Head of horticulture and aftercare, Bowles & Wyer

Caroline Wade Managing director, WADE PR

David T Binks Managing director, Big Hedge Co. and Landstruction

Peter Wilder Principal, Wilder Associates and Survey Drone Ltd

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Pro Landscaper / February 2018


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Last year, the RHS published a report on ‘Gardening in a Changing Climate’, in collaboration with the universities of Sheffield and Reading, which looked at how garden design and planting can be adapted to climate change. With this in mind, we asked whether drought-tolerant plants are the way forward.

Paul Hervey-Brookes Owner, Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates

Man-made climate change is adding to the planet’s natural cycle of warming and cooling; this is our biggest challenge, and no part of our lives will be unaffected. When it comes to our gardens and landscapes, plants that can tolerate extremes will become the most reliable and in demand. In the South West, we have seen the weather pattern change to longer, milder periods with higher moisture and deluges of water, as opposed to rain in autumn and winter. In the South East, it is milder and drier, and a different type of planting is called for, so I wouldn’t advocate a one-size-fitsall solution. It’s clear that the way we use plants will change. This will include using genera that tolerate heavy water or genera that can cope and look good during long periods of arid weather. 8

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Pro Landscaper / February 2018

John Richardson Chairman, Johnsons of Whixley

As the commercial grower of a wide range of landscape plants, most of which are suitable for planting throughout the UK, we are becoming increasingly concerned at the potential for drier summers and general global warming. A major problem is that, when it comes to global temperature changes, we are unable to depend on any positive figures that we could act on with any degree of confidence. Equally important factors are the soil types into which trees are to be planted, the site aspect, the latitude, and the plant species. The trees and shrubs from low-rainfall countries, such as Australia, tend to be perceived as ornamental in nature, and do not have the habit and appearance of the typical Northern European tree. Significant progress is being made in adjusting the DNA of plant species to have a resistance to drought, but how quickly might this be developed? With sea levels having the potential to rise by up to two metres in the next 100 years, I feel we have problems when it comes to the question of where we’ll build cities in the future. The logical location is on good, level ground, above the 2m mark, but this will be the only land we have left for food production. Where will we plant trees?

As a grower and supplier of trees to the landscape sector, we are responsive to the specifications of landscape architects, but I am not aware of any decisions having been made, either by individual architects or their Institute, on the suitability of plant species within our northern hemisphere and latitude range, but subject to higher average temperatures and lower summer rainfall.

Helen and James Basson Directors, Scape Design

Rainfall patterns in the UK are becoming more Mediterranean, with heavier rainfall in spring and autumn and drier summers and winters. However, our rainfall pattern is not sufficiently stabilised to guarantee success in droughttolerant garden plants, which support little or no water in the hot months – Phytophthora could easily become a real problem. One solution is to raise the ground level in mounds (even as little as 10cm can make a difference) and use a gravel mulch so these plants don’t get wet feet. Despite the changing climate, the UK still has rich soil, and this will take a lot longer to change; we are more likely to see grasses and thistles thriving in warmer UK climates than the rosemary and lavender of Provence, which prefer dry, gravelly soil.

18/01/2018 11:37


Leigh Hunt

Tracy Foster

Tim Edwards

Principal horticultural advisor, RHS

Owner, Tracy Foster Garden Design

Managing director and chairman, Boningale Nurseries

The results of climate change are difficult to predict and vary from area to area, so there isn’t really a single planting solution that will fit every garden. We can certainly make planting choices to suit the recent climate patterns of the area that a garden is in – whether that’s drought, colder winters or increased risk of flooding – but more importantly, gardens can play a role in actually mitigating the effects of climate change. For example, rainwater harvesting and storage have obvious benefits in dry periods, and using green roofs, rain gardens, swales and rainwater tanks to temporarily hold onto water can significantly reduce the risk of flooding – which, according to the Environment Agency, currently affects more than 5m homes in England alone. The resulting variety of conditions within the garden will open up possibilities for different types of planting, too.

Unless you’re the president of the United States, you probably accept the view of most scientists and believe human activity is changing our climate. The headline message is that the world is getting warmer. It seems wise to plan for a world of less rainfall as a result. My understanding, however, is that, as the globe gets warmer, our oceans will get warmer, and maritime climates may see greater rainfall rather than less. It seems that climate change will exaggerate the differences already seen between the weather patterns in the west and east of the UK. While East Anglia and the South East are likely to become drier and hotter, the west could become wetter, and summers cooler. If that is the case, then knowledge of drought-tolerant plants will certainly be useful for good landscape design, but just as important will be a detailed knowledge of the climate patterns that operate across our varied land.


Eleanor Webster Climate scientist, RHS

This will largely depend on where you live. Over the past 15 years, the climate change models have become more detailed, and we now understand that different areas of the UK will be affected in different ways. Previous suggestions that southern England will be just like the Mediterranean have now been replaced with more nuanced guidance. In the south of the UK, hotter and drier conditions are expected, so drought tolerant plants will play a key role in adapting to the changes. To support them at the driest times, it will be increasingly important to capture and store rainwater. Rainfall will be infrequent, but will occur in heavier episodes, so we will need to shift from conventional water butts to large tanks and rainwater-harvesting systems for irrigation. In the north, milder and wetter conditions are expected, but there is still a risk of drought and frost. As a result, hardy plants that can cope with wet and dry conditions will be a better option.

Agenda.indd 9


In the wake of the collapse of Carillion, would you forfeit your own payment terms for the opportunity to work for a large service provider?

Have your say: Pro Landscaper / February 2018


18/01/2018 11:37


NEWS Parkwood Group announces sad loss of Tony Hewitt The Parkwood Group has announced the sad loss of founder and executive chairman Tony Hewitt. In a statement, it says: “It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Tony Hewitt, founder and executive chairman of the Parkwood Group. Tony passed away aged 68 on December 31, after being admitted to hospital. He leaves behind his wife Patricia, and three children, Daniel, Amy and Lara. “Tony was enthusiastic and passionate, with boundless energy, and he will be remembered as both a charismatic business leader and a loving family man. “As we honour his memory, we thank him for the contribution he has made to the green space management and horticulture industry over the past 25 years. “Tony was extremely proud of the Parkwood family of companies he dedicated his time to developing. The businesses will continue to operate as normal, as

Tony wanted. The Parkwood Group remains in the ownership of the Hewitt family, who are committed to continuing Tony’s legacy.” Pro Landscaper interviewed Tony for its June 2017 issue, where he spoke about Glendale and the wider Parkwood Group of companies with passion. We would like to express our sadness at the loss of a well-respected figure who has been in the industry for over 30 years. Our thoughts are with Tony’s family at this time.

Green light for residential-led regeneration scheme at Icknield Port Loop, Birmingham Birmingham City Council has approved plans for the first phase of a major residential regeneration at Icknield Port Loop, Birmingham. Working closely with Glenn Howells Architects, Maccreanor Lavington Architects and ShedKM, Grant Associates has created a detailed landscape masterplan that will see 207 family homes and 90 apartments built, along with green infrastructure including a new public park, public open spaces, communal gardens and canal-side public realm.

The scheme is the first phase of a proposal by Urban Splash and Places for People to develop

a total of 1,150 homes on the 43-acre city centre site. Located next to the Icknield Port Loop canal, the homes will be a mixture of family houses and apartments. Commercial, retail and leisure facilities will also be delivered. Outline planning permission for the site was secured in 2013. Birmingham City Council and the Canal and River Trust appointed Places for People and Urban Splash as joint venture delivery partners for the project in 2016. Claire Hobart, senior associate at Grant Associates, comments: “Our aim is to reinvigorate this piece of brownfield industrial land. We want to connect Icknield Port Loop’s new community with a series of new waterfront and green spaces. The landscape creates a sense of place that draws on the site’s unique island location and connections to the waterways of the city.”

Pledges to eliminate avoidable waste, introduce new safeguards for wildlife and connect children with nature are among plans outlined by Prime Minister Theresa May and Environment Secretary Michael Gove for a greener future. ‘A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment’ sets out plans to: 10

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Pro Landscaper / February 2018

• Help wildlife thrive by creating 500,000ha of new habitat for endangered species, supporting farmers to turn fields into meadows and other habitats, replenishing depleted soils and providing £5.7m to kick-start a new Northern Forest • Deliver a ‘Green Brexit’ by consulting on a new environmental

watchdog to hold government to account for environmental standards, and set out a new approach to agriculture and fisheries management • Embed a ‘net environmental gain’ principle so development delivers environmental improvements locally and nationally, enabling housing development without


Government publishes 25 Year Environment Plan increasing burdens on developers • Create ‘nature friendly schools’ and review National Parks to see how they can improve and whether the network should be extended.

18/01/2018 09:13


LDA Design and WSP to lead Plymouth revamp LDA Design and WSP have been appointed by Plymouth City Council to transform the city’s public realm. The consultants behind some of the UK’s most impressive regeneration schemes will lead Better Places, a £27m project to rejuvenate the city. More walkable streets, better cycling routes and more welcoming public spaces will bring life, activity and commerce back to the city centre, making Plymouth a safer, more sociable and enjoyable place. The scheme is designed to meet the needs of local people; it will also support improved trading and encourage inward investment.

Better Places will ensure Plymouth looks its best in time for the Mayflower 400 celebrations, which will mark the anniversary of the famous ship setting sail for the New World in 1620. Design and project lead LDA Design, designer of the parkland and public realm for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and contract lead WSP will partner with dRMM (architecture), RLB Rider Levett Bucknall (project management), Michael Grubb Studios (lighting), Robert Bray Associates (sustainable drainage systems), Robert Bevan (heritage),

Survey Drone launches new website

United Creatives (design) and DCA Public Relations (communications). The project team will follow the council’s vision set out in the City Centre Masterplan. Council leader Ian Bowyer said: “We are at the start of an exciting project for our city and I am looking forward to the next stage.”

Parks plan agreed by Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Knowsley Council’s Cabinet has agreed to establish a charitable trust to manage the borough’s green spaces from April 2019, when council funding runs out. The ‘Shaping a New Future for Knowsley’s Parks’ report was agreed on 28 November last year, but was called in for further consideration by the Sustainable Boroughs Scrutiny Committee, which made some recommendations following its meeting on 19 December. The Cabinet considered each of the recommendations before

News.indd 11

voting again. The Trust would be funded by the sale of 10% of the borough’s green spaces over the next 15 years, creating a £40m endowment – the interest from which would be used to manage the remaining 90% forever. Details of the sites to be surrendered were put forward at


the Cabinet meeting last November (available on the council’s website) and work will now begin on developing a business case. “This is not a decision we have come to lightly – and it was not a decision we made alone,” said Cllr Andy Moorhead. “The recommendations we’ve agreed were put forward following consultation and research by the independent Parks Review Board, who were asked to find the best solution. This is about protecting parks, not taking them away.

Survey Drone has announced the launch of its newly redesigned website, now more optimised for mobile use. Survey Drone offers a wide variety of services, including aerial filming and photography, site assessment, 3D terrain modelling and roof inspections.

Kensington Roof Gardens close

The Kensington Roof Gardens have closed after 37 years. In a statement, owner Virgin said: “In the face of unpredictable market conditions and a challenge to remain profitable, sadly we can confirm we have closed our doors.” en/the-roof-gardens

Etesia UK appoints Les Malin as managing director Les Malin has been appointed as the new managing director of Etesia UK with immediate effect. Throughout his tenure at Etesia UK, Les has seen the company grow into one of the most innovative manufacturers in the groundscare industry.

18/01/2018 09:13



RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 Pro Landscaper was invited to the press preview for the 2018 edition of the prestigious event; here’s what we learned...


he countdown to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 has begun, and the event is back to its best. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has overcome the sponsorship struggles of last year and announced a number of exciting additions and developments that are set to make the world-renowned show an unforgettable event. At the press preview for the 2018 show, which took place on Wednesday 17 January at M&G’s offices in London, RHS director general Sue Biggs opened the event by announcing that a “legendary designer” will be designing a brand new addition to the Great Pavilion. Tom Stuart-Smith will be returning to Chelsea after eight years away to design ‘The Weston Garden’, a centrepiece celebrating 60 years of the Garfield Weston Foundation. Everything in the garden will be recycled, with many plants being borrowed or reused from previous shows. One of the hottest topics last year was the lack of female designers at Chelsea, and Sue was pleased to announce that the gender gap has now closed, with 15 male and 15 female designers at this year’s show. There will be a total of 29 gardens this year – 10 Main Avenue, eight Artisan, and 10 in new category Space to Grow. The RHS Feel Good


Pro Landscaper / February 2018

News Extra Chelsea.indd 12

Garden is being designed by Matt Keightley, twice winner of the RHS/BBC People’s Choice Award; his show garden has been inspired by his plans for a health and wellbeing themed garden at RHS Garden Wisley. James Alexander-Sinclair took to the stage to introduce a selection of this year’s show gardens and to reveal the emerging themes. These included gardens for the environment – notably Kate Gould’s ‘The New West End Garden’, which uses environmentally positive technology – and the power of plants, including Sarah Eberle’s garden, which is the first Indian garden

to feature at Chelsea and will include plants with a link to Indian history, such as blue Vanda orchids and marigolds. Tom Massey will be making his Chelsea debut with ‘The Lemon Tree Trust Garden’, inspired by the gardens created by Syrian refugees in Northern Iraq, which provide tranquil spaces for escape. Also making their Chelsea debuts in 2018 are Tony Woods, who won RHS Young Designer of the Year 2013 and will be designing a garden around climate change, Jonathan Snow, whose garden is inspired by the Winelands of the Western Cape of South Africa, and Robert Barker with ‘Skin Deep’, a conceptual garden featuring a sculpture consisting of nearly 200 concrete blocks that represent different skin conditions. M&G announced last year that it will be the title sponsor of Chelsea for a

further three years, and its garden this year will be designed by Sarah Price, who last appeared at Chelsea in 2012. Her design for M&G is a romanticised haven inspired by the Mediterranean, with a stunning array of colourful planting. With concern growing over the prospect of Xylella fastidiosa reaching the UK, plant health is a huge focus at all RHS shows this year. The charity had already announced a ban on certain imports, but will now also be incorporating plant health into the judging criteria, and it is hosting workshops on plant health for designers and contractors leading up to the event. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 is already looking like an incredible event, and with four months left to go, there’s still plenty of time for more to be revealed.

1 The M&G Garden – Sarah Price 2 Sue Biggs at the 2018 press preview 3 Skin Deep – Robert Barker 4 Sarah Price introduces The M&G Garden 5 Lemon Tree Trust Garden – Tom Massey 6 Urban Flow – Tony Woods

18/01/2018 13:57


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16/01/2018 11:33


CED Stone Group marks 40th year with a brand-new look CED Stone Group is to refresh its branding, distinguishing the commercial and landscaping sides of the business CED Stone Group’s rebranding will divide the brand into two clear sections, CED Stone Commercial and CED Stone Landscapes, both of which will fall under the CED Stone Group umbrella. The former will be the go-to for architects and specifiers, while the latter is aimed at designers and landscapers. The rebranding will enable CED to give each side of the business as it exists its own identity, allowing it to communicate to its audiences correctly depending on which market sector they’re in. CED Stone Group has spent 40 years specialising in the supply of natural stone paving and facilitating the use of stone throughout the landscape and construction industries. In 2013, it announced the appointment of Giles Heap as its new managing director, and the rebranding is a continuation of his goals, vision and values. The company is marking its 40th year anniversary with the unveiling of a completely new website, brochure and branding. A massive undertaking for such a large 14

Pro Landscaper / February 2018

News Extra CED rebranding.indd 14

company, the changes will be phased in over the next few months, so customers can expect to see the updates in place ready for the 2018 peak season. The vision is to continue to provide the landscape industry with beautiful, ethically sourced materials, allowing it to craft safe, enjoyable spaces that can be used for many years to come. The business wants to create a truly sustainable landscape, and to that end has also come up with a new positioning statement: ‘inspiring beautiful landscapes’. The decision to rebrand CED Stone Group was made in order to modernise the business’s look, and to provide continuity across all the literature and collateral that it produces. The company believes that this will

allow it to better communicate what it is to its audience: what it stands for, how it acts and how it collaborates with people across the industry. The new style will be a complete refresh of the old classic branding, with a contemporary look that still represents an established company, known in the industry for its quality products and experienced employees. The revamped branding will also reflect CED Stone Group’s expert advice, good customer service and a passion for using natural stone. “At the very heart of our business, we want to share our passion for using the best hard landscaping products, and encourage our customers to create beautiful landscapes that can be used to inspire future generations,” explains Giles Heap, managing director of

18/01/2018 13:53


CED Stone Group. “A lot of things can change in 40 years, and over time we’ve grown and evolved in many ways, so we hope that this new and updated branding will help to reinforce how important our values are.” CED Stone Group is known for having one of the most extensive ranges of natural stone and hard landscaping products in the UK, and its new website has been designed to help customers find the right options for them, with colour type filters, matching product suggestions and material comparison tools.

“CED has changed and evolved over the years and our brand needed to reflect this, so we wanted a fresh, updated style that would still be relevant and recognisable to our customers,” says Paula Chalmers, CED Stone Group’s marketing manager. “The two distinct parts of our business, CED Stone Commercial and CED Stone Landscape, have been given their own identities; ensuring that we can communicate effectively with our clients who all have very different needs. We’ve produced a range of new marketing materials, including a new brochure and website, making it easier for our customers to find the products or services they require.” The rebranding will be launched at the SGD Awards on 2 February, followed by Build It Live on 3-4 February, which it will take the landscaping division to, and the Surface Design Show on 6-8 February for the commercial side of the business. CED Stone Group will also be attending the Pro Landscaper Awards on 9 February, where it is the headline sponsor.


For more information, please visit

News Extra CED rebranding.indd 15

Pro Landscaper / February 2018 15

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Pro Landscaper is pleased to announce the shortlist for the first ever Pro Landscaper Business Awards 2018. Bringing together businesses across all sectors, the new cross-industry event aims to recognise and reward companies within the industry that consistently perform well and strive to raise the standard of UK landscaping. Good luck to all of the entrants – we look forward to seeing everyone on 9 February!

Landscape Company – Less than £1m Turnover – sponsored by Turf Group • Acre Landscapes • Burnham Landscaping • The Landscaping Consultants Landscape Company – More than £1m Turnover – sponsored by Pro Landscaper • Oak View Landscapes • Urban Landscape Design • Elite Landscapes • Landform Consultants Landscape Company – Design and Build – sponsored by Creepers • Urban Landscape Design • Garden Club London • Landform Consultants • Ground Control Commercial Landscape Company – sponsored by Green-tech • Skidmores of Hertford • Ground Control Grounds Maintenance Company – sponsored by Bourne Amenity • CGM Group • Glendale • Nurture Landscapes • Mitie Garden Designer – sponsored by Global Stone • Melissa King (JPS Landscape Design) • Anne Jennings (Viridian Landscape Studio) • Butter Wakefield Garden Design Practice – sponsored by Lateral Design Studio • Aralia • JPS Landscape Design Landscape Architect Practice – sponsored by Tobermore • Gillespies • Davies White Ltd • HLM Architects Industry Partnership – sponsored by FutureScape • Lateral Design Studio • Gristwood and Toms • Adtrak Apprenticeship Scheme – sponsored by Horticruitment • Glendale • CGM Group Supplier – Adding greatest value to the landscape sector – sponsored by Adtrak • Bourne Amenity • James Coles Nurseries • Green-tech • GreenBlue Urban

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Anna Charles Head Ranger, Forest of Marston Vale.

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04/01/2018 11:37 16:13 16/01/2018




SGD bulletin Garden trends for 2018 Designers from the SGD have revealed their predictions for 2018 garden design trends. Award-winning garden designer John Wyer FSGD cites outdoor structures with integrated drainage, lighting and heating as being the must-have garden feature. Cassandra Crouch MSGD believes that asymmetry will be big, and that we can expect to see an update on crazy paving with

Garden by Cassandra Crouch

large-scale natural indigenous stone. Gardens will feel less structured, as geometric lines and hard surfaces are softened by planting. James Scott MSGD says that gardens designed to benefit the environment and encourage wildlife will be popular. Materials predicted to make a big impact include copper and copper-effect stainless

steel, according to Paul Hensey FSGD. More generally, we will see a move away from shiny stainless steel finishes, with a weathered patina becoming popular. Limestone is set to make a domestic return, with the introduction of harder-wearing mid-toned stones. Adolfo Harrison MSGD predicts a trend for mixing different stones to reflect the colours within a garden,

Garden by Paul Hensey

while Jane Finlay believes that handmade bricks and textured paving blocks will bring a natural

Garden by Adolfo Harrison

element to small urban gardens. Planting will be about shrubs providing accents and structure, moving away from naturalistic perennials and grasses, while interest in unusual specimens will be prevalent. Find out more on the SGD website:

BALI briefing at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park and involved trainee landscapers and planting designers working together to build three show gardens. BALI and the RHS announce joint garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show BALI and the RHS are jointly funding a feature show garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018, designed to promote the skills of landscape contractors. The initiative replaces the Young Landscape Contractor Competition, which has been held for the last two years

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BALI receives best response rate to date for recent survey In October 2017, BALI sent out its most recent membership satisfaction survey, and

response rates were the highest ever. The report from the survey has already been circulated to members. Of the participants, 100% rated BALI good or very good for its knowledge, support and advice; when asked what the top membership benefits were, responses included the registered logo, promotion on BALI’s website, and the BALI National Landscape Awards. Renewal reminder — BALI members can save 2% on fee if they renew early It’s that time of year when BALI members are asked to renew

their annual membership. Information on renewal is contained in the renewal pack and accompanying documents which have been, or are in the process of being, sent to all members. BALI would like to remind members that they can save 2% on the annual membership fee if they renew before Friday 16 February 2018. Between January and March 2018, BALI regional AGMs will be taking place across the country, with further details on each event published on our website at

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RHS report

RHS London Early Spring Plant Fair, RHS Lindley and RHS Lawrence Hall (13-14 February) Expect a variety of early flowering plants and bulbs. Visitors will be able to admire an abundance of stunning snowdrops in an installation

created from gardens all over the country, and make the most of on-hand advice from nurseries and speakers – including Alys Fowler, who will be encouraging everyone with tips and inspiration to get back in the garden after winter. Mud & Machines, RHS Harlow Carr (10-18 February) Families are encouraged to pull on their wellies, grab the waterproofs and enjoy a week of mud and machines! Come and jump in our giant muddy puddle and take part in our Mud & Machines Trail around the garden. Have

your photo taken with a giant digger, as the Harlow Carr team demonstrates how they use the garden’s heavy machinery. Kids can get mucky with muddy craft activities, hear tales from the Garden Detectives, create a ‘wormery’ and make a marvellous mud pie in the Great British Mud Pie Off!

rejuvenating self-guided trail around RHS Garden Rosemoor, including highlights such as surprising scents, stunning seasonal colours and bark textures, as well as the structure of clipped hedges.

Winter Wonders Garden Trail, RHS Garden Rosemoor (18 February) Follow a delightful and

Parks Alliance matters

Turning aspiration into action The Parks Alliance has spent much of January working with other parks organisations to voice sector disappointment following the Heritage Lottery Fund’s decision not to award a new round of funding for the Parks for People programme. We have also cautiously welcomed the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, and are encouraged that Environment Secretary Michael


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Gove has said that he wants to “set gold standards in protecting and growing natural capital”. We understand that this includes embedding an ‘environmental net gain’ principle for development. Also proposed is the establishment of a cross-government project to review and update green infrastructure standards, and support local authorities as

they assess green infrastructure against these new standards. This bodes well for the development of new green infrastructure, but doesn’t recognise the plight of existing parks. We are pleased, though, that the Plan pledges to support the Parks Action Group in its work to help England’s parks and green spaces meet communities’ needs.

Most importantly, the Plan recognises that our environment will improve and be better managed in the future if people feel more connected with it. It is now time to turn aspiration into action. We are looking forward to the first Parks Action Group workshop at the end of January, and hope that progress will be made in developing the work-streams needed for positive impact. In the recent cabinet reshuffle, we appear to have lost Marcus Jones MP as Parks Minister. We hope that a new Minister is appointed quickly, and that they are as pro-parks as Marcus.

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APL update Five landscaping companies announced to take part in APL Avenue competition at BBC Gardeners’ World Live For the third year running, the APL returns to BBC Gardeners’ World Live with the show garden competition, APL Avenue. This is an opportunity for five APL contractors to feature their inspirational, aspirational and relatable gardens at BBC Gardeners’ World Live taking place at Birmingham’s NEC from 14-17 June 2018. The winning garden will be awarded Best APL Avenue Show Garden by the Show

Garden Assessment panel, plus a public vote will crown the visitor’s favourite. The five gardens within APL Avenue give visitors the opportunity to witness firsthand what variety, quality, creativity and interpretation of a brief can be achieved in a small space when engaging the skills of a professional landscaper. Members of the APL team and the landscapers will be on hand throughout the event to share their wealth of knowledge, demystifying the process of a garden build and giving advice on costs and options. To ensure top-quality design and construction, each garden will receive a contribution towards the build. Marshalls

and Rolawn are both garden product suppliers, with Marshalls supplying products from their domestic range and Rolawn supplying their turf and topsoil. Returning for 2018 are 2017 Gold Medal The landscapers winners, Living Landscapes who will build designed by Hairy Gardeners their show gardens at BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2018 are: • Timotay Landscapes, designed by Timotay • A-Z Gardening Landscaping Landscapes Services Ltd, designed by BBC Gardeners’ World Live Levente Papp and Alina takes place 14-17 June 2018 Ciobotaru at The NEC Birmingham. For • Conquest Creative Spaces, designed by Ross Conquest more information visit: www. • KeyScape Gardens, For more information on the designed by Wilson landscapers, visit: Associates Garden Design • Living Landscapes,

plants@work outline A fresh start From 22 January 2018, efig will become the plants@work Association. Apart from the name, the new logo, and the names of our website and social media pages, we don’t think you’ll notice the difference! The decision was mooted and approved last year, to make our brand more relevant to what we actually do: our main aim is to supply businesses with first class interior planting, to improve their workplaces aesthetically and for wellbeing.

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We hope you’ll all continue to support us and spread the word about our new name.

©Indoor Garden Design at B Sky B for their Judges’ Commended Gold Leaf Award last year

New Year’s resolutions Apparently, about a third of us make New Year’s resolutions, but 63% of that number admits to breaking them within one month. So there are only a few of us who are still keeping to them by this time of year. plants@work’s big New Year’s resolution has been to

keep our rebrand secret until now – and, of course, to go on promoting not only plants, but our members and the great job they do throughout the year. plants@work Leaf Awards Right now we are encouraging members to submit their entries for our Leaf Awards. Members can be awarded a Leaf for excellence in Design & Installation, ongoing Maintenance to keep installations looking as good as new, and for their technicians who do that hard maintenance work throughout the year. There are also special categories for short-term installations at Events and

Christmas installations, a very popular category. Once the judges have assessed the entries, the Awards will be presented on 26 April, at the Western Roof Pavilion at the South Bank Centre, where our guest speaker will be Oliver Heath. We look forward to bringing you ongoing news from our newly named association throughout 2018.

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Let’s Hear it From Sean Butler discusses how he grew Cube 1994 from humble beginnings to a hugely successful company How and when did your career in landscaping start, and what made you change from civil engineering? In 1993, I was working on the Limehouse Link London as a steel fixing foreman when a personal tragedy struck, which was to change the rest of my life. I was left widowed with a two-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son, and had to find work that was closer to home and fitted in with the children. I always had a passion for the outdoor environment, and gardening was part of that; I used to help both my grandads on their allotments as a young boy. I really enjoyed TD (Technical Drawing) at school and used my experience in this to teach myself to design gardens. It has been a very steep learning curve. Joining the SGD and gaining MSGD status gave me confidence in my ability. Did you start your own business straight away, or work in a landscaping/design environment first? I had to save before I could start my own

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SEAN BUTLER business. I began working in my mother’s pub to earn enough money to place an advert in our local Essex paper. I decided that I would aim to start in April 1994, and this would give me enough time to get some response from the advert, gather a few basic tools and all the

CUBE IS WELL KNOWN FOR CREATING GARDENS TO A METICULOUSLY HIGH STANDARD – FOR US, DETAIL IS EVERYTHING necessary equipment to start landscaping. My first project was for what seemed an enormous amount of money at the time, £5,000. I feel blessed that I haven’t had to look back since. Tell us about your team and how you structure it. Our team starts in the office with my PA,

Anastasia. She keeps me organised and lets me know where I am supposed to be on a daily basis. I have a landscape director, Tommy, who heads up all the landscape teams. We run five landscape projects at a time and I am, on average, working on nine to 12 design projects per month. Each team runs a project from start to finish and every foreman has complete autonomy on the project, ordering all materials and coordinating deliveries. We run our projects via a Gantt chart system, which tracks each project accurately. These are monitored daily, and we have weekly meetings with all the foremen to discuss progress. Our horticultural division is separated into maintenance, plant sourcing and scheduling. We believe it is crucial that we are able to offer fully trained horticulturists as part of our business. We work with a lot of experienced designers, and it gives them peace of mind, knowing that we can carry out all aspects of hard and soft landscaping on their projects to a high standard. Pro Landscaper / February 2018 23

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You offer the complete service in private domestic landscaping – design, construction and maintenance. What percentage of turnover does each take up? Design is 11%, construction 85% and maintenance 4%. What about commercial landscaping, is this something you undertake? Having had our fingers burnt by commercial builders going bust, we now only take on government-funded projects. I am passionate about sensory gardens and the benefits they give to end users – I’ve designed sensory gardens for those with dementia, autism, blindness, brain trauma and multiple disabilities.

CLIENTS NEED EDUCATING ON THEIMPORTANCE OF WORKING WITH PROFESSIONAL LANDSCAPERS – WE ARE SUCH A SPECIALIST INDUSTRY In addition to offering the complete package, does Cube offer design and construction services separately, working with other designers or landscapers? We offer a turnkey design, build and maintain service that is bespoke to each client’s requirements. We also work with designers, mainly from the SGD. I think that clients still need educating on the importance of working with professional landscapers and not builders – we are such a specialist industry. Would you say your company is known for a particular design style or preference? Cube is well known for creating gardens to a meticulously high standard – for us, detail is everything. We are in the process of redeveloping our planting style so that it becomes unique to us – a sort of ‘Cubism’. You are a fully registered member of the SGD and BALI – do you find this helpful in terms of finding work and keeping up to date with developments in the industry? In today’s world, it’s always good to have a USP. Being a member of BALI and the SGD has its 24

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benefits, though I think that there is still a long way to go in promoting both these societies. If you walk along any street and ask people what BALI or the SGD is, I can guarantee that most won’t know. The societies need to advertise further in the mass media to really get the message out there. Do you only maintain gardens you have designed and built, or is there a larger client base? Most of our clients are happy to transfer over to an ongoing maintenance contract once the garden is complete. Outside of our own client base, we tend to take on gardens from clients who have done their research and fully appreciate the value in taking on fully trained horticulturists. How do you think we can encourage young people to take up a career in the landscape/ garden design sector? Through mass media. Our future landscapers and designers are so media savvy that the old methods of reading books are outdated. Landscaping and garden design needs to be portrayed as a popular career choice, and I believe this can only be done through mass media – especially television and social media. Do you find industry events such as FutureScape helpful for networking and building your knowledge of products and systems? FutureScape is a must-go event for me; I enjoy catching up with colleagues and speaking to suppliers about new products. I also recently went to the Majestic Trees event on Xylella which was very informative – with great hospitality, thanks to Steve. What do you think will be the major challenges for the landscape industry, moving forward, and how can we tackle them? We have a very obvious skills gap in our industry. Writtle University College’s intake has gone down from 40 students a year to five or six. This is largely due to the government having increased student fees. We overcome this with in-house training, but not all companies are able to offer it, as it comes at a cost. Offering more grants to small businesses would be a way forward to help bridge this gap.

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LANDSCAPING AND GARDEN DESIGN NEEDS TO BE PORTRAYED AS A POPULAR CAREER CHOICE, AND I BELIEVE THIS CAN ONLY BE DONE THROUGH MASS MEDIA When you’re not working, what do you like to do to relax? Some may say it’s not relaxing, but I love training for triathlons 12-19 hours a week. The races I have lined up dictate my training programme, which I take very seriously. I suffer from tinnitus and I have found training helps alleviate this for small periods of time. I also love to cook and discover new styles of food. My wife and I also like to eat out at least once a week. It’s important to make time for yourselves, away from the work environment, so you can unwind.

1 The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Garden at RHS Chelsea 2015, designed by Ruth Willmott 2 A colour changing fire table adds great ambience 3 Courtyard garden 4 A 4m bespoke built water feature 5 Handmade copper florist pots framed by design clad stone on the wall 6 Outdoor kitchen courtyard 7 A courtyard garden 8 Sean at the Barbados Open Water Festival just before the 1.5km race

CONTACT Cube 1994 62 Main Road, Danbury, Essex CM3 4NG Tel: 01245 227148

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Ed Burnham, managing director of Burnham Landscaping, discusses growing his company’s reputation, why he isn’t a member of an association, and his debut at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Can you tell us a little bit about how the company was founded? I used to work for a specialist lawn treatment company – it developed into carrying out a range of landscaping which gave me the confidence to set up a company with a partner. As our individual career paths diverged I went on to set up Burnham Landscaping six years ago. We undertake virtually all of the project build from start to finish, except for particularly specialist work, which is subcontracted. How have you developed the company’s reputation in this short time? We work hard at it! We attend events and have been fortunate enough to work with Matthew Childs and lots of students from KLC School of Design. We also have strong links with the London College of Garden Design and a great relationship with the RHS – last year the RHS asked us to build its main feature at Hampton Court. Reputation is built through networking. You’re not a member of an association, though. When I first started I looked at being an


in numbers

Established 2011 Employees 5 Breakdown 100% designled domestic landscape construction Awards 1 RHS Gold Medal, 2 RHS Silver-Gilt Medals, 4 RHS Silver Medals, 1 SGD Award associate member of BALI, but at the time it seemed quite daunting, knowing the stringent testing companies go through. I felt that a better option for me was to forge close links with designers. I find that RHS shows are my networking ground, and every time I build a show garden it has been for a different designer. As a result I have continued to work with those designers on a regular basis.

Ed Burnham

Are all of your clients garden designers? Yes – I had only one job for a direct client last year. From our point of view, combining their design skills with our build expertise creates a great partnership. Do you offer maintenance? We don’t – as a compact team we want to focus on the projects we do. I’ve gone from having two or three small teams last year to one team of five this year. Are you looking to expand the company? At the moment I have chosen to keep it at its current size – it’s difficult to find quality people and I can’t afford for standards to slip. With Brexit as well, it makes sense. If something was to happen, I can keep the business as it is and still move forward, rather than expand the team and then have to shrink it back down again. What geographical areas do you cover? We cover most of the South East and there’s always work in north London and Hertfordshire. We’re now finding ourselves more in Surrey through the designers we work with, which was a challenge. In the high-end market clients only want to work with designers who have excellent reputations. Now that we have a strong relationship with these designers, those jobs are filtering through to us. So, would you normally undertake high-end residential projects? Yes – I enjoy that the most. It’s great to do larger projects, and I have found that I can do that by collaborating with another company. There’s no minimum value for the projects we take. We do a lot of work with schools, and try to donate a lot of materials from show gardens to schools. It’s


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something I’d like to expand on in the future – if everybody did it, we would have more kids involved in horticulture. I’ve looked into setting up a scheme where we go around show gardens to ask what we can have, but it would involve setting up transport, additional costs, storage etc. The only way to do it is for individual people to act. What does the company offer in terms of training and apprenticeships? I approached Streetscape – which was trying to get people aged 16-25 involved in landscaping – with a view to teach, or take on some of their graduates for work experience. Next thing I know, they were closing, so I took on several young people for trial shifts. I have two of their apprentices now; it’s great for me and it’s great for them. I hope that they’re going to grow with the company. It’s also shown me that I can teach, so I want to pursue that. Landscaping is a set of skills, and a lot of the apprenticeships aren’t covering what we need them to. I’m offering for people to come and do a complete garden, to learn everything from bricklaying, foundations and carpentry to the planting. Why have you decided to debut at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year? We were recommended to the designer, Naomi Ferrett-Cohen. We’re also on the RHS’s list of preferred contractors. We’ve built at Hampton Court for six years and I thought I wasn’t keen on Chelsea. I’d been

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A LOT OF THE APPRENTICESHIPS AREN’T COVERING WHAT WE NEED THEM TO there and helped on the Bosch stand and other gardens but it is a challenge as a contractor – building is tight, space is limited and you’ve got to queue to get around the one-way system. However, there’s always that pull; when it gets offered to you, you want to be there. The show garden we’re building at Chelsea this year is for the HIV charity, The Cherub Collaboration, and it is a big garden for its category, Space to Grow. We’re building with three apprentices – the two from Streetscape and one who was already with the company. What do you tell clients around the show garden season? I’ve pre-planned space in our April schedule, so we won’t be carrying out any jobs in late April. We also have pre-building to do for the two gardens we’re building at Hampton Court. We’ve carried out numerous cost-subsidised show gardens over the last six years which has enabled us to become established, but in the last couple of years people have contacted us and we are able to achieve added value. We’re now achieving an income through show gardens, so it’s of less importance that we’re not building gardens for clients at the same time.

Finally, what is the one thing you think the industry could and should do better? Working together more. We have found such a huge benefit from our collaborations – not just with designers, but with other landscapers, too. When we have had opportunities for larger projects, we’ve collaborated with other people, and it’s worked extremely well. It brings a vibrancy to the team – it’s great for morale and increases productivity.

1 Game Keepers Cottage, Hertfordshire, designed by Dan Shea 2 ‘Colour Box’, designed by Charlie Bloom, Hampton Court 2017 3 Wokingham country home, designed by Matt Childs 4 Muswell Hill project, designed by Matt Childs

CONTACT Burnham Landscaping Ltd, 15 Cowley Avenue, Chertsey KT16 9JH Tel: 07894 560750 Twitter: @BurnhamLandscap Email: Web:

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PIK Green park

Salarievo phase one

Television Centre



Last month, we explored the vast portfolio of Gillespies’ offices in the north of the UK. In the last of our two-part journal on the practice, we go international as we delve into the extraordinary projects its London and Oxford offices are focusing on


orking with one of the largest property developers in Russia, PIK Group, Gillespies has an extensive number of projects in the country. Associate partner Eugenia Grilli, who is leading 12 residential projects for PIK Group, says: “One of our key projects was delivering a Landscape Design Manual for landscape and open space, associated with the developer’s portfolio of residential and mixed-use developments across Russia. The manual provides PIK with high-level guidance on facilitating a ‘best practice approach’ to landscape and open space design, implementing creative and cost-effective solutions.” The first project to be completed using these guidelines is Varshavskoe Shosse, a mixed-use development in southern Moscow that has 2,476 new homes, ground floor retail, and a shopping complex. The residential buildings centre around a landscaped courtyard offering public, private, and 28

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semi-private green spaces, connected by a network of high quality routes. Gillespies is also developing a masterplan for a brownfield site in Moscow called Green Park, which will transform the area into a new neighbourhood for 13,000 people. This is part of PIK Group’s focus on economy housing, and will provide the area with new public realm and private amenity spaces, including play areas and gardens catering for different age groups.

Varshavskoe Shosse

“It’s been incredibly successful,” says Eugenia. “PIK is looking to deliver these projects within a tight timeframe, but it gives the developer and us the opportunity to generate sustainable communities and regenerate different areas of Moscow.” This ties in with Gillespies’ design approach, which is holistic, strategic and collaborative – every design is a response to

local context, unlocking the potential of each site to create distinctive, sustainable and enduring places. For the planned community of Salarievo, a leading example of landscape-led residential design, the focus was on creating a new ‘family-oriented’ community only 21km from Moscow City Centre. Part of a larger masterplan developed by Gillespies, Salarievo is an economy housing scheme that is inspired by the district’s naturalistic woodland surroundings. It features both private and public realm and a green boulevard that defines and connects the site from north to south, together with a series of neighbourhoods defined by linear parks. The vast array of projects commissioned by PIK Group are being led by both Gillespies’ London office, where 73 members of staff are based, and its Oxford office, with 31 employees. Gillespies’ portfolio of international projects is split across both, and includes the Louvre Park, a waterfront park on the eastern side of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. This will unite several key cultural destinations, including The Louvre and the Guggenheim, and will, in Eugenia’s words, “turn the capital of the United Arab Emirates into an exciting cultural hub”. Closer to home, Gillespies is known for delivering large, high-profile developments; it worked on the Riverlight residential-led

18/01/2018 15:30

Crossrail Place roof garden


Elephant Park

St Helen’s Square

The Louvre Park

development with Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners – one of the practice’s multiple collaborations with the architectural firm. This project is at the heart of the Nine Elms regeneration area, on a five-acre industrial estate near Battersea Power Station. Gillespies designed a free-flowing landscape where each key space has its own distinct character and function. Inspired by the site’s proximity to the River Thames, a pocket park provides a generous area of public realm that is treated as ‘revealed riverbed’, with a series of soft, pebble-like planted landforms and seats, while the private courtyards are calmer green spaces with tree planting and water gardens framing the building’s entrances. One of Gillespies’ most successful projects in London is the multi-award-winning Crossrail Place Roof Garden – developed by Canary Wharf Group and designed by Foster + Partners. Its semi-permeable roof structure helps to create a localised microclimate, allowing both occidental and oriental plants to flourish. “It’s a particularly exciting project, and has been an incredible success with the public,” says Eugenia. “It’s a lush and wonderful garden celebrating the North Dock’s heritage, containing plants that were brought to London on merchant ships.” Working in collaboration with Hopkins

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Architects, Gillespies has been commissioned by ITV to create a piece of public realm for the broadcaster’s new headquarters, exploiting the site’s location on the South Bank of the Thames. The practice has also designed the landscape and public spaces for the redevelopment of the BBC Television Centre in West London, due to be completed this year. Another project under construction is Elephant Park, transforming Elephant and Castle’s Heygate Estate into a mixed-use

EVERY DESIGN IS A UNIQUE RESPONSE TO LOCAL CONTEXT AND CULTURE, UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF EACH SITE TO CREATE DISTINCTIVE, SUSTAINABLE AND ENDURING PLACES scheme that will deliver around 3,000 new homes over the next 15 years. At the scheme’s heart is a new park which will be connected to several other green spaces. Outside London, Gillespies has been involved in the transformation of the garden on the site of New Place in Stratford-upon-

Avon, a former residence of William Shakespeare, which is being turned into a major new heritage landmark. The re-imagination of New Place will give visitors the opportunity to walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps and observe the footprint of his family home in a contemporary landscape setting. Gillespies has built projects across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America. It is currently working on a number of exciting projects in Saudi Arabia and Cyprus, details of which are yet to be revealed, and is always looking to explore new markets. This year will see a number of high-profile projects completed, including St Helen’s Square, a key public space at the foot of the RSHP-designed Leadenhall Building in London, and Holland Park Villas, a gated development adjacent to Holland Park, with a secluded courtyard at the heart of the scheme. Across its offices, Gillespies is having a global impact on the way we think about landscape. CONTACT Gillespies Twitter: @GillespiesNews Tel: 02072532929 Email:

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With Blue Planet II having put the ocean waste issue front and centre, Tim Howell explains why the landscaping industry needs to play its part in solving the problem Throughout my life I’ve been inspired by the television programmes and books narrated and written by David Attenborough. The wonders of our natural environment, and the diversity of species within it, have captured my interest for many years. Attenborough’s latest program, Blue Planet II, which aired in early December last year, has yet again opened up a view into the previously unseen underwater environments across the planet. One comment struck me, and I had to rewind to check I had heard it correctly: “Eight million tonnes of plastic are deposited into the oceans every year.” I found that incredible; the known negative impact plastic waste has on the world’s environment is significant, but we are yet to fully comprehend the impact of the microplastics that have entered the food chain. On further investigation, Attenborough’s figure comes from a report issued in 2010, and latest estimates indicate that the number is now closer to 10m

tonnes of plastic entering the oceans each year. It’s shocking when you remember that most of this plastic waste will take centuries to degrade. The good news is that steps are being taken. In a UN resolution issued on 6 December 2017, it was agreed that the world needs to 30

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completely stop plastic waste from entering the oceans. This resolution has no timescale and is not legally binding, but there is international awareness of the problem and it is a positive step for many countries. At Mitie, we work with our customers to save them money by getting value out of their waste, educating them so that they see resources rather than waste, and ensuring high levels of compliance. Through expert knowledge, technology and specialist equipment, a waste strategy is delivered that fully engages people and delivers savings. The days of throwing everything away are behind us, and we have

WITH MORE THAN 170,000 PEOPLE WORKING IN LAND-BASED SECTORS, WE HAVE A MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY AND AN OBLIGATION TO REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THE ENVIRONMENT even started helping some of our customers recycle their used coffee grounds into energy. In the landscape industry, we have a longstanding connection with the environment and biodiversity. On my part, I encourage our managers and staff to volunteer time and resources where possible to help support local environmental projects. In a number of areas, we have helped to support local clean-up projects, clearing litter and debris from external areas. We are ideally placed to help support these projects, as some of the sites we look after are prone to public littering. We have a great opportunity to offer our customers a real advantage in their sustainability approaches – which shouldn’t stop at recycling and reuse of green waste, or creation of wildlife habitats. Through working closely with our supply chain, we can reduce the amount of harmful

packaging that some of our supplies are delivered in, and make sure that the packing is reusable in a fully responsible way. We should demand that the machinery, equipment and

products we use are made from materials that are fully sustainable. Our customers demand this from us, and we have a duty to ensure that our supply chain is fully compliant. With more than 170,000 people working in land-based sectors, we have a massive opportunity and an obligation to really make a difference to the environment. Volunteering to work in community clean-ups and beach cleans, or supporting national events such as the Great British Spring Clean in March (www., will allow our country and our industry to show some leadership in taking environmental issues seriously. Let’s make sure that, in decades to come, natural history programmes focus on habitats and the biodiversity within them, rather than mankind’s destruction of them; then we’ll have done our bit to save the world. ABOUT TIM HOWELL Tim Howell has worked in the landscape industry for more than 30 years. He is the managing director of Mitie Landscapes Ltd, where he has worked for the last 15 years. Mitie Landscapes employs more than 800 people across the UK. Share your thoughts with Tim at:

17/01/2018 13:34

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16/01/2018 13:51 16/01/2018 12:00



Angus Lindsay reflects on the positive legacy that Glendale’s Tony Hewitt leaves behind in the world of CCT It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Tony Hewitt, the driving force behind Glendale, in January. In the early days of CCT (compulsory competitive tendering), he and the Glendale business were among the leaders, along with Brophy’s, Tyler’s, John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance and Continental Landscapes, which introduced local authorities to private contractors for the delivery of their grounds maintenance and landscaping. This column is not an obituary – it is a reflection and appreciation of what Tony and his peers have done for the industry. It is also a personal thank you to Tony, as without his belief in me I would not be in the position I am today – or, indeed, writing this article. In the early days of CCT, it is fair to say that some contractors earned reputations as

The early days of CCT allegedly saw some less-than-sound horticulture practice

‘cowboys’, saving money by taking shortcuts and using nefarious methods to get the job done. A side-arm flail will never replicate a pair of secateurs, if you get my drift. For some local authorities, CCT gave them an alternative to their dyed-in-the-wool direct services approach, allowing them to contract out their 32

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grounds maintenance or arboriculture operations to give them more control of their budgets. Some embraced the opportunity and still do, some dipped a toe in and have since flitted between external and internal providers, and others have stoically avoided employing contractors. The growth of the contracting industry has also seen other industries looking to get involved, with facilities management and construction companies seeing the green sector as a nice addition to their total services portfolio. Unfortunately, many have adopted the ‘how hard can it be to cut a bit of grass?’ attitude, with unfortunate results for both clients and residents. All of them have failed to

LEADERS SUCH AS TONY HEWITT AND HIS PEERS PIONEERED CHANGE IN OUR INDUSTRY appreciate that when it comes to services such as construction, contract cleaning or building maintenance you are dealing with inanimate objects; in our industry, on the other hand, we are dealing with living, growing material, the weather, and the emotional attachment of residents to their green spaces. All these factors have a way of catching you out, and need a particular type of skill to manage. What is the future for contractors in our industry? The budget available for green services continues to tighten, so we have the same merry-go-round of internal versus external delivery. Some of the larger local authorities are deciding that now is the time to outsource, and others who have outsourced

for decades wonder if they should try self-delivery for a while. There will always be a place for the contractor in the local authority market, and it’s a rewarding market for us. In addition, there are other markets within the private and utility sectors; it’s down to us to change and adapt what we do to deliver good services to these new customers. One of Tony Hewitt’s frustrations was that, having developed people within his business, he then lost some of them to other businesses, or into the public sector. But that’s how it goes – people move on to develop themselves within other organisations. We shouldn’t forget that those people have gone on and built their careers on the foundation of what they learned from Tony – a testament to his legacy. There have been few pioneers within our industry. There was Edward Beard Budding, the inventor of the modern lawnmower, and before that was Capability Brown, the father of landscaping as we know it today. In more modern times, leaders like Tony Hewitt and his peers pioneered change in our industry in response to the challenges of CCT, and shall certainly not be forgotten. ABOUT ANGUS LINDSAY Angus spent several years working on arable farms in Scotland before joining VSO in Egypt, implementing a mechanisation programme, managing field operations for a commercial cotton plantation in Nigeria and working as a contract instructor for Massey Ferguson in Yemen. He gained an MSc in agricultural engineering and mechanisation management at Silsoe, joining Glendale as machinery manager in 1994, and then idverde UK in 2009 as group head of assets and fleet. Contact:

17/01/2018 15:27

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16/01/2018 17:17 11:45 08/01/2018



Andrew Wilson considers why he travels to speaking engagements around the world, and what the benefits might be to speaker and audience I am writing this in a hotel room on the 23rd floor of the Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The temperature outside is -15°C, even though the sun is shining and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. At night, it falls to -23°C! I am here as an invited speaker at the Northern Green Landscape Show, which draws its attendees from the vast expanse of Minnesota. It runs every year in January in spite of the cold – it is, of course, an indoor venue, which helps! When I touched down to change in freezing Chicago and told the US immigration officer what I was doing, he was incredulous. So, what is the point of my exhausting haul? Well, the show takes advantage of the down time in landscaping. Contractors in these northern states will down tools at the end of November and probably not build or prepare ground before 1 April. The subsequent April to November period is then pretty full on, with building and planting happening throughout – making for quite an interesting work model. The 15-year-old show achieved its highest attendance figures this year. I’m here to provide an international flavour – good for the show’s PR and mine. I also discovered a healthy economy for garden designers, landscape architects and landscapers, even if many of the latter turn to snow clearance in the winter months. More importantly, there is a fascination in what is out there in the wider world – a common theme in many overseas engagements. It’s a fascinating experience. I get a speaker’s fee and my travel costs are covered, but I also get to meet various designers, teachers and students – all of us sharing anecdotes and experiences as different cultures come together. Similar adventures in the past have made long-lasting contacts in the USA, France, 34

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TRAVEL ALSO GIVES US THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE OURSELVES AS OTHERS SEE US, SOMETIMES FROM A GREAT DISTANCE Sweden, Ireland, New Zealand, India, China, Switzerland, Russia, Canada and Chile. It is a great way to see the world, but also a great way to share notes, often with fantastic influencers, designers and journalists. The production and delivery of the talks is also interesting, because the audiences do not share my experience of the garden in design terms, or its annual cycle as seen in the UK. I remember talking to an international group of students in the UK, early in my teaching career. One member of the group was a South African, who was shocked to hear me extolling the virtues of Agapanthus – for them, Agapanthus grows as a roadside weed. In Toronto, in my first ever overseas lecture, I was showcasing the work of British garden designers, each exploiting the wide range of plants available to us here. Suddenly a loud

voice from the rear of the auditorium bellowed: “That’s all very well, but what do you do under three feet of snow?” These experiences give me a much more open mind. They deliver an understanding of our differences. A Japanese student will see the world very differently to an American, and a 25-year-old student will see the world differently to a 45-year-old. It broadens my thinking, seeing materials and planting combined in different way, alternative working patterns, or sometimes great similarities that help reinforce methods and ideas. Travel also gives us the opportunity to see ourselves as others see us. In that sense, travel and public speaking can also be a humbling experience – and we all need some of that medicine from time to time. Pictured: Empty auditorium in the Minneapolis Convention Centre as Andrew prepared for his first talk of three

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

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Adam White greets news of the plans for a Northern Forest with enthusiasm


Tree planting ©Woodland Trust

Tree planting ©Woodland Trust

With a population in excess of 13m, which is expected to rise by 9% over the next 20 years, and with woodland cover at just 7.6% – below the UK average of 13%, and far below the EU average of 44% – the North of England is ready to reap the benefits of such a project. Tree planting rates are dramatically low; there is a need for drastic change. It was reassuring to hear the Environment Secretary Michael Gove say: “Trees are some of our most cherished natural assets and living ©Woodland Trust

Hidden in the usual Christmas and New Year TV listings was something rather special: Oscarwinning actress Judi Dench presenting her own BBC documentary, called My Passion for Trees. Filmed over the course of a year, it was a fascinating study of the seasons and their effect on UK woodlands. The hour-long programme beautifully captured Judi’s sense of humour and enthusiasm for trees. She was joined by Tony Kirkham (head of the arboretum at Kew Gardens) who gave a great piece of advice: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago – the second best time is today!” It appears that the government saw the documentary too; it has recently agreed to fund the creation of a new Northern Forest. It will involve the planting of 50m trees over 25 years and will stretch 120 miles, from Liverpool to Hull. The Woodland Trust and the Community Forest Trust will oversee the project. This is a part of the UK very familiar to me: I grew up in Warrington, studied in Manchester and then, before settling in London, worked in Yorkshire. The project will embrace Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Chester and Hull, as well as major towns across the north.

The Northern Forest will both accelerate the creation of new woodland and support sustainable management of existing woods. More trees, woods and forests will deliver a better environment: improving air quality in towns and cities; mitigating flood risk; supporting the rural economy through tourism, recreation and timber production; connecting people with nature; and helping to deliver improvements to health and wellbeing through welcoming and accessible local green spaces.

evidence of our investment for future generations. Not only are they a source of beauty and wonder, but a way to manage flood risk, protect precious species and create healthier places.” Hopefully, the government is beginning to recognise the value of green infrastructure, and will review the serious impact that HS2 is going to have on almost 100 ancient woodlands, as well as reconsider recent plans for fracking to extract shale gas in Sherwood Forest. As for the creation of the Northern Forest, the Woodland Trust, along with the new community forests, will involve hundreds of children in the rewarding pleasure of planting a tree. Woodlands close to urban areas will help us all enjoy high-quality green space, which is essential for our mental and physical wellbeing. ABOUT ADAM WHITE FLI

Northern Forest map


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Adam White FLI is a director at Davies White Ltd, a double RHS Gold Medal, double People’s Choice and RHS Best in Show award-winning Chartered Landscape Architects practice. He is a Fellow and President Elect of the Landscape Institute. Social media: @davies_white

17/01/2018 11:24



DAVID T BINKS Long-term success isn’t all about gaining new clients, says David T Binks – you need to keep your existing customers happy, too When it comes to growing sales, people often become focused on gaining new clients and customers, failing to effectively address the need to retain those they already have. It is common to think that if you’ve got an excellent product or service, then customer retention naturally follows; while this is true in some instances, it is a short-term strategy – sooner or later, customers will start to feel that you don’t care about them, and they will begin looking for other providers. Developing a strong customer acquisition and retention strategy is integral to both the short and long-term success of any business. However, establishing longer term relationships with the most profitable customers is key. According to a recent study by Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention by even 5% can increase profits by 25-95%. The study

also found that repeat customers spend 67% more than a new customer – and let’s be brutally honest, it is cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones! Earn your customers’ loyalty and they will become sources of reliable revenue, as well as brand advocates and, effectively, non-commissioned salespeople: Better conversion rates and profits As the relationship grows, it is easier to understand the clients’ ways of working – and this means your business can adapt and evolve to keep meeting their needs. The majority of clients leave because they are unhappy with the service received. Brand advocates Spend less time trying to find and convert new clients – retained clients act as great brand advocates to a wider audience. Advocates will also offer valuable feedback on the products and services provided. Non-commissioned salespeople Selling to existing customers is less focused on price. As trust is established, it becomes easier to explore and trial new products together, or upsell existing services. Companies need to offer customers a reason to keep coming back. A plethora of solid customer acquisition and retention strategies is available on the internet, which can help you to become an expert in your

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DEVELOPING A STRONG CUSTOMER ACQUISITION AND RETENTION STRATEGY IS INTEGRAL TO BOTH THE SHORT AND LONG-TERM SUCCESS OF ANY BUSINESS field (no pun intended!). Prior to those strategies being implemented, it is essential to set goals in advance: what do you hope to accomplish, how will you measure progress, and what does success look like, for you? You must then understand those customers being targeted. Customers like doing business with companies that understand their needs even prior to sharing them. They want to feel connected with your business, so take every opportunity to learn about them through channels such as social media. Try to make it personal. Your chosen messages and tactics should represent you, your business and your values. Feedback from existing customers can also shape those strategies, encouraging you to identify loyal customers and target them in order to retain them in your business; this is as opposed to shooting in the dark with marketing strategies, hoping to capture as many consumers as possible. No matter how many customers you bring on board, you cannot improve sales revenue if the rate of exit is high. Don’t be afraid to be creative in your strategic thinking – retain a customer for the long term benefit of everyone. ABOUT DAVID T BINKS David T Binks is managing director of Cheshire-based Landstruction, which was set up in 2010 and now has 40 employees. It has won Gold medals at RHS Chelsea and RHS Tatton Park. David also launched the Big Hedge Co., which supplies and installs mature hedging and topiary nationwide.,

Pro Landscaper / February 2018 37

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in the crown Pro Landscaper takes a trip to Stanley Park in Blackpool, which in 2017 was named the UK’s Best Park by Fields in Trust, to find out why it’s so popular with local residents

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ne of the major themes running through this series on local authority parks is how valuable the green spaces in question are to the public. Indeed, when it comes to certain urban areas, a location’s very identity is often bound up with its open spaces. Nowhere is this truer than in Blackpool, whose main destination green space, Stanley Park, received Fields in Trust’s 2017 UK’s Best Park award. This accolade provides welcome publicity for the winning park and the local authority that manages it. Probably more important, though, is that the award is voted on by the public, with the one and only criteria being the esteem in which the park is held within the local area. Stanley Park is only one part of Blackpool’s green spaces offer, though, with all sites contributing to the town’s reputation as one of Northern England’s

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premier tourist destinations. Their effectiveness in helping to attract visitors attests to both the overriding vision of the local authority and the dedication of local friends groups, who devote massive energy to what they believe to be the heart and soul (as well as the lungs) of the town. Continental atmosphere Situated on the Lancashire coast, Blackpool’s history and success is bound up with its ability to pull in visitors from outside the area. This began in earnest in the 1840s, when a railway connecting it to industrial centres elsewhere in the region, such as Preston, was built. Since the second half of the 19th century, its reputation as a seaside resort has grown to the point where many of its attractions could now be considered world famous. These include the Pleasure Beach, the Winter Gardens, and Blackpool Tower, which has dominated the skyline since 1894. According to statistics, the town is responsible for around a quarter of all Lancashire tourism, with nearly a million people visiting Blackpool Promenade alone last August. Diane Farley is the parks operational manager for Blackpool Council. Speaking of the role



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played by its green spaces, and the success of the town as a visitor magnet, she says: “I think, first of all, the parks are quite simply fantastic places to spend time. They’re used by everyone across the town, whether that’s dog walkers first thing in the morning or people taking advantage of our sports facilities after work. Our parks offer crosses all the lines of diversity in the town, whether that’s Stanley Park or sites such as Kingscote. They just add to the good feeling you get when you come to Blackpool as a visitor. They’re an integral part of our whole offer as a destination.” Why does Diane think Stanley Park is such a hit with the public, gaining most votes from those who spend time there when there are bigger parks situated in bigger towns? “I think the park won the award simply because it’s so important for the community, both in terms of how much enjoyment there is to be had there, but also the history of the town itself,” she tells us. “One of the things we get a lot is feedback from people saying that they used the park when they were growing up, and associate it with a particular time in their lives. It’s a lasting memory for a lot of people, and people are making memories as they use it now. There’s also a

historical aspect, due to its status as a Grade II heritage park. It really is our jewel in the crown.” Designed in the Twenties by Thomas Mawson, Stanley Park has numerous facilities that make it an incredibly pleasurable place to spend time, whatever the reason for visiting. These include a boating lake, an Art Deco café and sports pitches, as well as a beautiful and rightly famous bandstand that provides a platform for music during the warmer months. However, it is the aforementioned ‘historical’ aspect that may be the real reason for its ongoing success, with features such as an Italian marble fountain, Medici lions and its Italian Gardens lending a truly unique atmosphere. According to Diane, at a time of everincreasing cuts to local authority spending, it is imperative that the park keeps hold of this part of its character. Speaking of the Italian Gardens in particular, she says: “Nowadays we really only keep up our formal planting regime in certain areas, such as the Gardens and the terrace of the café. It’s what people expect and love, so that’s what we need to give them. “We maintain both a summer and winter planting programme, although the approach isn’t too prescribed. Twice a year, we look at what we want to try and achieve in terms of types of plants and colours, and plan from there. “We’ve got winter pansies in at the minute, but the plants are already on order for the summer – we’re looking at things like Phloxes and marigolds. We also have some herbaceous plants, and roses on the outer beds of the Italian Gardens. Again, people love them.”

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THE SITE RELIES ON A HUGE AMOUNT OF INPUT FROM LOCAL RESIDENTS THEMSELVES The site is maintained by a five-person crew that is dedicated exclusively to Stanley Park. This is complemented by a small team that works across the borough, putting in work at Stanley Park when necessary. Like many local authority parks efforts, the numbers of those employed has reduced in the last few years. Up to scratch It’s clear that Blackpool Council plays a crucial role when it comes to the maintenance of Stanley Park. However, the site also relies on a huge amount of input from local residents themselves, with the Friends of Stanley Park putting in countless hours to help it look its best. The group’s chair Elaine Smith MBE gives an overview of the organisation’s history, as well as her involvement and why the park is important to her. “The Friends group was founded in 2002, at the time of the council’s Heritage Lottery bid in relation to the park,” she explains. “The leisure and education departments were joined in those days, with most money going to education. Another way had to be found to keep the park up to scratch – it was looking quite sorry for itself at the time. The bid’s success was dependent on a park consultation, which meant that a friend’s group needed to be formed. I was chair of the civic trust at the time, but I became involved as soon as I could.” Elaine’s links to Stanley Park stretch back to her childhood, when her school used the site to hold games lessons. “It’s been part of my life forever, and I know it’s the same for a lot of people, both in the area and outside it. We actually keep a map of all the wards pinned up in the visitors centre, and when anyone enters, we ask them to stick a pin in where they live around Blackpool. We’ve also got one up of England and the world. All those maps have a lot of pins in them at this point.”

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In terms of the group’s contribution to the running of the park itself, Elaine says that it’s involved in every aspect – from maintenance to strategic decisions and fundraising. This includes a gardening and DIY group, whose purpose is to sort out smaller tasks around the site, as well as a group of volunteers that helps to run the visitors centre. Speaking of the strategic aspect of its work, Elaine says: “We coordinate with the council regarding what we’re doing, and it has a representative on the committee so it can let everyone know what’s going on. At the moment, that’s Diane, who is a huge advocate of the park. If she suggests something, we generally know that it’s going to be right. We’re not ‘yes men’ though. “Back in 2002, everyone said that once the council had obtained the lottery money, it wouldn’t be interested in working with us anymore. That hasn’t been the case at all. It consults with us, for instance when it comes to the big events that they want to hold. We also

raise a lot of money for the park, because the amount that the council has to spend on upkeep has gone right down. The council knows that it can come to us when it needs something, and we’ll try and find the money.” Following its success last year, Fields in Trust released a statement saying that the people of Blackpool had sent a “clear message” about how much they love Stanley Park. It is incredibly pleasing to see the public’s regard for their ‘jewel in the crown’ reflected in the work of both the council and the local friends group. Long may Stanley Park continue to give pleasure to thousands.

1 The Stanley Park bandstand 2 Stanley Park is a Grade II heritage park 3 & 4 The formal planting in the Gardens 5 & 6 The park holds nostalgic value for local people 7 The Italian marble fountain 8 The park is beloved by children and adults 9 The park is maintained by a team from the council as well as the Friends of Stanley Park 10 Elaine Smith MBE, chair of Friends of Stanley Park Pro Landscaper / February 2018 41

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Project value £50k


Build time Three months

A private residence in Poulton-le-Fylde is given a dramatic makeover, creating a striking and low-maintenance outdoor room

Size of project 350m2

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he project was part of a complete property overhaul, with the residence having been previously unoccupied for some time. The client was keen to bring the house up to date, both inside and out. Their brief was to create a clean, maintenancefree garden with multiple seating areas and plenty of lawn for their two dogs. The rest they left completely up to the designer, as the customer had seen their previous work and trusted them to come up with something they liked. Design and build Stonecraft designed a garden with a fresh, modern feel, incorporating several seating areas, as requested by the clients. A central area for entertaining was created at the bottom of the garden, complete with integral seating, a water feature and a gas fire pit to extend the use and comfort of the space. From here, a path was constructed through the centre of the garden and up to the back of the house, lined by rows of artificial bay trees to impart a sense of grandeur while remaining low-maintenance as per the client’s brief. Artificial grass, on which the dogs could play, was added to either side of this path. At the back of the house, Stonecraft built a large patio for dining and entertaining, featuring a further two identical seating areas either side and a six-foot wall to afford the space some privacy from neighbouring properties. A new fence was built around the entire perimeter of the garden, and substantial lighting installed. This included up-lighting along the sides of the path to illuminate both the way to the house and the artificial bay trees, spotlights in the raised planters to throw light on the artificial plants within them, and wall lights on the back of the house and the sides of the raised planters.

Shortlisted for Marshalls Awards 2018

Materials As a Marshalls Registered Installer, Stonecraft used entirely Marshalls products for the garden’s transformation. The paths and patios were created using a blend of Marshalls’ SYMPHONY Vitrified and Granite Eclipse ranges, while the Drivesys cobble range was used to create the entertaining area at the bottom of the garden and the stoneface wall cladding on the feature walls. All other products were sourced from Stonecraft’s local builders merchants, Builders 46

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Supplies (West Coast) Ltd in Fleetwood. Materials were carefully selected to complement the sleek, modern style and colours of the house itself, so that the garden feels like a true ‘outdoor room’. Challenges The major challenge was the fact that the team were unable to get a dumper into the garden. This was due to other works taking place in the house and the resulting scaffolding, which blocked access. Consequently, 100t of earth had to be moved out of the garden, and 100t shifted in, all by wheelbarrow.

1 Entertaining area 2 Waterfall with blue LED 3 Central path dividing the symmetry 4 Entertaining area 5 Entire project at night 6 Entertaining area at night

ABOUT STONECRAFT LANDSCAPE & DESIGN Stonecraft provides a professional landscaping and garden design service for Lytham St. Annes, Blackpool, Poulton-le-Fylde, Thornton, Preston and Lancaster. Stonecraft is an approved Marshalls award-winning installer, specialising in the creation of beautiful outdoor spaces for homes and businesses, including driveways, patios, paving, outdoor lighting, water features, walling and artificial grass.

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OPEN FOR BUSINESS NURTURE LANDSCAPES How grounds maintenance enhances the Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work business centre in West London


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Grounds Maintenance – Limited Public Access


Green Flag 2017 Green Apple 2016 Green World Awards 2017


hiswick Park Enjoy-Work is an Tasks and equipment award-winning business centre in From winter gritting to beehive management, the West London. The 12-building ongoing maintenance of the site encompasses a complex is home to some of the wide variety of tasks and initiatives. world’s leading businesses, with the UK headquarters of companies such as Disney, Amenity lawns Discovery Channel, Swarovski, Paramount A detailed care programme covers the Pictures, Starbucks, Danone and Aker Solutions Wimbledon lawns, inner circle and sloped lawns. based there. With more than 8,000 guests This involves mowing to a specified length, currently located at the park, it is a thriving hub for irrigation, and fertiliser and herbicide application, innovation and creativity. all at agreed intervals and with different equipment Working with the local community is at the depending on lawn type. Regular spring/autumn heart of Enjoy-Work’s values, maintenance, including with green and environmental aeration, scarifying, top initiatives embedded within the dressing and reseeding, is organisation. Enjoy-Work’s also carried out on the inner philosophy is that people who circle and Wimbledon lawns. enjoy their work are more productive, committed and Formal hedging, shrub engaged. Great emphasis, borders Annual value therefore, is put on delivering a and mature trees £240k setting that is conducive to Trees and shrubs, such as Contract term happiness and wellbeing, with Nandina domestica, Three years on-site facilities and outdoor Sarcococca, Escallonia, spaces for guests to enjoy. Cotoneaster and Magnolia, Size of project are checked regularly for 32 acres, grounds The contract pests and diseases, kept maintenance Nurture Landscapes has held weed free and irrigated the maintenance contract since during the growing season, June 2010, employing four with mulch and fertiliser full-time gardeners and one seasonal gardener. applied in spring. Frequency and approach vary The site spans more than 32 acres and according to the plants’ individual needs, as does includes formal hedging, shrub borders, mature pruning method and equipment used. Trees are trees, amenity lawns and extensive hard surfaces, checked once a week, with low, hazardous with a large feature lake and waterfall at the centre branches and dead wood removed when of the park. The team is responsible for all grounds required. Accompanying tree signage is also maintenance tasks, including lake and irrigation maintained, as are the tree pits, which are edged management, and for providing and maintaining a with edging shears. landscape that delivers a pleasurable place to work and visit. Lake and irrigation management Nurture Landscapes manages the grounds The lake is maintained by Nurture’s site team on a using an annual schedule, along with a site plan daily basis, with monthly visits from its specialist that focuses on specific zones. There are monthly contractor Sellars Environmental, which consults contract meetings, quarterly KPI reviews and site on matters such as water treatments. Levels are inspections with the client, as well as regular audits checked every day and topped up from a by Nurture’s health and safety management team borehole if necessary, while pebbled areas to maintain compliance. A condition report 1 View of Chiswick Park produced by Nurture Landscapes, which identifies 2 Scenic waterfall improvements across the park, has also enabled 3 Chiswick Park Christmas lights the client to budget for the next three years, 4 Team member Arkadiusz Bednarek ensuring that older planting is replaced.


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5 Guests enjoying the sun 6 Team member Scott Jules picking tomatoes 7 & 8 The large feature lake

surrounding the water are maintained and kept weed free. The team also manages the park’s aquatic plants, cutting back and deadheading as needed. Irrigation is used from April until the end of September, although the system remains primed for operation during winter so that the lake’s water level can be maintained. The irrigation system is checked in March, with tests ensuring that its customised programmes and pop-ups are working properly, and that it is fully functional across the park. Flower displays Nurture’s florists provide fresh flower displays for the building’s reception areas. These are changed every Monday morning before these areas open at 7am, and are then monitored by the team, which removes faded flowers and tops up water as required. Feedback is sought from reception staff and guests each Friday. Events, CSR and community engagement Nurture Landscapes hosts a number of events and activities with Enjoy-Work throughout the year. Recent events have included Halloween pumpkin carving, a Christmas fair complete with wreath making, various charity events, gardening workshops and a fireworks night. Working with the local community is a key part of the Enjoy-Work ethos, and Chiswick Park has links to a number of neighbouring schools and organisations. The Nurture team is closely involved, heading initiatives at local 50

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schools; these include a quarterly ‘nature walk’, a polytunnel and a bug hotel building, as well as hosting school eco-visits and tours. Environmental responsibility With a focus on using renewable energy and producing less disruption to park users, 50% of the team’s on-site equipment is powered with rechargeable batteries, including electric utility vehicles and Stihl tools such as hedge cutters, blowers and strimmers. All green waste from site operations is recycled in mulching bays. Woody waste from pruning is shredded and used for the boundary path, while compost produced on-site is blended as a 50/50 mix with coffee grounds and used to mulch tree circles and shrub borders. This practice is a move away from the pine mini mulch previously used. The park also has a wormery for on-site food recycling. The Nurture team collects around 50kg of food waste and coffee grounds each day, which is put through the macerator and fed to the worms. The resulting vermicompost is used for shrub borders and trees. There are also two apiaries, supplied, set up and maintained by the site team with support from its in-house master beekeeper. Installed to support local biodiversity, excess honey is harvested each autumn and distributed to guests at the park. As well as managing a number of environmental initiatives at the park, Nurture Landscapes provides monthly innovation

ideas. Several have been implemented, including solar charging and a new watering system. Seasonal support Additional seasonal activities performed by the team include putting out deck chairs and a chess board each day during the summer months, and Christmas installations over the festive period, involving internal trees for each building and lighting for 30 external trees. In winter, gritting and snow clearance are led by Nurture Landscapes, assisted by partner companies when required. Development Working closely with the client, Nurture Landscapes continues to carry out an annual programme of improvements and lifecycle landscaping works that maintain and enhance the stunning site – guaranteeing all at Chiswick Park a location in which they can truly ‘Enjoy-Work’.

ABOUT NURTURE LANDSCAPES Nurture is an award-winning national horticulture and landscape grounds maintenance and winter gritting business. Nurture’s vision is to be the most respected and nurturing landscaping company in the UK. It remains a family business, part owned by the management team, and puts honesty and integrity at the heart of what it does.

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REFERENCES Grounds maintenance Nurture Landscapes Lake and fisheries Sellars Environmental Plants and trees North End Nurseries Farnham Common Nurseries

Bark and compost AHS landscape-amenity-products Fertiliser and chemicals Rigby Taylor Machinery Lister Wilder

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GRAND DESIGNS LIVING LANDSCAPES Elegant paving, eye-catching centrepieces and a lush, sprawling lawn combine to transform this large garden in Surrey


ollowing an extensive refurbishment of the property, including the construction of two new extensions, Living Landscapes was invited to completely transform the outdoor space, landscaping both the front and rear gardens. Having already managed the redevelopment of the property, the owner had a very clear vision for his new garden. Design and build To the front of the residence, access points from the road were created via brick entrances, featuring two new gates with a motorised system. Leading into a central gravelled driveway, where parking was available for the family’s cars, a large circular water feature was introduced as a focal point, while still allowing ample space for vehicles to drive in and out. The front garden was mainly laid to lawn with a few trees, and to the rear of the property, large paved areas were required to tie in the newly constructed barn conversion, again with key focal points. Despite the considerable size of the project, construction of the garden was relatively simple. However, with all the work undertaken at the property prior to Living Landscape’s arrival, there was a lot to do in terms of preparation – particularly to the


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WINNER Domestic Garden Construction – Over £250k

PROJECT DETAILS Build time 13 months Size of project 1,265 square metres

soft landscaped areas. Severe ground compaction and poor quality soil was a problem that had to be overcome before the project could really move forward. Setting out was a key issue for the client, and regular meetings were held to discuss how certain finishes might be achieved. Around the pool house, porcelain tiles – which had to be laid on a concrete base – were selected to match those used internally. Living Landscapes created various pathways to connect locations within the garden, journeying past the pool to the sunken garden and along the rear of the house to the large patio and seating area. All paving and gravel featured brick edging to tie it

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in with the property, with beds and planting enveloping the hard landscaping. As the driveway was substantial, a gravel stabilisation system was used to allow for free draining of surface water while also provide longevity to the style of the driveway. Special requirements Ground preparation was key to this project, and essential prior to any laying or planting work. It was clear that the ground was severely compacted from all the heavy machinery involved in the property’s refurbishment, so rotavation was carried out and additional aggregate brought in to help with future

drainage of the beds. It was also important that all deliveries and works were carefully managed, to allow for access to various parts of the garden at required times. A particularly delicate and tricky operation involved the water feature which, at more than a ton in weight, had to be gently transported to the rear garden across extremely rough terrain.

1 Swimming pool 2 Water feature 3 Rear patio 4 Fountain 5 Driveway gates Pro Landscaper / February 2018 55

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Materials Materials were thoughtfully selected to complement the style of the refurbished property. A mix of Victorian Brown paving, from Silverland Stone, and porcelain paving, supplied by Domus, was used for paths and patios, while Millboard decking was installed for the wood pathways, which were located in shady areas of the garden where weathering and slipping were potential hazards. Gravel was supplied by CED, as well as the Cedec gravel stabilisation system, and water features from Tristan Cockerill created striking focal points. The garden was completed with an irrigation system from LWS, high-quality Rolawn Medallion turf, supplied by The London Lawn Turf Company, and lighting installed by Mike Shackleton of Ornamental Garden Lighting.


Water features

Living Landscapes

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Tecwyn Evans has run Living Landscapes, which covers London, Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex, for 20 years. Living Landscapes works with some of the UK’s most talented garden designers to create beautiful, innovative outdoor spaces for discerning clients. Its show gardens at the RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower shows have received multiple awards, and it was also a winner at the BALI National Landscape Awards 2016.

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Porcelain paving

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With Instagram’s influence now creeping into landscaping, Anji Connell selects her favourite eye-catching pieces, plus installations to take inspiration from Following on from last issue’s look at Instagraminfluenced garden trends for 2018, this month I have rounded up some gorgeous and functional products to help get gardens ‘Insta-ready’. Sculptural inspiration Fransje Gimbrère’s striking standing weightbearing textile sculptures, suitable for outdoors, will make any space look cool! Her 3D ceramic tiles, meanwhile – which form different patterns depending on how you assemble them – are fabulous for walls and hardscape divides. More visually stunning, fully functional products are available from Laurie Wiid Van Heerden of Wiid Design, a Cape Town design studio that creates pared-down pieces with handmade elements and obsessive attention to detail. Wiid combines traditional handicrafts with avant-garde Dirk Vander Kooij techniques, transforming materials into life-enriching, durable objets d’art and furniture that can be used outside.

Anne ten Donkelaar ©Vladi Rapport

Dirk Vander Kooij, Not Only Hollow Chair

Matrix furniture range

Dutch designer Dirk Vander Kooij works with recycled plastic; for his latest projects, including the Not Only Hollow Chair, Kooij has refined the technology to allow him to print hollow objects. Galanter & Jones’s Kosmos chair is a cast stone seat that has deep sides, a high back and a built in, energy-efficient heating element with temperature control; set as required, and the chair will remember for next time. The Matrix furniture range, from Dutch design duo Oskar Peet and Sophie Mensen at OS & OOS, assembles strips of laser-cut steel into a minimal lattice framework that interacts with light, casting geometric shadows.

Wiid Design / Ceramic Matters Collaboration

See his table in the above image, a collaboration with Ceramic Matters, and his ‘Premise Bench’ collaboration with contemporary artist Lionel Smit. 58

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©Henrique Wilding

Take inspiration from... Deau is a mirror ball installation, a collaboration between Takeshi Kobayashi, Wow and Daisy


Balloon for the Reborn Art Festival in Japan. The balls float up and down, propelled by air sonic air blowers. Narcissus Garden, Yayoi Kusama’s iconic permanent installation at the Victoria Miro Gallery’s canal-side garden in London, is a beautiful visual display of floating mirror balls. You could create a similar floating world in a pool or water feature; plastic balls and solar light balls would both work equally well.

Yayoi Kusama

Garden like a chef “Have fun with food gardening by trying new edibles such as quirky cucamelons, burr gherkins, super-sweet ground cherries, chickpeas, edamame, magenta spreen, sweet potato leaves and amaranth,” says Niki Jabbour, author of Niki Jabbour’s Veggie Garden Remix. Her book presents 224 plants for shaking up a vegetable garden, providing facts, plant history and detailed growing information for each plant, and always add bee friendly flowers to your veg patch to entice pollinators. Rethink al fresco dining Most of us design outdoor dining spaces to be located off the main house, near the kitchen – but separate, immersive dining areas are now being pushed further out into the garden. Yes, you’ll have to carry your plate a bit further – unless you add an outdoor kitchen, barbecue or pizza oven – but guests will have an enveloping experience and see more of the garden.

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Surround them with in-ground and container plants and entertainment spaces, such as a fire pit and comfy seating with mood lighting.

You and Me ping pong table

Set the mood Balance nature and nurture: add moss, moss-covered stones, rusty metals and weathered pots. Focus on incorporating elements that stimulate the senses – calming blue and energising yellow accents, pots of strongly-scented therapeutic lavender, and a water feature to create a relaxing ambience. Don’t forget inside For 2018’s indoor landscaping, now known as ‘interiorscaping’, get creative with houseplants.

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Agota Rimsaite

©Ema Peter Photography

Embrace the small garden Small gardens are nothing new, but the way we are designing them is more inventive than ever . When space is at a premium, multipurpose features make sense. One example of clever small space design is You and Me, a full-sized ping pong table that can double up as a dining table. Made from steel, with an anti-corrosion table top and Iroko wooden legs, it is suitable for both indoors and out. Lithuanian designer Agota Rimsaite’s quirky rocking hammock, the Panama Banana, certainly has the Instagrammability factor, with its cross-woven neon pink polyester strap design; flip it and it doubles as a football goal. Planing as fencing is a new twist for 2018, and if fencing is your preference try using laser cut panels.

Fransje Gimbrere

The Botanist

Fransje Gimbrere standing textiles

Think of them as design elements that can fulfil the same roles inside as they do outside – leading the eye in, creating focal points, providing repetition and contrast, framing views, and lending texture, colour and form. Look for unusual flowers and plants, such as cacti, aloes and succulents. The Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver does this superbly, with planting inside and out and furniture that is suitable for both. Vancouver restaurant The Botanist is another great source of inspiration: modelled on a conservatory, its botanical prints, bold floral fabrics and plants jazz up a pastel colour scheme. A small terrace forms an indoor garden that brims with flora in planters; plant species of various sizes sit along the sides, under a green ceiling that is crisscrossed by fairy lights. Anne ten Donkelaar’s botanical art takes dried plants, roots and stems and combines them with pictures of cacti, blossoms, buds and

Premise Bench, a collaboration, Wiid Design/Lionel Smit

©Justin Patrick

Create a sense of enclosure We mostly use fences to enclose gardens, prevent trespass and contain pets and children, but they aren’t always the most attractive solution. Try a laser-cut metal fence instead, or embrace the new trend for enclosing gardens with lush planting to give a lovely welcome.

leaves clipped from old books, creating surreal and beautiful pieces that can both enhance and inspire an interior landscape scheme. Last but by no means least, the Living Divider is a gorgeous draped flower curtain by Stockholm-based Akane Moriayma for Umé Studio. Made from threads of paper, it has a hundred pockets for fresh flowers, transforming the space it inhabits with a seasonal landscape. ABOUT ANJI CONNELL Internationally recognised interior architect and landscape designer Anji Connell is a detail-obsessed Inchbald Graduate, and has been collaborating with artisans and craftsmen to create bespoke and unique interiors for a discerning clientele since 1986. Anji is a stylist, feature writer and lover of all things art and design.

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Best project I’m probably most proud of Moneypenny HQ in Wrexham, the largest commercial project that we have implemented on-site. The client was passionate about the value of landscape for his staff, and since Moneypenny moved in, staff retention is up and sick days are down. Colleagues I have a brilliant team of freelancers, including senior landscape architects Lucy, Sally and Adam, graduate landscape architect Ale, and an amazing studio manager, Sophie. Mentors So many people have helped me since starting out. Andrew Wilson was incredibly generous with his help and time when I called him one evening out of the blue, and many of the architects I work with have been helpful with my questions about how their companies work. I also worked with Lucy Lomas of Luma Marketing, who created a strategic marketing plan for me and opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about CW Studio, who we are, and what we aspire to. Issues to address I need to give some thought to how we will deal with design competitions. I love design competitions, and as a team we all love ideas, stories, creating images and collaborating. However, days and days of work goes into competitions – site visits, meetings, presentations, designing and model making, which, along with staff and travel expenses, adds up to a lot of outgoings with no



People and gardens So many people inspire me with their design work, and I try to see them speak where I can for extra invigoration. I’ve seen Piet Oudolf speak several times, and it’s always a treat. I found Sarah Price very inspiring at an SGD Conference a couple of years ago. Martha Schwartz was wonderful speaking in Manchester last year, passionate and ballsy. I’d love to hear theatre designer Es Devlin speak, although I am currently making do with a wonderful, energising documentary about her (Abstract: The Art of Design on Netflix). Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent has gorgeous planting by Piet Oudolf and Tom Stuart-Smith; I try to visit throughout the year so I can track the seasonal changes. I visited Crockmore House, a private garden in Oxford that was designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole, as part of an open house day in 2004 when I was a student, and it inspires me still; I have the well-thumbed plant list close by. Last year I visited Gresgarth Hall near Lancaster, home of Arabella Lennox-Boyd, and I am already looking forward to the open day this year. Beautiful. 60

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income. If you don’t actually win, it can have quite an impact on the company bank account! High and low points of your career Highs (all 2017): Being named as a finalist for the SGD Awards, featuring in the Architects’ Journal for Croydon i Street, and speaking in front of 160 people at SoilsCon 2017 after deciding to put myself in situations where I felt out of my depth. Lows (again, all 2017): Losing a couple of big projects and feeling out of sorts for a while about how the (commercial) industry can behave. Luckily, I’m good at bouncing back. Leadership style My aim is to be open, encourage excellent work, and inspire passion and fun adventures along the way. I look outside the traditional models for landscape architect practices to embrace genuinely flexible working. The freelancers I work with are brilliant and experienced landscape architects, mostly mums who realised that working part time in an inflexible practice wasn’t working out. This way, work can be carried out as and when, around childcare, and I can use as much or as little of this resource as I need month by month. What you hope to achieve in your work during the next 12 months Continue to work on exciting projects with brilliant people, write more, teach more, and gently grow the company while achieving the perfect work/life balance. How hard can it be?

Carolyn Willitts We find out what makes the CW Studio founder tick

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PERSONAL Hobbies According to Instagram, wine and food! I used to have hobbies, such as theatre and hill walking, before I had a child and a company. Now it’s mainly kids crafts, kite flying and phonics, although I still have time for my books and always make sure I see an exhibition when I escape to London with work. One of my many New Year’s resolutions is to start urban sketching regularly. Design tastes I love Agnes Martin, Rachel Whiteread, and Donald Judd, and anything by the stunning Lucienne and Robin Day. Most treasured possession My sat nav. I’m hopeless with directions whilst driving and this gives me complete freedom and the ability to get to site on time. Favoured dress style Aiming for Louise Brooks x the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s a long-term plan. Sadly, the longer it takes, the more impossible it gets. Food Salt and pepper squid. With a view of the sea. And a glass of wine. Somewhere hot. Drink A red from Ribero del Duero. On the sofa on a Friday evening. Under a blanket. With a scented candle. Most fun you’ve ever had Gate-crashing Jarvis Cocker’s dressing room in 1996, two days after he’d mooned Michael Jackson. Glastonbury ‘95 was a wondrous thing. Now I’m more of a family-festival-goer… still fun, but not quite as crazy.

Places you’ve been; places you’d like to go Top three favourite places I’ve been in the last five years: Barcelona, Berlin and Gijon. Top three places I’d like to go: Copenhagen, Madrid, Barcelona (again). I love cities, squares, waterfronts, public sculpture and seafood! How you like to travel The fastest way. I’m more about the arrival than the journey. Favourite continent Before child: Southeast Asia. After child: Europe. I’ve had some fantastic trips to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, and hope to visit again, but at the moment I am loving city breaks in wonderful, family-friendly cities where kids stay up late and no one scowls at you when you take them into a wine bar at 8pm (siestas are key). How you like to stay when you’re on holiday I have very fond memories of staying in an old shack on a beach in Malaysia, where the cheekiest monkeys would steal your wet towels as they hung up to dry. Now I am enjoying the ease of family stays in an apartment in the heart of Barcelona, in a converted Menorcan barn in the middle of nowhere, or in a farmhouse set in a field in Anglesey. Last year we glamped (dahling) in a dome, in a wood near Hay-on-Wye, with a hot tub in the trees. This I shall do again.

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Main image ©Helena Dolby


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Rockcliffe Hall, Darlington

Rockcliffe Hall is one of the UK’s largest spas. Its Spa Garden features Trex Contour composite decking boards in Sand Brown around the infinity edge pool and warm Jacuzzi. Architects Xsite Architecture also specified Trex for the relaxing lounging area, surrounded by landscaped gardens with views across Rockcliffe Hall’s grounds.Trex Contour was selected for its non-slip properties – essential for a poolside setting. The fact that Trex Contour is low-maintenance and fade and stain-resistant also make it an excellent choice. Price: £10.95/linear metre, £76.65/m² WWW.ARBORDECK.CO.UK

Southbank Tower, London

ecodek was specified for the roof terrace of Southbank Tower, a high-end residential and office space in London’s South Bank. ecodek was specified on this project because the client required a low-maintenance, hardwearing product that would withstand the massive point loads of a BMU (Building Maintenance Unit) being regularly driven over it, while also maintaining good slip resistance properties. The Ecodek Technical Team carried out load and indentation tests to ensure the decking would not mark or deform during use. Price: Approx. £55/m² WWW.ECODEK.CO.UK





Addingham, West Yorkshire

Brimstone Spa, Great Langdale

Composite Prime was specified to supply outdoor decking for a home in Addingham. The customer’s existing timber deck was beyond repair, as mould had penetrated deep into the boards. HD Deck, a high-density composite board that utilises 100% FSC-certified hardwood timber and recycled plastic, provided a low-maintenance, durable solution. HD Deck does not require staining or preservation treatments. The client chose walnut from the seven colourways available. Price: £59.94/m² WWW.COMPOSITE-PRIME.COM

The Trekker range consists of decking and cladding boards for external and internal use. Made using recycled wood and plastics, this product is fully recyclable. Easy to install and maintain, it requires nothing more than the occasional wash with plain water, and will endure heavy footfall and wear-and-tear. It is also UV-treated for fade resistance, so the colour will stabilise after just two to three weeks. Carries a 15-year warranty. Price: £67.95/m² WWW.HAVWOODS.CO.UK



Floating Pocket Park, Paddington Basin, London This floating park features broad areas of Millboard decking and walkways. Millboard offers advantages over wood and conventional composites, especially at this high footfall, watery location. Its durable surface resists algae, has excellent non-slip performance, and is unaffected by water. The result is a safe, practical surface that delivers an authentic wood look and meets the operational and maintenance requirements of this venue. Price: £78/m² WWW.MILLBOARD.CO.UK 62

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NURTURE NEWS Johnsons completes supply to award-winning retail project Johnsons of Whixley has completed the supply of more than 20 varieties of shrubs and herbaceous plants to a landscape upgrade scheme at the Glasgow Fort Shopping Centre. Following a competitive tender process, the Yorkshire nursery secured the five-figure contract to supply more than 7,500 plants in partnership with commercial landscapers Grace Landscapes, based in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. Its work on the 5.6ha site helped earn Grace Landscapes an award in the Soft Landscaping (£300k to £1.5m) category at the recent BALI Awards. As part of an ambitious upgrade scheme, the two

New head office for Rolawn Rolawn has announced that it has moved into its new purpose-built head office. After 40 years based at Elvington, on the outskirts of York, the company has moved its administration, sales and management staff to its 21-acre warehouse and workshop site seven miles away in Seaton Ross, East Riding of Yorkshire.

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businesses worked alongside other partners, including property developer British Land and Landscape Architect McGregor Smith and main contractor McLoughlin Harvey, to create a new identity for the facility. The landscape strategy was combined with a public art initiative to create a setting that reflects the character of the local

“This is a key investment for the company, as the provision of ever more consistent, high quality products and services is reliant on well-coordinated, focused attention to detail, requiring joined up thinking and actions, across all departments,” commented managing director Paul Dawson. “Putting Head Office right where we process, blend and despatch all our products brings all staff much closer together. In addition, the site is centrally located within the area where we grow our turf. “We have also worked

area, while encouraging visitors to spend time in the external spaces. Johnsons of Whixley senior amenity sales manager Tony Coles said: “We were delighted to land this contract in April of last year, and have since relished the opportunity to provide our usual high level of service and product quality to help upgrade the Glasgow Fort facility. “It’s great to see the work commended by BALI, and we look forward to maintaining and further strengthening our relationship with Grace Landscapes, and our other partners in the commercial sector, during the next 12 months.”

hard on the design of the new building to ensure it provides an improved working environment and after the first few weeks I could not be happier with the feedback I have received. I firmly believe this will be good news for customers as, after over 40 years in Elvington, we are now focused on the next 40 years, delivering the right products for today and of course innovating for tomorrow in a rapidly changing environment.” The company is planning an opening ceremony in spring 2018 after landscaping works have been completed. Anyone is welcome to visit the new premises, visits can be arranged by contacting Ruth Richardson on 01904 757306.

Glendale Horticulture acquires new 15.5-acre nursery

Glendale Horticulture took ownership of a 15.5-acre site nursery in Harvington, Evesham on 2 January 2018. The new site has 16,868m² of existing glass and is ideally situated within close vicinity of Glendale’s existing nursery sites. This site will provide additional production capacity for the business and there will be investment in new technology to develop more automated processes, which will enable Glendale to benefit from further production efficiencies. It is anticipated that production will be introduced as early as February 2018. The investment in this nursery supports the strategic growth plan for Glendale Horticulture in this market, and follows the announcement of Neil Dudley being appointed as manager of its Lathom Nursery in Lancashire.



01903 777 570

Pro Landscaper / February 2018 67

17/01/2018 13:26


Alliums punctuate the planting

Designer PLANTS Neil Jones transforms an overgrown back garden with a vibrant pink and purple-hued planting scheme

As is typical for many suburban gardens, this south-west-facing plot is rectangular in shape, deeper than it is wide and stretching the full width of the house. The garden had been left unmanaged for some time during the home’s years as a rental property, with many shrubs outgrowing the space and presenting overshadowing and encroachment onto the lawn and patio area. Following extensive refurbishment of the period property, attention was turned to the garden. The brief specified a low-maintenance outdoor space that 68

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complemented the style of the house and its interiors while supporting the couple’s requirement for entertaining and general relaxation spaces. Areas of open lawn and paving were desired to allow maximum flexibility, along with strategically placed areas of planting to screen the boundaries, afford privacy and segregation, and offer seasonal interest. An assessment of the existing mature planting found that the majority of the plants were over-mature for the space and required removal. One of the exceptions to the site-wide clearance was a mature Acer palmatum at the bottom of the garden, which was overshadowed by the existing planting. Once the garden had been cleared, the area was levelled and a generous natural stone

terrace was created beside the house, with the living room and kitchen opening directly onto it for al fresco entertaining. The terrace is flanked by a traditional brick wall, which provides the backdrop for three contemporary planters of Buxus sempervirens, with feature uplighting between. A new rectangular planting bed encloses the area, providing seasonal colour and interest that can be enjoyed from the house and terrace. A mix of herbaceous planting, including Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’, Paeonia and Geranium ‘Rozanne’, is underpinned by a framework of evergreen planting that includes Cistus x argenteus ‘Silver Pink’, Viburnum x burkwoodii and Sarcococca ruscifolia; these offer structure and form in winter. Ornamental grasses, including Calamagrostis, Pennisetum and Stipa, provide height, rhythm and

17/01/2018 14:05

Lighting complements evening entertaining


Climbing Jasmin offers a wall of scent

Plant list

Allium, Salvia and Heuchera provide seasonal colour

fluidity throughout the planting. A clump of Calamagrostis at the rear of the border obscures the views to the rest of the garden, creating a sense of segregation, intrigue and a enclosure on the terrace. Herbaceous plants and bulbs were chosen for the colours of their flowers and foliage, so that they would complement the Acer beyond; they include Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’, Heuchera ‘Licorice’, Allium sphaerocephalon and Clematis ‘Remembrance’. Sun-loving aromatic planting, including Nepeta and Trachelospermum jasminoides, were placed adjacent to a more secluded area of the terrace, which provides an area for informal seating. Under the Acer at the bottom of the garden, plants that are suited to dry

Designer plants.indd 69

shade, with lush foliage and predominantly white flowers, were selected; these include Tiarella, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, Hydrangea and Fatsia. The rest of the garden is made up of a mixture of evergreen planting, offering screening, year-round structure and seasonal interest. ABOUT NEIL JONES Based in Hampshire, Neil Jones is a Chartered Landscape Architect (CMLI) and a Pre-registered Member of the Society of Garden Design. Heoffers a full design and consultancy service, and is passionate about creating outdoor spaces that enrich clients’ lifestyles and complement their home and garden settings.

• Agapanthus africanus • Allium sphaerocephalon • Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Robin Hill’ • Bergenia ‘Overture’ • Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ • Buxus sempervirens • Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ • Ceanothus griseus var. horizontalis ‘Yankee Point’ • Convolvulus cneorum • Clematis ‘Remembrance’ • Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ • Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ • Euphorbia wulfenii • Fatsia japonica • Geranium ‘Rozanne’ • Heuchera ‘Licorice’ • Hydrangea macrophylla • Hosta ‘Bressingham Blue’ • Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ • Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ • Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ • Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ • Phormium tenax • Polystichum polyblepharum • Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’ • Sarcococca ruscifolia ‘Dragon Gate’ • Stipa tenuissima • Tiarella wherryi • Trachelospermum jasminoides • Verbena bonariensis • Viburnum burkwoodii • Zantesdeschia aethiopica

Pro Landscaper / February 2018 69

17/01/2018 14:06


Some flowering trees keep on giving long after their blossoms have fallen; Andy McIndoe selects his favourites


lowering trees are always in demand, even if their spring blossom displays are brief. There are many varieties of Prunus and Malus to choose from, but which offer another season of interest, in addition to their spring display?


Malus hupehensis

good for screening and for planting in a group – or as a single specimen. Malus transitoria is lovely for naturalistic planting. It has a spreading habit, so needs a bit of space, but the growth is light and graceful and the leaves are attractively cut. The branches are garlanded with honey-scented blossom in spring, which bees love, and the foliage turns a rich gold in autumn, eventually falling to leave tiny golden apple fruits on the branches.

Prunus cerasifera ‘Spring Glow’

Prunus cerasifera bursts into bloom in early spring. The purple-leaved Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’ is most popular, with a rounded head of dark twigs that carry a profusion of tiny pale pink flowers. The cultivar ‘Spring Glow’ is worth seeking out because the flowers are a little larger and showier. It is excellent for a smaller garden, providing good screening with its dense, twiggy head and rich foliage. It grows in most soils, but is never at its best in acidic, sandy soils.

Prunus x yedoensis

Of all the delicate early blossom trees, Prunus x yedoensis is one of the most beautiful. It grows to form a small tree with a broad head of arching branches; even young specimens have a sense of maturity. In autumn, the foliage develops rich, flame-coloured hues, in a longer-lasting display than the spring blossom. It is best grown with low under-planting or in rough grass; as a lawn specimen, the surface roots can be a problem. Similar in habit, but more flamboyant in flower, Prunus ‘Shirotae’ is one of the finest

Prunus ‘Shirotae’


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double-flowering cherries. Hanging clusters of fragrant white blooms drape the branches in April, forming a spectacular display, while in autumn, the large leaves turn orange-gold. This is good to plant either side of a path, where the spreading branches can grow to form an arch. Prunus ‘Pandora’ is another good choice for autumn colour. This is a delicate little tree with ascending branches and small, dark-green leaves; before the leaves unfurl, the branches are crowded with pale pink single flowers, while the tiny leaves turn scarlet in autumn. It’s perfect for a small garden, or planted in a group.

Malus transitoria

The ornamental pear, Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’, is quite different, forming a neat conical head of ascending branches on a stout, upright trunk. Tight posies of creamy-white flowers with dark stamens crowd the branches in early spring, becoming whiter as they mature. Once the flowers are open, apple-green leaves unfurl,

Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’

Prunus ‘Pandora’

Flowering crab apples are mostly later to flower than cherries, and usually have the benefit of showy fruits – although autumn leaf colour is often lacking. Malus hupehensis is a useful and reliable tree, with dark green foliage, a cloud of white blossom in late spring, and small, bright red fruits in autumn, which often persist after the leaves have fallen. It is a great transitional tree,

turning a glossy emerald after the flowers fade. It grows well in most soils, and its compact shape makes it perfect for a wide range of projects. The foliage looks good throughout the season, turning gold, rust and purple before it falls in midwinter. ABOUT ANDY MCINDOE Andy McIndoe is a practical horticulturist with more than 30 years’ experience in ornamental horticulture. He has designed and advised on gardens of all sizes and has been responsible for 25 Gold medal winning exhibits at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Twitter: @AndyMcIndoe

17/01/2018 11:32

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t’s chilly, there are long-stemmed red roses and helium balloons everywhere, and the greeting card and soft toy industries have gone into overdrive. Come the middle of the month, unless you have planned ahead, you won’t be able to get a table reservation for love (!) nor money. Valentine’s Day, and the season of romance, is here. Cut flowers have always have been the central focus of Valentine’s Day, and, of course, they are gorgeous – no one would ever argue with that. But it does sometimes strike me that the age-old slogan ‘say it with flowers’ is probably never as inappropriate as it is on Valentine’s Day. If you think about it, the short life of cut flowers actually makes them the ‘one-night stand’ of floriculture, when compared with the longer-term relationship of the potted houseplant. But how to create a romantic atmosphere using potted plants? Here is a quick look at planting to suit the Valentine’s mood:

Miniature roses

Miniature roses No romantic list would be complete without the long-stemmed rose, the ultimate symbol of love – but let’s not overlook the quieter and more sustained beauty of the miniature rose. They are available in an array of colours, from vibrant red to softer pastels and white, and each one is a masterclass in tiny perfection. Orchids The grace and elegance of the orchid makes it ideal for Valentine’s planting, simply because it is so chic. It couldn’t be further removed from the often noisy, gaudy commercialism of Valentine’s Day, instead offering a different kind of romantic 72

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experience. The palette is perfect too – white is always the most elegant, but the pinks and purples are equally beautiful. Cyclamens These may be more closely associated with Christmas, but don’t overlook the benefits of the cyclamen for Valentine’s: their colours offer a traditional Valentine’s experience. Imagine crowds of rich red or shocking pink above the verdant foliage. Additionally, they are exceptionally sturdy, and will be able to comfortably withstand the lower and fluctuating temperatures found in inside and outside spaces. Pansies Not a plant usually associated with Valentine’s, but take another look. There is something beguiling about their curious faces, and the range

and depth of colour they offer. The deepest burgundy blooms would be my first choice: the colour is extraordinary, evoking a sense of classic, old-fashioned glamour that is reminiscent of the Forties. Let’s not forget their gentle fragrance too; all these attributes combine perfectly to create the right mood. Jasmine While we’re on the subject of scent, the seductively sweet fragrance of jasmine is not to be overlooked. These blooms also open naturally after dark, so pack a particularly potent sensual punch during the evening. Violets No list would be complete without the violet – to the Ancient Greeks it represented fertility and love, and formed the basis of love potions. As such, they are the perfect Valentine’s flower, and because they bloom all year round, they offer a more enduring symbol of love than a fleeting cut-flower bouquet.

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

Images ©

Forget cut flowers for Valentine’s Day, says Ian Drummond – a potted houseplant makes for a far more fitting and long-lasting symbol of romance

17/01/2018 11:38

Bearing in mind that outdoor space increasingly at a premium, Jamie Butterworth begins a three-part series on plants for small spaces


any of my articles written over the last few years have been geared towards working with clients who have slightly larger gardens, giving ideas on areas from trees to large perennial planting, and everything in between. I feel it is also important to recognise that we now live in the time of Generation Rent: 37% of the British population lives in rented accommodation, space is at a premium, and budgets are low. Despite this, the need for gardening and green spaces has never been greater. As an industry, we need to identify ways in which we can appeal to this demographic, showing that you don’t need acres upon acres to create a beautiful and inspiring garden. On a personal level, I can relate to this. Despite dreaming of one day owning an arboretum, orchard, and woodland gardens, I don’t think I will quite fit this into my northfacing one-bed apartment. Instead, I make do by filling it with as many houseplants as I can get away with. This is the first in a three-part series identifying plants that excel in a smaller garden and would be okay with being grown in containers, and should help us to inspire Generation Rent to get out into the garden (or onto the balcony). When there is limited space, plants need to fight for a position in the garden; they must have multi-season interest and look good all year round. The plants I have chosen all achieve this.

Trachelospermum jasminoides

Jamie Butterworth.indd 73


Arbutus unedo



Jamie Butterworth

of flowers in the autumn. It is best grown in full sun, with good drainage.

Trachelospermum jasminoides A favourite for gardens both large and small, and it’s easy to see why. Drenched in incredibly fragrant, delicious-smelling flowers from May onwards, with glossy evergreen foliage that turns a beautiful red in the autumn. It responds well to being pruned, so if it’s becoming a tad too big, give it a trim back in early spring. Best planted in full sun.


Arbutus unedo Also known as the strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo can eventually grow into a large tree – but it can also be kept as a specimen shrub if kept pruned and grown in a container with ericaceous compost. It is best known for its fruits – glossy globes that ripen from yellow to a deep red and resemble something similar to a strawberry (hence the name). It has incredible textured bark, and produces beautiful clusters

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna A smallish evergreen shrub that produces an abundance of fragrant white flowers throughout winter, this is great for extending the season of interest; its elegant purple stems make it superior to S. confusa. It loves shade and cool positions, and if positioned next to a door, it will release its heavenly scent every time it’s brushed.

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna

Look out for the exciting new Green Living Spaces category at the RHS Malvern Spring show this year, which promises to be full of inspirational designs and planting specifically aimed at those in rented accommodation, or who have limited growing space. Not to be missed! ABOUT JAMIE BUTTERWORTH Graduating from RHS Garden Wisley with a Distinction in summer 2015, avid plantsman and RHS Ambassador Jamie now works as a horticultural consultant for London Stone, having spent the last two years growing plants for the world’s top designers at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with Hortus Loci.

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17/01/2018 11:43



CREEPERS NURSERY Robert Ryall, director at Creepers, discusses the business’s commitment to bio-security and customer service Creepers, an independent, family-run wholesale nursery based near Weybridge in Surrey, was founded as a small nursery and soft landscape installer in 1981. Currently in its second generation under directors Robert and John Ryall, the business has grown in size and capability over the past 25 years. Notably, its in-house design service, which has been running for 16 years, has helped to establish the nursery in its aim to provide a personal and bespoke service to all its customers. Walking around its five-acre site, the variety of stock is clear. “We provide everything from 11m-high trees down to 8/10g trees, an extensive range of pleached trees and fruit, shrubs, climbers, hedging, herbaceous, grasses, ferns, every conceivable type of topiary, and a sustainable and expanding range of Buxus alternatives,” says Robert. This stock is sourced from nurseries across the UK, as well as reputable and bio-secure nurseries in Europe, with main suppliers in Holland, Belgium and Germany. “Our other European growers are in the northern parts of Spain, and Italy. Specialist items can be sourced from as far afield as Japan.” The nursery has always taken bio-security and plant health seriously; as a responsible supplier, Creepers works closely with DEFRA, APHA and FERA to ensure all plants in its care are clean and have passed through the 74

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correct procedures. “Our paperwork and nursery are regularly inspected by DEFRA,” Robert tells us. “Our plant buyer regularly visits our suppliers across Europe to ensure they are following the correct and relevant procedures, and paperwork, plant passports and bio-security controls are put in place by their industry and governing bodies.” One of Creepers’ 20 staff has undertaken the running of this element of the business, contributing to the company’s diverse skillset. Having sourced its work through recommendations, Creepers is known for providing a trustworthy and professional service. It is particularly proud of its long involvement in the luxury housing market and residential estates of up to £50m. For a new client, the staff prefer to familiarise themselves with the project before inviting the customer to the appointment-only nursery; here, they will be shown round by a member of the sales team, and will discuss site constraints, budget, timescale and any ways Creepers can help enhance the project or help it run more smoothly. Quotations are then approved, and sequenced deliveries scheduled. Another aspect Robert has been keen to encourage is the assistance Creepers can offer to all those involved in completing projects. “We can quote to provide our own professional landscapers to assist

with installation, if this helps the client. Our aim is for our client (and their client) to have the smoothest transition from design to finished garden, with the best possible results, so we use our years of experience to guide, advise and deliver on quality and reliability. We aim to bring a personal service into it, and try to bolster other people’s teams.” The nursery is always looking at new ways to fulfil customers’ needs. “We are currently excited to be expanding our nursery and variety of stock, with a possible new nursery on the horizon,” says Robert. “We are streamlining our plant specification and 3D imaging service to assist clients who presently cannot offer this option.”

Creepers looks likely to go from strength to strength, offering a bespoke and personal service, with new concepts, methods and materials always being investigated for the future. To make an enquiry please contact Matt Mayhew, procurement and sales manager, on 07551 545859 and 01932 821626, or email on CONTACT Creepers Ltd, Spinney Hill, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 1AD Tel: 01932 821626 Email: Instagram: @creepersnursery

17/01/2018 11:57

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Podium landscapes are becoming big business; Tim O’Hare advises on the soil considerations for developments of this type


podium landscape is, for the purposes of this article, any landscape that is built ‘on structure’. This can include projects such as green roofs, raised planters, domestic gardens over basement extensions, courtyard gardens over basement carparks, and public parks over major infrastructure. Benefits Podium landscapes are now a significant part of many urban developments. Developers, homeowners, local authorities, planners, landscape architects and ecologists all want to include more soft landscape into urban developments – they have recognised that green space offers so many benefits, including increased land value, additional amenity space, a key component for many SuDS, increased biodiversity, increased BREEAM value, urban cooling and reduced air pollution. Challenges and constraints When it comes to selecting the right soils for these environments, all the normal requirements apply – aeration, drainage, water attenuation, nutrient supply and soil microbe population. However, constructing and maintaining podium landscapes comes with its own set of challenges and constraints, which need to be factored into the design and specification; these include compaction resistance, weed-free, easy handling ability, and sometimes low bulk density. Given that the soils are to be placed over a new structure, the soil profile will be brand new. This means that the soil needs to deliver all of its functions straight away – there is no time for it to ‘settle in’ and re-establish its structure, drainage networks, etc. The soil needs to perform from


day one. The underlying slab obviously offers no downward drainage potential, so some form of artificial drainage is also essential. Space on construction sites is always at a premium, and this also applies to any designated soft landscape spaces, which are usually the last areas to be completed. As a consequence, they get used as access routes and material storage space. This is often after the soils have been imported and placed, so soil compaction is a major problem! There is clearly no opportunity to pull a tractor and cultivator

across these areas to decompact, so compaction-resistant soils are a big advantage. Given these constraints, one thing is for certain – if the wrong soils are used, it is very expensive to put right. British Standards for topsoil and subsoil Very often we see the British Standards for topsoil and subsoil being used to specify soils for podium landscapes. This is wholly inappropriate: these standards were never intended for use in such an ‘artificial’ environment, and many of the values set do not consider the constraints and specific


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requirements involved in a podium scheme build. As such, many soils that are BS-compliant are completely unacceptable. Soil texture Probably the most critical parameter for podium landscape soil is its texture (particle size distribution). High-sand content soils are generally the best for podiums, offering many benefits and few limitations. These benefits include increased compaction resistance, good porosity and drainage, being easy to handle and spread, being workable all year round, needing minimum cultivation, and being easy to ameliorate. These benefits are offset by lower water and nutrient retention properties, and increased risk of nutrient loss through leaching. This can be mitigated with bulky organic composts, which act as a sponge and improve nutrient retention, and also mineral-based soil conditioners such as TerraCottem ‘Universal’. ABOUT TIM O’HARE Tim O’Hare, Principal Consultant of Tim O’Hare Associates LLP, has advised on the design and specification of soils for podium projects throughout the UK, including the Athletes Village, Crossrail Park, Chavasse Park and Battersea Power Station.

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MEADOWOLOGY Jonathan Wild traces the origins and development of the current craze for meadows – and explains why it’s a good thing


s Maureen Lipman said, “If it’s an ‘ology’ then it’s got to be clever” – and in the world of meadows, the really clever bit started with the work of James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett at the University of Sheffield, nearly two decades ago. Their work pioneered the new seeded landscapes, creating cost-effective ‘meadows’ that were a nod to their native counterparts but far superior in terms of flower power and longevity. The zenith of their work was the Olympic Park in London, which showcased many of their unique meadow products and techniques. The movement still endures, with extensive research worldwide through the work of the university and the company that Nigel established, Pictorial Meadows – a brand now synonymous with world-leading meadow seed mixes, turf products and horticultural expertise. For anyone who is involved in designing or creating gardens and larger landscapes, the addition of a ‘meadow’ is undertaken with a mixture of trepidation and hope. This is the crux of the problem when it comes to ‘designing’ a meadow – the confidence to press forward with a project regardless of the pitfalls that await. To

NEW WAYS OF DESIGNING WITH MEADOWS start with, there is the conundrum of wildflowers/natives/non-natives. Most projects fall at this first hurdle because they get tied up in knots debating the rights and wrongs of a particular style of meadow, and go down a path that is unsuitable – be it on the grounds of cost, wrong ground preparation, unsuitable product or a lack of appreciation of maintenance requirements. All of these factors can lead to disaster – particularly when the aim is to try and emulate nature but the natural processes that are essential in establishing a harmonious ‘natural’ meadow are forgotten. The popularity of meadows and naturalistic planting is fuelled by an increasing awareness of the desperate plight of bees and other pollinators. Clients expect their gardens to not only look great but also do their bit for the

CLIENTS EXPECT THEIR GARDENS TO NOT ONLY LOOK GREAT BUT ALSO DO THEIR BIT FOR THE PLANET planet. For designers, the choice of products on the market can be exciting but overwhelming, so plenty of research is essential in order to avoid being seduced by marketing shots and language. A few years ago, the only way to create a meadow was from seed, which could be any combination of annuals, biennials and perennials – but you would be leaving your client with a bare seedbed and a set of instructions! Now, a fully sustainable meadow can be established quickly and easily from pre-grown mats of plantlets, each containing up to 150 plants per square metre and requiring a minimum of one cut per year. For a designer,


Pro Landscaper / February 2018

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this is a dream – a fully formed meadow delivered direct to site, with a beautiful range of tried and tested mixtures. The Meadowology journey has only just begun – there is so much we are continuing to learn, and so many stunning plant combinations to create more flexibility and choice for the industry. ABOUT JONATHAN WILD Jonathan is the commercial director at Pictorial Meadows. After a successful military career, he developed a landscape design and build company. An obsessive plantsman, Jonathan lives near Nottingham and is a seasoned speaker and writer.

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EDUCATE Jeff Stephenson runs through the key areas that aftercare teams should be wary of when a newly built garden is handed over to them Often there is a grey area surrounding responsibilities at handover. Should imperfections be referred back to the build team, or can the professional horticulturist tackle amelioration in a stoic fashion? An aftercare team should always be circumspect of the planting installation when a garden is handed over; if basic practice has been overlooked, complications will follow. Never assume that ‘completion’ has been achieved just because a job is signed off. Installers often work to tight schedules, jostling for space alongside other trades, and operations sequencing may run counterintuitively due to the limited control their package allows. Additionally, construction may ensue regardless of adverse weather. It’s unsurprising, then, that complications do occur.

TROUBLE SHOOTING repositioning a few specimens early on can enhance the display and avoids overcrowding. If the season facilitates, prune to thin out, reshape to strengthen form, and remove crossing branches and snags.

fed, and remediate early on. Recognise signs of larval damage: weakly growing, chlorotic, limp plants may indicate a lack of roots. Dig up, inspect and treat. Genera regularly infested include Cyclamen, Heuchera, Hylotelephium, Pittosporum, Sedum and Tiarella. • Weeds Cardamine hirsuta, Epilobium spp., Poa annua and Stellaria media are common, with Cirsium arvense, Elymus repens and Urtica dioica often found in older rootballed or large containerised stock. Remove all unwanted material early on.

Discovery of a buried collar as a poorly growing Malus is removed a few years after installation

• Hedges Be attentive to adequate soiling and firming around rootballs, especially where they are adjacent to awkwardly accessible boundaries – voids are frequently encountered!

Every plant on a new scheme should be inspected for issues

• Trees and shrubs Wrong planting depth is common. Check that collar zones on trees are exposed, with good air circulation. Trees are often planted first; while being manoeuvred, the rootball regularly becomes deformed upwards around the root flare, and this is then misguidedly taken as the nursery mark. During the next step, as shrubs are sunk in place, the exhumed soil further envelops the root collar zone – often going unnoticed. Additional soil accumulation occurs during the planting of smaller stock, with the final insult being the masking of all miscues with an overly thick mulch of bark. Check shrubs are comfortably spaced and staged in height, with their best faces presented to the observer. If necessary,

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• Climbers Check all nursery supports and tape ties are removed. Be mindful to tie in while creating evenly fanned displays. Take care with delicate subjects such as Clematis; handling can lead to stem damage, resulting in wilting. In general, check all stock is adequately firmed in to ensure good contact between root balls and soil – carry out the ‘tug test’. This also applies to containers, where poor firming will lead to excessive compost sinkage. Ensure that nursery ties, tags and labels are removed, or partial stem strangulation will occur. When projects become delayed or protracted, reserved material may languish in holding bays at plant dealers, facilitating infestation from pests and weeds. • Pests Vine weevils (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) are commonly introduced. Look out for identifiable notched leaves where adults have

Pittosporum suffering from vine weevil larvae introduced at planting

I feel it is obligatory for gardeners to scrutinise new schemes and rectify issues immediately. Never automatically assume that others have fulfilled their duties, but moderate this with a sympathetic and supportive approach by appreciating exactly what installers endure. The best scenario is utilising planting teams whose skillset combines horticultural best practice alongside an aptitude for a fast commercial pace, coupled with experience of horticultural aftercare. ABOUT JEFF STEPHENSON With more than 29 years’ experience in horticulture, Jeff Stephenson (Dip.Hort. (Kew) Hons MCIHort) heads up the horticulture and aftercare division of Bowles & Wyer. He joined in 1996 and has worked on small installations, soft landscaping and gardens maintenance for the vast majority of their schemes.

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17/01/2018 11:47


Peter Wilder discusses how the visualisation of landscape will change the way we design and implement future visions of our changing environment More than a million nerve fibres connect our eyes to our brains, and more than 80% of what we learn is through our eyes. It is little wonder, then, that vision is an important part of how we communicate. In the area of design, drawing has evolved from being a mere 2D representation of the world around us into 3D models and visualisations that capture not only how buildings, structures and landscapes look, but also how they work. Building Information Modelling (BIM) has taken 3D modelling to new levels, creating smart databases that generate materials schedules and cost information, leading to more efficient construction and better post-construction building management. But we are only at the beginning of a revolution. Since the Seventies, people have been experimenting with virtual and augmented reality to create an immersive feel to the visualisation of real environments. One of the earliest hypermedia and virtual reality systems was the Aspen Movie Map, created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Site elevation 1978. The program was and analysis a crude virtual simulation of Aspen, Colorado, in which users could wander the streets in summer, winter, or polygons mode. It relied on hundreds of photographs to recreate the geometry of the street and allow the viewer to look from any angle along the journey – much like Google Earth today. Virtual reality has been used for medical, military and gaming purposes, but it is now 84

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MODEL BEHAVIOUR moving into design and planning. Virtual reality is used by architectural practices to be able to ‘walk’ around their designs, where VR goggles are worn and the user wears special gloves to be able to Drone map ‘touch’ objects – but some practices have taken it a step further. San Francisco-based SERA Architects uses the VR environment not only for visualisation, but also for the creation of designs. Together, architect and client can step into a virtual construct where objects can be placed and moved to experiment spatially and materially. It has been used to test regulation and find the best arrangement for spaces such as offices, hospitals and homes. In the wider environment, we have grown accustomed to walking down streets via Google Earth, and our current models of the Earth give us unprecedented access to the world without even leaving our desk. Our models of weather systems and climate enable us to see change over time, and understand our impact on the planet. It is now possible to build 3D models of cities and drop designs into perfect replicas of their wider contexts. More importantly, we are entering the drone era, and can map our environment quickly, cheaply and more accurately than ever before. Because much of this work is related to land planning and sustainable drainage, we began offering drone surveys as a service to existing customers in 2014. By 2015, the technology had moved on so extensively that we set up

Survey Drone as a separate company, offering aerial mapping and site appraisal. The technology has rapidly advanced, enabling us to create models of buildings, structures and landscapes, determine site volumes of materials, and recreate models that are accurate enough to be used in determining visual impact. We are now moving into a convergence of technology, where aerial mapping via drone merges into BIM

Unmanned aerial vehicle

Geolocation satellite

Ground control points Geo tagged images

Drone survey technique

and VR to create a virtual environment in which designs collaborate with clients and planners. We will soon be building our future cities in a virtual environment, seeing how they interface with existing services and how people interact with them. The availability of almost limitless data storage and processing power in server farms across the world will continue to enable us to build ever more complex models that avoid costly mistakes in the real world. Next month: The rise of automation and AI ABOUT PETER WILDER Peter Wilder is a landscape architect and principal of Wilder Associates. He lectures on Landscape Design and Technology at the University of Greenwich. In 2015 he established Survey Drone Ltd, an aerial mapping and remote sensing company employing a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

17/01/2018 11:53

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18/01/2018 10:45


In this installment of his series on costing, Sam Hassall examines the true cost to the contractor of sourcing, receiving, moving and placing topsoil in different circumstances

Topsoil qualities There are many sources of topsoil, but most topsoil available in the commercial market is manufactured. There are recycled soils whose quality can never be guaranteed. This cost investigation uses data from reputable suppliers such as Freeland Horticulture (www.freeland Topsoil placement issues The issues of placement of topsoil, and especially those that affect cost, are as follows; please amend the tables below if any of these come into play. • Area and thickness: This impacts on the type of machines that will be used. The access here also has impact. • Load size of delivery: The volume of topsoil being ordered and the price per tonne will affect the price. • Moisture content: You will get less topsoil but more weight in wet weather. • Quality: Topsoil quality can range in price from recycled to manufactured to specification by companies that blend, test and guarantee the quality of their soils. Topsoil prices and volumes Topsoil is generally sold by the tonne. Landscape contractors, however, have to supply it by the m³. You, as the contractor, take the risk on the following: • Bulk density – How many tonnes to the m³ • Settlement factor – How many m³ of topsoil in the ground you need to supply the m³ volume in a settled state (this can be from 20-50% depending on the organic matter and clay/sand contents).


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The costs of topsoil to your site Topsoil weights Topsoil weights (loose)

Volumes in your load (m³) tonne/m³






Bulk bag









Earth (as dug)








Sand dry








Sand moist








Note on all of the rates below All rates are at cost and do not include profit. Overhead is included for within the labour rate.

Labour rates The information below is based on a labour cost of £25 per hour.

Topsoil prices For the purposes of this article we are using pricing from Freeland Horticulture. Freeland Topsoil ex-depot price



Volume (m³)


TOTAL £/m3











Bulk bag





• Generally speaking, better quality topsoil will cost you more per tonne, but you get more tonnes to your m³. • Many types of topsoil are currently manufactured. This may mean that a basic screened excavated material is enhanced by the addition of composts etc. Some suppliers bulk their product by adding light

organic matter, which eventually subsides. Addition of composts and so on would tend to make the soil lighter, so you would get more tonnes per m³. • The delivery costs also have a huge impact. • At the end of the day, it is the m³ rate, rather than the tonne rate, that you are paying for.

17/01/2018 15:37

EDUCATE Topsoil prices per m³

20 tonne Lighter soils

Heavier soils

tonnes/m3 of topsoil

Hire rates £/Load

Tonne rate























































The costs of moving and spreading topsoil • The thicker your topsoil, the lower your spreading costs are on a m³ basis. This is due to the accuracy required in spreading material to a thinner depth. • Hand works are by a three-man team. • Machine works are by a three-man team with a 5t excavator and 3t dumper. The operators assist this person in spreading both by machine and manual final levelling. The table above gives you the cost per m³ of topsoil that you purchase. • All figures allow for a 25% settlement factor.

Topsoil spreading chart: Load and transport and spread 25m distance Topsoil thicknesses

Two-man team

Three-man team Load and transport by machine

Load and transport by machine

By hand

Spread by hand and machine

Spread by machine

per m² in mm

m² per m³ topsoil



Cost/m² (£)



Cost/m² (£)



Cost/m² (£)




































































































Settlement Based on the volumes above, and whatever your calculation, always allow between 20% and 30% for settlement. Example • Supply and lay topsoil 300mm deep. • Topsoil offloaded and moved 25m, placed to reduced areas. • Price of topsoil from Table 1 based on £390/load (Freeland Horticulture) = £19.50/tonne. • 19.50 x 1.4 = 27.30/m³ loose. • Add spreading costs for 300mm deep (£3.10) = £30.40. • Add the settlement factor (25%) = £38.00/m³.

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ABOUT SAM HASSALL Sam Hassall is the UK’s only dedicated specialist landscape cost consultant. As managing director of LandPRO Ltd, his range of services include providing cost and implementation information to landscape design professionals and contractors. Sam’s expertise are gained from his formal training, and many years of experience in the landscape industry. Sam also compiles the Spon’s External works and Landscape price book, and developed the market leading LiberRATE Estimating system. Tel: 01252 795030

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17/01/2018 15:37


With outdoor kitchens rapidly increasing in popularity, Sean Butler discusses the key considerations to be made when installing one Outdoor kitchens are very much on trend; they are now included in almost every design brief we take from a client. Al fresco living is on the up, and it’s being taken to new dimensions. Clients are embracing the idea of extending their home with an open-air living room, creating a complete indoor experience, outdoors. We now have dining areas and sofa areas with fire pits and fire tables, and while barbecues are still popular, the more discerning clients have moved onto the outdoor kitchen. The first step in creating an outdoor kitchen is considering where the kitchen is going, and then specifying the correct material, based on its location and the client’s budget.

The converted stable block kitchen shown here is covered, but is open on two sides. Stainless steel 316 should be used on all outdoor kitchens, rather than the cheaper grade 304. Here, a chiller, barbecue grill, cupboard and sink have all been incorporated.

COOKING UP A STORM oven, side burner and open log storage space. This frame was built in 20mm box tubing, which was galvanised and then powder-coated in a matte black. The granite supplier will be

profiling the framework with a work surface, lower shelf and side trims, and recessed lighting rebate. We have designed adjustable feet into both of the above frames to ensure correct adjustment on-site; adjustable feet can easily be fitted to tubular framework designs, either in black plastic, stainless steel or a combination. Designers should get a quote from an experienced contractor before suggesting any budgets to potential clients. As a guide, a basic layout starts at £10,000.

• Types of cooking, grill, side burner and ‘eggs’. The grill is a gravity-held barbecue unit that fits neatly into the work surface. This will cook everything at a basic level. If your clients want to impress, they may prefer a slow-cook ‘egg’ oven, which can cook everything from a 14-hour slow roast to the perfect pizza. The ‘egg’ can also smoke food such as fish, with its small wood tray insert. A side burner is for a pan to throw a few vegetables in, or to use a wok. • Lighting. Clients have to be able to see what they’re cooking, so consider the kitchen’s position and how it can be lit to both look stunning and be practical when in use. • Gas and electricity supply. These need ducting to and from the kitchen in the right place. The client may not want gas bottles under the work surface; these can be repositioned away from the area, but larger gas bottles will be required to make sure there is enough pressure to get the gas to travel a longer distance. We use 47kg gas bottles in pairs, so that clients always have a spare. Only a Gas Safe-registered fitter should be used, and an NICEIC qualified electrician. Use propane gas – it burns at a higher rate than butane and generates more heat. • When designing in wood, concrete or block and render, you must consider the trim detail around appliances, doors, corners and up-stands. • Designing the kitchen around the appliances is the safe way to ensure the layout is correct and well-balanced, with enough working space. Yes, there is a lot to consider – but the possibilities are endless.

This sketch shows the typical detail required for the framework of an outdoor kitchen. This kitchen is in production for one of our projects, and will have a grill, side burner, fridge and two cupboards, all in 316 stainless steel. The steel frame shown here, which we are building in-house, is being adjusted to accommodate a fridge, grill, outdoor ‘egg’ 88

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ABOUT SEAN BUTLER Design considerations • Distance from the house. If the kitchen is further then 10m from the house, a chiller or fridge should be included – it’s more convenient for clients to reach for a drink when they are entertaining and relaxing.

Sean Butler is a landscape designer and director of Cube 1994. With a background in civil engineering, Sean has an in-depth understanding of the design, construction and maintenance of the physical and naturally built landscape.

17/01/2018 13:56


DIGGING IN In the second, concluding part of his in-depth look at the process of lighting a garden, Robert Webber discusses what happens on-site Our start to the new year has been as busy as ever, with our larger projects for 2018 all being costed and tied up now. I’m spending most of my time visiting sites and altering designs, in addition to schedule setting – making sure that every promise we give is backed up with action. Last month, we started to explore the process of having garden lighting installed on a general commission. We looked at obtaining a brief, setting costs and scheduling, securing deposits and ordering – all the things that take place before a spade has even hit the ground. Now it’s the hard work of installation. At Scenic Lighting we carry out a myriad of lighting installations, from small projects involving two lights and power to the shed, to complete £500k country estate installations. Each one, regardless of its cost, involves a similar process. The smoothness of the process can vary drastically depending on the

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experience, and sometimes the willingness, of the designers and landscapers we work with. We have a mantra: “Always part of the solution”. We’re committed to exceeding expectations and achieving a finished lighting installation that pleases client and contractor. Relationships in such a small marketplace are key. The landscapers we frequently collaborate with understand the value of working with a specialist company like ours; they know that the end process makes them look good not just at

FROM DAY ONE, BUILDING A GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP ON-SITE IS PARAMOUNT completion, but also in the years that follow. That’s the added value of using a specialist. When we turn up on day one, building a good working relationship on-site is paramount. We discuss conduits, dig out, schedules and any changes, and supply a drawing of our light positions, so everything is clear for all to see. Often, the cabling will start from one place at the house, so this is where the main conduits will turn up before spread out through the garden. It’s important to get these conduits in at the right depths so they stay intact until we need to use them. There are actually no regulations concerning cable and conduit depths within a domestic garden; Wiring Regulations BS 7671, simply states that “cables should be installed so that foreseeable damage

doesn’t occur”. That’s open to interpretation, but we recommend mains voltage cabling is installed at approximately 450mm minimum, and low voltage cabling at around 300mm minimum. This can obviously vary drastically between projects. Some have a large amount to be dug out, so it’s easy to get conduits in deep. Others may just have 200mm out for sub-bases. Either way, cabling should be run along prescribed routes: alongside boundaries, at the rear of flowerbeds, cleated along walls, etc. It’s so much cheaper for a conduit to be fitted at the right time, drastically reducing our time on-site and the number of visits we need. Relationships and communication are key. We all know that it is better to work with people who have the same love for the industry and care for the finished product. There is no joy in working with people who have no passion. We lose a few along the way; sometimes designers or installers have different agendas or morals to ours. It’s always sad when things go wrong that could have been avoided. Working relationships should be rewarding – not just financially, but ethically too. ABOUT ROBERT WEBBER Robert Webber is the founder of Scenic Lighting, a specialist exterior lighting company based in Berkshire. He designs and installs garden lighting throughout the UK and internationally. Robert can be contacted on rob@ or via his mobile on 07766 051 000.

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17/01/2018 13:23


BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Caroline Wade offers advice on building productive, long-term relationships with press outlets – helping you get your message out Whether it’s due to shrinking editorial teams or the pressure of increased online outputs, journalists seem to have less and less time to meet with public relations (PR) officers. While there may be less face-to-face interaction, it doesn’t mean you can’t make an impact. Here are the key principles that are fundamental to a good media relations approach. Have the right attitude One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you are working with the press on a purely editorial basis. Unlike advertorials, which are paid for, there is no obligation for journalists to write up or report on a something you have pitched. Your role is to convince journalists to write about your product or service. In addition, unless you have paid for an advertorial, you will not always get copy approval. This is why press releases must be clear and cover the most important points; once these have been delivered, it is out of your hands. The same applies for links included in online pieces; flag relevant online links and point out how they may benefit readers, but their inclusion is at the journalist’s discretion. Don’t badger Following up press releases is critical. Journalists are sent hundreds, often thousands, of press releases every day; nine times out of 10, yours will be sitting unopened in an inbox. The ideal follow-up is a single 90

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phone call that summarises your release in a two-minute soundbite – this will help journalists to decide whether it might be one for them. If you can’t get through on the phone, send a short, friendly email checking that the journalist has received your release. Beyond this, increase the intensity of follow-up at your peril – especially if a journalist has confirmed they have seen your story. I know a journalist who has blacklisted a certain agency for forcing PR officers to chase up again and again. Another way to follow up individual journalists is via Twitter: a friendly tweet alerting them to a story can be a good way to grab their attention. Be upfront Don’t try to pull the wool over journalists’ eyes – claiming a story is an exclusive when it’s been sent to everyone else on the editorial team, for example, or offering a top spokesperson when you don’t know if they will be available. If a story has been published elsewhere, come clean at the pitch stage. It is easy for journalists to check whether something has been used elsewhere, and you want to build your reputation as someone they can trust. Additionally, if you are using a client or partner as a case study, be transparent about this so it doesn’t look like you are trying to shoehorn in extra plugs. Provide a service Good media relations is about providing a service, whether that’s supplying quality stories or getting back to requests for information. Provide what they need promptly and thoroughly – and stick to the deadline. If there are any holdups on your side, keep in touch with the journalist so they can manage copy deadlines from their side. Once they know you

SOME PRACTICAL TIPS • If you are sending a press release to lots of different outlets, tailor each email to each journalist, to avoid it looking like it has been sent out en masse. • Don’t send press releases as attachments – copy and paste text into the body of emails. This avoids issues with firewalls. • Don’t send massive attachments and clog inboxes. Images need to be high res (around 300dpi for print), but should be around 1MB in size. • Don’t forget common courtesy – thank journalists who use your stories. are reliable and will give them the information they need, they are more likely to use you over another contact when they are under pressure or have a last-minute opportunity. Tailor your approach When you are pitching, there are two levels of story tailoring that can help it get used. First, tailor your story for the particular title you are approaching. What sort of stories does it generally cover, and what elements of your press release would its readers be interested in? Next, tailor your approach to the individual journalist. What angles and themes do they write about? It will be harder for them to turn you down if you are offering something that is clearly in their area of interest. And when you call them up, ensure you know if they are a man or a woman! Save yourself any embarrassment and check their LinkedIn profile first.

ABOUT CAROLINE WADE Caroline Wade is managing director of WADE PR, a ‘challenger’ agency which she founded in 2015 after 15 years working across a diverse range of business sectors including horticulture, retail, travel and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). The company specialises in generating ambitious press coverage returns for clients, such as Hartley Botanic, through smart thinking and determined media relations.

17/01/2018 13:24

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18/01/2018 16:43


Marketing consultant Louise Tomlin discusses the popularity of composite cladding and decking, and whether it can successfully make the jump to fencing In terms of recent innovations in the fencing world, something is looming on the horizon that could give the traditionalists pause for thought. On my recent visit to FutureScape, the word on a lot of lips was ‘Millboard’. I was driven to investigate, having a vague recollection of some very smart decking associated with this name. I was not disappointed – the boards are beautiful. A chat with Phil McCallum, approved installer developer at Millboard, confirmed that its charred oak boards were used as cladding in an episode of Channel 4’s Ugly House to Lovely House, and told me that Millboard delivers the beauty of natural timber without the downsides. I will have to warn you that I’m about to use the C-word. Yes, that’s right – composite! Millboard looks just like real wood, but doesn’t rot, retains high slip-resistance, and requires no maintenance other than a simple wipe clean. It’s made from a unique polyurethane resin blend, manufactured using the least amount of energy and carbons possible. There were several other composite board companies exhibiting at the show, and it’s definitely becoming a popular option. Could composite be sounding the death knell for the traditional timber decking businesses?

The concept is already making the jump to fencing products – I found several companies offering good-looking composite fencing, posts and screening within moments of asking Google. 92

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The rise of


“As a composite supplier, we have watched the market grow over recent years; people are falling in love with the benefits of man-made materials,” says Beth Nuttall of Ecoscape UK, which supplies composite decking and cladding. “They offer positives such as durability and longevity, while maintaining the natural look and feel of timber. Our clients are landscapers and designers, but we do also retail to domestic customers. We find that for most of our clients, the low maintenance aspect is a key influencer in decision-making. All our products are designed in-house, manufactured using sustainably sourced, 100% FSC-certified wood and recycled high-density polyethylene, extruded with environmentally friendly bonding agents, additives and dyes.” One of the major discussions in the timber fencing world in recent decades has been around the longevity of the product; poorly treated timber can rot in less than five years. It’s a contentious subject, with competing companies giving guarantees that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. In composites, we have a product that ticks all the boxes: longevity (some are guaranteed as long as 25 years),

COULD COMPOSITE BE SOUNDING THE DEATH KNELL FOR TIMBER DECKING? eco-friendly, economical over its lifespan, and aesthetically pleasing. So, what’s not to like – why aren’t we replacing our old timber fencing with this new product? The answer is probably that the purists are making sniffing noises and calling it ‘plastic’. For some, only natural materials will do — but I’m sure that, as the composite products become better-known, more end users will be won over, giving the traditionalists a run for their money! ABOUT LOUISE TOMLIN Louise Tomlin is a freelance writer and marketing consultant for the fencing, landscaping and garden design industries. She was the founder of the Jacksons Show Gardens design competition, which ran for six years and was open to garden designers, landscape architects and landscape professionals, with several winners going on to win gold at RHS shows.

18/01/2018 14:53

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18/01/2018 15:09


WHAT I’M READING Matthew Childs, Matthew Childs Design


MATTHEW CHIL Title Perfect Plant, Perfect Place Author Roy Lancaster Publisher Dorling Kindersley

In my next life, I will come back as a bookworm and be one of those people who loves reading for pleasure. For me, reading is a little like the gym, in that I know it is good for me but I do find it hard to make time for. Thus, I found it funny that I was asked to write a book review, and nearly declined – but then I looked at the shelves of horticultural and landscaping books in my studio, and a sense of warmth and security came over me. I realised that certain books on the shelf have been heavily thumbed and referred to over and over again throughout my years as a garden designer. So instead of pretending I am reading one of this year’s horticultural bestsellers, I’m going to tell you about one of my best book buys; for the £19.99 I paid for it back in 2009, Perfect Plant, Perfect Place by Roy Lancaster has proved to be a real workhorse of a book. I purchased it following a talk of his I attended as a garden design student – like a hort groupie, I even got him to sign it for me! Solid foundation The first reason I like this book is because of its straightforward, no-nonsense approach. Roy takes the ‘right plant, right place’ theory and presents it in a practical and visual way. There is a really helpful key at the beginning that explains how the book works, and what all of the symbols 94

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associated with a plant reference book mean. There is also a colour-coded plant finder table, allowing you to easily search for plants that thrive in a particular condition or produce a certain effect. This is not the book I go to for inspiration about new plant varieties or planting trends – this bit comes later. Instead, it has been my foundation and starting point many times when I come to design a new planting scheme. It reminds me that my clients have come to me for planting expertise. They need plants in their garden that will thrive in the given site conditions, whether that’s the soil type or the aspect. They need planting combinations to create year-round effect, and often they need plants that will do a certain job, such as screening or providing food for wildlife. There is a different formula for every garden when it comes to selecting plants, and Perfect Plant, Perfect Place gives you page after page of plant examples for the full spectrum of considerations. Diverse planting The other thing I like about this book is that it reminds me of the gardens I grew up with as a child, whereby there was a diversity of plant types (often the result of plant swaps with my parent’s neighbours). Perfect Plant, Perfect Place pays fairly equal attention to all plant categories. My early years as a designer were heavily influenced

by the planting style of the new perennial movement, with a focus on perennials and grasses, but experience has taught me that these planting schemes are not appropriate for many of the gardens I design. I am sure that this book has played a part in changing my focus so that shrubs are not just used as a token exclamation mark among a froth of heady summer planting, but as an integral layer of the planting scheme. In selecting plants, flowers can be a characteristic we focus on, but the book clearly signals the importance of foliage and its various attributes of colour, form and texture. Finally, there is a really comprehensive section on houseplants, an area that is very much coming back into vogue; with the crossover between interior and exterior design, houseplants are something I am being asked to consult on more and more. There are many plant encyclopaedias available to buy, some of which can double up as fantastic doorstops, but I still keep coming back to my copy of the classic that is Perfect Plant, Perfect Place.

17/01/2018 13:37



LUKE MILLS Luke Mills, director of The Landscape Service (and one of our 30 Under 30 from 2016), tells Pro Landscaper about how his role in the industry has evolved

What first encouraged you to pursue a career in horticulture? Being outside. It was where I always wanted to be as a kid – getting muddy, messing around – and I wanted to be outside in my professional life as well. Although I’m now more office-based, I’ve made an effort to go outside more; I don’t see the point of designing gardens if you don’t go out and see them.

their footsteps. There are negatives and positives to running your own company, and I was made fully aware of the commitment you have to make, but I was quite prepared for that. I spent the first few months just trying to get our infrastructure sorted: everything from templates to software, branding and terms and conditions, because I knew how difficult it would be to do all of that when work was coming in. Now it’s time to focus on marketing and project work, and luckily it’s all turned out well.


What has been your route into the industry since then? I did an apprenticeship in landscape gardening at Sparsholt College, spending one day a week there while I worked at a landscape maintenance company. Looking at where I am now, all of that is invaluable. It gives you the bigger picture of a garden’s design, and allows me to look at the maintenance of the garden as well. I then went and worked as a gardener for a hotel in the New Forest for about four years, and then I decided to retrain, focusing more on design. I studied at Oxford College of Garden Design on its distance learning option – basically a full-time course, but you do it in your own time. I did that while working full-time; it took about a year and a half, and it was quite intense. I worked for a couple of design practices in the South, then decided to do my own thing. Can you tell us about how the Landscape Service began? I always wanted to work for myself – my parents always have done, so I was inspired to follow in

Look Out For.indd 95

Can you tell us about some of the projects the company has been involved in, and any in the pipeline that you’re particularly looking forward to? We’ve already completed our first design and build scheme, which was a residential project in Southampton. Obviously I want to focus on the design aspect, but because I was a landscaper for the first part of my career I took on the build side, too, particularly as I had the resources and

the time. I’ve done another residential scheme, which was garden design with a detailing package as well, and there was a planting scheme, too, all within the first two months. Going forward, the idea is to have a 50/50 split between commercial and residential, and I would also like to offer our design services for

free to support mental health charities. I’ve been in contact with a lot of charities, and the response has been really good – it is something that I feel passionately about. We know that gardens and green spaces are proven to reduce stress and help people rehabilitate mentally, so that’s something that I want to get involved with. Would you encourage young people to pursue a career within the industry? I would – the depth of the industry is so huge, and that’s something that can be shown more. You can do anything; it’s so varied. You feel you’ve been useful, and get a rewarding feeling from the work you do. That links back to the mental health side of it – you’re making a difference to somebody who’s going to use the space. What about your future career ambitions? I’m really keen to focus on the charitable side. I also have a sustainable approach and really want my business to be invested in sustainable issues surrounding our environment. We want to work closely with clients, rather than having a high turnover of projects, and we want to have a small team of two or three that can do everything and focuses on a small number of projects. I also want to support other people coming into the industry. When I first started thinking about getting an apprenticeship, I wrote to 50 different companies asking for advice, to give me an idea of what the industry is like, and I only got about three or four responses. More companies need to be active in encouraging and helping people. Pro Landscaper / February 2018 95

17/01/2018 13:17


For full details on all jobs, please go to Call 01903 777 580 or email with your vacancy


Due to continued growth we are seeking a contracts manager. Working within a well-organised, managed and supportive environment, you will be an important part of the future management team, ensuring that all targets are achieved and managing all contracts under your control. You will be responsible for ensuring that site H&S and training requirements are met, and manage the grounds maintenance contracts in an efficient and productive manner.


LANDFORM CONSULTANTS Location: South East, Sunninghill area We currently have an exciting opportunity to join an energetic team as a private estate gardener, covering an area of approximately 75 acres. Previous experience of working on an estate would be advantageous but not essential. Must work well in a team and have a strong and positive work ethic. Own driving licence essential due to location.

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An exciting opportunity has arisen for a grounds person to join the estate management team at the University of Essex.You will report to the deputy grounds manager and will maintain and develop the historic parkland, sports fields and general university grounds.You will be responsible for general gardening duties, including landscaping, planting, pruning, hoeing, seeding, turfing, mowing, strimming, litter picking, lake maintenance, path clearing/edging, snow clearing and gritting.You will have a good understanding of working within the gardening/grounds environment, with experience of operating a variety of grounds machinery and equipment.

Richmond Fellowship is looking for a horticultural trainer to join the team at The Old Moat Garden Centre in Epsom.You’ll assist with the operation of the garden centre, supervising and training of clients in the day-to-day operations and contributing to the development of the service. We’ll also rely on you to open the garden centre and serve customers to enable the sale of plants and associated products during the week, as well as selected bank holidays and weekends. Providing horticultural advice and maintaining all plant stock in good condition will be important too, as will helping to assess risk and getting involved in team evaluations and reviews.

For more details please go to

For more details please go to



Experienced supervisor required for a large grounds maintenance contract in East Sussex. You must be experienced in supervising 10+ staff and have grounds maintenance experience. This would suit someone looking to move into a large company.

We are currently seeking applications for the position of assistant contracts manager.The role will include executing duties to specification and budget, ensuring the smooth running of works on-site, leading, supporting and motivating staff, building strong relationships with clients and working to company procedures. Applicants will require two years’ grounds maintenance experience, previous experience leading teams, and a full, clean UK driving licence. A minimum qualification NVQ Level 2 in Amenity Horticulture or equivalent is an essential requirement; having an NVQ Level 3 would be a distinct advantage.

For more details please go to

For more details please go to

UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX Location: Colchester


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Jobs February.indd 96

RICHMOND FELLOWSHIP Location: Epsom, Surrey

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IAN DRUMMOND Creative director, Indoor Garden Design

Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Yes, very much so! The Chelsea Flower Show is always the highlight of the year for me.

Madonna photograph ©Denis Makarenko /

Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? I always love the landscape of LA; the sky, the ocean, the horticulture, everything is beautiful. Morocco similarly inspires – I love the architecture and ancient tropical plants. I visited Costa Rica recently, the energy there is so invigorating.

been a huge inspiration, I would have loved to have met him. One thing that you think would make the industry better? To have an interior landscaping BREEAM rating. Best piece of trivia you know? Katharine Hepburn was, and still is, the most prolific winner of Oscars with 4 wins and 12 nominations. Role model as a child? Madonna! She was fearless and went for it. Couldn’t get through the week without... Buckets of tea. Your favourite joke? A guy walked up to our garden gate and took it. Thought it best not to say anything in case he took a fence.

What would you blow your budget on? A really amazing party.

Best invention in recent years? The mobile phone photo printer is a game changer.

The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Derek Jarman has always


Pro Landscaper / February 2018

Little Interview.indd 98

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


SAM HUNT Skilled soft landscaper, Graduate Gardeners Ltd

Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Inspirational. Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? I find south-east Asian rice fields and terraces beautiful.

the tools, for more diversity. Best piece of trivia you know? Warden in Bedfordshire, where I went to college, has a pear named after it, which was mentioned by Shakespeare in The Winter’s Tale. Role model as a child? My mum – very creative.

What would you blow your budget on? Rare shrubs and trees.

Couldn’t get through the week without... BBC 6 Music.

The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Dan Pearson.

Your favourite joke? Patient: Doctor, doctor I can’t feel my legs. Doctor: That’s because we’ve removed your hands.

One thing that you think would make the industry better? A drive for more female, LGBTQ and BAME people on

Best invention in recent years? Contactless payment.

17/01/2018 14:14


COLL SMITH Marketing coordinator, plants@work

Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Definitely. Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? I would love to see the cherry blossoms in Japan or the

views from the Great Wall of China. What would you blow your budget on? A bigger house by the sea. The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Oliver Heath, biophilic architect – I hope to meet him this year!

One thing that you think would make the industry better? More young people getting involved. Best piece of trivia you know? We breathe in 5-6L of air per minute – 15,000L per day! Role model as a child?



Sales manager, Hy-Tex UK Ltd.

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Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Inspirational. Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? China. What would you blow your budget on? An office in the Maldives. The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Capability Brown. One thing that you think would make the industry

Little Interview.indd 99

better? Modernisation. Best piece of trivia you know? The phrase ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’ originates from the 17th century, when cats and dogs used to fall off thatched roofs when wet. Couldn’t get through the week without... Football Manager. Your favourite joke? The guy who invented the umbrella was going to call it the brella, but he hesitated.

Garden shows/show gardens – inspirational or not? Not. Other than the UK, which country’s landscape inspires you the most? Peru. What would you blow your budget on? Sheep.

Marie Rambert, founder of Ballet Rambert. Couldn’t get through the week without... Coffee and friends. Best invention in recent years? Cheaper travel, the World Wide Web and smartphones/iPads.

Encouraging the younger generation into the trade. Best piece of trivia you know? The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley’s gum. Role model as a child? Al Pacino. Couldn’t get through the week without... Pie and mash.

The one person in the industry you’d love to meet? Hervé Lançon.

Your favourite joke? I went to buy camouflage trousers – couldn’t find any….

One thing that you think would make the industry better?

Best invention in recent years? iPhone.

Pro Landscaper / February 2018 99

17/01/2018 14:15

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Pro Landscaper February 2018  
Pro Landscaper February 2018