Pro Landscaper January 2023

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JANUARY 2O23 A TIMELESS COURTYARD The award-winning Lancer Square by Maylim LET’S HEAR IT FROM The Landscape Service A FOND FAREWELL Angus Lindsay shares his final column


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Business has been undergoing rapid change ever since the term was first coined. In turbulent times like these, we often forget that change is not a new concept.

In the past half-century alone, letters became phone calls, phone calls became emails, emails became texts, and texts became instant messaging. Irrespective of our industry sector, our future is shaped by how we deal with constant evolution.

Though my introduction to the landscaping industry has so far been brief, my experience in various niche, community-driven marketplaces such as this tells me that our resilience cannot and should not be underestimated.

It has been three years since we entered January without a pandemicshaped cloud floating ominously overhead. While we cannot ignore the cost-of-living crisis, we should strive to be defined by the innovation, determination and durability we’re witnessing throughout the industry. That is precisely what our first edition of 2023 looks to present.

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that the person pictured above is no longer Nina Mason. Alas, with Nina moving to oversee content across Eljays44’s wider portfolio, your main point of contact for Pro Landscaper becomes a much more northern and far less comprehensible bloke from Hull. Despair not – the rest of the editorial roster remains unchanged, and our ever-growing pool of contributors will continue to provide in-depth reports and opinions on all things landscaping.

I’m looking forward to becoming integrated into such a burgeoning industry. If you have any queries, or simply wish to say hello, I am available via

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 WELCOME 3
The Association of Professional Landscapers
prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 CONTENTS 4 CONTENTS A Timeless Courtyard Maylim Garden of Mirrors Adolfo Harrison Gardens Trends: Outdoor Saunas Anji Connell Engage an Expert Neil Parslow and Janet Lennox Moyer Danger, Too High Voltage Hudson Lighting Shine and Dine The latest in lighting products The Natural Look Five natural stone options Let's Hear it From The Landscape Service On Course For Success Finding CPD that works for you Don't Skimp on Your Sub-base Gareth Wilson Roundup Our monthly roundup of industry news New Year Predictions Industry predictions for 2023 UK Landscape Barometer The statistics and facts for September and October Seasonal Shift, or Something Worse? Neil Edwards Ask the Expert Ken White The Collaborative Approach Unity at FutureScape 2022 All Talk? Jason Knights A Lesson in Nature Clare Matterson Another...? Andrew Wilson The Heart of Darkness Christopher Martin The Value of Allocations Lee Bestall Watching the Sunset Katie Flaxman Putting Nature First Simon Richards What Could be Retained? Matthew Haddon Avoiding Greenwashing Lewis Normand Whatever the Weather Nick Coslett 41 47 52 54 57 58 60 63 69 74 06 08 10 12 15 16 21 22 24 25 28 31 32 34 36 39 63 January 2023



Two decades ago, Alison read a book which changed the course of her life, and so she shares some of these ideas which can help to shape the future of a company.


Following retirement from idverde in December, Angus has penned his final article for Pro Landscaper, looking back over 30 years in the industry and more than 100 articles.


Engaging children in nature is a key focus for the RHS, and its director general explains a new partnership to help improve biodiversity and award work undertaken to do so.


Biodiversity is a hot topic, with the recent UN COP15 conference focusing on reversing global losses; but we need to ensure there’s action as well as talk, says Jason.


Katie shares experiences from a trip to the desert on a conservation project which reminded her why she is a landscape professional and what the role really entails.


By using "allocation" instead of fixed prices with clients, garden designers can be more transparent whilst sticking within a budget and without limiting creativity, says Lee.


Landscape lighting experts Neil and Janet shine a spotlight how hiring a professional lighting designer can truly benefit a project and bring a garden to life.


By reconnecting with nature and helping to incorporate it into the built environment, we can help to create a more sustainable future, says Simon Richards.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 CONTENTS 5
47 The Book that Changed the Course of my Life Alison Warner Too Many Sick Days? Oracle Solicitors It's Been Real Angus Lindsay A Fond Farewell Angus Lindsay reflects on the past and anticipates the future 5 Minutes With Mollie Higginson 75 76 77 78 82


Maylim has taken home the Grand Award at the 46th National Landscape Awards as well as Principal Award in its category for Hard Landscaping Construction (non-domestic) – Over £500K for the redevelopment of the unique Exchange Square, London.

The annual National Landscape Awards, held at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London, recognise excellence in landscape design, construction, and maintenance both in the UK and overseas, as well as supplier exceptional service and employer excellence. This is the second Grand Award win for hard and soft landscaping specialist Maylim, which won back in 2017 for One Tower Bridge.


Industry Updates


Environmental consultancy

Tyler Grange has achieved certification as a B-Corporation.

B-Corp recognises firms that are reinventing the world of work for good, and only businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability make the grade.

Tyler Grange achieved a B-Corp Impact Assessment (BIA) score of 91.3 – placing it in top spot amongst all those certified firms working within the UK environmental sector. The median score for ordinary businesses that complete the B-Corporation BIA is 50.9 and an 80+ score is required to achieve certification.

Tyler Grange’s scores also exceed benchmarks set for all B-Corp certified businesses of its size and nationally and result it in being categorised as a company with ‘minor environmental impact.’

The company now joins an international community of over 5,000 businesses worldwide – including 1000 in the UK – that meet such stringent social and environmental performance criteria.

Tyler Grange director Jon Berry says: “We began our B-Corp application process 10 months ago, so we’re


Green services provider Nurture Landscapes Group has added to its portfolio and national footprint with the acquisition of Coventrybased Fallons Ground Maintenance Ltd. With its sixth acquisition in 12 months, group revenue is set to top close to £130m this year.

With annual sales of £2.6m, Fallons is focused primarily on providing high-quality services to a broad spectrum of corporate clients throughout the Midlands region.

delighted to cross the finishing line with such an encouraging score – and first time. We were well placed to do so as we were already doing a lot of what was required to become certified, although we recognise that this is just the beginning of our B-Corp journey.

“We pride ourselves on our innovation and constantly challenge ourselves to do things better and differently. The number of UK B-Corporations has doubled in the last year, which is a clear sign that the community is rapidly expanding. We really hope that we can now inspire and encourage others to join us.”

Integration of Fallons into Nurture Group will take place over the remainder of 2022 being prior to trading under the Nurture brand from 1 January 2023. Building upon the relationships Fallons has established over the course of its 46-year history, Bill Fallon’s son, and co-founder Lee, along with fellow family members Chris and Kieran, will continue in their respective operational and management roles, working with Nurture’s Midlands head of operations, Chris Notley.

Peter Fane, Nurture’s founder and executive chairman, says: “This is an important building block and milestone on our journey to be the most successful and respected green services group in the country.

“I am delighted to welcome Fallons into The Nurture Group. Our two companies share similar values and cultures, and we both believe in providing high quality products and service to customers. Cultural fit alongside professional excellence are important elements on our path to growth.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 NEWS 6

The Grand award-winning project, Exchange Square, sits at the heart of Broadgate, London’s largest pedestrianised neighbourhood. Suspended above the tracks of Liverpool Street Station, the landscape, spanning 5,000m2, unfolds across several levels to create a more natural topography. Exchange Square is a new public park, which has been re-imagined as a bucolic landscape with trees, generously planted borders, and green space.

Rather than simply demolish the existing scheme, the contractor chose to ‘deconstruct’

it, dismantling and removing the hard materials, including 300t of granite and 20t of boulders, and re-purposing them on other public realm projects.

This year’s National Landscape Awards’ Judges jointly commented that: “This scheme is not only an exemplar of public realm landscaping excellence, fully deserving of the Grand Award, but also a lesson in finding and pursuing alternative solutions to the challenges faced by contractors who are replacing existing hard landscapes.”

Quote of the month

The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the value of shared green space to community, health and wellbeing and with increasing recognition of the role of these spaces in local climate action plans now is the time to act. With the support of key players in the industry, we are delighted to have a real opportunity to create guidance that can inspire the green spaces of the future that will support both people and nature.

Chair of trustees at Fields in Trust, following a roundtable hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales where industry leaders discussed how green spaces can help to tackle some of the key challenges facing communities now and in the future


Archway Green has announced the appointment of Tom Brazington as managing director.

With his extensive knowledge in construction and landscaping, Tom will be leading the team with a strong focus on skills, consistency, reliability and attention to detail. Tom brings a wealth of experience to Archway Green, from installing award-winning Chelsea show gardens to director roles for two large European landscaping companies.

Tom joins Archway Green at a key point in its growth, with a new Midlands regional office opening at the end of 2022 and expansion into more regions throughout 2023. He will play an important role in supporting this growth

strategy and helping to streamline the business along the way.

Commenting on his appointment, Tom Brazington says: “Archway Green is such an exciting business with many great attributes. Since joining, I have been incredibly impressed with the attitude, knowledge and engagement of the team on the ground and in the offices, and their dedication to giving our customers the best experience. I’ve joined the business at an exciting time and look forward to being a key part of its expansion.”

Online exclusives

Head to


It has been a rollercoaster of a year, with arguably more lows than highs. But there have been highs – and this has perhaps been a year when the green agenda has been fought for most vocally too. For the landscaping industry, there were a plethora of awards won and milestones celebrated too. So, we asked our readers to send us their highlights of this year. what-were-the-highlights-of-2022


FutureScape 2022 was another successful event for the industry, not least because of the number of new products that the exhibitors showcased for the first time. Pro Landscaper has selected a few of the new products launched to showcase. new-products-released-at-futurescape-2022


Pro Landscaper speaks with the company behind the Supreme Winner of Pro Landscaper’s small project BIG IMPACT Awards 2022, ‘The Floating Deck’ by Adam Vetere from Adam Vetere Landscape and Garden Designs. in-conversation-with-adam-vetere

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 NEWS 7
Jo Barnett



“Looking forward to 2023, clients are continuing to place greater value and emphasis on high-quality and functioning public realm and open spaces. These landscapes contribute to biodiversity net gain, climate change mitigation, water management and reactivating the high street. We have a unique opportunity to influence projects and deliver places for people and nature.”

“With people spending more time at home and in need of an escape, we believe more gardens will be seen as an extension of the home not merely

“I am anxious that price conscious consumers will drive down quality, particularly on domestic landscape works. Fears of recession really biting will likely make it harder for professionals to earn, though easier for cowboys to get work. I am optimistic though that the government will be more receptive to horticulture and the value of landscape. The green agenda is unavoidable, and I expect to see it woven into most businesses going forward, which should generate jobs and put greater value on our contribution.”

Lewis Normand, garden designer and plantsman

"Our gardens, cities and wider landscapes are on the front line of environmental challenges like biodiversity loss and changing climate. I see sustainable design and management of our green spaces being the common theme and solution over the next 12 months.

With the help of a new charity, The Sustainable Landscape Foundation, I think 2023 will see the profession and industry collaborate and share the latest knowledge, innovation, information and tools to make responsible land stewardship possible for everyone, right now."


White, director, Davies White

“I would say my main concerns for 2023 are more to do with the impacts of the recession coupled with high inflation and its timing in terms of project budgets. With many of my projects designed anything up to a year before install, imagined budgets at the time of design are now subject to impacts of material and labour price increases across the board. Whilst I am still extremely busy, with the fullest January diary for many years, a few projects that were designed early-to-mid 2022 with install scheduled for early next year have been put on hold as clients are a little jittery about the financial uncertainty. Although I am fortunate enough to have a pretty full diary going into 2023 with (for the most part) financially stable clients, I envisage some bumps along the way next year.

The biggest impacts of these new financial realities will most likely be felt more widely at the lower-to-mid ends of the garden design landscape market.”

another part of the property. To that end, we aim to incorporate ecologically friendly and less impactful ‘interior’ elements (fireplaces and entertainment systems) into our designs, and not just undercover but as part of the open garden."
Oliver Bond, garden designer
We share a few of the industry’s predictions for the year ahead
ECONOMIC TURMOIL COULD TAKE ITS TOLL prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 8
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There has been a steady fall in enquiries this year, similar to that of the lack of confidence in the industry. However, in the dawn of a new year, we are seeing 6% of our respondents gain confidence in just one month (from 10% of respondents feeling more confident in November 2022 to 16% in December 2022).

Enquiries are also slowly going up, with 27% of respondents reporting an increase in enquiries in October 2022 the same month last year, compared to 16% in August from. One respondent commented that “since the economic turmoil of the mini budget has subsided, enquiries and conversions have increased again as confidence has returned,” suggesting that there will be more positive data in the coming months and new year.

In addition to this, from the confidence graph, we can see there is typically a drop in confidence around the end of the year. It could be suggested that the dramatic drop for 2022 is because of the economic climate of the UK. It is possible we will still see the confidence grow with one respondent saying they are “hoping for a market spring rebound once the winter unknowns are history.”

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 NEWS 10
SCAN HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Nov Dec Jan Feb MarApr May JunJul Aug SepOct PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS MORE CONFIDENT COMPARED TO LAST MONTH 2021 2022 2020


Our latest Barometer asked respondents to compare their October 2022 data to September 2022 and October 2021. Many respondents still reported a decrease in enquiries; however, given the fact that both their September 2022 and October 2021 respondents are the same percent (60%), it could be surmised that this is due to an overall, more general lack of confidence in the industry.

Positively, 33% reported an increase in enquiries this Barometer month compared to the previous month, implying a slow and steady increase could be on the way, with 27% of respondents also seeing an increase in projects compared to 2021.

September 2022October 2021


One region that has seen a significant increase in projects is the South. Almost 70% of respondents have reported an increase in projects from October 2021. This could be down to a number of things, including clients adapting to the new economical climate, with one respondent saying: “Since the economic turmoil of the mini budget has subsided, enquiries and conversions have increased again as confidence has returned."

Another added: “We are seeing a drop off in enquiry levels but our order book remains secure."

confidence and

– if the UK’s economic situation can stabilise.

Scan the QR code for regional breakdown on Scotland and the North and the Midlands and the complete UK Barometer Report.

13% SAW NO CHANGE IN ENQUIRIES INCREASE IN TURNOVER OF NURSERIES REPORTED AN 100% 50% OF THE MIDLANDS REPORTED AN INCREASE IN ENQUIRIES 39% 33% 28% 27% 13% 60% 27% 46% 27% HigherSame Lower 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 10% 0%
0% HigherEqual Lower 20% 40%60%80% 100% Turnover Enquiries Projects Conversion
we will see further increases in projects,

SEASONAL SHIFT or something worse?

At any other time of the year, a near 50% fall in the value of new construction contract awards would be cause for concern or even panic. When that marked downshift occurs in November, however, it could merely mark the beginning of the festive break.

The cause of the downshift could also be that it follows immediately after the Government’s autumn statement that warned of tough times ahead. There are few things that give economists the jitters more quickly than a storm warning from the incumbent Chancellor of the Exchequer.

But is there something more worrying happening. Has the war in Ukraine, energy price hikes, wage increases, and inflation finally come home to roost? Whatever the cause, it has had a major impact upon the BCLive league table which barely scraped over the £3bn mark for the month; well short of the £4bn that it has hit or exceeded consistently for more than four years.

In a month in which only five companies reported more than £100m in new orders to take the BCLive league table to a lowly £3.02bn , a single project contributed just under a third of all new construction contract awards. That £1bn project – known as Project Ultra – was won by Canary Wharf Contractors – and is for the redevelopment of the North Quay site. The project will deliver up to 355,000m2 of floorspace for a range of uses which could include office and life science, residential, retail, community, leisure, co-living and student accommodation.

Elsewhere in the South East, a £200m contract to convert the former Ford stamping plant at Dagenham into 935 affordable homes will have the interest of local landscaping professionals. The project has been won by a Hill Group and Peabody joint venture and will include a new urban park.

And Cala Homes (South Home Counties) has been awarded the £80m contract to deliver 385 new homes and extensive landscaping at a site at Dapers Lane in Angmering, Sussex.

London reclaimed the top spot among the regions, with both Hertfordshire (£530m) and Essex (£234m) further strengthening the South of England performance this month. The mixed-use nature of the Canary Wharf redevelopment meant that housing was knocked off its perch as the number one sector this month with 54 new contract awards delivering a meagre £667m in new contract awards.

There remains a possibility that, having largely missed the past two festive breaks, the UK construction industry has just decided to slow down a bit earlier than usual. It’s also possible that the industry over-reacted to the dire warnings of the autumn statement and that it might settle down again in the next few months. But there is also a possibility that this might mean the good times are over; and that rather than entering a period of festive cheer we are starting a period of festive fear.


Neil Edwards is head of Builders’ Conference, the construction industry’s leading trade body. It provides its members to sales leads and market intelligence, as well as statistical data and networking opportunities. BCLive is a realtime league table of construction contract award activity. Operated by the Builders’ Conference, the BCLive league table monitors more than 6,000 new contract awards each year with a combined value of more than £80bn.

There are few things that give economists the jitters more quickly than a storm warning from the incumbent Chancellor of the Exchequer
The value of new construction contract awards effectively halved in the space of a single month. Is it the usual seasonal slowdown; an over-reaction to the Government’s recent autumn financial statement; or is it something worse? Neil Edwards looks for some light among the dark
OPINION prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 12

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about price?

The most obvious answer to this question is yes, particularly when you think in terms of competitively tendering. However, it’s worth challenging this. If price were the only factor in making a purchase decision, then there would be only one company for each product or service – the cheapest!

If you are trying to sell to a company for the first time it will often be about perception. Will this company provide me with a good service? What kind of reputation does the company have? What do their reviews look like? To quote Simon Sinek in the book ‘Start with Why’: "People buy why you do it, not what you do."

It would be wise not to underestimate the importance of relationships. People do business with people they like. People do business with companies that align with their believes, strategic aims and social responsibilities. Climate change is at the other top of the agenda and

will drive economic success for those who embed this into their strategic objectives. Companies and individuals who look to buy your products and services do so because they trust you and recognise the quality; price then becomes less important.

Quality – it should be more about quality and not price. We all look to buy the best quality product and perceived value point. There are companies that, regardless of the economic cycle, consistently offer products and services with a higher price point than their competitors, and yet we continue to buy from them. These companies have mastered the art and truly understand that price is not the actual driver of purchasing decisions. It's more about the quality of the product, the aftercare, the expertise, and that the product and service are more than fit for purpose. If this wasn't the case, we would all be buying £10 mobile phones rather than the ones that most of us have in our pockets.

It would be utterly naive of me to say that price never has a bearing because, for many, it does.

You cannot win every sale or tender; therefore, it is essential that you concentrate on the value of your proposition.

The panel


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


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


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


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


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

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 OPINION 15
Is it all
Ken White explores what’s important when tendering and whether it all comes down to price
Companies and individuals who look to buy your products and services do so because they trust you and recognise the quality

Representatives from our industry associations came together at FutureScape to discuss how they’re tackling some of the key issues and challenges


Phil Tremayne said it best: "I've never known a time when the associations have been more in touch with each other and collaborating so much on different things."

So, that’s what all four of these associations have been doing – collaborating to achieve common goals, such as addressing the skills shortage and improving equality, diversity and inclusivity.

At FutureScape 2022, Tremayne, Dr. Gemma Jerome, Lynne Marcus and Wayne Grills joined a panel to share their actions and focuses throughout 2022 and moving forward, after which they signed the industry’s first Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter for the Horticulture, Arboriculture, Landscaping & Garden Media profession.

What were the biggest challenges of 2022?

Staff turnover

“Very similar to many of our member companies, in terms of shortage of staff, not finding the right people with the right skills – I think that’s been our biggest challenge this year,” says Grills. Filling vacancies more mid-level roles has been a problem across the sector, adds Jerome.

Skills shortage

This challenge has been on the list for the last few years – ensuring there are enough skilled people coming into the industry. Jerome says that 87% of small businesses are not planning to recruit apprentices, which could mean a struggle to fill the skills gap and address the pipeline “if we don’t work more proactively with opportunities that apprenticeships bring up.”

Marcus adds that, whilst the SGD has no problems getting new members, they cannot design gardens without having plenty of people to build them. All associations are approaching the same problem "but we need to do it together, because only together can we encourage government to take the right approach towards introducing training programmes, accredited programmes, throughout the country."

Engaging with members

“Being able to have the time to engage with all the members in a way that we would really like to,” Tremayne says was a challenge, though new technology has now helped to build up the APL community again since the pandemic.


Understanding professionalism

As a “domestic-led” association, the APL wants to get the message across about the professionalism of the industry, “getting the public to understand the complexities and the detailing that needs to go into building some of these projects,” says Tremayne. So, the APL launched its What Lies Beneath event series in 2022, educating the public to use professional services and to pay them appropriately.

Providing guidance for sustainable practices

Marcus says the biggest challenge for the SGD has been pulling together guidance for members in how to reuse, retain and recycle items, reintegrating them into the landscape and design accordingly. “We’ve released a lot of policy documents and guidelines on that, including our manifesto on sustainability which we’re working on.”

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 NEWS 16
Lynne Marcus Society of Garden Designers Dr Gemma Jerome Landscape Institute Phil Tremayne Association of Professional Landscapers Wayne Grills British Association of Landscape Industries

How are the associations tackling the skills shortage?

The British Association of Landscape Industries’ GoLandscape initiative first launched at FutureScape 2018, having been sparked by The Summit debate at a previous event. It now has around 60 trained ambassadors who go into schools, colleges and careers events to engage people with the landscape industry.

Alongside this, the association is also closely linked with the armed forces resettlement programmes, training education establishments, and Landex, an organisation of land based colleges and universities. It is supported by BALI Chalk Fund, an industry charity which Grills says is doing "huge amounts, by way of paying out grants for enrichment programmes to get people their industry tickets, going through the process within schools and colleges, but

also looking at how we might expand that process."

Tremayne says that Association of Professional Landscapers also promotes the GoLandscape and the LI’s Choose Landscape initiative to help draw people to the industry. The APL held careers events at Gardeners’ World Live too. It has its own apprenticeship schemes with Myerscough College, working hard with and engaging the services of The Landscape Academy and Task Academy to deliver these. It also runs the APL WorldSkills competition to promote the quality of those within the industry.

"The biggest barrier to people wanting to get engaged with landscape and potentially design as well is that they don't see it as a profession," says Tremayne. So, the APL has been working on construction codes of practice and standards with the Stone Federation and British Standards, producing free documents "in a bid to try to raise professionalism of this industry so that

people and parents see it as a profession and then steer their children into it."

The Landscape Institute is working more around apprenticeships and accreditation of universities to help people see the professionalism of skills in the sector, says Jerome. The landscape sector is worth £25bn gross value added to the UK economy, but “it’s huge and invisible in so many ways.” So, Jerome says we need to frame the industry as a brilliant, creative career.

“We’re thinking about bursaries and how we make this a more attractive industry,” says Jerome. Part of this is breaking down “actual and perceived barriers, which bursaries can help to achieve, as well as conversation courses and early intervention in schools.

Recruiting garden designers is not quite as big an issue, says Marcus.

“[The Society of Garden Designers has] relationships with colleges and Educator Status in order to maintain standards of design,” as well as its own accreditation and sharing its own CPD.

What are the associations doing to make the industry more diverse?

The Society of Garden Designers has brought in a diversity policy, says Marcus. It carried out a member survey covering aspects of diversity including race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. With the survey results, it can now work with other organisations and trade bodies as the way forward.

This is the approach of the Landscape Institute too. Its Landscape Skills and Workforce Survey was a collaborative effort which has allowed it to see the current state and how to create a strategy to get to where it wants to be. The survey, published in December, revealed the profile of the landscape industry to be 93% white, 72% aged over 40, and 51% female.“That’s not a great profile. If we need more people…then we need to make it a more inclusive sector."

And whilst just over half identified as female, the gender pay gap is significant, adds Jerome. Twice as many men earn over £60k, which is the top bracket in the survey, whilst a third more women than men earn the lowest pay grade, which is up to £35k."

Signing the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter for the horticulture, arboriculture,

landscaping and garden media profession makes it “public and serious”, but we need to ensure we act on it, says Jerome.

Going back 18 months or so, Tremayne admits that EDI was not high on the agenda for the Association of Professional Landscapers. But after being invited to discuss it on a Zoom call, Tremayne was sparked to question the Horticultural Trades Association, of which the APL is a branch. So, the inclusion in industry collaboration has been excellent for the APL, says Tremayne – “it enables us to collectively go forward and build a policy that is fit for purpose.” He

agrees it is linked to the skills shortage. "If we can make it a welcoming place, it will encourage more people to be involved.”

The British Association of Landscape Industries worked with the LI on its survey, but also looked internally, observing its own board, which Grills says was predominantly white, middle-aged men. So, it has been working to bring different people in. Board members Adrian Wickham and Tessa Johnstone spearheaded the new charter and championed collaboration with the industry, says Grills. The association will continue to drive the agenda and host events around it.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 NEWS 17
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For a United Nations summit billed as a crucial moment for reversing fortunes in humanity’s “suicidal war against nature” (the assessment of UN Secretary-General António Guterres), December’s COP15 talks in Montreal were accompanied by disappointingly little media attention.

Taking place amidst UN warnings that one million species risk extinction and that global warming will reach unmanageable levels without protecting ecosystems, COP15 was supposed to be the moment biodiversity became a political priority equal to carbon. And yet, aside from Justin Trudeau – Prime Minister of host nation Canada – world leaders stayed away from the talks, underlining where the decline of nature sits in the global political agenda.

While protecting natural environments is an important and necessary endeavour in itself – the Environment Agency estimates one quarter of mammals and a fifth of plants in the UK are critically endangered – the role of building back biodiversity in limiting global warming's temperature increase to 1.5°C adds further urgency to the cause.

More than 10% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the result of the destruction of forest ecosystems, while peatlands –wetlands with a thick water-logged soil layer of dead plant material, like moors and bogs – store twice as much carbon as the world’s forests. That’s why prior to the Summit, those behind the Paris Climate Agreement

called for COP15 delegates to agree a similar deal for nature, one which agreed legally binding global targets for protecting and restoring ecosystems.

Collaboration between government and business

In the UK, there has been some degree of government engagement on the issue – the 2021 Environment Act, for example, requires new developments to deliver 10% biodiversity gain across new sites from November 2023. But progress has been slow and not far reaching enough. Invariably, biodiversity management is handed to local governments, which lack the resources to deliver the full scale recovery. the UK needs.

If the world waits for political leaders to realise the severity of the issue, time will run out. Instead, businesses and investors must shoulder some of the burden for building back biodiversity and restoring nature. Recent research from Ground Control found that more than four in five business leaders feel biodiversity is personally very important to them, and even more (84%) agreed that big businesses have the resources to redress biodiversity loss. Yet only 14% of these leaders had committed their company to tackling biodiversity loss, and it is here where businesses have an opportunity to be a driving force for change. It’s not just a case of businesses having the budget or owning the land needed to make a difference– there

is also a mutually beneficial economic incentive for protecting and restoring nature.

The decline of ecosystems costs the global economy about $5 trillion annually, while, conversely, the World Economic Forum estimates that protecting biodiversity could generate business opportunities worth $10 trillion and create 395 million jobs by 2030.

The road to recovery

Thankfully, solutions to reversing biodiversity losses exist already – from large-scale habitat restoration and tree planting programmes, to investing in ‘biodiversity units’ to improve land management outcomes. What’s needed next is a bigger vision, capable of bringing together the different drivers and crossindustry approaches.

In the aftermath of COP26, companies across the UK launched new sustainability strategies, laying the foundations for a more nature-focused business movement. Now COP15 is over, these same businesses now must make specific commitments – whether it is working with local communities or partnering with ecology-focused organisations – on biodiversity net gain. Ultimately, they have the budgets and resources to restore biodiversity at the rate urgently needed.


Jason Knights joined Ground Control as managing director in 2020 following 10 years in leadership roles at Wates. His last role was as managing director of SES Engineering Services, now a division of Wates Construction Group, following Wates’ acquisition of Shepard E Construction Services in November 2016. A specialist M&E services business, Jason grew SES and created its excellent reputation in the industry, transforming it from loss-making to profitability in four years.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 OPINION 21
After two years of delays, the UN COP15 biodiversity talks finally took place – now it's time for action, says Jason Knights
Invariably, biodiversity management is handed to local governments, which lack the resources to deliver the full scale recovery the UK needs

NATURE A lesson in

With the UK being one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, our gardens are prime locations to make a difference for nature. And so, if we can create new gardens in every school yard in England – an area twice the size of Birmingham – not only can we make a positive impact on biodiversity, school children across the country can learn about growing and biodiversity, as well as develop a meaningful connection to nature.

This is why the RHS is working in partnership with the Natural History Museum and other like-minded partners to deliver the National Education Nature Park and Climate Action Award scheme. The programme, funded by the Department for Education, will invite schools to map, monitor and take action to enhance biodiversity on their school estate using a series of online resources and practical support, as well as a new award scheme that will recognise and celebrate the work being undertaken. This might include planting a pollinator corridor, creating ponds or planting hedges to help mitigate flooding in the school grounds.

For many children, the school garden is their only touchpoint to nature, and we want to make sure it provides a stimulating and meaningful space for learning and skills development. It is an experience as much as it is a specific lesson to be taught – be it sitting in a green space and taking a moment to experience the sights, smells and sounds of nature, getting their hands dirty planting seeds or doing some pond-dipping.

Fundamental to the approach is empowering children and young people to take action, providing opportunities to engage every young person in growing, nurturing and protecting nature in their school grounds. This will build on what we already know from our work with

teachers – that now, as perhaps never before, there is a strong desire from children and young people to do more to take action for nature. The National Education Nature Park will be open to all schools in England and we will be working hard with our partners to ensure accessibility is at its heart, providing them with the support they say they need.

Far too often in schools, horticulture and landscaping are viewed as an afterthought in careers guidance. A greater hands-on experience in school will raise awareness of the importance and an understanding of how fulfilling this work is from a younger age. Students will take on a number of different roles such as managers, ecologists, communicators, fundraisers, grounds people and data analysts. We hope that this programme will drive greater interest in green careers and go some way to delivering the green skills of the future.

This partnership project will help towards supercharging school gardening that will empower the next generation to make a real difference for nature and for their future. And I for one, cannot wait for it to get started.


Clare was awarded a CBE for services to public engagement and a Fellowship to the British Science Association for outstanding contributions to public engagement and was named on GQ's Most Connected Women in Britain in 2015.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 OPINION 22
Clare Matterson, explains a new partnership to engage school pupils with biodiversity Clare Matterson CBE is the director general of the RHS. She was previously executive director of engagement at the Natural History Museum and spent 17 years with the Wellcome Trust leading its work in engagement, education, policy and strategy.
For many children the school garden is their only touchpoint to nature, and we want to make sure it provides a stimulating and meaningful space for learning and skills development


Well Happy New Year everyone and welcome to another year. 2023 will mark my 39th year of teaching garden design and actively working as either a landscape architect or a garden designer. Some may say well done and keep going, but others might say move over and let someone else take a fresh approach.

Age and experience together bring positives and negatives to the table. I can reflect on previous situations, learn from how I responded or perhaps how others responded to my judgments and comments. But are these remembered reactions fair to apply to current students or clients?

One of my current students was attempting to calculate the number of times I had marked and assessed a particular project at London College of Garden Design, asking whether or not I was bored or fed up with the repeated and therefore potentially similar responses. I replied that I was not at all bored with the project nor was I tired of seeing student responses.

The project, although tried and tested, is a great starter for students and from an educational perspective delivers good foundation skills on which they can build. Yes, I might well have seen hundreds of them, but my students haven’t – they are approaching the project and design requirements for the first time. Not only are they approaching this exercise with fresh eyes but they are also naturally different students from those undertaking the course work just five years ago, definitely different from students studying 10 years ago and fundamentally different from students studying 30 years ago.

Clients too will have a totally different outlook on their garden over that time frame. Year by year we all seem to change little, but over an expanded timeframe, attitudes, expectations, priorities and inspirations evolve and develop, not necessarily in a predictable way.

Sustainability is the current watchword, but who considered that 30 years ago? The 1970s were gladly forgotten when the punk era took over, yet there is a current cultural fascination with this period. The inspirations that thrill my students keep me on my toes – long may that continue, but at the same time it would be so easy to say, “been there, done that”. I teach and interview students younger than my own children and my clients are moving in that direction too. I have to remember that a comment about Morecambe and Wise in a lecture or tutorial will fall on increasingly deaf ears but our sense of humour continues – I hope.

At the end of term in December 2022, I had a conversation about cine film, slides, cassettes and yes, even CDs, with my students in the pub. Some hadn’t got a clue that I had started my lectures with slides and had questions about how they were made and how they worked. On the same day we had linked in via Zoom to a student in Melbourne to make her final presentation. I felt old and curiously young at the same time. Long may it continue – I now have grandchildren to entertain!

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 OPINION 24
Andrew Wilson is a landscape and garden design consultant, director of the London College of Garden Design, and an author, writer and lecturer.
Andrew Wilson considers age and experience, and whether the pros outweigh the cons
The inspirations that thrill my students keep me on my toes –long may that continue

Inotice the dark more in winter. This might not sound like a bold statement, because we’re all around it more, but when I notice the dark more it’s not the dark that I notice, but the discomfort of the lit urban experience in the dark. Noticing the darkness more is noticing the extent to which the darkness is interrupted in cities and urban areas –distorted by human hand.

I am of course talking about light pollution. This less commonly discussed form of pollution is responsible for your not being able to marvel at the many stars that twinkle in the night sky above, for the harsh urban nightscapes that we’re often subjected to, but it also threatens a mass extinction of life on Earth.

Insects are especially vulnerable to light pollution, with many insect species being nocturnal and requiring consistent darkness to feed and find a mate, as well as navigating by the glow of the moon and stars.

Artificial lighting in urban areas is brighter than the romantic glimmer of the moon, and these lights are a fatal attraction for insects through the “vacuum cleaner effect” - the attraction of insects from unlit areas into lit. To add an extreme example, we go to Las Vegas, where the Luxor Sky Beam pulls insects in from as far as Arizona. Whilst important themselves, insects are also essential food for many other animals, and so the ripple-effect of this insect die-back is profound.

DARKNESS The heart of

Light pollution is having a bigger impact than preventing us from seeing the stars, says Christopher Martin

Think about road trips when you were younger. Do you remember seeing all the little bugs and beasties flat packed onto the car’s front window, headlights and bumpers? You might not accuse this of being scientific, but the windscreen phenomenon has been discussed over many years, pointing to a marked reduction in the number of flying creatures that need to be cleaned.

There is clearly something stopping us when it comes to our desire to disturb the dark – fear. We fear the dark, for many reasons, some of them very real, and we have an unquenchable thirst for light which we indulge to excess.

We have lauded the arrival of LED lighting in cities for its energy efficiency, brightness, and ability to be manipulated to reduce adverse effects, but whilst celebrating this we have delivered the reverse. Low-cost LED lighting has instead led us to blast ourselves with more, exactly because it’s cheaper and more energy efficient – if less is more, think how much more, more could be?

This light pollution is causing a catastrophe in the natural world, and we need to take action, but more than that, as Johan Eklöf highlights in his marvellous new book, darkness means far more than the mere absence of light, just as silence has a quality beyond an absence of sound. It is important for us to experience darkness –just as it is for other creatures.

Realising this, remote dark sky sites are being created in urban areas across the globe and are attracting people keen to experience the nights that nature intended, but we need to do more to speed up our search for darkness. To quote Eklöf, carpe noctem

Christopher is an influential urban designer and planner working all over the globe to help communities improve their public spaces; as well as supporting cities and governments to develop strategy, change policies, and make great places possible. He is co-founder and director of Urban Strategy at Urban Movement; a trustee of the UK charity for everyday walking – Living Streets; vice chair of the UK Urban Design Group; and is a member of the United Nations Planning and Climate Action Group.

OPINION prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 25
This light pollution is causing a catastrophe in the natural world, and we need to take action
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ALLOCATIONS The value of

As a garden designer, the two words I dread the most are ‘value engineering’; it either means someone is going to squeeze my design or it means they’re going to remove the fun. To combat this, I prefer to consider value in its broader sense.

Value is often inferred in purely financial terms; however, for me, the impact of the value must be taken into account. For example, the value placed on the quality of life, the value placed on extending the footprint of a home in terms of maximising space, the value element of having fun and creating memories and the value of mental wellbeing.

None of these things seem to be taken into account when value engineering is discussed. And so, for this reason, we don’t offer a fixed price when we are creating a design; we talk instead about ‘allocations’.

I’ll be honest and say it’s a word I’ve borrowed from American housebuilders, where a lot of bespoke houses are designed and built and where money and quality of life both have equal value.

Allocations allow designers the freedom to deliver creative solutions and higher-level designs for those who want it, whilst still working within the framework of a budget. For example, when having initial discussions with a client, I use the word allocation when initially dividing up the cost of the project. We may, for example, allocate £20k to an outdoor kitchen at the concept stage of design, knowing that this figure is enough to reassure our client that there is a realistic amount put to one side to cover the cost. If they wish to increase or decrease this nearer the time, that’s their call.

When compiling allocations for the entire project, the price of the garden can seem hugely inflated and concerns that this may put off a potential client is a very real fear. However, we found the opposite to be true, and most clients (given time to pick themselves up off the floor) do come round to the idea and appreciate the transparency, knowing that everything from the hardscape, plants and planting to the outdoor furniture have been included.

This transparency allows clients to make decisions less emotionally, and it allows me as a designer the freedom to stretch the budget in the areas which I learn (as the process develops) become more important to our clients. Financial discussions are also much less heated when an allocation has been put in place.

I would advise including a contingency of around 10% within your allocations too and outlining this as a separate line item. Most of the time we find only around 3% of the contingency is ever used, but because we’ve shown a figure up front, the rest of the contingency is usually spent on upgrades.


Lee Bestall has been designing and managing the construction of gardens in his signature style for almost 20 years – and his honest, genuine passion is infectious. He regularly writes gardening and outdoor-style articles for magazines, is brand ambassador for Spear & Jackson and a stand-in presenter for BBC Radio Sheffield’s Gardeners’ Question Hour.

Allocations allow designers the freedom to deliver creative solutions and higherlevel designs for those who want it, whilst still working within the framework of a budget
prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 28 OPINION
Using the term ‘allocation’ with clients has huge benefits, says Lee Bestall
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Irecently had the very humbling privilege to travel to the desert to volunteer on a conservation project. A landscape so vast that after 10 days traveling through it, I laughed to see how small an area we had covered on the map. We were off grid, without mobile phones and armed with only water, a hat, and a notepad. We travelled through sand dunes, riverines and across Mars-like gravel plains; landscapes wildly different from what I had imagined desert to be. The sun slipped down behind the distant horizon each night, a watery red circle, loud in the endless silence.

When I got home, I sat, I watched the sunset here. I craned my neck to look at the dotted silver stars in the autumn sky and I quietly trod the muddy paths across local fields. Same sun but fresh eyes, a new perspective.

My perception of a desert was arid, dry, dead even. The reality was the opposite. We came across elephant-dug watering holes, scuttling dung beetles and ancient welwitchia plants of some 1,500 years old. There was life everywhere. On returning home I could see similar cues in the landscape here. The growth in the dry places, the movement in damp or dark spaces, the life where life seemed impossible.

We spend a lot of time designing as landscape professionals. People could even argue that’s our job. A daily slide between design software and drawing board. Coffee-led design critiques, design workshops, CPD. A constant barrage of software downloads and new technologies to keep us “up to

date” and relevant. Sitting watching those sunsets though, I couldn’t help but think, our job isn’t about design at all, not really; it’s about landscape.

There’s an irony that as custodians of the land, landscape professionals spend much of their time in front of a computer. Drawn into technological worlds, looking at sites through maps, tree reports and architectural drawings. We might read environmental books, research circular processes, or seek out the wisdom of people doing work we are inspired by, but we do most of that from the comfort of our homes or studios. It’s important to do that work, urgent even but that isn’t where the answers are. We won’t find the answers to our most pressing climate, ecological and even design questions only behind a desk. With the landscape constantly changing at a faster rate than ever, we need to be in it.

We need to know where heather grows as a clue that this hill was once heathland, that robin’s pincushion is the warm shelter of gall wasp grub and what it feels like to hold your breath when a bird lands so close you could almost touch it. It’s not enough to design landscapes which connect others with nature; to do this job justice, we simply have to experience nature ourselves. We need to remind ourselves of our inspiration, our motivation, the ‘why’ to what we do. We need to watch the sunset.

Katie Flaxman is co-founder and director of Studio 31 Landscape Architects. Studio 31 is an award-winning, adventurous and environmentally conscious landscape architecture practice working across the residential, public realm and health sectors.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 OPINION 31
A recent experience saw Katie Flaxman pondering her job's true purpose
It’s not enough to design landscapes which connect others with nature; to do this job justice, we simply have to experience nature ourselves

Putting nature FIRST

Nature led design is a key driver for tackling climate change, explains Simon Richards

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution and the gradual urbanisation of the natural environment, we have become increasingly detached from nature.

Sadly, too many of us have little or no understanding of the natural processes and cycles that surround us. It has led to a dangerous lack of understanding and care for addressing the problems we have created.

For too long, we have been working against nature rather than with it. We need to take a 21st century view to our future. We must be brave and innovative if we want to make a difference.

So, what can we do as creators of the built environment?

What can we do to help landowners, local authorities and statutory bodies address the awareness of climate change in today’s society and what should the landscapes of the future look like?

I believe that if we re-connect with natural process, we will enhance biodiversity, reduce flood risk, sequester carbon and create a more resilient food-producing landscape. Nature should be embedded into the design of the built environment whether it is a school, a residential street or the strategic re-wilding of a whole river catchment.

With this in mind, the following principles offer an important first step in helping embed nature in the future of our built environment which in turns helps to

educate our communities in the importance of nature and a more sustainable future:

• The water cycle is a key component of our landscapes that needs to be addressed and fully integrated into our built environment. Enhancement of watercourses, deculverting of drains and the creation of sustainable drainage systems are integral to healthy habitats and visible nature.

• The re-establishment of ancient water management practices through rain gardens, woodland management and, critically, the siting of new development will help create a resilient natural environment whilst demonstrating to people the positive value of water in our landscapes.

enhance the setting of a glamping site.

• The health of our soils has long been a forgotten component in our landscapes, but it forms the keystone of a successful rehabilitation of the natural environment and the enhanced sequestration of carbon. Linked to water management and improvements in agricultural practices, the rewilding of our catchment areas and their soils could be used as a real-world demonstration of the healing power of nature.

• Materials should be chosen to address their ethical sourcing and production alongside an evaluation of embodied carbon and life-cycle costs for their replacement. The evaluation of embodied carbon in the external environment is still in its early development but it will form a crucial tool for all those involved in the design of our future schemes

• Planting choices need to respond to our changing climate with an evolving palette of resilient native species, alongside the introduction of species from further afield, that have adapted to our future with hotter, wetter climate conditions.

• Bio diversity enhancement can respond to this planting approach by looking at ways of creating bold and wild landscapes. Planting should enhance the bio-diversity value of the surrounding landscape whether it is podium roofs within an urban masterplan or creating a planting palette based on ancient wild woods to

If nature is put at the heart of everything we do, we will enable people to have a better understanding of her importance and, therefore, a greater chance of successfully tackling the challenges of our changing climate.


Simon Richards founded Land Studio in 2016 to create a nature-led landscape architecture and engineering practice with a key aim of connecting people with nature whilst maximising the potential of the land they work on. Land Studio is based in Chester and North Wales and works throughout the UK.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 32
We have been working against nature rather than with it

What should be

Creating biodiverse garden and landscape designs can appear to be a complex task. However, I would like to try to de-mystify the process and provide some ideas to carry forward into your designs and landscapes, by looking at the factors we term in our studio ‘the 3 Rs’ – ‘retain, revise and replace’. Let’s start this month with 'retain’.

These are perhaps the most important decisions we make. Leaving a mature tree in situ or working with an existing hedged boundary or pond means that we do not suddenly lose the biodiversity that is already present. Also retaining existing features and cover means that wildlife corridors linking disparate habitats through the garden will remain.

This is in line with biodiverse design on a larger scale embodied by biodiversity net gain, the principles of which advise: "Do everything possible to first avoid and then minimise impacts on biodiversity."

However, although these principles are geared to increasing biodiversity by 10% overall, we should never lose sight of the fact that we can lose far more biodiversity in a small area by the removal of good quality habitat (trees and hedges, for example) than we can gain in the short term by creating a large new woodland of seedlings or whips. We need to think in the fourth dimension – retaining biodiversity on site so that we can then attract even more once our plans approach maturity.

So, if there are trees on site, can you work around them, incorporating them into the design? I find this to be one of the most interesting parts of a concept design. Creating a coherent plan that adopts existing trees, and other key features, gives a sense of maturity to a space and gives a timeless quality to the overall design. A mature oak tree could be home to 284 different species

– therefore retaining a tree, especially a native one, will have a tangible biodiversity benefit.

On a smaller scale, it probably never occurs to many of us to leave well alone those wild, cluttered, overgrown spaces hidden behind large features or safely out of sight from the house. In our vision of design perfection these are often cleared to make room for new features and plantings. This is, however, a mistake. We do not have to control the development of every square inch. Wild areas can simply be left alone to provide alternative pocket habitats.

Finally, although we have come to see gardens as a space shared between people and nature, the needs of the people should not be sidelined. We need to create amazing spaces that will be loved and maintained over the long term if we are to achieve a truly biodiverse space. Core principles of design such as views and sight lines, the interplay of light and shadow, and the opportunities intervening in a garden or landscape present for the creation of something better all need to be considered, in terms of both aesthetics and habitat coverage. We should not therefore be afraid to remove cypress hedges or trees or plants that impact the final site negatively.

Remember, in a biodiverse design we should not don a hair shirt and create compromised spaces through feelings of guilt but must really look at all of the possibilities we have.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 OPINION 34
We do not have to control the development of every square inch. Wild areas can simply be left alone to provide alternative pocket habitats
Matthew Haddon kicks off a series on how to create a more biodiverse space based on three key terms RETAINED?
Matthew Haddon is a garden and landscape designer, and is the creative director at Haddon Studio, a design studio committed to creating contemporary gardens, naturalistically planted, where people and wildlife coexist.

Green Roof. Sustainable Future.

Create a continuous landscape with a green roof to aid air quality, increase energy efficiency and support wildlife habitats. We are proud to be members of The Green Roof Organisation (GRO) which is an independent not-for-profit Trade Association representing the UK Green, Blue and BioSolar Roofing industries.

Tel: 01256 771222 Email:
Photo credit: Accredited Partner Oaks Landscaping Ltd / Andrew Spedding

GREEN Avoiding

As is often the case, I write this over a month before publication, so while you have hopefully enjoyed a lovely Christmas and New Year with family and friends, I have not yet seen so much as a Brussel sprout (which I love! There is an article to write on that I’m sure). Instead, I returned from FutureScape in London last week full of fresh ideas and having greatly enjoyed hosting four panel discussions and a wealth of industry talent.

I am delighted to see that even after doing these panels for nearly a decade, they are constantly evolving and the discussions move with both the needs of the industry, innovations in business practises and the majority’s desire to be environmentally sound.

The landscape industry is well disposed to be not only the pioneers of sustainable business, but the essential support to other industries in their efforts to ‘green’ their work. I am very conscious that greenwashing is something we can easily be a part of too if we are not careful

and my opposition to the sterile spaces created by using synthetic turf despite manufacturer claims of recyclability and longevity remains unfaltering. Similarly, supporting companies with endless tree planting elsewhere in the UK or world from where their businesses are causing pollution or problems should not be seen as entirely virtuous in itself, though I concede it is better than nothing by some distance (with caveats, keep reading).

We must, all of us, do better. The FIFA World Cup is underway, and Qatar is claiming that this is the first World Cup to be carbon neutral, though environmental scientists didn’t have to look hard to find that in reality they are likely only balancing around one tenth of the carbon produced in building and hosting this event. In fact, it is being argued that this will be the world cup which could have the highest ever carbon footprint (though I must stress that data is yet to be released on this to confirm or deny it).

One panel that I hosted was on biodiversity net gain (BNG), which should come into force in legislation in November 2023 in the UK and is still widely unknown within the industry. This is perhaps on the face of it because it will impact on housing developers and their contractors before anyone else, but if successful, it seems likely to me that it

would be expanded to accommodate all developments, including small-scale domestic extensions in the future.

The premise is simple enough, though the reality will be hugely nuanced. When a company develops a plot of land for housing or building construction, they will be required to benefit the biodiversity of the space that they are developing by +10% and ensure it is maintained for a 30-year period. Simple, but a huge amount of work over time, and within it are a few hidden stumbling blocks to the biodiversity itself. The first, as I see it, is that developments in cities, may well find on site analysis that there is little to no plant or animal life in a site they are developing/ redeveloping. This means that they have very little to do to add a 10% increase in biodiversity,

to offset and add.

This problem of imbalance could well see increased investment in cities over development of less urban areas and even more focus on cities in our economy and infrastructure. In spaces where there is so little potential for adding plant life, it will be permissible to offset it elsewhere, though I am pleased to see that planning departments will be pushing for that offset to occur the same borough/region as the development. Without that, we will see more and more greenwashing as companies purchase land in poor countries and plant

prolandscapermagazine .com OPINION
Pro Landscaper | January 2023 36
whereas developers working in rural areas may well have significant biodiversity
The landscape industry is well disposed to be not only the pioneers of sustainable business, but the essential support to other industries in their efforts to ‘green’ their work


trees with no regard to the current land use of living population as has happened elsewhere already. One panellist, Ben Gardner from Civity, can help companies positively contribute to local environment in nearby sites, which I am keen to hear more about in the future.

The second problem I see with the implementation of BNG is the requirement to manage a space for 30 years or more. I’m all for it; I just think that the expectation of any company existing for 30 years in itself is a stretch and so covenants placed on developments could just as easily be ignored in the future. The landscapes must be managed and the biodiversity measured, so long-term 5-to-10-year contracts seem to be most likely to maintain them under covenants placed on developments.

I worry that companies will undertake work and then dissolve their businesses whenever the going gets tough, like after a big storm when they are required to replace established, semi-mature trees, or similar ‘freak’ events that we encounter more regularly now than ever before.

BNG should happen, I want it to, and the planet needs it to. I worry that it is a bit loose currently and that it could so easily be dropped as a failed project because, like so many important things, it isn’t easy to implement and maintain.


Lewis has worked in a wide variety of roles within horticulture over a 20-year career. He has lectured on garden design and horticulture, and designed gardens in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Since 2011, Lewis has focused on nursery sales, now working as sales manager at Bernhard’s Nurseries, and has helped to launch a number of new plants into the UK plant market. He is a specialist supplier to show gardens, supplying more than 100 gardens at major shows.

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After hosting a panel on biodiversity net gain at FutureScape, Lewis Normand shares a few concerns over the policy
This problem of imbalance could well see increased investment in cities over development of less urban areas and even more focus on cities in our economy and infrastructure


on planting for wetter winters and hot, dry summers

Gardening on my Kentish clay soil, I have plants which had mostly thrived in previous years struggle and fail in the heat of last summer. My soil, despite occasional incorporations and mulches of organic matter, went solid with large cracks in the long drought. It seems I need to mulch more and look at changing some plants to ones which don’t flag in the heat and won’t need ‘emergency watering’.

Mulch more because it works. I volunteer at Sissinghurst’s organic vegetable garden, where they have been growing on the no dig principle for eight years and mulch annually with 75mm to 100mm of organic matter – mostly composted green waste. Last summer, they did not need to change their watering procedures which are limited to new plantings and sowings. They put this down to the extensive network of mycorrhiza which has developed with the regular mulching.

So, on ornamental beds look at mulching to 75mm depth and repeat every two years, as by then it will have been absorbed into the soil. This can save as much as 60% of irrigation needs and loads of weeding.

How can I adapt my plantings? My flagging plants are Eupatorium, Veronicastrum,Hydrangeas, and Heleniums (though the one I gave the ‘Chelsea Chop’ to fared well). They need to be moved into

Whateverwetter parts of the garden or given away to friends. Then I have an excuse for some plant shopping – I did go a bit mad at Beth Chatto’s nursery where plants are laid out in water demand and sunshade preferences. There is a good range of plants once established that will cope well with heat and drought, with thanks to the The 3 Growbags’ blog; I approve their recommended tried and tested drought tolerant plants:

Shrubs: Buddleia,Callistemon, Caryopteris,Cistus,Colutea, Convolvulus cneorum, Genista and Cytisus, Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’, Helichrysum,Hibiscus,Hypericum, Lagerstroemia indica (needs a warm spot to flower), lavender, Nandina,Phlomis (shrubby and herbaceous types), Potentilla (making a comeback?), rosemary, roses (due their deep roots), shrubby salvias, Santolina chamaecyparissus, Tamarix (can be coppiced if too tall), and Teucrium chamaedrys

Perennials: Achillea,Agastache,Alstroemeria,Althea cannabina,Armeria,Bergenia (once rooted in), Callirhoe involucrata,Catanache, Cynara cardunculys (Cardoon), Geranium macrorrhizum,Thymus, and loads more on Reducing midsummer foliage area and water use by using the Chelsea Chop on herbaceous plants can see them safely through hot dry spells, still flowering at a slight delay and smaller but with shorter, more robust stems which won’t flop or need staking.

Chelsea Chop, or cutting back perennials by one third or a half in the second half of May, can be done to: Achillea,Asters,Campanulas, Echinacea,Helenium,Helianthus (not tall varieties), Nepeta,Penstemons,Phlox, Rudbeckias, and sedums.

The issue of plants in clay soils is, can they also tolerate wet soil over winter? To resolve this dilemma, soil structure needs a helping hand to avoid getting waterlogged. Improve drainage by incorporating grit and organic matter or importing manufactured soils with good drainage properties.

Our approach to soils and planting needs to keep the changing climate and weather in the forefront of our minds, but it need not reduce innovation.

Nick is now retired but has worked in landscape offices, parks management and horticultural nurseries. For the past 20 years, he has also run soft landscape workshops at Coblands and Palmstead. He has been involved in BALI at a regional and national level, and is a trustee of the BALI Chalk Fund, as well as an awards judge.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 OPINION 39
Using the Chelsea Chop on herbaceous plants can successfully see them safely through hot dry spells
UK’s finest semi-mature trees, shrubs and hedging A wide selection of both Air-Pot® & field grown trees Exceptional quality plants from over 100 acres of UK production


Responding to its illustrious history, Lancer Square is a 13,600m2 mixed-use development comprising four blocks ranging from four to seven storeys, with 51 oneto four-bedroom private and affordable residential apartments, leisure, ground floor retail and cafes, a new office building and the introduction of a high-quality landscaped public courtyard garden located on prosperous Kensington Church Street, near Kensington Palace and Gardens.

The design is a contemporary interpretation of the architectural character typical of the Kensington Palace Conservation area. The decision to use a two-tone brick on the façade has been inspired by the varying brown and red brick found on Kensington Palace, and the traditional vertical window proportions, horizontal stone banding and brick columns of the Palace have been translated into a contemporary elevation. This style and approach are echoed in the public realm design.

The landowners, Chesington Investments, appointed CIT Group as development managers and Squire and Partners as the project architect. Scape Design produced the ground floor public realm scheme, which Maylim implemented on behalf of principal contractor Mace.

In 2014, the site comprised a six-storey 1980s red brick building on Kensington Church Street and an office and residential building on Old Court Place. The Kensington Church Street building stands where the former Kensington Barracks building was located.

The courtyard is anchored at the heart of the development and in the same historic location as the military centre of Kensington Barracks. It references the past and an opportune pocket of breathing space within the surrounding luxury retail, residential arrival courts and sunken terraces. Squire and Partners’ design is a contemporary interpretation of the architectural character found within the Kensington Palace Conservation Area. The design draws inspiration from the site’s palatial and horticultural past as the original palace grounds and kitchen garden and later as the Kensington Barracks for the Royal Lancers.

The design of Lancer Square is rooted in place from the urban scale down to the final details of the development, with nature always playing a part. Interiors take inspiration from Kensington Palace –from its grand proportions to its flow of spaces. A series of bespoke branded elements, designed to identify the new timeless garden

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PROJECT DETAILS Project value £2.3m Build time 53 weeks Size of project 1,500m2 (Maylim package) Awards National Landscape Award, Residential Roof Garden or Podium Landscaping over £250k category
timeless COURTYARD

square, are woven into the fabric of the buildings – from the external façade, feature screens and ironmongery to the door handles and texture that is touched –with each of the residential, office and retail components of the development given its own emblem which extends into the decorative metalwork throughout the external areas.


Maylim was contracted to supply and install all works to the public realm, including the contractor's design portion for the water feature. Key elements of the project included: structural build-ups over the basement slab; linear and below-ground drainage; paving and cladding, including sampling and mock-ups; raised planters; bespoke

monolithic benches; soft landscaping with mature and semi-mature trees, herbaceous planting, and bulbs; road and footpaths for adoption by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; and design of bespoke monolith water feature.

Maylim delivered the majority of these works with in-house teams. Specialist subcontractors were engaged for the water feature, soft landscaping and irrigation with the coordination of statutory service providers. Maylim worked diligently to design, supply and install this intricate and detailed design to the highest quality.

The project team sourced high-quality materials through supply chain partners and worked very closely with the client and architect to fully realise the joint ambitions for the scheme. Maylim strongly believes that the delivery of a beautiful new public space has been achieved through the combination of shared determination and a focus on quality.

Mace appointed Maylim as a specialist sub-contractor to deliver the external works package. This required extensive coordination and collaboration with other trades and specialists in the sequencing and planning of Maylim’s works. An extensive Section 278 package was varied into the scope of works, delivering the scheme to the requirements of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The scope of works extended to include the structural build-ups and all surface finishes,

A bespoke stone water feature provides the focal point of the courtyard garden. Formed from proteus black granite, the monolithic reflection pool sits centrally within the courtyard square.

Maylim worked with a specialist sub-contractor, Fountains Direct, to deliver on the concept ideas produced by Scape Design. This was, along with the drainage and M&E requirements, a technically challenging feature to integrate into the construction buildup for the scheme.

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from granite paving, natural stone cladding and copings to granite kerbing and tarmac surfacing. A decorative water feature and monolithic benches complete the hard landscaping along with a diverse planting scheme and supporting irrigation system.

Preparation is key

As a sub-contractor to Mace, Maylim worked to tight timelines with several complex trade and statutory interfaces and a live roadway to Kensington Church Street. With several key stakeholders, such as the main client, development manager, main contractor, design team and RBKC, communication and planning were critical to the project's success.

Several samples, benchmarks and mock-ups were required in advance of the works to ensure that the quality requirements were achieved across the scheme. This process presented an opportunity for value boosts, including offering alternatives for stone, utility hole covers and adding maintenance to the soft landscape post-project completion. Maylim sees aftercare and maintenance of a completed scheme as key to the successful establishment and long-term success of the planting and longevity of the scheme.

The scheme sits over a podium slab which extends across the site over the basement car park. Due to the site's location, a sensitive approach was required regarding the construction. This carefully structured approach helped to ensure that works were planned and coordinated accordingly so that all materials arrived at the site on a just-in-time basis to meet the parameters of point loading.

working on site was the existing levels of the site boundaries and the stepped structural slab.

A mix of materials

The hard landscape scheme for Lancer Square comprises a contrasting materials palette. The main drive through the space and portecochère is paved in dark grey granite, with the pedestrian realm in medium grey granite.

A total of 880m2 of granite paving, incorporating vehicular and pedestrian build-up, was installed over the podium slab. Paved areas were edged with 160m of distinguishable light grey granite. In contrast, the Laurel Bank sandstone stepping stones within the courtyard garden add another element to the scheme's colour palette. The Laurel Bank sandstone was a consistent material for the courtyard retaining walls and was utilised as cladding and copings.

Before finishing the works, a series of lightweight fills, structural substrates and water flow-reducing layers were placed. The void former was utilised across all the project's hard and soft landscape areas. A bespoke drainage scheme comprising gulleys in hard and soft regions, linear slot drains and channels were also installed across the site. One of the complexities in

188m2 of cladding and 320m of coping were installed in a combination of low walls framing planting and pedestals for pots and urns. Light white pebbles complete the hard landscape materials palette for the courtyard and areas surrounding the roof lights.

Two feature benches carved in honed Laurel Bank Sandstone complete the courtyard garden and provide ample space for residents

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and visitors to sit and enjoy the surrounding area. Freestanding pots and urns line the courtyard and porte-cochère, giving structure and a sense of formality. Raised planters, formed in folded aluminium frame planting, mask the roof lights from sight.

The courtyard is graced with three sculptures created by Based Upon, a London-based studio of highly skilled artists and creatives. The sculptures pay homage to the stories of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, which strongly link to Kensington Gardens. The first of the sculptures correlates with the courtyard's architectural floor plan. By utilising angular forms, the sculpture (2.5m x 2.5m) stirs the illusion of pages of a book being flicked through, creating a magical portal in mirror-polished stainless steel nestled within the foliage of the courtyard garden.

The other two sculptures depict children and represent our inner child that dreams of playing in such fantasy realms. Placed at four metres above ground level, they have been created in Portland stone with applied gold leaf. At first look, they are reminiscent of traditional British statuary; however, on closer inspection, they are contemporary

pieces with intricate detail inspiring a connection between viewer and child.

During the project, Maylim was instructed to complete the Section 278 works to Kensington Church Street, York House Place

the existing public highway and the Section 38 adoption areas.

The team coordinated the works with statutory utility providers such as TfL, Thames Water, Cadent and UKPN to complete a complex reduced dig excavation around existing services, enabling the complete construction buildup of surfaces. The works included adjusting chambers, replacing covers, and liaising with RBKC and TfL to install traffic lights, signage, lighting, and Santander Cycle Stands. Materials included 270m of granite kerbs and edging, 800m2 of Yorkstone paving, 130m2 of granite paving and 185m2 of new carriageway over reinforced concrete.

Formal planting

and Old Court Place as a variation to the contract. The works were delivered in close liaison with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to adoptable standards on both

The planting provides the structure to the Lancer Square courtyard garden and is formal in its layout. A generous 500m2 of planting plays an essential role in this scheme and contributes to screening, enclosing and softening the space and providing seasonal interest. Ten box-clipped hornbeams create an elevated screen to the boundary of the courtyard, providing a much-needed human scale to the surrounding built form.

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The formal layout continues with the placement of mature Japanese coral-bark maples, and snowy mespilus set within the courtyard. A diverse array of shrubs and herbaceous perennials extend through the soft landscaped areas, held together by the introduction of evergreen shrubs. In spring, snowdrops and white daffodils, which contrast against the dark foliage of the evergreen shrubs, provide colour and animation to the garden.

The planting strategy seeks to provide formality, interest and contribute to biodiversity. Box-leaved holly was used significantly as hedging – this species was selected for its resilience compared with Box. Plants such as dahlia, red hot pokers, cone flowers and bearded iris contribute to the planting scheme, with a bulb layer throughout to provide further interest in late spring. A site-wide irrigation system supports the planting to aid the establishment. Maintenance of the planting extended to practical completion and a further 12 months post-completion.

One of the most challenging site constraints was the limited space and numerous trade interfaces. The site was only accessible from one point and had height restrictions. This meant that for operations, including the distribution of concrete via a concrete pump and lifting and placing trees and prominent features such as the water feature and carved benches, works

had to be carefully coordinated to avoid conflicts in the requirements for space.

As the works were completed over a structural slab extending over a basement car park across the site, this limited the amount of space for storing materials as a result of point loading limitations and not impact the work's progress. The nature of the slab being stepped meant a significant requirement for temporary works to enable access to areas for works to progress.

The outcome, though, is a courtyard which is fit for its surroundings and leaves no doubt as to why Lancer Square scooped a National Landscape Award this year.


Maylim specialises in landscaping, external works and civil engineering projects. In 2022, the company celebrated 20 years in business, and its solid reputation for quality work and exceeding client expectations has helped them reach this milestone. Working to improve public spaces, they help develop new neighbourhoods and bring together existing communities. Maylim's integrated approach enables flexibility and adaptability to successfully deliver longlasting, high-quality projects.


Client Chesington Investments Ltd

Architect Squire and Partners

Landscape architect Scape Design Associates

Key sub-contractors: Tarmac Spadeoak

Soft landscaping Willerby Landscapes

Cleaning Token Cleaning Services

Water feature Fountains Direct

Electrical MDN UK

Irrigation Waterwise Solutions

Key suppliers: Metalwork Kinley

Paving and cladding Marshalls

Trees Deepdale Trees

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

Strulch stops weeds germinating by blocking light, retains moisture in the soil and the added minerals and texture deters slugs and snails.

13.5kg bags of Strulch are available on pallets of 12, 25 or 48 bags. Delivered within 4 working days.

Trade discounts available

MIRRORS Garden of F


or this family garden in west London, Adolfo Harrison Gardens needed to balance the personalities of both parents – an Irishwoman and an Italian. It needed to have areas for them to entertain and lounge in the sun and in the shade, whilst creating a seamless flow from the front door all the way through to the studio at the end of the garden.

Working closely with the clients, Adolfo Harrison Gardens spent a day with the clients, showing them how the different needs of the brief could be overlapped and how the space could be broken up, via SketchUp. A design was created using square shapes throughout, with two circle

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 PORTFOLIO 47 PROJECT DETAILS Project value £100k+ Size of project 96m2

The checkerboard mirrors help to reflect the plants, creating layers, and the shapes and forms of the hard landscaping needed to be simple in order for the complexity to come from the plants rather than the space itself.

forms – a moon gate and a moon bench – added to draw the eye whilst the rest of the garden disappears amongst the planting.

The design compartmentalised the different parts of the brief. “By splitting up the garden into three, we would be able to accentuate the differences in each of those spaces and highlight the difference between the husband and the wife at the same time; so, one is much greener and another more Mediterranean in atmosphere,” explains Adolfo Harrison.

Triple offering

To create the seamless flow throughout the space, Crittall windows used inside the house inspired the bespoke dividing screens and the pergola, created by T Brown & Sons.

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The zig-zag concrete Moroccan tiles from a mosaicist in Shoreditch are frost proof, and the higher price of these tiles was balanced by the client choosing Indian sandstone to replicate the paving in place in the garden previously, helping to keep the project on budget.

The metal welding and fabrication company also installed the checkerboard mirrors, used to reflect the planting, and a screen of mirrored bronze Perspex overlaid with bronze mesh which runs along the bench in the middle outdoor room. The mesh is reflected in the mirrored bronze Perspex, giving the sense of seeing the garden through a veil, says Adolfo.

A checkerboard mural behind the moon bench is composed of a woodland image and a plant illustration This flat graphic plant illustration appears on the cushions lining the bench, adding depth to the 2D mural.

Smoke and mirrors

Planting was chosen for its porosity; half of the plants are structural, and the other half were chosen for the clients to see reflected in the mirrors. There were only narrow bands available for the planting, so the mirrors were

1 View of the house through the moon gate

2 Mirrors add another dimension to the space

3 Fantastic patterns surround the moon bench

4 Areas of the garden are thoughtfully divided

5 Comfort meets nature – fancy a lemon?

Photographs ©Mischa Haller

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added for the planting to appear denser, and the checkerboard effect of the mirrors makes it unclear whether a reflection is being seen or a glimpse of the next outdoor room.

For structure, climbers such as Trachelospermum and wall shrubs ensure as much of the structure as possible is shrouded in greenery. Adolfo Harrison Gardens used “grounding” plants –Pittosporum,Hakonechloas and Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ – to add density to the corners.

Some of the initial planting had to be tweaked, though, when the clients wanted a sail shade. Tall plants such as Stipa gigantea, Thalictrum and Verbena were included originally, but the light level changed with the shade, leaving them bending towards the light rather than reaching up tall.

However, the space now provides an outdoor space for all the family and is maintained by the landscape contractors who built it, Town and Country Gardens, ensuring it will continue to thrive.

6 A quiet sp ot to relax for all the family

7 Chris Randall's murals create awesome interest Photographs ©Mischa Haller


Landscape contractor Town and Country Gardens

Plants Palmstead Tendercare

Metalwork T Brown & Sons Ltd

Tiles Mosaic del Sur Upholstery 7Upholstery

Murals Chris Randall


Adolfo Harrison Gardens is an award-winning design practice based in London, with projects across the UK and abroad.

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Rolawn Medallion® the UK’s best-selling turf Recycled waste plastic furniture • Maintenance free • Environmentally friendly • Robust and durable 01269 826740

Outdoor Saunas

Outdoor saunas and steam rooms are an exciting new wellness trend coming our way. Paul Ransom, co-Founder of Into the Garden Room ( garden-spa) tells me: "Garden spas are a convenient and time efficient way for people to build relaxation and wellbeing into their every day. They offer a haven of wellbeing. peace, tranquillity, comfort and privacy; a luxurious wellness space just steps away from the house but separate enough to switch off from the mental to-do lists in your home."

The benefits of garden saunas and steam rooms

While the benefits of sauna and steam rooms are similar, a sauna offers dry heat, and a steam room has moist heat. The health benefits include improved circulation,

lowered blood pressure, reduced joint pain, soothing muscle tightness/soreness, reduced stress, healthier skin, and improved mood. Steam rooms also help open sinuses for sufferers of respiratory issues (like asthma), congestion, allergies, and colds, as the steam hydrates the respiratory tract, moisturising and opening up your lungs.

Different types of saunas

• Traditional sauna: This Finnish style is the most familiar type of sauna with dry heat and a high temperature (70-110°C). Water is thrown onto hot stones atop a stove to create 'löyly' (steam and humidity). Alternate with a cold shower or a dip in a cold plunge pool.

• Bio sauna: The bio-sauna was designed for those who suffer from high temperatures. Temperatures range from 50 to 60°C with humidity between 60-70%. Thanks to a

built-in vaporizer, once you set your preferred temperature, the bio-sauna heater creates the perfect balance between heat and humidity.

• Infrared sauna: Infrared emitters take up less space and are effective almost instantly. They warm your skin (not the air around you) to create a different experience with a gentler heat.

• Combined sauna: These have a traditional or bio heater and infrared emitters, which means you can use infrared emitters or bio heater by themselves or both together as a good choice for families with different preferences.

• Salt Wall Sauna: The therapeutic salt bricks from the Himalayas' foothills are rich in purity and minerals, look stunning when fully backlit, and glow like exotic jewels.

Garden steam room options and finishes

Modern steam rooms can be finished with tiles, marble, acrylic or glass and rely on a steam generator with an outlet head that slowly introduces steam into the room at a temperature generally between 42-50°C, with 100% humidity. You can add a cold or bucket shower, a steam boost, heated benches and walls, music speakers, and aromatherapy oils.

Hammam and Rasul chambers

While both offer a centuries-old cleansing practice, a Hammam or Turkish Bath is a water ritual, which begins with a scrub. The Rasul (or

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Anji Connell explores garden saunas and steam rooms –a luxurious new wellness trend NEOM WELLBEING STUDIO BY i 3 STUDIOS INTO THE GARDEN ROOM

mud bath), is a four-step process that starts with exfoliation and cleansing, followed by application of a purifying and detoxing clay wrap that is rich in natural minerals. After clay has been applied, guests relax in a steam room, allowing the heat and clay to perform their healing magic. Finally, the skin is cleansed and buffed, leaving the body smooth and supple, and the mind and spirit soothed. Including an outdoor chamber may need a more traditional construction which may need planning permission.

Add a view

Incorporating a plate glass window will frame any stunning private views. Adding a printed glass wall with a logo, picture, or landscape will allow more light, while adding privacy.

sheeting with a gold-mirror alloy finish.

A pine-clad interior surrounds a handmade wood-fired burner in the shape of an anatomical heart encased in an iron cage. The burner's large stones conduct heat, which varies between 75 and 85°C, is surrounded by tiered benches made from aspen wood.

Suomi Finnish


and steam rooms

Suomi Finnish Saunas come with fresh air ventilation, high tech insulation materials, and vapour sealing to prevent damp and condensation, with sustainability at the fore.

The Neom Wellbeing Studio ( uk/projects/neom-wellbeing-studio) combines the Pulse Gym and Suomi Finnish sauna, which are seamlessly linked via a glazed ‘leaf’ tunnel. The design is clean and modern and allows light to stream throughout. You can add a steam room from its range, a rainforest shower as well as an optional separate toilet area, a drinking fountain, a mirror wall, and mood enhancing lighting.

Floating wellness pods

Adding a 'Wow' factor with the golden egg Bigert & Bergström's golden, egg-shaped sauna ( acts as a community meeting place for the people of Kiruna in Sweden whom after damage caused by decades of iron ore mining resulted in the entire population relocating. This stunning architectural sauna provides much inspiration for your projects. The multifaceted egg shape sauna is five metres high by four metres wide and made up of 69 pieces in a golden mirrored surface made from stainless steel

Milan-based studio Small Architecture Workshop ( has built a sauna on a floating platform in Åmot, Sweden, which features a blackened-wood exterior and a large window that overlooks a lake. A superb idea for a larger project with a lake.

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.

3 Hot Products for


This sauna, with thermos treated wood, is compact enough to even fit in smaller gardens, with a front glass wall allowing clients to still view their outdoor space from inside. Price: from £9,000

Insignia Showers

Insignia MXOS1700 Garden Sauna

Hand-crafted premium Canadian Hemlock and features including LED lighting and a 4.5kW Hariva electric stove.

Price: from £3,995

Heartwood Saunas


The handcrafted Aire+ outdoor sauna by Heartwood Saunas features a full height insulated glass wall and overhanging porch area with a built-in rainforest shower.

Price: from £37,000

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Professional landscape lighting is not easy to create, differing hugely from interior lighting. This is partly due to the surrounding darkness, everchanging seasons, and how plant materials react with light. Landscape lighting designers have detailed knowledge of how plants change, not only throughout the year, but to maturity.

Landscape lighting is both a science and an art with multiple issues to consider for providing a safe, comfortable and enticing night environment. A trained landscape lighting designer will understand how to create visual cohesion

across a landscape through the manipulation and hierarchy of brightness and contrast levels.

Landscape lighting is both a science and an art with multiple issues to consider for providing a safe, comfortable and enticing night environment

Knowledgeable, trained landscape lighting designers sculpt a stable visual composition in your garden space giving you a/multiple enjoyable, useable outdoor room(s) for all seasons. As with interior lighting, they consider visual tasks, such as ensuring guests feel safe by revealing boundaries and elevation changes. They introduce light to show the ground plane through downlighting, helping people understand the space, and extend use of the space, including with views from interior windows.

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Neil Parslow and Janet Lennox Moyer explain why hiring a professional lighting designer for your next scheme could make all the difference

With eight different types of corrosion that light fixtures need to resist in landscape settings, fixtures need to be designed and constructed from strong, durable materials that will resist deterioration and hold steady the fixtures’ aiming angle for many years. A lighting designer will know which type of fixtures to specify and why they are suitable for particular applications.

As much design is done during project commissioning as is created in conceptual design. A good designer creates the magic once all the fixtures are installed, after dark during the aiming session(s). Sometimes moving a fixture just a tiny distance makes the lighting effect much better. At the end of an aiming session, the designer and installer will have checked each fixture to ensure that glare from the light source and the inside of the fixture walls is minimised.

The lighting designer will also have the required knowledge about the electrical systems needed for a lighting scheme to be successful, which also includes the types of controls, as there is no point is designing a comprehensive lighting scheme if it physically cannot be designed electrically.

Every garden is unique, and so is the lighting design which will be created. Expert knowledge on how to approach the lighting design’s requirements including the selection of the appropriate colour temperature due to the varying materials (soft and hard) being illuminated in the composition ensures a successful garden scene.

Garden designers produce detailed documentation of the gardens they envision, from initial concept through to planting plans. The detailed documents a lighting designer will produce are equally important for the initial lighting of landscapes and gardens. Good documentation will provide the installing landscaper suitable instructions for the installation of electrical ducting, fixture location, connection to the appropriate supply/ control device(s), but they become most useful for future maintenance. After aiming, the designer updates all the documents and provides a set of record documents with maintenance guidelines to keep the lighting at its best over the course of years.

Neil is the founder and lead designer at Light Visuals, a London-based landscape lighting manufacturer. Neil also runs his own landscape lighting design consultancy business called Neil Parslow Design | Landscape Lighting.


Janet Lennox Moyer is based in Arizona, USA, and has had a career in Landscape Lighting spanning more than 40 years. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed books ‘The Landscape Lighting book’ and ‘The Art of Landscape Lighting’ A Designers Companion.

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Lighting design: Janet Lennox Moyer. Photography ©️George Gruel

Bringing your design ideas

to life

Collaborating closely for over 50 years with garden designers, landscape architects and commercial developers to create award-winning planting schemes.

Palmstead offers real-time stock availability and a 10% discount for online orders.

Total control with OASE

The OASE Control app for garden management

The OASE control app revolutionises pond and garden management. With a simple press of a button or a voice command via Alexa or Google Assistant, the user can manage lights, pump flow rates, on/off status and energy consumption. Regardless of if your client is in the comfort of their home, on the go or enjoying their holiday – the app allows for safe, easy and convenient control.

An additional OASE FM-Master purchase is required, which allows for up to ten individual OASE Control enabled products to be controlled. Using the app ensures an advanced level of safety due to error messages being sent immediately to the app. Furthermore, the app also allows users to easily see their energy usage. For example, your client can lower running costs by setting a filter to run less intensely in winter. Light timers can also be set to help limit energy consumption.

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In a previous life, before starting manufacturing, I served a little over a decade as an electrician with a small, well-formed team. We were fortunate enough to work for some fantastic garden designers and landscapers, but despite being an electrician there was a deep learning curve to garden lighting.

Garden lighting isn't taught at college and there isn't a specific section of guidance despite its 624 A4 pages.

So, for us, we were left with the pure trial and error method. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, we completed between two and six installations a month. Quite quickly we found issues from water ingress causing nuisance tripping of the circuit or breaking down of the cable insulation on spike lights – quite often within just six months of installation.

Changing to different brands didn't often help; whether we spent at the low

end or the high end, we were still suffering the same issues – perhaps a little longer between those issues happening, but still the same issues.

That's the inconvenient part – or as I like to call it, the client annoyance section. Now the real key bit: the safety. A 230V wall light, if installed correctly, is a pretty good option. A 230V spike light, on the other hand, is a terrible, terrible idea.

Let's consider this: in a 230V installation, it's quite typical to run an armoured (SWA) cable around the garden. The reason this cable is used is not just because it's tough but because it has an earthed outer sheath. Should you penetrate the cable with a shovel, the shovel will come into contact with the sheath before any live conductors thus the fault current will mostly go back to earth and disconnect the circuit.

But what cable is on a 230V spike light? It's a rubber flex with no earthed outer sheath. But not just that, it's black! So, it blends into the soil. If anyone has been to see RHS Glow events or any of the other lighting events around the country, you may notice that the cabling is a fairly bright blue. It's easily seen so that it doesn't get accidentality damaged.

Sadly, there have been a few deaths and lots of injuries from garden lighting. A quick Google search will find a notable case of a boy aged just seven years’ old, in the most recent years. I've personally been involved in an inspection on a property that I deemed unsafe, to later have a person doing maintenance on the property receive such an electric shock from the garden lights that he spent three days in the hospital. He later took the landlord to court with my report winning significant compensation.

One final thought is that you may realise reading this that 230V falls into low voltage and, what you thought was low voltage is actually extra low voltage. That's nice and confusing – thanks to the manufacturers that still market this incorrectly.

So, what should you specify and install? Extra low voltage lighting is what I always recommend, be that 12V, 24V, 350mA, 700mA, etc – essentially, anything that fits into the following:

• Extra low voltage: ≤50V AC or ≤120V DC Or 12V, 24V, 350mA, 700mA

And for clarification the other categories are:

• Low voltage: >50V to ≤1000V AC or >120V to ≤ 1500V DC 230V, 415V – domestic and commercial incoming supplies, sockets, etc –trains too!

• High voltage: >1000V AC or >1500V DC Supply distribution from power stations, large industrial


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prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 57
Chris Hudson of Hudson Lighting explains why you need to stop using 230V lighting in gardens – and now
A 230V wall light, if installed correctly, is a pretty good option. A 230V spike light, on the other hand, is a terrible, terrible idea



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prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 58 PRODUCTS
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Just over five years ago, on 1 August, Luke Mills decided to take a risk. He’d been working as a landscape designer for a practice in Hampshire, but had always known that he wanted to set up his own business – so that’s what he did. He says it’s been “full on ever since”.

“Knowing what I know now, I probably would have planned more; but there’s a lot you don’t know until you start your own company, like accounting, infrastructure terms and conditions, templates for quotes and invoices. So, it probably helped me to jump straight in because there was no choice but to make money; it was sink or swim,” says Mills, who became one of Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation winners in 2016.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 FEATURE 63
The Landscape Service is a relatively young company determined to stand out and expand its skillset

For the first few years, Southamptonbased The Landscape Service remained a one-man-band, with various freelancers undertaking some of the workload. One of these freelancers was fellow 30 Under 30 winner James Smith, who in September 2021 became The Landscape Service’s first employee. He’d been working at a design company on the outskirts of London for about 18 months before going freelance, during which time he was a finalist for the RHS Young Designer of the Year competition. He met Mills through a mutual friend and had freelanced for the company for about a year before Mills offered him a full-time position.

It was a big learning curve, taking on the first member of staff, says Mills. “There’s a lot

more formality in it. If you have a freelancer and for whatever reason don’t have any work, then it’s quite easy to not take on a freelancer for a month. But when you take on staff, you want to be investing in them and making sure that they’re happy at work. It’s been an excellent thing for me to take people on; I just wish I’d done it sooner, to be honest.”

The most recent addition to the company is Jordan Ling, who joined last summer after freelancing for about five years, including for The Landscape Service. All three members of the team had coincidentally worked for the same landscape design practice in Dorset throughout their careers, though at different times, and have

eventually ended up at working the same company together once again.

“It’s a bit of a jump, thinking about how much has gone on and how much has been packed into the last five years to get to where we are now. We’ve worked on everything from the marketing to the website then trying to establish a client base and build the profile of the company,” says Mills. “I’ve always said with three people you can do everything, and we share a lot of work now. We all get on as friends as well as employees, so it’s quite a nice atmosphere on a day-to-day basis. I’m really fortunate to have that fall into place as well.”

Fortunately, they also all have a similar approach to working with clients; one which is friendly, rather than overly formal, and one which is honest and transparent. “We have regular communication with our clients, as much as possible, to let them know what’s going on, the stage of a project, being transparent about costs and being realistic

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 FEATURE 64
It probably helped me to jump straight in because there was no choice but to make money; it was sink or swim

about when a project will be built. Clients respond well to that,” says Mills.

“We’re all passionate about the industry; we live and breathe it and replicate that to our clients and in our designs,” adds Smith. “We’re also really passionate about the areas we work in and we want the best landscapes in the area.”

The Landscape Service works predominantly in Hampshire and Dorset and, alongside its quality of work is becoming known for its use of virtual reality headsets to present designs to clients. “It’s a really good way to get children involved,” says Smith.

It takes the pressure off selling a 2D plan too, adds Mills. “It’s more relaxing, because sometimes the client doesn’t always understand the 2D plan, so you have to sell the products, sell the vision. But with the headset, you don’t have to do any of that. They can see it for themselves. It’s an experience.”

“It helps us sell our designs without actually opening our mouths,” says Smith. “So, they can take it all in and experience the garden before it's even built, which massively helps as well because they can see the materials, they can see how the plants are going to be, because they'll be put in at their height and everything.”

Half of The Landscape Service’s work is domestic; the other half is commercial – a split which Mills says the company plans to keep. “We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves into one kind of work; we spread ourselves over quite a big field in terms of property and landscape, from private residential to a public space to designing for a new commercial site, it’s very varied, which is good for us.”

It also offers the company more resilience if one sector of the industry is struggling and is “good for business,” says Mills. “During COVID-19, we noticed a few wealthier people purchasing houses on the south coast because they realised they didn’t need to be in the office as much. There were also developers buying up land as it fell in price. But even in the mid-range, people were stuck at home and couldn’t go on holiday, so they were investing £5-£10k into their gardens; COVID was strangely quite an active time. But we know that, as the price of land goes up, we might get less commercial work, though the

high-end work is there most of the time.”

All three members of the team cover all aspects of the work and remain in tune with each other’s workload. This allows the projects to keep moving, explains Ling, when one member of the team is away.

“There’s no stopping and starting, there’s a steady flow.”

One of the biggest projects it has been working on is Curtis Fields in Weymouth, which has been broken down into several phases but overall will deliver 600 homes. Alongside this, Ling is working on a landscape scheme in Dorset – for which The Landscape Service was brought in at the very beginning so that the landscape design could inform the rest of the scheme.

“It’s quite a large project,” says Ling. “There are old derelict farm buildings and

1 L to R: James Smith, Luke Mills and Jordan Ling 2 Coastal garden design, Poole 3 Garden design in Dorset 4 Communal landscape in Dorset 5 Garden design in Sandbanks 6 Garden design in The New Forest

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 FEATURE 65
We’re all passionate about the industry; we live and breathe it and replicate that to our clients and in our designs

the plan is to retain a couple of them, as they’re listed, whilst removing the rest and creating small office style buildings. It’s going to be adjacent to a new housing development, and there needs to be 2.5 parking spaces per unit, so a hundred car parking spaces in total; it’s a Tetris of trying to make it all work together, achieving a strong landscape design and ensuring there is a good balance with native planting, swales and ecology as there are quite a few bats on the site.”

On the domestic side of the business, Smith is working on a large countryside property in the New Forest, where the clients have just renovated the house and are now turning their attention to the garden.

“Like most people after COVID-19, they want to make more of their space and be able to entertain and spend time with their family, so they have a sunken fire pit, a pergola, an outdoor kitchen, a hot tub, and a swimming pool, and we’ve designed it in a way that it all fits into the existing landscape as well,” says Smith.

This project has broken ground recently and will probably be completed about a year down the line. It is one of more than 20 projects on the books for The Landscape Service at the moment, all of which are at different stages and to different timescales.

“It hopefully shows the skillset that our business has; it shows developers and clients that we can do anything that they want us to do, it’s quite unique,” says Smith. Its skillsets are growing too. The Landscape Service is looking to become one of the go-to companies for implementing Biodiversity Net Gain, a policy which is set to be introduced in November and will make it mandatory for most new developments to deliver a minimum of 10% increase in biodiversity value as part of the new Environment Act. The team has been studying the proposals for the new legislation and is seizing the opportunity it presents for additional work and for improving the biodiversity on new sites. However, there are some concerns the trio has with the proposals so far, such as the option for developers to purchase

‘statutory biodiversity credits’ for investing into habitat creation elsewhere if onsite and local offsite habitats will not meet the requirements of net gain.

How to add 10% could also be “subjective”, says Mills. “You could have 100m2 of planting with no biodiversity benefits, or 20m2 of planting with a high variety of species that will bring in more wildlife,” – on top of this, there is a lack of information on how net gain will be monitored and maintained, and by who.

Biodiversity and sustainability are constant, key focuses for each of the projects The Landscape Service undertakes. “We look at every detail of what the ecology report comes back with and always try to specify wildlife loving plants or native plants from local suppliers as well,” says Smith. “It’s not just plants, but hard landscaping products as well. We’re always finding ways to make the project a bit more sustainable.”

With Biodiversity Net Gain set to come into effect towards the end of the year, The Landscape Service will spend the next few months ensuring it remains up to date with the legislation and stays at the forefront of the discussion. But its biggest focus, says Mills, is continuing the progress which has been made over the last five years, as this budding company makes its mark.

7 Garden design in Poole

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 FEATURE 66
It hopefully shows the skillset that our business has; it shows developers and clients that we can do anything that they want us to do, it’s quite unique
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ON COURSE for success

Ashort course will not suffice, came the message from panellist Helen Elks-Smith at the recent FutureScape event. She was talking about the level of qualification needed to be a garden designer, and it’s not the first time it has been up for debate. Last year, in our September issue, we sought to answer the question as to whether a qualification should be required at all.

But if you are going to put yourself through a course and start working as a garden designer, does it matter which one you choose? And is it damaging the industry’s reputation to not make a qualification to a certain standard

mandatory in order to call yourself a garden designer?

“If you are offering a service for which you are charging a fee it is incumbent on you to ensure that you have the appropriate skills to deliver the contracted service,” says garden designer Elks-Smith, adding that a landscape architect requires “a five-year mixed programme of education and experience” and a garden design degree is three years.

“Those numbers are strong indicators of how much knowledge is needed to begin to offer garden design services as a professional service. Whilst it is possible to accumulate relevant knowledge and skills whilst working in other sectors or studying other subjects at higher education – such as project and people management, financial

and business management, communications, health and safety etc. – subject specialist knowledge is essential.”

Elks-Smith says that the working knowledge needed to design a garden and get it built requires “considerable skill and knowledge”. There is a long list, she says, including spatial design, design process, construction, graphical communications –“I consider CAD an essential skill” – planting design and horticulture, CDM, contract management, soil management, soil conservation, drainage, tendering and ecology, to name a few.

“If a year-long course only covers one area such as planting design, it is reasonable to expect that planting design might be offered as a professional service, but to offer a service such as outline design – which is another skill set altogether –is not reasonable.

“If the year covers planting design and spatial design, the skills learnt will simply not be sufficient. Many short courses are fine for amateurs and general interest, and they may

FEATURE prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 69
A range of garden design courses are on offer to those looking to kickstart their career, but careful consideration may be needed to ensure they qualify equipped with the necessary skills

have value as Continuing Professional Development (CPD), but it is not possible to train someone to a professional level in such a way.”

Garden design Andrew Fisher Tomlin, who helped to found and is now a director at the London College of Garden Design (LCGD), says that “short courses do not provide the comprehensive knowledge and training that is required for a modern garden designer,” adding that “a good indicator of an acceptable course would be those that hold the SGD Educator quality mark.”

The Society of Garden Designers (SGD) awards its ‘Educator Status’ to courses which are a minimum of Level 3 and are committed to high standards. “I am an advocate for professional qualifications, but it should be noted that not all qualifications are the same and so careful consideration should be given,” says SGD co-chair Andrew Duff. “The Society of Garden Designers lists courses which have been awarded Education Status. These courses have been carefully considered and meet the requirements set by the SGD. Clients are much more aware of the differentiation between qualifications nowadays and so an informed choice is essential.

“A Level 3 qualification and above is essential but also there needs to be consideration given to the course length. A two-week course will clearly not give the student the in-depth knowledge required to

practice at a professional level. A course running through an academic year will ensure a deeper level of understanding.”

One of the key aspects to cover, as Elks-Smith listed, is construction. Managing director of design and build business The Garden Company, James Scott, says it is particularly important that designers understand this phase and can design with “build-ability” in mind.

“A good understanding of the construction phase is critical to a successful design project, so while it may not be viewed as essential to a design qualification, I believe it is hugely desirable and beneficial to all parties.

“It’s also very important that newly trained designers understand their contractual liabilities if anything goes wrong during the landscaping phase. A good understanding of CDM regulations and how they apply to the design-and-build process is vital.”

It’s the clients who will suffer if a garden designer does not have the required skillset, warns Elks-Smith. “Far too often the attitude is ‘wing it ‘til you make it’. Far too often unsuspecting clients are used for experimentation and practice. Far too often this results in poor design and poor construction. Far too often this represents a poor spend of someone’s hard earned money.”

The industry’s reputation could also be tarnished, and Elks-Smith says it’s not just garden and landscape designers but also those in construction and management who need to have the appropriate skills and expertise.

“Education, work experience, apprenticeship schemes – standards all matter. Standards that are open and might be used by potential clients to differentiate those who have spent their energies investing in themselves and learnt their craft are essential.”

Scott agrees that it is a problem for the industry and its reputation that “virtually anyone” can call themselves a garden designer, distinguishing it from other professions such as architecture and law.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 70 FEATURE
If you are offering a service for which you are charging a fee it is incumbent on you to ensure that you have the appropriate skills to deliver the contracted service
Helen Elks-Smith, Garden designer

“A ‘garden designer’ may be self-taught or have completed a rudimentary design course that hasn’t equipped them to deliver a full design service. This can make it difficult for prospective clients to work out who is genuinely ‘qualified’ to work on their cherished project –leading to significant risks including overspend/ poor value for money, poor quality of work and even safety issues.”

There are potential benefits, then, to making a certain level of qualification essential. It would set an industry standard and establish a baseline of knowledge and skills for all designers to meet, says Scott. “It is likely to reassure clients and prospective clients that the designer is competent and capable of delivering what is needed for a successful outcome.

“Assuming that the qualification is of a suitable standard, it would also ensure that the designer has learnt about the whole process of design and build in sufficient depth and breadth.”

But he says there are arguably downsides to making qualifications compulsory. “It could be off-putting to those that want to work independently from the outset – a mandatory qualification would imply that the trainee/new designer would need to be working for a design practice until they were fully qualified. This might also make designer opportunities harder to access, if you need to join a design practice rather than set up independently. So, making a qualification essential might be somewhat restrictive and drive some genuine talent away from the industry.

Duff says we also “must not forget those who have learnt their trade through time and experience; also, those who have learnt in employment or who have been mentored. For some, experience will always be a better way to learn.”

“Garden design is typically a second career for many and so for those people a qualification that provides comprehensive

training, especially in spatial, construction and planting design, is essential,” says Fisher Tomlin. “But there are many different routes to becoming a garden designer and many of those start with design experience as much as horticultural knowledge. It very much depends on where you are starting from, and for those that don’t follow a traditional route becoming a registered member with the SGD can be another way of showing your professionalism.”

For Scott, accreditation is the best way to ensure garden designers have the required in-depth knowledge, skills and experience. “What matters most is that anyone calling themselves a garden designer is accredited, or actively working towards accreditation. Accreditation with a nationally recognised institution such as the SGD, the [Landscape Institute] or [the British Association of Landscape Industries] demonstrates that an individual meets a particular professional standard. These

standards will include quality working practices and proven skills which members of that professional community have committed to and can demonstrate.”

Duff adds that the Society of Garden Designers’ pathway to membership also ensures the learning continues. “A thorough assessment process over three projects with feedback throughout ensures a continuation of any learning process.”

“The role of professional bodies is incredibly important and their willingness to set and uphold the standards of knowledge needed to provide the service is essential and underpins

promotion of our industry to the wider public,” says Elks-Smith. There are also plenty of CPD courses to enhance and update knowledge and upskill. These should be a requirement, says Elks-Smith.

“There is a lot to learn. We are also in a changing world and climate change means that we need to revisit construction, planting, drainage, and spatial design – all of which

the professional
prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 71 FEATURE
I am an advocate for professional qualifications, but it should be noted that not all qualifications are the same and so careful consideration should be given
Andrew Duff, SGD co-chair

are impacted by climate change, and we have to update our knowledge and practices pretty quickly.”

Fisher Tomlin agrees that CPD is essential with the development of new working methods and environmental challenges, and so LCGD “offers a wide range of development training”.

“We’re a profession and to remain professional you need to stay up to date.”

But similarly when it comes to embarking on a garden design course, Scott says CPD should be carefully chosen.

“For example. in my role, staying up to date with design trends and new product technology is essential so that I can properly advise clients on the best materials for their projects. This is a higher priority for me than learning about design software updates – but the latter can be hugely important to a member of my design team.

“There are clearly many benefits to CPD. In broad terms, by engaging in CPD, we designers ensure that our theoretical and practical learning do not become outdated or obsolete. However, I don’t think we can generalise too much about the content of any CPD activity. For it to be truly effective, the learning needs to be planned and delivered in a way that meets the needs of the business, the customer and the particular role of the individual designer.

“Alongside these role-specific requirements, there are also broad industry trends and changes that affect all designers. A clear example of this is all the design considerations arising from climate change. Other related examples could include biodiversity and sustainability.

“Within my own design practice, the most important benefit that CPD gives us is to help us to be proactive about our learning, rather than passive or reactive, and to be open to learning from each other too.”

With accreditation and CPD, then, undertaking a short course or no course at all might not prove to be an issue.

But Fisher

Tomlin says that we are “rapidly moving in the direction” of it being mandatory to have an “acceptable” qualification in garden design and “will follow other countries such as the US and Australian states in requiring a minimum level of knowledge.” He adds: “There are particular areas, especially in construction design, where we need to move towards recognition and that includes landscapers as much as designers.” So, change could be afoot for the route to becoming a garden designer, and it’s one which could arguably change industry perceptions.

FEATURE prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 72
Making a qualification essential might be somewhat restrictive and drive some genuine talent away from the industry
We’re a profession and to remain professional you need to stay up to date
Andrew Fisher Tomlin, Garden designer and director, London College of Garden Design (LCGD)
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Don't skimp on your


Iam often asked, what are the common mistakes landscapers make? This is a difficult question as it’s a big subject to broach, but an issue I’d highlight is one that has been growing recently. With rising material prices, there’s a growing trend of landscapers using recycled sub-base material, or even very little sub-base, and occasionally none at all.

Now I have to say I’m all for using recycled products and when I was landscaping, I often used a certified 6F2 recycled Type 1 and never had an issue, but I always made sure it was washed clean, certified and and not full of plastics, brake pads and bucket handles, as often I see in my expert witness role these days. Good quality, clean and certified 6F2 isn’t as easy to get hold of as you would think either.

An expert witness commission I had in the Midlands involved a client concerned that her patio was sinking and that the slabs were rocking when walked upon. On inspection of the sub-base, I found there to be mixtures of bituminous aggregate, ashes and rounded

pebbles (see figure 1). As many of you will no doubt be aware, granular sub-base material must be angular so it can bind together.

Rounded aggregates won’t compact. Imagine trying to compact marbles: they would just roll against each other. As such the patio laid on this sub-base would not fully compact, resulting in the paving sinking and moving.

Another expert witness commission I recently undertook was a driveway. When I began to expose the base and sub-base layers I found broken pottery, springs, glass, rounded small pebbles and rubble (see figure 2). Needless to say, this driveway was also sinking and moving. Is it any surprise looking at the sub-base material in figure 2?

In the case of the driveway commission –which was valued at £28k – I could easily predict a further £20k to put it right! Compare that to another £600 to £800 for genuine Type 1: it pays to not to cut corners and get it right the first time!

Leaving college at 17, Gareth has worked in the landscape industry since 1989. Progressing onto high-end projects over the years, he has picked up 30 RHS medals, including Gold at Chelsea. Now a freelance tutor to The Landscape Academy, Gareth is a member of multiple professional bodies. He provides technical and product advice to companies, mentors and trains landscapers across the UK, and provides arbitration and mediation services.

The initial cost might be cheap, but it could cost a lot more to put right, says Gareth Wilson
prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 74 OPINION
Granular sub-base material must be angular so it can bind together. Rounded aggregates won’t compact


Pour Your Heart Into It’ by Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, was a book I read back in 2001, and it literally changed the course of my life.

At the time I was in my late 20s and working for a well-known pizza chain. I didn't know that there were different ways to run a company, as the job was all I’d ever known, bar working in a pub as a student.

The pizza chain had a Vision (where they wanted to get to), a Mission (what their purpose was) and a set of Values (how they believed business should be done). But if I'm honest, it just existed on posters on head office walls. It didn't really live or breathe through them.

People around me at the time kept saying that I should read Pour Your Heart Into It. In the book Howard describes how Starbucks went about creating a Vision, Mission and Values when it was a company of just six stores!

The managers who worked in the stores sat around the table with the board and together they agreed where they wanted to be, what they wanted to be known for and what they believed to be important.

Essentially, they collectively believed that if you look after your people well, they in turn will provide excellent customer service which then in turn will drive the sales. This was almost the opposite order to what I had been exposed to thus far in my career, but it was very much aligned to how I believed business should be done.

This book had such a profound effect on me, that I was simply desperate to go and work for Starbucks; and so I did for eight years. Having a clear Vision, Mission and Values helped

shape the future of the company and enabled it to become one of the fastest growing global companies of all time.

So, how can clearly defined vision, mission and values help you? Well, I can tell you that they will help you:

• appeal to good talent who want to work for you • attract the right customers

• build strong teams

• and the sales will then follow

So, ask yourself what is different and unique about where you are heading, how you do business and what do you stand for? Once you answer these questions, share this information on your website, throughout your marketing, and in your conversations, and then notice the difference it makes!

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


Alison Warner is founder of Evolve and Grow, a business coaching firm that specialises in the trades and construction industry. She is also the author of bestselling book ‘How to go from Tradesperson to Managing Director in the Construction and Trade Industries’.

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 OPINION 75
Trades coach Alison Warner explains how a business classic unlocked increased sales
Having a clear Vision, Mission and Values helped shape the future of the company

Sickness absence can have numerous direct and indirect impacts on businesses; from having to find, train and pay for temporary cover, the possibility of reduced customer satisfaction, or reduction in productivity (to name but a few examples). Frustration can therefore arise amongst employers when employees are absent for sickness, particularly when the absent employee carries out a key role.

It is an employee’s right to take time off work if they are sick and there is no legal limit on how many sick days employees can take. Employers therefore often feel unsure about how they are to deal with sickness absence.

Sick leave – different scenarios

The nature or frequency of the sickness absence can raise different issues for an employer.

Employers may find some employees taking frequent short-term absences (for example, repeated absences on a particular day of the week, or just before a monthly deadline or towards the end of a busy shift cycle); these may raise concerns from a disciplinary perspective. Other cases may involve longer-term


So what?

Jason McKenzie

Danielle Ryu of Oracle Solicitors shares the ins and outs of employee absence

sick leave, or evidence of an underlying longer-term medical issue.

With longer-term sick leave in particular, employers should note that sickness absence may result from a “disability” (within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010). At each stage of a sickness absence meetings procedure, consideration should be given as to whether there are reasonable adjustments that could be made to the requirements of a job or other aspects of working arrangements that will provide support at work and/or assist a return to work – it is a requirement of the Equality Act that reasonable adjustments are considered in relation to employees with a disability.

It is important for employers to consider the reasons behind the absence (and seek further medical information and advice where necessary), check and follow the organisation’s policies and consider their legal obligations carefully. When reviewing an employee's sickness absence, any patterns which cause concern should be identified and discussed. It is also important to ensure that employees are aware of and follow any sickness absence notification obligations (e.g.


providing medical “fit notes” when required). Most policies will have thresholds that will trigger sickness absence meetings (often stages one to three, with the third being a final meeting).

Is dismissal appropriate?

A question that is often asked by employers is whether an employer can dismiss an employee because of their sickness absence. The short answer is “yes”, provided it is justifiable to do so and appropriate, fair and reasonable procedures have been followed. There can be adverse consequences for employers that deal with sickness absence in the wrong way, including potential claims for:

• Unfair dismissal;

• Breach of contract; and/or

• Disability discrimination (arising from a failure to consider reasonable adjustments, or dismissal for a reason related to disability which is not justified by the employer).

Overall, employers should proactively monitor and address sickness absence, managing it in a fair and transparent way. They should also ensure that employees are fully aware of their responsibilities.


Oracle Solicitors is an award-winning law firm with a deep understanding of the landscape industry and expertise in employment, commercial, litigation, property and contract law. Oracle Solicitors, founded in 2002 has since grown to include offices in London, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Frankfurt, and Addis Ababa – please visit:

The nature or frequency of the sickness absence can raise different issues for an employer
prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 76 OPINION

REAL It's been

Having written more than 120 articles for Pro Landscaper, this will now be my last. It has surprised me that I was able to produce so many pieces and keep them varied and with an impartial view on the industry and the factors affecting it; I hope that they have been of some use to you all.

In other news, and after nearly three decades in the industry, I have decided to take some time out to review my future. Not an easy decision, but one that had to be made. Thirty non-stop years managing the machinery and vehicles for two of the UK’s largest grounds maintenance contractors, albeit with a period of time spent on the dark side within machinery supply, has been a hell of a journey, but it is now time to step off the bus before it and I run out of stops. There comes a time when you have to take stock of your position and what the future holds – never easy, but then nothing is these days.

It was great to be back to a “full-on” Saltex where there seemed to be a renewed energy amongst the suppliers, manufacturers and attendees, despite the ongoing challenges with supply and product availability. Several new large scale electric and hybrid products were on display showing considerable commitment by the industry to the problem of climate change. Let’s hope that future

events see further examples of alternative fuel use. Slowly manufacturers are moving through their product ranges from electric power tools to full scale electric ride-on mowers and compact tractors, all now with workable run times, an exciting time ahead.

Another positive was the news that the main industry bodies seem to be pulling together, which may lead to one main industry event showcasing all aspects of what we do, from golf to landscaping, sports pitches to verge mowing, maybe even an outdoor show with live machines operating. Sound familiar? In these times of austerity it makes sense to review the costs to stage these events, as they are becoming prohibitive for exhibitors and attendees. Maybe organisers could look to mainland Europe where they charge entry, or hold one big event every two years; that way there will be more in the way of new product to display.

So, what of the highs and lows of my career within the industry? There were not too many lows really until recently, but the highs were working with some memorable characters and entrepreneurs from the early days of CCT with Glendale. Being part of the team that took English Landscapes from a struggling business to its acquisition by idverde, a great journey with a great team. Not to forget working with many

manufacturers and end users to bring new ideas and techniques to the industry.

On the down side, the passing of some of the key figures of the industry will always be a sad memory. More recently, and somewhat ironically considering my decision, is the challenge to get people into the sector before the existing skill base becomes too diluted. Finally, accepting that despite what you've done in the past, realising when you can no longer make a difference and it’s time to step aside.

So, just to close off this article I’d like to say a big thank you to all at Pro Landscaper for giving me the opportunity to say my piece each month and contribute at some of the FutureScape events. To colleagues past and present with whom over the last 30 years we have faced all manner of challenges but seemed to have done something right, I couldn’t have done the job without you all. Finally, to all the suppliers and manufacturers for supporting not only myself but the businesses I have represented; it can’t have been easy at times, but we got there. All in all, it’s been real!


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

Angus Lindsay shares his last article for Pro Landscaper as he retires from idverde at the end of the year
prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 77
There comes a time when you have to take stock of your position and what the future holds – never easy, but then nothing is these days

hen Angus Lindsay wrote his first article for Pro Landscaper’s second ever issue (October 2011), it was with a “bugbear” – that the landscaping and grounds maintenance sector was under-appreciated.

“We were at the end of the food chain. With local authority budgets, we were the last service to get the investment and the first to be cut. It always seemed as though we weren’t appreciated for what we actually did,” says Angus, who last month retired from his role as group head of asset and fleet management with green service provider idverde after 13 years.

Since writing ‘The Forgotten Industry’, has this perception changed?

“One of the benefits of COVID was that people suddenly realised that the parks and open spaces are an asset that should be looked after, so there have been some good things to come out of the pandemic. I hope it continues.”

If it hadn’t been for COVID (and Brexit), though, Angus says the equipment and machinery market would have developed even further than it already has. It has already seen fast-paced changes in the last few years, with the continuing advancement of alternative fuels such as lithium batterypowered kit and the possibility of hydrogen being used in the future.

Technology isn’t always the answer though, says Angus. “Sometimes it’s just a case of not doing anything at all. Do we need to cut the grass, or keep pruning the


hedges? Why don’t we put in something different which requires less maintenance? So, thinking differently and questioning the way things are laid out.”

Having joined the industry nearly 30 years ago, the grounds maintenance sector – and the fleet and machinery used within it – has evolved. An agricultural engineer by trade, Angus had been working abroad in the Middle East and Africa, where his roles had included working as agricultural maintenance technician for the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture through VSO, a field operations manager for Afcott Nigeria and a contract instructor for Massey Ferguson in Yemen.

When he returned from overseas, Angus joined Glendale as its machinery manager in 1994, around the time Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) was introduced, which made it mandatory for local authorities to put their green services out to tender. “That was a challenge for everybody; a lot of people saw it as a way to make a quick buck. They thought, ‘cutting grass, how hard can it be?’ Surprisingly difficult, with constraints around budgets, cutting regimes, the weather.” Off the back of it, though, was a “revolution”, changing the direction of manufacturers and ideas being introduced to change the way green services were carried out, and Angus was happy to be one of the people driving that change.

He worked at Glendale for a decade before taking on a role as national account manager for the north with Industrial Power Units, selling Ferris and Wright machinery.

A time to reflect

Opinion This month will see my 20 year in the amenity horticulture industry, so felt it time to look back and see what has changed and where contractors getting to grips with Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) along with local authorities learning for the first time how to deal with outsourcing some of their key services. The rst years of CCT saw some interesting interpretations of specifications and service delivery an outstanding example being the rose beds! There was no doubt that standards dropped as money was saved the name of operational efficiency and skills were diluted as Then along came the national hire companies who set out to revolutionise our industry by supplying whatever you wanted wherever you realise that our industry not like construction where the same types of machines can be material within changeable climate. Regional, independent, and dealer based hire operations have instead taken their place, able to provide more focused service within an area they can Local authorities were, in the past, notorious for having more machines than they needed over-specified, over-maintained and under-used; equipment which was worked harder, kept longer and occasionally brought back to life in order ABOUT ANGUS LINDSAY farms Scotland before joining VSO in Egypt, implementing cotton plantation in Nigeria and as contract instructor for Massey Ferguson in Yemen. During Mechanisation Management. Returning the UK he joined Glendale as machinery manager in contractors in the UK. Many of the big names which came out of CCT are still key players the industry and still led by the same people, With the ghosts of CCT and Best Value fading into the past, most contracts are now procured using combination of price and quality with price sometimes being as low as 30 per cent of the evaluation and sometimes as high as 70 per cent. However, we’ve seen at least one large local authority tender recently awarded entirely on quality, training, track record or methodology. Standing atop my soap box strongly feel we all of our industry and not erode by cut-throat pricing which will ultimately lead to dilution of services.Will do another 20 years? Who knows, the government continues to raise the retirement better calibre of people to our industry and work towards more realistic competitiveness.
horticulture industry over the last 20 years use. Legislation has definitely made things safer by recognising and addressing risks such as vibration, noise, slopes and the benefits of training. Sadly our industry which seems more of challenge than managing the weather. So what about now? The squeeze on local authority budgets seeing them take more commercial approach, sometimes joining forces Facilities management and construction companies are making their presence felt by adding to their by swallowing up grounds maintenance rms to offer complete facilities management package. This not always the perfect marriage as it’s a bit different dealing with things that grow, in On the face of it, not lot’s changed over the last 20 years W
Manufacturers are not immune from the government cuts. Common sense dictates that if we’re not buying then they’re not selling. 8 The Forgotten Industry October 2011 Volume1 Issue2 THE FORGOTTEN But why are we forgotten?We’re all too aware of the cuts affecting local authorities and the need for them to make savings whilst maintaining reasonable standards in our towns and cities. Along with these pressures, our sector is bounced between other industries and their regulations as and when convenient – agriculture for fuel use and health & safety,VOSA and the road haulage industry for vehicles – with training and development dependent on which sector has what to spend. THINKING A BIT DIFFERENTLY Whilst there are numerous manufacturers of ground-care and landscaping machinery in the market place, the UK industry has been slow to follow the example of some of our European cousins in thinking a bit differently and making the man/woman and the machine do a bit more. Agriculture has been doing it for several years. Instead, we seem to follow a more traditional,“if it ain’t broke don’t change it” philosophy, which is seen every so often in tenders which ask for the playing fields to be seeded using a “contravator”, or allow the use of a “multi-mower”. Manufacturers are not immune from the government cuts. Common sense dictates that if we’re not buying then they’re not selling, and there’s also the added pressure from foreign markets keen to get a piece of the action.We all look to get the best value for money in the equipment we purchase; do you buy cheap and replace more often, or pay more and look to extend the machine’s life?The market is awash with equipment to suit all pockets and inclinations. There is however third option which is to think outside the box and invest in versatility.That’s not always easy when you consider the range of tasks undertaken in an average grounds contract, but within the landscaping sector, the world is your oyster. European manufacturers have long since seen the advantage of the multi-function tool-carrier: one power unit to cut grass, sweep paths, cut hedges, clear snow, prepare ground, the list goes on. We are not just an industry that demands different tyres on our tractors. Clients who have traditionally specified cylinder mowing in their parks and housing are now looking to save cost and may opt to rotary mow.That’s difficult to achieve when you have fleet of triple mowers, though easier if the cylinder units could be replaced with rotary decks. For larger tractors the problem is more difficult and more expensive to address, especially when you consider fuel costs. Gone are the carefree Civil unrest, recession (double-dip or otherwise), government cuts, high unemployment, rising fuel prices, doom and gloom, sometimes makes you wonder if it’s all worthwhile.Then you look at our industry and what it produces: phenomenal landscape construction at the Olympics, a successful Green Flag programme and some of the best sports turf management in Europe. Not bad from an industry that often seems to get forgotten. ABOUT THE AUTHOR An agriculturist by profession, spent several years working on arable farms in central Scotland before starting with VSO in Egypt implementing a mechanisation program, managing field operations for a large commercial cotton plantation in Nigeria and as contract instructor for Massey Ferguson inYemen. During this time also spent a year at Silsoe where gained an MSc in Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation Management. A serious road accident saw my return to the UK where upon recovery joined Glendale as machinery manager in March l994 where stayed until 2009, albeit with a short spell as account manager for the IPU group. left Glendale as Company Engineer in December 2009 to joinThe Landscape Group as Group Head of Assets and fleet. Angus Lindsay INDUSTRY “Multi-Hog” power unit under evaluation as prime mover. days of red diesel use, an unfortunate result of our unpublished alignment with the agricultural sector, the question to ponder is,“when is a tractor not a tractor?”. PL_Oct11_p08_Forgotten_industry:Layout 1 28/9/11 10:02 Page 8 Business Tips As an agriculturist, Angus spent several years working on arable farms in Scotland before joining VSO in Egypt, implementing managing eld operations for a commercial cotton plantation in Nigeria and as contract instructor for Massey Ferguson in Yemen. During this time he also spent year at Silsoe, gaining an MSc in Agricultural Engineering and UK he joined Glendale as machinery manager – before joining The Landscape Group in 2009 as Group Head of Assets and fleet. Contact: ABOUT ANGUS LINDSAY was always led to believe competition was healthy thing; on the race track, playing eld or in negotiation and that competitive edge makes the victory much more satisfying. We all price for work whether in the form of tender, quotation or direct negotiation and we then reverse this and equipment. The introduction of CCT the 1980s opened up the whole of the local business to much wider marketplace; bringing new working practices, improving cost The CCT process evolved and we found ourselves with the new challenge of ‘Best Value’. This brought about consistency to the tendering process and some innovative thinking, and has through user groups, return of parks-based staff and raised profiles of public open spaces. SAFE OPERATING SYSTEMS During this time the perception and enforcement of health and safety was greatly increased. safer working environment arose from increasing awareness of the risks associated with working on slopes, working at height, and the introduction of risk assessments. surrounding vehicle and trailer use has seen an increased need for tachographs for longer towing capacity limits. Also, greater process becoming a farce with work being awarded at unrealistically low rates, in some cases up to 30% cheaper than the given guide price. that the rms winning these tenders are as professional as the rest of us, in that they that those awarding the contracts, be they local authority or private sector, have undertaken their due-diligence and satisfied themselves that they are getting the best value for money and responsibilities to health and safety and legal/ environmental compliance? sector or local authority, have a responsibility to maintain fair and competitive marketplace especially these difficult times when every penny counts but we should not allow a lowering of standards that erodes our professionalism. Cutting corners to gain competitive advantage should not come from and our businesses legal and compliant. Far better that comes from efficient management, your customer. enforcement by HMRC on the use/misuse of red diesel in tractors has seen significant So, our industry and customers have seen benefits from ‘best value’ approach, but working to the same standards? There usually some sort of guide price on tenders, so those submitted ought to be within realistic range any unusually high or low bids discounted. You don’t mind losing out to competitor on your quality submission or that your pricing was percentage or two high. Unfortunately focused on price to point where the tendering Cutting corners in order to gain a competitive advantage shouldn’t come from dilution of safety standards, says Angus Lindsay do you think LEVEL PLAYING FIELD As an agriculturist, Angus spent several years working on arable farms in Scotland before joining VSO Massey Ferguson in Yemen. During this time he also spent year Silsoe, gaining an MSc agricultural manager 1994 going on to become company engineer before joining The Landscape Group diagnostics and tuning have sidelined traditional Lindsay argues we should Mechanic, fitter, grease monkey, spanner there are myriad of names for those who maintain they are directly employed, running their own business or an employee of main dealer, the between the job being completed on time and on budget and having expensive hire costs, As technology moves forward, so the role of the mechanic develops to that of technician. with laptops and test meters, which fine for computer. In my world a mechanic someone necessary repairs to address the failure and prevent its reoccurrence. This may also include operator or driver. More efficient engines and greater use of components becoming thing of the past. No alternator or the universal joints in driveshaft; it’s component. But in throwing away these diluting some of the basic skills of the damaged machine to be repaired have all but gone. Those that remain are mainly classed as vanes rather than being able to straighten bent drawbars or rebuild worn skid plates with lorry Repair by laptop – is this the future? leaner production techniques and greater efficiency but will this result in machines on rather than repaired? Sealed bearings are some operators. Interestingly these sealed hungry predecessors and cynic might say shorter life means better spare parts business have seen examples of mechanics going old-school by taking maintenance free spindles and fitting nipples that can be greased as part of daily/weekly maintenance regime. find dedicated to restoring everything from vintage tractors to earthmovers, where many of regularly use their restored classics as front Is the role of the smithy dying out? mechanics and technicians as can be and in many cases they have to maintain situations where a main dealer does not have the same flexibility when repairing equipment on site which can make things frustrating when the pressure on. but these are becoming rare individuals within can be highly skilled and resourceful. They need to keep everything from chainsaw to complex and operational so we mustn’t undervalue them. CAN WE FIX IT? LET’S HOPE SO... OPINION COMPONENTS IS BECOMING THING OF THE PAST was with great sadness that we learned of behind Glendale, in January. In the early days of and the Glendale business were among the local authorities to private contractors for the landscaping. This column not an obituary peers have done for the industry. is also me would not be in the position am today –In the early days of CCT, is fair to say that ‘cowboys’, saving money by taking shortcuts done. A side-arm flail will never replicate pair authorities, CCT gave them an alternative to approach, allowing them to contract out their ANGUS LINDSAY A PIONEER’S PASSING mechanisation programme, managing field operations for commercial cotton plantation Nigeria and working as contract instructor for Massey Ferguson in Yemen. grounds maintenance or arboriculture budgets. Some embraced the opportunity and and others have stoically avoided employing The growth of the contracting industry has involved, with facilities management and sector as nice addition to their Unfortunately, many have adopted the appreciate that when comes to services such maintenance you are dealing with inanimate are dealing with living, growing material, the residents to their green spaces. All these factors have way of catching you out, and services continues to tighten, so we have the external delivery. Some the larger local outsource, and others who have outsourced Angus Lindsay reflects on the positive legacy that Glendale’s Tony Hewitt leaves behind in the world of CCT for decades wonder they should try place for the market, and rewarding market for us. In within the private and utility sectors; what we do to deliver good services to One of Tony Hewitt’s frustrations was that, having developed people within his business, businesses, or into the public sector. But develop themselves within other people have gone on and built their careers on – a testament to his legacy. There have been few pioneers within our the inventor of the modern lawnmower, and landscaping as we know today. In more peers pioneered change our industry in certainly not be forgotten. The early days of CCT allegedly saw some LEADERS SUCH AS prolandscapermagazine Pro Landscaper L one component, system, supplier or disastrous something untoward occurs. In machines, we have hydraulic systems and friction plates are designed to slip. Shear those who manage our businesses where are their safety systems? different career, but things continue to trundle apparent that many businesses put too much responsibility on individuals with little or no a week’s leave and they will get sorted out when they return nothing that urgent, is it? point can also be its weakest link vehicle delivery, leading to knock-on effect on another aspect of your business. This can result a basic contingency plan or delegation of using only what is necessary, we are reaching a THE WEAKEST come out to service machine are being reduced in favour of just-in-time supply. “We’ll haven’t got enough fitters, so we will get to you next week” are no longer surprising This is also the case with people. We are direct experience which made business successful is being lost or slowly eroded away. disappearing favour of impersonal emails and what the warning signs of failure are. might when customers decide they would rather THE ISSUES YOUR WEAKEST MIGHT BE WITHIN YOUR perform. The weakest link fails and the whole be repaired and can be put back to work with the necessary adjustments. soon identify your weakest link have put in place to ensure business continuity both internally and for your customers. You can’t don’t worry, they’ll sort it out in ten days when contingency plan, making you feel like Anne Robinson just sent you off in the first round. TOO MUCH RELIANCE ON ONE COMPONENT, SYSTEM, SUPPLIER OR INDIVIDUAL WITH NO BACK-UP CAN BE DISASTROUS EDUCATE LINK ABOUT ANGUS LINDSAY Angus spent several years working on arable farms Scotland before joining VSO Egypt, implementing W starting to gather momentum and several of the main lasting batteries along with more professional range of tools, all looking good for cleaner, problem of compatibility. Similar to the mobile phones we use, there are currently not interchangeable. So, you line. Alternatively, if you want to use a range of equipment, then have different sites using marketplace; where there was once scepticism maintenance equipment. The humble battery these items are bit of gimmick. think it’s safe to say that battery power is our working practices line with client On more serious note, the uptake of electricity as viable, alternative power source accommodate vehicle and machine charging points, and as these will need to be fixed points, want miles of extension cables running across the ground. You’ll need to consider backup vehicles will be necessary so you don’t overload the electricity supply, and you don’t want to be you will do when you run out of juice in the field. Personally, think there an interim step for phase out diesel, replaced with petrol or diesel electric hybrid powertrains, with view equipment becomes available. However, still think will mean change to working practices move to new generation of equipment; solar THERE IS NO STANDARD APPROACH TO THE WAY THESE UNITS ARE CHARGED ONE SIZE FITS ALL SUITABLE INFRASTRUCTURE NEW TECHNOLOGY MUST ANGUS LINDSAY EDUCATE
People suddenly realised that the parks and open spaces are an asset that should be looked after
Alongside Angus Lindsay’s final article for Pro Landscaper, the kit expert looks back at the industry over the last few years and ahead to the future of the grounds maintenance sector
prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 78 FEATURE

and should give it a try, and it was interesting to see that side, but I’m not a salesman; when people asked me what I thought, I’d tell them if I thought there was a better product out there. You have to be open with people.”


The UK arm of idverde has continued to expand ever since. A key win for idverde this year was the contract for a further five Royal Parks, with just two months to get it off the ground and mere weeks before the Queen’s funeral took place. Earlier in the year, idverde had started an MOD contract after just six weeks, which Angus says was a challenge but a highlight to have achieved it.

And whilst he might be retiring from idverde and taking a break from the industry, Angus says there is a lot to look forward to. “The introduction of alternative fuels is gathering momentum and it seems to be more accepted, so hopefully that will

continue to blossom, and manufacturers will produce more equipment that can maintain green spaces without polluting them at the same time.

“I’m still a firm believer that hydrogen will make an appearance in the top end of machinery within our sector – tractors, vehicles, maybe even some of the larger ride-on mowers. It’s exciting because, once you get the infrastructure in place, it makes perfect sense because it’s renewable and only emits water. Battery is a stepping stone as there isn’t an infinite supply of lithium. It’ll get us to a point, but we have to look at something longer term, which is where hydrogen comes in.”

Angus believes that the use of robotic mowers will increase in the grounds maintenance sector too, “for wide-area mowing areas and sports grounds where you can control the environment and let the mowers get on and do the job. It will save labour and emissions and will free up people to do something which uses their skills and their training; the more challenging and rewarding tasks.”



is a stepping stone as there isn’t an infinite supply of lithium. It’ll get us to a point, but we have to look at something longer term, which is where hydrogen comes in

There could also be a change for local authorities, taking back more control of their open spaces, says Angus. On a commercial basis, this could mean "managing more as a contractor and being savvier and more cost effective with their budgets, using the skills from the private sector," Angus explains. "Some local authorities will continue to use subcontractors, but others will take it back in house. Some have done a sterling job because they have changed their mindset and how they work. They might integrate it as a multi- service function, so litter collection could be integrated with grounds maintenance.”

It would appear as though the pace of the industry won’t be slowing down, but Angus says it’s important we upskill those on the ground. Out of more than 100 articles for Pro Landscaper, those which stand out for Angus are those which tackle succession planning, retaining staff, safety and mental health. “There is so much knowledge disappearing from our side and the dealership side and the supplier side; people say technology will be the way forward, but you have to learn from the past before you can make in-roads in the future.”

Buying cheap tempting, and bargain sales even more so. Deals can be too good You hear all the time: “You paid how much for Landscaping World down the road”. We all like to competitors, but can we? And what are we getting for our money? Sometimes it’s not just the The other one hear is: “Have you tried the new ride-ons from Ripsnorter Mowers? They’re and five year warranty”. They may well be cheap legal, how long will they last, can you get parts for them, and does that warranty really exist? the old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ usually are. It’s easy to buy cheap, but to get the right balance between costs, quality and support must as the deal you did last year soon becomes So after much haggling you shake hands on new compact tractor, arrives and you set to read the handbook to understand the T&Cs and

as contract instructor for Massey Ferguson Yemen. He gained an MSc agricultural engineering and dealer servicing may seem costly after all, and please excuse my cynicism, they have some very technicians should be highly trained and be able to Nowadays it’s not enough just to drop the oil, change the filters and run around with grease systems are becoming more finely tuned to complicated. could just be simple adjustment to keep linkages working smoothly, which know any different. However, to rely on someone experience could prove costly. The bottom line is: you get what you pay for, and make sure you pay season when the pressure is on. Remember the manufacturer’s warranty. There is for an engine failure after 230 hours you missed the first 50 hour service. thinking for you and have an orange be serviced; these are not readily available our industry but we do have you need to know, so pay attention to It’s also worth considering what your buy going to do in the future, especially with tractors, excavators, ATVs and the like, so try where you point buying a bargain basement compact mid-deck and isn’t compatible better to spend a bit more to get the flexibility. or service packages, especially on high value items such as larger investment could save you lot of expense when you believe me, have experienced what goes wrong. Main THE OLD ADAGE OF ‘YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR’ APPLIES, AND OFFERS

September 2016

prolandscapermagazine Pro Landscaper global and regional scale, water management is also a micro-landscape issue and should be consideration where planning, hard concerned, says Angus Lindsay Despite relatively mundane season weatherrainfall the UK has ever experienced. This resulted in unprecedented flooding destroying life-changing situation for some of those affected. True to form, we started looking for warming, the Environment Agency, local at some of the construction practices of the last It’s easy to blame lack of river dredging, ditch clearing and irregular cleaning of gulleys. Huge tracts of land that used to naturally absorb water have been replaced by acres collect and channel thousands of gallons into inadequately maintained drainage systems. for housing and business development. Why is surprise then when we see these areas planning look at the definition of a floodplain, To a lesser extent, reduced maintenance in the form of drainage and regular aeration of drain the way used to and field capacity is reached a lot quicker. Running vehicles unnecessary compaction. The unusually unreasonable demands to keep grass heights within specification, regardless of the damage There is no simple solution. Drainage and aeration would definitely help, as would more though we might need the magician Dynamo to operate as he’s the only person I’m aware of More thought needs to be given to consider how much water there will be and where will go. Flood prevention needs to be key easy to maintain but it doesn’t absorb water so why not consider porous paving, grasscrete and we will be suffering drought and subject to hosepipe bans, such is the fickle nature of the storing some of this water. I’m no expert landscape construction, soil sense tells me that water will always follow the path of least resistance and you limit its options, spaces, wreaking havoc as it goes. It’s becoming We need to plan accordingly and not wait until the the tarmac drive was such a good idea. ANGUS LINDSAY HUGE TRACTS OF LAND RETAIL PARKS WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS Angus spent several years working on arable farms in a commercial cotton plantation Nigeria and working as a contract instructor for Massey Ferguson Yemen. He Landscape Group as group head of assets and fleet. We should consider the long-term damage Angus Lindsay.indd 30 older, but our industry and those businesses which support are definitely changing. not all. Change is an inevitability which we new working practices should make us more Over the last few years we have seen many hopefully become more cost-effective. It’s not trend an effort to spread costs against their chief executives. But amenity horticulture the local approach which has Integrating long-established and you bring them together with? Who looks after what, which requires cooperation, communication, and ANGUS

TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ Scotland before joining VSO Egypt, implementing mechanisation programme, managing field operations mechanisation management Silsoe, joining Glendale as machinery manager in 1994 and then in 2009, becoming greater consideration, as are the don’t sell vehicles and machinery, and they balance right and excel in supporting the product Maybe am just becoming a dinosaur who time and to specification, clients gave you lead more planning nowadays. the bodywork you want, and having delivered maybe Brexit will make easier? We live hope! significant amount of understanding and not one that should be rushed. An integration resources to manage the project so you don’t Integration isn’t as easy as you think people who helped develop the successful now benefit from years of experience and they begin to take significant bites out even Angus Lindsay considers how the industry SELL VEHICLES AND MACHINERY, AND THEY CERTAINLY Angus Lindsay.indd 42 Battery


GREEN MACHINES pedestrian mowers are becoming more developments battery technology meaning that reality. Despite the government increasing adopt cleaner technology April 2019, we still have an issue with electric ever produced, but even these are now seen with what? There are wide range vans available today, but these are somewhat chipper and the material they produce. We technology moves at such rate that batteries be recharged in minutes rather than hours; that combustion engine an inevitability on the cope? stopped at the services on the M6 the

While welcoming the advent of cleaner Angus Lindsay that said, ‘Sorry – out of order. What do you do think of the infrastructure required to charge that require the same sort of infrastructure. things will change. How we approach and vehicles and equipment we operate. I’m all for trench to bury a cable for power point so that panels in field but that’s technology for you.

fossil-fuelled engines to be banned in the UK alternatives. Volvo and BMW have already committed to electrifying their ranges by 2025. reducing pollution we will improve the air quality new technology. the challenges faced by manufacturers. Slowly, Deere has developed battery powered tractor EC130 and EC170 range of electric all-terrain machines are powered by rechargeable allowing to operate on slopes with or without sounds like the perfect package. Strimmers, blowers, hedge cutters and both ANGUS
LINDSAY Angus spent several years working on arable farms Scotland before joining VSO Egypt, implementing He gained an MSc agricultural engineering and mechanisation management at Silsoe, joining Glendale
“People had said that I’d be great at selling
After 18 months, he returned to Glendale for a further four years following a change in its management. Then when Glendale’s managing director at the time, Nick Temple-Heald, left to join English Landscapes, Angus followed suit. They were both part of the team which sought to build the company into one which is more profitable and efficient. Their efforts caught the eye of European company idverde, which acquired The Landscape Group – as English Landscapes had grown into – in 2015.
/ August 2020 A praise enough the work of all the essential workers who have kept the country moving and supply chain who have kept things moving. It has not been an easy time and we are far essential travel, the criminal fraternity continues to wreak havoc, with many businesses suffering equipment, but the break-in was not investigated distancing guidelines, they were then visited gearing everything back up to come out of it is significantly greater hurdle to surmount, and return, the breaks in the supply chain begin to show themselves. The vehicle forecourts may plants are several months behind in production It’s hardly surprising that new machine available. Many suppliers have had to face the many people have rediscovered their garden encouraging that there has been recognition planet general. Maybe the changes following budgets will again be under huge pressure, with the focus being on health, welfare and social a completely new government department? As we recover from the lockdown and with businesses won’t survive and redundancies are see change of direction for some people who, return to more people working in our parks and gardens and them being managed more to get away from the daily pressures of life, and they should be maintained as green havens of AS BUSINESSES START TO RETURN THE BREAKS IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN BEGIN TO SHOW THEMSELVES OF THE SUPPLY CHAIN, AS OF OPEN SPACES COULD Iyear have made us re-evaluate our need for keep going with the same simply weren’t available, what option did we care when operating and proactive approach to preventative maintenance has meant that equipment as a disposable commodity and relegate to the scrap pile as soon as it stops that something is old and knackered, when in essence all needs is good service and So, where does this throw-away attitude come from? Or have people just got complacent mobile phone or TV? is fair to say that machine breaks down, replaced by hedgecutter on hire for couple of years that they could have bought ten times over. and are lifeline when equipment breaks down, is stolen, or there need for a specialist piece argue that the cost of the hire is included in the become wholly reliant on and to constantly The concept of ownership is applicable brigade will soon be in control and nothing will get done. Maybe am just getting old and expecting exasperating that certain elements think the way things out for themselves? If we are all relying combine, the grain was being carted off and the EMBRACING HIRE FOR TOO LONG CAN MAKE THE TRANSITION TO OWNERSHIP A DIFFICULT AND COSTLY PROCESS AN EXASPERATED ANGUS LINDSAY SAYS WE NEED TO LEARN TO CARE A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP EDUCATE Angus Lindsay-3.indd 73 prolandscapermagazine Pro Landscaper September 2022 connection at the front, not six-metre-long tippers where the charge point where the fuel filler cap used to be. forward and be prepared for changes to your operation based on or even rebuild your existing operation around new power source. lot more to get your head around, especially where EVs are considerably heavier, so payload will be EV uses more power, so range will be reduced. cost or the inevitable changes in road tax which will come, but you may need to be even reduce your fleet size. associated with the move to an alternative power manage your business to fit the change and not the other way looking to do in 120 months what we have done in the last 120 years. C ome 2030 we will no longer be able to buy LCVs powered by internal combustion engines, and 2035 for HGVs (well, certain amount of scepticism around the infrastructure fuel of choice. The same infrastructure and supply challenges are personally feel are better options for commercial vehicles. now, especially where electricity is concerned. around vehicle supply, regardless of what is we should be using this time to understand the future infrastructure requirements, as the vehicle how we charge it is the biggest issue. The key areas operating from and does your building have the charging? Don’t be surprised you have to look at moving. all going to be charged? Twenty vehicles mean 20 charge points, easier said than done. Do your staff take vehicles home at night and, in a flat or somewhere with parking restrictions? Running an extension lead 200m down the building hardly an option. party, are they suitable? Pulling up to fuel station easy as they and more charge points are turning up in multi-storey car parks THE DAWNING OF A NEW AGE ANGUS LINDSAY There’s more to consider than you might think when it comes to switching to electric vehicles, says Angus Lindsay The vehicle is the last thing we should be concerned about –how we charge it is the biggest issue Angus Lindsay (1).indd OPINION A from my usual articles vehicles, but one that feel has significant relevance in or another, even though we may not be for us to look out for each other. have very much changed how we go food costs coupled with the threat of more of challenge. But what of us as do we take the time to speak to our ensure that they too are managing? We with pressure and stress in different way. home, Teams and Zoom meetings have all of routine and lack of day-to-day contact other than via email or phone call led to a certain amount of isolation from colleagues and do we appreciate this? The British Calm and Carry On’ attitude for some this departure and loneliness. you were struggling it get on with it, but the pandemic better, whereby we have more appreciation of no expert in this field and can only speak for manages capex budget of £5m and 300 vehicle replacements, demanding and challenging role. Who's got YOUR BACK? ANGUS LINDSAY times over the last 24 months, when the and life in general can at times seem when you just need to speak to someone to make things seem bit less hopeless. Being busy is all well and good and keeps your mind occupied but getting the work/ and many people let this fall can cause issues Sometimes just ask if things are ok problems or proffer an opinion which different perspective and make As said, everyone deals with stress and respect this by looking out for each other. is not true reflection of what’s really brewing beneath the surface. There is an this situation: “I never feel alone, as loneliness always with me”. So, more than ever, think we should be looking out for those around us and make sure we talk to Angus Lindsay takes break from talking machinery to instead share the importance of looking out for each other’s wellbeing Everyone deals with stress and pressure in different ways, and we should all respect this by looking out for each other TheKitSwitch:Considering thegreenerequipmentoption prolandscapermagazine Pro Landscaper October 2022 98 prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 79 FEATURE
Unfortunately, the industry is losing Angus’ vast knowledge (for now), and there will be challenges ahead for the grounds maintenance sector; but Angus also paints a picture of a bright future, providing we can adapt to change.
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Five minutes with MOLLIE HIGGINSON

A winner of Pro Landscaper’s 30 Under 30: The Next Generation 2022, Mollie Higginson is co-founder of the Young People in Horticulture Association and operations supervisor and sales representative at New Leaf Plants. Here, she talks diversity, crossovers and breaking down barriers.

How did you first get into the industry?

Horticulture has been in my family for generations, and it wasn’t until I started working for the family business that I understood why. I currently run our mail order and dispatch area at New Leaf Plants, managing around 10 seasonal staff. I am the sales representative, where I am on the road for half of the year visiting our customers. In 2020, I cofounded the Young People in Horticulture Association (YPHA), which covers anyone who works in horticulture under 35.

What inspired your push for diversity and inclusivity within horticulture?

As a young woman in horticulture, you can walk into a room full of figureheads, and the likelihood of you getting listened to, especially when you don't have horticultural training, like I don't, is quite low. This is what inspired the creation of the YPHA. We’re now at around 350 members with almost half of these being women, which is great to see.

Landscape Industries was one of those; we signed its Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter for the Horticulture, Arboriculture, Landscaping & Garden Media profession at FutureScape 2022.

The shocking thing about horticulture is that if you look at those aged 50 and above, hardly any of those in high senior roles are women. We haven’t broken that barrier enough yet. It is important to progress the conversation; how are we going to change that? How are we going to get the different ethnic groups involved in horticulture that wouldn’t usually see it as a career and wouldn't see it as a step forward?

What advice would you give to someone beginning a career in landscaping?

Don't say no to any opportunity. Push to be involved in more. Make sure you're getting out there, going to different trade shows, seeing all sectors of the industry, because the more you see, the more you'll understand. I don’t think people realise how many opportunities there are out there. There are so many RHS funds that you can apply for and get funding to go and do so many incredible things all over the world. There are so many bursaries out there for horticulture. You've just got to find them and get excited about them.

What are your ambitions?

forefront of sustainability. Horticulture is a green industry and I want to become a green nursery. I am a huge advocate for raising awareness of horticulture outside of our industry and showing people why it is a great career choice with good progression opportunities. I want to leave my mark on horticulture by making it more diverse and inclusive.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? I play a lot of netball – I play for a league on a Thursday night and we’re currently top of the division! I love to travel; I'm currently in Canada at the time of writing. I travelled a lot before I found my permanent job – I think seeing so many different parts of the world and understanding different cultures is really important and has taught me a lot.


New Leaf Plants

As we got bigger and bigger, more associations within horticulture wanted to get involved. British Association of

I am determined to become managing director of New Leaf Plants and continue to make it a successful and thriving nursery. I want to develop the nursery to be at the

Tel 01386 442 055 YPHA

prolandscapermagazine .com Pro Landscaper | January 2023 LAST WORD 82
I want to leave my mark on horticulture by making it more diverse and inclusive

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